Sunday, May 15, 2011

Match Preview: Liverpool vs Tottenham

Liverpool welcome Tottenham to Anfield on Sunday in a shoot-out for fifth spot in the Premier League.

The Reds are in pole position to finish fifth and claim a place in next season's Europa League as they are two points ahead of Spurs.

A win for Liverpool will guarantee fifth spot with just one game left after this weekend in the Premier League.

Liverpool go into the game buoyed by the news that Kenny Dalglish has signed a three-year deal as manager and he will be keen to round off a good week in style in the final game of the season at Anfield.

Spurs saw their top-four hopes ended by defeat at Manchester City on Tuesday night and they will be looking to bounce back at Anfield.

Liverpool could welcome back striker Andy Carroll after he missed the 5-2 win over Fulham with a knee injury.

Carroll has returned to training and is available for selection, but he may have to content himself with a place on the bench due to the form of Dirk Kuyt and Luis Suarez.

Portuguese midfielder Raul Meireles was forced off with a minor injury at Craven Cottage but he has been able to train this week.

Long-term casualties Steven Gerrard (groin), Martin Kelly (hamstring), Fabio Aurelio (thigh) and Daniel Agger (knee) all remain sidelined.

Tottenham will be without several key players for the trip to Merseyside.

Gareth Bale (ankle), Benoit Assou-Ekotto (hamstring), Tom Huddlestone (ankle), Jonathan Woodgate (calf), Jermaine Jenas (thigh) and Alan Hutton (knee) are all out.

Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes is again set to miss out with the back injury that ruled him out of Tuesday's defeat at Manchester City meaning Carlo Cudicini could deputize again for the Brazilian.

William Gallas has been ruled out of the trip to Anfield and Spurs' final game of the game with a calf injury he picked up at Eastlands.

However, Spurs could be boosted by the return of defender Ledley King from a groin injury after he came through 90 minutes unscathed in a practice match in midweek.

If Gallas misses out King could go straight back into the side alongside Michael Dawson in the heart of the defence.

Possible starting XIs
Liverpool: Reina, Flanagan, Carragher, Skrtel, Johnson, Lucas, Spearing, Meireles, Maxi, Kuyt, Suarez.

Tottenham: Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, King, Rose, Lennon, Sandro, Modric, Pienaar, Van der Vaart, Crouch.

Kenny Feels For Spurs

Kenny Dalglish believes Sunday's opponents Tottenham have been a victim of their own success this season, having missed out on UEFA Champions League qualification.

Spurs embarked on an adventurous run in their debut season in Europe's premier club competition after finishing in fourth place in the Premier League last term.

Poor league form has coincided with the continental exploits, with Spurs surrendering their top-four status to Manchester City this time around.

Harry Redknapp's men most overhaul Dalglish's fifth-placed Liverpool if they are to qualify for the Europa League and face the Reds at Anfield on Sunday.

Dalglish reckons the increased number of games that comes with Champions League football took its toll on Spurs, but expects a tough game in Liverpool's last home game of the season.

"They have been punished for their success this year: too many games, competing in too many competitions, maybe," he said.

"It is unfortunate for them but it is a level of success that they got so close.

"It is a huge test against Spurs. It would have been difficult game whether it was the second last or second game of the season.

"But our boys won't be judged on what they do on Sunday. They will be judged on what they have done since January.

"I don't think anyone would have anticipated that (fifth place) in January when we started but we have to be realistic and not get carried away.

"They have been fantastic and to get us this close is a great credit to them.

"For us, we know what we are up against. They (Spurs) have the same target as us - to get a victory.

Dalglish, who this week penned a new three-year deal to become permanent manager of Liverpool for the second time, has transformed the club's fortunes since taking over in January.

The club legend insists his players deserve credit for their strong finish to the season, regardless of the result against Tottenham or away to Aston Villa on the final day of the season.

He said: "If we get a victory I'll be delighted but I don't think - irrespective of the result on Sunday or Villa the next week - what the players have done should be undermined.

"The next game is the most important and we will just take it on," he added.

"That has stood me in good stead throughout my playing and managerial career and I'm not going to change my beliefs.

"They have not done me too badly in the past. All the supporters care about is the people wearing our shirt giving everything they have got to get what they want.

"We will aim for three points on Sunday and then we will take it from there."

Dalglish Promises Not To Blow £50m On 'Greedy' Players

Kenny Dalglish has been told he can splash the cash by Liverpool’s owners – but he has warned he will not be held to ransom by greedy players.

Sunday Mirror Sport understands that Fenway Sport Group are ready to invest more than £50million in strengthening a Liverpool squad that has been resurgent since Dalglish replaced Roy Hodgson as manager in January.

They have also told the Scot that his budget will be swelled by any player sales, with Dalglish himself admitting that there will be departures from Anfield.

But the Kop boss has rubbished suggestions that Liverpool will have to pay over the odds for top players with no Champions League football on offer next season.

Liverpool can qualify for the Europa League by beating Tottenham at Anfield today, and Dalglsh said: “I don’t want to stand here and say how much we will have to spend or whether we are going after this player or that player.

“I want to give the players that are here the utmost respect for their efforts this season, but there will be people leaving and people coming in because that’s the nature of a football club.

“What I will say is that the owners have been fully supportive. They want the club to be successful and if we don’t have the players here to do that then we need to go and find somebody else.

“At the same time, if somebody is too greedy then they won’t be coming here.

“People are entitled to their own opinion (about the effect of not being in the Champions League).

“We are confident that we will get players if we want them.

“If they don’t want to come here for the right reasons then we won’t take them anyway. It’s as simple and as straightforward as that.”

Dalglish spent £58million bringing in Andy Carroll and Luiz Suarez to the club in January but recouped most of the cash by selling Fernando Torres to Chelsea for £50million.

Ten wins and three draws in 16 matches have seen Liverpool sour up the table into fifth place – and convinced owner John Henry to hand the Anfield legend a three-year contract.

But Dalglish is aware that Liverpool’s resurgence has simply papered over the cracks in inherited.

He said: “I don’t think we will be quiet during the summer and although we can all look forward to next season we also have to remain realistic.

“We won’t buy players if they are not the right calibre. We will keep our money in our pockets.

“Anybody that is coming in here will need to better than the ones here, but that is a big ask and that ireduces your options every time.

“I hope my coming back doesn’t frighten anyone away!

“As I’ve said, we will do our best quietly and efficiently and hopefully to the same quality and integrity as we have done our recent business.”

When Sir Alex Ferguson took over at Manchester United in November 1986 he immediately set his sights on knocking Liverpool off their perch.

He has done that by winning 12 titles in 19 seasons, but while privately Dalglish will be burning with the desire to return the compliment he is too wise to become embroiled in mind games with his fellow Glaswegian.

Dalglish added: “We set our own standards here, but we have to get up to speed with the people who are better than us.

“How do you judge they are better? The league position.

“I think we have beaten three of the top four and that is the standard we have to reach if we want to be successful.

“We have to get to the level that the successful teams are playing at.”

Reds Try For Altintop understands that Liverpool have shown an interest in landing Turkish ace Hamit Altintop.

The midfielder's departure from Bayern Munich has already been confirmed and he will be leaving on a Bosman transfer.

He has held talks with Real Madrid already and is widely expected to join the Spanish giants, becoming their second Turkish import of the summer following on from Borussia Dortmund's Nuri Sahin.

But it is understood that Liverpool have made an approach to try and convince Altintop he would be better served continuing his career with a move to England.

Altintop has long been linked with the Premier League and, at 28, is far from past his best although he was only able to start eight league games this season.

Altintop is hugely versatile and can play anywhere across the midfield, which is of obvious appeal to any suitors.

It now remains to be seen whether Altintop will be able to reject the overtures of Real to move elsewhere.

After confirming he would be leaving Bayern, Altintop admitted he would dream about a move to Real - although he insisted he had not signed yet.

"Madrid is a dream, they are the highest, but still have not signed anything," he is quoted by Marca.

The speculations are there, but now I have no contract with Real Madrid

"My future is out of Germany and hope to take a firm decision about my future next week."

Joe Cole ‘Offered To QPR’ In Liverpool Swap Bid For Adel Taarabt

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish’s bid to make QPR star Adel Taarabt his first signing since taking over as permanent boss has been stepped up a notch with the news that he is prepared to offer marquee signing Joe Cole in part-exchange.

Taarabt lit up the Championship this season as he led Rangers to the title and a Premier League return, immediately sparking interest from a number of top clubs including Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea - as well as Liverpool.

The former Spurs youngster has been coy over his future in recent weeks, suggesting his head could be turned by a big-money move.

And Dalglish, who is determined to refresh the squad he inherited from former boss Roy Hodgson, has reportedly offered Rangers the option on playmaker Cole if they will allow talks between the Reds hierarchy and Taarabt’s agent.

Cole and his wife are said to be eager to return to London with their young family to be closer to their relations, having failed to settle on Merseyside since the 29-year-old made a free transfer switch from Chelsea 12 months ago.

The former England star’s exorbitant wages - believed to be in the region of £90,000 a week - could prove a huge stumbling block.

However, Liverpool’s new owners are prepared to splash out on new talent - and this eagerness to bring in top names could also see them do their best to facilitate the deal by offering Cole a lump-sum payoff to get him to accept reduced terms from QPR.

Liverpool Chairman Werner Says Youth Policy Crucial To Future

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner says they won't waver from bringing through more young players.

Reds fans are excited seeing so many locals make their breakthroughs this season.

Werner told "It's critical because I think that one of the issues we felt we all needed to attack when we came in was the average age of the players.

"You need to bring young players into the system and at least give them an opportunity, and certainly these players have again proved they were worthy of being in the squad."

Reserves On Fire In Hong Kong

Liverpool Reserves have booked their place in the quarter-finals after comfortably topping Group A at the International Soccer Sevens tournament in Hong Kong.

The young Reds opened with a 1-0 success over the hosts' U18 side before firing three without reply at the expense of Yau Yee League Select.

The two wins set up a group decider against Celtic in which Pep Segura's team cantered to another 3-0 victory.

The Reds will now face Citizen in a last eight showdown on Sunday.

A Week With Our LFC Trialists

In an exclusive diary for, two teenage trialists relive their experiences during a week at Liverpool Football Club.

How did they feel pulling on the famous red shirt for the first time? How would supporters back in South Korea react to the news that they were on Merseyside? And did they get to rub shoulders with some of our star names?

Find out more in this interesting account of their time at the club's Academy.


Kim Yoon-Soo: I woke up ahead of our first day of training still pinching myself.

I couldn't believe that within hours of arriving in England, I had been up to Melwood to meet some of Liverpool's first-team stars.

It was Saturday afternoon and the moment I walked through the entrance I bumped into Dirk Kuyt and Luis Suarez. I even got the chance to take a quick snapshot with Andy Carroll! It felt like it was all a wonderful dream but it was very much a reality. Meeting them made me even more determined to show what I could do when we arrived at the Kirkby Academy to have our first session with the reserve team on Monday.

It was great fun and I really enjoyed the atmosphere even though I do not understand English very well. I was later told that the man who had taken the session, Pep Segura, had coached my idol, Xavi at an early age!

We did a few interviews with LFC TV after lunch and then it was back to the hotel to chill. I was shattered. I remember dozing off that night wondering how good Xavi was at the age of 16. One thing's for sure, I could definitely get used to this!

Park Hyeon-Jin: The first day of a trial period is always going to involve a few butterflies beforehand, but I have to say that everyone was so welcoming that I soon forgot about it and just enjoyed my football.

The reserve players all seemed to be having good fun and I can't remember the last time I had such a laugh. The session was very efficient and I was hugely impressed with the facilities. With this kind of support no wonder there are pictures of so many great players hung in the hallways.


Kim Yoon-Soo: With the reserves travelling to Hong Kong for a Sevens tournament, it was like a first day all over again when we joined up with Rodolfo Borrell and his U18 squad for training.

I was quite nervous but I did enjoy it - though it did take me a while to get used to the grass. It is much wetter than back home so the ball travels faster.

I was also surprised at how much banter there is amongst the players and the coaches. In Korea it is much more regimented, more like an army boot camp.

Overall I think it went okay but I knew that I needed to improve if I was going to realize my dream of coming here full-time.

Park Hyeon-Jin: I was really impressed with the U18s' set-up.

Rodolfo Borrell struck me as a superb coach right away and I found his training programme to be very creative.

The session went quite well and I came away thinking how privileged all of those players are to be able to wear the red of Liverpool. They are truly blessed.


Kim Yoon-Soo: The day started off with a fitness test. It was quite rigorous but it wasn't a problem.

We then enjoyed another good training session. Again, I felt I could have done better but my mood was soon cheered when I found out we were going to visit Anfield in the afternoon.

We were treated to a special tour of the ground; from the changing room and the famous 'This is Anfield' sign right through to sitting in the Kop.

All I can say about that experience is 'WOW'! I'll never forget that day - everything was perfect.

Park Hyeon-Jin: Training with these U18 players really is a treat.

After the warm-up we had a mini game consisting of three 10 minutes periods.

The thing that I have noticed most about these players is there passion and desire to do well. That has really struck a chord with me and convinced me that one day I would love to have the opportunity to play here.

We visited Anfield stadium in the afternoon. I was blown away by it and when we visited the museum I began to appreciate just how BIG this club is.

It was great seeing all of the trophies and going down the players' tunnel but the thing I will remember most is the memorial for 96 fans who passed away at the Hillsborough tragedy.

Every persons name was engraved and I realized just how much this club cares about its fans. I wasn't a supporter of Liverpool when I arrived in England - but I am now.


Kim Yoon-Soo: Our final training session came around far too quickly. The U18s had a day off on the Friday to go to Alton Towers, so this was our last chance to impress.

I thought I did well and it was definitely my most impressive performance of the week. Whether I did enough, only time will tell.

All I can say is that this has been the experience of a lifetime. Whatever happens, I know this will make me a stronger player and a better person. Thank you to everyone at Liverpool Football Club.

Park Hyeon-Jin: In a way I felt a bit sad as we made our way onto the Academy playing pitches for our final session.

This week has been one I will never forget and to be honest, I didn't want it to end.

I don't know what the future holds but I would have no hesitation in coming here. This was the most amazing week of my life.