Friday, November 25, 2011

Liverpool May Offer England International To Get Ligue 1 Superstar

It appears as though Kenny Dalglish may offer Joe Cole to French outfit Lille in a last attempt to land Belgian wonderkid Eden Hazard, the playmaker wanted by the biggest clubs in Europe.

According to a report on the Mirror Football website, with Cole becoming more and more influential for the club he is on loan with, the former Chelsea man may want to make the deal a permanent one.

After two goals and four assists in the ten league matches he has played so far, the 56-cap England international has been a leading light and, just this week, Lille president Michel Seydoux outlined his admiration.

“It is not a certainty that he will leave us at the end his contract,” he said.

"If he has a certain good feeling with Lille and we can make him an interesting offer, this is something we will look into."

On the future of Hazard, the 20 year-old playmaking sensation who already has 25 caps for Belgium and helped Lille to the Ligue 1 title last season, Seydoux was uncertain.

"We would like to keep Hazard too, and if he still sees a challenge here, then he could stay,” he added. “It's probable, though, that he will leave the club after this season, as there’s plenty of interest.

"Will €50million be enough? Nobody is irreplaceable and there are solutions for that kind of money."

Liverpool Keen On Lars Bender Signing

Liverpool are being linked with a January move for German international starlet Lars Bender.

The Bayer Leverkusen midfielder is earning rave reviews in the Bundesliga, and once again impressed on the Champions League stage in his side's 2-1 win over Chelsea recently.

His performances have alerted a number of club's across Europe, and reports in Germany now claim Liverpool have taken a keen interest in the 22-year-old, whose twin brother Sven plays for Borussia Dortmund.

Damien Comolli, director of football at Liverpool, is reported to have made a couple of personal scouting trips to check on the player at the BayArena, reporting back to manager Kenny Dalglish with a glowing reference.

Speculation suggests the Reds would need to spend in the region of £12 million to lure the player to Anfield, although Robin Dutt will be eager to keep one of his star players at last season's runners-up.

Bender's arrival could also spell the permanent end for Alberto Aquilani and Joe Cole on Merseyside, with both players currently plying their trade away from Liverpool on loan.

Franco Zavaglia, Aquilani's agent, suggests that a permanent move to AC Milan is almost a formality for the player, whilst Lille have expressed an interest in taking Cole permanently off the hands of Liverpool after a fine start in Ligue 1.

Liverpool Samba Starlet Target Can't Decide Future

Inter Milan midfielder Philippe Coutinho insists he would be happy to stay at Inter Milan, despite transfer speculation linking him with a move to Liverpool.

Reports in the British media claims Reds boss Kenny Dalglish is a keen admirer of the 19-year-old, with the club holding a long-standing interest in the player from Rafael Benitez's reign at Anfield.

Instead, the former Liverpool boss took Coutinho to the San Siro following his departure from Merseyside and arrival in Italy, and it's something the teenager is grateful for.

However, he admits that the future remains uncertain, and whilst he would like to stay with his current Serie 'A' side 'forever', he doesn't know what around the corner.

"The transfer rumours? I can't decide the future by myself. If it was up to me I would stay forever in an Inter shirt," he told Corriere dello Sport.

"I am grateful to Benitez, he gave me new positions and many chances. Ranieri is telling me to remain calm and to do in the game the same things I am doing in training.

"I feel a lot of energy and if he asks me to play I will be ready."

Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli is a reported admirer of the teenager, with the Frenchman taking a personal look at the player on international duty against Scotland back in May.

It's thought that club scouts have since kept tabs on the former Vasco de Gama starlet, with Liverpool interested in adding the player to their growing crop of young talent at the club.

Andy Carroll and Jordan Henderson were drafted in for huge figures in January and the summer respectively, and Kenny Dalglish is expected to spend big again in the New Year with the backing of owners FSG.

The club also has quality youngsters progressing through the academy, and Coutinho would add the exciting future currently being built at Liverpool under 'King Kenny'.

Dutch Chief In Dark Over Liverpool Transfer Link

PSV Eindhoven has had no contact with Liverpool or Inter Milan over the possible sale of highly-rated midfielder Kevin Strootman insists the club's chief executive Marcel Brands.

The 21-year-old Dutchman has attracted attention from a number of clubs across Europe after a series of scintillating performances in the Eredivisie this year, but according to Brands there is nothing to the speculation.

Reds boss Kenny Dalglish has been credited with an interest in Strootman, who only arrived at Eindhoven last summer, and is under contract at the Philips Stadion until 2016.

"I honestly don't know anything," was Brands response to questions about the player's link to Inter and Liverpool reports calciomercato.

"And in any case, I do not see how there can be rumours about a player who arrived three months ago and signed a five-year deal.

"Right now we are aiming to win the title and that is why we are not interested in any offers."

Dalglish signed seven players in the summer, and it is expected to be another busy transfer window at Anfield in January, as Liverpool look to strengthen their squad even further in a bid to secure a top four finish, and return to the UEFA Champions League next year.

Dalglish Reveals Gerrard Latest

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish says the club is delighted with the recovery of captain Steven Gerrard, but are refusing to put a date on his return.

The 31-year-old has been ruled out of the weekend's visit of Manchester City after being blighted by injury problems this season, having made just five appearances for the Reds.

Groin surgery, followed by an ankle infection has seen Gerrard make just five appearances since March, but Dalglish says he's impressed with his progression thus far.

"Like we've already said, we are delighted with the progress he's making and we've said that we won't put a date on his return - and we won't put a date on it now," he said. "We are very happy with his progress.

"Everyone is available (for Sunday) apart from Steven and Jack Robinson."

Gerrard returned after six months out against Brighton and Hove Albion in the Carling Cup in September and further substitute appearances against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Everton followed before starts against Manchester United, scene of just his second goal of the year, and Norwich City.

But prior to the club's trip to West Bromwich Albion, Gerrard picked up a cut to his ankle, which subsequently became infected, forced him to miss the trip to the Hawthorns.

Despite being positive over his comeback, Gerrard won't feature for Liverpool against City this weekend, and with the club unwilling to confirm a potential return date it appears likely the skipper won't be exposed to first-team football until the new year.

His constant injury problems have also affected his appearances for England, with his last cap coming in the friendly defeat to France last year with Gerrard missing the climax to England's European Championship qualifying campaign and the recent friendly victories over Spain and Sweden.

Milner Out For Anfield Revenge

James Milner says Manchester City will be looking to make up for their last performance at Liverpool, when they travel to Anfield on Sunday.

The Etihad Stadium team was walloped 3-0 in front of the Kop last season, and Milner says Roberto Mancini’s side want to put it right this time.

It will be no easy task, however, as Kenny Dalglish’s team are now joint with City and Newcastle in having the meanest defensive record in the league.

Milner said: “Last season we were poor there. I'm sure that will be at the back of a few of the boys’ minds to go there and put that right.

“It’s always a great atmosphere at Anfield and they’re playing well so we know it’s going to be tough. But we’re confident we can go there, put this behind us and get three points.

“Last year was a poor performance by our normal standards but we’ll be going there looking to put it right. Hopefully that will give us that bit extra to go there and get the win.”

The league leaders will be reeling after defeat at Napoli on Tuesday put their Champions League future in serious doubt.

Liverpool has a good record against other top sides under Kenny Dalglish and could pose a serious threat to City’s unbeaten record in the league this season.

Milner is refusing to underestimate the Merseysiders though, and thinks they will provide a tough, yet entertaining, examination of Roberto Mancini’ side’s title credentials.

“They’re a good team and will be full of confidence as well, so it will be a good game,” he added.

“That’s the Premier League. I know it’s a cliche, but every game is a tough game."

Wilson Craving Carling Cup Chance

Liverpool defender Danny Wilson is hoping he's done enough to earn a starting spot for the Reds against Chelsea in the Carling Cup.

Despite having fielded his strongest side in the competition, Dalglish is set to name a weakened side for the trip to Stamford Bridge with the club's league game with Manchester City just 48 hours before.

Wilson featured for the reserves on Tuesday, with the 19-year-old hoping to add to his single appearance this season.

"Chelsea will be an important game," he confirmed. "All I can do is try to impress Kenny Dalglish in training and for the reserves.

"If it is enough, it is enough. If not then I'll just have to try harder.

"It is important for me to get a chance for the reserves. I just need to put a performance in and try to impress, but more importantly it gives me a chance to work on my fitness."

Wilson mentioned on a number of occasions earlier in the year that he would fancy a loan move away from Anfield so to improve his international prospects, which last saw him turn out for his country in September.

Chinese Prospects Will Join Liverpool In January

Liverpool will welcome two young Asian players to Merseyside as part of the Chinese Football Association's 'Future Star' program in January.

Long Cheng [16], and Chen Xiaomao [14], will link up with the Reds Youth Academy following a successful week-long trial at Melwood last month.

Frank McParland, director of the Liverpool academy revealed how the club had been extremely impressed with the youngsters during their first visit, praising their commitment and professionalism.

"Chinese players are fantastic, focused and they are unbelievably professional," he confirmed. "I know they are trying anything they can to learn the game.

"When the boys trained in Liverpool, they played soccer, and if they were not playing soccer, they watched other players playing and then they were on the internet looking at soccer.

"They are very good technically, and we want kids who understand football, so we like their intelligence.

"However, the physical style in England is stronger than the rest of Europe and we need to teach the kids to get stronger bodies so they can cope better in English games."

Well aware of the huge market in China, Liverpool started to look for a connection with the country earlier this year, and launched its first China tour this summer, where Kenny Dalglish’s side played a friendly with second-tier team Guangzhou Sunraycave.
The Reds' decision to include two Chinese players in their youth program is regarded as a move to further develop the Asian market, and McParland is happy to be involved.

"As a club, when you have cooperation with China, which has more than 1.3 billion people you must imagine there are good players in China," he added. "We honestly think these players [Long and Chen] have potential.

"We want them to integrate as much as possible and feel a little bit like they are at home in Liverpool."