Thursday, May 12, 2011

John W Henry And Tom Werner Fly In To Announce Appointment Of Kenny Dalglish

John W Henry and Tom Werner, Liverpool’s principal backer and chairman, are expected to attend the club’s final home game of the season, increasing the chances that Kenny Dalglish’s return as permanent manager could now be confirmed early enough for his side to kick off at Anfield against Tottenham on Sunday knowing he will be in charge next year.

The Americans, the principal owners of the Fenway Sports Group consortium which has owned Liverpool since October, are due to fly in to the city on Friday. As well as examining the state of their investment at the end of their first season in charge, they are thought likely to take the chance to announce that the Scot will take charge on a full-time basis.

Talks between the two parties have been progressing for almost six weeks and the public appointment of the Scot - initially installed as a caretaker in January - has been described as imminent by sources acquainted with the negotiations for almost a month.

Dalglish has made plain his delight at having the chance to return to a post he vacated in 1991, while FSG has been impressed by the stunning turnaround in form overseen by the Scot in his four months in charge.
Any minor hitches over the length of his deal, the exact nature of his relationship with director of football Damien Comolli and provisions for a position at the end of his contract are thought to have been overcome.

Dalglish’s success - recording 10 wins, three draws and just three defeats in his five months since replacing Roy Hodgson at Anfield - has served to make FSG’s first managerial appointment a formality, despite an initial intention to appoint a younger manager around whom they could build the club for the next decade.

At 60, Dalglish hardly fits that description. Equally, he is less accustomed to working in FSG’s preferred management structure - alongside Comolli - than the Americans would, perhaps, have wished, but Henry for one has been fulsome in his praise of the former Blackburn and Newcastle manager.

Speaking to Fox Soccer Channel earlier this season, Henry said: “In retrospect you could not have made a better choice [for caretaker than Dalglish]. I know he, for a long time now, has wanted to be in this position, so it’s a great thing for the club, for Kenny and for us."

Carra Eyes Quality Additions

Jamie Carragher believes Liverpool might only be a couple of players away from being contenders for the top trophies next season.

The ultra-consistent Reds defender, who went second in the all-time list of Anfield appearance makers against Fulham, thinks its imperative the club gets back in the Champions League as soon as possible, but believes the right signings could help them get there sooner rather than later.

"First and foremost, we need to improve the team and the squad," said Carra in an exclusive interview in LFC Weekly when asked what the club needs to do to progress.

"We're on a great run at the moment, but sometimes when that happens it makes you think that you don't need to change too much. You can't forget what has happened in the last 18 months because we're not yet where we want to be.

"But the manager has come in and we've been as good as anyone else in the league since then. Whether that changes minds about what we need to do over the summer remains to be seen.

"We need to get back in that Champions League - sometimes you look at it and think you're miles away. But you look at Schalke in the semi-final and Man United in the final - a team that we beat quite comfortably at home - and realize that with a few additions, we could be up there too."

One player who can help the Reds kick on next season is Luis Suarez. Our No.23 has been impressed, but not surprised, with how well the Uruguayan has settled into Premier League football.

"I know people say it takes foreigners longer to settle but I think that's a myth.

"Every foreign player that's been a success at Liverpool has done it straight away: Babbel...Hyypia...Henchoz...Reina...Alonso...Torres...they didn't need much time to settle did they? Suarez would be on that list too. Generally, if you don't settle quickly, you don't settle at all.

"You hear those that say Thierry Henry took 12 months at Arsenal, but he still scored 20-odd goals. It may have taken him 12 weeks, but after that he was fine."

Joe Cole Ready To Take Pay Cut To End Anfield Nightmare

Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole has been made aware he can leave the club in the summer and would consider accepting a pay cut to end his Anfield nightmare.

Cole was acclaimed as a major signing when he joined Liverpool on a free transfer after leaving Chelsea last summer.

But the 29-year-old has found himself out of the side for much of the season and has made just eight Premier League starts, scoring two goals.

Reds manager Kenny Dalglish has publicly backed the former England international but he does not feature in Liverpool's plans to build a younger squad and the club will listen to offers at the end of the season.

Cole, 29, has continued to work professionally in training but he is ready to accept that his move to Merseyside has not worked out as he has struggled with form and fitness due to niggling injury problems. The Reds have not told him to look for a new club but he accepts that he will be allowed to leave if the right deal can be reached.

West Ham, where Cole started his career as a schoolboy, would be interested in bringing him back to Upton Park but appear unlikely to avoid relegation from the Premier League this season.

Tottenham, Blackburn and Queens Park Rangers have all been credited with interest in the attacking midfielder.

Any move would be complicated by the fact that Cole earns £90,000-a-week on a contract that does not expire until 2014, but he would consider accepting a drop in wages if the right move comes along.

“If a move that would be best for Joe's career and his family becomes available, then he will evaluate his options and make a decision,” a source told

The most likely scenario may be a season-long loan to a club that can offer Cole first-team football to kick-start his career and prove that he is still capable of playing at a high level. However, Liverpool would be reluctant to subsidize his wages while he was on loan at another club.

Cole's future is further complicated by the possible return of Alberto Aquilani from Juventus in the summer as Reds chief executive Ian Ayre has been unable to agree a fee with the Italian club to complete a permanent deal.

Liverpool are targeting a number of attacking players in the summer to strengthen their options and support the £57.8 million strikeforce of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez.

But Dalglish, who took over as manager after Roy Hodgson was sacked in January, has insisted that Cole may yet have a future at the club despite the plans for a summer overhaul.

“It is a great credit to him the way he has been training,” said the Scot after Cole scored in the 5-0 victory over Birmingham last month. “He is fantastic in training. He plays everything right and doesn't have a problem. Everybody has to work hard to get anything and Joe is no different from anybody else.”

Liverpool Want To Bring Phillippe Coutinho To Anfield

Inter Milan's attacking midfielder Phillippe Coutinho has emerged as a summer transfer target for Liverpool according to

The highly rated Samba star has fallen down the pecking order at the San Siro, since the arrival of current coach Leonardo, who replaced former Anfield boss Rafael Benitez at the helm of the Serie A club.

At just 18, Coutinho is widely regarded as one of the hottest prospects to come out of South America in recent years.

However, his limited game time in the past few months is a cause of frustration for the young Brazilian, to the point that he may consider his future in the summer.

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish is on the lookout for midfield additions and wants to bring an attack-minded playmaker to Anfield to increase his options in the middle of the park.

According to Gazetta dello Sport, Coutinho has been touted by the Reds director of football Damien Comolli, who is a known admirer of Coutinho's abilities.

Comolli in fact tried to sign the former Vasco da Gama star in his previous role with French outfit St Etienne, and he is keen to approach the player again this summer.

Described as a two-footed midfielder who gets 'bums off seats' with his technical dribbling and trickery to beat defenders, Liverpool fans will be excited at the prospect of this potential acquisition.

Having signed for Inter at the age of 16, for a fee of €4million, the Italian club will be looking to make a profit should he decide to leave.

And with the Anfield club’s emphasis once again placed on developing youth policy, Coutinho fits the bill in terms of an up-and-coming talent who can be nurtured with a view to becoming a Liverpool star of the future.

Liverpool Look To Parker To Bolster Midfield

Liverpool is reportedly monitoring West Ham midfielder Scott Parker in their pursuit of summer reinforcements.

According to The Mirror, the Reds are keen on the Football Writers' Association Player of the Year, as well as Real Madrid enforcer Lassana Diarra.

Parker's performances have earned him plenty of plaudits this season - not least the accolade from the FWA - with his industrious and inspirational displays also rewarded with a place in Fabio Capello's England set-up.

Liverpool are thought to be in the market for a player to add extra grit to their midfield, and Parker is seen as a man who could have an impact at Anfield.

However, at 30-years-old, Parker does not fit with the ethos of Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group in their quest to bring players to Anfield who still have plenty of room to develop.

And, with West Ham unlikely to let their star man leave on the cheap - even if they are relegated - Liverpool could decide that a bid may not make financial sense.

As well as Parker and Diarra, Liverpool are allegedly tracking Rennes enforcer Yann M'Villa, who has been tipped to make a £17 million move to Anfield.

Liverpool To Make Shock Move For Reading Striker

Liverpool are lining up a shock summer move for Reading striker Shane Long.

The Republic of Ireland international was named Reading's Player of the Season after scoring 21 Championship goals this season, helping Brian McDermott's side into the play-offs.

Reading take on Cardiff tomorrow in the first leg of their play-off semi-final and Long is expected to start up front.

But it is understood that Liverpool are keeping a close eye on the tie and could be ready to launch a cut-price bid for Long should the Royals fail in their promotion bid.

The 24-year-old, who only has a year left on his Reading contract, is desperate to try his hand in the Premier League and could be available for around £5m this summer.

Despite the January signings of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez, Liverpool are expected to further strengthen their frontline with question marks still hanging over back-up forward David N'Gog - and Long has emerged as a priority target given his value for money.

Newcastle have also been tracking Long, who has scored 52 goals in just 114 appearances since arriving from Cork City in 2005, and could be ready to firm up their interest with an offer of their own.

Warnock Plots Summer Raid To Take Cole To Loftus Road

Queens Park Rangers is considering a sensational swoop for Joe Cole as they look forward to life in the Barclays Premier League.

Neil Warnock meets with the club's hierarchy on Thursday to discuss plans for the summer and any move for the former England international is high among his priorities.

Liverpool forward Cole has endured a nightmare first season at Anfield after his free transfer from Chelsea last summer.

The 29-year-old is likely to be allowed to leave this summer and Warnock is ready to explore the option of bringing him back to London on loan.

Speculation over Adel Taarabt's future continues to linger and Cole is seen as a potential like-for-like replacement for the Morocco forward - though any deal would depend on Liverpool taking on a portion of his £90,000-per-week wages.

Spearing Wins Under-21 Call-Up

Liverpool midfielder Jay Spearing has been drafted into England Under-21s' provisional 40-man squad for this summer's European Championships.

The 22-year-old will join up with Stuart Pearce's side after Bolton midfielder Mark Davies was ruled out of the tournament in Denmark through injury.

Pearce will submit his long squad to European governing body UEFA on Thursday and Spearing has been handed an Under-21 berth for the first time.

Spearing has excelled at Liverpool since club legend Kenny Dalglish returned to the helm, becoming a key component in the Reds midfield and signing a contract extension with his boyhood club last week.

In total, Spearing has made 18 first-team appearances so far this season and despite being 22 he is eligible to compete for the Under-21s because he was under-age when qualification began.

Liverpool Crowned Loudest Fans In The Premiership

Liverpool has taken over from Stoke City as the Premier Leagues nosiest supporters, according to unofficial research by the website Peter's Fan Chants.

The Potters have been famously dubbed the Premier League's loudest fans ever since Sky Sports measured the noise levels in every ground in 2008.

On this evidence Stoke can expect to make more noise than Manchester City during Saturday's FA Cup final, Wembley's.

Michael Dennis, Peter's Fan Chants managing director said: "While this survey is not scientific, we have taken a series of measurements on the terraces of each club's home ground and averaged this out across games and the season.

"Contrary to what you might expect with its much larger ground, Manchester City fans are quieter at 71 decibels than Stoke City (83 decibels).

"But Wembley Stadium, acoustically, doesn't help the fans and they sound muted compared to their home ground terraces.

"But because each club is allocated roughly the same number of tickets, both sets of supporters will have a level playing field and the opportunity to demonstrate that they are the loudest."