Monday, July 04, 2011

Liverpool players, Including Alberto Aquilani, Return To Training

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard and £35million record signing Andy Carroll both returned to pre-season training alongside one player who was back at Melwood for the first time in almost a year.

Gerrard missed the last two and a half months of the season after a groin operation in March but did some work away from the main group as he continued his rehabilitation.

Carroll struggled for fitness after arriving in January from Newcastle with a thigh problem but he was involved with the rest of the squad.

Defender Martin Kelly, whose season was ended by a hamstring in February, was also involved as was Daniel Agger, who was sidelined with a knee injury from early April.

Also training was Alberto Aquilani, back at the club after a year out on loan at Juventus.

The Serie A club did not take up their option to sign the Italy international and although he has returned to Merseyside he is thought to be one of a number of players manager Kenny Dalglish is looking to offload to free up space on the wage bill to bring in more new signings.

Also believed to be on that list are Christian Poulsen and Joe Cole and they too were put through their paces in the sunshine at Melwood.

Vice-captain Jamie Carragher is keen to pick up where last season left off.

"We've had longer than usual off this year and I want to get started now," he said.

"It's a new start and there's a new sense of optimism. It's going to be great to have most of the players around from the start of pre-season.

"Our form in the second half of last season was very good and we need to ensure we prepare well and get off to a decent start this season.

"That will make a big difference. It can be difficult with the preparations when everyone comes back in dribs and drabs.

"It's good for the manager to have everyone around and it means after a decent pre-season we should be ready to start the season.

"It will be great to see all the lads again and I'm sure there will be a few new faces coming in before the transfer window closes."

New £16million signing Jordan Henderson was absent as he was given extended leave having been involved with England Under-21s at the European Championships last month.

Principal owner John Henry expressed his surprise at how short the summer was for footballers.

"Incredible. A month and a half after the season ends, the first day of LFC 2011/12 training begins," the Boston Red Sox owner wrote on Twitter.

"MLB (Major League Baseball) has 4 months off. Next stop China (where the club play their first friendly against Guangdong Sunray Cave on July 13)."

£14m La Liga Striker Chased By Liverpool And Spurs

Tottenham have increased their efforts to sign Barcelona striker Bojan Krkic, but are likely to face competition from Liverpool in their pursuit of the Spaniard.

According to the Daily Mail, Barca are demanding a fee of £14 million for the 20-year-old, with Spurs and Liverpool both monitoring his situation.

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp reportedly flew out to the under-21 European Championships last month in order to run the rule over Bojan, who made an appearance from the bench against England.

However, Redknapp was said to have been sufficiently impressed, and will allegedly now press forward with an attempt to bring Bojan to White Hart Lane.

Liverpool have supposedly been tracking the Spain international for a number of months, but it would now appear Spurs are ready to steal a march on their Barclays Premier League rivals.

It was initially reported by Spanish publication Sport that Liverpool were considering a move for Bojan, while Marca has since claimed the Reds are 'confident' of bringing him to Anfield.

However, Liverpool will have to make their move for the starlet sooner rather than later, with Spurs preparing to finalize their interest.

Liverpool To Offer £20m Player-Plus-Cash Deal For Tottenham Star

Liverpool will offer Alberto Aquilani as bait to tempt Totttenham into selling Aaron Lennon.

The Reds are keen to add to their wide options this summer in a bid to bring the best out of £35m striker Andy Carroll. Lennon has emerged as their number one target in this area with his phenomenal pace offering the mouth-watering prospect of lightning counter attacks in combination with crowd favourite Luis Suarez.

Lennon is believed to have had a series of disagreements with manager Harry Redknapp last season with their relationship at breaking point despite his regular selection at the end of the campaign. Spurs are not averse to selling the England international but will ensure they get a proper fee in return.

Liverpool have already made tentative enquiries with the possibility of making a £20m bid but with Luka Modric the subject of Chelsea's interest, they will now offer unwanted midfielder Aquilani as a ready made replacement for the Croat along with £8m.

Villarreal Among Trio In Chase For Liverpool Defender

Liverpool defender Chris Mavinga will be allowed to leave the club for around £750,000 - with Rennes and Villarreal the latest to express an interest.

Mavinga moved to Genk on a six-month loan deal back in December and talkSPORT last month revealed how the Belgian club was keen on making a permanent move for him.

The France Under-20 starlet has failed to break into the Liverpool senior team following his arrival in 2010 and Kenny Dalglish is open to selling him so he can forge a career elsewhere.

And there is no shortage of takers for the 20-year-old, with Rennes eager to join Genk and speak to Liverpool about him.

Spanish side Villarreal are also willing to make an official bid, with Mavinga keen to leave Anfield.

Dani Pacheco Plans To Make His Mark For Club And Country

Liverpool youngster Dani Pacheco is hoping to make an impact for both club and country this summer.

The Spanish starlet enjoyed a successful loan spell with Norwich City at the end of last season, helping the Canaries to Npower Championship promotion and a place in the English top flight next season.

A Carrow Road return has been mooted in the press this summer, but the 20-year-old is eager to impress with the Reds on the training ground and stake a claim for some first team opportunities under Kenny Dalglish.

"Back to Liverpool, training 4th till 15th and then National Team for U20s. Massive summer for myself," said Pacheco on his Twitter page.

"Time to give everything on the pitch."

The former Barcelona academy product has been called into the 21-man Spanish U20 World Cup squad, and will travel to Colombia for the tournament.

Georginio Wijnaldum Snubs Reds For PSV

Georginio Wijnaldum has rejected a move to the Premier League in favour of the switch to PSV Eindhoven, according to talkSPORT.

The 20-year-old is seen as the next big thing in Holland following a stunning season with Feyenoord.

But any hope Liverpool had of luring the attacker to Anfield appeared over after has decided to continue his development in the Eredivisie.

“I’m still young and think I can continue developing into a better player. That’s why I have decided to stay in Holland,” he said.

Arsenal and Chelsea were also reportedly interested in Wijnaldum, but Liverpool led the race for a player who has been compared to fellow countryman Rafael Van der Vaart.

Liverpool have already broadened their midfield options this summer after recruiting Jordan Henderson from Sunderland.

Keen Joins Reds' Staff

Liverpool has confirmed that Kevin Keen has joined the club as first-team coach on a three-year contract.

Keen will join up with his new colleagues for the first time on Monday when Liverpool's squad report back to Melwood for the start of pre-season training.

The 44-year-old made over 600 appearances in spells with West Ham, Wolves, Stoke City, Macclesfield and Wycombe.

He was previously first-team coach at West Ham and has acted as caretaker manager at Upton Park on no less than three separate occasions.

Manager Kenny Dalglish is delighted Keen is joining to work alongside ex-Hammers colleague Steve Clarke.

"I'm delighted that Kevin is joining us to work alongside Steve Clarke coaching the first-team squad," he told the club's official website.

"He has previously worked with Steve at West Ham and has a good reputation and a good manner about him.

"He is highly respected in the game and will be a great addition to our technical staff."

LFC Appoint Ops Director

Liverpool FC announced today the appointment of Andrew Parkinson as its first ever Operations Director. Andrew, who will report directly to Managing Director Ian Ayre, takes up his new position on September 5. He will be responsible for the overall delivery of the customer experience at Liverpool, managing and developing operational activities relating to customer services, ticketing, conference and banqueting, stadium operations, and museum and tours. He will also oversee the facilities management of the Club's various different sites.

Currently the general manager for Bluewater, one of Europe's leading retail and leisure destinations, Andrew has operated in a fast paced and multi-faceted retail/leisure environment delivering an operation with the customer at the centre of its success. This has included full P&L responsibility encompassing over 330 UK and international brands, 50 bars and restaurants in a facility covering 1.6million square feet. He also has a track record of working with broader external stakeholders in building relationships with the local council to help position Bluewater at the heart of the community. Additionally he has overseen the development of the next phase of Bluewater's evolution, the Events Venue - a purpose-built 55,000 sq ft facility that will open in late 2011.

Andrew began his career in 1989 as a district sales manager for NAAFI, a multi-faceted retail outlet. He spent six years there before joining Thorn UK as regional sales manager with commercial responsibility for over 50 stores. After a number of promotions he joined Bluewater in 2003 as retail business manager, with responsibility for day-to-day relations. He then became general manager of Touchwood in 2004 and spent three years in that role, with responsibility for 100 retail and catering outlets before joining Bluewater in 2007 as general manager.

Managing Director Ian Ayre said: "Andrew brings a wealth of relevant experience and some fresh ideas. He will add further focus to our desire to improve the all-round customer experience for our fans and customers. We continue to grow in all areas of our business and it is vital that we equip ourselves with the necessary talent on and off the pitch to ensure we are capable of being the best we can be. Andrew will be an excellent addition to the management team."

Andrew said: "This is a really exciting challenge at a pivotal time in the Club's development. Liverpool is an iconic sporting institution, with a fantastic heritage. It's my job to help build on that and deliver the best possible experience for all our supporters, whether that is on a matchday or through other channels of communication with the Club.

"I was brought up a Liverpool fan and my great grandfather Jack Parkinson actually played as a striker for the Club in the early 20th century, so this is a fabulous opportunity for me to work for an organization which means so much me personally."

Website Tops 100m Total Again

June may have been a quiet month on the pitch at Anfield, but off it fans have once again been logging onto the Club's official website in their millions as excitement starts to build ahead of the big kick-off.

In a month which saw Jordan Henderson sign in from Sunderland, an incredible 102 million pages were generated by more than 4.6 million supporters as fans visited for breaking news updates and daily transfer speculation stories as we kept an eye on which players were being linked with the Reds.

The final total for June of 102,324,812 page impressions represents an increase of 64,526,799 on our total for June 2010 and an increase of 24,389,918 on May 2011's total.

After our memorable transfer window activity in January, this is only the second time Liverpool fans have generated over 100 million page impressions in a single month - further proof that optimism is high as Kenny Dalglish prepares his squad for the start of the brand new Barclays Premier League campaign.

With Kenny still looking to strengthen his squad over the coming weeks, and with first team action set to resume now that the players have returned to Melwood for the start of pre-season training, July promises to be another bumper month online - so make sure you log on every day for the latest breaking news from Anfield.