Friday, July 29, 2011

Match Report: Galatasaray 3 - 0 Liverpool

An understrength Liverpool side lost 3-0 to Galatasaray in Istanbul, their second successive pre-season defeat by that scoreline.

Having been defeated at Hull on Saturday, manager Kenny Dalglish sent out a virtual reserve side in the first half at the Turk Telekom Arena, with only Andy Carroll considered a genuine first-team starter.

Such was the make-up of the team there were five full-backs on the pitch at the start and the disjointedness cost them as former Reds striker Milan Baros hooked home an eighth-minute volley and added a far-post header just before half-time.

The introduction of Dirk Kuyt and Alberto Aquilani at the interval improved the cohesion slightly but when former Bolton striker Johan Elmander crashed home a volley from the edge of the area seven minutes from time the visitors' difficult night was complete.

Liverpool has now conceded three goals in each of their four pre-season friendlies so far.

They play Valerenga in Norway on Monday when Dalglish is expected to field a much stronger side.

Kenny's Istanbul Verdict

Kenny Dalglish acknowledged his disappointment at seeing Liverpool go down to a 3-0 friendly defeat to Galatasaray on Thursday, but believes the game can stand his squad in good stead for the season ahead.

Two first-half goals from former Anfield forward Milan Baros and a stunning volley from Johan Elmander condemned the Reds to defeat in Istanbul.

But while unhappy with the result, Dalglish feels the workout his players were given at the Turk Telekom Arena will assist in ensuring their primed for the start of the Barclays Premier League season next month.

He told a post-match press conference: "I think they looked a bit sharper than us at the start of the game. It was the same as at the weekend in that we played a lot better in the second half than we did in the first half.

"But the players worked hard and they'll benefit from the effort they put in. It won't do us any harm for the season ahead, but we've got to get ourselves a bit sharper, a bit more clued up and lively when we're not in possession of the ball."

He added: "I think the benefit is it's another game. They looked a bit sharper than us and are maybe a wee bit ahead of us. Their season was due to start but I think it's been put back for a number of days."

"We've just got to get ourselves street-wise on the pitch and get up to speed with our thoughts when we're not in possession of the ball. August 13 is a big day for us when the season starts, and we'd like to think this will stand us in good stead getting towards that date."

Liverpool named a youthful squad for the trip to Turkey, with the likes of Stewart Downing, Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson, Jamie Carragher and Daniel Agger remaining at Melwood to prepare for Monday's trip to Valerenga.

Asked about his team selection, Dalglish told reporters: "It's pre-season. We've another game on Monday and we've got to pick another team.

"We'll have people back who weren't eligible for this game. For the young boys who played it will have been a great experience for them, and for the players who played it will be good for fitness.

"We don't want to lose a game, but we've got two games in four days and a long trip home tonight, so we had to take that into consideration when we were picking the team - and we'll also take it into consideration when we pick the team on Monday."

Meanwhile, local journalists asked Dalglish for his thoughts on the performance of Galatasaray star Arda Turan as well as the atmosphere inside the Turk Telekom Arena.

He replied: "It was a good atmosphere, Galatasaray played well, they were sharp at the beginning and quicker than us, but I wouldn't have picked out any of their players because we were only watching our own players."

Park Wants 'First Choice' Liverpool Move

Park Chu-Young is a target for German side Schalke, but would prefer a move to Liverpool, according to talkSPORT.

After declaring that his future lay away from current side Monaco, the South Korean is looking for a new club for the upcoming season after claiming he would refuse to play in the second tier of French football following Monaco's relegation.

Despite Schalke's advances, Liverpool is still his preferred destination.

With David N'Gog still set to leave Liverpool, Park would provide ideal back up to Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll in The Reds' attack.

Park's demands means he would be available for as little as £6 million, despite scoring 12 goals last season for Monaco.

The price is expected to tempt Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur into bidding for the 26-year-old this summer.

Park's fellow countryman Ji Sung-Park is also being linked with a move away from his club, Manchester United, after he claimed he was uncertain about his future at United.

The duo both stared for South Korea during the 2010 World Cup, but United and Monaco could be set to lose two of their prized assets.

Liverpool And United Fight For African Strike Sensation

Manchester United is set to run the rule over AIK Solna striker Teteh Bangura who has also attracted interest from Liverpool according to talkSPORT.

The 21-year-old forward is one of the hottest properties in Sweden with his goalscoring record of 15 goals in as many games attracting interest from a host of top European clubs.

Reds boss Kenny Dalglish is known to be on the lookout for the brightest up and coming talent the world has to offer, and is reportedly keen to bring Bangura to Anfield at the earliest opportunity.

Having already recruited the likes of Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing and Alexander Doni, Liverpool could take their spending over £50million with the addition of the African ace.

Bangura only joined Solna on a three-year deal in October 2010 after previously impressing in the lower leagues, and it hasn't taken long for interest to rise again in the talented star.

With a host of Barclays Premier League rivals also monitoring Bangura, Manchester United are the next side to take a look at the Sierra Leone international, with Sir Alex Ferguson's brother and, Red Devils chief scout Martin expected to be in the stands for Solna's league game against Elfsborg this weekend.

Ferguson has been made aware of Bangura's potential through reported interest from United's domestic rivals, and doesn't want to miss out on the chance to bring another promising star to Old Trafford at the expense of Liverpool.

Liverpool Facing Merseyside Fight Over England Ace

Everton is the latest club to be linked with a move for Manchester City winger Adam Johnson.

The England international has been on the radar of a handful of clubs this summer as speculation mounts that he could leave Eastlands.

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish was reportedly considering a move less than a fortnight ago, with the Daily Star Sunday claiming the Scot has taken a keen interest in the former Middlesbrough man.

Anfield interest first swelled back in March, with claims in The Sun that Johnson would be willing to consider a move to Liverpool.

Despite securing the services of Stewart Downing on Merseyside for £20 million, Liverpool continues to be linked with wingers, with Juan Mata another player speculatively placed on the radar.

As with the Spaniard, Liverpool would face stiff competition to secure another signing this summer, and competition for Johnson comes in the shape of Everton.

The Daily Mail claims the Toffees are preparing 'an ambitious loan move' to bring the 24-year-old to Goodison Park, offering regular first team football under David Moyes.

AC Milan Join Fiorentina In Race For Alberto Aquilani

AC Milan is closely monitoring the situation of Liverpool's Alberto Aquilani as they consider the addition of the former Roma and Juventus midfielder, La Gazzetta dello Sport reports.

The 27-year-old is surplus to requirements at the English side and initially appeared to be on his way to Fiorentina.

Nevertheless, the Tuscans would prefer to take Aquilani on loan, while the playmaker has set his sights on a permanent move. Although the player's agent is adamant that the deal could still go ahead, the Italy international is believed to be looking at other options and would be open to a move to San Siro.

Milan is eager to add some fresh impetus to their midfield ahead of the 2011-12 campaign and have previously been linked with players such as Ganso, Marek Hamsik and Riccardo Montolivo.

When asked about a possible move for Aquilani, Milan CEO Adriano Galliani refused to extensively comment, but hinted that the Liverpool man could be an option: "Aquilani our 'Mister X'? Well, that could happen," he remarked.

Nevertheless, Milan won't make a move for Aquilani just yet, as Galliani revealed earlier this week that the Serie A champions will only approach a new midfielder in the closing stages of the transfer market in an attempt to get their man for a reduced price.

Dalglish Poised To Snatch £12m Defender From Relegated Rivals

Fresh reports linking Liverpool with a move for Scott Dann have emerged this morning, speculating that Kenny Dalglish could steal the Birmingham City defender away because of his current employers’ dire financial situation.

Due to the legal trouble that Carson Yeung, the owner of the Midlands club, now finds himself in, it seems as if the Blues could struggle to make any headway in the transfer market prior to their season in the Championship.

24 year-old Dann has been an alleged target for Liverpool and Arsenal throughout this summer, though Arsenal are thought to be far more interested in the potential acquisition of Phil Jagielka.

Indeed, just today Arsene Wenger has made a £15 million bid for the Everton centre-back.

Dann is a lifelong Liverpool fan and would understandably jump at the chance of a move to Anfield to work under Kop legend Dalglish, who is a known admirer of him.

The Liverpool boss is looking to bolster his defence after injuries last season saw his back-line stretched for large parts of the year.

Although the academy players who stepped in - namely Martin Kelly, Jack Robinson and John Flanagan - themselves well, Dalglish is keen to add more experienced defenders.

Liverpool's transfer policy of recruiting young British players - highlighted by the £35m purchase of Andy Carroll and the recent buys of Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing - means Dann certainly fits the profile.

Hull City Ponder Daniel Ayala As Cover For Paul McShane

Hull City could re-sign Liverpool defender Daniel Ayala on loan to cover Paul McShane, who will be out for several weeks with a calf injury.

Boss Nigel Pearson told BBC Humberside: "To pick up an injury at this point in pre-season is disappointing for us and him. We'll have to deal with it."

Ayala, 21, made 12 appearances for Hull during a loan spell last season.

Pearson added: "There are always different criteria that will dictate whether we can or can't make the deal."

Hull rejected a loan bid for Republic of Ireland international McShane, 25, from Reading earlier this summer as the club's owners have refused to subsidize any loan deals away from the club.