Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dalglish Contract Key To Liverpool Star Stay

Pepe Reina has hailed the influence of Kenny Dalglish in the Liverpool dressing-room and hinted that should the Scot be handed the long-term reins at Anfield he could well be persuaded to stay at the club.

The Spanish goalkeeper has been the subject of intense speculation over the last 12 months with the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal thought to be keeping tabs on his contract situation.

While the former Villarreal man is tied to the Reds until 2016 it had been suggested he could follow compatriots Rafael Benitez, Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso and Alvaro Arbeloa out of the club if a suitable offer was forthcoming.

Speaking about the new optimism on Merseyside, Reina told the Liverpool Echo why he thinks Dalglish heralds a new exciting era at Anfield:

“We all want him to stay. If he stays here on a long-term basis, I would be very happy. Like the rest of the lads.

“We have improved since Kenny became manager. We have beaten all of the big teams. But it is important as players to repeat that in every game. We need to be consistent; with the aggression and commitment, everything.

“We cannot just perform against the top sides because a season is 10 months long. If we get the balance right, we’ll be a lot, lot closer to where we want to be. We started this season, and the last one, not the best. Next time, we need to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Reflecting on Dalglish's connection with the Liverpool fans, following a stellar playing career at Anfield, Reina continued: "It is important that Kenny knows the club. He is a legend in Liverpool – and I mean a legend because sometimes that word is used too much for other people.

“Kenny knows exactly what people think, and what the supporters want to see.

“Because he was a great player himself, he understands the point of view of a player, and that means he knows how to set standards and what is acceptable to us. He makes everything much easier for us.”

Liverpool's New Deal For Steve Clarke Gives Kenny Dalglish Fresh Boost

Liverpool's owners, Fenway Sports Group, have given another indication that Kenny Dalglish will be offered the long-term manager's position at Anfield by opening talks with Steve Clarke over a new long-term deal.

Clarke was appointed first-team coach until the end of the season within days of Dalglish's return as temporary manager in January. The Scot has spoken of his desire to continue working alongside Dalglish and that wish is almost certain to be granted after FSG approached the former Chelsea and West Ham United coach over extending his stay.

Dalglish has held talks with John W Henry and Tom Werner, Liverpool's principal owner and chairman respectively, over succeeding Roy Hodgson on a long-term basis, although his widely anticipated appointment is yet to be finalized. Both Dalglish and Clarke are likely to be handed three-year deals having rapidly transformed the club, with Liverpool's owners aware that any return to English football by José Mourinho could result in the Real Madrid manager offering Clarke, who was his right-hand man at Chelsea, the chance of a reunion.

Clarke said: "Every manager I've worked with – you pick up good qualities from all of them and so far, in a short space of time, I've seen a lot of great qualities from Kenny. I hope to continue the work into the future.

"Anyone watching us play right now can see the spirit is high, the confidence is good and the performances have been decent. Now we need to continue it. If you are working well as a group and working well day in, day out in training – you can see they're taking that on to the pitch right now. If you've got that togetherness it goes a long way in any team sport – especially football."

Jamie Carragher is expected to continue at the heart of the Liverpool defence against Birmingham City on Saturday despite being carried off with concussion in the 1-1 draw with Arsenal on Sunday. Andy Carroll and Fábio Aurélio joined an already extensive injury list at the Emirates with knee and hamstring problems respectively and are doubtful for the home game but Carragher has recovered well from the second-half collision with his 18-year-old team-mate John Flanagan. There is also no stipulation from the Football Association that any player who suffers concussion has to remain sidelined for a specified period of time.

Clarke said: "Fábio has picked up another little strain. Hopefully it's not too bad. We have to keep positive with him because he's a terrific player, as he showed in the Man City game. Carra seems OK and with Andy Carroll, at the moment we're waiting on some news from the medical department."

Reina Looks To The Future

Jose Reina believes Liverpool must hit the ground running next season if they are to re-establish their top-four status in the Premier League.

The Reds are likely to miss out on UEFA Champions League qualification for the second season running after suffering a disastrous first half to the campaign.

Kenny Dalglish's return as manager has somewhat steadied the ship, however, with the Scot guiding the side to wins over Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City.

Sunday's draw at Arsenal also provided a creditable result, but Reina believes they must rediscover their knack for beating teams further down the table.

"We cannot just perform against the top sides because a season is 10 months long," he told the club's official website.

"If we get the balance right, we'll be a lot, lot closer to where we want to be," added the Spaniard, whose team has lost to Blackpool, West Ham and West Brom under Dalglish.

"We started this season and the last one not the best. Next time, we need to make sure that doesn't happen.

"We need to be consistent with the aggression, commitment - everything.

"We have improved since Kenny became manager. We have beaten the big teams. But it is important as players to repeat that in every game."

Reina believes the word 'legend' is used all too often but insists that is not the case for Dalglish, whose man-management skills he rates highly.

"He's a legend in Liverpool - and I mean a legend because sometimes that word is used too much for other people," he said.

"Kenny knows exactly what the people (of the city) think and what the supporters want to see.

"Because he was a great player himself, he understands the point of view of a player and that means he knows how to set standards and what is acceptable.

Liverpool Considering Move For Roger Johnson

Roger Johnson has emerged as a target for Liverpool after director of football Damien Comolli ran the rule over Birmingham City's centre back.

Kenny Dalglish is in the market for a defender this summer and Johnson, who was recently called up to the provisional England squad, is nearing the end of a second impressive season at St Andrew's.

The 27-year-old, who has only one year remaining on his contract after signing from Cardiff for £5million in 2009, is refusing to talk about contracts until Birmingham's Barclays Premier League future is secured. Coincidentally, City face Liverpool on Saturday.

Fresh Twist In Liverpool Pursuit Of £10m Winger

Newcastle have entered the race for reported Liverpool target Balazs Dzsudzsak, it has been claimed.

The Hungarian winger has been in fine fettle this season - scoring 16 times in 31 appearances - and has been one of the focal points of PSV Eindhoven's ascent to the summit of the Eredivisie.

According to talkSPORT, Newcastle are interested in signing the £10 million-rated 24-year-old, but they are likely have to beat off interest from Merseyside, with both Everton and Liverpool said to be monitoring his progress.

Liverpool has been linked with the attacker for some time, and were alleged to have made an enquiry over a proposed deal in January.

Dzsudzsak, however, opted to sign a new deal with PSV - instead of making a switch to Liverpool.

"The most serious teams were Lille, Wolfsburg, Liverpool and Juventus," the player's agent, Jozsef Vorosbaranyi, told

"Some of them made a concrete offer but Balazs decided to stay in Eindhoven."

Liverpool are known to be in the market for more potent wide options, and are also reportedly pursuing Ashley Young and Eden Hazard.

Royston Drenthe Emerges As Anfield Target

Liverpool are reportedly considering a summer move for Dutch international midfielder Royston Drenthe, according to reports.

The versatile 24-year-old Real Madrid player, who can also play in defence, joined Hercules on loan in the summer and is helping the La Liga strugglers in their fight against relegation.

With opportunities at the Santiago Bernabeu limited, Drenthe was keen to seek playing time elsewhere and has been linked with a permanent exit from the Spanish capital on a number of occasions.

Liverpool was first thought to be considering a move back in the summer, and was once again reportedly courting the player in December under former boss Roy Hodgson.

Sections of the British press ran a quote from Drenthe on a facebook page claiming he'd already signed for Liverpool back in June, comments which the player would later state did not come from him.

"I will soon be joining Liverpool FC. I hope I will have a good season," read the statement, which was then declared untrue by his agent days later.

However, fresh reports from SportsVibe claim Kenny Dalglish has revived the Reds' interest in the player. Damien Comolli, director of football at Anfield, is also said to be an admirer.

Juventus and Inter Milan will provide Liverpool with competition for the player, with the Serie 'A' pair also thought to be interested in the former Feyenoord star.

Liverpool And Valencia In Pole Position For Spanish Full-Back

Valencia have joined the race to sign Martin Montoya from Barcelona, reports

The Spanish under-21 international is currently applying his trade with the Barcelona B team and is rumoured to be seeking a move away from the Nou Camp.

But their La Liga rivals Valencia have bid £2.6 million for the full-back in the hope of securing his signature before Liverpool hold talks.

Barcelona has reportedly offered a contract to Montoya, but the 20-year-old is refusing to make a decision until after June's Under-21 European Championships.

Liverpool is known admirers of the defender, and after being linked with the player earlier in the year are sure to keep tabs on Valencia's bid for Montoya.

Meanwhile, talkSPORT are reporting that Fulham will also join the race to sign Montoya, as they look to snatch the defender away from Liverpool and Valencia.

Mark Hughes is keen to replace the outing John Pantsil and the west-London club will attempt to hijack any bid for the defender this summer.

Juventus Expect To Sign Aquilani

Juventus are hopeful they will soon reach an agreement with Liverpool over Alberto Aquilani's permanent move to Turin.

Aquilani, 26, is on a season-long loan with Juve, having failed to impress during his debut campaign at Anfield after joining from Roma in summer 2009.

Juve have the option to purchase the Italy international at the end of the season and general manager Giuseppe Marotta is confident a deal will be agreed.

"We have a good rapport with Liverpool and we think we can reach an understanding," Marotta said in Gazzetta dello Sport. "Alberto has proved to be an important player and we knew him already from his time at Roma.

"We have an option to buy his contract which is quite high for us, but we will soon try to find a solution with Liverpool."

Aquilani has scored two goals in 29 league appearances for Juventus this season.

FIVE Bosman Deals For Comolli And Dalglish To Pursue

With the news that Jean-Marc Bosman, (the Belgian footballer whose court case changed football’s financial clout), is now out of work and living on benefits, I thought it would be a good opportunity for us to look at potential free transfers this summer.

Miroslav Klose (Bayern Munich) – I know that we have big Andy and the tricky Suarez, but all top clubs have 3 top class strikers fighting for a starting position so why wouldn’t we take a look at him? Klose’s goal scoring record for Germany is simply phenomenal, and while at 32 he isn’t going to be around forever, he would still be a great signing for a couple of years. Only managing one goal for Bayern this season explains why he is available for nothing this summer. If the German media is to be trusted then Juventus, Benfica and Tottenham have already submitted offers for him. We could do a lot worse than offering him a one year deal.

Cesar Delgado (Lyon) - Also available on a free, this skilful Argentinian winger could be a great addition to our South American flavoured squad. He did score that horrible last minute goal against us after only being on the pitch for 5 minutes, but we cant let that get in the way can we? Whilst I don’t think that he has the necessary class to drive us forward to title contenders as a first team player, he is a battler and could certainly do a job, both on the wing or behind AC if Suarez gets injured.

Taye Taiwo (Marseille) – Why we haven’t already tried to sign this guy on a pre contract agreement, I don’t know! A few years ago he was recognized as one of the best left backs in Europe and at just 25 years old he would definitely add the class needed to our full back berth. Allegedly favouring a move to the San Siro, hopefully King Kenny can convince him that the Anfield project is where he should be. Strong, quick and with good vision I’d love to have him in the squad. Would be a definite starter in the left back position and offers so much both in defence and going forwards. According to the player he has signed a deal with a new club, but hopefully this is just another negotiation tactic!

Sylvain Marveaux (Rennes) – Constantly linked with the Reds, this is the speedy out-and-out winger that we so desperately need. Imagine the scene. Reina saves, rolls the ball out to Taiwo on the edge of the penalty box, silkily he goes past the ageing Giggs before spotting Marveaux on the wing. Playing a simple ball to him, Marveaux controls first time before going on a run that sees Fabio left for dead. The cross comes in and who’s there to power home? Andy “the destroyer” Carroll. Ok, so maybe I’m getting ahead of myself but we need a winger and getting one for free is a good way for us to strengthen the other areas of our squad.

Luis Garcia (Panathinaikos) - Yes I know Luis is 32 and has had a few tough years both in Spain and more recently for Panathinaikos, but I know I’m not the only red that holds a place in his heart for the diminutive Garcia. Get him back on a pay as you play option, with a view to coaching. Ok, so not going to happen but I wish you the best LG.

An article by: James Dempster at Live4Liverpool

FA Will Not Charge Dalglish For Swearing At Wenger

The FA has confirmed that Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish will not be charged for using unprofessional language towards Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

The two bosses clashed when the Reds were awarded a penalty deep into stoppage time, with the Frenchman believing that his players had been hard done by the decision, and TV cameras caught the Scot swearing at the Gunners manager.

Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney received a two-match ban for his usage of offensive language into a camera lens, leading to accusations of double standards.

But a spokesman for the FA is quoted by The Mirror as saying: "We are quite clear that the context of the Rooney incident was wholly different to the other recent incidents cited."

Meanwhile, the FA's director of football development, Sir Trevor Brooking, hopes that the issue of swearing and subsequent punishments will be clarified after Dalglish was not charged.

"It was totally different [from Rooney]," he said. "The reaction straight into the camera [from Rooney] was the difference.

"I can understand why the incident at the West Ham match led to action being taken, but in this one unless it was exactly like that, which I gather it wasn't, I don't think there is any comparison.

"Wherever I've been since the Manchester United versus West Ham game I don't think I've met anyone who thought it was anything other than the right decision.

"If anyone is still unsure why the action was taken then we should clarify it so that it's consistent. There has to be a clear understanding. Clarification would help us avoid a continued debate."