Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Martinez Set To Snub Reds

Roberto Martinez looks set to snub Liverpool in favour of a bumper new contract and large transfer kitty at Wigan.

Martinez has been Liverpool's number one choice to replace Kenny Dalglish and the Spaniard held talks with the Reds American owners in Miami last week.

There have already been rumours circulating that Martinez would turn down the chance to move to Anfield as he is unwilling to work under a Director of Football and now reports have claimed Latics chairman Dave Whelan has convinced him to stay.

The Wigan owner is said to have promised bumper new contracts to not only Martinez but all his backroom staff as well along with a stack of cash to spend on new players in the summer.

Whelan wants a final answer by Thursday but reports in the Sun say that Martinez has already made his mind up to stay and Liverpool will now look elsewhere with Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers now their top target.

Jenkins Stands Firm On Rodgers

Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins is standing firm over talk linking Brendan Rodgers with the Liverpool job, dismissing reports he will meet the club's owners as 'pure speculation'.

Although Rodgers had previously stated his intention to remain with the Swans, having already turned down the chance to speak with the Anfield club, it appears the Reds have not given up on the hope of talking to the Northern Irishman.

Reports have suggested Liverpool is set to contact him this week but Jenkins has shrugged off the claims, saying on Monday the reports are "pure speculation".

Ten days ago Swansea released a statement confirming they had received an official approach from Liverpool to speak with Rodgers.

"The club is pleased to confirm that Brendan has declined the current opportunity to speak to the Anfield club about the vacant position," it said.

"The Swansea manager is currently working hard to strengthen the squad in readiness for the new Barclays Premier League campaign."

Wigan's Roberto Martinez is still seen as the front-runner, having held talks with Liverpool's principal owner John Henry in Miami last week.

The Spaniard is due back from a Caribbean holiday on Tuesday but despite his suggestion over the weekend he would hold a press conference at which he would outline his future plans, no such arrangements have yet been made.

In light of the latest speculation linking Liverpool with a move for Rodgers, Swansea issued a short statement insisting there had been no contact.

"We would like to clarify the speculation in the press surrounding our manager Brendan Rodgers," it said.

"We would like to confirm that there has been no contact from Liverpool and nothing has changed since our previous statement on the issue."

Roy Keane Would Leap At Chance To Manage Liverpool

Roy Keane has made an admission that might stun fans of former club Manchester United, revealing he would jump at the chance of managing Liverpool.

Keane is a legend at United, winning seven Premier League titles, four FA Cups and a Champions League crown during his time at Old Trafford. A no-nonsense skipper, Keane's belligerent style was loved by United fans and despised by rivals Liverpool.

His final United game was actually played at Anfield, when a challenge from Luis Garcia forced the midfielder off the pitch. Since then Keane has been frequently critical of United, who he still demands exceptionally high standards of in his current punditry role.

It is highly unlikely he would ever be considered as Kenny Dalglish's successor at Liverpool, but Keane offered advice to Roberto Martinez and Brendan Rodgers, both linked to the Anfield vacancy. In Keane's mind, either man would be foolish to turn down a job offer to stay with Wigan and Swansea respectively.

"Timing is everything for a manager - far more important than for a player," Keane wrote in the Sun on Sunday. "That's why the likes of Roberto Martinez and Brendan Rodgers have to think carefully about their next move.

"I'm speaking from experience. In my last season at Sunderland we were talking about a new contract after we made a decent start. Four weeks later I was out of a job. You can be hailed as the next best thing one minute then the next thing you know you're sacked.

"Now is the time for [Martinez] to go and if I were him I'd jump at the chance to go to Liverpool. It might not be the best time in the club's history but it's still a great job.

"Liverpool will always be a bigger club than either Swansea or Wigan and if a chance comes to go there, you've got to take it because it might never come around again.

"Put it this way, I'd take it and my mobile is on."

Louis van Gaal Expecting To Land Role At Liverpool

Louis van Gaal could soon be plying his trade in the Premier League with Liverpool, but it is unclear whether this will be in a managerial role.

The Sun has reported that the Dutchman expects Liverpool to make him an offer in the coming days but it is unclear whether this will be in the role of sporting director or manager.

The 60-year-old was initially linked with the role formerly held by Damien Comolli but he has now emerged as a potential successor to Kenny Dalglish.

Liverpool owners, Fenway Sports Group, have been attempting to find a replacement for Dalglish but have so far been turned down by both Breandan Rodgers and Frank de Boer.

They are actively holding talks with Wigan boss Roberto Martinez who last week flew out to America to meet with John W Henry and Tom Werner.

The report believes that Van Gaal would prefer to take the managers role, having not worked in the role since being sacked by Bayern Munich in April 2011.

Van Gaal has enjoyed plenty of success throughout his managerial career that has seen him lift the Champions League crown with Ajax and win league titles in Germany, Holland and Spain.

Carroll Plans To Grab Chance

Andy Carroll is determined to make the most of his England opportunity, with there every chance that he will lead Roy Hodgson's line at Euro 2012.

The Liverpool striker was handed a starting berth on Saturday as Hodgson's reign as Three Lions boss began with a 1-0 win over Norway.

Carroll's fine form towards the end of the Premier League season has earned him international recognition, and the burly frontman is ready to prove that he can cut it at the very highest level.

The 23-year-old has struggled to produce his best form since completing a £35million move to Anfield in January 2011, but he would appear to be edging back towards his best form and claims he is ready to help cover the loss of Wayne Rooney to suspension during England's opening two fixtures at this summer's European Championship.

Carroll, who set up Ashley Young's winner against Norway, said: "It's a great honour to be involved with England. This is what I want to be involved in during my career.

"Now I've got a chance to show what I'm about. I thought I did well. We've got a big squad and loads of quality players but I gave it my best shot and we'll see what happens.

"The season is over for everyone not involved in this (Euro 2012) and it's great for me to carry it on and I want to do well if given the chance.

"The way Roy Hodgson has played at his clubs, he wants a big man up front and he has picked me, so that is great."

Carroll says he always believed that he would come good at Liverpool and force his way back into the England fold, silencing those who were quick to write him off.

He said: "I always believed in myself but things weren't going too well for me.

"The price tag meant nothing to me. I just signed for a new club and it was hard to fit in straight away.

"I came into Liverpool when injured and it was hard for me to get my fitness back but I didn't think about the price at all.

"I don't think about those sort of things. I know what I'm about and, as soon as I got my fitness up, I've started to show it."

Carroll added: "I didn't play as many games as I would have hoped but towards the end of the season, I got a run of games and did well - and now I'm here.

"Training and playing gets your confidence up, certainly after a good game, and I carried on from there.

"I feel a lot fitter now than I did at the start and halfway through the season.

"I never got many games in a row and towards the season I did and that helped a lot.

"I'm feeling good, feeling fresh. From the end of the season, I felt good, felt like I was moving a lot better and getting involved in games more than earlier in the season."

Liverpool To Move For Napoli Superstar

Liverpool is considering an ambitious swoop for Napoli attacker Ezequiel Lavezzi, according to the Guardian.

A previous report had claimed that Lavezzi wanted to leave Napoli this summer to ensure he plays Champions League football - this is something Liverpool can’t offer with the Reds only in the Europa League competition.

However, it is now suggested that Liverpool will still make a bid for the Argentina international in an attempt to lure the direct and hard-working forward to Anfield for the beginning of the 2012/13 season.

Earlier this year, Lavezzi’s agent Jose Alberti claimed that Liverpool had already been in touch with the Serie A side over a possible deal.

“Two years ago I oversaw a meeting between the leaders of Liverpool and Napoli. We discussed a possible deal to bring Lavezzi to England,” he said.

“Nothing happened, but I know specifically that the English club still has great interest in the player, especially after the performance of this season.

Lavezzi, 27, scored 11 times in 42 games this past term.

Diame: Dalglish Sacking Prevented Deal

Mohamed Diame has revealed he had chosen to join Liverpool this summer, before the sacking of Kenny Dalglish scuppered the proposed deal.

The Senegalese midfielder will be out of contract this summer after spending three years with Wigan, and is likely to attract no shortage of suitors over the next few months.

Liverpool were one of a number of teams to be linked with Diame after it was announced he would leave the DW Stadium, and the 24-year-old claims to have met with Dalglish to discuss a move to Anfield.

Diame liked what he heard from the Liverpool boss and decided joining the Reds represented an offer too good to refuse, but the departure of Dalglish appears to have prevented a deal from being completed.

"I am free and that is why I have got a lot of clubs interested," Diame told Sky Sports News. "I have to be composed and make the big decision for my future.

"I have got some clubs from Spain, from France and Turkey but I really want to stay here in the Premier League.

"I met before with Kenny Dalglish and we talked about next season but the club decided to finish this situation. It is true I was very excited and I was choosing to go there, but I think there is an opportunity to go to another club."

A deal for Diame could perhaps be revived if Roberto Martinez is announced as Dalglish's successor, having held talks with Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group in Miami last week.

The Wigan manager is due back in England on Tuesday, and Latics chairman Dave Whelan has requested the Spaniard makes a decision on his future by Thursday.

Cole Hoping For Second Chance

Joe Cole is keen to restore his reputation at Anfield by making a return to Liverpool next season following a loan spell at Lille.

Cole played himself back into form at the French club during the 2011-12 campaign, making 20 league starts as Lille finished third in the table. That was a welcome boost after his first year with Liverpool did not go to plan: he was nowhere near his best, and marginalized following the appointment of Kenny Dalglish.

Lille are keen to keep him at the club, especially if Eden Hazard makes his expected exit over the coming weeks, but there is a chance Cole could be back in the first-team picture at Liverpool when they appoint a successor to Dalglish.

And Cole, who missed out on selection for England's Euro 2012 squad, is keeping his options open.

"I've been a success at West Ham, a success at Chelsea," Cole told Sky Sports. "I've moved to another country in France and had a good season. It's just that season at Liverpool and I would love to have a chance to put it right, if that's what they wanted."

Monday, May 28, 2012

Martinez To Decide On Liverpool Offer

Liverpool's hunt for a new manager could be over after it emerged that Roberto Martinez is set to announce his future plans on Tuesday.

Press Association Sport understands Wigan will hold a press conference this week in which Martinez is expected to announce whether or not he will stay at the club.

The 38-year-old met Liverpool's owners in Miami to discuss the vacancy and was not put off by the huge challenge that would face any new manager.

However, it is understood Martinez has not made up his mind completely whether to accept that challenge and has given himself until Tuesday to do so.

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan claimed the Spaniard had received an offer from Liverpool's principal owner John Henry after the meeting in Miami.

Doubts emerged over Whelan's interpretation of the situation, with the Reds refusing to comment amid the general belief no formal offer had been made.

Martinez's appointment would doubtless divide opinion among Liverpool supporters, some of whom may have been expecting a bigger name to be recruited to replace the sacked Kenny Dalglish.

Throughout the process, Whelan insisted it was not a foregone conclusion he would lose his manager to the club's North West rivals, claiming there were still some issues - mainly surrounding working under a technical director - to be overcome before Martinez would even be in a position to accept.

Liverpool, which has also been linked with former Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas and Swansea City's Brendan Rodgers, is looking to finalize the technical director post, with which Dutchman Louis van Gaal has been linked.

Fenway Sports Group Sounding Out Louis van Gaal For Senior Role

Liverpool have made the first steps towards appointing Louis van Gaal as sporting director after meeting with him in Portugal last week.

There are, though, complications as to whether the Dutchman’s methods match the way the Fenway Sports Group are seeking to restructure the club.

Van Gaal has been spending the summer at his house near Albufeira in the Algarve and it is understood that Ian Ayre, Liverpool’s managing director, flew out to meet him last week.

There are very few available candidates that possess Van Gaal’s pedigree. He has been out of work since falling into dispute with Ajax and Johan Cruyff.

While Van Gaal wants to be a head coach or manager, and has had plenty of offers, he recognizes that Liverpool is a unique opportunity for him, even if it means working in a different role.

He has won titles in the Netherlands, Spain and Germany with Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich respectively and wants to test himself in English football.

The difficulties lie in Van Gaal being able to adapt to how Liverpool want their new structure to work. The first issue will be how comfortable the new manager would be working with Van Gaal, especially if it is a young manager like Brendan Rodgers or Roberto Martínez.

Rodgers and Martinez are the leading contenders to succeed Kenny Dalglish. Martinez met John W Henry, the principal owner, in Miami last week while Rodgers is thought to be back in serious contention after initially declining a meeting with Liverpool.

Such is FSG’s admiration for Martínez that, after sacking Damien Comolli in April, they considered approaching him for the role of director of football. At Wigan he has had a lot of control about the way the club works and he will be reluctant to cede too much influence to a sporting director at Liverpool.

Van Gaal has a reputation for setting the highest standards and being forthright to the point of arrogance. When he was technical director of Ajax in 2004, his demands caused him to fall out with head coach Ronald Koeman. Van Gaal ended up resigning.

Another issue is that, in all his previous jobs, Van Gaal has taken a substantial staff with him, made up of coaches and analysts. It is understood that he would want to bring key people with him to help infuse his football philosophy.

Andries Jonker, his former assistant at Bayern, has announced that he will be leaving Munich this summer, giving rise to speculation that he will be joining up with Van Gaal again. Van Gaal would also want to bring Frans Hoek with him, the innovative goalkeeping coach who Pepe Reina credits with developing his distinctive style at Barcelona.

Liverpool, though, have apparently refused to accept Steve Clarke’s resignation as first team coach, and only appointed Kevin Keen as a coach last summer, so may seek some continuity in this area. Then, of course, any new manager is surely going to want to bring some trusted coaching staff along with him.

To add to this complicated picture, FSG are also contemplating appointing a technical director as well as a sporting director. They felt that Comolli was taking on too much as director of football and want to divide the responsibilities into two jobs. Pep Segura, the technical manager of the Liverpool academy, is the favourite for the technical director role.

The next step for the owners is to decide whether to meet Van Gaal personally and find a way to resolve the issues that his appointment would bring, or whether to look for a candidate who, while not having Van Gaal’s track record, would prove a more straightforward fit for the way they want to run the club.

Reds Still Keen On Rodgers

Liverpool are still trying to speak to Brendan Rodgers as doubts surround Roberto Martinez taking over at Anfield.

Martinez has held talks with Liverpool's American owners and an offer has been made to the Spaniard but Wigan chairman Dave Whelan says there is a big question mark over whether he will take the job.

The Spaniard is reluctant to work under a Director of Football, with Louis van Gaal expected to be given the job, and that could be a deal breaker.

Martinez has said he will think about the move and a decision is expected to be announced on Tuesday.

In the meantime, John W Henry and FSG are weighing up other options and reports are suggesting they are doing all they can to set up a meeting with Swansea boss Rodgers.

The Northern Irishman has already turned down one approach from the Reds but FSG will make one last attempt to open talks before a final decision is made.

Andre Villas-Boas Snubbed After Angry Liverpool Fans' Revolt

Andre Villas-Boas has told pals he has ‘no chance’ of getting the Liverpool job.

The Portuguese coach, sacked by Chelsea in March, held talks with the Reds earlier this month about replacing sacked Kenny Dalglish in the Anfield dugout.

But after being installed as the bookies’ favourite to assume the Kop reins, Villas-Boas, 34, has dropped down the pecking order in the last 24 hours.

And with Liverpool seemingly now intent on luring Roberto Martinez from Wigan instead, AVB is resigned to missing out on what he considered a great opportunity to repair his damaged reputation.

A source close to the ex-Porto boss said: “Andre doesn’t think he’s got a chance of being offered the Liverpool job any more. That’s what he is saying to friends.

“He really wanted it – so he’s very disappointed. But he will now look to find another club.”

Villas-Boas arrived at Stamford Bridge last summer hailed as one of the brightest, most forward-thinking coaches in Europe.

That stemmed from his remarkable success with Porto, where he won four trophies, including the Europa League, in his one and only season there.

But AVB found life at Chelsea a great deal tougher, especially when he fell out with a number of the club’s senior stars, including Frank Lampard.

And a disastrous run of league form, which ultimately cost the Blues a top-four place, led to Roman Abramovich firing him following a 1-0 defeat at West Brom.

Villas-Boas’ advisors later put his name forward to the Liverpool board as the best man to bring back the glory days to the club.

However, while initially convinced he would be asked to fill the vacancy, AVB has since realized that is not likely to happen.

And that seems down to a backlash from fans strongly opposed to any suggestion of his appointment.

The Kop revolt seems to have been the final nail in the coffin for him in the thinking of the club’s American owners, Fenway Sports Group.

Boudebouz - Liverpool Want Me

Sochaux midfielder Ryad Boudebouz has revealed that Liverpool is one of the clubs chasing his signature.

The highly-rated Ligue 1 winger has told reporters he has attracted interest from the Merseysiders as well as a host of French clubs understood to be Lyon, Lille and Marseille.

The 22-year-old was part of Algeria's 3-0 win over Niger in Saturday's friendly and after the game Boudebouz revealed that his agent has been in discussions with clubs across Europe over a potential summer switch.

"Certainly, my agent is in talks with some clubs, particularly in France, but there is still nothing concrete," he said.

"There is also Liverpool, who have initiated discussions with my agent, but at the risk of repeating myself, everything is in the discussion stage, no more."

QPR To Rival Liverpool For Jermaine Defoe

QPR are ready to rival Liverpool for the signing of Tottenham striker Jermaine Defoe, according to The People.

Defoe is tipped to leave White Hart Lane this summer and Liverpool was believed to be interested before the Anfield club’s recent sacking of Kenny Dalglish.

It is claimed Rangers boss Mark Hughes wants to form a new-look attack by capturing Defoe and Andy Johnson.

Out-of-contract Fulham forward Johnson is said to be close to moving to Loftus Road, with Hughes keen to offload Jay Bothroyd and DJ Campbell.

The Daily Star on Sunday say Joey Barton could join West Ham, whose manager Sam Allardyce signed him for Newcastle.

Despite recent reports that it could cost QPR around £11m to sack Barton, the Sunday Express suggest he is unlikely to be entitled to any compensation if he is fired and that his most likely destination would be Qatar.

Liverpool Given Matias Suarez Warning

Liverpool must move quickly or risk missing out on long-term target Matias Suarez, with Bayern Munich reported to be readying a bid for the Argentine striker.

Anderlecht hitman Suarez has been on the Merseyside club's shortlist for some time and they had looked set to lure him from Belgium to Anfield this summer.

But Champions League runners-up Bayern are believed to have joined the transfer battle and have seemingly taken up pole position in the race to sign Suarez, ahead of the manager-less Reds.

'Bayern Munich is the most concrete team for now. My agents are dealing with it at the moment. They asked me whether I was interested and I have obviously given them the green light. I'm open to a move to Germany,' Suarez stated.

Liverpool, who look likely to appoint Roberto Martinez as manager in the coming days, are hoping to recruit further strikers this summer to add competition for Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll.

Matias Suarez has confirmed he will leave Anderlecht, despite their plea for him to stay to play in the Champions League qualifiers. He is insistent that he will play in a more prestigious league next season.

But he could choose the Bundesliga over the Premier League unless Liverpool moves quickly to change his mind.

Gerrard - No Injury Scares

Steven Gerrard has played down any fears about his own fitness after playing just a half for England in their friendly with Norway.

The Liverpool skipper has endured a stop-start season both for club and country mainly because of a hamstring injury and in Saturday's international match, the midfield talisman played just 45 minutes of the 1-0 win in Oslo.

However, after the game the 31-year-old was sure to allay any fears of being injured, saying it was agreed that he would come off at half-time in Roy Hodgson's first match in charge.

"It was always the plan for me to play 45 minutes. I had a bit of a tight hamstring towards the end of the season," said Gerrard.

"I missed a couple of games towards the end. But I'm fine, I've come through 45 minutes and I'm raring to go next week."

The England captain was full of praise for the side's solitary goalscorer Ashley Young and believes the Manchester United winger - who has now scored four goals in as many appearances for his country - can be their lethal weapon in next month's Euro 2012 finals.

"Ashley is a good player and when he plays that withdrawn role off the front man and gets in between the lines, he is very dangerous and skilful," said Gerrard.

"Opposing defenders and midfielders don't know how to pick him up because he finds the space so well.

"He is in good form for England and is scoring a lot of goals at the right time with the Euros coming up.

"We are really pleased with Ashley's performance and I thought him and Andy (Carroll) look decent together."

Adam Out To Impress New Boss

Charlie Adam has admitted he was shocked to see Kenny Dalglish sacked by Liverpool, but is determined to prove his worth to whoever is the new manager.

Dalglish was axed earlier this month after 18 months in the job at Anfield with the Reds icon paying the price for their eighth-place finish in the Premier League.

Adam, who was signed by Dalglish last summer from Blackpool, admits the former Reds boss played a big part in his decision to move to Liverpool, but he knows the club has now got to move on.

"Dalglish was a key factor in me going to Liverpool - but he's gone now so we have to move on. I was surprised when he left but the owners make these decisions," Adam told the Sunday Mail.

"They have been first-class since they came in and have put a lot of money in to the club.

"Now we have to look to the future. Whoever comes in will be a top manager who is used to working with top players.

"It's one of the best jobs in English football so it will be very attractive to a lot of people."

Adam missed the last two months of the season with a knee injury, but he is confident he will be fit in time for pre-season as he looks to impress the new man at the helm at Anfield.

"The most important thing is just getting back on the pitch and playing again," added Adam.

"I missed eight weeks toward the end of the season and the Cup final.

"I couldn't help the lads when they needed it. So I need to be fully fit to show the new man what I can do.

"I was back working at Liverpool last week getting fit so I'll be fine for pre-season.

"I'll be all geared up for that and trying to impress the new manager.

"We're one of the best clubs in the world and I feel extremely fortunate to be at Liverpool."

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Liverpool Encouraged To 'Seduce' Guardiola

Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group will have been interested to hear the latest comments from Pep Guardiola who suggested he could consider cutting short his sabbatical from the game.

The former Barcelona manager said that he was going to take a year off from management after an incredibly successful spell in charge of the Catalan club.

Guardiola will take charge of Barcelona for the final time on Friday evening when they play Athletic Bilbao in the Copa Del Ray final as he looks to add yet another trophy to his already amazing collection.

The Spaniard has been linked with both Chelsea and Liverpool in the past few weeks and both will be interested in the comments, especially the Reds who are without a manager.

Chelsea enjoyed huge success under Roberto di Matteo as they won the Champions League and the FA Cup, while Liverpool is without a boss after firing Kenny Dalglish.

"I will be pleased to receive their calls, of course, but for the next months I have to charge my batteries, charge my mind," said Guardiola, as reported on the Guardian.

"I'm going to rest and then I will wait and, when I will be ready, if one club wants me, if they seduce me, I will train again."

Martinez Offered Liverpool Job

Roberto Martinez has been offered the chance to manage Liverpool according to Wigan chairman Dave Whelan.

Wigan boss Martinez was in Miami on Thursday for talks with Reds owner JW Henry about succeeding Kenny Dalglish as manager of the Anfield club.

Whelan has confirmed that Liverpool has made an offer to his manager and a decision will be made within the next week.

The only sticking point would appear to be whether Martinez will be given the level of control he demands.

"I have just spoken to Roberto," Whelan told Sky Sports News. "He went to Miami and had a very constructive meeting with the owner of Liverpool.

"They're going to talk again on Tuesday. They've made Roberto an offer and he has agreed to consider it.

"He is also aware that I have said 'I'd love to keep you but I need a decision by Wednesday or Thursday of next week'.

"If we lose him we've got to move and appoint someone for Wigan Athletic.

"In the meeting I think they've made him an offer and he's said 'what are my responsibilities'.

"These are American owners and the rules and regulations are a bit different from what we English set down.

"Roberto is a seven days a week, 12 hours a day worker and I don't know whether they realise how hard he works.

"He has rules and regulations to be fully in charge of football and I know he won't move anywhere unless he is fully in charge of the football.

"I think he's considering it and I think he'll give it fair consideration."

Asked to clarify whether Martinez is set to become Liverpool's new manager, Whelan added: "I couldn't say that 100% for sure. They have made him an offer, I don't know what that offer is.

"I think he has said thank you for the offer but I only work when I have complete control of football.

"But he's having another meeting with them on Tuesday when he says a decision will be made."

"If he goes to Liverpool we will wish him good luck and get on with the business."

Gerrard Gets Behind Martinez

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard says he would fully support Roberto Martinez if the Spaniard is named as the Reds' new manager.

Latics chairman Dave Whelan told Sky Sports on Friday Liverpool have offered Martinez a chance to be their new boss and a decision will be made within the next week.

The Spaniard was in Miami on Thursday for talks with Reds owner JW Henry about taking over at Anfield.

Reds skipper Gerrard says he was unaware of any offer for the Wigan boss but insists he would be completely behind him if he succeeds Kenny Dalglish at the helm.

"We'll have to wait and see. That's news to me," said England captain Gerrard, speaking ahead of the Three Lions' friendly with Norway on Saturday.

"My focus has been on the game today. I am aware that Roberto Martinez has been speaking to the club.

"Everything I've heard about the guy has been good and positive. We'll have to wait and see what the club decide to do.

"If he is the manager he's certainly got my full support."

Suarez - My Conscience Is Clear

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez insists his 'conscience is clear' over the racism row which tainted his and the club's campaign and has described the eight-match ban he served as strange.

The Uruguay international was suspended after an independent panel appointed by the Football Association found him guilty of racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra in a match at Anfield last October.

Suarez insisted throughout he had done nothing wrong and has never publicly apologised to the Frenchman. And he still feels a sense of injustice now.

"The suspension, I suppose, you could call strange and unbelievable," the 25-year-old said in an interview with Russia Today.

"There was not a single convincing proof that I had done any of the things they accused me of doing.

"I accepted it without saying anything, obviously because they could have made [the suspension] longer and it would have just made the whole thing continue, but my conscience is completely calm, and so is that of the club and my family.

"Everyone knows that in Uruguay there is a huge black population.

"I had team-mates and friends of both colours all the time in the national team, in Liverpool, in Holland, where the majority are from Surinam, and I never had any problem with them.

"Holland is one of the countries in the world where there is the highest number of black players and at no point was there an issue."

Suarez suggests there was a conscious campaign to get him suspended, but although he remains unhappy with his treatment by the Football Association and the media, he did not specify whom he blamed for that.

"It seems to me they had to get rid of a Liverpool player and, well, they definitely were gratified by all of this," he added.

"What the English press has said about me does not interest me.

"What interests me is what they say about me in Uruguay and in Liverpool, and they have always been very supportive.

"After the suspension I was told the fans would taunt me, they would whistle me, insult me and shout at me, but to be honest it is not something I was worried about.

"Everyone whistled me in all of the stadiums I played in all the time anyway, even before the allegation of racism.

"I tried to pay it as little attention as possible to focus on what I like to do, which is to play."

Milan Keen On Liverpool Midfielder

Liverpool midfielder Alberto Aquilani could still leave Anfield for AC Milan this summer, according to talkSPORT.

The Italy international has been on a season-long loan to the Serie A giants, but failed to reach the required number of appearances to trigger the £6m buyout clause. As part of the loan agreement, had Aquilani reached 25 games AC Milan would have had the automatic option to sign the 27-year-old.

Milan decided against taking up Liverpool's offer, but reports in Italy suggest the club's vice president Adriano Galliani may come back in to sign Aquilani next month.

The Italian club are thought to be waiting to sort out the futures of Mathieu Flamini and Clarence Seedorf before committing to signing their permanent replacement, and the Italian club may feel they can secure the Italian for less than £6m.

And Aquilani's agent, Franco Zavaglia, believes his player may not have played his last game in a Milan shirt.

"Nothing is certain at the moment," Zavaglia told ItaSportPress. "It is by no means certain that Milan will not decide to keep him."

Aquilani joined Liverpool in 2009 from Roma, but failed to settle on Merseyside, and has spent the last two seasons on loan to Serie A clubs.

Aurelio Returns To Brazil

Gremio have announced the signing of Fabio Aurelio on an 18-month deal after he was allowed to leave Liverpool.

Aurelio has spent the past six years with Liverpool, having previously plied his trade for Valencia when he first came to Europe.

However, his involvement in recent times has been restricted by injuries and Kenny Dalglish confirmed at the end of the season that he would not be staying on as his contract was set to expire.

Aurelio has now returned to his native Brazil after Gremio confirmed on their official website they had signed the 32-year-old.

The full-back has penned a deal which keeps him at the club until December 2013 and he will be looking to play far more regularly after a frustrating few seasons at Anfield.

Liverpool Striker Joins Preston

Preston have agreed the free-transfer signing of Liverpool youngster David Amoo.

The 21-year-old striker will sign a one-year contract at Deepdale after his current Reds deal runs out at the end of June.

Amoo recently completed a successful year-long loan spell with Bury, where he scored four goals including the winner against North End at Gigg Lane in November.

He has also had loan spells with MK Dons and Hull.

Amoo said: "I've played here a few times and it is an amazing stadium and a club of great history, so it will be a great step in my career to come here."

Hogan Lands Liverpool Role

Liverpool's owners have appointed the former managing director of Fenway Sports Management as their new chief commercial officer.

Billy Hogan, who worked for the marketing wing of John Henry's company, will be responsible for sponsorships, ticketing and hospitality, retail and merchandise, club memberships, club tours and friendlies as well as Liverpool FC's Soccer Schools.

The 37-year-old sports marketing executive will replace Graham Bartlett who parted company with the Reds in March after less than a year in the job.

He has already worked on a number of Liverpool projects, including the record-breaking £25million per year kit deal with Warrior Sports and putting together Liverpool's pre-season tour of North America.

Hogan told the club's official website: "I've witnessed first-hand the passion and loyalty fans have for this club and I look forward to working with the staff, partners and future sponsors to grow and develop Liverpool's brand and commercial presence globally to help ensure the long-term growth of this storied club."

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre added: "Having worked at a senior level within Fenway Sports Management, Billy has been working alongside LFC for the last 18 months on a number of partnership projects and brings with him a rich pedigree of expertise and resource.

"In many respects this appointment reflects the great spirit of partnership between all of the Fenway Sports Group and LFC."

The club have also brought in former Sports Illustrated senior editor Jen Chang as their new corporate relations and communications director.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Harry Redknapp Is Shock Target For Liverpool

Harry Redknapp has emerged as a shock target to become Liverpool’s new manager. Standard Sport understands that the Merseyside club are considering making a move for the 65-year-old having sacked Kenny Dalglish last week.

Redknapp is believed to have shot up their wish-list after Frank de Boer, Jurgen Klopp, Didier Deschamps and Brendan Rodgers ruled themselves out of the running.

Liverpool still have some candidates interested in the job, including former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas, ex-England boss Fabio Capello, Wigan coach Roberto Martinez as well as former Reds manager Rafael Benitez.

However, their desire for Redknapp, who has just one year left on his contract at Tottenham, is a stunning new development.

It is believed Liverpool’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, have been impressed with the job Redknapp has done at White Hart Lane and the style of football he plays.

Spurs only missed out on qualifying for the Champions League because Chelsea — who also has Redknapp on their list of candidates for the manager’s job at Stamford Bridge — won the competition.

But there has been speculation that the relationship between Redknapp and Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has been deteriorating.

Redknapp’s link with the England job following Capello’s resignation in February sparked a major slump in the team’s form and a run of one win in nine games ensured they slipped from third, which would have seen them make Europe’s premier club competition, behind Arsenal into fourth.

Significantly, Redknapp has yet to sign a contract extension and while he insisted last week that he wanted to stay at White Hart Lane, he also confirmed that no talks with Levy had been planned.

However, should Liverpool pursue their interest in Redknapp, they will be aware that Levy will demand compensation for the 12 months remaining on his contract.

Another stumbling block would be whether the former West Ham boss would want to manage a club in the north of England.

Redknapp lives on the south coast and that was the main reason he rejected the chance to manage Newcastle in 2008.

Spurs have already begun working on securing their transfer targets, including Ajax defender Jan Vertonghen, Marseille striker Loic Remy and trying to agree a permanent deal with Manchester City for Emmanuel Adebayor.

But despite seeing a number of approaches rebuffed, Liverpool’s owners still feel that getting the chance to take over at Anfield will be tough for anyone to turn down. The summer is set to be a tense one for Spurs as they struggle to keep hold of their best players now its the Europa League instead of the Champions League.

Standard Sport revealed earlier in the season that Luka Modric had been promised a £100,000-a-year contract should the club finish in the top four and secure Champions League football.

Chelsea’s unexpected triumph, though, means that the Croatia international, who had a transfer request rejected last summer in the light of three bids from the Blues, is now expected to quit White Hart Lane.

Spurs will demand over £40million for his signature and would prefer him to move abroad. Real Madrid is interested while Chelsea, Manchester United and City will not be put off.

Gareth Bale is also a target for Barcelona and Real and hinted he would consider leaving if Spurs failed to secure a place in Europe’s premier club competition next season.

There are also doubts about Jermain Defoe’s Spurs future. The England striker started just nine Premier League games this season and wants to be more involved.

He told talkSPORT today: “It’s a difficult one, I’ve never said I want to leave the club, I’ve just said I want to play.

“As a forward you just want to get some sort of rhythm and a run in the team. That wasn’t the case towards the end of the season.

“I’m just going to see what happens. I’m going to concentrate on England and Euro 2012. The most important thing for me is scoring goals.”

Defoe also stressed the importance of Spurs retaining their star players.

He said: “It’s always important to keep hold of your top players but in football you never know what will happen. But Luka and Gareth, they’re top players who you can’t replace, so we have to keep them.”