Monday, July 11, 2011

Reds Staying Responsible

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish insists the club will remain responsible in the transfer market this summer.

The Reds have been busy during the close season with Charlie Adam joining last week on the back of Jordan Henderson's acquisition last month.

Roma keeper Alexander Doni is set to sign on a free transfer, however, Dalglish has warned fans the club will not be able to land all of their targets.

Liverpool are also keen on landing Aston Villa winger Stewart Downing, but Dalglish says the club will be spending owner John W Henry and chairman Tom Werner's money wisely.

"We won't get everyone we are after this summer but other clubs won't always get who they have enquired about," said Dalglish.

"That's just the way it is. We've done some business already and we'll continue to do what we are doing in a responsible manner.

"The owners know what they are doing and we have had great support from them.

"They know not to bankrupt the club and are running Liverpool in the right way.

"John and Tom will give us whatever they can afford. We have to use that responsibly."

Downing 'Prefers Liverpool'

Sky Sports sources understand Stewart Downing would prefer to join Liverpool, despite interest from Arsenal, and the deal could be finalized on Monday.

The Aston Villa winger was the subject of a £15million bid from Liverpool on Wednesday, but the offer was immediately rejected by Villa Park owner Randy Lerner.

Arsene Wenger's Arsenal, who could lose Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas this summer, is thought to have attempted to hijack their Premier League rivals with an £18million bid.

But England winger Downing has set his mind on a move to Anfield and Liverpool are negotiating a price to buy a player who has two years remaining on his current contract.

Having already lost Ashley Young to Manchester United, new Villa manager Alex McLeish hopes the former Middlesbrough star will stay and the club is under no pressure to sell.

It had been reported, with Arsenal demonstrating their interest, Liverpool had lined up Wigan's Charles N'Zogbia as solution to their search for creativity in wide areas.

The fact Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli and manager Kenny Dalglish have travelled to the Far East for a pre-season tour was also thought to indicate there was no imminent transfer activity.

But Sky Sports sources understand a deal for Downing could be finalized in the early stages of next week.

It has been questioned whether the soon-to-be-27-year-old Downing meets the criteria for young talent sought by Liverpool, which has already resulted in the signings of Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam.

But Dalglish wants quality in wide areas and Downing's crossing ability is viewed as a vital factor in the short-term target to return the club to the top four of the Premier League.

Liverpool Confirm Intention To Sell Trio Of Flops

After signing two of their priority targets, Liverpool will now attempt to sell the unwanted members of their squad.

Former Blackpool captain Charlie Adam finally completed his move to Anfield on Thursday night following six months of negotiations and speculation.

The Scotland international’s signing comes after Jordan Henderson was bought from Sunderland at the beginning of the summer break.

Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli has confirmed that the Reds will now aim to make some room in their squad, with the likes of Milan Jovanovic, Paul Konchesky and Joe Cole included in the probable departures.

“We are very pleased because the two signings we’ve done were absolute priorities on our list,” said the Frenchman.

“We’re lucky we’ve got two of our priorities. That’s good, and I’m sure there’ll still be a lot of movement, especially going out but also, hopefully, a few more coming in.”

Liverpool Plan Surprise Move For Everton Star

Liverpool is ready to make an audacious move to sign Everton left back Leighton Baines as Anfield boss Kenny Dalglish looks to resolve the club’s problem left back area.

Dalglish had been linked with a move to sign Gael Clichy but the French international opted to move to Man City and the pursuit of Newcastle United full back Jose Enrique appears to have lost momentum as Alan Pardew looks to keep the Spaniard at St James’ Park. This has led to interest in Toffees star Baines who has been at Goodison Park since July 2007.

Everton boss David Moyes is hoping to retain all his top performers but the Scot is having to deal with a shoestring budget and may well be forced to cash in on a player or two to help balance the books. Man United continue to be strongly linked with a move for midfielder Jack Rodwell and there is reported interest from La Liga clubs in Mikel Arteta and the Toffees failure to secure European football for next term may lead some players to consider leaving this summer.

Kenny Dalglish is looking to continue his summer spending having already snapped up Sunderland youngster Jordan Henderson and Blackpool midfielder Charlie Adam. Last season Liverpool used the likes of Paul Konchesky, Fabio Aurelio and Jack Robinson at left back and on occasion was forced to play Glen Johnson and Danny Wilson out of position with varying degrees of success and failure.

Baines may feel a move across the city would benefit his long term career plans and also aid his push for a regular spot in Fabio Capello’s England side. That said a move between Liverpool and Everton will always be a controversial one and the former Wigan man would have to think long and hard before opting to make the contentious switch.

Liverpool Target 'Will Be Sold'

Liverpool target Charles N’Zogbia will be sold this summer, should a suitable offer be made, Wigan chairman Dave Whelan has confirmed.

“We have to sell Charles N'Zogbia because he's on the last year of his contract,” Whelan told talkSPORT.

“We can't keep him if a big club comes for him and he does deserve a big club because he's that kind of quality player.

“We would love to keep him and pay him what he wants to stay with us but it's a very difficult situation.

“He's such a great player and we are such a small club sometimes we don't go together.”

According to Metro, Liverpool is considering a swoop for the £7.9 million-rated winger, as Arsenal enter the race for Aston Villa’s Stewart Downing.

Liverpool had made a bid of around £15 million for Downing last week, but reports on Sunday suggest the Gunners are planning to make an approach of their own.

It has been suggested that this may encourage Liverpool to focus their attention on N’Zogbia, in order to avoid a bidding war with their Barclays Premier League rivals.

Villa has also been linked with the 25-year-old Frenchman, but he is likely to favour a move to Anfield, should the opportunity to join Liverpool present itself.

Aquilani Heading To Fiorentina?

Alberto Aquilani may get his wish of staying in Serie A after all, as Fiorentina is tracking the Liverpool man.

The midfielder spent last season on loan at Juventus and made it clear he wanted to remain in Italy, but the Bianconeri did not take up their option to make the move permanent.

Milan, Inter and Roma were also mentioned, but with no clubs willing to buy, he looked to be heading back to Anfield.

However, according to the latest reports in Italy, now Fiorentina have come forward with an offer for Aquilani.

Sky Sport Italia maintains he is the ideal replacement for Riccardo Montolivo, who is looking for a new club after rejecting a contract extension.

Aquilani would again join on loan with an option to buy at the end of the season.

Sven Eyes Kon Job

Sven Goran Eriksson is set to rescue Paul Konchesky from his Liverpool nightmare with a £1.5million swoop.

The defender has been told he can leave Anfield after one disastrous season.

And Leicester chief Eriksson wants Konchesky, 30, to boost his bid to reach the top flight.

Hamburg Interested In A Move For Joe Cole

Hamburg is believed to be interested in a move for Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole.

The 29-year-old left Chelsea and joined the Reds on a Bosman transfer last summer, with a salary believed to be in the region of £90,000-a-week.

The former West Ham United man's first game at Anfield ended with his being sent off for the first time in his career, after a challenge on Arsenal debutant Laurent Koscielny saw the referee brandish the red.

But despite coming back into the squad following his ban, the midfielder failed to produce the kind of form he had shown during his time at Stamford Bridge. And with the Merseyside outfit having a lot of midfielders following the signings of Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson and the return of Alberto Aquilani, Cole is believed to be on his way out.

Now The People reports that Hamburg is ready to cough up a fee for a transfer, or even pay a significant majority of the player's wages.

Cole made only 16 starts for Liverpool last season.

Gerrard Hails 'Dynamite' Luis Suarez

Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard has hailed Luis Suarez's start to his Anfield career and has likened the Uruguayan's fighting spirit to that of Manchester United's Wayne Rooney and Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane.

Suarez joined the Reds from Ajax back in January and played a pivotal part as the Merseyside club finished the season strongly and Gerrard feels that Kenny Dalglish's side have a star on their hands if he can maintain his form going into the new campaign.
The England international told LFC Weekly: "Luis is dynamite. He's been magic for us so far. If he can maintain his form I think we've got a star on our hands. He's so direct and has the desire and bottle to get into the box ahead of the defender. He must be a nightmare to mark.

"I'm itching to get out there alongside him because every time I watch him he excites me. He looks like he's going to create something, if not score.

"It's early days and we can't get too carried away by putting too much pressure on him but if he can keep producing those kind of performances, he will be a fantastic signing.

"When Andy [Carroll] is fit, the two of them could make a deadly partnership."

Gerrard went on to admit that he feels Suarez's never-say-die attitude is similar to that of Rooney and Zidane, claiming that lesser players do not have the same sparkle.

"You look at Zidane, Rooney - it's just the way they are," added Gerrard. "The players that don't have the edge lack something, that sparkle or fire in their belly.

"That's what makes Luis who he is. He's a fighter and despite having a lot of skill, he's a worker as well. That's what separates him from others."

The Reds skipper, who missed the latter part of last season through injury, also praised the performances of Dirk Kuyt and insisted that the work he puts in on the pitch is appreciated by his team-mates.

"Sometimes his work goes unnoticed but we as players always appreciate the shifts he puts in," Gerrard continued.

"Dirk and Luis particularly were very influential towards the end of last season - mainly because both players work unselfishly for the team. The pair of them don't give defenders a moment's rest.

"When you do see them working like that, it encourages the team to do the same - defending from the front."

Liverpool Show Frustration At Delays Hitting Anfield Plans

Liverpool has provided a graphic insight into their mounting frustrations with the local council bureaucracy which they believe is destroying their hopes of staying at their Anfield home.

After the club's principal owner, John W Henry, hinted at suspicions over the transparency of Manchester City's £400m sponsorship deal with Etihad, Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre yesterday publicly lamented the "barriers to our ambition" being created by a host of logistical planning issues relating to a refurbished Anfield and admitted that a departure to a new purpose-built stadium in nearby Stanley Park – which is dependent on Liverpool securing a naming rights deal of their own – is now the most likely outcome.

Of City's deal with Etihad, the Abu Dhabi airline which is investing up to £40m a year for a decade, Henry tweeted to a fan: "How much was the losing bid?" City insist that Etihad, owned by the Abu Dhabi royal family, is not being used as a vehicle to artificially inflate the club's balance sheet to enable City's owner to comply with the imminent Uefa Financial Fair Play rules – despite Etihad paying out a world-record sum, having failed to make a profit in its seven years of existence.

Though Ayre's statement was issued in conjunction with the council, it served only to reveal the divide between the two. He cited problems with "land/property acquisition, environmental and statutory issues".

The cheaper option of extending Anfield entails dealing with the problem of buying and demolishing nearby properties behind the Main Stand and also paying out money in a number of other ways – under what is known as a Section 106 agreement - to make an application for the expansion of the site acceptable. Liverpool's Section 106 agreement includes paying for a program of community involvement of up to £700,000.

The necessary local infrastructure improvements required of Liverpool could take up to four years to complete and since the club will generate around £1.7m per home game next season, while Manchester United bank £3.6m, they simply cannot afford to stand still. Stand closures and a heavily reduced capacity for games would also be necessary during the rebuild.

The city council have granted Liverpool a three-month extension to decide on whether to take up the option of a 999-year lease on the Stanley Park site, though councillors are losing patience with the club's years of prevarication and will probably allow Fenway Sports Group only until late September to make a decision.

Construction costs, which prevented the Stanley Park option in the Hicks/Gillett era, have fallen recently, and make a new-build stadium a more commercially viable option – below £300m. It is Henry's desire to replicate his sympathetic restoration of Fenway Park, the home of his Boston Red Sox. Though shirt sponsor Standard Chartered has expressed an interest in a stadium naming rights deal, it will not be on the same scale as City's.

Reds Arrive In Guangzhou

For the first time in their history, Liverpool Football Club has landed in China to kick off the first leg of their Standard Chartered sponsored pre-season tour of Asia.

Kenny Dalglish and his squad touched down at Guangzhou airport at 11am local time this morning following a 13-hour flight from Liverpool (via Kazakhstan) - and were greeted by scenes of hysteria as Chinese fans gathered in their hundreds to welcome the Reds to their country for the first time.

There may be 5940 miles between Liverpool and the southern Chinese province where the Reds will spend the next three days, but having waited for so long to see their heroes in the flesh the screaming locals brought the spirit of Anfield to the streets of Guangzhou as the playing squad emerged into the airport and made their way to their hotel.

First on an action-packed agenda is a press conference which will be hosted by Kenny Dalglish alongside Jamie Carragher and new signing Charlie Adam before an open training session takes place later this evening when Chinese Kopites will get their first glimpses of their heroes in action on the pitch.

Liverpool's travelling playing squad and management staff have been joined on the tour by club ambassadors Ian Rush and Phil Thompson along with staff from the club's commercial, media and community teams, with the community department looking forward to delivering their own itinerary of events to local children in the area over the coming days.