Monday, April 09, 2012

Dalglish: Paranoia At Anfield

Manager Kenny Dalglish admits paranoia could start to set in at Anfield following Liverpool's recent poor run of form.

The Reds ended a run of three successive defeats as they were held to a surprise 1-1 draw at home by Aston Villa on Saturday.

They have won just five times at home in the Premier League this season, drawing nine matches and dropping 24 points in their 11 other games.

And, although the Scot insisted the result against Alex McLeish's side was down to the performance of referee Michael Oliver, he also claimed some people may think 'there is an agenda against the club'.

"It is important to get as much as you possibly can from every game and in most of the games we have played here we haven't got that and yesterday was another example," he said

"Most of the things we did do which were in our control we tried our best to do.

"Some of the decisions we have not had recently have been a bit confusing.

"If we keep trying it will turn but sometimes there will be some people whose paranoia sets in and they will think there is an agenda against the club from people in importance.

"We don't immediately see it that way but other people may do."

Chris Herd put the visitors ahead in the 10th minute and it took until eight minutes from time for Liverpool to equalize through Luis Suarez's close-range header.

But Dalglish felt his side should have been awarded two penalties by Oliver and was also upset about the official's decision to later book Suarez for diving.

"We were pleased with most of the things we did," he insisted.

"Their attitude and commitment from 20 minutes from the end of the first half was the difference.

"Villa got a goal and it gave them something to hold on to but the longer the game went the stronger we got and the more determined we were to get a goal.

"We got a goal but I think we deserved more than that. They kept plugging away. If we keep doing that we will win more than we will lose."

Match Report: Liverpool 1 - 1 Aston Villa

Luis Suarez's late header prevented a fourth successive league defeat but it only served to paper over the cracks of another faltering Liverpool performance.

The Reds went into the game on the back of six losses in seven matches, their worst sequence for almost 60 years, and with criticism mounting on both the players and manager Kenny Dalglish.

Fragile confidence was eroded further when Chris Herd put the visitors ahead early on but a much-needed win for the midlanders, for whom relegation worries have been growing, proved beyond them.

While a month ago Dalglish argued, with some justification, that results were not reflecting performances that has not been the case in the last few weeks.

Since the turn of the year they have won just twice in the league, taking nine points from 13 games as their bid for a top-four place evaporated in the euphoria of February's Carling Cup triumph.

Defeats to the likes of Wigan at home and a late capitulation at QPR destroyed any confidence the squad had and undoubtedly impacted on their form.

Their anxiety and uncertainty was not helped by goalkeeper Doni, who had previously played only 57 minutes of an October friendly against Rangers, having to make his debut in place of the suspended Jose Reina - ending a run of 183 successive league appearances.

The Brazilian failed his first test and it proved expensive as he flapped at former Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock's left-wing cross in the 10th minute, allowing Barry Bannan to cut the ball back for the unmarked Herd to bend in a shot.

However, Liverpool would have been ahead by then had it not been for the reactions of the experienced Shay Given who clawed Dirk Kuyt's shot off the line after Stewart Downing's low cross picked out the Holland international at the far post.

The home side's response to going behind was slow as despite a succession of corners Martin Skrtel's header wide of the post was the closest they came.

Suarez had a valid claim for a penalty turned down when he was caught by Alan Hutton but it was not until the final minute of the half the Reds really posed a threat.

The best chance fell to Kuyt from Steven Gerrard's cross-shot but the Dutchman ballooned over from five yards before Suarez fired straight at Given.

Dalglish switched to 4-4-2 for the second half with Gerrard playing wide right and the captain almost helped deliver the equalizer.

His 53rd-minute cross picked out Suarez whose header beat Given but bounced off the far post, although it still needed the goalkeeper's quick reactions to flick the ball away from an almost impossible position behind him to prevent it crossing the line.

Villa, content to hang on to their lead, were starting to come under more sustained pressure and the Liverpool manager attempted to turn the screw by sending on Andy Carroll and Craig Bellamy, effectively playing with four forwards.

But still they struggled to test Given with Bellamy, given time to bring the ball down on the left of the penalty area, driving against the outside of the post.

The woodwork was struck again in the 82nd minute but this time it actually benefited Liverpool.

Gerrard's cross from the right saw substitute Daniel Agger, on for Jose Enrique, plant a header against the underside of the bar but when the ball bounced down Suarez was on hand to nod in from close range.

Carroll headed straight at Given from another Gerrard cross before the captain's swerving shot was kept out by the goalkeeper's legs in added time.

A victory would have flattered the home side who, despite making all the running after going behind, were far from impressive and made hard work of getting a point against a side who had won just twice in 11 games.

Dalglish Delighted With Reds

Kenny Dalglish was delighted with his players efforts as they clawed their way back to earn a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa at Anfield.

It looked like being another frustrating afternoon for Liverpool until Luis Suarez cancelled out Chris Herd's first-half opener inside the final 10 minutes.

And Dalglish was pleased with the way his men stuck to their task.

"The performance from 20 minutes before the interval to the end of the game, they were excellent," he said.

"We showed a great deal of determination and commitment but Villa had their goal which gave them something to hold onto.

"They had a lot of resolve but we kept plugging away.

"We were delighted with the players."

Indeed, Dalglish reserved his criticism for the officials rather than his own players.

When asked if his team just needed a bit of luck, the Liverpool boss responded: "And decisions.

Liverpool was denied several penalty shouts for handball, including a strong appeal against Eric Lichaj, while Alan Hutton appeared to trip Suarez before the break.

"Most of the things that haven't gone in our favour have been out of our control and I think that was reflected today with certain things," he added. "We can't do much more than that.

"(There is) No frustration on our part. The frustration would come if I were in charge of the referees' association."

Liverpool Plot Summer Move For Man City Pair

Liverpool are reportedly consider moves for Man City duo Adam Johnson and Emmanuel Adebayor as Kenny Dalglish looks to improve his attacking options after seeing his Anfield side consistently struggle for goals this term. Having spent over £110m on new signings in the past 15 months the Scot will hope the club’s American owners will be willing to dig deep into their pockets to finance moves for the Etihad Stadium pair but will also look to sell under-performing players to help fund any summer deals.

Dalglish is said to be an admirer of City winger Adam Johnson and is looking to add more natural width to his attack and would like to bring the England international to play out on the right flank. The 24 year old has made just 10 Premier League starts this term and may be tempted by an offer to leave Man City though Liverpool would have to be able to match his apparently bumper salary.

Liverpool have used the likes of Jordan Henderson and Dirk Kuyt on the right hand side of the midfield but neither has made a positive impression this term and Dalglish will look to make a significant offer for the former Middlesbrough man, who cost Roberto Mancini £7m.

Kenny Dalglish is also looking to bring in further striking options and is said to be warming to the idea of launching a move to snap up Man City forward Emmanuel Adebayor. The Scot may feel he could snap up the Togo international as Tottenham appear reticent to meet the former Arsenal man’s wage demands.

Liverpool have managed just 37 goals from 32 Premier League matches this season and though Luis Suarez has proved most effective Andy Carroll has struggled for goals and has consistently failed to deliver the goods. The £35m man has therefore spent much of the season consigned to the bench leaving Dalglish looking to bring in alternative attacking options.

In order to help finance moves for the pair the Merseyside club will conduct something of a clear-out this summer. Joe Cole and Alberto Aquilani will be made available for permanent moves after spending this season out on loan to Lille and AC Milan respectively.

Dirk Kuyt, Maxi Rodriguez and Fabio Aurelio are also likely to be offloaded to help make space on the balance sheet for the wage demands of the Man City pair.

Liverpool To Trim Wage Bill By Accepting Cut Price Offer For Striker

Liverpool could lose one of their most consistent performers of the last few seasons for just £1million after it was revealed that there was a release clause in Dirk Kuyt's contract.

The Holland international has been linked with a move away from Anfield after failing to hold down a regular place in the starting line up under Kenny Dalglish.

Kuyt has been linked with a move away from the Premier League and, according to the Telegraph, a clause on the strikers contract allows him to leave for a foreign club for just £1million.

The clause was added into his deal when he signed a contract extension as part of the clubs new plan to try and sign younger players on lower wages,

“He would like to remain at Liverpool,” Kuyt's agent Rob Jansen told the Telegraph. “But otherwise it’s very likely that he will choose to go on a new adventure abroad.

"If he ever returned to the Netherlands, he would 100 per cent go to Feyenoord. I have not been told anything official. A few days ago I went to Liverpool to talk about Kuyt among others.”

The striker currently earns between £3.5-4million a year and is one of the higher earners at the club. By selling Kuyt it would trim the wage bill and perhaps allow them to bring in another younger player.

Yesterday Kuyt was linked with a possible move to Italian side Roma and it does seem likely that if he is to leave Liverpool then it will be a side outside of England.

The 31-year-old has been at Liverpool since 2006 and this season helped Liverpool win their first piece of silverware since he arrived at the club, however, it does appear his time on Merseyside is coming to an end.

Jovanovic Tells Suarez To Shun Reds

Milan Jovanovic has told Anderlecht team-mate Matias Suarez to not consider moving to Liverpool.

A host of clubs are tracking Argentine forward Suarez, who is currently one of the stars of the Belgian league.

The likes of Arsenal and Liverpool are amongst the sides being linked with Suarez, but he has been told to forget about Anfield.

"I shed lots of tears in England. I felt unhappy every day over there," said Jovanovic.

"London is a nice place to live but everywhere else is depressing. I have advised Suarez not to move to Liverpool.

"They'll throw a lot of money at him but he should opt for Italy."

Academy Bring Easter Joy

Rodolfo Borrell led the reserve team squad on a visit to Alder Hey Hospital on Thursday with a special delivery of Easter eggs for the children.

The Academy made their first ever visit to Alder Hey at Christmas and they were delighted to bring the squad back to cheer up the children.

The likes of Conor Coady and Raheem Sterling joined new boy Joao Carlos Teixiera as they brightened up the children's day by presenting them with chocolate eggs in time for Easter Sunday.

Coady told "It's a great experience for all of us to come down and see the kids and give them some Easter eggs.

"It's also good for the boys to come down here and see how lucky they are to be playing for Liverpool Football Club.

"We are very proud to come to Alder Hey and we hope all the kids get well soon and we wish them all the best."

Borrell added: "It's important to bring the lads to Alder Hey and visit the children. To have good health is one of the most important things and to see the children with big smiles on their faces was fantastic.

"The lads need to be grateful and understand that to be part of a massive club like Liverpool, it's not just about performing on the pitch, it's about their behaviour and responsibility off it. People look for them to set an example."

Phil Roscoe, head of education and welfare at the Academy, said: "At Christmas we decided we would replicate what the first team do and bring presents to the kids at Alder Hey, and Frank McParland wanted to make it more of a regular thing for the squad to get involved in.

"It was great that we could come back and bring Easter eggs for the children.

"The lads are so focused on trying to become professional footballers that sometimes they can be detached from what the real world is and live in a bit of a bubble. When they come to Alder Hey it's a bit of a reality check and it makes them realize how lucky they are."

Christine Done, head of fundraising at Alder Hey, said: "It was a fantastic visit and it was really nice for Liverpool to come to Alder Hey for Easter.

"We have a lot of children who will be in hospital over Easter. Some will get the chance to go home but some are too unwell, so to have the team come in to the hospital, it cheered them up.

"The players were a real credit to Liverpool FC and they deserve a lot of credit."