Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dalglish Expects Transfer Talk

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish knows he can do little to prevent speculation that suggests he will try to sign a striker in January.

A failure to convert chances this season has undermined the Anfield club and they have already suffered five irritating home draws, the most in the Premier League, as a consequence.

It was almost a similar story against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday, when Luis Suarez's first top-flight goal since October was the only effort to be taken from 15 attempts.

The heroics of visiting goalkeeper Radek Cerny were a significant factor in Liverpool's one-goal margin, but there have still been suggestions Dalglish needs to find another forward.

Liverpool bought Suarez and £35million man Andy Carroll, whose continued loss of form meant he was an unused substitute against QPR, and they have most recently been linked with Rangers' Nikica Jelavic.

But Dalglish told his club's official website regarding the win over QPR: "We did miss some chances, yes, but the goalkeeper saved a lot of them too.

"Do I feel the need to go out and do something about that? Aye, whichever side comes along here next, we'll ask them to come without a keeper. That's the best way to do it, isn't it?

"Irrespective of what I say, it's not going to stop speculation we are going out in January to sign Joe Bloggs up front, or whoever. I don't need to say anything.

"For us it was a fantastic team performance. We are quite happy. I trust the players implicitly when it comes to scoring, implicitly."

He added: "I think some of the football we played in the first half was brilliant, and we won't change our beliefs or the way we play.

"That's why we brought the players here in the first place, and we will stick to those principles."

Liverpool Want Brazil Striker As Answer To Goal-Scoring Problems

Liverpool are hoping that they can persuade Internacional to part with star striker Leandro Damiao during the January transfer window as Kenny Dalglish attempts to address the clubs lack of goals.

The Reds have the joint best defensive record in the Premier League with Manchester City, having conceded just 13 goals, but Dalglish's side have scored just 18, 30 less than the league leaders.

Dalglish has brought the likes of Andy Carroll, Luis Suarez and Craig Bellamy to Anfield in the last year, but it seems another front man is topping his list of targets.

Brazil international Damiao has been in outstanding form for Internacional ever since becoming a regular in the first team at the start of last season.

The 22-year-old has scored a staggering 40 goals this year and has emerged as one of the most in-demand striker in South America, with the likes of Tottenham and Arsenal both showing an interest in the forward.

Liverpool had been heavily linked with Barcelona striker David Villa but the club would have to spend close to £40million to land a striker who is already 30-years-old.

The clubs transfer policy is to bring the best young players to the club and it is perhaps far more likely that they would attempt to make an offer for Damiao.

A number of European clubs have shown an interest in Damiao, but Liverpool are hoping that by making an offer of £25million they will be able to persuade the Brazilian side to part with the forward.

Reds To Win Race For Starlet

Skysports.com understands Liverpool is in pole position to sign Wycombe Wanderers starlet Jordan Ibe.

The 16-year-old is regarded as one of the brightest young prospects in England and has attracted the interest of a host of Premier League clubs.

Ibe shot to fame with a superb goal against Sheffield Wednesday at the end of October in his first professional start, following a series of impressive substitute appearances.

Liverpool has held a long-term interest in the teenager after Ibe trained with them last summer and they have been keeping tabs on his progress.

The likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham have all been credited with an interest in the talented youngster, but Liverpool is thought to be favourites to land Ibe

The Reds have shown their transfer policy is to sign the best young British talent and they have moved to steal a march on their rivals by setting up a deal to bring Ibe to the club next summer.

Kuyt Unfazed By Goal Drought

Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt insists he remains unfazed by his current goal drought for the club.

Kuyt, who was Liverpool's top scorer last season with 15, has one Carling Cup goal to his name this campaign but has not found the net in the Premier League since May.

The Reds have struggled for goals in general in the Premier League having scored just 18 goals in 15 games.

Kuyt is adamant he is not worried by his lack of goals and he is confident the goals will come because the side is creating chances.

"I haven't scored for a while but we all feel like we are close to it and we have the confidence to keep going and soon we will score more of our chances," said Kuyt.

"The last six months of last season we were all scoring goals.

"Sometimes in football it is like this, you have to keep working hard and it will come.

"Last season I was scoring five or six games in a row and everything I touched was going in.

"Now sometimes you are a little bit unlucky to be just in the wrong position or you just miss a chance - that is football.

"I will work hard and wait until the time comes. I am sure with the way this team plays everyone up front will score loads of goals.

"Every player in the squad has shown they can score goals - Stewart Downing, Craig Bellamy, Andy Carroll, Luis, myself and Maxi Rodriguez."

Stefan Frei Joins Liverpool For Week-Long Training Stint

Stefan Frei is the latest Major League Soccer standout to join Liverpool FC for offseason training. The Toronto FC goalkeeper will spend one week practicing with the Reds, according to TorontoFC.ca.

"This is a great opportunity for Stefan and we were happy to give him permission to train with a historic club like Liverpool," Toronto FC manager Aron Winter said. "He has emerged as one of the top keepers in the league since the start of his career and has certainly earned this special opportunity."

The Swiss-born stopper has been Toronto's starting goalkeeper since becoming a professional in 2009. He was drafted out of the University of California-Berkley in 2009, replacing Aston Villa's Brad Guzan in the TFC goal.

In three seasons, Frei has made 95 appearances in all competitions, and Toronto's notoriously pourous defense keeps the 25-year-old plenty busy. He is annually among the league leaders in goals conceded and saves. Despite allowing a high number of goals, Frei is regarded as one of the top 'keepers in MLS.

He will work LFC goalkeeping coach John Achterberg and world-class goalkeepers Pepe Reina and Alexander Doni. The trio will help him refine his game and introduce him to the "Liverpool way" of playing the position.

Frei is the second MLS player to join the Reds during the offseason. New York Red Bulls striker Juan Agudelo is currently training at the club's Melwood practice facility.

Real Defender Flattered By Reds Interest

Real Sociedad defender Inigo Martinez insists he is happy to remain in San Sebastien, despite reported interest in his signature from Liverpool.

The 20-year-old made his senior debut for Sociedad this season, and has since registered a further 13 appearances in La Liga.

His composed displays at the back have reportedly caught the attention of Liverpool, and it has been claimed that Kenny Dalglish is keen to bring the Spaniard to Anfield in January.

However, Martinez says he has no intention of moving to Liverpool - or anywhere else for that matter - at the present time.

"I am happy in San Sebastian," he told skysports.com.

"It is normal that I am happy with this news, but those things depend on the club.

"Now my head is only focused on helping Real for us to make sure we are not in a dangerous position in the table."

Meanwhile, a club source says, should Liverpool or any other interested parties make a formal approach for Martinez, it would not be considered until the summer.

"We know about the presence of scouts, but our position is clear - the subject of a sale will not even be looked at until the summer," the source told skysports.com.

Luis Suárez Given Extra Time To Reply To Conduct Charge

Luis Suárez has been granted more time by the Football Association to respond to a charge of improper conduct for an alleged obscene gesture to Fulham fans following Liverpool’s defeat at Craven Cottage last week.

And while it is not expected to influence any defence against the improper conduct charge, the emergence of photos in Holland showing Suárez allegedly making the same gesture to Feyenoord supporters while playing for Ajax in January 2010 is likely to be an embarrassing development for the Uruguay forward.

Suárez, who was charged last month with racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra, had been due to respond to the improper conduct charge by 4pm on Monday (Dec 12), but the FA has confirmed that Liverpool have asked for further time to reply.

They have also been granted an unspecified extension to respond to a charge of failing to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion following the dismissal of Jay Spearing during the same game.

Suárez is awaiting confirmation from the FA regarding a date for the personal hearing requested when pleading not guilty to the charge of racially abusing Evra, which dates back to the Premier League fixture between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield on Oct 15. With the threat of a suspension hanging over Suárez should he be found guilty, Kenny Dalglish last week described the ongoing failure to resolve the case as a “bit of a joke”. While no date has yet been set for Suárez’s hearing in response to the Evra charge, it is understood that the player is likely to be given the chance to state his case to an FA panel before the turn of the year.

Although the FA closes for business on Dec 23, the disciplinary unit will work as normal in the week leading up to Dec 31, and a hearing could yet be scheduled for that week to ensure that the matter is resolved as quickly as possible. While Dalglish’s misgivings about the length of time taken to arrange a personal hearing are shared by many involved with the case, both at Anfield and Old Trafford, Liverpool’s decision to request further time to respond the charge against Suárez – issued on Nov 17 – resulted in the club being granted an extra week.

As such, the FA’s disciplinary unit has had two weeks to process Suárez’s response and make arrangements for a hearing. It is understood that Suárez will not be expected to respond to both charges against him at the same hearing because of an effort to ensure neither case is prejudiced by the other.