Friday, June 17, 2011

Exodus Begins At Anfield

There has been numerous reports suggesting an overhaul of the Liverpool squad this summer following Kenny Dalglish's appointment as manager and it appears that the exodus could be underway.

The Reds have announced the departure of Jason Banton, Deale Chamberlain, Douglas Cooper, Sean Highdale, Steven Irwin and Nikola Saric.

Liverpool have already added Jordan Henderson to their squad ahead of the new season and reports have linked the Anfield club to a host of other players.

It has been reported that Kenny Dalglish will look to revitalize his squad by bringing in new faces and in order to pave the way for new arrivals, players will have to leave the club.

Liverpool Tipped To Snare Target From Newcastle

Jose Enrique has long been a target for Liverpool, and the left back looks to be closer than ever to a move to Merseyside after Alan Pardew admitted Enrique has snubbed a new contract with Newcastle.

"[Enrique] has Champions League aspirations and he is waiting to see whether anyone who has qualified for that competition is willing to come in for him," Pardew revealed.

"That is his right and there isn't much more we can do about it.

"We have tried as hard as we can, in the financial situation we are in, to keep him. We offered him an excellent deal, but he doesn't seem to be interested in signing it at the moment.

"It is frustrating - but that is the situation we are in.

"It is up to him, but he wants to see what else there is for him," the Newcastle manager said.

While Liverpool aren't in the Champions League this season, or the Europa League, the side have clearly set a goal to be back in the top tier European competition in the next few years. Signings of former teammate Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez, along with Kenny Dalglish being made permanent manager, are all testament to this.

Enrique fills a gap that has long been a problem for Liverpool with Dalglish reportedly desperate to sign the star for the left back position. The BBC rated Enrique at £15 million, which puts the Spaniard well within Liverpool's budget.

Enrique recently said he wouldn't be concerned with leaving Newcastle, giving Liverpool a further boost that they well acquire their transfer prize.

"If I have to continue here [at Newcastle], I'm happy. If I have to go to another club, I'm happy in England," Enrique said.

"If I have to go to another league, I'm happy.

"I just want to play football - it's my life and it's best for me."

Liverpool Are Hoping To Sign Another Lucas

Liverpool are hoping to sign another Lucas.

The Reds plan a £9million bid for Sao Paulo attacking midfielder Lucas, 18.

They already have a Brazilian by that name in their midfield. But they face a fight for the teenager with Paris St Germain.

The French side have just appointed Brazilian Leonardo as coach and he wants Lucas.

Liverpool Lead Race To Sign £8.5m-Rated Italy Striker

Italy striker Antonio Cassano has emerged as a top priority target for Liverpool as Kenny Dalglish looks to further improve his squad ahead of the new season, talkSPORT have claimed.

The Kop boss has already sealed a £20m deal for Sunderland midfielder Jordan Henderson and he appears set to continue investing in the team.

Despite the £55m double purchase of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez in January, the Scot is determined to add further firepower to Liverpool and has targeted £8.5m-rated Cassano as the ideal addition.

The 28-year-old will struggle to command a first team place at AC Milan next season as he faces a battle with Zlatan Ibrahimovich, Alexandre Pato and Robinho.

Serie A rivals Fiorentina had earlier been suggested as a possible destination but Cassano's agent - Giuseppe Bozzo - has moved quickly to deny those rumours.

"The rumours about a potential move to Fiorentina are nothing more but speculation after some fun in the dressing room at the national team," he said.

Reports in Italy have claimed Liverpool are the favourites to land the former Roma, Real Madrid and Sampdoria forward.

TalkSPORT has reported that sources close to Cassano have revealed he is ready to begin a new chapter in his career and has targeted the Premier League as his next challenge.

It is thought Milan and Liverpool are to hold talks in the hope they can reach an agreement over the talented but temperamental star with Liverpool hoping a deal can be completed by next week.

Fernando Gago Wants To Swap The Bernabeu For Anfield

Real Madrid midfielder Fernando Gago wants to join Liverpool, according to his agent.

The Argentine's opportunities behind the likes of Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira have been limited this season, and despite Jose Mourinho insisting the player stay last summer, Gago looks prepared to leave.

And Liverpool, who have previously been linked with Gago, is the player's preferred destination, according to his agent Marcelo Lombilla.

"Gago needs to play and Liverpool would be a perfect club for him," his agent Marcelo Lombilla is quoted by the Daily Star.

"Fernando wants to get back on the pitch and return to the top level and at the moment that is not possible in Madrid."

Liverpool have already brought in Jordan Henderson this summer, and are likely to add Charlie Adam and Stuart Downing to their ranks as they look to build a squad capable of reclaiming a spot in the top four.

Reds Could Face United Fight For Adam

Sir Alex Ferguson is said to be trying to hijack Liverpool's bid for Charlie Adam but the Merseysiders remain favourites to land him.

Reds boss Kenny Dalglish has been tracking the Blackpool midfielder since the new year and had a bid turned down for the Scot in the January transfer window.

He is hoping to wrap up a deal for the former Rangers man in the next week and hopes to pay no more than £10million for the 25-year-old but now reports have surfaced that United boss Ferguson is also keen on Adam.

Liverpool remain favourites to sign the Blackpool star, who will definitely leave the Seasiders following their relegation, but United's apparent interest could mean there is a delay and end up increasing the amount Dalglish pays for him.

There are suggestions Ferguson would be willing to pay up to £12million for the player and offer him a more lucrative pay package in a bid to tempt him to Old Trafford rather than Anfield.

Former Red Working Towards Anfield Return

Dietmar 'Didi' Hamann holds the distinction of being the last player to score at the old Wembley before the twin Towers were bulldozed to make way for the new and majestic arena that we have today.

Bayern Munich came calling early and Didi from Waldsassen was snapped up at the age of sixteen by one of European football’s biggest clubs. Amongst a myriad of German superstars, Didi was able to witness and learn from the great Lothar Matthäus. At Bayern he also rubbed shoulders with Jürgen Klinsmann and fellow Red Christian Ziege.

Giovanni Trappatoni recognized Hamann’s distinct midfield ability and gave him an extended run in 1996/97. In a position in the middle of a formation that became a frequent and flourishing pattern of play – Hamann’s presence allowed the mercurial Mario Basler to take centre stage and wreak havoc on opposing rearguards.

It was King Kenny that gave Didi his Premiership breakthrough – signing him for Newcastle for £5.5 million. Gerard Houllier followed suit by shelling out £8 million to lure Didi from St James' Park to Anfield in 1999.

At Anfield, the midfield general became the steadying influence, the right presence for the likes of Gerrard to embark on free spirited midfield rampages.

With a wiry frame, Didi was a highly intelligent player, with vision and an invaluable and calming influence. His slender build and long rangy stride were used to great effect to enforce and break down opposition attacks. Attacking forays often ended with a blistering shot on goal.

In 2001 Didi featured prominently in Gerard Houllier’s F.A Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup winning teams. In 2002 The Bavarian Bomber also became the second Liverpool player since Roger Hunt to play in the World Cup final.

Didi’s greatest game was in Istanbul during that unforgettable Champions League final. With the Reds 3-0 down against a seemingly rampant Milan, Rafa sent on Didi to replace Finnan, to quell the threat of Kaka and avoid total annihilation.

Liverpool’s reshaped midfield allowed Gerrard to revert to his ram raiding best. Didi’s sense of movement and awareness of play, coupled with a solid holding presence allowed Gerrard and the creative Alonso and Smicer to run riot. It was a beautiful substitution and the catalyst for the greatest football comeback of all time.

Didi also scored from the shootout and it later transpired that he had played out the game with a broken toe. He said later: "About five minutes from the end of extra-time this sudden pain told me there was something wrong.

"When I took my penalty, all that mattered was that I scored. I remember the Liverpool team doctor putting some ice on it afterwards but we were walking on air by then. It was only in the following few days that the swelling got worse and by time I showed it to the German team doctor it had turned blue."

Didi played for Germany from 1997 to 2006. He joined Man City revolution in 2006 and stayed for three years. In 2010 he become player coach at MK Dons and joined Leicester City as first-team coach under Sven-Göran Eriksson in 2011.

There was also talk that Didi would join Dalglish’s backroom staff. A model of Teutonic efficiency, Didi will learn well from Sven and his next step as always will be a measured one. It seems he is assured a long managerial career. After all Didi has a dream – to manage Liverpool one day.

LFC’s Owners Announce Signing Of West London Premier League Talent

Olly Dale, the former commercial operations director for Fulham Football Club has been recruited by Fenway Sports Group (FSG), the company that owns Fulham’s Premier League rivals Liverpool.

FSG, who acquired Liverpool Football Club in October 2010 for US$475 million under the name of New England Sports Venture (NESV), has appointed Dale as its UK-based senior vice president for international sales at its sports sponsorship sales company Fenway Sports Management (FSM).

In his new role Dale will be at the centre of FSM's international expansion plan that in recent months has seen the Boston-based agency complete deals with some of the biggest properties in sport, including 18-time English soccer champions Liverpool FC and two-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James.

"We've had the opportunity to work directly with Olly and experience firsthand the successful approach he takes to sales, business development and client service and we're thrilled to have him join the FSM family," said FSM managing director, Billy Hogan, regarding Dale's appointment. "His extensive international relationships and vast knowledge of the global marketplace will help us continue to drive sales for our properties."

Dale added, "FSM has quickly become one of the world's preeminent sponsorship sales agencies, and I look forward to helping grow its international presence and driving revenue for its impressive client roster including the Red Sox, Liverpool FC, Roush Fenway Racing and NESN. I've had the pleasure of working directly with Sam Kennedy, Billy and Huck and I look forward to joining the FSM team."

Liverpool FC Unveil New Third Kit

Liverpool are looking forward to a bright future, but their new third strip is very much a nod to the past.

The Reds today unveiled their brand new third kit for the 2011/12 season, featuring an eye-catching white, blue and black design.

The inclusion of blue - 'cyan', say kit-makers Adidas - on the shirt will raise one or two eyebrows across Merseyside, but Adidas have revealed that the colour scheme is in tribute to the first-ever strip worn by the club following its formation in 1892.

That strip was a Blackburn Rovers-esque, blue-and-white halved design, which Liverpool wore for four seasons before switching to their iconic red uniform in 1896.

Liverpool have worn red ever since, with the famous Liver Bird being added to the strip for the 1950s before Bill Shankly initiated the switch to all-red more than a decade later. Shankly's famous words to defender Ron Yeats as he modelled the all-red strip for the first time were "Christ, son, you look about ten feet tall."