Thursday, September 01, 2011

Raul Meireles Signs For Chelsea

Chelsea has signed Portugal midfielder Raul Meireles from Liverpool in a deal rumoured to be worth around £12million.

Blues manager Andre Villas-Boas signed the 28-year-old minutes before the summer transfer window closed on Wednesday evening.

It was announced Meireles had handed in a transfer request at Liverpool just 30 minutes before the deadline closed, with Chelsea announcing their new signing shortly after.

A statement on the club’s official website declared: ‘Chelsea Football Club is delighted to announce the signing of Raul Meireles from Liverpool on a four-year contract.’

Meireles made 44 appearances at Liverpool after joining from Porto in August 2010.

Villas-Boas moved to secure the services of the 28-year-old after it became apparent Chelsea were not going to be able to persuade Spurs to part company with Luka Modric, despite bidding £40million for the Croatian.

Craig Bellamy Re-Joins Liverpool

Manchester City were at the heart of two of the most surprising deals on transfer deadline day but the world's richest club did not spend a penny as Owen Hargreaves and Craig Bellamy were given the chance to resurrect their careers.

Bellamy left the Wales training camp on Wednesday afternoon and flew into Liverpool for surprise talks with his former club.

Bellamy left Anfield in 2007 after just 12 months at the club but completed a surprise return to Anfield on the final day of the transfer window.

Liverpool confirmed the deal in a statement on Wednesday, declaring: 'Liverpool have tonight announced Craig Bellamy has signed a contract with the club.

'He will wear shirt number 39.'

Liverpool Striker Completes Move Away From Anfield

Liverpool striker David N'Gog has completed his deadline day move to Bolton.

The French striker, who joined the club from Paris Saint Germain in 2008, has failed to live up to expectations and following the signings of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez in January, has found his first team opportunities limited.

Kop boss Kenny Dalglish has made it clear that N'Gog is surplus to requirements at Anfield, especially with the club still holding out for a last minute capture of Manchester City striker Craig Bellamy.

Bellamy has reportedly undergone a medical at Anfield and this has paved the way for the young Frenchman to secure a £4 million switch to Owen Coyle's Bolton.

A statement on the Liverpool website confirmed the departure of N'Gog. It read: "Liverpool has confirmed that David Ngog has completed his transfer to Bolton Wanderers.

"Everyone at Liverpool FC would like to wish David all the best with his future career."

When asked about his new acquisition, Owen Coyle said: "David will be a great addition to our squad.

"He is quick, can score goals and he knows what the Barclays Premier League is all about.

"Added to that there is his European experience with Liverpool in the Champions and Europa Leagues.

"He has represented his country at a host of junior levels and he will offer our team further attacking options.

"We are delighted to bring another quality, young prospect to Bolton."

Liverpool Sign Villyan Bijev & Loan Him To Fortuna Dusseldorf

Liverpool has signed young American striker Villyan Bijev from US side California Odyssey.

After impressing on a trial period at Melwood, scoring five goals in two games for the Reds in July, the youngster has now signed a three-year deal with the club.

The 18-year-old netted over 20 goals for his side at under-16 level, averaging a goal a game and was voted into the national starting XI at the under-18 rank.

However, Bijev has yet to be handed a work permit to play in England and has been loaned out to Fortuna Dusseldorf.

JR Eskilson, of USA, says Bijev is a "very gifted" player who can operate as a striker or in midfield, with good technique and a goalscoring mentality, although he is not the strongest in possession.

"In brief terms, he is very gifted," he said. "He has a deft touch, nose for the goal, and is deceivingly elusive for a player of his stature. He is making a big jump in terms of quality from a playing standpoint, but he is a very determined young man who comes from an educated family (in terms of soccer and smarts) and he is taking calculated risks for the better of his long-term career.

"He will do extremely well as long as he is placed in the right environment to help his development."

Poulsen Lured To Evian

Christian Poulsen has revealed he was persuaded to leave Liverpool by Evian coach Pascal Dupraz.

The 31-year-old was signed by former Liverpool coach Roy Hodgson for £4.5million from Juventus last season.

Poulsen arrived at Anfield with an impressive reputation but struggled to find his best form at Liverpool.

His situation was not helped when Hodgson was sacked so early into his reign and was used sparingly under Kenny Dalglish.

Competition for places in midfield was increased over the summer with the acquisitions of Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson.

Poulsen, who is a Denmark international, had expressed a desire to remain at Anfield but the loquacious tones of Dupraz convinced him to accept a new challenge.

"I liked the speech of Pascal and the project of the club is really good too," he told the club's official website.

"What matters is the level of competition. The French Ligue 1 championship is very good. I will do everything to have a dominant share in the future success of my new team."

Fellow Denmark internationals Stephan Andersen and Daniel Wass are already at the club and Poulsen feels having familiar faces around will make it easier for him to settle at Evian.

"Stephan is a very good friend and the integration will be easier."

Liverpool Given First Refusal On Eden Hazard

French newspaper La Voix du Nord are reporting that Liverpool will be given first refusal to sign Eden Hazard next summer as Joe Cole's loan move has now been completed.

The highly rated Belgian winger has been highly coveted throughout Europe this summer with Arsenal been heavily linked with a move for the 20-year-old but now Cole's move to Lille has gone through, Liverpool have been given the opportunity to sign Hazard next summer.

Hazard said on Monday: "I hope we will have an even better season than last year. Anyway, I enjoy it here. The rumours must stop. I am here."

Despite the signing of Stewart Downing this summer, Kenny Dalglish appears keen to add to his numbers in the wide positions, to assist Andy Carroll.

Liverpool have already spent in excess of £100 million this summer and with the squad now full, a move for the Lille man this summer would seem unlikely.

Cole Relishing Lille Challenge

Midfielder Joe Cole is looking forward to a fresh challenge after joining French champions Lille on a season-long loan deal from Liverpool.

The England international completed the move on transfer deadline day to end a summer of speculation over his future.

The 29-year-old had failed to establish himself at Anfield since arriving on a free transfer last summer and had fallen well down manager Kenny Dalglish's pecking order.

Cole will get the chance to play UEFA Champions League football with the Ligue 1 club this season and is looking forward to a change of scenery.

"I wanted a challenge from abroad," he said. "Lille is a beautiful club, a family club that plays well.

"I like intelligence in football. It will be an interesting experience for me.

"I think I'm going in the right direction. I'm here to help Lille by bringing my experience and the quality to win many trophies."

Degen's Contract Terminated

Liverpool might not have managed to sell Philipp Degen, however he's left the Reds.

The Swiss defender has seen his contract terminated by mutual consent, as a statement on explained:

'Liverpool Football Club have tonight confirmed they have cancelled the registration of Philipp Degen by mutual consent.

'The Swiss defender moved to Anfield from Borussia Dortmund in 2008 and made 13 first-team appearances.'

Downing Eyes England Spot

Liverpool winger Stewart Downing has revealed he hopes to emulate former Aston Villa team-mate Ashley Young and earn a regular spot in Fabio Capello's England squad.

Young has become a regular fixture in Capello's starting XI over the past year, scoring his first international goals against Denmark in February and Switzerland in June.

His form for club and country saw him secure a big-money move to Manchester United this summer, while Downing also moved on from Villa Park, joining Kenny Dalglish's Liverpool in July.

Speaking ahead of England's Euro 2012 qualifier in Bulgaria on Friday the former Middlesbrough winger stated his determination to join Young in the England starting line-up.

"Ashley's progress does act as an inspiration, and not only for me. We all have to be ready to be called upon by Fabio Capello," said the 27-year-old.

"There is competition for places. He [Young] has seen people competing with him for a place in the team and he's grabbing it with both hands which we all have to do when given the chance.

"I hope I can go from strength to strength with England. I'm enjoying my football at the minute. I'm playing with a lot of confidence and I am hoping to be involved a lot more.

"There are a lot of players here from the top four or five clubs. I think the competition for places is quite strong.

"It is good for England, good for the squad. It keeps people on their toes.

"It's probably a headache for the manager but I'm sure it's one he would like."

Kelly Set For Swift Return

Liverpool is confident defender Martin Kelly will make a quick recovery from his hamstring injury.

The 21-year-old, who missed the end of last season due to a similar fitness problem, was forced off after half-an-hour of last weekend's win over Bolton at Anfield.

But first-team coach Steve Clarke is optimistic Kelly will soon be back in action, which could suggest he may return for the trip to Stoke after the international break on 10th September.

Clarke told Liverpool's official website: "Martin Kelly came off because he felt a little tightness in his hamstring.

"It was obviously disappointing for the player and disappointing for ourselves, but it's looking like a low-grade injury and so he should be back fairly quickly."

Reserves Suffer Swansea Defeat

10-man Liverpool Reserves began the 2011-12 Barclays Premier Reserve League season with a 2-1 defeat at Swansea City.

The Reds capitalized on a positive start by taking an early lead through Conor Coady at Parc-Y-Scarlets in Llanelli.

However, Scotland international Craig Beattie drew the hosts level on 31 minutes before Liverpool had Emmanuel Mendy sent off shortly after for bringing the striker down inside the box.

David Cotterill netted the resulting penalty and despite a spirited effort in the second half, the Reds were unable to muster a leveller.

Rodolfo Borrell selected a strong XI for his first league game in charge of the second string, with the likes of Coady, Raheem Sterling, Suso, Nathan Eccleston and Toni Silva all handed starting berths.

However, Swansea's line up also boasted a wealth of experience including Beattie, Cotterill, Tom Butler, Mark Gower and Andrea Orlandi.

The average age of the two sides was certainly tipped in favour of the hosts, but Liverpool's youthful exuberance saw them take a sixth-minute lead.

Krisztian Adorjan's dangerous in-swinging free-kick from the left was unwittingly flicked across the face of goal by a Swans' defender, allowing Coady to ghost into the six-yard box and tuck home.

It was just rewards for a bright start to the contest by the Reds - but Orlandi was millimetres away from drawing Swansea level with a long-range blast that clipped the roof of the net.

Liverpool's response saw Silva surge beyond Ashley Richards into the area and cut the ball back for Eccleston, who was narrowly off target, before Sterling saw an effort just clear the crossbar soon after.

Swansea had rarely troubled Tyrell Belford's goal, however they restored parity on 31 minutes.

A half-cleared corner was worked back out to Cotterill on the right. His cross was misjudged by Stephen Sama and Beattie gleefully tapped in from close quarters.

Two minutes later and on a night on which they'd started so promisingly, Liverpool were left facing an uphill task as their hopes were dealt a double blow.

Mendy's rash challenge on Beattie inside the box as the pair chased a long ball forward was punished with a penalty to the hosts and a straight red card for the Liverpool defender. Cotterill made no mistake with the resulting spot-kick.

Swansea was now firmly in the ascendancy and only a fine block by Matty McGiveron prevented Tom Butler from a clear strike on goal.

The Welsh team was dominating possession and Mark Gower's dangerous delivery into the box just before half-time was inches away from being converted by Orlandi before Daniel Alfei bulleted a header wide from a corner.

With Swansea's numerical advantage - and greater senior experience - the second half was always going to prove a difficult task for Borrell's men.

Still, to their credit, the Reds never shirked the challenge and Sterling was unlucky when his mazy run and cross just cut out before it could reach Silva in the centre.

With 20 minutes left on the clock, substitute David Amoo was sent speeding into space inside the box but the forward's low drive was turned around the post by Gerhard Tremmel.

As the game edged towards its conclusion, Sterling shaved the outside of the post with a skimming effort from the edge of the box, but it wasn't to be for Liverpool.