Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Dalglish Can Deliver The Title With Right Backing, Says Barnes

Liverpool legend John Barnes has urged Anfield's owners to provide manager Kenny Dalglish with the money needed to strengthen his squad ahead of the new campaign.

Up until Christmas, the Reds looked as though they would be condemned to a season of mid-table mediocrity, until the January arrival of Dalglish, but under his stewardship, Liverpool recovered well to earn a sixth-placed finish.

Barnes is confident in 'King' Kenny's ability to get the best out of his players – but says that Liverpool are still a few signings away from having a squad capable of challenging for the title.

"I'm positive that Kenny Dalglish can maximize the potential of the squad as he has shown, which meant that they finished sixth," he explained in an interview with skysports.

"They could've finished fifth but coming from where they were, it was fantastic.

"They still need investment because you can see that the squad isn't as strong as the top four," Barnes continued.

Since the arrival of new Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group, the Merseyside club has been backed financially with the January arrivals of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez for a combined fee of £57million.

And Barnes is hoping for more of the same this summer, in an attempt to regain their place at the top of the tree and add to their 18 titles, recently surpassed by rivals Manchester United.

"[The squad] is good enough to challenge for a top-five position, as they have shown, but then to challenge to a top one or two position, they still need two or three players.

"I'm hopeful that Kenny will be given the money to do that and if that happens I feel they can mount a challenge for the title."

Genk Want Liverpool Starlet Back On Loan

Liverpool left-back Chris Mavinga is wanted for another year at Genk, after helping the Belgian club win the league this season.

The 20-year-old Frenchman moved to Genk on a six-month loan deal back in December and has done well during his time in Belgium.

Genk manager Franky Vercauteren has been impressed with the Anfield rookie and talkSPORT understands he has approached Liverpool asking to have Mavinga on loan for another season.

Rodriguez: We Must Secure Champions League Spot Next Season

Liverpool midfielder Maxi Rodriguez is targeting a Champions League place after an impressive end to the season.

The Reds endured their worst start to a campaign since 1953-54 under Roy Hodgson, but Kenny Dalglish helped guide the team from a mid-table position to sixth place following his arrival in January.

Maxi finished the season by scoring seven goals in four games, and now hopes Liverpool, who have not even qualified for next season's Europa League, can return to the Champions League as soon as possible.

“Personally, I'm very happy,” Maxi told Liverpool Daily Post. “I finished the season with lots of goals but also the team's performances were improved.

“The team did not start well but we almost turned it around to reach Europe. We must return to the Champions League next season.”

Sergio Aguero has announced his intention to leave Maxi's former club Atletico Madrid this summer, and the Liverpool midfielder says he can understand why his international team-mate wants a new challenge.

“When [former Atletico and Liverpool striker Fernando] Torres was the captain of the team we were not so good - he really had to drag the side through games,” he continued. “Now Kun probably also feels alone and it is difficult to carry the club by yourself.”

Liverpool Told To Pay £12m For Dutch Starlet

Liverpool have been informed they must pay £12 million if they want to acquire the services of 22-year-old midfielder ace Vurnon Anita, after the youngster agreed a new contract at Ajax with a minimum release clause included.

Anita’s new deal will keep him at the club until 2014, but the midfielder’s release clause will leave open the possibility of a switch to a larger European club. Liverpool are keen on acquiring the services of a defensive midfielder, with Alberto Aquilani seemingly intent on a switch away from Anfield.

Anita can operate from a deeper position, often fulfilling the combative role Javier Mascherano once served for the Merseyside club. Since the departure of Mascherano, Liverpool have relied on the tenacity and determination of youngster Jay Spearing – who has fulfilled the role admirably – but Dalglish is now keen to introduce a more proven player in the push for Champions League football next season.

Anita has featured 35 and 45 times in the past two seasons respectively, establishing himself as a vital part of Ajax’s midfield despite his tender age of just 22. Emerging through the club’s famed youth academy, Anita will provide the right combination of mettle and youth that will appeal to Dalglish and the club’s owners.

The Fenway Sports Group are said to be keen on bringing in players that will potentially possess an increased market value with acquisition. In the current climate, £12 million for a young midfielder with international pedigree would potentially prove a great signing.

Anita has featured three times for the Netherlands full international side, but is proven at Under-17, Under-19 and Under-21 levels. With Steven Gerrard finding himself often injured throughout most of last season, Dalglish is keen on bringing in a long-term replacement for the England star.

Liverpool Plot Summer Move For Monaco Star

Liverpool could be about to capitalize on Monaco's relegation by ramping up their interest in Benjamin Moukandjo.

As talkSPORT exclusively revealed on Tuesday morning, the relegated Ligue 1 club face a mass exodus this summer as their players look to remain in a competitive league.

Park Chu Young is set to leave and several clubs, headed by Liverpool, are circling around Moukandjo.

The 22-year-old right winger is a powerful presence in midfield and can also operate centrally and Liverpool are impressed with that versatility.

The Cameroon star has been one of the brighter points in Monaco's otherwise disastrous season and they face losing one of their best young prospects following their slide into the second tier of French football.

Liverpool To Battle Bayern For Wing Wizard

Reports are coming in concerning the future of Marseille international Ghanaian winger Andrei Ayew as a potential target for Liverpool and Bayern Munich.

Liverpool are looking at various areas within their squad to strengthen and it is no surprise to see Kenny Dalglish interested in Ayew, he has a good reputation and his price is not out of reach of the Anfield board.

Ayew, who was born in France, has a buy out clause of 13 million Euros and has now been told by Marseille that he can leave, sparking a rush by clubs to look at the midfielder, a rush that may end up costing Liverpool, if too many clubs show an interest and decide to bid.

Ayew, who also goes by the name of Dede, the son of former Marseille favourite Abedi Pele, has made 29 appearances for Ghana scoring twice and at 21 has a promising career ahead of him, all in all a perfect target for Liverpool.

Reds To Miss Friedel

Liverpool look likely to miss out on the signing of former keeper Brad Friedel as he is set to join Tottenham instead.

Reds boss Kenny Daglish had been hoping to persuade the 40-year-old to move back to Anfield, as he looks for a back up for Pepe Reina at the club.

He appeared to be winning the chase for the American's signature with an offer of a two-year deal, something that Villa nor other interested parties were willing to do.

Spurs though have now jumped to the top of the list after they also made a two-year offer for the American.

The chances of first team football at White Hart Lane look to be better than they do at Anfield due to the fact that error-ridden Heurelho Gomes is under increasing pressure at the club and has been linked with a move back to PSV.

Agger: I'll Come Back Stronger

Defender Daniel Agger believes he still has plenty to offer Liverpool as he starts out on his latest run down the road to recovery.

Agger played his last game of the season in early April after sustaining a knee injury against West Brom, damaging a tendon and needing two months of rest.

He managed to play only 21 times last season through a combination of illness and injury but believes he will come back stronger than ever.

"The toughest part of being injured is trying to stay positive," Agger told the club's official website.

"It is nothing compared to being on the pitch at Anfield - being outside is a lot worse and a lot harder.

"I appreciate playing football more. I really, really enjoy playing now.

"I have always enjoyed football, but you appreciate it more when you have been out injured so much. You just enjoy every little minute on the pitch, both in training and in games.

"The memory of the games I've played and thoughts of the future are what have kept me going.

"I know I have a lot more to give to this club if I can keep fit."

Aquilani's Juve Dream Set To Be Dashed

Alberto Aquilani's fading hopes of securing a full-time move to Juventus are expected to be dashed once and for all when Antonio Conte is officially unveiled as the Turin club's new coach.

Juventus turned to Conte to replace the sacked Luigi Del Neri shortly after agreeing a cut-price £8million fee with Liverpool to turn Aquilani's season-long loan into a permanent transfer.

But former Siena boss Conte told Juve bosses he did not want the 26-year old midfielder and is expected to confirm as much at his inaugural press conference.

Aquilani is desperate to stay in Italy, nearly two years after joining Liverpool from Roma for £17m, and may yet have his wish granted, with both Milan clubs interested in signing him.

Villa Dedicates Goal To Reina

David Villa dedicated his Champions League final goal against Manchester United to the family of Pepe Reina.

Villa scored a sensational goal to give Barcelona a 3-1 lead at Wembley and end Alex Ferguson's hope of lifting a third European Cup.

Afterwards the 29-year-old dedicated his finish to the daughters of close pal Reina.

"I couldn't be happier," said Villa "It's a fantastic result for us in what is such an important stadium in our club's history.

"I dedicate it to all my family, my daughters and also Pepe Reina's, who are like my nieces."

Reina's wife Yolanda gave birth to their first son last week.

Villa's touching dedication comes after teammate Javier Mascherano - who left Anfield last summer - also mentioned Liverpool in his post-match interviews.

He told the TV cameras: "I know some Liverpool supporters were disappointed after my exit, they were a little bit sad with me, but this is for them."