Friday, September 09, 2011

Liverpool Run Rule Over Talismanic Striker

Liverpool loan target Mario Gomez is keen on a move to England, and would relish the challenge of testing himself in the Barclays Premier League reveals German website TZ.

The 26-year-old Bayern Munich striker is looking to engineer a move away from the Bundesliga when the transfer window reopens in January, and according to the website that move could be to Merseyside.

Reds boss Kenny Dalglish was known to be in the market for a forward to boost his attacking options at Anfield this summer, and rushed through a deadline day deal for Craig Bellamy - a move that saw the Welshman return to his former club four years after his Liverpool exile under former manager Rafael Benitez.

After failing in their attempts to bring Gomez in on loan last year, Liverpool may wish to renew their interest in January depending on how their current crop of strikers perform in the first half of the season.

Luis Suarez has become an instant fans' favourite on Merseyside, after a series of impressive displays following his £24million move from Ajax last January.

But £35million record signing Andy Carroll has struggled to hit top gear since moving to Anfield from Newcastle United in the same window. After coming into criticism recently regarding his off-the-field antics, all eyes will be on Liverpool's No.9 to see if he can deliver.

If however, Carroll fails to rediscover his goal-scoring form, the Reds may turn to Gomez who hit 39 goals for Bayern in all competitions last season, and the German international has started the 2011-12 campaign in similar fashion with four league goals already to his name this term.

Inter Milan Join Liverpool & Spurs For Brazilian Starlet

Tottenham and Liverpool will face a fight with Inter Milan for Sao Paulo midfielder Lucas.

The attacking midfielder – no relation to Liverpool’s current midfield anchorman – has been impressing a host of European teams with his performances in the Brazilian top-flight and has now caught Inter’s eye.

The 19-year-old has also been monitored by Liverpool and Tottenham but Kenny Dalglish’s side would have an advantage over Spurs as namesake Lucas Leiva is often his room-mate on international trips.

Inter are lining up a £15m bid but Sao Paulo are reluctant to sell as the teenager is only in his second full season with the first-team.

Liverpool Locked In Battle Over Danish Wonderkid

Liverpool are reportedly 'locked in battle' with AC Milan over Danish starlet Christian Eriksen.

The 19-year-old midfielder, who has earned rave reviews for his performances at both international and domestic level, had previously been earmarked as a star of the future at Ajax by Dennis Bergkamp and Johan Cruyff before graduating to the senior side in 2010.

Compared to Danish legends Brian and Michael Laudrupp, the teenager quickly began to attract interest from around Europe, with Liverpool one of the leading clubs in the race for the player's signature.

Now, talkSPORT claims the Reds are set to go head-to-head with the Serie 'A' outfit in a bidding war for the player, with Kenny Dalglish eager to secure Eriksen's future as a star of the future at Anfield.

Reports from Italy that the San Siro have recently entered the race for the player is only likely to fuel the interest of Liverpool further, with the Merseysiders looking to plot their rise back to the top domestically and the Rossoneri eager to maintain their position as champions.

After failing in their efforts to land the player before the close of the summer transfer window, Liverpool will be in no doubt over the challenges that lie ahead when trying to secure a deal, but good relations between the two parties after the purchase of Luis Suarez from the Godenzonen back in January could be an advantage.

Liverpool FC Keeping 18-Year-Old Striker On Radar

Liverpool FC will continue to monitor 18 year old Crystal Palace striker Wilfried Zaha this season and will decide next summer whether or not to consider a bid.

The youngster has been one player in London that numerous clubs have shown interest in but with no serious bids forthcoming thus far.

It is however believed that the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal will monitor Zaha throughout the 2011-2012 season to judge his development and make a choice in June next year.

Zaha joined Crystal Palace in 2007 but signed a professional deal in 2010, the striker, who can also play in that “second striker” role has not found the net as much as he would surely have liked however his movement and passing has produced untold amounts of assists.

The player is Ivorian born but currently plays for the England U19 setup, this does however still mean he has the option to choose which country he would like to play for.

Suarez Clashes With Dalglish Over Fitness

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has told boss Kenny Dalglish that he does not want a rest - despite only having a week off during pre-season.

Having starred in Uruguay's run to the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup, Suarez was a regular for both Liverpool and former club Ajax last season. He went on to fire his country to the Copa America title in July - being named Player of the Tournament in the process - to complete a hectic 12 months.

Dalglish named him in the starting XI for Liverpool's first game of the season, before benching him for the next match, away to Arsenal - a snub that frustrated Suarez.

"I want to play in all the games I can for Liverpool," he said in the Mirror. "I don't want any rest at all. Despite only having that week's training before playing again, I'm only 24 so I felt good. I was glad to get back to training at Melwood as I had been missing that whole atmosphere around the training ground and wanted to get back to playing at Anfield."

Adam, Glen & Gerrard Latest

Kenny Dalglish has revealed he has no fresh injury worries ahead of Liverpool's trip to Stoke City this weekend as he confirmed Steven Gerrard continues to make good progress in his recovery.

The boss expects to have Charlie Adam available for selection at the Britannia Stadium after the midfielder was ruled out of Scotland's Euro 2012 qualifier with Lithuania.

Meanwhile, Glen Johnson has resumed full training following a thigh problem.

Dalglish told his pre-match press conference: "I think we've been pretty fortunate. There doesn't appear to have been anybody come back (from international duty) with any injuries.

"Glen Johnson is training alongside us again now, and Steven is getting closer everyday, so everything on the injury front seems to be pretty positive for us at the moment.

"Charlie should be alright for the game. I think it was right what Craig Levein (Scotland manager) did in not playing him on Tuesday.

"To get him back was commendable of Craig Levein."

Quizzed by journalists for further information on Gerrard, who hasn't figured since March due to a groin problem, Dalglish added: "He's not far away.

"When Steven is ready to come back it will be a fantastic boost for everybody. The transfer window is shut, so for us it will be a real bonus because it will be like a new player coming back.

"As he said himself in an interview on Saturday, everything feels really strong, fresh and he's happy with where he's got to and what he's done - and we're delighted for him.

"He deserves a break from injuries and he'll be welcomed back with open arms."

Bellamy Image Not An Issue

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has no concerns about Craig Bellamy's bad-boy reputation.

The Wales international could make his debut in his second spell with the Anfield club against Stoke on Saturday after returning on deadline day of the summer transfer window.

Bellamy's previous time at Liverpool lasted just one season in 2006/07, when ex-boss Rafa Benitez decided a lack of discipline did not fit into his tactics.

The forward's initial spell was infamous for an alleged drunken attack with a golf club on former team-mate John Arne Riise during a training camp in the Algarve prior to a game against Barcelona in February 2007.

But Dalglish is not worried by Bellamy's combustible image, as the Liverpool boss joked in his pre-match press conference ahead of the trip to Stoke: "I don't think it will be a problem. He has given up golf."

He continued: "You wouldn't want to take the personality away from any player. It is amazing how people always focus on the bad side of somebody.

"They never really focus on the good side. That doesn't make a good story."

Dalglish added: "Fortunately he has come to a club that doesn't want to do that. We want to concentrate on the good bits."

Bellamy is reported to have accepted a pay-cut to join Liverpool in a free transfer from Manchester City this August.

And Dalglish is pleased to have signed the 32-year-old in what will seemingly be a back-up role to Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll.

"I don't know why I have never signed him before in my managerial career. Maybe I wasn't working when he was available," said Dalglish.

"He is somebody that has impressed me. He has got pace. He has got quality. He loves this club, which is very important, and he will be a fantastic asset for us."

Carroll Defended By Dalglish

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish does not agree with Fabio Capello's criticism of Andy Carroll's fitness and insists he is pleased with his £35million man.

Carroll did not make the bench for the Euro 2012 qualifier in Bulgaria on Friday and, prior to Tuesday's win over Wales, England boss Capello voiced his concerns over the player's drinking habits.

It is a subject Capello has raised before but Dalglish said there were no issues with the 22-year-old frontman.

"As we've said before, Andy was not properly fit last season because of a knee injury but we have been pleased with his level of fitness this season because he has lost that injury," said Liverpool's boss.

"I think Andy is very appreciative of advice from anyone who has a good standing in football.

"I think he appreciates Capello's advice because he has great respect for Fabio and Fabio has great respect for Andy."

Carroll at the end of last season missed England's Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland and the European Under 21 Championship.

The former Newcastle striker was then this summer pictured partying on holiday in Barbados, and it prompted Capello earlier this week to say: "Andy needs to be careful.

"I don't know anything about his lifestyle. It is a private problem that I never spoke about.

"But if he wants to be a good player and a good sportsman, he needs to drink less than the others. He is not at the top of his form at the moment."

Cole Ready To Shine Again

Joe Cole is ready to immerse himself in French football and claims he is looking forward to taking on a new challenge at Lille.

The midfielder secured a loan switch to the reigning Ligue 1 champions during the summer transfer window, having been deemed surplus to requirements at Liverpool.

The 29-year-old had plenty of offers to stay in England, allowing him to remain in the Premier League, but he has opted to broaden his horizons in foreign climes.

Cole said: "I'll be throwing everything into it. For me as a person, if I go and do something, I do it properly. I'll be moving here lock, stock and barrel."

The former West Ham and Chelsea playmaker has only penned a season-long deal at Lille, but he insists he will be learning the language.

He added: "There’s a few who speak perfect English but I'm going to try and throw myself into it and learn the language."

Cole endured a troubled 2010/11 campaign at Anfield, as he struggled to hold down a regular role, but he believes it will not take him long to get back to his best.

He said: "I'm looking forward to it. I've only played one 90 minutes in nine months. I've done a full pre-season but to get to your best, you need games.

"I'm ready to go. If the manager lets me off the leash I'm ready. I just need a run of five or ten games and I'll be back to my best. I know I made the right choice and I'm happy."

Cole is also refusing to give up on his international ambitions, despite finding himself frozen out of the England picture under Fabio Capello.

Asked if he would welcome a recall, he said: "Of course. I played over 56 times for England. I've loved every minute of it. I would love to be back involved. It's hard to see the lads out there and not be part of it."

Dalglish Delighted With New Signings Bellamy & Coates

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has revealed that he is delighted to have signed Craig Bellamy and Sebastian Coates and admitted that he is considering the pair for the weekend trip to Stoke City.

Both players joined the Reds during the summer, and the Scot stated that they are now "champing at the bit" to play a part in the game against the Potters this weekend.

"Sebastian was on Damien's radar for two years. Obviously he would have only been 18 then.

"He came to prominence in the Copa America when he won it with Uruguay and was voted Young Player of the Tournament - and that's not a bad accolade when you consider (Alexis) Sanchez went for 40 million to Barcelona. He must have played well!

"We're happy to have him in. We just need to give him time to settle down and we look forward to it.

"It's the same with Craig. He's really enthusiastic at being back and made a lot of sacrifices to come back, financially and otherwise, because of what the club means to him. We're delighted to have people with that attitude here."

When quizzed as to whether the new faces are desperate to feature at the Britannia Stadium, Dalglish said: "I would think so. I would hope so. I think everybody is champing at the bit to be involved at Stoke."

Liverpool Fans Accept Huge Financial Figures

Liverpool fans are the most accepting of the Barclays Premier League's massive wage and transfer bills, according to statistics gathered by

Around three in every four football supporters believe that the amount of money being dealt at the top flight is stifling the English game.

But this compares to just one third of Liverpool fans, who answered “yes” to the question “Are transfer fees and player wages ruining competitive football?”

Reds' manager Kenny Dalglish spent over £50 million during this year's summer transfer window, a budget afforded to them by Fenway Sports Group, Liverpool's American owners.

Fans who were most concerned about the financial stranglehold at the top supported Everton and Tottenham, who finished seventh and fifth respectively last year.

Around 90% of fans from these top flight contenders thought that spending was a problem.

Everton have failed to make a single signing this year, and have instead sold top talents such as Mikel Arteta and Yakubu to cover debts of around £45 million. Two players arrived on loan deals.

Tottenham, meanwhile, managed to hold on to Croatian international Luka Modric despite big money offers from Chelsea and their multi-billionaire owner Roman Abramovich. But Harry Redknapp only managed to purchase one player this summer, West Ham's Scott Parker, who was signed on deadline day for around £5 million.

During the January transfer window Liverpool paid out £35 million for Newcastle's Andy Carroll – a record for an English player - but before Dalglish had reached the £50 million mark this summer, he excused the Anfield club's massive expenditure, which is believed to be well over £100 million.

He said: “We acted responsibly in that the club wasn't going to go bankrupt with the money we spent.

“And we acted responsibly in that we put a value on the players that we didn't want to go past. That is responsible.

“We have acted in our best interests, meaning the interests of John (W Henry), the supporters, the players, everyone at the club - we didn't pay over the odds for anybody.

“There's a lot of money in the Premier League and if we have to spend, then we will try to spend it as responsibly as we can.”

Only Manchester City and Chelsea spent more than Liverpool, with £70 million and £77 million bills respectively, but around 80% of fans from these clubs thought that spending was ruining competitive football.

Rodolfo Happy With NextGen Win

Rodolfo Borrell was full of praise for his youngsters after they produced a terrific display to beat Molde 4-0 in the NextGen Series on Wednesday night.

Toni Silva netted twice and Conor Coady and Raheem Sterling were also on the mark as the Reds claimed their first points in this tournament.

"It is a happy night for us. We scored four goals and created a lot of chances," Borrell told

"We were aware that Molde were a good side, especially after they beat Wolfsburg 3-1 in their first game, and I thought we played quite well overall.

"It was an important victory for us, especially after the defeat by Sporting Lisbon which was quite hard to take so there is still a lot of football to be played in this tournament.

"We could have scored more goals but the Molde goalkeeper made some great saves.

"We now have Wolfsburg at home which will be a very hard game like they all are in the NextGen Series, but we will enjoy this win first."

The coach also spoke of his delight at the displays of full-backs Brad Smith and Ryan McLaughlin who made his debut at this level.

He added: "Ryan has just come back from international duty with Northern Ireland and he trained for the first time with our squad in Molde on Tuesday night.

"I thought he did quite well for his first game and in the second half Ryan and Brad Smith put in a very good performance for us.

"Brad is a very good player with a lot of quality. He did very well for the last goal when he made a great run and pulled it back for Raheem. That was a very nice goal."

Borrell also expressed his gratitude to the people of Molde for the way he and his team have been welcomed since their arrival in Norway.

"I would like to take the opportunity to thank the people of Molde and Norway who have been fantastic.

"They have looked after us and we have met some great people over here."

Skipper Conor Coady added: "We needed that type of performance on the back of the Sporting Lisbon game and to get four goals was a bonus for us.

"I thought we played very well and it was a deserved victory. The Molde goalkeeper played very well but we are happy with our overall performance.

"We can't wait now for the Wolfsburg game next week."

Match Report: Liverpool 4 - 0 Molde

Against Sporting Lisbon it took Liverpool most of a half to find their feet, and combined with some poor finishing it added up to a heavy loss and a disappointing start to their NextGen Series campaign. If their second match against Molde was far from perfect, then, Liverpool at least showed an ability to hit the ground running at the second time of asking, dominating play for much of the first half against a side that while a step down from Sporting was nonetheless playing at home while many of Liverpool’s youngsters were facing their first real test on the continent.

As important as the squad seeming more comfortable from the start the second time around was leaving behind fringe first team players Jonjo Shelvey and Jack Robinson. Either because they no longer train as often with the young reserves or because they were less motivated to compete at the u19 level having gotten a taste of first team action, neither had looked especially effective against Sporting, and the introduction of Craig Roddan in the middle and U17 World Cup standout Brad Smith at left back replaced two of Liverpool’s worst performers with a pair who would turn in two of the strongest showings against Molde. They were hardly alone, though, with Andre Wisdom moving inside to his more natural centre back position and dominating proceedings at the back while Conor Coady captained the side with a composed display alongside the more adventurous Roddan in midfield. Meanwhile up front the older Michael Ngoo, who started on the bench against Sporting Lisbon as he was just returning from the U20 World Cup, was much stronger than Adam Morgan had been the last time out.

The standout performance on the day, however, belonged to Raheem Sterling, as the Norwegians had no answer for the buzzing left winger. One on one situations with Molde’s right back saw the Liverpool youngster skip past and into space repeatedly, while when they put two or three on him he would simply cut it back and chip balls into the box, and he would bookend Liverpool’s day by setting up Toni Silva’s opener before slotting home the fourth on a cutback from the marauding Brad Smith.

When it came to Toni Silva, he once again impressed and frustrated in equal measure, a theme that has been nearly constant since he joined Liverpool over a year ago. His header for the first goal was textbook perfect, driven with pace into the ground at the goalkeeper’s feet and bouncing into the back of the net—unstoppable. But then he took off from his teammates and celebrated with a series of cartwheels, perhaps a celebration fitting such a quality finish but one that nonetheless couldn’t help but remind everybody watching that since his arrival he’s been a player who appears to put personal achievement ahead of team achievement. As the match progressed, too, it would be more of the usual mix of stunning bits of skill interspersed with frustrating bouts of selfishness, culminating in a sweetly taken second goal followed by an ugly tantrum when he wasn’t allowed to take Liverpool’s penalty.

Ngoo, who had a strong game from start to finish, tore past the Molde defense in the 56th minute and tried to chip the charging keeper. He missed, but was taken out in the process, earning a penalty. At first, Ngoo stepped up to take the penalty he had earned, but with instructions coming from the bech for Conor Coady to take it instead the big striker stepped aside gracefully. Which seemed as though it should have been the end of any discussion until Toni Silva bulled in and tried to grab the ball from Coady before stomping back to the half way line when it became clear he wasn’t going to be given the opportunity to convert the penalty into a hat trick.

Almost immediately, reserves manager Rodolfo Borrell took off the petulant Silva for Hungarian playmaker Kristztian Adorjan, and it’s hard not to think that Silva’s antics at least played a role in his substitution. Certainly the young Portuguese is a talent, but with each passing game it becomes more difficult to think of it being only a matter of time before his attitude improves and instead a question of if it ever will.

As for the remainder of the match, after the penalty it was never in doubt, with Liverpool taking their foot off the gas but maintaining a stranglehold on possession with Molde seeming consigned to the heavy defeat. And so now Liverpool looks ahead to a match at Anfield against Wolfsburg next Wednesday, and after an at times shaky start against Sporting Lisbon they will have to be feeling confident in their chances after so handily dispatching a Molde side that had previously defeated Wolfsburg and played Sporting close. If they can similarly handle the Germans next week, a top two finish in the group and a chance to move on to the knock out rounds in January will be well within their grasp.