Friday, August 12, 2011

Liverpool Seal Signing Of Enrique

Liverpool signed left-back Jose Enrique on a long-term deal from Newcastle United on Friday after the Spaniard passed a medical, the club said.

The Premier League sides had agreed a fee on Thursday although neither disclosed the sum involved with British media estimating it was around 6 million pounds.

"This is one of the happiest days of my life. I have come to one of the biggest clubs not just in England, but in the world. I am really, really happy," Enrique told

The 25-year-old, who joined Newcastle from Villarreal in 2007, arrives on the eve of Liverpool's Premier League opener against Sunderland at Anfield.

"I am looking forward to playing in front of the Kop," he said. "I hope it will be this weekend, but if not I can wait."

Enrique was manager Kenny Dalglish's fifth major signing of the close-season after Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam, Alexander Doni and Stewart Downing.

Strikers Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez were signed in January.

Liverpool Aim To Trump Juventus In £13m Winger Race

Liverpool will make a last ditch bid for Fiorentina winger Juan Manuel Vargas, with the club hoping to steal the march on Juventus, according to Peru news outlet Andina.

Vargas was said to be close to agreeing a deal with Juventus worth £9 million. The Peruvian has made 80 appearances for Fiorentina and scored 12 goals.

But Liverpool has reportedly decided that they will up that offer to £13 million, and beat out their Italian counterparts to sign Vargas before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

Kenny Dalglish reportedly sees Vargas as the perfect partner for Liverpool newboy Stewart Downing, and will be looking to wrap up a deal in quick succession to signing Jose Enrique.

The summer has been extremely successful for Liverpool, with the club spending well in excess of £50 million, and over £100 million since Dalglish took over the managerial post in January.

If a deal for Vargas goes through, the door will no doubt be opened to a possible deal for Aquilani to leave Liverpool and head in the opposite direction.

Trotters In Bid For Ngog understands Bolton Wanderers have made a bid to sign Liverpool striker David Ngog.

Bolton boss Owen Coyle is in the market for attacking additions after Daniel Sturridge returned to Chelsea after an impressive loan spell and Johan Elmander joined Galatasaray.

Turkish forward Tuncay is close to finalizing a loan move to the Reebok Stadium and Coyle is now stepping up his interest in Ngog.

The 22-year-old has scored 19 goals in 94 appearances for Liverpool since he moved to Anfield from Paris St Germain three years ago.

He was linked with a move to Sunderland earlier in the summer as part of the deal which saw England midfielder Jordan Henderson join Liverpool.

However, he could now be offered the opportunity to link up with Bolton after the club made a bid in the region of £4million for the Frenchman.

Coyle has also been linked with Birmingham City's Cameron Jerome as he tries to improve his options up front before the transfer window closes at the end of August.

Martin Kelly Eyes Long-Awaited Return

The opening day of a new season is always eagerly anticipated but for Martin Kelly tomorrow’s game against Sunderland at Anfield holds special significance.

Nearly six months ago the 21-year-old Academy graduate limped away from Upton Park disconsolately after tearing his hamstring.

The injury cruelly halted his progress and brought a premature end to the defender’s breakthrough campaign.

Since then he has embarked on a gruelling rehabilitation program and has proved his fitness with some impressive displays in pre-season.

With Glen Johnson set to miss tomorrow’s clash with the Black Cats after straining his hamstring against Valencia last weekend, Kelly is likely to get the nod to start at right-back.

Kelly is taking nothing for granted but admits he would relish the prospect of making a long-awaited return to competitive action.

"With Glen getting a little knock I’m not sure what’s going to happen in terms of Saturday but I’m looking forward to the season and being part of this terrific Liverpool squad," Kelly said.

"After being out for so long it’s been great to play a full part in pre-season and I can’t wait for the season to start.

"I’m just happy to have stayed injury-free over the summer and hopefully with all the work I’ve done I can stay fit and enjoy a good year."

It was a devastating setback for Kelly when he pulled up during the Reds’ 3-1 defeat at West Ham in February. Initially he hoped to return to action inside six weeks but the injury took much longer to clear up.

Countless hours have been spent bulking up in the gym to ensure his body is able to support his powerful 6ft3ins frame.

And the Whiston-born youngster, who grew up in Newton-le-Willows, has even taken up yoga to boost his chances of remaining on the pitch and off the treatment table.

"Initially I thought it was cramp in the game at West Ham but when I tried to get up I knew something was badly wrong," he said.

"The tear was so large because of the speed I was going. It was tough to deal with.

"I hoped to get back before the end of the season but the first rehab program didn’t really work out.

"On the last day before I was due to resume full training I sprinted and felt a twinge in my hamstring. Another scan showed the injury had happened again.

"It was a setback and it meant I was put on a different program and I had to work twice as hard to get back.

"It involved a lot more strengthening work around my hamstrings, calfs, quads and upper body. With the speed I go I needed more muscle.

"A few months ago I started doing yoga twice a week. At the start you wonder whether it’s really going to help but I’ve got into it.

"It’s hard work but I’ve really felt the benefits. It’s all about getting my body as strong as possible.

"A couple of days after each game now I get tested to make sure the strength hasn’t decreased. It’s about ensuring we stay on top of it."

Kelly graduated to Melwood from the Academy in the summer 2007 and was part of Gary Ablett’s title winning reserves side the following season.

Rafa Benitez handed him a debut in the Champions League against PSV Eindhoven in December 2008 and he went on to enjoy a successful loan spell with Huddersfield.

Kelly produced a man of the match performance on his first start against Lyon at Anfield in October 2009 but a groin injury kept him out for four months and on his return he was limited to two substitute appearances.

It was last season when Kelly’s Anfield career truly took off and after shining in the Europa League games under Roy Hodgson, he blossomed further under the guidance of Kenny Dalglish.

After Johnson had to pull out of the FA Cup tie at Old Trafford in January because his partner was due to give birth, Dalglish turned to Kelly for his first game in charge and his faith was richly rewarded.

Kelly retained the right-back spot and his performances were so good that England international Johnson was asked to play on the left instead.

"I was made up with how last season went for me before I got injured," he said.

"Playing in the Europa League helped me a lot. Then Kenny gave me a chance at Old Trafford and that really boosted my confidence.

"I didn’t find out until quite late on that I was playing. There was no time to get nervous, I was just excited and wanted to get out there. Steven Gerrard helped me a lot that day.

"I didn’t look back from there and I owe Kenny a lot for the games he gave me. You always train as hard as you can in the hope you will get the chance to play.

"The injury came at the wrong time for me as I was enjoying a good run but that’s just part of football.

"I’ve come back from that and feel stronger than ever."

With Johnson sidelined, Kelly has the opportunity to stake a claim for a regular spot in the Reds’ backline this term.

But the youngster’s only focus is on trying to help ensure the Reds get their campaign off to a flying start against Steve Bruce’s side.

"With Glen being England’s right-back there is no-one better for me to learn from," he said.

"Glen is a terrific player and it’s great for my development to be able to work with him. He’s helped me a lot with my game and I hope he makes a fast recovery.

"There’s competition for places here but you’ve got to expect that at all big clubs.

"We’re ready for the season and we all want to get off to a winning start.

"It won’t be easy because Sunderland are a good side and have made some good signings this summer.

"But we’ve worked really hard on team shape and we just need to put what we’ve been doing on the training ground into practice."

Evans Tells Liverpool Fans To Be Patient For Success

Roy Evans has warned Liverpool fans to be patient with Kenny Dalglish’s new-look Liverpool side.

Dalglish has splashed out big money this summer, bringing five new faces into Anfield including Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing, and Jose Enrique.

But the former Reds boss has told talkSPORT the side won’t transform overnight and it may take time for them to gel as a unit

He said: “They’ve spent a fair amount of money and made some big changes, which they needed to do. They’ve brought in some British quality, which is nice to see, but the biggest problem they have got is getting the team to gel.

“They’ve added pace and youth to their squad. [Stewart] Downing will give some great pace down both flanks and Andy Carroll, when he starts firing on all cylinders, will see the benefit of that.

“But the fans have just got to be a little bit patient because it takes a while [to gel] if you bring in five or six players.”

Evans also insisted after spending the summer adding to the squad, Dalglish now faces the tough task of shipping some players out.

A host of top earners are believed to be available for transfer at Anfield including Joe Cole, Alberto Aquilani and Christian Poulsen, with the focus now shifted to selling rather than buying.

“They’ve got to get rid of some players,” he added. “They’ve got a massive squad now with the ones they’ve brought in.

"And if you get players who are not in the team and the squad, they start to sap a little bit of energy out of the squad itself. Not because they behave badly, just because they’re frustrated they don’t get a game. So you’ve got to get five or six players out.”

Norwich Close To Landing Liverpool Defender

Norwich's £800,000 bid for Daniel Ayala has been successful and the Liverpool defender is on his way to Carrow Road to discuss personal terms and undertake a medical.

A string of clubs were interested in the 20-year-old defender but Norwich have beaten rivals Ipswich and Hull to land him.

Ayala joined Liverpool from Sevilla in 2007 but the Spain Under-21 international has failed to establish himself in the first team.

And the Spaniard is now set for Carrow Road, as Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish confirmed: "The only one going out is Daniel Ayala to Norwich."

Wilson Would Consider Loan

Danny Wilson admits he may be forced to consider a loan move away from Liverpool this season in a bid to boost his international career. The 19-year-old made just eight appearances last term following his switch to Anfield from Rangers a year ago. The young defender partnered Gary Caldwell in Scotland's 2-1 win over Denmark on Wednesday night but knows he will need more game time at club level if he hopes to retain a place in boss Craig Levein's plans.

Asked if a loan move could be an option, Wilson said: "It's been mentioned but there have been no offers yet so it's difficult to try to decide what's going to happen. "If there are no offers, you can't really do much about it so I'm just working hard and trying to keep a part of things. But we've got a lot of players now at Liverpool and it's going to be difficult. "There are five centre-backs there and we are all of good quality so the manager has a difficult decision and whatever his decision is, I'll respect that.”I didn't play enough last season and I wouldn't really like to repeat that next season. I can only do what I'm doing. "If it's enough, it's enough. If it's not, I'll just need to work that bit harder."

Wilson was linked with a return to Rangers on loan earlier this summer and says he would not rule out another spell at Ibrox if he received the call from Ally McCoist. He said: "I don't see why not, if the option was there. But the option's not there so it's difficult for me to comment on that. "I'll consider any team, once the offers come in I'll evaluate them and decide what's best for me and my career." Wilson was used in an unfamiliar left-back role last season and says he would be more than happy to demonstrate his versatility once again if it meant nailing down a place in Kenny Dalglish's side.

He said: "I'm a centre-back but if the manager decides that he wants me at left-back I can't have any problems with that and I'll do it no problem at all.”If he wants to put me in goal, I'll go in goal. I'm one of those kind of players who always gives my all for the team wherever I'm chosen to play." On his national team hopes, Wilson added: "If I'm playing more regularly it's better for me and it's better for the team.”He (Levein) says he obviously wants me to be playing a bit more regularly and I can fully understand that. I want that myself. "He's not said to me that I have to be playing but obviously it helps if I'm out there playing."

Tom Werner: We Will Spend Big To Bring Glory Back To Anfield

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner says the club will continue to spend big in order to bring success back to Anfield.

The Reds have embarked upon one of its busiest ever periods in the transfer market since being taken over by the Fenway Sports Group (FSG) back in October of last year, after a torrid few years under previous owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks.

Newcastle left-back Jose Enrique will become manager Kenny Dalglish's fifth signing when he finalizes his £5.5m move from Newcastle this week, taking the Reds' spending under FSG to well past the £100m mark in under a year.

And Werner insists he and principal owner John W Henry will continue to provide the backing for Dalglish and Director of Football Damien Comolli as they look to improve the squad further, and says the club is determined to end its 21-year-wait for a league title, and its five-year silverware drought.

"I don't think anybody is working harder than we are right now to continue to see if we can recruit talent," said Werner. "We are willing to spend pounds to upgrade the team and I think that both clubs, both the Boston Red Sox (FSG's other major sporting interest) and Liverpool, are blessed with management that is tireless and smart and I think that is the essential ingredient.

"The experience of being in New England when the Red Sox won (the World Series) after 86 years of drought, is hard to actually articulate, it was as if the whole region was floating for quite a while. When you think about 86 years, you think about the fact that some people came to Fenway Park in 1920 and passed away before seeing the world championship.

"One of the things that happened after we won the World Series is that people were actually buying World Series pennants and bringing them to their parents grave so that they could participate in that success. So I know how sports can have such a great impact on your life, and just lift you up.

"We want to win trophies. We want to have more trophies in our trophy case. I know the joy; I've seen the pictures when you all came back from (the 2005 Champions League win in) Istanbul, and to see the thousands and thousands of people lining the streets in Liverpool, that is such a dream.

"I think to look at my career in sports, the lessons that I learnt in San Diego helped us become better stewards in Boston, and hopefully we'll be better stewards in Liverpool through the lessons we've learnt. I think the most important thing, and it may seem obvious, is to put a quality product out there for your fans.

"These are people who spend their hard earned pounds to come to see the club. We've got supporters all around the world who expect a quality product, and so it's been our goal to try to improve our position on the pitch, and to try and create a environment for players to say they want to play in Liverpool, and bring some of the lustre that all the fans know back to the club."

Liverpool kick-off their Premier League campaign against Sunderland at Anfield tomorrow afternoon, with many tipping the Reds to make a sustained bid for Champions League qualification this season.

And Werner believes that with Dalglish, who signed a three-year contract as manager in May, at the helm, and with the support of the Anfield crowd, the club should be aiming high heading into the new campaign.

"I can't think of somebody who embodies the relentlessness and the drive and the attitude of excellence better than Kenny," he said. "Obviously we knew of him before we met him. I think he is a natural leader.

"I've had the privilege to watch him as he trains the men at Melwood, and I just think he's so charismatic and I think he's been able to instil a sense of purpose into the club, and when he says something I think people listen."

He added: "(Fans in America) care so much about the Boston Red Sox, just as our fans around the world care for Liverpool.

"They're knowledgeable, they tell you when they're unhappy, and I've heard some comments about that as the Chairman of Liverpool! They'll say, you know, have a beer with me because we know you're doing a good job and I guess from my own point of view, the thing that drives me is for John, and I, and you to leave the club in better shape than when we got there.

"Our hope is that we can make our fans proud of what we have done. I don't want to promise so much. I know John has said we're going to be top four, and Kenny says, well, why can't we win? But we just want to move forward we want to be better this year than last year and just keep going on the right track."