Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Match Report: Valarenga 3 - 3 Liverpool

Liverpool shipped another three goals as their latest pre-season friendly, against Valerenga ended in a 3-3 draw.

Following 3-0 defeats to both Hull and Galatasaray, the Reds at least got on the scoresheet and it was a much improved performance from Kenny Dalglish's side.

Dalglish named a full strength side featuring new signings Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam and was rewarded by some sparkling attacking football.

But the defensive frailties remained and the visitors found themselves 2-0 down inside 20 minutes, Lars Strand scoring from close range on 14 and Fegor Ogude doubling their lead from the penalty spot (18) - with Glen Johnson culpable on both occasions.

Andy Carroll pulled a goal back after hooking home a Downing cross on 42 and from that point on, Liverpool dominated.

Charlie Adam was a whisker away from firing in a long-range equaliser just after the restart whilst Valeranga keeper Gudmund Taksdal Kongshavn pulled off a string of superb saves to keep his side ahead.

But Kongshavn was finally beaten on 83 as Daniel Agger crashed in a header and the Denmark defender looked to have become an unlikely matchwinner when he volleyed in from close range five minutes later.

However, Liverpool was denied victory in the dying seconds as Mohammed Fellah equalised with a shot that seemed deceive a flat-footed Pepe Reina.

Kenny: Hard Work Ahead

Kenny Dalglish admits there is still work to do ahead of our season opener in two weeks' time following a 3-3 draw with Valerenga on Monday night.

The boss was pleased with the performance of his players during the second half in Oslo as two late goals from Daniel Agger ensured the game ended level.

Andy Carroll had earlier bagged his second goal of pre-season by converting one of several accurate crosses from Stewart Downing.

Dalglish told Liverpoolfc.tv: "It was obviously more pleasing in the second half, we were closing down higher up the pitch. In the first half we stood off. They wanted time to play and we gave them time to play.

"You've got Pepe (Reina) back after his operation, Daniel Agger back, which was good. Raheem (Sterling) got a wee run. Stephen Sama got a wee run as well, so there are some positives.

"We've got to start looking towards the (league) games. The important thing is we've got to be better when we don't have the ball - but the boys aren't shy of hard work. There's an educated week's training ahead."

The trip to Norway brings to an end the travelling for this pre-season, with the Reds having visited China, Malaysia, Singapore and Turkey before Monday's game.

Dalglish has one more match to fine tune his side for the season opener against Sunderland - a showpiece friendly against Valencia at Anfield.

Dalglish added: "The travelling is necessary nowadays because of the stature of the club. It's something we have to do and something we're glad to do. You want to show gratitude to people for their fantastic support. Coming here is much the same - it's a pleasure to come here and play.

"We've had a wee bit of travel but that's to be expected. That won't impinge in any way, shape or form the work we're going to have to do."

Reds Sweat On Duo

Injured Liverpool duo Raul Meireles and Martin Skrtel are in a race against time to be fit for the start of the new season.

Both players sat out the penultimate pre-season friendly, as the Reds drew 3-3 in Norway against Valarenga - conceding at least three goals for the fifth game in a row.

Portuguese star Meireles is currently sidelined with a foot problem, but it's believed that the injury is just bruising and the former Porto man should be fit for the opening weekend.

Meanwhile, Skrtel, who played every minute of every Premier League game last season, is struggling with a calf injury and is more of a concern for Kenny Dalglish.

Pepe Reina got through his first game since a double hernia operation unscathed and the Spanish international is expected to feature again on Saturday, in the final friendly against Valencia.

Dynamo Kiev Defender Gerson Magrao Emerges As Reds Target

Liverpool have reportedly identified Dynamo Kiev defender Gerson Magrao as a potential summer acquisition.

According to talkSPORT, the £5 million-rated Brazilian has been pinpointed by the Reds as a possible replacement for Paul Konchesky, who recently left Merseyside for Leicester.

Konchesky moved to Anfield from Fulham a year ago, with then Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson splashing out £4 million to secure the signature of the former England international.

However, things did not work out as planned for Konchesky at Liverpool, and he was loaned out to Nottingham Forest, before making a permanent switch to the King Power Stadium.

Unsurprisingly, Liverpool have been linked with a number of possible replacements for Konchesky, and Magrao has emerged as the latest in a long line of reported targets.

The 26-year-old joined Kiev in 2009 from Cruzeiro, having previously spent an unsuccessful spell in Europe with Eredivisie outfit Feyenoord.

But, should Liverpool make an approach for the São Paulo-born full-back, they may struggle to be granted a work-permit, with Magrao yet to represent his country.

Juventus To Reignite Interest In Liverpool's Alberto Aquilani

Liverpool midfielder Alberto Aquilani could soon find himself returning to Juventus amid reports of coach Antonio Conte opting to implement a three-man midfield system, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The Anfield outfit is reportedly willing to negotiate at a reduced price, surprisingly as low as €6 million, and the new arrival of Mirko Vucinic at Juventus has also given Antonio Conte food for thought in regards to his tactical philosophy for the upcoming season.

The publication states that the Montenegrin forward's versatility would enable him to successfully be part of a 4-3-3 formation, therefore requiring the presence of another forward-thinking midfielder alongside Andrea Pirlo and other new recruit Arturo Vidal.

The 27-year-old has recently spent the past season on loan at the Stadio Olimpico, but the club decided not to pursue a permanent deal for the Italy international upon its expiration in May, after declining to meet the pre-determined fee of €16 million, leading to the signing of Andrea Pirlo on a free transfer instead.

It is thought that the only other team in for Aquilani's signature is AC Milan, who has expressed their interest in the midfielder publicly.

Fiorentina appeared to be the original frontrunners, but he has closed the door on a move to Tuscany, as he would only accept a permanent transfer, rather than a loan deal.

Aquilani Closes On €10m Milan Deal

Liverpool outcast Alberto Aquilani could be set to end his Anfield misery by joining AC Milan in a €10 million deal, according to his agent Franco Zavaglia.

Italy international Aquilani is keen to secure a permanent move back to Serie A this summer but, despite interest from Juventus and Fiorentina, no deal has been reached.

As the new season draws closer, it seems more and more likely that Aquilani, who has been involved in Liverpool's pre-season games, will feature for the Reds next season - a scenario that looked impossible only a few months ago.

However, one escape route appears to be developing, with Zavaglia intending to open talks with AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani over the 27-year-old.

"When you speak of such a negotiation, there is always an element of truth," Zavaglia told ilsussidiario.net. "Galliani is now in China for the Italian Super Cup, but I expect to talk to him when he comes back to Milan. I think an agreement could be reached for a figure around €10million."

Aquilani impressed in his cameo role during Liverpool's 3-3 friendly draw with Valerenga, but Zavaglia still thinks Kenny Dalglish is reluctant to include the player in his first-team plans, with so many options available in central midfield following the arrivals of Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson.

"Aquilani is still tied to a three-year contract with Liverpool and before his eventual departure we will talk with the leadership of Liverpool," Zavaglia said. "It seems clear to me that the player doesn't fall into the technical plans of the coach, so the suggestion of his departure is concrete."

Borrell: I Still Have The Same Aim

Rodolfo Borrell insists his switch to reserve team boss won't affect his overall aim - to help produce young players for Liverpool's first-team.

The Spaniard arrived in Kirkby with a glittering CV and has since bolstered his credentials by moulding an U18 side that turned heads with its attractive style of football.

The success did not go unnoticed by the Anfield hierarchy and in the summer he was rewarded with a new role that he believes has the same objective.

"This is a different job for me," Borrell told LFC Weekly. "Most of the players in the squad are now men, or closer to being men than the U18s.

"It doesn't change my aim; to push the players on until they are good enough for the first-team. That is what we are all trying to do; Frank McParland, Pep (Segura), Kenny (Dalglish), Steve Clarke, Damien Comolli. And I'm sure it will be the same with the new coach, Kevin Keen. Our aim is to help produce players for the club.

"That's why we communicate so often, almost on a daily basis. We go to Melwood or Kenny, Steve and Damien come to the Academy. We talk about everything.

"We are all pushing in the same direction and when you do that it can only benefit the club and lead to success. That is our aim and we're all working hard to make it happen."

Liverpool Ladies Boss Robbie Johnson Wants Application

Liverpool Ladies boss Robbie Johnson says his players must apply themselves if they are to win their first league game of the season.

The Reds, who are without a win in 10 attempts, host Doncaster on Wednesday.

"What our players have to do is apply themselves," Reds boss Johnson told BBC Radio Merseyside.

"If we do that, as we've shown against Everton and certainly against Birmingham away, the players are capable of doing it [winning a game]."

He added: "The playing staff is virtually the same. There have been one or two coming in and out, but most of the players on the pitch have played regularly for us this season."

The Reds currently lie bottom of the Women's Super League table on three points, but local rivals Everton travel to leaders Birmingham on Saturday in good form.

The Blues have won their last four games, most recently securing a 3-1 win over Arsenal on Sunday.

Those results have propelled Mo Marley's team to third in the WSL table, but forward Gewnnan Harries says the players are refusing to get carried away.

"We've just got to take one game at a time," said the Welsh international.

"You never know with football results, they differ every week, so we've just got to take each game as it comes.

"If we can continue to win each game and put the pressure on then you never know.

"It's in our hands really, if we win each game then we can't do anymore. That's what we're aiming to do."

Liverpool Could Be Forced To Scrap New Stadium Plans Amid Dispute With Local Council

Liverpool could be forced to scrap new stadium development plans amid a dispute over deadlines with the local council, according to the Daily Mirror.

The Merseyside club are stuck in limbo as they are neither able to build a new stadium nor increase the capacity at Anfield.

Rigid and unsympathetic deadlines set by the local council are to blame for Liverpool’s failure to expand their current home.

Angry supporters’ groups are claiming the council are taking the stance in an attempt to force a ground-share between the club and local rivals Everton.

Liverpool City Council leader Joe Anderson has been forced to deny suggestions he is refusing permission to extend the Anfield capacity because he is an Everton fan.

Liverpool’s owners – Fenway Sports Group – were hoping to either re-develop Anfield or build a new stadium in Stanley Park, which is between their current ground and Everton’s stadium, Goodison Park.

The council is threatening to derail their plans, however, by saying the lease for the parkland runs out soon and that they must make a decision by September or force being stuck in an under-45,000 capacity stadium.

The owners were hoping stadium naming-rights deals would help finance the development but it appears there is now not sufficient time to implement those plans, leaving everything up in the air.

Liverpool’s current match day revenue is reportedly £3 million less than rivals Manchester United’s, because of their far superior capacity and a greater number of corporate seats.