Saturday, June 30, 2012

Liverpool Eye City Defender

Liverpool are reportedly lining up a move for Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott.

According to various English and European publications, new Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers keen to broker a deal.

Despite forming part of a City rearguard that helped the club to their first Premier League crown, Lescott could be forced out of the club as Roberto Mancini looks to sign a new centre back.

Mancini is reportedly keen on Liverpool pair Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger with Fabricio Coloccini also on his radar.

While moves for Agger and Skrtel could prove difficult, Rodgers is hoping that the links with other defenders will unsettle Lescott and lead the way to a return to Merseyside.

Lescott joined City for £22 million pounds in 2009 and was one of the stars of England’s journey to the European Championship’s quarter finals.

The 29 year old, who has also played for Wolves, has been capped 20 times for England and scored his first goal for his country in the 1-1 draw with France in the Euro’s.

Reds Chase German International

With Bayer Leverkusen set for a pre-season friendly at Anfield could striker Andrea Schurrle find himself lining up for the home side as opposed to the visitors?

Well that's the feeling of Yahoo Sports at least who believe the Reds are interested in signing the striker for around £12m.

The 21-year-old has previously been linked with a move to Chelsea and boasts an impressive international record of 7 goals in 16 appearances (featuring twice for the German's at Euro 2012).

The former FSV Mainz 05 player only moved to the Bay Arena last summer but did not exactly set the Bundesliga alight with only 7 goals in 31 league starts during his first season at Leverkusen.

Striking reinforcements are thought to be high on new manager Brendan Rodgers' agenda following Liverpool's struggles in front of goal last season.

The club, under predecessor Kenny Dalglish, manager just 47 goals in 38 Premier League fixtures last term and their attacking options have since decreased with the departure of Dirk Kuyt to Fenerbahce.

The Dutchman's move leaves only Luis Suarez, Andy Carroll and veteran Craig Bellamy as notable forward options and Schurrle could be the answer if the story is to be believed.

In addition to an orthodox striking role, Schurrle can also play out on the flank which may make him an even more attractive proposition.

The wide areas are another source of perceived weakness on Merseyside with big money signing Stewart Downing disappointing during his debut campaign after a £20m move from Aston Villa.

Youngster Raheem Sterling offers the only other natural width option currently and on many occasions the likes of Jordan Henderson and Bellamy have been forced to play out of position.

If Liverpool's interest is genuine then they will hope that the presence of former player Sami Hyppia as Leverkusen's manager will aid any negotiations.

Liverpool Set To Lose Deal On Lacina Traore

Liverpool is reportedly about to close a £6.4 million deal on giant attacker Lacina Traore.

The huge six foot, eight inches tall striker, who is originally from the Ivory Coast, currently plays in the Russian Premier League for Kuban Krasnodar.

New Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is apparently on the verge of securing Traore, who will be his first summer signing since taking over at Anfield.

Rodgers is apparently hoping that the move will dramatically alter what he believes is the Merseyside club’s weakest current position.

The club has already lost some vital players and there are constant reports linking Craig Bellamy with a return to Wales to play for his hometown Cardiff City.

The team has been left limited with just Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez as striking options after allowing forward Dirk Kuyt to leave on a free this summer.

But the club could be given some respite with Traore stepping onto the scene, as the impressive goal scorer has already racked up 18 goals in his first season, ending the campaign as the third highest scorer in the division.

The news follows the reported £20 million signing of 21-year-old Gaston Ramirez.

Rodgers Tracking French Goalkeeper

Liverpool are exploring the possibility of signing France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris as Pepe Reina continues to interest AC Milan, according to reports in France.

Reina, who has been at Liverpool since 2005, is on the radar of AC Milan, who are looking to replace the ageing Christian Abbiati.

New Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is thought to be scouting potential replacements in the instance that the Spaniard leaves for the San Siro, and French newspaper Le 10 Sport believe he has his sights on Lloris.

Lloris captained France during their disappointing Euro 2012 campaign, and is rated as one of the most consistent goalkeepers in Europe.

The 25-year-old, who has been linked with moves to Tottenham and Manchester United in recent years, has racked up 171 appearances for Lyon since moving from Nice in 2008.

Liverpool & Tottenham Tracking Barcelona Starlet's Movements

Ibrahim Afellay is ready for showdown talks over his Barcelona future - with Tottenham and Liverpool watching developments.

Afellay wants to speak to new coach Tito Vilanova in the next week to discuss his plans for the new season.

Following a surprise switch to the Nou Camp from PSV Eindhoven in 2011, Afellay has failed to shine at Barcelona.

Injuries have halted his progress and he has made just 20 La Liga appearances since moving there - and Afellay is eager to be more involved.

The 26-year-old was given a break after Holland's disastrous exit from Euro 2012 and he's set to return to Barcelona seeking answers.

Liverpool and Spurs, currently fighting it out over Gylfi Sigurdsson, are long term admirers and will keep an eye on the situation with Afellay.

However, as talkSPORT revelead yesterday, the two Premier League clubs will have to fight it out with French side Lille, who have targeted Afellay as a replacement for Joe Cole.

Liverpool Miss Out As Tottenham Land Sigurdsson

Liverpool appear to have missed out on signing Hoffenheim midfielder Glyfi Sigurdsson after it was revealed that he would complete his move to Tottenham in the coming days.

Sky Sports have reported that Sigurdsson has agreed personal terms with Tottenham and will now simply need to pass a medical before being officially confirmed as a Spurs player.

The 22-year-old had appeared on the verge of joining Liverpool where he would have been reunited with his former boss Brendan Rodgers who took the midfielder to Swansea on-loan last season.

Liverpool believed they had beaten off interest fro Swansea, but it now seems as though they have also been trumped by Tottenham who are also expected to name their new manager in the coming days.

Andre Villas-Boas is the favourite to land the job and it seems as though he will be working wit Sigurdsson when pre-season training begins next month.

Hoffenheim agreed to allow Sigurdsson to speak to other clubs in order to push through a move and it seems he will now be playing his football at White Hart Lane.

Keita Not Interested In Liverpool Switch

Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita has revealed he will not be interested if Liverpool make an approach for his signature.

Keita, 32, has been linked with a switch to Liverpool for some time, but is quoted as telling reporters: "I won't be going to Anfield."

The Mali international has been heavily involved in Barcelona's incredible success over the last four seasons, pulling on the Blaugrana shirt on 188 occasions as they achieved domestic and continental glory.

Keita has one year left to run on his current deal but has an option to opt out of the final season due to the amount of playing time he received last term.

However, the midfielder revealed last week that he is still hopeful of a new deal at Barcelona and is not unnecessarily worried about the lack of an offer so far.

"I'm waiting to talk to the club to clear up my future," Keita told Marca. "I want to stay at Barca, that's my wish. I'd like to retire at the club and I hope it will be possible. We need to sit down, see what Barca offers and wants and iron out all the details. My family is happy in Barcelona."

Skrtel Has Had No Contact

Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel is aware of the speculation surrounding his future, but insists he has received no approach for his services.

Transfer gossip continues to suggest that the Slovakia international is a summer target for Premier League champions Manchester City.

Roberto Mancini is said to have set his sights on the Slovakia international as he looks to reinforce his back four.

Skrtel, who joined Liverpool in 2008, has previously stated that it is his intention to remain at Anfield.

He says he is not about to waver in that stance, with no contact having been made by any of the supposedly interested parties.

"In the press there have been rumours about my future," Skrtel said on his personal website.

"I would like to say that so far I have not received any specific offers and I have not been in talks with any club."

Skrtel is currently back in his homeland preparing for the new season, and he is convinced that the 2012/13 campaign will be a productive one for Liverpool - as they begin life under new boss Brendan Rodgers.

He said: "I'm looking forward to the new season very much and believe we will be well prepared for it and it will be better than the last one."

Carragher Relishing Rodgers Era

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher admits he is looking forward to experiencing life under new Reds boss Brendan Rodgers.

Rodgers is settling into the Anfield job after his move from Swansea City at the start of the month.

The 39-year-old arrives on Merseyside with a glowing reputation after guiding the newly promoted Swans to an 11th place finish last season, impressing many with their attractive brand of possession football.

Carragher revealed he still has sympathy for former boss Kenny Dalglish, who was sacked in May after the club could only finish 8th, but admits he sees the arrival of Rodgers as an "exciting project".

"We all look at how Swansea played last year - they were a breath of fresh air for the Premier League and I think that's probably one of the reasons why Brendan Rodgers has got the job," said the 34-year-old.

"He has a lot of experience coaching-wise - he's worked with Jose Mourinho. So we're all looking forward to it.

"Obviously we're disappointed for Kenny [Dalglish] and the staff because I got on well with them but we have to move forward and get right behind the manager."

Meanwhile, Carragher has sung the praises of Kop team-mate and England captain Steven Gerrard, who he believes was his country's best player at Euro 2012.

Gerrard was appointed full-time skipper by new England boss Roy Hodgson on the eve of the tournament and played a key role in the Three Lions' run to the quarter-finals, setting up three goals in the group stages.

"Steven Gerrard was England's best player by a long way. There's no debate about that," added Carragher.

"He's created a lot of goals and been an authoritative figure in the middle of the pitch.

"He's been the captain and I'm certain he'll carry on as captain until we get to Brazil."

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Gerrard Staying As England Captain

Steven Gerrard is to continue as England captain following the national team's exit from Euro 2012.

The Liverpool midfielder was appointed Three Lions skipper by Roy Hodgson when he took over as manager in May.

Gerrard, 32, told a press conference in Krakow he had relished the opportunity to captain his country and would continue to do it for as long as he was required.

He said: "I've had a brief chat with the manager and he's told me he wants me to continue and I'm there, I'm available as long as I'm wanted at this level.

"I've loved the responsibility and I've enjoyed every minute of it.

"I've tried my best, I've given it everything I've got. I've given it my best shot."

Gerrard admitted England had not played the best football at Euro 2012 and needed to work harder at retaining the ball following the quarter-final penalty shoot-out defeat to Italy.

The Azzurri dominated possession and hit the post twice, and although England were able to keep them at bay for 120 minutes, the failure of Ashley Young and Ashley Cole to convert their shoot-out kicks led to an another last-eight exit for England.

Gerrard said: "At times the football hasn't been fantastic, we haven't blown people away.

"The possession stats speak for themselves. Moving forward as a nation we do need to improve with the ball."

Despite the less-than-impressive performance, Gerrard was happy he and his colleagues had not come up short for effort.

"Everyone has given everything they've got and that's all you can ask for," he added.

"I think the supporters will agree with me that we have played for the shirt."

But Gerrard stressed: "I think we've performed to a better level at this competition than in previous tournaments."

He added : "I think performance-wise I'm reasonably satisfied.

"I'm just in a zone of frustration and disappointment because we've come so close to ending that quarter-final hoodoo."

Hodgson drew comparison with the Germany team of 2006, who also suffered defeat to Italy - albeit in the semi-finals of the World Cup - early on in their rebuilding mission.

The England manager hopes his side can emulate a team which has progressed through to the semi-finals of Euro 2012, where they will face Italy on Thursday.

Hodgson hopes his side can make enough progress to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

"We have to keep working hard to bridge any gap that might exist at the moment between ourselves and teams like Spain and Germany," said Hodgson.

"We saw with the German team at the 2006 world Cup they went into the finals highly unfancied with a new coach and with a lot of new young players.

"We've seen how well they've kicked on from 2006. We have to take heart from that. I like to think there's good reason for optimism."

Moyes Admires Rodgers

David Moyes has drawn parallels between his arrival at Everton a decade ago and the appointment of Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool this summer.

Rather than going for a marquee name to replace the outgoing Kenny Dalglish, the five-time European Cup winners opted to give Rodgers a chance.

Last season his Swansea team captivated the Premier League with their version of tiki-taka football.

At 39, Rodgers is just one year older than Moyes was when he arrived on the blue half of Merseyside from Preston.

He has since gone on to enjoy 10 years at Goodison Park during which time he has locked horns with four different managers at Anfield.

And as he prepares to battle his latest adversary, he cannot help but identify the similarities between the two.

"When I took over at Everton I was certainly young and inexperienced as far as the Premier League went," he told the club's official website.

"The managers I was facing at Liverpool have been incredibly experienced - European champions and top, top managers.

"And the new manager at Liverpool is a top manager as well - but young now - and probably in his own way a little inexperienced a bit like I was when I started at Everton.

"But Brendan did a great job at Swansea and more than deserves his chance at the top end."

Liverpool &Tottenham Battle For Sigurdsson & Sturridge

It seems as though Liverpool and Tottenham are both battling to sign the same players as they are linked with moves for Hoffenheim midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson and Chelsea forward Daniel Sturridge.

Sigurdsson's proposed move away from the German club is becoming somewhat of a saga after he was originally linked with Swansea, only for Brendan Rodgers to join Liverpool and the Reds became the favourites.

Yesterday it was reported that Tottenham had won the race to sign the attacking midfielder, but as of yet there has been no work from any party involved and the speculation continues.

The Daily Mirror believes that despite Tottenham agreeing a fee of £8million with Hoffenheim, no personal terms have been agreed and Liverpool are hoping they can still hijack the deal.

Rodgers has a good relationship with the former Reading midfielder and will still be hoping to convince him that he should join Liverpool rather than Tottenham.

However, the paper has also suggested that he is not the only player who both clubs want to sign, as Chelsea's Sturridge is another player wanted by the two Premier League sides.

Sturridge was a regular under Andre Villas-Boas but fell out of favour with Roberto di Matteo and has now seen the Italian become the permanent boss on a two year deal.

Liverpool and Spurs are both hoping that they will be able to use this to their advantage as they attempt to freshen up their squads for next season.

Chelsea have already signed Eden Hazard and Marko Marin, meaning there is yet further competition for Sturridge who was said to be unhappy with life at Stamford Bridge.

Liverpool & Man City To Bid For Bologna Midfielder

Liverpool and Manchester City have been invited to bid for Bologna midfielder Gaston Ramirez after the Italian side slapped a £16m price-tag on the Uruguay international.

Ramirez, 21, has attracted the interest of a string of suitors over the past few months following an impressive season at Bologna.

The talented playmaker grabbed eight goals and four assists in 33 Serie A outings as Bologna achieved a ninth-placed finish.

City and Liverpool have both been tipped to improve their attacking options this summer, and Bologna president Albano Guaraldi has opened the door for the Premier League duo to bid for Ramirez.

Speaking to Sky Sport 24, Guaraldi said: "There is no intention to sell Ramirez for a bid lower than his value, which we estimate at around £16m.

"But the economic fate of Bologna next season does not depend on the sale of Ramirez."

Wanyama Keen On England

Celtic starlet Victor Wanyama has admitted that he is open to a move to England.

Wanyama's business manager Rob Moore told Sky Sports earlier this month that the player would like the club to listen to any offers made.

Now the impressive 21-year-old - who only joined Celtic last summer from Belgian Beerschot - admits he would like the chance to play in England with Liverpool, Stoke City, Queens Park Rangers, Newcastle and West Ham United all believed to been keen.

"I think the Premier League is the dream of so many players, so I'd be happy to play there. There are a lot of good clubs in England," the Kenyan told the Daily Record.

"It will be difficult to leave Celtic because I have just had a good season here and we are now playing in the Champions League.

"Celtic are one of the biggest teams. I've been happy here, and the fans have been brilliant to me.

"But it would not be a terrible thing for me if the club agrees to let me go, and they were to get a good offer. They are the ones who decide.

"I'm proud I'm the first Kenyan to play in the UK and I'd be very happy to be the first Kenyan to play in the Premier League."

Vargas A Liverpool Option

Juan Manuel Vargas' agent claims that Liverpool is interested in the winger and that he could leave Fiorentina over the summer.

The Peru international has one season left to run on his current contract and he was reportedly a target for Arsenal 12 months ago.

He is again attracting interest from the Premier League, according to his representative Jorge Cyterszpiler, with Liverpool keeping tabs on his situation.

Ambitious Spanish side Malaga are also sweet on the 28-year-old, although there have yet to be any firm approaches for the wide-man.

"There is the possibility that he (Vargas) will leave Fiorentina," Cyterszpiler said to "But at this time it's just a rumour and there is nothing official.

"He didn't have the best of seasons and he needs to make up for it next season.

"Liverpool is an option, but there is also Malaga that has the fascination of playing in next season's Champions League.

"Does he have a preference with regards to playing the Premier League or the Primera Liga? Vargas likes both leagues as well as the Serie A."

"Have there been offers from in Italy? In the past, we spoke with Inter Milan and they were interested in him."

Vargas joined Fiorentina from Catania in 2008 for 12million Euros (£9.6m) and he made 24 league appearances for the Viola last season.

Borini Only Wanted Roma

Italian striker Fabio Borini says moving to Liverpool was never in his thoughts after signing a permanent deal at Roma.

The frontman joined the Giallorossi over the weekend after the capital club bought the remaining 50 per cent of the player from Serie A rivals Parma.

He had spent last season on loan at the Stadio Olimpico, scoring nine goals in 24 league appearances.

Speculation had linked the 21-year-old with Liverpool and a reunion with former boss Brendan Rodgers, who he worked under while on loan at Swansea from Chelsea.

But Borini, currently part of the Italian squad at Euro 2012, says he was only ever focused on staying at Roma and was not distracted by talk of an Anfield move.

He told The Sun: "I am a Roma player.

"It's not my business that there is talk about whether I go to Liverpool or stay. It doesn't matter to me, I am Roma."

Italian Giants Eye Up Reported Move For Liverpool Striker

Italian giants Juventus are rumoured to be eyeing up a move for Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, as they look to bring a marquee signing to Turin this summer.

According to talkSPORT, the newly-crowned Serie A champions are hoping to bring in a world-class attacker as they prepare to defend their title next season.

Fiery Uruguayan striker Suarez is thought to be topping a shortlist which includes Arsenal's Robin van Persie and Chelsea misfit Fernando Torres.

However, Juve bosses are unwilling to be bullied into paying over the odds for the player.

Italian publication Tuttosport claim that Juventus are preparing a package of £14.5 million as well as out-of-favour winger Milos Krasic, a player who has been linked with a move to the reds over the past six months.

Any deal is expected to fall onto deaf ears, with Suarez thought to be imperative to new Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers' plans for the club.

Bluebirds Want Bellamy Back

Cardiff are keen to tempt Liverpool forward Craig Bellamy back to Wales, according to chief executive Alan Whiteley.

The 32-year-old captained the Bluebirds through the 2010-11 campaign on a loan spell from Manchester City before moving to Anfield.

Wales international Bellamy has a year remaining on his deal with the Reds but Whiteley says Cardiff are hoping to talk to the forward if new boss Brendan Rodgers decides to let him go.

"We'd love to have Craig back," he said.

"But he is a Liverpool player and until Liverpool and Craig decide what they are going to do, there are conversations that we can't even have at the moment.

"We don't know how it is going to pan out and it is for Craig and Liverpool to decide what they are going to do first.

"But if Craig decides he is going to leave Liverpool and Liverpool are prepared to let him go, then clearly we'd love to talk to him."

Aquailani Exit In Doubt

Alberto Aquilani's hopes of leaving Liverpool for AC Milan have been hit by Mathieu Flamini's decision to stay at the San Siro.

Frenchman Flamini had been expected to depart the Italian giants this summer, paving the way for Aquilani to seal a permanent switch to Milan after a loan spell last season.

However, Flamini has now decided to take a pay-cut to remain with the Italian giants and the Rossoneri are ready to abandon their bid to sign Aquilani.

It is thought Liverpool would be willing to sell the 27-year-old for a fee in the region of £7million, but it remains to be seen whether or not anyone will meet the Reds' asking price after his disappointing spell at Anfield.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tottenham And Liverpool Continue To Battle Over Rondon

Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool are reportedly battling it out over Malaga star Salomon Rondon, according to the player’s agent.

Rondon has caught the eye of a whole host of clubs following a stellar season in which he helped the Spanish side gain Champions League status for next year by banging in 11 goals.

According to the Star, the striker is being headed by Tottenham and Liverpool, with Chelsea rumoured to be interested in the player.

The 22 year-old’s agent Pablo Martinez confirmed that he has been in contact with a handful of English clubs, but that no deal has been mooted yet, with the player weighing up his options.

It has been claimed that there are also three German sides considering moves for the Venezuelan striker, although it is unclear who these are.

Whoever moves for Rondon will likely have to pay in excess of £20 million, with the player’s wealthy club Malaga looking to cash-in on one of their prized assets.

Liverpool Join Race To Sign Porto Star James Rodriguez

Liverpool look set to challenge Manchester Utd for the prized signature of the highly touted Porto star James Rodriguez

The highly touted winger has been subjected of sustained interest from Man Utd, with the former Premier League champions reported to be lining up a £20 million bid for the 20 year old.

It would appear now that they will have a fight on their hands if they are to land Rodriguez’s signature with Liverpool rumored to be lining up their own bid for the winger, which is to be believed to be around the £23 million mark.

Rodriguez has already openly admitted that he is interested in a move to the Premier League. His agent, Silvio Sandri has also suggested a move is on the cards.

Speaking to newspaper O Jogo he said ‘There is nothing new to report. This is a matter to be discussed with Porto. Within a couple of weeks I plan to go to Portugal to speak with the leaders of Porto. I cannot talk more about this as it is so complex.’

Liverpool Eye Klaas-Jan Huntelaar Transfer

Liverpool are ready to move for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar as they prepare to offload Luis Suarez, according to reports in Italy.

Suarez's future has been the subject of much speculation since he was suspended for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra, although the Reds have said the striker is not for sale.

Juventus remain interested in the Uruguayan and have apparently made him their number one transfer target, ahead of Arsenal's Robin van Persie.

Liverpool is already planning for life without Suarez and is on the trail of Schalke's prolific frontman Huntelaar, reports Tuttosport.

The former Ajax, Real Madrid and AC Milan star enjoyed the best season of his career last term, when he scored 48 times.

Schalke would be reluctant to sell, but the Netherlands international has just one season left on his current deal and is yet to indicate whether he will sign an extension.

The uncertainty about his contract situation means the 28-year-old could be available for around £16million.

Liverpool has also been strongly linked with Italy striker Fabio Borini, who worked with Brendan Rodgers during a loan spell at Swansea last year.

The Reds were apparently waiting to make a bid for the 21-year-old until his co-ownership status was resolved.

That has now happened, as Roma have paid Parma £3.9million for their 50 per cent of his contract and are in a position to listen to offers.

Milan Keen On Aquilani

AC Milan are not ruling out the possibility of signing Liverpool midfielder Alberto Aquilani this summer, according to vice-president Adriano Galliani.

The Italian midfielder played on loan at Milan last season, where he scored one goal in 23 Serie A appearances for the Rossoneri.

Milan are looking to reinforce their midfield line with Clarence Seedorf, Gennaro Gattuso and Mathieu Flamini all out of contract this summer.

"Before August 31, another midfielder will arrive, it could be Aquilani or somebody else," Galliani told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"We haven't spoken yet to Aquilani. He is a Liverpool player."

Aquilani's agent Franco Zavaglia revealed on Wednesday he had not received any offers for his client and that the 27-year-old midfielder was set to return to Liverpool.

Aquilani is under contract with the Premier League side until June 2014 but is considered the ideal replacement for Flamini, who will not be offered a new deal at Milan.

"The time has expired for Flamini and we have already told his lawyer that we will not wait any longer," said Galliani.

The former Arsenal midfielder joined Milan in 2008 but missed most of last season with a serious knee injury.

The Frenchman will become a free agent next month.

Roma Star Decides Against Liverpool Move

Liverpool target Bojan Krkic has committed his immediate future to Roma amid reports of further interest from the Premier League.

Krkic, who moved to Roma in the summer of 2011, endured a mixed first season in Serie A, managing just seven goals in 33 league outings.

The former Barcelona forward had been tipped to follow recently-departed manager Luis Enrique out of the Stadio Olimpico exit, but he insists he wants to continue his progress in the Italian capital, despite mooted interest from Liverpool.

"I will return to Rome because I think is the best option," he told Spanish radio station RAC1.

"I am very happy and satisfied with my first year there. Everything depends on the season I have this year.

"It will be the highlight of my career. I want to focus on Serie A, which is quite hard, and to do my best."

Skrtel Ready For Talks

Martin Skrtel's representative has revealed that the issue of a new contract will be on the agenda when he meets for discussions over Liverpool's plans for the future following their managerial change this summer.

The Slovakia centre-back has two years left on his current deal but speculation has surfaced to suggest that he is being targeted by other clubs for a transfer window move.

According to widespread reports in Thursday's press, Manchester City is huge fans of Skrtel and could be considering a summer swoop.

Big-spending Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala has also been credited with an interest in the 27-year-old, but his agent is focused only on holding talks with the Reds.

Brendan Rodgers has come in to replace Kenny Dalglish as boss since the end of last season and Skrtel is keen to find out how he intends to take the club forward.

Agent Karol Cstonto is quoted as saying: "Some changes have been made at the club and he wants to know what the aims and ambitions are. And of course, we will discuss the issue of Martin's new contract.

"Liverpool is a big club and just because they haven't made the Champions League this year doesn't mean they would not do it next year.

"There are expectations on both sides, though."

LFC Youngster Gets Spain Call

Liverpool youngster Suso is preparing to help Spain U19s in the European Championships - and he could compete against a familiar face in the group stages.

The 18-year-old is part of the 22-man Spanish party heading to Estonia for the tournament, which runs from July 3-15.

Suso could battle against Liverpool teammate Joao Carlos Teixeira, with Spain facing Portugal on July 6. Greece and Estonia are also in the group.

As reported on earlier this week, Conor Coady and Jack Robinson will also be involved in the tournament. England's group contains Croatia, Serbia and France.

The top two teams from each group will progress to the semi-finals and there are also spots in the 2013 U20 World Cup up for grabs for the nations who finish third in their group.

Fan Banned For Evra Taunts

A Liverpool fan has been given a four-year football banning order after he was found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United supporters and their club captain Patrice Evra.

Phillip Gannon, 58, was seen on live television doing a racially offensive monkey impression, Liverpool Magistrates' Court was told.

The incident happened amid a volatile atmosphere at Anfield on January 28th this year when the two sides met in an FA Cup fourth-round clash, Rob Girvan, prosecuting, told the court.

It was the first game between the Premier League rivals since an eight-match ban was imposed on Liverpool striker Luis Suarez after the FA found him guilty of racially abusing Evra.

In the 23rd minute of the game, the TV camera panned over fans in the lower Centenary Stand, where Gannon was sitting with two friends, and he was seen to position his hands under his armpits.

The coverage, broadcast worldwide, quickly spread across social networking site Twitter and complaints were made to police, the court heard.

Gannon, a carpenter and joiner from Heol Meirion, Barmouth, north Wales, was found guilty of two counts of using abusive or insulting words within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused alarm or distress.

The bench imposed a four-year banning order which stops Gannon from attending Liverpool and England games and also bans him from Liverpool city centre four hours before and after a match.

Gannon was also fined a total £180 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £300.

Brendan Rodgers Goes Back To School

The Liverpool Football Club manager, Brendan Rodgers, has made a surprise visit to his former secondary school.

The Northern Ireland native made the unscheduled stop at St Patrick's College in Ballymena during a trip home to see his family in County Antrim.

He met pupils and staff, signed autographs and posed for photographs.

The new Anfield boss also congratulated his former PE teacher, Paul McKee, who was recently honoured by the Queen for his services to amateur sport.

He made the trip with his brother who had picked him up from the airport to take him to his hometown of Carnlough.

Mr. McKee said the visit was "completely out of the blue".

He said the Liverpool boss had a cup of tea and "a chat" with members of staff before the word spread among the students about his arrival.

"He had time for everyone," said Mr. McKee, "and it was always with a smile."

The teacher said Mr. Rodgers had a "great love and affection" for the school and spent 40 minutes meeting pupils.

Mr. McKee remembers him as a "good pupil who never left the sports hall".

Although the school did not participate in competitive soccer in the 1980s, he recalled how the new Liverpool boss had displayed a talent for basketball before achieving success in his football career.

"He was my point guard, and a very clever one he was too," he said.

Mr. McKee had recently sent him a card congratulating him on his new job.

The Liverpool manager was able to return the favour on Thursday and congratulate his former teacher on his own achievement.

Mr. McKee was awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours list "for services to amateur sport, basketball and the community".

The principal of St Patrick's College, Catherine Magee, said: "He just decided to pop in to see us all and we were delighted."

She added that despite winning one of the top jobs in football, Brendan Rodgers' feet remain very firmly on the ground.

"He has always been good at maintaining links with the school and we have followed his career with great interest and pride," she said.

Thursday's surprise visit was not the first time he has returned to St Patrick's College.

On a previous occasion, he was invited as a guest speaker at their annual prize day.

The 39-year-old was raised in Carnlough in County Antrim and spent much of his school days playing Gaelic football, hurling and basketball.

He was forced to retire as a player at the age of 20 because of a genetic knee condition and turned to a career in coaching.

Before securing the top job at Liverpool, he was a youth team coach for Reading and Chelsea before moving on to managerial positions with Watford, Reading and Swansea City.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Rodgers Insists Players Must Stake Claim For Starting Place

New Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers insists that every member of his squad will be given the chance to stake their claim for a place in the side, as he familiarizes himself with his new team.

The former Swansea boss, who took over Liverpool following the recent departure of Kenny Dalglish, reassured his players that they would be given the chance to shine, despite the club being linked with a number of potential signings, including Gylfi Sigurdsson and Gaston Ramirez.

As reported by, Rodgers underlined his new approach, but admitted that he is looking to make improvements to a Liverpool side who finished the Premier League in eighth place last season.

“The cycle with Kenny was a terrific cycle, but I'm a different tactician and a different type of person and that will give all the players an opportunity to perform,” he said.

“I've got to assess all the players to see if they fit into the philosophy.

"I know what we've got, more or less, in the squad, but I also know there are a couple of signings that could really improve what we do.

"I think there are a few players who can come in and improve the group straight away. I know the types of player I need to bring here to make us function well and that's something myself, the club and the board will look at.”

One player who will be hoping for a second shot is Joe Cole, who spent last year on loan at French side Lille, after a disappointing first season at Anfield.

Cole, who joined Liverpool on a free transfer from Chelsea in 2010, struggled with life on Merseyside, but is aiming to rectify that under Rodgers.

“Joe is a very talented player,” Rodgers said. “He's obviously gone out to Lille and done very well. He has the opportunity to come back here and show his qualities.

"For me, it's fresh for everyone. Of course, I know lots of the players and their qualities, but Joe is obviously a player who'll want to come back and show his worth to the group."

Liverpool Could Lose Out In Bid For Italy Star

Liverpool may be thwarted in their bid to sign former Chelsea man Fabio Borini after one of the forward's co-owning clubs, Parma, expressed their intention to keep him in Italy.

The 20-year-old left Stamford Bridge for Parma last summer, before moving on loan to Roma the following month.

The Italy international made an impressive start to life at Roma and the capital city club decided to pay Parma around £1.8m for half of the player's ownership rights in January.

New Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers had been tipped to make a move for Borini after the youngster enjoyed a successful loan stint at Swansea in 2010/11 under his tutelage.

However, Parma's sporting director Pietro Leonardi believes Borini could be returning to the Stadio Olimpico next season.

"Borini? With Roma we have a very good relationship," said Leonardi.

"We've thought about renewing the partnership, but all the three components - Parma, Roma and the player - must agree."

Liverpool Keen On German International Defender

Liverpool are being linked with a move for German international defender Benedikt Howedes.

The 24-year-old is being ‘tracked’ by the Reds following the arrival of Brendan Rodgers, according to talkSPORT, with the Northern Irishman eager to strengthen his backline at the earliest opportunity this summer.

Having spent his entire senior career at Schalke, Howedes already has experience at Champions League level, and earned his first cap for the national team under Joachim Loew last year.

"His greatest strengths are in the centre of defence, but he can play in any position across the back and always has a role to play," noted Loew.

Having represented his country at a variety of youth team levels, Howedes has built up a big reputation domestically, and was handed the captain’s armband at the Veltins-Arena last season.

Capable of playing at full-back as well as in central defence, Howedes helped Die Knappen finish third last season, securing a return to the European Cup for next term.

Whether he’s still playing for the club next season is now up for debate, although it’s unclear how much Liverpool would have to play to bring the player to Anfield.

Madrid Striker On Liverpool Radar

Liverpool are being linked with a move for Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata, according to reports.

TalkSPORT claims the 19-year-old has been given permission to look elsewhere this summer, with Los Blancos ready to let the talented teenager leave for interested parties.

Both Newcastle and QPR are also said to be interested, whilst Wigan Athletic also missed out on a bargain £1 million deal for the player back in January.

With a decision expected from the player in July, new Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers will have to weigh-up his options and consider if the £30,000-a-week wages can be justified on a Spanish U19 regular.

Having scored 17 goals for Madrid’s ‘B’ team – the Castilla – expectations were high that he might be able to break into the senior setup. However, Jose Mourinho is willing to let the player leave, and he’s asked his agent to negotiate a possible move to England.

Were Liverpool able to bring the player to Anfield, striker Morata would play alongside the likes of Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll.