Sunday, May 08, 2011

Dalglish: Liverpool FC Must Forget Europe And Concentrate On Fulham

Kenny Dalglish insists Liverpool can’t afford to look any further than Monday night’s tough trip to Fulham as he refuses to contemplate Europa League qualification.

Back to back wins over Birmingham and Newcastle have seen the Reds leapfrog Tottenham in the race for fifth place.

The stage is set for a crunch clash with Spurs at Anfield next Sunday but Dalglish is wary of the showdown with the Cottagers.

Mark Hughes’ side have climbed to ninth on the back of emphatic victories over Bolton and Sunderland and are unbeaten at home since the turn of the year.

“We never set targets, we just prepare for the next game,” Dalglish said.

“Fulham played very well here earlier in the season. We beat them 1-0 but we were quite fortunate.

“They are on a good run and have had an excellent season so it’s a difficult game for us.

“If they hadn’t had as many draws at the start of the season they would have been a lot higher up the table.

“Mark Hughes is an excellent manager and has fantastic support from his backroom staff.”

There is a debate raging over whether Liverpool would be better off staying out of the Europa League amid fears the schedule would damage their league campaign next season.

However, Dalglish won’t be getting involved in it.

“We don’t have that problem yet so we don’t need to solve anything,” he added.

“If there are problems ahead then they will be solved. We will just keep going and see what we can do. The biggest problem we have got is Fulham.”

Fresh Developments In Liverpool Pursuit Of Arsenal Star

Manchester City and Real Madrid are set to rival Liverpool for Arsenal defender Gael Clichy, it has been claimed.

According to, the trio of clubs is preparing to pounce should Clichy reject an offer of a contract extension, with his current deal set to expire next summer.

Liverpool are said to retain a long-standing interest in the Arsenal left-back as they look to fill the problematic role at Anfield during the transfer window.

Newcastle’s Jose Enrique had been the favourite to make the summer move to Anfield, but Liverpool would reportedly favour the acquisition of Clichy, with the possibility that Arsenal may have to cash in on him at the end of the season.

Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli was instrumental in bringing the 25-year-old to Arsenal in 2003 while he worked as a scout for the Gunners.

Comolli has since maintained close links with Arsenal’s longest-serving current player, and is ready to bring him to Liverpool should the France international fail to agree a new deal.

Raheem Returns To Liverpool

England U17s ace Raheem Sterling has returned to parent club Liverpool today, after picking up an ankle injury in Friday's game with Denmark.

Sterling was substituted just before half time in the match after stretching to control a pass and after being evaluated by the England medical staff in Serbia and consultation with their counterparts at Anfield, it was decided that he wouldn't be fit to feature in Monday's Group A closer with the host nation so would return to his club for further treatment.

He didn't play in the first game with France, as he only arrived to link up with the squad last Sunday but he is now on his way back to Anfield having flown from Belgrade on Sunday morning.

"We'd like to thank Raheem for his contributions, as he's played a major part this season throughout the qualification process," said Head Coach John Peacock.

"It's a shame that it's had to end this way for him, but it will have been a great experience for Raheem and I'm sure he'll wish all of the squad the best in their aim to reach the World Cup and the semi-final of the European Championship."

Peacock will not replace Sterling with anyone ahead of Monday's game.

Ayre Reveals Plans For Liverpool To Takeover The World!

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre admits they have plans to takeover the world!

Ayre reveals Fenway Sports Group is backing plans to expand the club's profile across several key international markets.

He told "All manner of things. It means real infrastructure and people in certain markets; we've got an office in Singapore, and FSG's sports marketing team are picking up the US for Liverpool, so we've effectively got an office in the US too.

"We'll also going to be expanding into some other markets - we're just circling in at the moment which ones, and at what size. Then the next stage will be more localized products - local language TV and websites; retail products that are more geared towards that particular market/region at that particular price point. And there's our soccer school business, which is growing significantly at the moment - we've started 6 new schools in the last 8 months. So it's a combination of all of these.

"The idea is that wherever you are in the world as a Liverpool fan, you should be able to reach out and touch some of our products in a local language/ currency. But it's not one size fits all, it's got to be as tailored as possible.

"We'll support that with other things like touring - we'll go on tour to three key Asian markets this summer, for example. But we see tours as the icing on the cake, as opposed to being big revenue generators in themselves. It's all about creating the other things that are going on week to week. Going on tour doesn't make you significant money or build a significant fanbase - what does that is being in people's eyeballs every day. That's what we're trying to create. The team turning up is just the icing on the cake."

Aldo Hails Away Form Turnaround

Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge believes the new found belief among the players away from home can keep the Reds in the chase for Europe at Fulham on Monday night.

Kenny Dalglish's men travel to Craven Cottage needing a positive scoreline to move back into the top five of the Barclays Premier League - and Aldridge is pleased to have seen recent results on the road playing a big part in helping turn the season around.

"It's a million times better away from home than it was," he said. "We've still lost a couple but it's much, much better.

"Last season under Rafa and the first half of this season under Roy, the away form was pitiful. And that's being kind. I had no confidence that we were going to win games so I've no idea how the players felt.

"But Kenny has come in and even though we had the defeat to Blackpool, he's got the belief restored into the players. We're going away from home looking to win games now rather than fearing the opposition.

"But it will be a hard game at Fulham because over the last five or six years it's never been a place I've felt comfortable going to. We have had some good results there, but we've had some poor ones as well.

"It wasn't long ago people were talking about Fulham being in a relegation battle but Mark Hughes has pulled a rabbit out of the hat and turned it around for them. They won 3-0 at Sunderland recently and their home form has been good. They've hit a really good run of late."

Charlie's Special Day With The Reds

Eleven year old Liverpool fan Charlie Capener saw his Anfield dreams come true recently when he met his Liverpool heroes on a day to remember at Melwood.

Charlie, who suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, got the chance to meet management and playing staff at the Club's training base before being given a tour of Anfield.

Such was Charlie's delight at the end of his special day, his Dad Carl felt moved to write a letter of thanks to everybody at Liverpool FC for helping make his son's dreams come true.

"Cath and I would like to thank everybody at Liverpool FC for a truly special day yesterday.

"Without going into too much detail we know what lies a head for Charlie is not what you would choose and there's every possibility that we won't see him reach him the age of his hero Stevie G, but the look on Charlie's face when he met his heroes is something that we will cling to, cherish, be able to look back on, recall and share for many years to come.

"I think that all three of us were overwhelmed at how welcome Charlie was made to feel, all the players and staff are a total credit to the football club.

"While talking last night we were all saying how nice it was to actually witness all of the different personalities and see the confidence of the senior players and staff but also witness the shyness of the younger members of the squad. They truly are normal people with an exceptional talent and Charlie has witnessed that first hand.

"As a fan I get an enormous amount of pleasure out of Liverpool winning, the Premier League title is something that everybody craves but yesterday LFC gave me something that they will never be able to surpass - they filled a young boy's heart with joy, made him forget about all his woes and truly gave him an experience that will make him the envy of everyone he meets in the future.

"I hope you are able to pass on our thanks to the staff and players and let Mr. Dalglish know that we have seen first hand why he defends his players with such vigour. They truly are special people and I for one will forevermore forgive any mistakes made on the pitch because of their attitude and behaviour as people off it.

"As an aside my main memory will be the way that Sammy Lee greeted Charlie on the stairs. What a great reception - in fact what a great man. Also big, big thanks to Steve Clarke for giving Charlie his undivided attention and listening to his training ideas!"

Why Liverpool Should Show Caution Over Bosman Deals

It is safe to say that Liverpool have not been the most adept in the Bosman free transfer market over the last few years. With limited money to spend under former owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, the Reds have delved into the free transfer market and come up with some real stinkers. The Ukrainian striker Andriy Voronin came from Bayer Leverkusen in 2007, and he was followed to Anfield by Standard Liege’s Milan Jovanovic and Chelsea’s Joe Cole last summer. None of these deals have really worked out for the Reds, and specifically in the case of Cole, have left the club picking a sizeable tab for their wages, while they are either sidelined with injuries or sit on the bench.

I am not against the Reds bringing in free transfers per se, but as we have experienced over the last few seasons, getting in a player for free doesn’t always work out too well. Although nothing has officially been announced yet, the French press has stated that Rennes winger Sylvain Marveaux has signed a pre-contract agreement to join Liverpool in the summer. Of course, the same worries about past failed free transfer signings will crop up again, and it could be said that Marveaux could be yet another concerning signing on a Bosman.

So who is Sylvain Marveaux? He was born in Vannes, Britanny and became involved in his first club AS Menimur at the age of just 6. After 7 years, he moved to the city’s biggest club Vannes OC and was selected for the prestigious Pôle Espoirs Football de Ploufragan regional football academy where he learned his trade. After leaving the academy he signed a youth contract with Britanny side Rennes in 2001 and spent four years in the club’s highly regarded youth academy.

At reserve level, he impressed for Rennes in the 2005/06 season and playing in the CFA league, he scored seven in 21 appearances, standing out as the team’s star player. His impressive performances earned him a professional contract in the summer of 2006 and he became part of Guy Lacombe’s first team plans. Marveaux initially struggled to gain a regular place under Lacombe despite making his debut on the opening day of the season in a 2-1 defeat to Lille.

He scored his first goal as a senior player in a 3-1 win over Auxerre in October 2006, coming on as a second half substitute, and despite not being a regular, he scored six goals in 32 appearances during the 2006/07 season. He again struggled to curry favour with Lacombe the following season though and made just 11 starts in the league, scoring his only goal of the campaign in the UEFA Cup against Lokomotiv Sofia.

The 2008/09 season was equally as unfortunate for Marveaux as after tearing his hamstring in October, it was discovered that a haematoma had formed around the injury and he had to have an operation that kept him out for five months, limiting him to just 6 appearances during the campaign. Last season was however Marveaux’s breakthrough season, and he scored 10 goals and provided 5 assists in 35 league appearances under new manager Frederic Antonetti.

This campaign has however seen him sidelined with injury again. He sustained a groin injury in November and despite returning to fitness in the New Year, the dispute over his new contract has meant he hasn’t played since his injury. The Reds have certainly had their fair share of injury problems with players, and if Marveaux does sign, this maybe a concern. Still I feel it is best not to judge before we see him in action for the Reds. He could very well be a useful squad player and he can play on the left hand side of midfield or just behind the striker as a playmaker. He will probably be on quite low wages and he is still only 25 years of age so he may not be in the same bracket as players such as the 30 year old Milan Jovanovic and 29 year old Joe Cole who have less resalable value if things don’t work out.

With the Reds recent history of failed free transfer signings, as well as the long list of players with recurring problems, the signing of Marveaux maybe a risk, and if he does sign, lets hope he proves to be the exception to the rule regarding dud Liverpool Bosman transfers.

The Ideal Transfer Plans For Liverpool FC

A lot has been made about the need for a massive squad overhaul at Liverpool this summer. Some have even reported that there could be as many as 20 comings and goings over the close season as the Reds start to mould a team capable of competing for major trophies once again. Inevitably then, there have been a vast amount of transfer rumours spreading across newspapers and the internet as to who will be coming in, and who will be departing the club.

One of the most interesting aspects has been the significant split in reports that the Reds are either targeting mainly foreign based players or exclusively British talent. Only a few days ago, it was reported in the Daily Mail that Kenny Dalglish was focusing on bringing in exclusively British talent with Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Connor Wickham, Charlie Adam, Ashley Young and Stewart Downing all being tipped as potential targets.

In the same measure, in other reports, the Reds have been linked with a vast array of players from France especially. Inevitably this has something to do with having a French Director of Football in Damien Comolli , but it can’t be a coincidence as both Dalglish and Comolli have been spotted at matches in France over the past few months. Sylvain Marveaux, Eden Hazard, Yann M’Vila, Blaise Matuidi, Mamadou Sakho and Hugo Lloris are just some of the names from France that have been linked with the Reds. In addition players such as Diego Perotti, Iker Muniain and Alvario Negredo from Spain, and Ezequiel Lavezzi and Juan Manuel Vargas from Italy have also been rumoured targets.

This is of course usual for rumours to start flying around as we head into the final stages of the season, but what is most interesting is there seems to be complete confusion in the rumour mill about whether Damien Comolli or Kenny Dalglish will be the one having the greatest influence on transfers. In one instance you will read, Kenny Dalglish’s name linked with a British player, while it will always be exclusively reported that Damien Comolli is interested in a foreign player.

No one can really know what the summer will hold for LFC. If King Kenny does get the job full time, he will surely have a final say on transfer targets but the collegial strategy which FSG are going for in regards to transfer decisions means that Damien Comolli will surely have some say too. At the moment it looks as if Kenny is favouring players proven in the Premier League, while Comolli is doing his job by scouring Europe for young talent. Hopefully it means that we get the best of both worlds. While we get some good players from England, perhaps such as Ashley Young and Phil Jones, we will also be hopefully looking at the likes of Eden Hazard and Yann M’Vila.

When John Aldridge named his transfer targets of Young, Adam, Cahill a couple of weeks ago, there was some concern among Liverpool supporters that these players might not be good enough to improve the team. In Charlie Adam’s case especially, I would be very concerned if we opted to buy the player for a sizeable fee, if it was at the expense of a younger, more promising talent from abroad. Of course, only time will tell what sort of strategy the Reds will employ. If we go for player’s purely based on ability, rather than any preconceived notion about home-grown talent, I will be happy.

Article courtesy of David at Live4Liverpool.