Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Reds & Spurs Suffer Blow In Striker Chase

AC Milan have emerged as the favourites to sign Liverpool and Tottenham target Leandro Damiao, it has been claimed.

According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Milan sent sporting director Ariedo Braida to Brazil in order to open talks with Internacional regarding the proposed signing of the Brazil international.

Despite Liverpool and Spurs both tracking Damiao, Milan are thought to have the advantage due to their good relationship with Internacional.

Milan signed Alexandre Pato from the Brazilian club four years ago, and have maintained amicable contact ever since.

"Braida surely will take advantage of the preferential relations with Internacional, where Pato has already been taken," Stefano Castagna - an agent close to the deal - told TMW.

"He'll be able to work without intermediaries, but will have to deal with competition from half of Europe."

Reports have suggested Liverpool No.2 Steve Clarke has also scouted Damiao, and the Reds are since alleged to have been considering a January offer.

It has been claimed Liverpool are prepared to part with £17 million in order to bring him to Anfield.

Dalglish To Continue Pursuit Of Man City Winger With January Offer

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish will continue his pursuit of Manchester City winger Adam Johnson by making an approach for the England midfielder in January.

The former Middlesbrough winger joined Manchester City in January 2010 on a four-and-a-half-year contract and it appeared as though he would go on to become a first team regular.

However, Johnson has struggled to make an impression under Roberto Mancini and has often found himself on the bench thanks to the superb form of David Silva and new signing Samir Nasri.

It is believed that Dalglish tried to sign the winger during the summer and is still interested in signing the 24-year-old when the January transfer window opens.

Liverpool strengthened their midfield over the summer with the arrivals of Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing, but it seems the Scottish manager is still not happy with his options in wide positions.

Johnson has the ability to play on either wing and would certainly add more attacking options from wide positions for Liverpool.

The Reds may struggle to convince Manchester City to sell one of the players as the club has always stated that they will not sell to a rival Premier League club.

Should Johnson continue to find himself warming the bench then the chance to play regular first team football at Liverpool may be enough to convince the player to force a move.

According to, Liverpool would have to bid somewhere in the region of £10-£15million to persuade City to sell the exciting winger.

Kenny Dalglish Ready To Snap Up Nicholas Hunziker

Liverpool are ready to seal a deal for Swiss striker Nicolas Hunziker, according to The Mirror.

The 15-year-old scored a hat-trick for his country's youth team on debut and has received rave reviews from the Anfield.

Kenny Dalglish reportedly sent his chief scout to watch Hunziker during the weekend, leaving Liverpool as favourites to land the striker.

As well as spending over £100 this year on their first team squad, Liverpool have also installed a policy of bringing in young players to bolster their youth ranks, with striker Marco Bueno and Nacho both joining in the summer.

The signing of Hunziker would represent another attempt to secure a successful future for the club under Fenway Sports Group's tenure at Liverpool.

England youth internationals John Flanagan, Martin Kelly and Jack Robinson, all broke through during last season.

Big-Spenders Deny Move For Reds Skipper

Anzhi Makhachkala manager Roberto Carlos has rebuffed suggestions he wants to sign Liverpool's Steven Gerrard, as well as numerous other high-profile players.

The Brazilian World Cup winner has frequently been in the press in recent weeks having made ambitious claims that mega-rich Anzhi are eyeing some of Europe's top players.

Along with Liverpool captain Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Robin van Persie also feature on the supposed shopping list of the Russian club.

"I am having dinner with the president tonight and we'll speak about signings for next season, names like Lampard, Gerrard and Pires," Carlos is alleged to have said.

Billionaire backed Anzhi are attempting to become football's next superpower and, should they attempt to sign Gerrard from Liverpool, the Anfield club would do well no to entertain a potentially substantial fee.

However, the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal may be able to rest easy now, after Carlos claimed the quotes attributed to him are entirely false. The 38-year-old will now impose a media blackout.

"Words are attributed to me about mythical new signings, whose names at times are a total surprise," he told Ria Novosti.

"Not in one interview did I utter any concrete names. From this moment, I am not giving any more interviews to allow me to concentrate completely on my work as a coach at Anzhi."

Liverpool Star Reveals Relegation Fears

In the latest serialization of his new book, Pepe Reina has revealed he feared Liverpool would be relegated during the tenure of Rafa Benitez.

Despite coming agonizingly close to winning the title a year before, the Reds finished seventh during Benitez's final season at the helm.

This poor showing led to the Spaniard being sacked as Liverpool boss after six years with the club, and he was replaced at Anfield by Roy Hodgson.

And, although he did not like to admit it, Reina realized that Benitez's time on Merseyside had run its course.

"When Rafa left Liverpool at the end of the 2009/10 season, I knew that it was the right time for him to go," said Reina, to the Daily Mirror.

"It hurts me to say that, but the wheels had come off by then and there was no guarantee that he was going to be able to put them back on."

The Spanish shot-stopper first realized Liverpool was in for a testing season during a pre-season outing against Barcelona outfit Espanyol.

And, after being convincingly beaten by the La Liga side, Reina believed that, if this form was not addressed, relegation would become a distance possibility.

"I first began to realize we were in trouble when we played against Espanyol in a pre-season friendly at the start of August 2009,” he added.

"They beat us 3-0 and could have scored more. When I came off the pitch there was a part of me that thought: 'If we carry on like this, we are going to get relegated.'"

Gerrard Return Lifts Aurelio

Liverpool defender Fabio Aurelio believes it is a 'massive help' that captain Steven Gerrard has returned to fitness ahead of the meeting with Manchester United.

The midfielder is due to make his first start for over seven months as the two rivals meet at Anfield in the Saturday lunchtime fixture.

Gerrard has come on as a substitute in the recent wins over Wolves and Everton following a groin operation that he underwent in April.

The England star was due to return to the Reds squad for their pre-season catalogue, but a setback in his recovery delayed his comeback.

The last time the 31-year-old started a game for Liverpool was on 6th March, when Liverpool beat Manchester United 3-1 at Anfield.

But Sir Alex Ferguson's team are still unbeaten this term and are already six points above their Merseyside opponents.

Aurelio told LFC Weekly: "We are all delighted that Stevie is back. He is the captain and a great player, and it is a massive help to the team to have him playing again.

"Gerrard's availability is an added ingredient into what should be an exciting but difficult game for both teams.

"After winning the derby we will go into it with a lot of confidence.

"It is always exciting (to play Manchester United). It's a pity that it comes just after an international break because it means you don't have as much time to prepare because players are away with their countries but that is the same for both clubs.

"It seems like they have a new team with new players coming in during the summer.

"Like us, they all seem to have settled in well. They are in good form so it will be difficult but we are confident."

Reina Recalls Blazing Carragher Row

Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina has revealed the details of an explosive row he had with Anfield stalwart Jamie Carragher, which spilled over into the dressing room after beginning on the pitch.

Reina and Carragher, both mainstays of the Reds rearguard since the Spanish shot-stopper joined the club in 2005, clashed in an unnamed game because of a disagreement about passing options.

"The veins in our necks were bulging, our faces were red with anger and neither of us were going to back down," Reina said in his autobiography Pepe, which is being serialized in the Daily Mirror.

"The row between me and Jamie Carragher started during the game - I can't even remember who we were playing against - carried on in the dressing room and didn't come to an end until we sent each other text messages apologizing.

"He went crazy at me, screaming at me, and I was screaming back at him. We were like that for fully five minutes shouting at one another and getting our point across. When we got back into the dressing room the row started again and it was even rougher than it had been on the pitch.

"The other players were just totally silent, watching us giving each other hell. It wasn't even over anything major. It was just a difference of opinion over whether I should knock the ball long or [if] he should give me an angle for a short pass.

"I ended up kicking the ball out wide to where I thought Carra should be, but he wasn't there and it went out of play. He shouted at me: 'You really think you're Franz Beckenbauer and you're always trying to play short passes when you should just empty it.'

"I responded: 'If I know one thing it's that you definitely aren't Beckenbauer, but just give me a bit of support when I've got the ball so we can try and play instead of just kicking it down the pitch.'"

Meanwhile, Reina has lifted the lid on an occasion when he was at loggerheads with former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez over alcohol consumption. "The biggest argument I had with Rafa was about a beer," Reina said. "We had lost 2-1 to Besiktas and not played too well. I decided to have a beer. I don't see a problem with that because for me it is healthier to do that than it is to have a glass of Coca-Cola or a drink like that.

"Suddenly, the bartender turned up and said: 'The club doctor, medical staff and manager have made it clear to me they do not want you to have a beer.' I still don't know why this was the case but whatever the reason, I was fuming. I grabbed my bags and stormed off to my room without even having dinner. That is how upset I was.

"For me, Rafa was in the wrong. It suggests the manager does not trust you to look after yourself in the right way. He saw it differently and, if he has a small weakness as a manager, it is that he did not have a massive career as a player before he moved into management."

Blackpool FC Ponder Loan Move For Liverpool FC Starlet

Blackpool is lining up a loan move for Liverpool starlet Danny Wilson, according to the Blackpool Gazette.

The 19-year-old Scotland international made eight appearances for the Reds last season and was high on Ian Holloway’s wish list in the summer, but a deal couldn’t be struck.

The left-sided central defender had recently been set to join Nottingham Forest until the sacking of Steve McClaren, which has paved the way for a move to Bloomfield Road alongside Liverpool team-mate Jonjo Shelvey.