Sunday, November 13, 2011

Liverpool Can Still Enjoy Success This Season, According To The Bookies

After a very bright start to the season for Liverpool which saw them made favourites from the chasing pack to finish in the top four things seem to have gone a little wrong with draws taking over from wins as Liverpool’s most common result at Anfield and the bookies now think that Liverpool could struggle to break into the top four this season.

After a few games this season Liverpool were the overwhelming favourites for a top finish and could be backed at 4/7, which was much shorter than the 5/4 that was available at the start of the season. Going into this international break Liverpool have managed to win just one of their last four league matches and with Arsenal, Spurs and even Sunderland still in great form it is no surprise that the bookies have had to push out Liverpool’s top four odds, they can now be backed at 2/1 to finish in the top four and that means the bookies think Liverpool are going to finish sixth this season, although it will only take a couple of good results to see Liverpool’s odds shorten again.

Liverpool were just 14/1 to win the Premiership at the start of the season and most Liverpool fans knew that this season was going to be far too early in the rebuilding process for a legitimate title challenge, it is therefore no surprise that Liverpool have now drifted out to a more realistic 66/1 for Premiership success this season. Whatever happens this season a top six finish does look pretty much guaranteed with the bookies offering just 1/14 for that.

Liverpool fans will be not only hoping for a successful season for the team but also for the manager and players as individuals. Kenny Dalglish could be a contender for manager of the season if he oversees Liverpool’s return to the Champions League, he is rated at 14/1 to pick up that award. As far as player awards go, you can already bet on the PFA Player Of The Year Award and Liverpool’s most likely winner is Luis Suarez, he is the fifth favourite for the award at 16/1.

Even if Liverpool don’t make it back into the Champions League this season there is still a decent chance of silverware with Liverpool going strong in the Carling Cup. Liverpool are in the quarter finals of the Carling Cup and can be backed at 7/1 to win the competition which is a bit shorter than they are to win the FA Cup, which is yet to start properly, Liverpool are 10/1 to win that tournament.

Damiao Could Remain

Brazilian sensation Leandro Damiao has revealed that he could follow Neymar's lead by opting to remain in South America.

Earlier this week Neymar, who had looked set to move to Spain next year, signed a new long-term contract with Santos.

Despite signing a new deal in the summer, Damiao was being strongly with a New Year move to Tottenham - whilst Liverpool, AC Milan and Ukrainian giants Dnipro and Dinamo Kyiv were also being linked.

Damiao has had a sensational season so far in Brazil with Internacional scoring 17 goals in just 13 starts.

And Damiao's agent Vinicius Prates, who works for 9ine, has revealed that their client is looking to stay.

"In 9ine's strategy, the best outcome is for Damiao to continue in Brazilian football, as our economy is strong and he could become the face of a large national brand for two or three years," agent Vinicius Prates told Zero Hora.

"Damiao's sale is not assured. It would be not be too daring to say he will stay in Inter.

"I have already been contacted by all the biggest clubs in Europe but, with the link to 9ine, the chances have grown. Neymar's situation, however, is difficult to compare with Damiao and Inter."

Inter vice-president Luis Anapio Gomes confirmed that Inter would look to offer Damiao a suitable deal, even if they cannot afford to match what Santos are paying Neymar.

"It is true that we cannot compare the economic situation at Santos with what we have here, but we will do everything we can to keep [Damiao]. But I still cannot guarantee he will stay," the director revealed.

"We cannot sell some players in order to keep others. We will not have a mass sale, but if there is interest everyone is negotiable. It is undeniable that Damiao and Oscar are the two most important names we need to keep hold of."

Arsenal & Liverpool Alerted As Wigan Star Stalls On New Contract

Arsenal and Liverpool will be keeping a close eye on Hugo Rodallega's situation at Wigan with the centre-forward stalling on a new contract.

The Colombian international was linked with moves to both Arsenal and Liverpool over the summer, but no official offer was made.

Despite failing to land a move to a bigger club during the off-season, Rodallega remains on both sides' radars along with Everton and Juventus.

And a move away from the DW Stadium appears increasingly as the 26-year-old is yet to agree new terms with his current contract due to expire next summer.

According to the Daily Mail, Wigan are well aware of the interest in their star striker and have told him to resolve his future before the January transfer window opens.

The Latics must decide whether to cash in on Rodallega in the new year or risk losing him for free at the end of the season.

Rodallega is valued at £15m by Wigan, but they are likely to entertain offers of around £10m due to his contract situation.

Carroll Not Worth Anywhere Near £35million - Llambias

Newcastle's managing director Derek Llambias has allegedly launched a stunning rant against former managers Kevin Keegan and Alan Shearer and said that Andy Carroll was not worth the £35 million that Liverpool paid for him.

A report in the Sunday Mirror claims that Llambias was caught on tape slamming the Newcastle legends to Toon fans in a bar and former Magpies striker Carroll bore the brunt of the foul-mouthed abuse.

"I have to admit that £30m for Andy Carroll is a lot of money," Lambias reportedly said, before responding when one supporter asked him "Is he worth £30m?": "No - he's worth f*** all."

With Chelsea closing a deal worth £50 million for Fernando Torres on January's deadline day, Liverpool was under pressure to bring in a new striker and Llambias claimed that they could push for the entire Carroll fee up front.

Llambias explained: "It is about control. We had the control. We knew the Torres deal was there. We drew that f****** deal, perhaps the ultimate. So £30m? F*** off! Don't waste my time and I slammed the phone down.

"£35m? Everybody including Pardew [manager Alan Pardew] all agreed. But the £35m they wanted to pay over four years. It was rubbish. Mike (Ashley) said - and he is a brave boy Mike I promise you - get all the £35m up front. We got it all up front and then they never paid us on time and we charged them 12 grand f****** interest."

Llambias then turned his attention to one of Newcastle's most celebrated icons, former manager Kevin Keegan, and claimed that he was only brought back to the club for a second spell in 2008 to appease potential Arab owners who were trying to buy the club.
"Kevin Keegan can't take pressure. His f****** head is all over the place," said Llambias. "Mike (Ashley) was selling to the Arabs and they wanted Kevin Keegan. The Arabs wanted him, the fans wanted him - perfect!"

Another Geordie legend then got both barrels as Llambias admitted that the appointment of Alan Shearer in April was not right, saying: "Shearer was my choice and I have to hold up my hands - the wrong choice... he gave all the responsibility to (assistant Iain) Dowie. Rubbish!"

The most recent Newcastle boss to be sacked, Chris Hughton, was also the subject of the tirade as a fan asked why he was dismissed a year ago.

Llambias responded: "He would never have taken us where we want to be. That's my decision by the way. Chris can't make decisions. If I am asking about a player, Ben Arfa? He says 'I'm not sure, blah blah'. With Chris, he couldn't cope with where we are mentally. We are aggressive. You need to be aggressive. I don't want a manager below me who can't argue."

Xabi: I Learnt From Carra, Stevie, Didi & Sami

Former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso has told how he feels the Spanish national side benefited from players moving to play in the Premier League, including himself.

Alonso moved to Anfield in 2004 and spent five years at the club under Rafa Benitez. He is still held in high regard by Liverpool supporters and always speaks affectionately of his time at the club, where he won the Champions League in 2005.

The influential midfielder, now at Real Madrid, told The Guardian how he feels he learned from experienced players in Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard, Dietmar Hamann and Sami Hyypia;

“I listened and learnt from people like [Jamie] Carragher, Stevie [Gerrard], Didi Hamann and Sami Hyypia and definitely improved.”

Holloway Gives Shelvey New Role

Blackpool boss Ian Holloway believes a new role behind the strikers is bringing out the best of loanee Jonjo Shelvey.

The Liverpool midfielder is on loan with the Seasiders until the end of December and has so far netted five goals in seven games.

This included a hat-trick against Leeds United while playing in a more advanced role.

Holloway said: "I played Jonjo in a slightly different role in the Leeds and Millwall games. I talked to him about movement because I feel he is very good at that.

"He has obviously got a lot of talent and he is playing well at the moment. He just needs to keep it going every week because that's what top players do."

The England U21 international is enjoying the freedom that Holloway has granted him as he continues to gain first-team experience in the Championship.

Shelvey said: "I'm now playing in a role that I've played for England a few times and it suits me.

"You just roam about the pitch, try to get on the ball and make things happen.

"With my forward running, I think I can break and score goals. I proved that at Leeds, setting up the first goal and scoring a few as well. I like the position the manager has put me in.

"You always want more goals but I am happy with five in seven. I'm pleased with the way I've played in most games, but there have been a few when I've not been at the races.

"But against Leeds and Bristol City (Shelvey's debut) and in the second half of the Burnley game I think I've done well, so I'm generally very happy."

Sama: We Spur Each Other On

Stephen Sama is hopeful his partnership with Andre Wisdom will drive the duo towards their goal of making an impact on Liverpool's long-term future.

The Germany U19 international believes the pair are developing a strong understanding at reserve team level and admits they push each other to keep improving on a daily basis.

Sama told "Andre is a very funny guy. We spend a lot of time together. When I first arrived I found it hard to understand him because my English wasn't so great.

"But he has helped me so much and now we are working well together throughout each game we play at the heart of the defence. I think we have a good partnership and hopefully we can keep progressing to give the club options as centre backs in the future.

"I've been to Melwood and seen how the first-team train a few times now. You try to pick up as much as you possibly can from those guys because they are at the level we are all hoping to reach.

"I make sure I work each day so that I can one day have the chance to return there and show the boss I can be good for Liverpool."

Reds Make NextGen Progress

Liverpool has qualified for the NextGen Series knockout stage following Sporting Lisbon's win in Molde on Saturday night.

The Portuguese outfit claimed a thrilling 4-3 success in Norway to ensure they will finish as Group 2 winners having amassed an impressve 13 points so far.

The result also means Liverpool's seven point haul is enough to clinch the runners-up spot, with (Wolfsburg 6 points) and Molde (four points) having completed all of their matches.

Rodolfo Borrell's charges will now travel to Lisbon for the final contest of the group on Wednesday night.

U18s Academy Match Report: Liverpool 1 - 2 Bolton

Liverpool under-18s suffered a disappointing defeat to Bolton Wanderers on Saturday afternoon in a game they largely dominated.

Bolton came into the game having only won once this season but showed no signs of nerves as they came close after only one minute when centre back Threlkeld got free in the box only to head straight at Jamie Stephens.

There was an open feel about the game as Liverpool settled into their experimental formation and there were chances at both ends as Moli and McLaughlin went close for Liverpool whilst sixteen year old Zach Clough took advantage of hesitant defending by Joe Rafferty to for Stephens into another good save.

From there however, Liverpool gained control of the game with Peterson stinging goalkeeper Lewis Fielding’s fingers from 20 yards and Sumner forcing an even better stop from the Bolton ‘keeper a couple of minutes later. Another threat was stand in left back Jack Dunn who tried in vain all afternoon to find a way past the resolute Fielding.

Late on in the first half, Dave Moli went through and 1v1 hit the post but was ruled offside. At half time Mike Marsh made some more changes, bringing on Michael Wilson for the injured Matty Regan and new American signing Marc Pelosi also came on replacing the out of form Yalany Baio.

Unfortunately for Liverpool it was Michael Wilson who was immediately involved as he brought down Chris Lester who looked to have gotten around him. Lester took the penalty himself and scored it. 1-0 – Chris Lester.

Shortly afterwards there was controversy, as Liverpool lined up a free kick a Bolton player hit the deck in an incident the cameras did not pick up. The referee did not see the incident but the Bolton players reacted angrily towards Jack Dunn and after talking to his linesman the referee returned to issue a straight red card to winger Kris Peterson. Whether the linesman actually saw the incident though is debatable as he did not originally raise his flag to bring it to the referee’s attention.

Despite the disadvantage the Red’s were still on top of the game and continued to push with Lussey, Gainford and Moli all going close in a goalmouth scramble. Against the run of play Bolton extended the lead, the ever dangerous Caton finally escaped McLaughlin’s attentions and fired in at the near post after it appeared Jamie Stephens got a little bit confused regarding his positioning.

Just one minute later Dave Moli got his reward for hard work from the front as he touched it round Fielding and placed it into the empty goal. So a disappointing defeat for the young Reds but one that was thoroughly undeserved. A little bit more invention and control in possession and these silly defeats will be comfortable victories.