Thursday, June 07, 2012

Rodgers Demands Reds Effort

New Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has laid down the law to his new players, insisting that working hard is an 'obligation' under his new regime.

The 39-year-old was confirmed as Anfield boss last week after a successful stint with Premier League rivals Swansea City.

Rodgers guided the Swans to promotion via the play-offs in 2011 and then led them to a respectable 11th place finish in their first top flight season since 1983.

The former Reading and Watford boss was widely praised for the attractive style of possession football he employed at the Liberty Stadium, something that no doubt attracted interest from the Liverpool hierarchy as they sought to replace Kenny Dalglish.

That appeal appeared to be mutual, with Rodgers revealing Liverpool's illustrious history and footballing principles attracted him to the Merseyside club.

He has promised to instil those principles once more in the current Reds playing squad but insists that will only be achieved through hard work.

"For me [the attraction] is to defend the principles of this great club - which are about offensive, creative football with tactical discipline - and to retain the values of the club," said Rodgers.

"The tradition of this football club is about players playing the game in a stylish, relentless way with consistency at the very top.

"I have conditions to work in. I create a framework and the players come in and adhere to it.

"I hear people talking about working hard but for me it is an obligation - it's not a choice.

"We all work hard in our everyday lives as people and for players it is no different.

"It is quite simple. You come in and do a hard day's work. You make sure in training and on match days you come in and you can take your top off and wring it out and it will be soaking wet.

"It is that honesty that you want. If you can work hard and you have got talent it takes you a long way.

"That will be the emphasis for me here - to try to reinforce that and ensure that commitment to the cause is important because we have a cause to fight for here."

Rodgers has already begun his preparations for next season by assessing the squad and eyeing any potential transfer targets.

However, despite his grand ambitions for Liverpool the Northern Irishman did have a warning for the club's supporters, insisting that he and the players needed time and patience in order to achieve their ambitions.

"For me it is going to take time for how I want to play and the philosophy I want to introduce," added Rodgers.

"We want to play winning football, effective football. But I know, inherently, what we need to play that way and win that way but ultimately that will be the job of the next period of time.

"It is about results and the progress of the team but we will make our first steps and hopefully that will improve over the next few years.

"What we need to do is improve the team and the quality of the team and hopefully over the next couple of years we will be ready to challenge and ready to compete."

Rodgers: Suarez Is Not Leaving Liverpool

New Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has vowed to keep hold of Luis Suarez.

The Uruguayan striker, banned for eight matches last season following his race row with Manchester United's Patrice Evra, was linked with a move to Italian side Juventus.

But Rodgers has reassured Suarez, the Reds' top scorer with 17 goals last season that he is integral to his plans.

A source close to Suarez told the Sun: 'It is thought Juventus were about to offer £16million or try to broker a cash plus player deal involving Eljero Elia or Milos Krasic.

'But Rodgers has spoken with Luis to gain his confidence and explain the new project and his role in the team. Luis is calm about everything.

Sigurdsson Could Follow Rodgers

Gylfi Sigurdsson does not see himself signing a permanent deal at Swansea and he would be interested in joining Liverpool but he has not yet spoken to Brendan Rodgers regarding a possible move to Anfield.

After arriving in January, the attack-minded Iceland midfielder took the Premier League by storm while on loan at Swansea from Hoffenheim and he seemed set to agree a long-term contract at the Liberty Stadium.

Swansea have agreed a fee with Hoffenheim but Rodgers, who was the manager to bring Sigurdsson to England while in charge at Swansea, has since moved to Liverpool and is ready to hijack any deal.

Sigurdsson, 22, has not put pen to paper on a contract amid the uncertainty in Wales following the departure of Rodgers at the beginning of June and the player is thinking about Liverpool.

"It's just unclear at this moment where I will play," he told Icelandic newspaper Morgunblaoio. "I'd like to play on with Swansea since I was really happy there.

"But after Brendan Rodgers left the club for Liverpool, it changed the situation."

Sigurdsson, who scored seven goals in 18 Premier League appearances, added: "I have said that my desire is to continue playing in the Premier League and Liverpool is completely considered.

"Liverpool is a big club that has a glorious history. The English Premier League is the platform that I want to be on and hopefully I continue to play in that division.

"I expect not to stay at Swansea as the uncertainty going on there and it is not clear who is the boss."

Liverpool transfer talks have yet to take place between Sigurdsson and Rodgers but the former has wished his ex-Swansea boss good luck at Anfield.

Asked if there had been contact, Sigurdsson said: "No. But I got in touch with him when he was appointed Liverpool manager.

"I wished him congratulations and thanked him for a great time at Swansea."

Liverpool Set Eyes On Turkish Goal King Burak Yilmaz

Liverpool are the latest club to be linked with prolific Trabzonspor striker Burak Yilmaz.

The Reds are in pursuit of a proven goalscorer this summer. Liverpool only scored 47 times in the Premier League last season, the lowest scoring team in the top eight. €41 million signing, Andy Caroll only scored four goals in the league campaign.

Yilmaz netted 35 times in 41 games this season and his modest €5 million release clause has attracted the attention of major clubs across Europe.

In an interview with TRT's 'Stadyum' program earlier this year, Yilmaz stated that he would consider a move to Spain or England if the right offer was made.

The 26 year old Turkish international has been in sensational form for Trabzonspor over the past two seasons. He guided the Black Sea giants to pole position in the league last year scoring 19 times, only to lose out on winning the championship to Fenerbahce on goal difference.

Yilmaz broke the clubs all time scoring record in the league this season, scoring 51% of Trabzonspor's 65 goals.

The Turkish Goal King possesses an impressive mix of pace, shoulder strength and off the ball ability.

Weighing 88kg and 188cm tall he uses his strength well in one on one situations, makes intelligent forward runs and is an uncanny ability of creating space. He holds the ball up well, takes an impressive free kick and has been carrying an otherwise poor attacking team on his back this season.

The Reds will face competition from, Juventus, Lazio, Fulham and Galatasaray. Yilmaz is expected to make a decision on his future later this week.

Cole Backed For Reds Return

Lille coach Rudi Garcia expects Joe Cole to be at Liverpool next season after the midfielder's loan spell at the Ligue 1 club ended.

The 30-year-old spent this term on loan at the French side after struggling to make an impact at Anfield following his move from Chelsea two years ago.

Cole has spoken of his desire to try and rectify his career on Merseyside, despite speculation linking him with a return to boyhood club West Ham.

It remains to be seen whether he will feature in new manager Brendan Rodgers' plans after he took over from Kenny Dalglish but Lille boss Garcia believes he will stay at Anfield.

"Joe Cole will stay at Liverpool," the Ligue 1 side's coach told Canal+.

"The new staff has decided to keep him. We will remember him very fondly as a player but also as a man."

Rodgers knows Cole from his time at Chelsea and at the weekend described him as a "wonderful talent".

Pacheco Defends Twitter Post

Liverpool reserves forward Dani Pacheco's use of the word "negrito" in a Twitter message to team-mate Glen Johnson forced the young Spaniard to defend himself on the social networking site.

The 21-year-old, who spent last season on loan at Rayo Vallecano, used the term when wishing the England international luck as he headed to Poland for Euro 2012 on Wednesday.

He tweeted: "@glen-johnson good luck negrito!!!!"

Liverpool team-mate Luis Suarez was banned for eight matches for using the same word towards Manchester United's Patrice Evra in a match at Anfield in October.

The Uruguay international unsuccessfully argued 'negrito' was not a derogatory term in the Spanish language, despite its racial connotations in English.

When Pacheco received a couple of critical comments in response to his message he wrote: "I already explained in past what negrito could mean. Good or bad depends how you say it. I always called @glen-johnson it in terms of love.

"Last tweet about it. @glen-johnson speaks Spanish and he knows what that mean when I say it to him. He is one of best mates there for me."

Kuyt Humbled By Support

Dirk Kuyt has revealed he has received many messages of support from Liverpool fans after ending his six-year association with the club to join Fenerbahce.

The 31-year-old, who fell down the pecking order at Anfield last season, admits his increasing lack of game time was behind his decision to move on.

"My last season at Liverpool wasn't the best one," said Kuyt.

"I thought that I should've played more so, after six years, I just had a feeling I needed to change something in my career, a new experience, a new country, new people around me, and that's why I made the decision to leave.

"I had a great time and I had great team-mates. The club was great, the people were great and the people from Liverpool - the text messages, the phone calls, the e-mails, all the tweets I had on my Twitter account - it's unbelievable how much respect they showed me and it's also a bit emotional.

"They wished me good luck and they said that they will miss me."

Holland striker Kuyt, currently on international duty ahead of the European Championship, admits leaving Liverpool was one of the toughest decisions he had ever made.

He added: "On one hand, it's always very sad when you have to leave a football club after six years.

"But, on the other hand, you also look to the future and I think Fenerbahce is a great club, with also great supporters and I really look forward to the new experience."

Kuyt also revealed he snubbed Hamburg for Turkish giants Fenerbahce because of the lure of playing UEFA Champions League football.

The forward, who has been denied that privilege since Liverpool last qualified in 2009, said: "I spoke with Hamburg, my agent spoke with Hamburg, and I had a feeling about the club.

"But, at the end of the day, the best feeling for me was Fenerbahce.

"For me, it was also really important to play in Europe and to play Champions League."

Clarke Leaves Liverpool

The League Managers' Association has announced that Steve Clarke has left Liverpool, clearing the way for Brendan Rodgers to bring in his own assistant.

Clarke was taken to Anfield in January 2011 by former Reds boss Kenny Dalglish.

Having forged a reputation as one of the finest coaches in the business during spells at Newcastle, Chelsea and West Ham, the Scot was offered the opportunity to work alongside Dalglish as he attempted to bring the good times back to Merseyside.

Liverpool disappointed, though, in 2011/12, with a Carling Cup success not enough to paper over the Premier League cracks.

Dalglish was relieved of his duties by the Reds board as a result, leaving Clarke facing up to an uncertain future.

Liverpool moved quickly to fill their managerial void with the appointment of Rodgers, and he will be allowed to bring in his own backroom team.

That means Clarke's services are no longer required and he has officially vacated his post.

Rodgers has yet to name a number two but Liverpool and the 39-year-old's former club Swansea have agreed a compensation package which sees three of his trusted staff move to Anfield, including his Liberty Stadium assistant Colin Pascoe.

Performance analyst Chris Davies and head of sports science and medicine Glen Driscoll have also linked up with the Reds.

Ayre Slams Whelan Antics

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre has branded Wigan chairman Dave Whelan a 'comedian' for his actions during the Reds' manager hunt.

Whelan gave regular updates to the media during the period in which the Latics' manager Roberto Martinez was approached and subsequently interviewed for the vacant Liverpool job.

The 75-year-old even suggested Martinez had been offered the job before the role of Kenny Dalglish's successor eventually went to Swansea's Brendan Rodgers.

And Ayre was unable to hide his frustration regarding the manner in which Whelan briefed the press during negotiations.

"Our aim from the outset was to conduct a proper, thorough, search and do it in the proper manner," Ayre told the Liverpool Echo.

"From our point of view, we did all the right things. We approached the clubs we needed to approach, and conducted ourselves properly at all times.

"It is disappointing, then, that Dave Whelan felt the need to run the kind of sideshow he conducted via Sky Sports News and various other media outlets.

"To be honest, I always thought John Bishop was the biggest comedian in the North West but Dave Whelan seems to have taken that mantle over the last couple of weeks."

Asked if it was true that Martinez was offered the job as Whelan claimed, Ayre said: "That is patently not true.

"We make no secret of the fact we spoke with Roberto Martinez, but that is all we did.

"He is a great guy, and I can't speak highly enough of his professionalism and conduct.

"But for his chairman to make suggestions like he has, and suggestions that just aren't true, well it is disappointing to say the least.

"We can say with absolute certainty that the only person who was made any offer by Liverpool Football Club is Brendan Rodgers."