Sunday, October 09, 2011

Carra Can Be Top Boss

Jamie Carragher has all the hallmarks required to be a future Liverpool manager, according to Tommy Smith.

The Reds vice-captain has made no secret of his desire to enter coaching once he hangs up his boots and has already begun a program to earn his UEFA B licence.

And while Carragher still has many more games to play before his playing career draws to close, Smith believes the 33-year-old has what it takes to be a success in the dugout.

"It was interesting to hear Jamie Carragher on his plans when he eventually hangs up his boots," said the man nicknamed the Anfield Iron. "And no surprise to know that he wants to stay in the game and get into management.

"Because Jamie will not just make a good manager one day, but a good Liverpool manager, of that I have no doubt.

"I was fortunate to play for years under Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan. And if you don't know what makes a good boss after playing under those men, you'll never know.

"They were all different but all had fantastic strengths, a passion for the game and a love of Liverpool FC.

"Not one of them would tolerate a player giving anything but his best, week in week out. They were born winners who loved the fans and reminded their players of their duty towards them. Shanks in particular worshipped the fans as much as they loved him.

"All sound familiar?

"They are exactly the qualities and characteristics which Jamie Carragher possesses in abundance."

Carragher is second in Liverpool's all-time appearance list having tallied 676 games for the club and Smith feels his love for the game and experience will stand him in good stead for if and when he begins a coaching career.

"He's doing his coaching badges now but given all his experience at Liverpool and on the international stage, he's already perfectly well qualified for me," he added.

"Jamie not only loves the club and knows it inside out, he also has a fantastic knowledge of the world game too. He's not just a wholehearted local player as some see it, but an educated student of the game. And that's important too these days.

"Jamie wouldn't stand any messing from anyone, and as we all see he is a born organizer too.

"I've no doubt that one day he'll be be our manager. And rightly so.

"He's got everything we'll one day need in a future Liverpool FC boss."

Liverpool Ready To Splash Out Cash To Land Cahill

Bolton defender Gary Cahill has fast become the most sought after defender in the Premiership with Barcelona, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and Man City all consistently linked with the player, however, it now appears that it will be Liverpool that will finally agree to stump up the £12 Million that Bolton are demanding for the 25 year old.

Bolton will have to sell Cahill this January or risk losing the England International for nothing in the summer, Bolton had played hard ball in the summer and put off a whole host of clubs with their valuation of Cahill, however, time is fast running out and a bid of £12 Million from Liverpool will be accepted.

Spanish radio has been discussing the possibility of Cahill joining Barcelona, however they are now stating that Barcelona have decided to withdraw their interest after it came to their attention that Liverpool were prepared to pay more than them for a player that will be just six months from being available on a free.

Liverpool are looking for a long term replacement for Jamie Carragher and have decided that it is worth paying over the odds for a player that could have at least seven years at the highest level left in him and it is the impending retirement of Carragher that has finally prompted the Merseysiders to make a move early rather than see Cahill leave for another club in January.

Liverpool To Attempt To Sign £30 Million Rated Wing Wizard

Liverpool could again try to sign the Real Sociedad starlet Antoine Griezmann after missing out on him last year, because the youngster has revealed he would like to leave the club at the end of the year.

Last year Liverpool was close to signing the 19-year-old French superstar, but Griezmann decided to stay in Spain with Sociedad and signed a contact until 2015.

His latest comments are sure to make Liverpool Director of Football Damien Comolli sit up and take notice, as last year when the Merseyside club were pursuing the youngster he said, “We have identified targets. If there’s a possibility of us getting a world-class player, we will have the backing.”

The fee will not be a problem, but last year they could have had Griezmann for around €8 Million, now because of a buy out clause in his contract they will have to stump up nearer €30 Million.

Barcelona, Manchester United and Atletico Madrid could also be interested in the news today as they have expressed interest in Griezmann in the past.

Liverpool Back In Race To Sign Ricky van Wolfswinkel

Liverpool has reportedly re-joined the race to sign Dutch international striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel.

The 22-year-old Sporting Lisbon starlet emerged on the Manchester United radar earlier in the week, with Sir Alex Ferguson reportedly taking a keen interest in the former FC Utrecht hitman.

However, Portuguese publication Correio da Manha claim that Reds boss Kenny Dalglish is again considering a move for the player, less than a year after the Liverpool chief made a personal scouting trip to Holland to watch the player.

Van Wolfswinkel has made a major impact in Portugal after his summer transfer move to Lisbon, earning rave reviews following the five-year €5.4 million deal

Goals against FC Zurich and Lazio in the Europa League have continued to add to the player's stock, and now clubs across the continent are taking an interest.

Liverpool is expected to be in the market for a striker in January, despite spending over £55 million on players in the position 12 months previously.

Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll made their way to Anfield, with Craig Bellamy joining on deadline day in August.

However, the Reds are still thought to be short of a player in the position, and could move for Van Wolfswinkel to make it a fourth player in the position for Liverpool.

Manchester United has a plethora of strikers at their disposal, with Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck the current top three for Sir Alex Ferguson.

Clarke: Break Not Ideal

Liverpool first-team coach Steve Clarke believes the international break has created a "difficult situation" ahead of next weekend's clash with Manchester United.

Liverpool, currently fifth in the Premier League, take on the league leaders on Saturday in one of the most fiercely contested rivalries in the game.

However, a substantial number of players are currently with their countries and, with the likes of Luis Suarez and Lucas Leiva away in South America until Thursday, Clarke is having to keep his fingers crossed that they return ready for action.

"The preparations will be exactly the same," he told the club's official website. "We don't get the full group to work with until the day before the game, which is disappointing but you just have to deal with it.

"The boys that are left behind do their work as normal - we work them hard in training, give them pointers towards the game and if we can give them something that will make the game easier for them on Saturday then that's good.

"It's not ideal because it [the game] comes on the back of an international break and we've only had five or six players left behind here at Melwood."

He added: "We don't get the group back in its entirety until Thursday afternoon when the boys come back from South America, so you don't get a lot of time to work with the team.

"The majority will be reporting in on Wednesday. We'll make sure they're okay after the internationals and do a light training session. It will be similar on Thursday.

"Hopefully we'll have time on Friday to do a bit of team play and get them ready for the game, but it's a difficult situation. You just hope you get players coming back fit and well and you work on them mentally to make sure they're ready for such a big game."

Charlie Adam: England Best Place For Scots To Mature

There's no question in Charlie Adam's mind - Scottish footballers should see a move to England not as an exile but as an opportunity.

And he should know. A product of the Rangers youth system, he spent much of his early career on loan - to St Mirren and Ross County - before returning to the Ibrox first team in time for their Uefa Cup final appearance in Manchester.

But it is in Liverpool that the Dundee-born midfielder has found his footballing home after signing from Blackpool for a fee of £7m in July.

It's a fairytale end of a meandering tale and Adam is well aware of it.

"When you're walking into the training ground at Liverpool every day, you've got a smile on your face. I'm just glad I've been given an opportunity to do that," he explains while on duty with the Scotland squad.

"It was always my dream to play in the Premier League at the highest level and I'm fortunate enough that I've been given the opportunity to play for Liverpool.

"Not many people get to do that. You need a bit of luck in life as well and I got that with my break at Blackpool. I had a group of players around me who helped me as well."

In February 2009, Adam went on loan to Blackpool, and made the move permanent in July the same year, but admits leaving Scotland was not easy.

"It's difficult to leave the Old Firm because Scotland was all I knew and I never thought I would go to England," he said.

"I was lucky that I went to the right club, with the right manager and the right group of players.

"It's no disrespect to the SPL, but the English Premier League has some of the best players in the world.

"So being 'Scotland-minded', I would always tell people to go and play in England. I think it bodes well for the national team if we have more players playing in England than in Scotland.

"This is the best league, you are going to play against the best players and you're going to become better. I'm fortunate enough that I've been given that opportunity."

Blackpool rejected a Liverpool bid of £4.5m for the Scot in January, but when the Anfield club's bid increased and included the opportunity to work with Kenny Dalglish as manager, the 25-year-old's move to the big-time of world football was complete.

"When he picks up the phone and says that he wants you, it is not a difficult choice to say that you want to go there," he says of Scotland's most capped player.

"It is great that he's back in the game and I think he's enjoying his time back in it.

Adam is also enjoying his football and believes that his career is at least in part down to a happy home life.

His favoured squad number is 26 because it is the date his son Jack was born - a fact mirrored in a massive tattoo on his forearm in tribute to his son, who'll be five on Boxing Day. He's also preparing for his wedding.

"I've matured and grown up so much since the days at Rangers. If you're happy off the pitch, you're happy on it," Adam says of his own re-birth in England.

"Life is settled and I'm enjoying it."

Liverpool FC Face Wait Over Fitness Of Martin Kelly

Liverpool faces an anxious wait over the fitness of Martin Kelly after he was sent home from England U21 duty with a groin problem.

The 21-year-old defender played 90 minutes for Stuart Pearce’s side as they beat Iceland 3-0 in Rekjavik in their Euro 2013 qualifier on Thursday night.

But he complained of tightness in his groin afterwards and, after consulting with the England medical staff, it was decided that he should return to Merseyside as a precautionary measure.

Kelly will now miss England’s trip to Drammen to play Norway on Monday night, and will be assessed by Liverpool’s own medical team ahead of next Saturday’s Premier League clash with Manchester United at Anfield.

Reds boss Kenny Dalglish will hope the problem is not serious. Kelly has been beset by injuries since making his first senior start for the Reds in a Champions League clash with Lyon in October 2009.

He was injured that day, and missed the back-end of last season after suffering a hamstring injury at West Ham back in February.

On his return, against Bolton in August, he was substituted after just half-an-hour with another hamstring problem, but has since started each of Liverpool’s last three fixtures.

Dalglish could have England right-back Glen Johnson and Brazilian Fabio Aurelio back available for the visit of Alex Ferguson’s Premier League leaders.

Johnson has managed just nine minutes of action this season due to a persistent hamstring problem, whilst Aurelio has been sidelined with a thigh complaint.

Both returned to full training last week, and hope to be available for selection next weekend.

“I'm feeling good at the moment and I've been doing plenty of running,” Johnson said.

“I've just started doing ball work outside in training so I reckon it won't be too long now.

“I'm working hard and it would be nice to be back in the squad for the Man United game. Hopefully I can make the bench anyway, so fingers crossed.”

Daniel Agger, however, is not expected to recover from his rib injury in time to face Alex Ferguson’s men.

Derby Draw For U18s

An injury-time equalizer denied Liverpool U18s victory in the Academy derby on Saturday morning as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Everton at Finch Farm.

Matty Regan fired the visitors into the lead midway through the first half from the penalty spot after Raheem Sterling had been brought down inside the box.

Everton saw three chances cleared off the line as they pushed for an equalizer, but Sterling had a golden opportunity to wrap up the three points saved by goalkeeper James Fitzgibbon late on.

And the Blues clinched a point deep into stoppage-time when Chris Long pounced on a lose ball inside the box and tucked home to ensure the contest ended all square.

Mike Marsh handed Sterling his first Academy start of the season as his young side went in search of a result to emulate their senior colleague's triumph at Goodison Park last weekend.

And Liverpool certainly began the brighter of the two sides in the mid-morning drizzle at Finch Farm as the visitors set about dominating possession.

However, it was Everton who fashioned the more threatening early chances and Anton Forrester should have done much better when sent one-on-one with Tyrell Belford but the striker got the execution of his attempted lob all wrong and the ball bounced harmlessly wide.

Then Jake Bidwell was left clutching his head in his hands after seeing an aerial effort from a corner cleared off the line.

Everton were left further frustrated on the 20-minute mark when Chris Long burst into the box only to be thwarted by a fine challenge from Lewis Hatch. The ball broke kindly for Hallam Hope, but with the goal at his mercy, Brad Smith somehow managed to divert off the line.

The hosts were almost made to pay for their profligacy soon after when David Moli's powerful run into the area resulted in his effort being hacked off the line.

But Liverpool did take the lead on 34 minutes when Tyias Browning was adjudged to have brought down Sterling inside the left channel of the box.

Regan stepped up to do the honours from the penalty spot and made no mistake in dispatching into the back of the net.

Everton began the second half positively and only the post denied John Lundstram a leveller when his 25-yard drive cannoned against the woodwork nine minutes after the re-start.

The Blues continued to toil as they looked to restore parity and Hope clipped a free-kick over with time ticking away. At the other end, Sterling danced his way into a shooting position only to slice wide of the post.

Back came Everton and Jordan Barrow's seemingly goalbound header was deflected off the line by Peter Alymer with Belford beaten.

Sterling should have put the result beyond doubt when he went clean through on goal but his low effort was blocked by the hand of Fitzgibbon.

Liverpool were made to pay for the miss when Chris Long netted deep into injury time to salvage a point for the Blues.