Thursday, August 04, 2011

Dalglish Defends Summer Spending

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish believes the club has gone about their transfer business "responsibly" - even though the club have spent over £100 million since he returned as manager.

Luis Suarez, Andrew Carroll, Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing, Charlie Adam and Alexander Doni have arrived since January as Dalglish looks to rebuild a squad which had become stale.

Dalglish insists the spending is necessary to put the club back on track, and also praised owner John Henry for his support in the transfer market.

"Spending money does not guarantee you success, but I don't know of any club that has ever had success without it," he explained. "It is necessary, but it's even more important to spend it wisely, and we've acted responsibly in the transfer market.

"Everyone hopes all their signings will come in and make a huge impact, but we believe we have improved and enhanced the talent we already had here."

Liverpool's spending is unlikely to end just yet, with Dalglish favourite to land Newcastle United left-back Jose Enrique. Birmingham's Scott Dann is also on the wanted list. And he is glad that the manager now has an owner who understands team strengthening.

"If anyone has a better owner than John Henry, then they have done very well for themselves. He's fantastically supportive," said Dalglish. "I'm not going to sit here and tell you what he does or how he helps, but he's genuinely a good fella, just a good lad. He cares passionately about the club and wants it to go in the right direction.

"Anyone who has got any affinity for the club will want that, too. We are fortunate there is nobody pulling in the wrong direction. It's helpful if everyone is singing the same song."

Liverpool Switch Attention To Dutch International To Help Fill Problem Area

Liverpool’s reported search for a first choice left back has reportedly led to PSV Eindhoven’s Erik Pieters. Anfield boss Kenny Dalglish is said to have expressed an interest in the adaptable 23 year old who can also effectively fill the centre back berth, another area that the Merseyside club may look to strengthen as defensive frailties became all to clear during recent pre-season matches.

Pieters has been a regular at the Philips Stadion since his arrival at the club from FC Utrecht back in 2008 and has been a virtual ever present at left back for the Dutch national team following the retirement of veteran Giovanni van Bronckhorst following the 2010 World Cup.

The powerfully built 23 year old defender may well be tempted by a move to the Premier League club, not least as PSV have had a few lean years, with three seasons outside the Eredivisie top two which could be considered a big drop in form given that the Eindhoven club won the domestic title for the four previous campaigns.

Liverpool have been linked with a number of prospective purchases to help fill the left back spot, Gael Clichy was reportedly approached by the Arsenal man chose to join Man City. Newcastle United full back Jose Enrique may feel even more compelled to leave St James’ Park after the club chose to transfer list Joey Barton but the Magpies are thought to want a substantial fee for the Spaniard who has just one year left on his current contract.

A move for Pieters may be more cost effective and perhaps the fact that his international team-mate Dirk Kuyt is already at the club will aid any potential move.

Liverpool used a number of players in the left back role last term and Dalglish is seemingly not too enamored with the options in his current squad. Paul Konchesky has left for Leicester City, Emilio Insua and Fabio Aurelio have not impressed and youngster Jack Robinson at 17 is probably too young for regular Premier League action.

Liverpool Look To Barca Winger As Answer To Right Midfield Problem

Liverpool is to renew their interest in Barcelona winger Ibrahim Afellay as they look to add more width to the right flank.

Anfield boss Kenny Dalglish is looking to operate with two natural wide-men this season and sees it as the best way to provide service to the strike partnership of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez.

Dalglish is eager to see more crosses delivered into the box to play to Carroll's strength in the air while Suraez's ability with the ball at his feet means he is also keen for his wingers to get in behind the opposition defence and cut the ball back in.

The £20m signing of Stewart Downing from Aston Villa, one of the most consistent crossers in the Premier League, has filled the vacancy on the left flank but the Scottish manager is keen to bolster his options on the right side.

Dirk Kuyt has been used as the first-choice right winger in recent seasons and has been one of Liverpool's most consistent performers in that time. However, according to, Dalglish is looking for a player with more natural attributes befitting of a right-winger and is ready to make the tough call to replace Kuyt.

And it appears he has identified Holland international Afellay as the man to provide the ammunition from right midfield. Liverpool have been linked with the 25-year-old several times this summer and are ready to offer him an escape from his Nou Camp nightmare.

Afellay only arrived at Barcelona in January but has found his chances limited. Competition for places has proved tough for the former PSV man and Liverpool are hoping to tempt him with the promise of regular first-team action.

It had been rumoured that Barcelona only made the deal for Afellay, who only had six months remaining on his PSV contract, to make money on his future transfer away from the Catalans and help ease the debt problems.

If Liverpool offer the right amount, thought to be around £13m, then those rumours could prove to be true.

Hull Make Bid For Livepool's Ayala

Hull City has stepped up their interest in Liverpool defender Daniel Ayala.

The Spaniard spent the early part of the 2010/11 season at the KC, impressing before returning to Anfield. Despite spending the second half of last season at Derby County, Ayala has again emerged as the Tigers number one defensive target.

With Paul McShane injured and Kevin Kilbane having joined Derby County on loan, Ayala has remained as City’s top defensive target as Nigel Pearson seeks cover to James Chester and Jack Hobbs.

The Tigers interest is thought to have intensified following an offer for Ayala, but City still await the outcome of their enquiry as the season`s opener against Blackpool nears.

Now Reds Keen On Cahill

Liverpool are the latest club said to be keen on Bolton defender Gary Cahill and are reportedly prepared to pay up to £17m for him.

Cahill has been attracting attention from several top Premier League sides this summer with Arsenal strongly linked with a move for the England international.

However, no deal has been agreed between the Trotters and the Gunners and now the latest reports suggest Liverpool is ready to offer in the region of £15m for the 25-year-old in a bid to lure him to Anfield.

Bolton boss Owen Coyle does not want to lose Cahill but knows every player has his price and is thought to be prepared to let the centre-back leave if he receives a suitable offer.

Whether £15-17m is enough for a deal to go through remains to be seen but interest in Cahill is only likely to increase with the transfer window closing at the end of the month.

Liverpool have spent big this summer already on the likes of Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson but Reds boss Kenny Dalglish has indicated he would be prepared to splash the cash further and has been on the lookout for defensive reinforcements.

Dalglish: Gerrard Making Good Progress

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish has revealed that Steven Gerrard is making good progress in his recovery from a groin injury.

Gerrard was ruled out for at least the first month of the new Premier League season last week when the Reds confirmed that their skipper had picked up an infection. He has been in hospital receiving treatment.

There were fears that the inspirational midfielder would be out for even longer than first stated but Dalglish, speaking at a press conference to unveil summer signings Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing and Alexander Doni, said that the news on Gerrard was "very positive".

"Steven won't be too far away," Dalglish said. "The tests that have come back are far better than what was anticipated, so we are delighted by that.

"We've had some very positive news and will just wait for the progress to continue."

However, despite the good news, the Scot does not envisage having Gerrard back before early September. He added: "We've had positive news but the date (of a return) the club has stated remains the same."

Martin Skrtel Suffers Calf Injury Setback

Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel has revealed that he has suffered a setback in his recovery from a calf problem.

The 26-year-old played every minute of the Merseyside club's Premier League campaign last season, but has suffered with the injury during pre-season.

Having also withdrawn from Slovakia's friendly against Austria, Skrtel hopes to be back "as soon as possible" amid speculation that he could miss the start of the season.

"I suffered an injury setback on Friday," he said, according to the Liverpool Echo.

"I felt strong pain in my leg so I am back with the doctors receiving treatment.

"I really don’t know how long it will take to heal. I am doing my best to be back as soon as possible."

Downing Not Feeling Pressure

Stewart Downing is determined not to let his hefty transfer fee weigh heavily on him as he prepares for his first season with Liverpool.

The Reds splashed out a figure believed to be around £20million to bring the winger to Anfield this summer from Aston Villa, where he had been voted player of the season.

"It's about picking up where I finished off last season with Aston Villa, carrying on my form and not doing anything differently. Just because of the fee, it doesn't mean I have to change," he said.

"I'm being brought in to do what I did at Aston Villa, whether that's on the left or right. I'm not sure where the manager sees me playing but I just want to do well for Liverpool.

"Last season was probably my most consistent season and I just want that to continue. It's a big season for me personally and the club, and I want to get in the England team as well. Hopefully Liverpool will see the best of me."

Charlie Adam Ready For The Culture Shock At Liverpool FC

The last time Charlie Adam appeared at Anfield, the midfielder netted in front of the Kop and was then applauded from the field by the home crowd having finished on the winning side.

But while Adam will hope for more of the same this season, it is a completely different landscape that awaits the likeable Scot.

From no longer having to wash his own kit and having almost 40,000 turn up for simply a training session, the 25-year-old acknowledges life at Liverpool is a world apart from that of former club Blackpool.

Adam, though, is fully prepared for the greatest culture shock of all.

“The big thing is we need to win every week,” he says. “That’s the expectation. Maybe at Blackpool last season we got away with not winning every week.

“Now being a Liverpool player the expectation is on you to win the game and everyone is coming to beat us.

“Last season it was different. It’s a big challenge and having to win week in, week out is something I am relishing.”

Such are the great expectations being placed on the shoulders of Adam, who was officially unveiled yesterday as one of Liverpool’s new summer signings alongside Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing and Alexander Doni.

Yet it’s something with which Adam has previously been accustomed having cut his teeth as a youngster with Rangers in Scotland.

“The expectation here is to win ever week but I’ve been used to that since I was young,” says the midfielder. “Nothing changes. I was at Rangers at 14 or 15 and knew the club well, but the opportunity to play regularly enough to cement a place wasn’t there, which is why I left.

“People said it was a step down going to Blackpool but I saw it as a step forward.

“We know what we want to do next year. It’s important as players to win as many as we can.

“The expectation is to do that every week and we have targets ourselves but we’re not going to discuss them because if you don’t manage it you fall on your face. We will do our business quietly and everyone will know if we’ve done it at the end of the season.”

Adam’s previous appearance at Anfield came last October when his penalty set Blackpool on their way to a surprise 2-1 win over a Liverpool team plumbing the depths of Roy Hodgson’s tortuous reign.

The Scot celebrated beating Pepe Reina from the spot by placing his finger to his lips, but he says: “That was not something against the Liverpool fans, because they were incredible.

“They clapped us off at half-time, back on for the second half and again at the end after beating their side on their own pitch.

“To stand up and clap us off was incredible. As players we spoke of that throughout the season, about what happened that day, because it showed everything about what these fans are all about.”

Of course, Adam could have been resident a lot sooner, his proposed transfer on deadline day in January ultimately failing to transpire.

And he admits: “It was hard to deal with in January. When you get the chance to come here, you want it to happen. It never did but the people in Blackpool respect the way I dealt with it. I got on with it and tried my best to keep them in the league.

“But we failed and that’s the thing I will always remember – I got relegated at Blackpool and I can’t hide from that disappointment. For me to then get the opportunity to come here is incredible.”

Liverpool, though, never lost interest the player, and he was afforded the personal touch when Blackpool finally agreed an initial fee of £7.5m in July – a lift off Kenny Dalglish to Melwood for the signing of his contract.

“It was nice to be picked up by him – it doesn’t happen too often, getting picked up by Kenny Dalglish and taken to the training ground to sign for Liverpool,” says Adam. “I’ll try and put a couple of performances in for him to repay him for that!

“But that shows the kind of man he is. He’s so down to earth. He’s achieved such a lot in the game but still has that buzz about coming back in again and I’m just fortunate to have the chance of working with him.”

Liverpool’s intervention last month spared Adam from at least one chore. “I did two days in pre-season with Blackpool and, for the first time, we didn’t have to wash our kit then,” he explains. “I think the lads are back to washing their kits again now though.

“That was the way the club was run, and I have total respect for that. It’s not a problem washing your own kit, it’s part and parcel of life, and I wouldn’t complain about it... though it’s been good to have someone else do it at Liverpool.”

Having been red-carded on his debut for Blackpool in front of 7,500 in a home defeat to Doncaster Rovers in February 2009, Adam’s first experience as a Liverpool player was the recent tour to the Far East where the club’s fanatical following was made clear.

“Getting promotion with Blackpool was incredible but at the end of the day the Premier League is the biggest in the world and it’s an honour to have the opportunity of playing in it for two seasons on the run now,” he says. “No disrespect to Blackpool, but the size of this club is enormous. It’s one of THE top ones in the world, one of the elite.

“There aren’t many who would get 40,000 fans watching a training session, 80,000 watching a friendly. The reception in Asia, the whole thing, was incredible and shows the size of this place.

“That’s the expectation of being here. You look at the history of the club, with Bill Shankly and onwards they have always won trophies. It’s just massive and a real honour to have the opportunity of playing for them.

“Every player in the dressing room sees it as an honour to pull on that red jersey and hopefully I will be successful too.”

Reds Scoop Community Award

Ian Ayre last night collected a prestigious Football Is More Role Model award on behalf of Liverpool's community department manager Bill Bygroves.

The Reds scooped the accolade in the Social Department of a Professional Club category in recognition of the outstanding work being done by the club's community team.

And with Bygroves unable to attend the gala in Bad Ragaz, Switzerland due to a prior engagement, Ayre was on hand to accept it for him.

Afterwards, the Reds' Managing Director told "It's fantastic that our club has been recognized as a role model for its community department.

"I think it can be one of those things that don’t get recognized enough - but we certainly recognize them and it's fantastic that somebody else has.

"I feel a bit of a fraud accepting the award somewhat as it should have been Bill! But as I said in the speech, the reason he's not here is because he had another commitment and that's very typical of Bill - he never wants to let anyone down and once he commits to something he sees it through.

"He's a very special individual and member of our team. For somebody who gives so much and takes so little, he is an absolute role model to Liverpool Football Club and a great ambassador for everything that we are."

The Football Is More Role Model awards acknowledge outstanding contributions to local communities and beyond by all clubs in world football.

Ayre added: "I was very proud to be at the Football Is More international forum and see that even throughout the day when they were showcasing different projects and initiatives the guys from some of our teams and community department figuring very heavily in some of the videos and talks.

"That's got to be great for Liverpool Football Club. The community department does so much around the world and it's fantastic that they've been recognized today.

"It's vital the club sets the right example and hopefully in the speech I gave today I showcased the fact that role models aren't just about famous players or managers, or who pulls on the shirt - it's about everybody who comes to work at Liverpool.

"Everyone has the chance to be a role model and it's about setting the right examples. It's about following the 'Liverpool Way' and doing the right things for people and our football club.

"We are blessed that we have so many people who are role models, right through to the guys in some of our teams and the staff. It makes me very proud as the Managing Director to see we have so many."