Friday, August 26, 2011

Dalglish Impressed By New-Look Liverpool

Kenny Dalglish believes his new-look Liverpool are beginning to hit their stride as the Reds look to maintain their unbeaten start to the season against Bolton on Saturday.

Dalglish has made wholesale changes at Anfield since taking charge in January - spending over £100 million on new players - and the Scot has already seen signs that his heavy investment is paying off.

Dalglish's revolution has seen him recruit the likes of Andy Carroll, Luis Suarez, Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing to bolster a squad now tipped to mount a push for at least a top-four finish.

There is the promise of further signings, with Sebastian Coates, a 20-year-old Uruguay defender, thought to be close to completing a transfer from Nacional.

But Dalglish is already delighted with the way his squad is developing and the Reds boss said: "We're happy with what we've got. We've been absolutely delighted with, but not surprised, by the way the players have gone about their work in training and in games and we're happy with the way they've started the season.

"We've said before the squad this year is stronger than the one we had last year in every department. Going forward is part of that - you're not going to win too many games if you don't score goals. It's an important part of the squad making sure you've got enough people up front who are going to get you goals, but it's also equally important to make sure you don't lose any.

Dalglish's side began the new Premier League season with a draw against Sunderland. But back-to-back away wins against Arsenal and then Exeter in the League Cup have boosted morale at Anfield.

He believes the rapport between new strike pairing Suarez and Carroll is beginning to improve as well, with both players having got off the mark in the opening few games of the new season. "Luis is always going to score goals, but three in three is certainly a reasonable return from him," Dalglish said. "We're delighted with Andy as well. I'm sure we'll be happy with their contributions, not just this season, but throughout their careers at Liverpool."

Liverpool will be expected to continue their impressive start against a Bolton team whose convincing opening-day win over QPR was followed by a narrow defeat to Manchester City. "They got a fantastic result in the first game at QPR and were a bit unfortunate as they had a good game against Man City," Dalglish said.

"They've scored six goals in two games and they don't know when they're beaten. It will be a difficult game, but we know what to expect and it's up to us to overcome it. We're at home, so the onus is on us to take the game to them - and we'll try our best to do that."

Suarez's Form Pleases Kenny

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has expressed his delight at star striker Luis Suarez's form this season.

The Uruguay international made it three goals in three games after he found the back of the net in Wednesday's 3-1 Carling Cup win at Exeter.

Suarez netted in Liverpool's season-opener against Sunderland before scoring off the bench in last weekend's 2-0 success over Arsenal.

Dalglish knew Suarez would have his tail up following a hugely successful Copa America and the Anfield boss is pleased the striker has maintained his good form.

"He was on a high when he came back from the Copa America," he told the club's official website. "He was voted player of the tournament and they won it, so he is going to be on a high and flying.

"Luis is always going to score goals, but three in three is certainly a reasonable return from him."

Strike partner Andy Carroll also found the back of the net in the Carling Cup tie and Dalglish is pleased with both of his big-money captures.

"We're delighted with the pair of them and I'm sure we'll be happy with their contributions - not just this season, but throughout their careers at Liverpool," he concluded.

Sebastian Coates Flies In For Medical At LFC

Sebastian Coates will move a step nearer to completing a move to Liverpool FC today – and the Uruguayan centre-back could yet be followed into LFC by Craig Bellamy.

Coates will undergo a medical at Melwood today having been given permission to fly to Merseyside after Liverpool FC had an £8million bid for the centre-back accepted by Nacional.

Compatriot Luis Suarez is said to have been influential in persuading the 20-year-old, who was voted Best Young Player at the recent Copa America, to ignore advances from Manchester City and instead hold talks with Liverpool.

Downing Glad With Reds Quality

Liverpool winger Stewart Downing is optimistic of a successful 2011/12 season and is hopeful that they can garner back-to-back victories this weekend by defeating Bolton Wanderers at Anfield.

Downing joined the Reds from Aston Villa this summer and has started in each of their two league matches against Sunderland and Arsenal.

Kenny Dalglish's side have made a number of signings during the transfer window including those of Doni, Charlie Adam and Jose Enrique, and Downing says that all of the newcomers get along well with those who were already present in the team.

"There's a good mix of lads, young and old, English lads and foreign lads," the 27-year-old told Liverpool's official website. "We all get on very well, which helps a lot.

"Team spirit is a massive part of football and I sensed that straight away. The lads are really close and I think that helps on the pitch. It's showing in our performances.

"I'm very excited about what we could achieve this season. With the squad we have now, you can see there's a lot of quality, even on the bench.

"There are people who aren't getting picked who are top players. For the manager it's probably a headache but one he'd like."

The Reds have made a positive start to the league campaign, drawing 1-1 with Sunderland in their opening game and then defeating Arsenal 2-0 at the Emirates last weekend.

Downing is confident that they can earn a similar positive result against Bolton on Saturday evening but urges caution.

"We've got to make Anfield a cauldron, a hard place to come," he explained. "I thought we played very well against Sunderland, especially the first half.

"But at Arsenal it was a very good team performance. We have to build on that. It'll be tough. I watched Bolton against Man City and they played very well. They were unlucky not to get something.

"They pass it around a lot now. He (Owen Coyle) has brought Tuncay in who I played with at Middlesbrough.

"He's a very good footballer, and Eagles is a good winger. Their style of play is to get it down, pass the ball and get it wide - similar to how we play, a little bit. I think it will be a good game of football."

Henderson Admits Simulation

Jordan Henderson admits he was correctly booked for simulation during Liverpool's Carling Cup win at Exeter but insists he did not cheat.

Henderson went down inside the box in the second half, with referee Tony Bates waving away penalty appeals before brandishing the yellow card.

"I think the referee got it right, to be fair," Henderson told the Daily Mirror. "I probably over-ran it, and although I didn't cheat or dive, I did go down far too easily. So I think it was a fair call."

Liverpool ran out 3-1 winners, with goals from Luis Suarez, Maxi Rodriguez and Andy Carroll, with Henderson playing 90 minutes in a strong side named by manager Kenny Dalglish.

And the former Sunderland midfielder believes Dalglish showed respect to their opponents and the Carling Cup, while managers have been quick to criticize the competition.

He said: "I thought I worked hard against Exeter, and I feel a lot fitter - hopefully I can keep building on my performances and keep improving.

"There were lots of positives to come out of the game. We avoided the banana skin, we put a strong team out and gave both the Carling Cup and Exeter the respect they deserve.

"It's up to other managers to say whether [the Carling Cup] matters to them or not, but we definitely care. It's an opportunity to go to Wembley, to win a trophy and to play in Europe.

"That's what Liverpool want, and that's why I signed for the club - because they want to win trophies and finish as high as they can.

"Four points from two Premier League games, and an away win in the Carling Cup, is a good start, but we need to keep building and keep pushing.

"I think we're playing some good football at times. There's still some improving we need to do with the team and we need to gel better, but defensively we've improved, and if we continue to do that it's looking good."

Henderson was delighted to see former Newcastle striker Carroll get off the mark for the season and, following the Magpies' 1-0 win at Sunderland last weekend, he revealed the pair have not forgotten their roots.

Henderson said: "There was a bit of banter between Andy and myself about the Tyne-Wear derby result last weekend, but the most important thing is that we got a good result at Arsenal.

"Now he's up and running, I'm sure it will be the first of many this season. His goal at Exeter was a great finish."

Liverpool Prepared To Let Joe Cole Talk To Tottenham Hotspur

While Liverpool is prepared to let Joe Cole go to Tottenham Hotspur, Kenny Dalglish is looking to bring in two players to Anfield.

The Merseyside club is close to signing Nacional's 6ft 4in centre-half, Sebastián Coates, who excelled in Uruguay's Copa América campaign.

A deal to bring Craig Bellamy back to Anfield also looks likely.

The move that would take Bellamy back to Liverpool, where he spent a single season, gained momentum when Manchester City indicated they would be prepared to settle the striker's £90,000-a-week contract to allow him to leave immediately.

Alberto Aquilani Completes Loan Move To AC Milan

Liverpool midfielder Alberto Aquilani will return to Italy with AC Milan for the rest of the season after agreeing a loan move to the San Siro.

The former Roma player moved to Anfield in 2009 but struggled to make an impact in the Barclays Premier League and was allowed to spend the 2010/11 campaign back in Serie A with Juventus.

Now Milan has moved for the 27-year-old Italy international, with the deal only now hinging on the outcome of a medical.

Liverpool announced on their official website that an option has been negotiated to make the move permanent in the future.

Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli said: "I want to pay tribute to the way Alberto has conducted himself during these discussions.

"Throughout the entire process, his only desire has been to play football and he has put this ahead of any other considerations and at personal cost to himself. We wish him well for the season ahead."

Gary Speed Sees Benefit In Craig Bellamy Returning To Liverpool

Wales manager Gary Speed has welcomed reports linking striker Craig Bellamy with a return to Liverpool.

The 32-year-old appears surplus to requirements at Manchester City after being frozen out of manager Roberto Mancini's plans.

Reports claim Bellamy, who spent last season on loan at Cardiff, is being considered by Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish as back-up to first-choice strikers Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez.

Bellamy spent the 2006-07 season with Liverpool before moving to West Ham United and then City, where he fell out of favour after Mancini replaced Mark Hughes as manager two years ago.

Speed said: "It is only natural Craig is going to be linked with top clubs because he is a top player.

"Liverpool is a fantastic club and if that is true and it comes off, that would be great.

"Hopefully by the end of the transfer window things will be sorted out."

Celtic manager Neil Lennon made it clear over the summer that he was interested in taking Bellamy back to Parkhead.

The striker played in Glasgow on loan in 2005 but is not keen to return north of the border.

"I do not want to go on loan again, because where would I go after that?" said Bellamy at the beginning of this month.

"A permanent move would be the best, but it would have to be somewhere wealthy so I can guarantee future earnings for my charity."

Martinez Warns Liverpool Off Rodallega

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has told Liverpool that they have left it too late to make a move for striker Hugo Rodallega.

Reds boss Kenny Dalglish has boosted his midfield and defensive options this summer, but has yet to add any attacking reinforcements to complement an already impressive front line of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez.

Time is running out in the summer transfer window, but it is being claimed Dalglish is ready to test Wigan's resolve to hold onto Rodallega. The Colombian's contract has less than a year to run, but the Latics have insisted they will not sell as it will not give them enough time to bring in a replacement.

"We would not consider anything," Martinez is quoted as saying in the Daily Mirror. "You can't replace players at this stage of the season.

"If a player is moving on for big money they have to go earlier in the summer. We would not be in a position to replace him now. It is not possible."