Thursday, December 15, 2011

FA Begins Suarez Hearing

The Football Association has begun the disciplinary hearing into claims that Liverpool striker Luis Suarez racially abused Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.

Suarez was accused of racially abusing Evra during Liverpool's 1-1 draw with United at Anfield in October.

The Uruguayan has categorically denied using any racist language towards Evra and Liverpool have backed the player over the incident

Suarez has been charged with abusing Evra, and referring to his "ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race" by the FA.

Reds boss Kenny Dalglish has been critical of the FA for the amount of time it has taken in trying to resolve the issue.

The hearing is expected to last for two days with the outcome expected by the end of the week. Both players are due to give evidence to the hearing.

Liverpool Linked With Shock Move For In-Form Striker

Liverpool are being touted to make a shock January move for in-form Wolves striker Steven Fletcher.

The Scottish striker, who has bagged six goals in ten appearances this season has reportedly caught the eye of Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish, who is growing concerned at his side's lack of goals this term.

Liverpool have only found the net 17 times this season, some way off the Premier League front runners.

While Liverpool have one of the highest chances created rates in the league, the main concern will be the low conversion rate, something which has led to many questioning the pricey acquisition of Andy Carroll nearly a year ago.

The club's owners appear reluctant to break the bank when the transfer window re-opens and are instead hoping the acumen of Director of Football Damien Comolli will allow the club to strengthen without spending too much.

The 24-year-old Fletcher, who has eight caps for Scotland, would be expected to relish a move to Anfield, although his current boss Mick McCarthy would be reluctant to let his striker leave.

Should Liverpool make a concrete offer, they would have to bid in the region of £5 million for his services.

Fernando Torres To Liverpool Is The Thing People Are Talking About

Like so much surrounding Fernando Torres in the past eighteen months, the sudden Twitter explosion about his possible return to Liverpool doesn’t make much sense. A seemingly baseless rumor about his current club’s willingness to sell for £30million less than he was purchased for eleven months ago, and all of a sudden there’s legitimate-seeming people having legitimate-seeming conversations about the likelihood that Liverpool would make a move for him. Proving that, once and for all, we need to stop drinking so much.

It was sort of a strange thing that happened once the Daily Mail reported that Chelsea would be willing to sell Torres in the January window, in that everyone apparently forgot that other clubs exist. It wasn’t just that Chelsea might be thinking about considering the idea of an opium dream that Neil Ashton had, it was that Fernando Torres was leaving London and he had to be coming back to Liverpool because he never really stopped loving them and how good would he be with Luis Suarez and does anyone know how to get burn marks off of ClimaCool?

Which isn’t meant to entirely trivialize the sentiment that comes along with the idea of Torres back in a Liverpool shirt, because even the most butthurt of us has to acknowledge that the love affair between player and club was something special. Hindsight can trick us into believing that it was never that great, but myriad YouTube compilations, public proclamations of undying love, and the four jerseys you have stuffed in a bin in the closet tell us otherwise.

We can probably all acknowledge that there’s a fair bit of romanticism involved here, and that as pejorative and condescending as we’d all like to be, there’s a flicker in all of us when the topic comes up that’s informed by past glories and endless what if’s. If only he’d stayed, his partnership with Suarez would be unbeatable. He’d never be struggling the way he is now, lifted by the unconditional love of supporters and a natural mentor in Kenny Dalglish. And obviously Steven Gerrard’s groin dong would be in pristine condition, buoyed by their magical link-up on a regular basis. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

There’s really no reason for any of this to have traction other than the romance and the memories, though, and I’m not so sure that’s good enough justification to go after anyone. The desire for a once-loved player to return makes sense emotionally, but in the real world, it doesn’t do anything for the club’s current troubles. Sentiment doesn’t convert chances, even as much as we’d like to believe it.

One of the other main talking points to emerge since Neil Ashton and most of the Twitterverse experimented with mescaline is the idea that, at £20million, there’s some sort of juking the stats to be done. All of a sudden bust of the century Andy Carroll only cost £5million, and we can retroactively explain why Liverpool spent so much money on the former Newcastle striker. Which is not really the most flattering argument for Liverpool or Carroll, who’s not yet had the chance to rid himself of the fact that people with lots of money decided to spend some of it on him.

What a terrifically awful idea—purchase a player you sold who’s scored fewer goals than the player you bought with the money earned from the player you sold to try to prove a point that the player you bought wasn’t worth that much. Uh-huh.

So to seriously argue that coming back to Liverpool is the best thing for the club or for Fernando Torres, or just because I could lift the ban on my wife wearing that jersey she really likes, is misguided at best. It’s emotionally appealing but ultimately unfulfilling, as the joy we experienced during his first stint at the club—and even the glee we felt as Daniel Agger delivered a Danish special to his jaw—can’t be taken back or duplicated. Both are painful in retrospect, but I doubt we’d take either of those things back.

In the end, Chelsea will probably end up selling Fernando Torres, whether it’s this coming January, next summer, or five years from now. He could find his way back to the starting eleven for them and hit the goalscoring trail, or continue to languish in obscurity and find himself subject to ongoing rumors about discontent and failed potential. And if by some otherwordly influence they end up selling to Liverpool, there’ll be a healthy amount of dissonance we’ll have to deal with.

David Villa To Be Offered To Liverpool, Chelsea & Aston Villa

Barcelona has reportedly placed David Villa on the transfer list, sparking a scramble for his signature between Liverpool, Chelsea and Aston Villa.

The Spanish international, 30, has dropped down the pecking order at the Nou Camp this season, and more importantly, has allegedly fallen out with star player Lionel Messi.

Now, pro-Real Madrid publication Marca, claim the Catalan giants are ready to cash in on the unsettled forward, whom they paid £34million for back in 2010.

The Reds have long been linked with a move for Villa, and could view the forward as the ideal partner for Luis Suarez, but may struggle to match Chelsea in a bidding war should they decide to enter the running.

Alex McLeish’s Aston Villa are seen as rank outsiders for the Spaniard’s signature, but supposedly want their name to be kept in the mix in the event the Champions League winners decide to officially offer out the striker’s services.

However, Barca coach Pep Guardiola has refuted the claims, saying: 'Marca lie. I have not spoken to David after the last match in Madrid, but all of the players are in my plans.

'I am the one who comes up with 25 different line-ups during the season because I feel that is the best thing to do.

'Most of the players that are here now will continue for the rest of this season and the next.'

Liverpool's Lucas Hopes Dashed

Liverpool's hopes of signing Brazilian youngster Lucas have been dashed after he revealed he is scared of leaving his country for Europe.

The midfielder is under contract with Sao Paulo until 2015 and is valued at around £30m, with Liverpool among a string of admirers from across Europe.

Manchester United, AC Milan and Barcelona have all tracked his progress but Lucas believes he is better off staying put for now.

"I'm only 19, I'm still young and I'm scared of not being able to adapt to life abroad. I hope that this'll change some day," said Lucas, who has 10 caps for Brazil.

He added: "I'm working up a great relationship with the Sao Paulo fans. The worst aspect of being a footballer is not being able to see my childhood friends, who I miss very much."

Comolli Wants To Hurl Bundesliga Striker Into The Mix

Borussia Dortmund and Polish striker Robert Lewandowski is back in the frame again with Liverpool his most likely destination. Liverpool have been linked with many strikers with the transfer period looming on the horizon as Dalglish looks to conquer his attacking headaches.

Liverpool haven’t been clinical enough in front of goal this campaign notching up 18 goals in 15 Premier League games.

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish will look to lure the Dortmund striker to Anfield as he looks to bolster his attacking options that could help lift the load of Suarez’s shoulders. Liverpool have had to solely rely heavily on the Uruguayan for both goals and flair this season, and Lewandowski could be the answer to fix Liverpool’s dilemma.

Lewandowski is not your typical out and out scorer but has still managed to notch up 10 league goals in 16 matches this season. He was instrumental in helping Dortmund lift the Bundesliga title last season and could see a move to Merseyside as a fresh challenge. The 6ft Polish striker would be the perfect player to complement Luis Suarez as he holds the ball well and likes to feed people through.

Liverpool had thought they found the perfect combination in Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez but the former has failed to live up to expectations. The England international has been below par since his switch to Anfield and heavy criticism on Carroll’s capabilities has left Dalglish convinced he needs more cover up front.

The Polish youngster moved to Dortmund on a four year contract in 2010 for a fee of around €4.9 million and will take some doing to lure the youngster to leave Dortmund having just signed with the club a year ago. However Liverpool’s new owners have shown enough steel that they are willing to spend big in a bid to put Liverpool back on the map, having already spent over £100 million since their takeover.

Shelvey Wants To Take Chance

Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey feels sorry for his team-mates who have suffered injury or suspension, but he is ready to step up as a replacement.

The £1.7million signing from Charlton in May 2010 was at the beginning of December recalled from a loan at Blackpool by boss Kenny Dalglish after Lucas Leiva's season was ended by knee surgery.

Jay Spearing has since also been made unavailable after being sent off at Fulham and he served the first of a three-match suspension in last Saturday's win over QPR.

Shelvey, who scored six goals in 10 appearances during his two months at Blackpool, was a late substitute in the victory and, ahead of Sunday's trip to Aston Villa, he is hoping for more opportunities.

"Obviously it was really unfortunate for Lucas to get such a bad injury and then for Jay to get a ban as well," said the 19-year-old in the Liverpool Echo.

"With a few players missing, there's definitely an opening there, but it's down to the gaffer whether he wants to pick me.

"When my time comes, I'll be waiting and ready to take my chance."

Shelvey thinks his time at Blackpool helped his development and manager Ian Holloway was very impressed by the teenager.

The England Under 21 international now hopes to continue his form with Liverpool and catch the eye of Dalglish.

"I feel that the time I spent away from the club really helped me come on as a player," said Shelvey. "But it also made me realize just how much I want to be playing in Liverpool's first team.

"There's a big difference between Championship football and Premier League football.

"It's so good to be back in and around the squad. I only got on for a few minutes on Saturday, but it was really special to be back out there on the pitch in front of the fans. It's always a great honour to play for Liverpool.

"Kenny called me back and hopefully now I can show the gaffer what I can do. I've got to deliver day in, day out in training and try to force my way into his plans."

Academy Starlet Signs Contract With LFC

Liverpool youth player Raheem Sterling has signed his first professional contract with the club.

Sterling turned 17 on the 8th December, and Liverpool wasted no time in tying down the exciting prospect to a pro-contract.

"The talented winger joined from Queens Park Rangers in February 2010 with a reputation for pace and flair. He made an immediate impact when he scored on his U18s debut in a mini-derby triumph against Everton.

"Since then he has continued to make great strides and at the age of 15, was rewarded with a substitute appearance in the first-team's pre-season defeat at Borussia Moenchengladbach.

One of the highlights of his fledgling career came during a 9-0 FA Youth Cup thrashing of Southend in early 2010, with Sterling scoring five of the goals.

He has also represented England at youth level and helped his country reach the U17 World Cup quarter-finals in the summer of 2011".

Ian Rush is big fan of Sterling, and recently tipped him to make a breakthrough: There are a few young kids coming up. There is one young lad, Raheem Sterling. He is only 17. He is similar to Michael Owen at that age..."