Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Gerrard Return Excites Carroll

Andy Carroll is hoping Steven Gerrard's comeback can help kick-start the striker's difficult start to his Liverpool career.

Injuries to both players have resulted in Carroll and Gerrard starting just one game together - last week's Carling Cup semi-final first leg win at Manchester City - since the forward's £35million move from Newcastle last January.

Coincidentally, Carroll's debut came as a substitute in Gerrard's last match before groin surgery ruled him out for the remainder of the 2010/11 season.

With Gerrard finally fully fit, Carroll is now determined to add to his tally of six goals in 33 games and is looking forward to the service only the Liverpool captain can provide.

"We haven't had the chance to start many games together," Carroll told LFC Magazine.

"I think I may have been a sub when he's started or he has been a sub when I have so it's nice to see him back.

"When you're on the same team as him in training, some of the passes he puts through for you and the chances he creates are incredible really.

"So hopefully I can keep working hard, get a nice run of games, give some good performances and get a few goals.

"If I can get a good run, hopefully that can kick-start me on again."

Indeed, Carroll feels he is not the only one benefiting from Gerrard's presence back on the field.

"You can see at Melwood that as soon as he comes out on the training pitch he's just different class," he added.

"I think just him being there gives everyone else another lift and another boost.

"He's already scored three goals so you can see straight away the difference that he makes and the impact he has."

Liverpool Scouting Welsh International Midfielder

Liverpool has made Swansea midfielder Joe Allen one of their primary summer targets reports the Independent.

The 21-year-old Wales international has impressed in the Swans' debut Barclays Premier League campaign, and has captured the attention of a number of rival suitors.

His sensible use of the ball has helped teammate Leon Britton be ranked among Europe's leading passers - beating the likes of Barcelona duo Xavi and Andreas Iniesta.

Reds boss Kenny Dalglish was first alerted to Allen's potential during Liverpool's 0-0 draw with Swansea at Anfield back in September, and has deployed scouts to the Liberty Stadium on a number of occasions to monitor his progress.

Allen fits the model of young player that Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli wants to sign – one who can be bought relatively inexpensively and whose value is likely to rise rather than decrease throughout the course of his contract.

However, a transfer during the January window looks to be unlikely, with Dalglish's priority signing a striker to strengthen his forward department this month.

Allen signed a new contract with Brendan Rodgers' side at the start of the 2011-12 campaign that ties him to Swansea, with whom he has been since the age of nine, until 2015.

Scott Dann Attracting Interest From Arsenal And Liverpool

Arsenal, Liverpool and Aston Villa are waiting in the wings to make a move for Blackburn defender Scott Dann before the transfer window closes according to skysports.com.

The 24-year-old has made 11 Barclays Premier League starts for Steve Kean's struggling side this season, prior to picking up a groin injury just before the busy festive period.

However, Dann is set to return imminently which will be a welcome boost to Rovers, who are facing a battle to keep hold of fellow defender Christopher Samba, and so will not welcome reported interest in their summer signing from Birmingham.

Villa boss Alex McLeish is keen on being reunited with Dann having worked with him during his time in charge at St Andrews, whilst both Liverpool and Arsenal's interest stems from last summer, before the talented stopper made the switch to Ewood Park.
Reds boss Kenny Dalglish is a known admirer of Dann's ability, but opted instead to sign Uruguayan international Sebastian Coates, who arrived at Anfield in August.

But having struggled to establish himself in the Liverpool team, Dalglish could rekindle his interest, but is likely to face competition from the Gunners.

Arsene Wenger is equally keen to bolster his Emirates Stadium rearguard, and having seen his defensive options decimated by injuries, he is poised to make a bid for Dann.

McLeish: Darren Bent Will Cost Liverpool Big Money

Alex McLeish has told Liverpool that they will have to make an ‘attractive’ offer for Darren Bent if they wish to prize the striker away from Aston Villa.

The Reds have been linked with a January move for the England international, as Kenny Dalglish looks to add much needed firepower to their attacking line.

Bent, who only moved to Villa last January for £24million, is said to be keen on the idea, but McLeish insists he was no intention of parting with any of his stars for less than top dollar.

McLeish said: ‘Am I wanting to do (transfer) business? I am not pushing. I am not in any hurry to lose any of my players.

‘Only if it was an attractive proposition would we do anything so it's very unlikely we would let any of our players go.’

Liverpool, having used up the £50million they received for Fernando Torres last January on Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez, are unlikely to be ready to pay a further £24million for Bent, leaving any chances of a deal seemingly dead.

That will undoubtedly suit McLeish, who suggests he’d like to do some business of his own, but acknowledges he has to respect a wider plan in place at Villa.

‘I am happy with my squad. Like every other manager in the world, we're all greedy for players,’ he added.
‘If we had our way, we'd probably have 100 players at our disposal.

‘But we are steering towards a wage stability and we're still heading in that direction. I have agreed to the parameters and the way that the club wants to be run. We will keep doing that.’

Ghana Youth Midfielder Mumuni Abubakar Pleased With Liverpool Trials

Ghana youth midfielder Mumuni Abubakar was pleased with his two-week trial at Liverpool.

The 18-year old New Edubiase defensive midfielder is hopeful he did enough to earn an offer.

"They were impressed by my performances during training and the match that I played. The technical team like my style of play, so hopefully they will sign me," he told Joy Sports.

"When you go to trials, they talk to your agent and not you the player. Liverpool is talking with my agent (Oliver Arthur) now. They're impressed with my performances so we should get a favourable response."

Fowler And Nando Set For India

Former Liverpool strikers Robbie Fowler and Fernando Morientes have reportedly agreed to join a revamped Indian football league.

The format, which hopes to replicate the cricketing success of the Indian Premier League (IPL), is apparently attracting stars such as Fabio Cannavaro, Juan Pablo Sorin and Robert Pires.

Fowler has travelled widely since finishing his second stint at Anfield, playing in Australia and Thailand.

Morientes, meanwhile, is set for a comeback after announcing his retirement from the game in 2010 following a year with Marseille.

About 30 players and six coaches from around the world will be auctioned off in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata for the league, to be staged between 25 February and 8 April.

"We have signed seven icon players for the auction and each of the six teams will have one such player with a $600,000 salary cap," said Bhaswar Goswami, the executive director of Celebrity Management Group.

Cricket's IPL excited fans with its Twenty20 format, player auctions and post-game parties. Now football is poised for a similar makeover.

"The league is modelled on Major League Soccer and of course IPL," Goswami added.

"We saw the hype and buzz around the players' auction in IPL and feel it can be an equal success. It's a brilliant concept. We expect owners to make profit much earlier than the IPL franchises.

"We are also in the process of finalizing television rights for live broadcast across south-east Asia."

Fenway Park Could Host Soccer Game Between Liverpool and AS Roma

Liverpool FC might be coming to Fenway Park next summer. The Boston Globe reports the Reds are in talks with Italian club AS Roma about playing a preseason friendly at the historic park in late June or early July.

"Throughout its 100-year history, Fenway Park has seen some of the best in athletic competition," Fenway Sports Management president Sam Kennedy said. "And while we are exploring the possibility of hosting a Liverpool match -- which certainly rises to that level -- nothing has been finalized."

The game would be part of a nationwide soccer tournament that would also involve Premier League club Chelsea FC and Scottish giants Celtic FC. Other games could be played at Yankee Stadium in New York and either Comiskey Park or Wrigley Field in Chicago.

The report also reveals that Liverpool is making tentative reservations to spend part of next summer in the Boston area.

The LFC-Roma game would be a contest between two European soccer clubs that have Boston-based owners. Liverpool is owned by Fenway Sports Group. Roma is led by a group that includes local businessmen Thomas DiBenedetto and James Pallotta.

Fenway Park captivated area soccer fans in July 2010 when it hosted Celtic FC and Portugal's Sporting CP. More than 32,000 fans were in attendance to see the teams play out a 1-1 draw. The game then went straight to a round of penalty kicks, which Celtic won 6-5.

Gary Ablett's Funeral Unites Blue And Red On Merseyside

Former team-mates and current professionals were among the mourners who attended the funeral of former Liverpool and Everton defender Gary Ablett.

The 46-year-old died on New Year's Day after a 16-month battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish and Everton boss David Moyes were present at the city's Anglican Cathedral along with many of Ablett's team-mates – including John Barnes, Alan Hansen, Mark Lawrenson, Duncan Ferguson, Matt Jackson and David Unsworth – and other contemporaries from the 1980s and early 1990s.

The likes of Everton players Phil Neville and Tim Cahill were joined by former Toffees managers Joe Royle and Howard Kendall and ex-Reds boss Rafael BenĂ­tez.

Roy Keane, who briefly worked alongside Ablett at Ipswich just before his illness was diagnosed, was also present along with England Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce.

The coffin of Ablett, the only man to win the FA Cup with both Merseyside clubs, was carried into church to You'll Never Walk Alone and left to Everton's anthem Z-Cars.

After the service, Everton captain Neville Tweeted: "Sad sad day RIP Gary Ablett."

Echoing his sentiments, Neville's team-mate Cahill posted: "Rest in peace to a legend Gary Ablett. An emotional funeral and also amazing turnout for such a great person."

He leaves behind a wife, Jacqueline, and five children.