Monday, September 05, 2011

Capello Warning For Carroll

Fabio Capello has confirmed that he will not include Andy Carroll in his starting XI in his current shape.

Carroll was named in the England squad for the games against Bulgaria and Wales.

But the Liverpool striker was not deemed fit enough to feature in Sofia and was not even on the bench for the 3-0 win.

And Capello admits the £35million hit-man needs to prove himself at Liverpool first before he can be back involved with England.

"He needs to find good form," Capello said.

"Against Bulgaria I chose 25 players and decided that the first 11 would be the players who were, for me, in the best moment of form.

"Andy didn't start the last game with Liverpool and probably he is not at the top of his form.

"Also he is big. He needs to play games, games, games.

"When these players, like Frank Lampard, like Andy, are fit and at the top of their form, they will be important."

Real Madrid Set Sights On Liverpool Striker

Mourinho is said to be keen on Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, who has made an instant impact on Merseyside. Kenny Dalglish will fight tooth and nail to keep the Uruguayan at Anfield but the allure of a move to Real Madrid may be hard to fend off.

Indeed it seems that the Scot sees the former Ajax man as his first choice striker and whilst a pairing of Andy Carroll is used for some Liverpool fixtures the season Dalglish has looked to play Suarez up front on his own and taking advantage of the goals he can now hope to see coming from his new midfield signings such as Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson.

Liverpool paid £23m to bring Suarez to the club in January and it would take a fairly hefty offer from Real Madrid to have any chance of convincing the club to sell but Mourinho may be relying on the temptation of playing for the Spanish giants being enough to convince the prolific 24 year old pushing for a move.

Scotland Suffer Adam Blow

Scotland midfielder Charlie Adam has pulled out of Tuesday's Euro 2012 qualifier against Lithuania due to a hip injury, the Scottish Football Association has announced.

Adam picked up the knock during Saturday's 2-2 draw with the Czech Republic at Hampden Park and was forced off the pitch in the 79th minute.

The SFA confirmed that Adam would be absent from Tuesday's clash on their Twitter page late on Sunday, posting: "Charlie Adam definitely out".

His absence further depletes Craig Levein's squad, which has been ravaged by injury and suspensions.

Levein has also lost the services of Brighton striker Craig Mackail-Smith, who pulled out earlier on Sunday with a back injury.

First-choice striker Kenny Miller is suspended after being booked on Saturday.

The manager is also missing midfielder Scott Brown through suspension but full-back Steven Whittaker returns after a ban.

Jordan Henderson Leave England Under-21 Squad

Liverpool and England Under-21 midfielder Jordan Henderson has been granted permission to leave the Under-21 set-up early to join up with Kenny Dalglish’s squad ahead of their match against Stoke City next weekend.

The former Sunderland man was on target for Stuart Pearce’s side as they got their Euro 2013 qualification campaign off to the perfect start with a 6-0 win over Azerbaijan on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Chelsea's McEachran has pulled out of the squad with a hamstring injury, meaning Tottenham youngster Adam Smith, who is on loan at MK Dons, has been called up.

England Under-21s play Israel in a friendly at Oakwell on Monday.

Liverpool Move Already Paying Off For Downing

Stewart Downing believes his England career is already seeing the benefit of his summer move to Liverpool FC.

Downing has been in impressive form during the opening weeks of the season following his near-£20m arrival from Aston Villa during the transfer window.

The 27-year-old last week revealed a determination to make a greater mark on the international stage after admitting his time with England had previously felt peripheral.

And after playing an integral part in the 3-0 win for Fabio Capello’s side in Friday’s Euro 2012 qualifier in Bulgaria, Downing is confident his prospects can only improve while at Anfield.

“I feel that I am an England player and my aim always must be to start games at this level,” said the winger.

“I have joined a terrific club. I am really enjoying myself at Liverpool and playing under a great manager like Kenny Dalglish can only help me get even better.

“It's been a good start to the season – both with Liverpool and now England.

“There is a good mixture of youth and experience in this England side and the signs are good for the future after what we did in Bulgaria.”

Downing will hope to retain his starting role in tomorrow’s Wembley qualifier against Wales, where victory would take Capello’s men to the brink of qualification for next summer’s finals in Poland and Ukraine.

Liverpool team-mate Andy Carroll is vying for a recall up front alongside Wayne Rooney after missing out in Sofia.

Gerrard Welcomes Craig Bellamy Back To Liverpool FC

Steven Gerrard has welcomed the return of “top professional” Craig Bellamy to Liverpool FC and backed him to make a big impact this season.

The Liverpool skipper was delighted with the deadline day swoop for the Welsh striker who completed a free transfer from Manchester City.

Bellamy is back at the club he left four years ago and Gerrard is confident the 32-year-old will prove to be a real asset for boss Kenny Dalglish.

“I’m delighted that Craig is back – I didn’t want him to leave in the first place,” Gerrard said.

“That pace and the fiery character he’s got will help us in our push for success this season.

“When he was here before he was popular and one of the hardest working in training. He was always in the gym getting himself in good shape.

“What people need to realize is that Craig is a top professional. He works really hard day in, day out.

“He’s very knowledgeable about the game and I know even though he’s slightly older than me he will still want to learn and do well here.

“I’m sure he will be desperate to play for Kenny. He will have watched Liverpool from the outside like me in recent months and seen a lot of positive things. He will be excited to come back and we’re glad to have him back.”

Gerrard, who will return to full training later this week after completing his rehab following groin surgery, has also backed Liverpool’s decision to let Raul Meireles leave just before the transfer window closed.

The Portugal international was allowed to move to Chelsea for £12million after submitting a written transfer request.

“It was a bit of a surprise because of the timing,” Gerrard said.

“I don’t think Raul had been too happy because he wanted more game time, but the players who have been playing before him have been doing really well.

“He put in a transfer request and I’m sure Kenny and Damien (Comolli) thought if he’s going to be unhappy and doesn’t want to be here then it was better to move him on.

“It was probably the right decision and we got good money back for him.”

Clarke: We're Satisfied

Steve Clarke believes Liverpool has every reason to be satisfied with their start to 2011-12.

The Reds have picked up seven points from a possible nine in the Barclays Premier League, while they also made sure of a place in the third round of the Carling Cup with a 3-1 win over Exeter City.

A stylish attacking verve has characterized Liverpool's performances this term - and Clarke feels everyone within the camp can feel pleased with their efforts thus far.

The first-team coach told "We're all reasonably satisfied with the start. Obviously we're two points missing from the perfect start, but if you analyze the performances and how we've done, everybody should be quite happy.

"Each game individually has had pleasing aspects. It was important to go into the international break on the back of a good performance and win. We got that against Bolton, so that's probably been the most satisfying game so far."

Although many of Liverpool's first-team stars are currently away from Melwood in action for their countries, work continues at the club's training complex in preparation for the trip to Stoke City on September 10.

Clarke is eager to stress the importance of ensuring the international hiatus is of minimal disruption.

He said: "We've got a small group of players here. The internationals have gone and it's important for us to manage the players that are here well and make sure they don't lose out on their work on the training pitch and in the gym because we have to keep them fit and ready for the next game.

"We're here, we're working hard and when the international break comes along you've just go to deal with it. From our point of view, we'd like to have them all here working towards the next game, but we don't get them back until the Wednesday before we play Stoke City. From there, we prepare the team for the game."

He added: "The plans have started (for Stoke), but obviously you cannot only work with five players before the game.

"We'll be watching videos, preparing, and I'll be having a little think about training sessions and what we can do when we get the whole group back together.

"They'll come back Wednesday, most will have played on the Tuesday night and be a little bit tired, so on Thursday and Friday we'll start to nail down a few details for the weekend.

"But we should go into the game in a good moment. We finished the first part of the season on a high, we'll go through the international with hopefully no injuries and then we have to get ready for a couple of difficult away games."

While Clarke's work during the break will predominantly be done at Melwood, he'll be keen to take in as much of the internationals as possible.

Indeed, the Scot will be at Craven Cottage on Monday night to take in Brazil against Ghana - a match Lucas Leiva is expected to figure in.

He said: "You can always pick up a game that's interesting, whether it's by television coverage or getting down to watch it. I'm actually penciled in to go and watch Lucas play against Ghana

"There's always something you can do and always a game you can watch - and who knows? You might identify a talent for the future."

Hansen: Them Boys Can Pass

Alan Hansen believes the passing ability of Liverpool's summer signings has been a big factor in the club's impressive start to the campaign.

The legendary Reds captain has enjoyed watching the new recruits in action and thinks each of them has added to the quality in the squad.

Hansen told this week's LFC Magazine: "Against Bolton it was wave after wave of attack and what helps this is the passing ability of all the players. The football was tight and quick and all of the new signings have contributed towards this improvement.

"Charlie Adam is the obvious playmaker in midfield, but all of the other new boys can pass too.

"Stewart Downing has surprised me. I knew he was a good winger but I didn't realize how comfortable he was in possession. He makes the game look easy and that is the mark of a top player. He picks up great positions and retains the ball whether he's defending or attacking. It proves that when you get a player to the club, you never know quite how good someone is.

"Jose Enrique is the same. You'd think he's been playing for Liverpool for years. Then there's Jordan Henderson. It was great for him to get a goal. He rarely gives the ball away but you could tell that the goal gave him a lot of confidence. Again, like the others, he's very calm in the tightest of situations and keeps things ticking over."