Friday, October 07, 2011

Rush Excited By Options

Ian Rush today explained why he believes the firepower available at Kenny Dalglish's disposal can help Liverpool achieve success this season.

Anfield's all-time record goalscorer feels the striking quartet of Luis Suarez, Andy Carroll, Craig Bellamy and Dirk Kuyt provide an array of varying options in attack - and he's confident they, along with Steven Gerrard, can supply the goals that lead the Reds to glory.

Rush told "It's always pleasing to see so many options - we've got four or five strikers who can change a game.

"They're different options and make Liverpool stronger than last season.

"It was great to see Steven Gerrard and Craig Bellamy come on to strengthen the team against Everton - and that's what Liverpool have got this season.

"I think we can go onto better things now with those striking options. If it's not happening in a game for 60 or 70 minutes, we've got two or three options to bring on from the bench."

He added: "Everyone talks about the aerial threat of Andy, but he scored with his foot against Everton.

"When Andy and Suarez are playing together, I think Suarez can move into space off him. He's a very good reader of the game and he's on fire at the moment. He looks eager to play, gives 100 per cent and that's what supporters want.

"You've also got Craig Bellamy with pace. He likes playing on the left and helped make the goal for Carroll on Saturday, and then there's Dirk Kuyt who is somebody else who gives 100 per cent every game."

All four of Liverpool's senior strikers played a part in helping the side to a 2-0 Merseyside derby victory over Everton on Saturday.

Carroll broke the deadlock with a neat 71st minute finish against the Blues before Suarez added the Reds' second.

In the case of the former, it was his first Barclays Premier League goal of the season - and Rush is convinced there will be many more to come from the No.9.

"We know he is going to score goals, but as a striker it is always nice to get your first goal," he said. "To get your first league goal of the season against Everton will do his confidence no end of good.

"We know he is a great player and I am looking forward to seeing more goals from him."

Dalglish To Rival Ferguson For Dutch Sensation

As reports surfaced this week linking Manchester United with a move for Sporting Lisbon star Ricky van Wolfswinkel, it seems Liverpool have reignited their interest in the striker.

Various sources have claimed United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has sent scouts over to Portugal to watch the 22-year-old in action with the view of making a bid next summer.

However, according to Correio de Manha, Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish remains interested in van Wolfswinkel after scouting him last season.

The Dutch forward only moved to Sporting this summer from FC Utrecht but it is thought the Portuguese club will reluctantly accept a large offer for him next year.

The £11m-rated player has had a blistering start to the season, scoring six goals in seven appearances.

Liverpool Alerted As Midfielder Reveals Unhappiness At Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich winger Danijel Pranjic is reportedly unhappy with life at the Allianz Arena under new coach Jupp Heynckes, according to team-mate Ivica Olic.

The 29-year-old was one of the star performers under previous boss Louis van Gall but has played just two minutes as a substitute this season.

Pranjic, who has made 39 appearances for Croatia, helped Bayern win the title two seasons ago and last year made 28 league appearances and was a regular in the Champions League.

Liverpool was strongly linked with the midfielder over the summer and could now offer the winger a chance to play regular first team football by making an offer in January.

The midfielder’s contract expires at the end of the season and it has been suggested that Bayern may decide to sell in January, rather than letting him leave on a free in the summer.

Pranjic's club-mate Olic has revealed that his fellow Croatian is becoming frustrated with a lack of first team opportunities.

"It is definitely no easy situation for Danijel," Olic told German newspaper Bild. "I have told him that he should not give up. He needs to go on working hard in training and giving his very best in those sessions.

"Bayern Munich is a big club, we are playing a lot of competitive matches. We almost have a match every three days. He needs to believe in his chance regarding the first team."

Liverpool signed a left winger in the summer as Stewart Downing arrived from Aston Villa but the England midfielder is often asked to play on the right and Reds boss Kenny Dalglish could deploy Pranjic on the left.

Clarke - Enrique Warrants Spain Role

Liverpool coach Steve Clarke believes Jose Enrique should win a call-up for the Spain squad if he continues to progress at Anfield.

The 25-year-old defender was one of seven new signings who arrived in the summer but, while the likes of Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing and Craig Bellamy have grabbed the attention, Enrique has gone somewhat unnoticed.

But his form has not slipped the attention of those within the walls of the club's Melwood training ground with Clarke full of praise for the former Newcastle defender.

"He wants to improve. I know he is desperate to be part of the Spanish squad in future," said the Scot.

"If he continues the work he's doing and manages to improve then I am sure he will make the squad, no problem."

Henderson Happy To Play Anywhere

Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson is away on international duty with the England Under 21s but he took a bit of time out to answer some questions on Twitter on behalf of The FA.

Signed from Sunderland in the summer, Henderson said he prefers playing in the middle, rather than the wing, because that’s what he feels he’s best at – but he made it clear that he’s just happy to be picked and will player wherever he’s put.

“Hendo” explained during the filming of his Twitter Q&A why he won’t be getting his own account any time soon. It’s important to note that he doesn’t have his own Twitter account and any accounts you might see on Twitter claiming to be his are fake and shouldn’t be followed. Also victims of fake accounts on Twitter are the two Reds stars Henderson said he gets on best with – Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll, neither of whom currently use the social networking site.

Stuart Pearce’s youngsters play a Euro 2013 qualifier against Iceland in Rekjavik tonight and then face Norway in Drammen on Monday. Joining Henderson in the squad are his Liverpool team mates Jonjo Shelvey (currently on loan to Blackpool) and right-backs Martin Kelly and Jon Flanagan.

Amongst the other questions Jordan was asked were favourite cheese, PES or FIFA and Maradona or Messi.

Gerrard Steps Up Recovery For United Showdown

Liverpool first-team coach Steve Clarke believes the time is now right for captain Steven Gerrard to step up his bid for regular football.

Gerrard was left out of Fabio Capello's squad for Friday's Euro 2012 qualifier in Montenegro as he has played just 56 minutes of football in three substitute appearances this season. His recovery from a groin operation in March took slightly longer than expected and Liverpool were not prepared to risk the 31-year-old until he was completely ready.

With more than a week until the club's next match, at home to Manchester United, Clarke hopes to see the influential midfielder start pushing himself further.

''For Steven it's just a progression. He's coming back from a long-term injury and we'll try to treat him as cautiously and carefully as we can,'' the Reds coach told Liverpool TV. ''Obviously there will be a time when he is going to have to push on - and I think this is the time now.

''We've only got a very small group of players left behind because we've got a lot away on international duty but we managed to get a lot of good work into them yesterday. With Steven it has been well documented that we're looking after him.

''He's going to have to push himself in the coming weeks - and the more minutes we get into him, the better.''

Liverpool's medical and coaching staff believes they have covered every minor detail in managing Gerrard's comeback, tailoring his rehabilitation with specifically designed programs.

''After you've been out for a long time, you struggle with the pace of the game and the size of the pitches,'' Clarke added. ''So we worked with him in small areas and then gradually started to make the areas bigger. Every step is important.

''He's handled the steps we've given him so far very well and we'll just look to push him on.''

Carragher Demands English Boss

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes England are 'cheating' by having a foreign manager in charge of the national team.

Fabio Capello was handed the reins after Steve McClaren failed to guide the Three Lions to qualification for Euro 2008, and persuaded Carragher to briefly come out of international retirement for last summer's World Cup.

England now look set to reach their second major tournament in a row, with a point all that is needed against Montenegro on Friday to make it through to Euro 2012.

Capello will stand down after the finals in Ukraine and Poland, and Carragher feels his replacement must be English.

While the 33-year-old insists his criticism is not aimed at Capello, he maintains that having a foreign coach is 'embarrassing'.

"The next manager of England should be English," said Carragher.

"I've got nothing against Capello, I went to the World Cup and got to know him, but that's not what international football is.

"It's like saying if our keeper's not good enough, we'll go and get (Gianluigi) Buffon from Italy.

"It's a form of cheating in international football and it's a bit embarrassing.

"It's different for developing countries in Africa and elsewhere, who are trying to build the game up but, for England, such a big football nation, I don't think we should have a foreign manager.

"Just because it didn't work out with Steve McClaren, it didn't mean we had to go for a foreign manager.

"We should have gone for the next best Englishman."

Carragher also believes the lack of opportunities English managers get at top Premier League clubs is a contributory factor.

He added: "If every club had an English manager, someone would have to win the league! Someone would have to win the FA Cup! And then they'd accumulate these trophies.

"Capello had an aura and presence that maybe McClaren didn't have.

"And it was the same with the likes of Benitez and Houllier at Liverpool, and Mourinho at Chelsea.

"With their CVs, they've all got something about them and have won big trophies. So does that mean English managers need to go abroad?"

Robinson Strikes For England

Jack Robinson was on target as England U19s were held to a 2-2 draw against host nation France in their opening game of the Limoges tournament on Wednesday night.

The young Lions twice went ahead through Will Keane and Robinson, only to be pegged back on each occasion by the home team.

Conor Coady captained Noel Blake's side while Adam Morgan appeared as a 63rd minute substitute.

England will now play Portugal in their second game on Friday afternoon.

Ferguson Urges United Fans To Behave At Anfield

Sir Alex Ferguson has written a letter to Manchester United fans who are going to the away match against Liverpool on 15 October, urging them to behave, due to twelve clubs reducing the ticket allocations for travelling Red Devils fans.

Liverpool are among the sides who have been forced to cut allocations to United fans by safety advisory groups, in this case down from 3000 tickets to 1960, due to the behaviour of supporters.

Sir Alex’s letter, quoted in The Guardian, read: “Despite intense lobbying by the club on your behalf, there will only be just over 1,900 United fans at Anfield.

“We can't allow this situation to continue.

“I've said many times that your support is a vital part of our success and, trust me, the players do notice when your numbers are cut.”

A main concern for safety groups is some fans’ habit of blocking aisles and gangways in the stadium, which could potentially impede emergency services.

Tottenham, Manchester City and Sunderland are among the other clubs who have taken measures to reduce the amount of Red Devils supporters travelling to their stadiums.

The actions are being taken on the recommendations of safety advisory groups, independent organizations made up largely of local council and police representatives.

For United, who already have more demand for away tickets than available supply, the issue is an important one, and the Scot will be hoping that his plea for good behaviour will be respected in a traditionally hostile fixture.