Monday, June 20, 2011

Aston Villa Looking To Hijack Liverpool’s Bid For Charlie Adam

New Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish is looking to sign Blackpool midfielder Charlie Adam, according to The Sun.

The Seasiders captain was handed his Rangers and Scotland debuts by McLeish, whose club are preparing a £9 million bid in an attempt to beat Liverpool to his signature.

McLeish, who reportedly has £40m to spend this summer, failed to sign Adam for second city rivals Birmingham in the January transfer window, when Tottenham were also keen on the Scotland international.

Despite suffering relegation to the Championship last season, Adam scored 12 goals in his debut campaign in the Premier League, making him the fourth highest British goal scorer, behind Darren Bent, Andy Carroll, and Blackpool team-mate DJ Campbell.

Campbell is another player who has been earmarked by McLeish as a future signing, with the 29-year-old having a clause in his contract which allows him to leave the Seasiders for £1.25m.

Wolves Linked With Konchesky

Wolves have been linked with a move for out-of-favour Liverpool defender Paul Konchesky.

The 30-year-old has endured a miserable year at Anfield after making the switch from Fulham last summer for £3.5million in order to link-up with his boss at Craven Cottage, Roy Hodgson.

When Hodgson was sacked in January Konchesky found himself out in the cold under new manager Kenny Dalglish and was farmed out to Nottingham Forest on-loan for the remainder of the season.

Now it appears Mick McCarthy is ready to rescue the former Charlton and Spurs defender from his Anfield nightmare by bringing him to Molineux.

Konchesky would be available at a knock-down price with Dalglish keen to offload the star in order make space for other targets.

Leon Poised To Shun Liverpool Interest And Remain At Real Madrid

Liverpool target Pedro Leon wants to snub the Premier League and fight for his place at Real Madrid.

The 24-year-old is already at the fifth club of his career and, despite making just six substitute appearances for Jose Mourinho last season, he wants to remain at the Bernabeu.

Madrid paid Getafe £10m for the right-sided midfielder in 2010 but is already willing to offload the former Spain U-21 international as they prepare to wrestle the Spanish title back from Barcelona next season.

But the former Levante man is on a five-year contract worth £3m-per-year and is reluctant to a move even with interest from Valencia, Villarreal and Bayern Munich as well as the English outfit.

Konchesky Not Wanted By Fulham

Paul Konchesky's move from Liverpool back to Fulham is being blocked by new boss Martin Jol.

Konchesky left Craven Cottage last summer but the London club had set up a deal in principle for him to end his Mersey misery.

But Jol has told the board he is keen to look elsewhere for a new left-sided defender to replace homesick Mexican Carlos Salcido.

Konchesky, 29, played 15 league games for the Reds after being signed by Roy Hodgson before being loaned to Nottingham Forest.

Sterling Stars In U17s Opener

Raheem Sterling scored a sensational goal as England U17s got their World Cup off to the perfect start with a 2-0 win over Rwanda in Mexico on Sunday.

Everton's Hallam Hope netted the opener before Sterling curled an unstoppable effort over the 'keeper from the left flank in the 86th minute.

The Liverpool winger was a constant menace down the left wing and combined superbly with Academy colleague Brad Smith.

Smith had a fine match at left-back before he was forced off the field after 72 minutes after being on the receiving end of a bad tackle.

Liverpool colleague Matty Regan was his replacement, while Adam Morgan also came on for the final five minutes. Jack Dunn and goalkeeper Tyrell Belford remained on the bench.

The crucial opening goal might even have gone to Rwanda. Seconds before Hope's opener Rwanda almost took the lead with an audacious effort that crashed off the underside of the bar, then straight up the other end John Peacock's side got the vital goal when Hope ran clear to score.

Earlier Sterling came close to a sensational goal after nine minutes when he smashed a fantastic drive that beat the Rwanda 'keeper only for the ball to come back off the post.

He continued to cause havoc down the left wing and almost created an opener when his superb cross found Hallam Hope and the Everton striker was so unlucky to see his header hit the post.

However, the No.7 wasn't to be denied and he made it 2-0 with an absolute corker four minutes from time.

Euro Woe For Hendo

There was heartbreak for Jordan Henderson and England U21s on Sunday night as their European Championship dream was ended with a 2-1 defeat to the Czech Republic.

After drawing their opening two group games, the Three Lions needed to beat the Czechs in order to progress into the semi-final of the tournament in Denmark.

And it all appeared to be going to plan for Stuart Pearce's side when they took the lead 14 minutes from time via Danny Welbeck.

However, Jan Chramosta levelled for the Czechs in the 89th minute, before Tomas Pekhart fired the winner three minutes into added time to ensure England were heading home.

Henderson played for 64 minutes at the Viborg Stadium before being replaced by Henri Lansbury.

Fowler Dreaming Of Liverpool Return

Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler has admitted he's dreaming of a coaching return to Anfield in the future.

The former England international, who recently returned to the country as a forward coach with Milton Keynes Dons and Bury, is currently taking his UEFA badges in an effort to extend his career within the game.

Recently retired from Perth Glory, the 36-year-old realizes it will be baby steps up the ladder to start, but has set his ultimate goal on a return to Liverpool in some capacity.

"If I'm being honest I would love to (come back to Liverpool one day) but it's not really my choice!" the striker known as God on the Red half of Merseyside told Al Jazeera Sport.

"If I could walk there tomorrow I would but it's not the ideal world as we all know.

"Eventually that is obviously the aim to try get and get back there and be a part of that club again because I was there since I was 11 and it's a big part of my life."

After graduating through the club's youth system, Fowler spent eight successful years with Liverpool before joining Leeds United in 2001.

He returned to Anfield for a year between spells with Manchester City and Cardiff City, and would also spend time with Blackburn Rovers and the North Queensland Fury during an illustrious career.

Why I Can’t Wait For LFC To Arrive In KL

Fanatical Liverpool supporter Sheldon Xavier can't wait for Liverpool to arrive in his home city of Kuala Lumpur as he explains to

Multi-racial Malaysia, with an estimated population of 27.5 million and with a total landmass of 329,847 square kilometers, is a footballing mad nation. And make no mistake to this fact, for its fair to say now that three quarters of that population makes up the 12th man syndrome for a very famous team with fans tuning in on the telly and rallying up the battle cry in any game that the Real Red plays in. And that team would be the mighty Liverpool Football Club!

The passionate and knowledgeable Liverpool fans in Malaysia, who come in every age, size, gender and race, have been in a dizzy-frenzy, pinching themselves with delight at the thought of watching the Real Reds live and in the flesh on home soil for the very first time. This, after the announcement of the Asia tour, sponsored by that big, strong and friendly banker in Standard Chartered. All thanks to them indeed!

And the buzz is hyped up by the fans at every minute as the day comes closer for them to watch their beloved Real Reds play against the Malaysian National team. Messages and banter are active and have been flooding the message forums on the social media websites, exciting conversations are often made by people who play the game at the football pitches and for some strange reason, I have even overheard one particular old lovely couple at the park asking her son the other day (much to the boy's bemusement and to my amusement) if a certain Terry McDermott was still playing with the tight shorts and the afro!

Liverpool FC will be very well received in Malaysia. And much to the envy of our saucy rival Manchester United supporters who could hardly string more than 2 songs together in an entire match nor fill up the stadium after their lot came over twice before! The Bukit Jalil Stadium will this time be buzzing and filled up in anticipation the very moment when the turnstile gates are opened. No disrespect to Thailand and Singapore who have hosted the occasion splendidly well before, Malaysia will take it a notch further to have their own fans paint the entire stadium and the team hotel with the signature colors of red! And in a carnival like atmosphere in true Liverpool tradition, the fans will churn up the chants and songs that would even make the ardent followers from the Kop End proud!

I will therefore urge the Liverpool team to soak up the atmosphere and the warm hospitality that will befittingly greet every staffing member of this famous team from the very moment when they step off the plane at the KLIA.

They will be treated with God-like status and will see for themselves fans arriving in the thousands right from the young to the very old with a fair bit of them behaving like kids in a candy store, hysterical women holding up the placards with the messages of love and marriage proposals, nannies on their knees and many more just being in awe when seeing this famous team in the flesh.

And these ardent fans will welcome the team with songs and with chants with, inevitably, 'You'll Never Walk Alone' being the ever favorite signature tune that will be heard over and again during the course of the tour.

On behalf of every Liverpool and football fan here in Malaysia, we now can't wait to welcome you on Malaysian soil with our traditional warmest greeting of "Selamat Datang" (translated as Warm Welcome)! And may you leave our shores with pleasant memories from your stay here.

SG Charity Begins Away From Home

It's a long way from the council estates of Huyton to the lush terrain of southern Portugal where Steven Gerrard spends his summers these days.

The 31-year-old's remarkable journey has been fuelled by talent - a talent which has earned him fame and fortune.

Now, as he follows Jamie Carragher into the period of his career when his name will often be preceded by the word veteran, Gerrard has decided to use those two assets to help children whose backgrounds are not so different from his own, but whose fate has not been blessed in the same way.

And so we have The Steven Gerrard Foundation, established in February to aid charities like Fairbridge, Claire House and Zoe's Place.

Its first event - The Steven Gerrard Foundation Trophy - was staged under a cloudless sky at Laranjal Golf Course in Quinta do Lago, just a few miles from our skipper's holiday home on the Algarve.

"I'd seen what Jamie had done with his foundation and I wanted to do a similar thing to give more help to the kids in our area, the kids that need it," Gerrard told during a chat by the clubhouse.

"People in a position like myself - it's alright being comfortable in your own life but if you are, you've got to try and help people who need it. I come from a council estate background but things have changed for me and I'm in a position to help other people.

"You have experiences through your career - you visit hospitals, you see the kids and it has an impact on you. You go home and feel for them. You look at it and think, 'Now's the time for me to give something back.'

"You mature as a person and I've probably got four or five years left of my career. Now's a good time while I've still got my name in the game."

People with a few quid to spare paid to join a celebrity in a team of four, while money was also raised with a gala dinner as guests drew their chequebooks to compete for James Bond's tuxedo, a coaching session with Rafael Nadal, a round of golf with Gerrard and Kenny Dalglish and loads of other once-in-a-lifetime lots.

Among the famous faces leading teams were John Bishop, John Arne Riise, AP McCoy and Harry Kewell.

Gerrard, who plays off a handicap of 12, told us that his own preparations were disrupted by injury - and he was equally dismissive of Carra's chances of claiming a first piece of silverware since 2006.

"Certainly not me or Jamie Carragher," he said when asked about favourites to win. "I'll be happy if Carra just finishes to be honest, he's not really a golfer."

Those who witnessed the defender's first shot trickle 20 yards into the rough would concur, though in the interests of balance, was on hand to note a sublime tee shot on the 10th hole.

Having shared a dressing room with him for seven years, Didi Hamann (handicap 16) knows Carra well enough to be wary.

"I don't know why he plays because when he's in the rough he just kicks it out," said the 37-year-old.

"He says, 'What's the point playing from behind a tree?' I say, 'That's the game.' We'll have to look at his score after the game. If he's scored more points than me we'll have to look at his card."

Told of Hamann's accusations, Carragher was typically frank.

"There is no chance of me looking for a ball," he admitted. "I'm here to enjoy myself, not look for balls. But we won't tell anyone else."

One man not involved in the golf but present to offer support - and memorabilia for the auction - was boxer and Ricky Hatton.

Since his last bout against Manny Pacquiao in 2009, Hatton has busied himself with promotion and some charity work of his own, and despite hailing from the wrong side of the East Lancs Road, the former world champion believes he has much in common with his Scouse host.

"Man City fans and Liverpool fans get along alright - it's Liverpool and Man United supporters who have the problem," said Hatton.

"Stevie was born and raised in Liverpool like I was born and raised in Manchester and we've both stayed close to our roots. Now we're trying to give something back.

"I'm a father like Stevie's a father and it's one of the best ways to support charity - helping children who are less fortunate than others.

"It's alright winning your medals and belts but if you don't give something back I don't think you're doing your job as a professional."

Aside from the golf, the event reunited some old friends such as Kewell and Riise. The two were close during their time at Melwood but playing in different countries makes it difficult to remain in regular contact.

"It was good to catch up with some of them last night - Stephen Warnock, Jamie Carragher and Ginge," said Kewell.

"Ginger is playing off (a handicap of) nine, which I'm astounded by!"

Also among the old boys was Jamie Redknapp, whose injuries led to more first-team opportunities for Gerrard at the start of his career.

"It was good to be with some of the old players," our ex-midfielder said. "It makes you want to be back playing. There are times when I wish I could still play with Steven.

"I wish I could have played with him more. Looking at the way he plays, it would have been a joy. He's one of those players who you give it to and they get on with it. He will go down as one of the greats - there are no two ways about it.

"He's one of those guys who you meet along the way in football who's a top man and a top player. When you're in a privileged position it's nice to give something back - but a lot don't. For him to take that opportunity - he deserves a lot of respect for that. He's just a thoroughly good fella, it's as simple as that. He enjoys the fact he's doing something like this and he's had a great turnout."

The event culminated in a banquet with comedy from John Bishop, whose stand-up proved better than his golf.

"Playing golf seemed a good idea but then I went out last night," he joked when we grabbed him earlier in the day. "I've got a raging hangover and I just want to curl up. [Laughs] It'd rather just send them a few quid and go back to bed!

"But no, this isn't about the people here today, it's for people who we haven't met. Hopefully this can make that bit of difference that changes the direction of a kid's life.

"It's a reflection of Steven as a person - the same as it was with Jamie Carragher. If you look at the club, you've got Kenny supporting the Marina charity, Jamie and Steven and the other things the lads have done. That's a great message for professional footballers to show they are giving something back."

Bishop's act was among the highlights of the event, including his faux shock that Hatton and Joey Barton had been in the same room and no one got punched.

Like Gerrard, Barton grew up in Huyton and now has a second home in Portugal - and like Gerrard he believes it's important not to forget your roots.

"Steven is in a very privileged position as a professional sportsman - as we all are," said the Newcastle midfielder. "We are fortunate to do a job we love and get very well paid for it so it's nice to be able to give something back to those who are less fortunate.

"Golf maybe comes a little more naturally to me than football - I actually enjoy golf all year round and I can't always say the same about football. Some results get you down - but even when I don't play well at golf I'm still quite jovial."

Despite playing a cheeky nine holes with DJ Spoony the previous day, Barton (handicap six) was not among the leaders when the results came in. Nor was Didi Hamann - and unfortunately our cameras were not filming the German when the winners were announced.

There were groans of incredulity when Carragher's team were declared the winners with a score of 107 - though the 33-year-old swore under interrogation from Gerrard that there was no foul play.

Still, as a gesture of good will (or guilt) he donated the golf clubs he received as a prize for auction.

With the steward's inquiry still under way, the guests partied into the night, leaving Gerrard (who recorded the longest drive during the competition) to ponder what might be next for the foundation.

"The dream is to one day have a testimonial at Liverpool," he said. "Like Jamie did - giving all the money back to people who need it."