Thursday, August 25, 2011

Match Report: Exeter 1 - 3 Liverpool

Liverpool gave Kenny Dalglish his 200th win in charge of the club as Luis Suarez inspired a comfortable 3-1 victory over Exeter at St James Park in the Carling Cup second round.

The Uruguayan grabbed the opener after 23 minutes as he volleyed home, before teeing up Maxi Rodriguez and substitute Andy Carroll to put a seal on the victory after the break.

But there was some concern for Dalglish as the Scot lost Raul Meireles to injury inside the first quarter of the game.

The Portuguese left the field clutching his shoulder after coming off worse in a challenge with Danny Coles.

Exeter battled bravely but carved out very few opportunities, although Daniel Nardiello did at least pull a goal back from the spot after he had been felled by Martin Skrtel in the box.

Dalglish named a strong side for his first League Cup tie as Reds boss since 1990.

Suarez led the attack having been on bench duty against Arsenal, while Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Pepe Reina were all retained from the side that started against the Gunners.

The Grecians may have had dreams of a famous upset but Liverpool was always in control after making an assured start.

Skrtel volleyed into the side netting inside three minutes before Adam forced Artur Krysiak into a near-post save after he was left free at a short corner.

Exeter had a great chance to take a 16th-minute lead as Nardiello was left unmarked from a Chris Shephard corner, but the striker's header was straight at Reina.

Liverpool then lost Meireles to injury after 19 minutes, the Portuguese disappearing straight down the tunnel with Andy Carroll his replacement.

But the Reds overcame that loss and were soon ahead as Krysiak succeeded in tipping a Henderson cross only as far as Suarez, who volleyed home despite the best efforts of Richard Duffy on the line.

Exeter then lost a man of their own as an apparent hamstring injury ended Guillem Bauza's night, with Jimmy Keohane being summoned from the bench.

Rodriguez should have doubled the Reds' advantage after 34 minutes when Suarez turned Billy Jones, but the Argentinian could not get a touch as the ball was rolled across the six-yard box.

Adam then dragged wide from the edge of the box after more promising link-up work between Suarez and Carroll.

Exeter created their second clear chance of the night within seconds of the restart as a Shephard ball saw Nardiello loft the ball over the onrushing Reina, but his effort ran wide of the left-hand post.

Henderson was then booked as he was adjudged to have dived in the area under the challenge of Coles, but the second Liverpool goal arrived just nine minutes into the second half as the ever-threatening Suarez calmly picked out Rodriguez at the second attempt to allow the midfielder to slot into the left-hand corner.

And the win was secured just four minutes later as Suarez beat Troy Archibald-Henville before Carroll smashed an unstoppable left-foot drive beyond Krysiak.

That was the final act in a Suarez masterclass and he was withdrawn with Stewart Downing coming on.

Carroll wasted a good chance to grab his second as he nodded wide but it was Exeter who grabbed a consolation goal with 10 minutes to play.

Skrtel was guilty of a clumsy challenge on Nardiello as the striker broke into the box, and the former Blackpool forward slotted home from the spot.

Danilo Pereira Is Also A Surprise Summer Target For Liverpool

Parma midfielder Danilo Pereira has emerged as a surprise summer transfer target for both Arsenal and Liverpool according to talkSPORT.

The talented 19-year-old starred for Portugal in the recent Under-20 World Cup, and was nominated for the 'Golden Ball' award after a series of scintillating performances for the tournament's runners-up.

Likened to a young Patrick Vieira, the tenacious, tough-tackling Pereira plays primarily as a defensive midfielder, but the 6ft 1in star is also renowned for his excellent strength and technique with a football - causing him to be deployed in a more attacking role during a loan spell in Greece in the second half of last season.

With Gunners boss Arsene Wenger known to be in the market for midfield reinforcements after the recent sale of Cesc Fabregas, and the imminent departure of Samir Nasri away from the Emirates Stadium - Arsenal could now make a move for the Serie A starlet.

However, reports emanating from Italy suggest that it is in fact Liverpool who are the favourites to land Pereira's signature - meaning Reds boss Kenny Dalglish will have added no less than four midfielders to his Anfield ranks during the transfer window.
Having only been at Parma for one season after Portuguese giants Benfica opted not to offer him a professional contract, Pereira could now become the subject of a late summer scrap between Arsenal and Liverpool as the end of the window fast approaches.

Redknapp Admits Desire To Be Reunited With Joe Cole

Harry Redknapp's attempts to strengthen his Tottenham Hotspur squad ahead of the closure of the transfer window could prompt a surprise move for the unsettled Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole.

Lassana Diarra and Emmanuel Adebayor are on the verge of completing switches to White Hart Lane but Redknapp has also expressed a desire to sign Cole. The England midfielder has endured a frustrating year on Merseyside, starting only nine Premier League games last term following a free transfer from Chelsea. Liverpool omitted the 29-year-old from their squad for Wednesday night's Carling Cup tie at Exeter City and indicated a willingness to allow him to depart, even on loan, to spare their wage bill. The player is keen to return to London and although QPR may offer an alternative destination, his preference is to be reunited with Redknapp at Spurs.

Cole is willing to accept a reduction in his salary – thought to be around £80,000-a-week – to smooth his departure from Anfield but it remains to be seen whether the Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy, would share his manager's enthusiasm in pursuing the player. "I like Joe, and I am not going to say I don't want to sign him because I would be lying," said Redknapp. "I have not made any inquiries for Joe. It probably would be difficult because we tried to get him last year. It was not difficult for me but the chairman – well, he might think he didn't want to come here last year and he went to Liverpool."

Asked whether Cole would have to accept a reduction in wages to secure first-team football at Spurs, Redknapp said: "Yes, but I think he would have last time too. But we took our time making an offer and it all dragged on. In the end he probably felt he wasn't wanted enough. He is a real talent. I signed him when he was 11 [at West Ham] and he was the best young footballer I have ever seen – I have never seen anyone come near him – and I think I can get him back to where he was. I would love to work with him again."

Tottenham's activity in the market is steadily gathering pace with agreement edging closer with Real Madrid over the £10m transfer of Diarra, formerly with Arsenal and Chelsea and an FA Cup winner with Redknapp at Portsmouth. That would represent a knockdown fee as far as the Spanish club is concerned, with Real hopeful of including a sell-on fee in any deal before sanctioning the move. Diarra's salary, which amounts to some £120,000 a week, is in excess of the wage ceiling at White Hart Lane, though Levy is hoping to secure the player with a package of bonuses and a significant signing-on fee.

Adebayor's salary, too, had appeared a potential obstacle blocking his loan move from Manchester City, though Redknapp, whose side go into this evening's Europa League play-off against Hearts leading 5-0 from the away leg, indicated on Wednesday that the Togo forward will take a pay cut to return to north London, with City also paying a contribution. Spurs hope to complete the signing ahead of the weekend, though the striker would be ineligible for Sunday's visit of City to White Hart Lane.

"Emmanuel will give us something different," said Redknapp. "He has fantastic ability, and he had that spell at Arsenal when he was unplayable. He has had a spell where his reputation has gone down, so he needs to come in and have a right go. He has a big point to prove. But he's not coming for the money. He's taking a drop in salary because he fancies coming to Spurs."

£12m Reds Signing To Be Done In 'Next Few Hours'

Liverpool look set to seal their sixth signing of the summer by completing a deal for Uruguayan defender Sebastian Coates.

The imposing centre-back who, according to BBC Sport, is valued at around £12 million, currently plies his trade with Nacional, while he was one of Uruguay's star turns in their victorious Copa America campaign.

Liverpool's move for the 20-year-old has flown somewhat under the radar, but it would now appear they are close to bringing him to Anfield, after Nacional sporting manager Daniel Enriquez claimed a deal was nearly finalized.

He reportedly said: "Final details of transfer [to Liverpool] would be done in next few hours."

Coates, meanwhile, is keen to team up with international teammate Luis Suarez on Merseyside - something which has led him to choose Liverpool over Manchester City.

"Yes, it's a club with great history and tradition in English football," he told "Furthermore, it is Luis [Suarez] who would be a great help to me.

"The offer serves all parties"

He added: "He [Suarez] told me he spoke with coach Kenny Dalglish and the sports manager of the institution."

Scott Dann Close To Merseyside Move

Kenny Dalglish is readying an £8 million bid for Birmingham centre-back Scott Dann, according to The Sun.

Dann starred for Birmingham last season, and after the club was relegated, the 24-year-old has been set for an exit to another English club.

Arsenal and Liverpool both emerged as favourites to sign the star, but with Arsenal reluctant to fork out the high fee for Dann, Liverpool have taken the front line and The Sun believes that Dalglish is ready to make an official offer.

Chris Hughton recently told reporters that no offers had been made for Dann, but the Birmingham manager was resigned to something happening before deadline day.

“Whether Scott will be with us after the deadline, I don't know,” Hughton said.

Liverpool has also been connected to Gary Cahill and Sebastian Coates, but the Merseyside club are now reportedly in the winning position to land Dann, who grew up in Liverpool.

Soto Kyrgiakos left the Reds to move to Wolfsburg on Monday, leaving a space open for another defender to come onboard.

Meireles Injury Blow For Reds

Kenny Dalglish revealed Raul Meireles faces a spell on the sidelines after he damaged his shoulder during the 3-1 Carling Cup win over Exeter.

The Portugal international lasted just 23 minutes before an awkward tumble saw Andy Carroll introduced as a replacement. Carroll scored one of the Reds' three goals, but Meireles faces an uncertain spell in the treatment room.

"It's his collarbone but we don't know how long he'll be out," Dalglish told Sky Sports. "I think we are going to be without him for a couple of weeks.

"I've not got a medical term for it. He just damaged his collarbone. He just fell on it. It's disappointing. It doesn't matter if he's been playing good, bad or indifferent, it's still disappointing to pick up such an innocuous thing. We are disappointed. But I'm sure Raul is the most disappointed person."

Luis Suarez was the star man once again for Liverpool, scoring his third goal of the season before laying on Maxi Rodriguez's first. Dalglish was typically subtle in his praise of the forward, and he also offered appreciative words to Carroll - who had not scored before Wednesday evening.

"I'm pleased for him," Dalglish said of Carroll. "And I'm pleased for Maxi who also got on the scoresheet for the time this season. Obviously Luis is hogging the limelight a wee bit by scoring again but it's great, especially for Andy to get off the mark with fantastic strike.

"We are delighted for him. He might have come on a bit later had Raul not got injured. But he did well when he came on."

Asked specifically about Suarez's contribution, Dalglish responded: "Well he doesn't give many bad performances does he."

Roma Won’t Hijack Aquilani Deal

Roma have dismissed whispers that they will attempt to hijack Milan’s move for Alberto Aquilani.

“These voices are unfounded,” Roma sporting director Walter Sabatini told Radio Mana Mana. “I don’t want to give false hope to people.”

Aquilani was brought up in the Roma youth ranks, but was sold to Liverpool in the summer of 2009 for £20m.

He then spent last season on loan at Juventus before the Turin giants opted against signing him outright.

Aquilani’s agent Franco Zavaglia has been talking with the Rossoneri over the last few days and a move seems imminent.

The Italian international will reportedly join the Italian champions on loan, but Milan will be obliged to buy him on a permanent basis should he appear in a certain amount of games.

The transfer could be made official at some point on Thursday.

Liverpool Launch First Football Academy In India

English Premier League club Liverpool launched their first football academy in India on Wednesday and said the club would have similar "footprints" in every continent by 2014.

"We want to have footprints in every continent in the next three years," Steve Turner, head of Liverpool FC International Football Academy, told reporters after signing a contract to set up the Indian academy on the outskirts of Delhi.

Turner and former Liverpool striker Ian Rush will also travel to China to explore similar opportunities.

"China is next and we are also in discussions for potential partnerships in South America, United States, Canada, Vietnam and also Malaysia," Turner added.

Asked why Liverpool chose India, one of the world's fastest growing economies, Turner said; "We are trying to connect with our fans and the football academy is a vehicle."

European clubs have been keen to tap the Asian market, a growing trend underlined by Manchester United's plans of a $1 billion initial public offering (IPO) in Singapore by the end of the year.

Former England and Liverpool midfielder Steve McMahon will be head coach of the Indian academy which is named after him.

Four centres are planned in and around Delhi and more facilities across the country over the next 18 months.

McMahon said the project was not "money-driven" and would hopefully improve the standard of football in India.

"It's going to take time but we are not here for a quick-fix," he added. "We are here for a long time."

Government To Sanction Release Of Hillsborough Disaster Documents

The Government is "happy" for all documents relating to the Hillsborough disaster to be released, the Cabinet Office has announced.

Until now, ministers have failed to officially support calls for all the reports about the 1989 tragedy in which 96 Liverpool fans died to be made public.

The Government was considering whether to release Cabinet papers should the Hillsborough Independent Panel ask it to as this would be a highly unusual step ahead of the 30-year rule.

But after an online petition gained 100,000 signatories, ministers have said they will sanction the release of all documents the panel believes should be made public.

It is understood the panel may put forward its recommendations on which papers should be released as early as the spring of next year.

In a statement, a Cabinet Office spokesman said: "The Government has confirmed its commitment to full transparency about the Hillsborough disaster through full public disclosure.
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"All papers had previously been shared with the Hillsborough Independent Panel. The Government is happy for all the papers to be released as soon as the panel so decides, in consultation with the families.

"We expect them to be shared with the Hillsborough families first and then to the wider public."

A spokesman said it would still appeal against the ruling of information commissioner Christopher Graham that the papers should now be made public as it said it wanted them to be released in an ordered way to the victims' families first before the media.

By reaching the milestone of 100,000 signatories, the petition has automatically sparked a parliamentary debate.