Monday, May 30, 2011

Masch Dedicates Win To Reds

Javier Mascherano has dedicated his UEFA Champions League triumph over Manchester United to Liverpool fans.

The Barcelona player, who spent two and a half seasons with Liverpool, won his first European Cup medal as the Catalan club defeated United 3-1 on Saturday.

Mascherano, a finalist with Liverpool in 2007, left the Reds for Barcelona in August last year and he hopes the Anfield faithful appreciate the defeat of United.

"I know some Liverpool supporters were disappointed after my exit, they were a little bit sad with me, but this is for them," he told Sky Sports HD1.

The Argentine was delighted Pep Guardiola's side were able to display the attractive possession football they are famed for in a game they controlled for large periods.

"We're happy because we were able to play the way we're known to play," added Mascherano.

"It's really good for us to win the Champions League. For any footballer it's the top title. We had a lot of chances to score and in the second-half we took them."

Guardiola sprung a surprise by dropping club captain Carlos Puyol to the bench, thought to be through injury, with Mascherano deployed as a makeshift centre-half in his place.

The 26-year-old, normally a midfielder, had no qualms about filling in the role and is happy to have contributed to the Wembley win.

"Maybe it was a strange position for me. It's a position that's not my natural one but I tried to give my best for the team and I'm happy because reached our target."

Liverpool On Red Alert Over £20m Midfielder

Liverpool are on red alert after midfield target Eden Hazard admitted he is unsure whether he will remain at Lille next season.

The Ligue 1 player of the year has been a long-time target for Liverpool, who are looking to bolster their squad during the summer months.

Hazard has been imperative to Lille this season, inspiring the French side to a league and cup double, their first league title since 1954.

However, according to, the Belgian star has spoken of a desire to test himself at a higher level, and appears ready to move on, with Liverpool and Inter Milan known suitors of the 20-year-old.

When asked about his future, the midfielder said: "I don't know.

"I have never played in the Champions League and I don't know if I will be playing in it with Lille or another great club.

"My dream is to play for a big club soon. But, football is like this. There has to be the right offer, but I am not thinking about this for now."

Hazard is seen as part of a new wave of talent to flood Anfield, with the club already signing Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll in January, and have reportedly snapped up Fabio Coentrao from Benfica for an estimated £25 million.

The Belgian international, who was previously voted young player of the year in 2009 and 2010, scored seven times and assisted a further nine goals this season.

Kenny Dalgilsh Hopes To Sign Diego Perotti Before He Goes Elsewhere

Kenny Dalglish is desperate to bring Diego Perotti to Anfield, and has reportedly upped his offer by £1.5 million as fears grow that the Argentinian may sign with Juventus.

Talksport is claiming that Dalglish put forward a £7 million bid to coax Perotti into moving to Liverpool, but the midfielder’s club Sevilla wants to hold out for an £8.5 million offer.

Juventus have come into the mix though, according to reports, and have 'made contact' with Perotti to offer the star a move to Italy rather than England.

The Italian giants’ involvement in the transfer is an interesting twist, considering Liverpool is already in a tug of war style talk with Juventus over the movement of on loan Alberto Aquilani.

Should the Italians snare Perotti from Liverpool, Dalglish may be a lot less willing to negotiate a lower price than the €16 million set for Aquilani’s permanent release.

Reds Facing Big Aquilani Loss

Liverpool could lose around £10million on Alberto Aquilani if they allow the midfielder to join Juventus permanently this summer.

The News of the World reports that a £14million buy-out clause in the 26-year-old midfielder's Reds contract has now expired.

Aquilani was a big hit while on loan with Juve in Serie A this season but the Old Lady is said to be willing to pay only £8million to keep him in Turin.

Aquilani's agent Franco Zavaglia has already said that he believes there is only a 50/50 chance of his client signing for Juve permanently.

Now Liverpool must decide whether to cut their losses on a player who scored one goal in 18 appearances under Rafa Benitez in 2009/10.

Skrtel: I See Great Players Here

Martin Skrtel claims the changes he has witnessed at Anfield over recent months give him every reason to believe 2011-12 can end in glory.

Few are in a better position to assess Liverpool's development over the last year than Skrtel, who was involved in every minute of his club's league campaign this term.

"When I look around I see a great team with great players," said the Slovakia international.

"I have quite mixed feelings about this season. Obviously we had two different terms. The beginning of the season was not good but this has changed with the arrival of Kenny Dalglish.

"This was a turning point of our season and we really improved under his guidance. This gives me a lot of hope ahead of new season.

"I know he has signed a new contract and I believe he is the right man for Liverpool, a true legend. You could see the results and our improvement on the pitch."

It was Roy Hodgson who rewarded Skrtel with a new contract in August of last year, though by his own admission the centre-back did not reach top form in the early stages of the season.

But under Dalglish the 26-year-old has been back to his domineering best.

Despite a vast improvement in on-the-field fortunes under our greatest ever No.7, Skrtel thinks supporters have yet to see the best of those currently occupying the Anfield changing room.

He explained: "I really think we have a great team and I am lucky to be with these lads. We didn't fulfil our full potential yet and believe that we can do it very soon.

"But I would like to make our fans happy and proud again so I can promise them that we will do our best in the next season."

Suso Scoops Accolade

Suso's wonderful strike away at Newcastle United has been voted the reserves best goal of 2010-11.

The Spaniard's blistering drive after a terrific turn was his first goal in a red shirt and 38 per cent of you voted it the best effort of the campaign.

Jonjo Shelvey's Anfield free-kick against Manchester United came second with 26 per cent while Daniel Pacheco's brilliant individual effort came third with 13 per cent.

Injury Ends Flanagan’s Hopes Of Making His England Under-19s Debut

Liverpool defender John Flanagan’s hopes of making his England Under-19s debut have been dashed by a calf injury.

The 18-year-old full-back was set to take his bow in their European Championship qualifiers this week but has been forced to return home from Switzerland

“I’m obviously disappointed, particularly as I’ve not played for England before,” Flanagan said.

“But I won’t let it overshadow what has been a very good season for me and I’ll be raring to go when pre-season gets underway.”

Liverpool still have five players in the England squad for the elite qualifying round matches against Montenegro, Spain and host nation Switzerland.

Jack Robinson, Andre Wisdom, Conor Coady, Thomas Ince and Michael Ngoo are all in Noel Blake’s 17-man squad. Jonjo Shelvey was also initially selected but he’s sidelined by a knee problem

The first of three games is against Montenegro in Yverdone tomorrow and only one team will progress to the finals in Romania in July.