Friday, January 13, 2012

Liverpool Assess New Striker Transfer Target

Liverpool is reportedly considering a move for Montpellier striker Olivier Giroud as they bid to solve their profligacy in front of goal.

The Reds have managed just 1.2 goals per Premier League game this season, only scoring more than two goals in a match on two occasions so far.

Their top league goalscorer, Luis Suarez, only has five goals, and is of course currently serving an eight match suspension.

It is clear that improvements are needed in front of net, with the majority of the criticism heading in the direction of Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing.

Olivier Giroud is having a great campaign for Montpellier, the surprise leaders of Ligue 1, and the 25 year-old Frenchman has scored 13 goals in 18 league starts this season.

That’s as many as Suarez, Carroll, Craig Bellamy and Steven Gerrard combined.

Giroud is a tall striker with a powerful strike from distance and a great header of the ball.

He has recently broken into the France national team, and is tipped as David Trezeguet’s successor in the side.

Montpellier owner Louis Nicollin will not make it easy for his player to leave for pastures new though, and balked at the fees mentioned.

“At €10m (£8.3m)? No. Given that he still has more than two years of contract, it will cost more. He has a contract until 2014, [so] €50 (£42m) or €60m (£50m) at least.”

Giroud has also been linked with Newcastle United and Arsenal.

Liverpool Keen On Danish Wonderkid Lucas Andersen

Danish wonderkid Lucas Andersen could be on his way out of Aalborg in the winter transfer window, with Liverpool keen on a move for the teenager.

The highly rated youngster made his official first team debut for Aalborg in March 2011 at the tender age of 16, and has since developed into an important member of Aab's squad.

A number of strong performances this season have not gone unnoticed abroad, and a string of European clubs, including Ajax and Borussia Dortmund, are closely monitoring Andersen's progress, with Kenny Dalglish hoping to steal a march on the competition.

"I won't mention any names, but there's plenty of interest in Lucas. We are currently not in talks with any team, but a lot of clubs have asked us about his availability," Aalborg sporting director Lynge Jakobsen told Sporten.

Andersen recently received a call-up for the Denmark League XI national football team that will feature in the 2012 King's Cup.

Liverpool & Newcastle Monitoring Holland International Striker

Premier League duo Liverpool and Newcastle are both interested in signing FC Twente striker Luuk de Jong but neither side has made an offer, according to the player’s agent.

The 21-year-old has been linked with a number of clubs around Europe after impressing for Twente, with Italian side Fiorentina already having declared their interest.

Twente have just employed Steve McLaren for the second time and it seems as though the former England manager will have a tough time keeping hold of the Dutch international

De Jong's agent, Louis Laros, has admitted that Liverpool and Newcastle are expected to make an offer in the coming weeks but believes the striker will stay at the club beyond January.

"I don't think a transfer is possible [to Liverpool or Newcastle] because I don't think FC Twente will let him leave in the winter transfer period," Laros told the International Business Times.

"If there is a possible transfer then I think it is at the end of the season. I haven't received a phone call from Liverpool or Newcastle that they are completely interested in Luuk de Jong. For this moment, I think it is just a rumour.

"I know they [Liverpool and Newcastle] are watching him but I have had no direct contact with both clubs over a possible transfer."

Laros also revealed that Newcastle have been keeping a close on Luuk's older brother Siem who plays for rivals Ajax, as well as Sporting Lisbon striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel.

"I spoke to Newcastle about Luuk [de Jong], his brother Siem and Ricky van Wolfswinkel but I only know they are watching, for a possible transfer it's too early," he added. "I didn't receive a phone call to start negotiations; they are only watching him at the moment.

"Maybe I will get a phone call tomorrow from the club saying they are ready to start negotiations but until then, nothing is happening."

"Clubs like Liverpool, Newcastle, Manchester United and Arsenal are watching every good young player in Europe, and these guys are one of those players who could be interesting for a lot of clubs.

"They are watching them but they are also watching a lot of other great young players. There has been nothing yet."

Ghanaian Midfielder Set For Trial

Ghana youth midfielder Mumuni Abubakar is set for a two-week trial with Liverpool.

The 18-year-old was recently voted the Sport Writers Association's Ghana Premier League Player of the Year for 2011, and is tipped for a bright future.

Abubakar caught the eye of Liverpool scouts playing for Ghana's U20 side in Italy back in November, and Reds boss Kenny Dalglish is keen to take a closer look at the African ace, inviting him to spend some time at Anfield with the club's reserve and Academy sides.

"Liverpool will assess him for ten days and then take a decision but I'm confident he's not coming back to Ghana," confirmed FIFA agent Oliver Arthur.

"He is a promising player and I wish him all the best."

New Reds Deal For Gerrard

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has signed a contract extension and set his sights on a bright future for the club he loves.

Gerrard has spent his entire career with the Reds and has now put pen to paper on a new deal that commits him to staying at Anfield long-term.

The news comes less than 24 hours after the midfielder helped Liverpool take a 1-0 lead over Manchester City in the first leg of their Carling Cup semi-final on Wednesday night.

Gerrard, 31, is delighted to have been given fresh terms and is confident Liverpool can achieve great success before he hangs up his boots.

"I'm very happy," he told the club's official website. "It's a very proud day for myself and my family.

"It comes on the back of a fantastic team performance on Wednesday night when we got the result we were looking for. Hopefully we can finish the job off in two weeks' time and take all of our magnificent fans down to Wembley for a day out.

"The contract extension coming the day after has been the icing on the cake so it has been a perfect 24 hours.

"This is the club I love and is the club I have supported since I was a young boy. I am living the dream as the captain of one of the biggest clubs in the world.

"I love coming to work every day and the experiences I have had since I was eight years of age and first signed for the club, I wouldn't change them for the world.

"To extend that and to hopefully have some more good times in a red shirt is what I want."

Gerrard has been frustrated by injuries in recent times and results that have gone against Liverpool, but he feels all the elements are in place under Kenny Dalglish to bring back the glory days.

"There will be more highs and lows, there's no doubt about it as that's part and parcel of being a football player at a top club," he stated.

"The important thing is that you react well to the lows and experience more of the highs. I'm confident moving forward that the club is going in the right direction.

"We've got a fantastic team, we've got the right owners in place and the right team behind our team, so I'm really confident we'll have more good experiences in the future."

Gerrard has also agreed to take up an ambassadorial role at Liverpool once his illustrious playing career draws to a close.

"It's really flattering for me that the club has offered me the chance to stay when I eventually hang my boots up," he added.

"Hopefully that will be in many years to come because I want to play for as long as I can.

"I'll know myself when it's time to hang my boots up and then hopefully I can stay involved with the club and set the right example for youngsters coming through."

Gerrard Deal Delights Dalglish

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish feels captain Steven Gerrard fully deserved to be rewarded with a new long-term deal at Anfield.

The England international put pen to paper on a contract extension on Merseyside on Thursday, the terms of which were not disclosed by the club.

The 31-year-old, who has spent his entire career with the Reds, finalized the deal less than 24 hours after scoring the only goal in their 1-0 Carling Cup semi-final first leg victory at Manchester City.

Dalglish was delighted to see the skipper pen a new deal after recently coming back from prolonged injury problems.

"For us, for Steven and for everybody connected with football club it's fantastic news," he told the club's official website.

"We're delighted for him and are looking forward to him getting back to full fitness and working hard for us and with us.

"He's been a fantastic servant to the football club."

Director of football Damien Comolli echoed the Scot's sentiments, saying: "It's a great day for the club, for the fans, for the manager and for everybody because, as I have said in the past, it's a sign we want to keep our best players here.

"Because he is the captain and because of everything he has done so far it's an even better feeling.

"Everybody says he's the best player this country has had for the last 20 years. I think that's quite unanimous."

Reina: Anfield Will Be Rocking

Jose Reina believes the Anfield faithful can play a big part in helping Liverpool book their place in the Carling Cup final.

The Reds hold the upper hand in their semi-final showdown with Manchester City, with Steven Gerrard's penalty at the Etihad Stadium handing them a narrow lead.

The road to Wembley will now head to Merseyside on 25th January, with everything riding on the second leg of an evenly poised encounter.

Reina is confident Liverpool can get the job done, seeing them into their first major final in five years, and the Spanish shot-stopper has called on the Reds supporters to play their part.

"We are pleased, we are halfway through but we now have another hard job with the 90 minutes in the second leg," he told the club's official website.

"Anfield is going to be rocking and that is guaranteed for any second leg of a semi-final.

"Our fans will be massively important and they are always with us. I've no doubt they will be with us in the second leg and it will be one of those magical nights at Anfield.

"Hopefully they can help us get through to the final.

"We have got to finish the job now after doing the most difficult part which is winning away from home at City.

"We knew it was going to be tough but we felt if we could start with a high tempo and take the game to them we could cause them some problems.

"We started very well and could have scored before we got the penalty when Joe Hart made some great saves.

"I thought we handled them well in the second half because we know how much quality City have got, especially at home, but we got the result to keep us alive for the second leg.

"We now turn our attentions to an important league game against Stoke on Saturday and hopefully we can get back-to-back wins."

FA Confirms No Disciplinary Action Against Johnson

The FA will not be taking any action against Glen Johnson for his challenge on Joleon Lescott in the first leg of Wednesday night’s League Cup semi-final.

After all the controversy that surrounded Vincent Kompany’s red card against Manchester United for a two-footed tackle on Nani in the FA Cup third round last weekend, there have been calls for Johnson to face severe punishment.

But talkSPORT has been told there will be no follow-up disciplinary action.

A spokesman confirmed that referee Lee Mason saw the incident at the Etihad Stadium and decided not to book or send off Johnson.

That means the FA cannot get involved as they can only deal with 'off the ball incidents' that may have been missed by the officials.