Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Match Preview: Exeter v Liverpool

Kenny Dalglish will get his first real up close look at the strength in dept of the Liverpool squad when his new look side face Exeter in the 2nd round of the Carling cup.

While the clash at St James Park is not the type of midweek game that Liverpool are used to at this stage of the season, the Carling represents a chance for the Anfield club to end their recent trophy drought not to mention give some players an early season run out.

Much has been made of the new found player pool at the Scots disposal and a it was a new found sign of the confidence that surrounds the club that Dalglish, already missing the services of his talisman Steven Gerrard, chose the Emirates to give Luis Suarez an early season rest.

In the aftermath of that game, which Liverpool won thanks to the impact of Suarez and another substitute Raul Meireles, Jaime Carragher spoke of his delight at the impact of the bench and with Dalglish confirming that he will play some of his fringe players in Wednesday game fans will be interested to see who starts.

With Glen Johnson and Steven Gerrard the only players unavailable to the Reds boss the likes of Christian Doni, Christian Poulsen, Jonjo Shelvey, Jay Spearing, Maxi Rodriguez and Joe Cole look set to start at St James’ Park.

Dalglish who has also acknowledged that he would be taking the competition seriously will be keen to avoid a repeat of last season’s exit, when a then Roy Hodgson managed Liverpool lost to league two side Northampton Town.

Paul Tisdale’s side will not be a push over especially on their own turf and many will remember that they drew with Manchester United 0-0 at home in their last taste of the big time in the 2005 FA cup, before losing 2-0 away.

However like Liverpool they are not used to be involved in the competition at this stage, with Wednesday’s clash their first 2nd round tie since 1993.

Exeter has yet to win in the league this season with their only league point coming in the opening day when they drew away to Stevenage, and they’ve lost three straight since. Their only win this season came in the first round game with Yeovil, Guillem Bauza and Chris Shepard scoring in a 2-0 win.

Tisdale is expected to name the strongest side available to him for the game with Daniel Nardiello and Guillem Bauza expected to partner each other in attack after starting Saturday’s loss against Preston

Midfielder Liam Sercombe and striker Richard Logan are injury concerns however definitely out is former Cork City striker John O’Flynn and defender Steve Tully, who is suspended.

Kenny's Exeter Plan

Kenny Dalglish admits our premature exit from last season's Carling Cup will be in his mind when selecting a side to face Exeter on Wednesday night.

The boss will make changes to his team while guarding against any repeat of our penalty shoot-out exit to League Two strugglers Northampton in last year's third round.

He told "We had a bad result last year against Northampton at home, and we'll do our best to avoid another bad result. We want to do the very best we can in this competition and although there will be some changes in the personnel we put out, the attitude should be exactly the same as it was on Saturday at the Emirates.

"We'll give people an opportunity to play. The training has been superb, as has their attitude and commitment, so they deserve a game.

"But it's not a game we just want to go through the motions for and fulfil our obligations in playing the fixture - we want to make sure we have a chance. We're not getting them (other players) involved because we're undermining the competition or we're undermining the football club at Exeter."

Paul Tisdale's side beat Yeovil 2-0 to progress to the second round but have lost their last three League One outings.

Last time they faced Liverpool in this competition it ended 11-0 on aggregate - with Dalglish scoring in both legs.

But the gaffer added: "You totally respect any team you're going to play. We've put as much effort into our preparation for this game as we did for Arsenal on Saturday.

"Exeter hasn’t had too much good luck, but they've played quite well - they've just not had any breaks at the right time. They had a difficult game on Saturday at Preston when they had a guy sent off after 20 minutes, but they only lost 1-0 and hit the bar in the second half.

"It's going to be difficult, but in the way we're going to approach the game we'll have no excuse for a lack of preparation."

Spirits are high among players and staff after our first away win at Arsenal in 11 years at the weekend, but Dalglish isn't getting carried away - nor is he prepared to countenance talk of a possible Wembley final in the New Year.

"We'll just take our time," he said. "If we have any designs on getting anywhere, then we've just got to take our time and be responsible.

"This time last year there was a lot of disappointment because the club hadn't started so well which fortunately we've changed a little bit - but let's not get carried away or be running before we can walk. Let's just take our time.

"The boys were brilliant at Arsenal on Saturday, but we're not going to get carried away with one result - and neither should anybody."

Dalglish, who has a full squad to chose from bar the injured Glen Johnson and Steven Gerrard, also had a few words to say about the transfer of Sotirios Kyrgiakos to Wolfsburg, which was confirmed by on Monday night.

Liverpool Hunting Goal Riddled Serie A

Marco Borriello is set to be sold off by Roma, despite the striker only signing for the Italian giants in June with Liverpool interested, according to reports in Italy.

Following a loan spell with the club last season, Borriello put pen to a deal worth €4.5 million per year at the Olympic Stadium.

However, it now appears that Roma want rid of the forward, with Liverpool, who may be searching for a replacement for David N'Gog if he completes his move to Bolton, one of the interested parties.

“While he remains at Roma, he will train at the head of the group,” his agent Tiberio Cavalleri said.

"The news he was on the market was a surprise, above all considering the fact they only bought him out from Milan on June 26.”

Borriello scored 54 goals in the last three season, however his appearance in Roma's European run, limits his options, meaning Liverpool, who are without a spot in Europe this season, are the leading contenders.

Liverpool is expected to continue their spending spree, with Craig Bellamy also touted as a potential recruit.

Liverpool Keen On £10m Rated Brazilian Teenager Oscar

Liverpool’s director of football Damien Comolli is reportedly monitoring Internacional attacking midfielder Oscar with a view to making a move to sign the Brazilian teenager in the near future. The 19 year old played a crucial part in his country’s Under 20 World Cup success, netting a dramatic hat-trick in the final against Portugal last weekend.

The talented youngster is already a regular at club level and a goal scoring midfielder considered one of the hottest prospects in Brazil and saw his team-mate Sandro complete a move to Tottenham that helped further his push for a spot in the full senior national team set-up.

Oscar is in his third season of first team action, his first being with Sao Paulo, and two with Internacional the latest seeing the attack minded midfielder taking part in 25 matches as he helped his side to a Campeonato Ga├║cho triumph.

Liverpool’s owners are more than willing to offer funds to Comolli and boss Kenny Dalglish for youthful players who can serve the club well in the long term and have good sell on value and Oscar definitely fits into that category.

The Merseyside club has seen a number of their academy graduates break into the first team with the likes of Martin Kelly, Jay Spearing, John Flanagan and Jack Robinson all impressing, Liverpool have also sought to bring in quality talent from elsewhere to help complement those coming through the ranks, snapping up players like Raheem Sterling, Nathan Eccleston and Daniel Pacheco.

Liverpool have already spent upwards of £50m during this transfer window but are still keen to bring in further additions and Comolli’s scouting of Oscar will reportedly result in a bid for the £10m rated teenager.

Liverpool Close In On £8m Capture Of Blues Centre-Back

Liverpool is now favourites to sign Birmingham centre-back Scott Dann.

Reds boss Kenny Dalglish allowed experience defender Soto Kyrgiakos to leave for Wolfsburg yesterday, sparking speculation that a deal for Dann was close.

Arsenal and Chelsea have both been linked with a move for the Liverpool-born player, but he has his heart set on a switch to Anfield.

Dann was a boyhood Reds fan and he appears he is in line for an £8m dream move back to his native Merseyside.

Dalglish is keen to bolster his backline before the transfer window shuts next Wednesday and is has already held successful preliminary talks with Birmingham regarding the 24-year-old.

The Scotsman hopes to tie up deal in time to hand Dann his debut against Bolton at Anfield on Saturday.

The former Coventry man would become Liverpool's sixth summer signing as part of a £120m recruitment drive this year.

Reds Midfielder Targeting Spurs Switch

Joe Cole is desperate for a permanent move from Liverpool to escape his Anfield nightmare and fancies joining Tottenham.

Former England midfielder Cole, 29, has failed to establish himself at the Reds since joining on a free from Chelsea last summer.

Cole was initially hampered by an early red card, then injury before seeing new boss Roy Hodgson - who signed him - swiftly sacked.

Now successor Kenny Dalglish has repeatedly overlooked Cole and signed several big-money midfielders like Jordan Henderson.

Cole is keeping his phone on in the run-up to the transfer deadline in the hope of a move away.

He has worked hard on his fitness in pre-season and is anxious for regular games but is not keen on dropping into the Championship to play for former club West Ham.

His ideal move would be to White Hart Lane to link up with ex-Hammers' boss Harry Redknapp.

Spurs chief Redknapp is a long-standing admirer of Cole and could be interested if Luka Modric goes to Chelsea.

But QPR are yet to firm up their supposed interest in Cole.

Coyle Keeps Quiet Over Deal For Ngog

Bolton Wanderers boss Owen Coyle remained tight-lipped this morning over the reported transfer of Liverpool striker David Ngog.

According to reports Wanderers have been given permission to speak with the Liverpool forward.

It is understood that Manchester City defender Dedryck Boyata is also on Coyle’s transfer radar.

However, the Scot was giving nothing away.

"I am interested in a lot of players," he said.

"Until I have got everything cut and dried, I am loathe to mention individuals.

"There are bigger clubs than Bolton out there who could come and steal your thunder.

"Those two are both very good players. Whether we are able to bring them to the club, time will tell."

Kuyt Closing On Reds Milestone

Dirk Kuyt has played down suggestions he could leave Liverpool this summer, after reports emerged that the Dutchman is the subject of a fresh bid from Inter Milan.

The 31-year-old forward insists he is happy at Anfield, and is undistracted by the speculation, as he closes in on 50 league goals for the Reds.

Kuyt had been linked with a move to the San Siro when former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez was at the helm of the Serie A outfit, but his agent Rob Jansen has revealed that his client has been made a new, more attractive offer.

"As far as I know there is nothing true about this," Kuyt told Voetbal International. "I am very happy at Liverpool.

"I didn't extend my contract for two years three months ago for nothing. You don't do that if you have the intention to go away quickly.

"Maybe people think that I want to leave. But it doesn't work like that for me," he continued. "Liverpool has a very big squad and therefore you could sometimes be on the bench, [but] it's my intention to stay here."

Kenny Dalglish spoke of his admiration for the player who is just one strike away from a half century milestone in the top-flight, and reiterated his importance to the first-team.

"Dirk is a fantastic player for this football club," Dalglish told "He does work hard for the team, but then sometimes that work ethic disguises the ability he has got as well, so don't forget he has got a fair amount of ability.

"It's fantastic for anyone to get 50 league goals for his club and that will be a great milestone for him when he gets it."

Tournament Joy For Youngsters

Liverpool U15s are celebrating after emerging triumphant from a tournament held in Dublin at the weekend.

The young Reds saw off Celtic in a tense penalty-shoot-out leaving coach Phil Roscoe delighted with his side's overall showing at the competition.

Roscoe told "We had a tournament over in Dublin for the 1997 group which is the younger U15s and U14s.

"We managed to get to the final against Celtic where we went on to win on penalties.

"I think there were between four or five thousand fans watching so it was obviously a very good experience for the players.

"We played Leicester on the Friday as well as Utrecht and a Republic of Ireland select XI side on Saturday. We then qualified for the final and took on Celtic.

"I think there were about two thousand people crammed behind the goal so it was very real for them. It was a pressurized situation for them to face at such a young age - and they did very well."

Academy manager Steve Cooper was also pleased with the success but insisted the overall experience of tournament football was what mattered most.

Cooper said: "It's all part of our player development program. We aim to take every player away at least twice a year. Basically, the rationale behind it is that if any players are going to move on to the first-team then they are going to have to be able to handle world football.

"The obvious way to do that is to enter tournaments around the world at young ages and give them experience of playing at different climates, against different cultures and alternative styles of football.

"There are some fantastic academies in Europe. If you look at the likes of Sporting Lisbon who we played in the NextGen last week, as well as Ajax, Barcelona and Real Madrid. We have played against all of those teams at different ages over the past 12 months, so it's really given the boys some great experience."