Monday, July 09, 2012

Rodgers Invited To Watch Spain Train

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has been invited to watch Spain train and discuss coaching methods with Vicente del Bosque, according to the Daily Mirror.

The 39-year-old, who was brought in at Anfield to replace Kenny Dalglish last month, was due to watch Spain's training camp before Euro 2012 in May but had to pull out because of his move to Liverpool.

But the offer of watching the European champions has been extended as Rodgers attempts to implement his methods at Liverpool ahead of the new season.

“It is obviously a ­difficult time to find a date at the moment, but Brendan has an open invitation to meet Del Bosque and watch Spain train," a source told the Mirror.

“I’m sure he will take up the offer at some point ­because Brendan loves to talk to people about the game, particularly very successful people.”

Cole Wants To Make Reds Impact

Joe Cole is determined to prove he can be a success at Liverpool and is delighted to be back with the Premier League club.

The midfielder joined Liverpool on a free transfer in 2010 from Chelsea, but he made just nine Premier League starts in his debut season before spending last term on loan in France with Lille.

With Brendan Rodgers having replaced Kenny Dalglish as manager, the 30-year-old has been given a second chance to make an impact at Anfield and it is an opportunity Cole is eager to grasp.

"I don't want to leave Liverpool one day having not been a success here or having left something here," Cole told the club's official website.

"I want to make an imprint at the club. I've been a success at West Ham, Chelsea and Lille - I don't want people to be able to say that I haven't here.

"I'd like to be given the opportunity to play, learn and improve, and join this great team. It's a great group and I would like to be involved in this team and really push on."

After failing to perform to his best under previous Reds bosses Roy Hodgson and Dalglish, the England international is looking forward to a fresh start under Rodgers.

He added: "It's a clean slate for everyone, so I'm delighted to be back.

"You have to remember, I've only been at Liverpool one season, really, but this is the third manager I've played for.

"It does feel different this time - it feels like it's ready to go.

"I came here for one reason - because I wanted to be a part of the resurgence of this club. It excited me coming here because I knew what a big club it was with a rich history and I wanted to be part of something. I still do.

"The fire still burns in me to be a part of it - I want to be part of this club moving in the right direction."

Liverpool Enter Chase For Sturridge

Liverpool have thrown their hat into the ring in the race to sign Daniel Sturridge this summer, with Tottenham and Manchester City also in the hunt for the Chelsea forward.

The Reds are ready to table a £10 million bid for the unsettled striker who scored a career-best 13 goals for Chelsea last season, but ended the campaign having fallen out of favour with interim boss Roberto di Matteo, who has now been handed the role full-time.

Sturridge has only twelve months left on his deal at Stamford Bridge and is said to be considering his options having failed to nail down a spot under Di Matteo, which caused him to miss the Champions League final and cost him a place in England’s Euro 2012 squad.

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has previously expressed his anger that Sturridge was allowed to leave the club to join up with Chelsea in 2009, and the Italian is believed to keen on taking the talented youngster back to the Etihad Stadium.

Tottenham are also keen on Sturridge, with the north London club hopeful that his relationship with recently announced Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas could persuade him to make the move across the capital city.

Villas-Boas handed him a starting spot during his doomed spell as Chelsea manager last season, and the young striker could be tempted to move to White Hart Lane if he is guaranteed a starting spot, something that looks highly unlikely at Stamford Bridge after the arrival of Eden Hazard.

But for that to happen Sturridge will have to reject the overtures of Liverpool who, according to, are preparing a £10 million bid for him as boss Brendan Rodgers looks to make the first major signing of his time at Anfield after missing out on Gylfi Sigurdsson to Spurs.

The website report that the Reds are ready to make their intentions perfectly clear by tabling the sizeable bid, and are willing to offer Sturridge a wage packet in excess of the £65,000-per-week he is currently earning with Chelsea.

The 22-year-old is currently being treated for viral meningitis but is expected to take his place in Team GB’s football squad for the Olympics, before making a decision over his future.

Liverpool On Verge Of Landing Italy Star Borini

Brendan Rodgers is close to making Roma forward Fabio Borini his first signing as Liverpool manager following lengthy negotiations in Italy.

Rodgers worked with Borini as a coach in Chelsea's academy and again at Swansea when the 21-year-old came on loan from the Blues in March 2011, scoring six goals in just nine appearances in south Wales.

That temporary move did not lead to a first-team breakthrough at Stamford Bridge and Borini, who moved to London from Bologna as a teenager, returned to Italy after making just three senior appearances.

The Italy U-21 international, who made his full international debut against the US in February, moved to Parma initially, but was immediately loaned out to Roma, who are believed to have an option to buy for £7m.

Borini has flourished on his return to his homeland and Rodgers saw enough of him at Swansea to believe he is good enough to slot into the Liverpool team on the right of a three-man strike-force.

The deal is slightly complicated by the fact Borini is co-owned by Parma and Roma, with each holding a 50% stake, which means Liverpool will have to reach an agreement with both clubs to finalize the move.

However, it is unlikely Liverpool would be expected to pay much more than the £7m price Roma had agreed with Parma as part of their loan agreement.

Left Back Robinson Wanted On Loan

Liverpool left back Jack Robinson is wanted on loan by several Premier League and Championship sides, with Norwich City and Bolton having shown interest in the 18 year old.

Derby County is also looking to sign the Warrington born defender for the duration of next season.

With the departure of Fabio Aurelio this summer, Liverpool have only Jose Enrique as a recognized left back at present, although Glen Johnson was chosen as cover whenever Enrique was injured last season, ahead of Robinson.

Robinson became Liverpool’s youngest ever player when he came on as 16 year old at Hull in the last game of the 2009-10 season.

The following year he made two Premier League appearances under Kenny Dalglish, but last season made just two League Cup starts – at Brighton and Exeter.

Robinson signed a new long term contract at Anfield in October 2011.

Milan Closing In On Carroll

AC Milan's interest in Liverpool striker Andy Carroll is hotting up according to reports emerging from Italy.

Corriere dello Sport claim the England international has been identified as medium to long-term replacement by the Italian giants for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and that a deal could be done before the start of new season.

Earlier in the week Pier Silvio Berlusconi, son of AC Milan owner Silvio, made it known that Carroll was a player he would like to see at the San Siro and he has again reiterated his admirer for the 23-year-old.

Berlusconi particularly enjoys Carroll's physicality and remarked on how the former Newcastle forward even looks like Ibrahimovic after seeing the two men on the same pitch during England's match against Sweden during the recent European Championships.

Carroll was signed by Liverpool from the Magpies for £35m on transfer deadline day in January 2011 by former manager Kenny Dalglish, but his successor Brendan Rodgers may now be willing to offload him according to the article as he doesn't fit into his style of play.

Rodgers Rules Out Bellamy Exit

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has ruled out a move away from Anfield for Craig Bellamy, saying he wants to keep the forward at the club.

Bellamy's future at Liverpool has been the subject of speculation with former club Cardiff expressing an interest in re-signing the Welshman.

However, Rodgers has no plans to offload Bellamy after holding talks with the 32-year-old earlier this week

"I had a really positive chat with Craig on Monday," Rodgers said.

"It was good to meet him and get his side of the Liverpool story. He's a big supporter of this club - he loves the club.

"He's a good guy. He has a real passion for Liverpool Football Club and that's the type of people I want here.

"I like his intensity, his work-rate and his passion so I would love him to be here.

"He's a player. It would take a really special and unique opportunity for Craig to walk out of Liverpool and for us to go our separate ways.

"If anything changes on that from a personal perspective then he and I will talk about that."

Liverpool Should Welcome Aquilani And Cole To The Rodgers Revolution

If two men best represent Liverpool’s status as a club still mired in the process of ‘transition’ it is Joe Cole and Alberto Aquilani.

Both spent last season away from Anfield, loaned out to Lille and Milan respectively, but have signalled their willingness to stay this term should new boss Brendan Rodgers want them. It is undoubtedly news that the Northern Irishman will have welcomed, as having players want to stay – as Liverpool found out with Fernando Torres – is half the battle.

Yet, equally as important as the former Swansea manager’s judgement of their merits is the stance of Reds owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG). The Boston-based group is widely known to be keen to trim the club’s bloated wage bill and Cole and Aquilani’s presence amongst the top five earners following Dirk Kuyt’s departure is not a statistic that will please such frugal businessmen.

However, if getting such heavy burdens off the wage bill were as easy as simply loaning the midfield duo out then there would be little doubt over their futures. Last year though, Liverpool found themselves subsidizing a large portion of both salaries despite neither featuring for a single minute and that is not a mistake they will wish to repeat.

Now is the time for FSG to assess whether further loan spells with such expensive terms are genuinely good for the most important part of their product – the team. All things considered, they might as well give Cole and Aquilani a go.

It is not as if the pair have shown themselves to be incapable of succeeding at Liverpool. Aquilani’s situation is particularly baffling given that in his first season he appeared sporadically under Rafael Benitez and still regularly evidenced his quality.

A 20-minute substitute appearance at the DW Stadium was an unusual highlight given that it came at the sort of ground which the Italian’s alleged mental weakness should preclude him from shining at. Man of the match performances against Portsmouth at Anfield and, most impressively, against Atletico Madrid in a Europa League semi-final defeat also showed that the former Roma man clearly possesses the ability. So what gives?

Was the 28-year-old’s agent simply paying lip service to Reds fans by insisting his client is happy to stay at the club earlier this week? There are many theories over Aquilani’s willingness to make a go of things on Merseyside but regardless, Rodgers would be foolish not to at least attempt to find space for the Italian. A situation whereby a loan club is 0.5 appearances (a substitute's role) away from triggering a clause to buy - as Milan were last season - cannot be allowed to happen again.

As for Cole, much of the criticism directed at the London-born midfielder during his first season at Anfield centered on his perceived lack of fitness as he huffed and puffed his way through games. Yet, that Roy Hodgson’s teams rarely monopolize possession has since become a well-known fact; there is a logical argument that those early games forced the 30-year-old into running harder than he had before in his career – and it showed.

His performances in Ligue 1 last year were grounds to believe that he can still contribute in some capacity next season. 42 appearances and nine goals is an encouraging return in any league and his previous successes in a front three - much like that which is likely to employed by Rodgers - is another reason for his return to be considered.

So, the evidence points to the fact that both players could at least play important squad roles next term, even if there are plenty of reasons they might not command first-team spots. If there is anything Liverpool learnt during the absences of Lucas Leiva, Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard last year it is that squad depth and quality must be improved this summer.

In fact, that oft-derided summer transfer flops Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam held down starting berths in the positions in which the returning pair do their best work is food for thought. It would be hard to argue against Aquilani and Cole being a significant upgrade on their incumbents.

The opportunity to forgo spending on transfers and simply take a hit on the wage bill is one FSG must now at least consider. The long-term aim of lowering weekly outgoings on players who contribute little is sensible given the imminent arrival of Financial Fair Play sanctions but they are just that – long-term.

After years of stagnation at Liverpool there is understandably a lack of patience amongst the club’s fanbase and perhaps it is in fact the owners who must now show that virtue with regards their vision for a club which is more financially efficient.

The rewards for such bravery will be seen on the only place that truly matters, the pitch.

Sterling and Suso: Two Liverpool Youngsters Who Could Break Into The First Team Under Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers is yet to make a new signing for Liverpool but there is a growing belief that he will look to implement a number of young players into the first team squad next season.

Liverpool admitted that they missed out on signing Gylfi Sigurdsson because they could not meet his wage demands and there is some concern that the club will struggle to bring many new faces to the club over the summer months.

Fortunately there are a number of talented young players at the club with the likes of Jon Flanagan, Jonjo Shelvey and Jack Robinson all pushing for a place in the first team squad.

However, perhaps the two players that are drawing the most excitement from Liverpool fans if the duo of Raheem Sterling and Suso. Let's start with the young Spanish midfielder.

Jesus Joquin Fernandez Saez de la Torre, more commonly known as Suso, was brought to the club by Rafa Benitez and is in a similar mould to a number of the current Spanish side with his diminutive frame and excellent passing ability.

"I was going to sign for Real Madrid but one day before it the phone rang and Rafael Benitez spoke to me. He convinced me that Liverpool was the club for me and after that I had to change my plans. I was going to come to Liverpool," revealed Suso.

Originally compared with Xabi Alonso, Suso has since been used on the right wing where he can cut inside and use his lethal left-foot. The 19-year-old impressed while playing in the NextGen competition last season and could well be pushing for action in the first team with a lack of options on the right hand side of midfielder for Rodgers.

Perhaps even more exciting is Sterling. The 17-year-old has already been included in a squad for the Europa League and last season was the star performer in the NextGen competition as Liverpool made the semi-finals of the inaugural tournament.

Signed from QPR, Sterling has pace to burn and his ability on either flank makes him a genuine threat. The winger admitted last week that Rodgers had wanted to take him to Swansea so there is a growing belied that he may see first team action next season.

He impressed Kenny Dalglish last season who handed his his Liverpool debut and he was picked by journalists Guillem Balague and Gabriel Marcotti as a player who could even break into the England team in 2014.