Thursday, January 05, 2012

Dalglish Now Looking To Move On Without Suarez

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish admits they will miss Luis Suarez as he serves his eight-match ban - but insists they have to look past the Uruguay international's absence.

The club announced they had decided not to appeal against the Football Association punishment imposed for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra just over an hour before the 3-0 defeat at Manchester City.

With one match already out of the way and the prospect of possibly half the suspension being served in cup competitions, Dalglish will be hoping the unavailability of his top scorer and chief creator will not be detrimental to their Champions League qualification ambitions.

Suarez will miss both legs of their Carling Cup semi-final against City and if, as expected, they get past League One Oldham in Friday's third round a further two will be taken up by the FA Cup.

That would see Suarez available to return for the equally-important month of February, when they host Tottenham and Everton either side of a potentially vitriol-filled trip to Old Trafford.

"He has an eight-game punishment and he has to serve it so I suppose now is as good a time as any to serve it," said Dalglish.

"I think it was better to get the situation over and done with and leave it there.

"Luis is a fantastic player and fantastic person so we he will be missed but we just have to get on with it.

"It is not better to miss him at any time - we'd much rather have him but we don't."

The loss of Suarez, who has been Liverpool's best player since he joined almost 12 months ago from Ajax, can be offset slightly by the return of captain Steven Gerrard.

Against City he added another 33 minutes to two previous second-half substitute appearances as he continues his comeback from two months out with an ankle infection.

It seems unlikely he will start against Oldham but Wednesday's semi-final first leg back at the Etihad Stadium looks more realistic.

"Stevie is improving his level of fitness all the time but we have to be very careful as to how he prepares," said Dalglish.

"It would be wrong of us to be negligent and throw him in and undo all the good work he has done so far.

"We would love to have him back fit and well but we just have to be a bit patient."

In his absence, and that of the injured Lucas Leiva, Jay Spearing has come into central midfield to perform the defensive role.

Liverpool To Complain To FA Over Handling Of Luis Suarez Case

Liverpool will seek urgent talks with the Football Association chairman, David Bernstein, to demand reform of the disciplinary procedures that led to the suspension of Luis Suárez.

Although the Merseyside club has now accepted the eight-game ban, their anger at the guilty verdict has not diminished and the means by which the punishment was reached remains a matter of dispute.

Senior club officials are to contact Bernstein to register a series of complaints about the handling of the Suárez case, and request a thorough inquiry into how future incidents of this nature are dealt with.

They will even consider asking the FA if it would be prepared to take such a case to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport to enable a player to clear his name beyond the English governing body’s jurisdiction. However, for Liverpool to have taken the Suárez case that far would have required the FA’s agreement.

Liverpool believe judging such an incendiary case involving alleged racial abuse should never have been based on ‘the balance of probability’ as the Commission was entitled to do. It could be argued a higher threshold of guilt, as will be required in the forthcoming John Terry race abuse case in the criminal courts, is justified.

In a criminal trial, Suárez’s guilt would have had to be established ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ and, such was the seriousness of the charge, Liverpool’s lawyers believe the same weight of evidence should have been required.

Suárez, Liverpool argue, was found guilty on the kind of subjective evidence which would never have been given credibility in a court of law. The club believes Patrice Evra’s allegations would have been thrown out if pursued by the Crown Prosecution Service and believe the same standards should be applied.

Liverpool are also unhappy that the Independent Regulatory Commission, led by Paul Goulding QC, was selected by the FA, which was itself bringing the charges. They feel this represents a conflict of interest where the accusers are in effect selecting the jurors. That brings into dispute the notion of full independence.

Although Liverpool were within their rights to challenge the make-up of the commission and made no representation to oppose its members, they say it would have been pointless to do so because the FA would also have picked its replacements.

For a commission to be genuinely independent, it is Liverpool’s view that the FA should not have jurisdiction on who sits on it.

There are numerous aspects of the 115-page written report which Liverpool continues to find inconsistent with the commission’s findings.

Liverpool is unhappy that Evra was granted three meetings with the FA and given access to video evidence well in advance of the December hearing.

It is Liverpool’s belief that Evra was coached by the FA disciplinary team before meeting the commission, enabling him to piece together his version of events to tally with the footage and appear more consistent in his verbal evidence than he had been in earlier statements.

Suárez, who did not have access to the same video evidence until he sat in front of the commission, according to Liverpool, inevitably had a sketchier memory of what had happened at particular points of the game which had been played two months earlier. This made him seem less sure of what took place at certain moments considered of importance by the commission.

Despite all these concerns, Liverpool still decided not to appeal against the suspension and fine because they felt it would have been an exercise in futility given that they would have been working within the same procedures. A new panel, appointed by the FA, could have reduced the ban but would have had no power to overturn the verdict.

Suarez Issues Limited Apology

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has issued a public apology following his eight-match ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra - but has stopped short of saying sorry to the Manchester United defender.

The Reds have decided not to appeal against the Football Association suspension and £40,000 fine imposed on the Uruguay forward for his comments towards Evra.

Suarez said in a statement that he would carry out the suspension "with the resignation of someone who hasn't done anything wrong" as the word 'negro' - which he claims he used "only once" - is a commonly-used word which does not show any lack of respect in his country.

He has now apologized for any offence caused - although not directly to Evra.

Suarez said: "I admitted to the commission that I said a word in Spanish once and only once. I told the panel members that I will not use it again on a football pitch in England.

"I never, ever used this word in a derogatory way and if it offends anyone then I want to apologies for that."

Manager Kenny Dalglish refused to back down in the long-running row over how the situation has been handled and claimed the 115-page report which damned Suarez's evidence failed to mention several salient facts.

He would not elaborate on what those where but insisted he was right to raise the issue.

Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor, meanwhile, believes the punishment meted out to Suarez sends a warning that racism in the game will not be tolerated.

He said: "It's a lesson to all of us...that all players coming into our game from different countries understand and accept what we are about - equality and diversity.

"We have got probably the most multi-cultural game in the world so it's important to set the right example.

"We don't want him (Evra) feeling a victim. We want our black players to feel comfortable that racism can be dealt with in football terms, as well as the law of the land.

"Some issues are bigger than a player, the club or the game and racism is one of those. We have to learn from it and there should be no misunderstanding or ambiguity in the future."

Newcastle Skipper Breaks Silence On Sensational Liverpool Move

Newcastle United captain Fabricio Coloccini has admitted that he is palpably aware of Liverpool's interest in him.

However, rather than entertaining thoughts of a move to Anfield in the New Year, the 29 year-old Argentina international, was keen to reiterate his desire to remain at St James' Park.

"I never wanted to pay any attention to rumours about offers from other clubs," he told reporters ahead of tonight's clash with Manchester United.

"I have experienced this at many clubs and the best thing is always to focus on your work and wait for developments.

"One of the names mentioned was Liverpool, but I haven't spoken to anybody. I don't think Newcastle are thinking about my either, either."

Having made 124 league appearances for the Magpies since arriving on Tyneside from Deportivo La Coruna, as well as collecting 34 international caps, Coloccini has clearly caught the eye of Kenny Dalglish over the course of the past few seasons.

However, it now seems as though the Liverpool boss will have to bide his time over a swoop for the Newcastle skipper, much to Alan Pardew's relief.

£16.6m Uruguayan International Welcomes Liverpool Interest

Uruguayan international defender Jorge Fucile has reportedly welcomed interest from both Liverpool and Chelsea.

The Reds were linked with a move for the player in the summer, and have again emerged on the radar in the past week as Kenny Dalglish looks to add some strength-in-depth to his defence.

Andre Villas-Boas has also been linked with a move for the Porto full-back in the past, and The Metro reported yesterday that the Blues were back in the hunt to bring the player to England.

A Bola is now reporting that the 27-year-old has welcomed interest from the Barclays Premier League pair, and after rejecting the chance to move from the Primera Liga in the summer, he's willing to make the switch if either club meets his minimum fee release clause - £16.6 million.

Fucile is said to be a long-term admirer of Liverpool boss Dalglish, giving the Reds hope of winning the race for the player if they wish to meet his transfer fee.

Versatile with an ability to also play in midfield, Fucile would provide cover for both right-back Glan Johnson and left-back Jose Enrique at Anfield, as well as the more advanced wide positions for Liverpool.

It's also claimed that the arrival of Brazilian defender Danilo could speed-up Fucile's possible exit from the Estádio do Dragão, although Liverpool aren't the only club keen on the former Montevideo starlet.

Chelsea and Italian giants Inter Milan are also said to be keen on the player, with Villas-Boas' relationship with the player built during a season together with the Dragões.

The 34-year-old moved to Stamford Bridge in the summer, and a handful of players, including Hulk and Radamel Falcao, were tipped to follow the manager.

Despite nobody making the move, AVB continues to be linked with his former Porto stars, and Fucile is the latest in a long line of players emerging on the Chelsea radar.

With Alex set to leave and Gary Cahill's £7 million move to the capital yet to be completed, Chelsea remain in the market for defenders, and Fucile could be the answer if other deals can't be agreed.

Jelavic Doubts Liverpool Links

Rangers striker Nikica Jelavic is refusing to be distracted by reports that Liverpool are considering a bid for him.

Jelavic, who joined the Glasgow side from Rapid Vienna in 2010, has been linked with a big money move in January - with QPR just one Premier League club to have been credited with an interest.

Liverpool, who have also been linked with Aston Villa striker Darren Bent in recent days, are the latest club to be linked with the Croatia international - although the 26-year-old remains doubtful about whether he is really the subject of discussions at Anfield.

"Of course it is nice to see your name being linked with that kind of club," Jelavic told Slobodna Dalmacija. "But I don't know if the rumour is true.

"Liverpool is a big club and anybody would like to play at Anfield but I'm just trying to stay focused on my game."

Jelavic has got used to reading speculation about him, but insists he is happy to remain at Rangers for the foreseeable future.

"Every day I read in the papers that some new club is coming to get me but it's funny as I don't know anything about it," he added. "So I don't mind if a day passes without me looking at the papers. I just want to stay focused for Rangers.

"I love it in Glasgow. I'm contracted here for another two-and-a-half years. But, if the club were to sell me to get the money they need, then that would suit me too."

Liverpool Plan To Raid Premiership Rivals For £15m Rated Midfielder

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish is set to step up his pursuit of a new midfielder during the course of the January transfer window and has set his sights on Sunderland's Stephane Sessegnon, according to reports in The Metro.

Sessegnon has begun o play some of his best football for Sunderland since the arrival of new boss Martin O'Neil at the Stadium of Light.

The Benin international joined Sunderland last January from Paris Saint-Germain in a deal worth £6million, but it is felt that Sessegnon is struggling to adapt to life in the North-East.

It has emerged Premier League rivals Liverpool are putting together a package to try and bring the 27-year-old attacking midfielder to Merseyside.

However, Liverpool seems to only be willing to go up to £8m for Sessegnon, whilst Sunderland value the player at £15m.

Dalglish On Edge As Striker Lifts Lid On Possible Liverpool Move

FC Twente frontman Luuk de Jong has reiterated his desire to play in the Premiership, alerting a host of clubs, including both Liverpool and Tottenham, who are reportedly interested in him.

21 year-old de Jong’s contract with his current employers runs out in June of 2014, meaning that any prospective suitors would have to stump up a sum of around €10 million in order to prise him away from Enschede.

Speaking earlier this week, though, the young frontman suggested that a move to England would not be a possibility in the immediate future.

"I’m still very happy playing for Twente, but every player has dreams," De Jong told

"Mine is to play in a nice foreign competition one day. And the Premier League is a really nice competition. I don’t have real plans for the future - I’ll see what comes my way."

Having already won 6 international caps as well as boasting a record of 24 goals in 56 league games for Twente, de Jong would be welcomed by both Kenny Dalglish and Harry Redknapp into their respective squads. However, it now appears as though both managers will have to wait to level an offer.

Reds Urge Gerrard Caution

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish insists he will resist any temptation to rush captain Steven Gerrard back into action too soon.

The Reds' talismanic skipper came off the bench in recent fixtures against Newcastle and Man City following two months out with an ankle infection.

The temptation to start Gerrard in upcoming matches will be even greater for boss Dalglish given that star striker Luis Suarez is in the midst of an eight-game suspension.

It seems unlikely, though, that Gerrard will start against Oldham in the FA Cup on Friday but next Wednesday's Carling Cup semi-final first leg against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium looks more realistic.

"Stevie is improving his level of fitness all the time but we have to be very careful as to how he prepares," said Dalglish.

"It would be wrong of us to be negligent and throw him in and undo all the good work he has done so far.

"We would love to have him back fit and well but we just have to be a bit patient."

Spearing Eyes City Revenge

Jay Spearing insists Liverpool will come back stronger when they return to Manchester City in the Carling Cup.

The 23-year-old midfielder was part of the side that lost 3-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night in the Premier League, sinking without a trace despite City going down to 10 men in the closing stages.

Liverpool has the chance to redeem themselves in the two-legged semi-final of the Carling Cup and Spearing believes his side can cause a lot of problems.

"We know what we have to do better when we come back here next week in the Carling Cup and we will be better," he told the club's official website.

"We will get at them right from the off and I still feel we can cause them a lot of problems. They are going to be two massive games and I don't see any reason why we can't make the final.

"We have Steven Gerrard back now and he is a massive influence on the team and we will go into the two games with confidence.

"Before we can think about that though we have to get ready for our next game which is the FA Cup against Oldham.

"It's another important game for us and we want to get back to winning ways in front of our own fans."

He added: "The goals we conceded (at City) were our own fault and we could have done better to prevent them.

"I thought as a team we did quite well overall. We used the ball well at times and just some lapses in concentration cost us the game.

"Sometimes it is the small details which can cost you in these games. When it was still 0-0 Jordan Henderson put a great ball through to Stewart Downing, and he was unlucky not to score when Joe Hart made a great save. If that had gone in it could have been a different story."