Monday, July 23, 2012

Rodgers Rules Out Suarez And Skrtel Sale

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has played down speculation linking a number of the club's leading stars with moves away from Anfield this summer.

Reds defender Martin Skrtel and last season's top goalscorer Luis Suarez have each attracted attention from a number of top European clubs, and Liverpool's inability to offer either player Champions League football has led to rumours they could both push for a transfer.

However, Rodgers insists that all his first-team players remain fully committed to the club, and have not been distracted by media reports.

Skrtel has two years to run on his existing contract, and after talks over a new deal stalled, his potential availability alerted the likes of Manchester City, Napoli, and big-spending Russian outfit Anzhi Machakala.

"I've heard nothing from any other club," said Rodgers. "Martin has been fantastic. He seems happy and contented. He has fit into my plans and ideas. I will fight as hard as I can to keep the players that I want here and Martin is one of them."

Meanwhile, Suarez, who is currently on Olympic duty with Uruguay and will not return to Merseyside until later next month, has been attracting interest from Serie A giants Juventus, but Rodgers insists the 25-year-old is not for sale.

"I'm confident Luis is really looking forward to playing for us this season and is really looking forward to this way of football," enthused the former Swansea boss. "I have spoken to him and had nothing but positivity from him.

"He is obviously at the Olympics and I wish him well, but I will wish him better when he comes back.

"Unfortunately there is always that rumour, speculation and gossip and until the window closes that will continue. I'm just looking forward to getting every player back. It is important to get the whole group here and get some new signings here."

Dortmund Winger Grosskreutz Dreams Of Playing For Liverpool

Kevin Grosskreutz has revealed that it would be a "dream" to play for Liverpool in the future, but reiterated his love for current club Borussia Dortmund.

The 24-year-old was signed to BVB's youth team in 2002, but moved to Rot Weiss Ahlen a year later before being repatriated in 2009.

Under coach Jurgen Klopp, Grosskreutz has won two Bundesliga titles and the DFB-Pokal, and while he stated the feeling he has for his current employers, he also left the door open for a move to Anfield.

"I love Borussia, but I cannot rule anything out," Grosskreutz told Sports Image. "It would be a dream to play for Liverpool at some point. England is a dream for any footballer."

Grosskreutz had stated in November that he would prefer a move to Arsenal, but he appears to have had a change of heart.

Dortmund face Werder Bremen in the first Bundesliga match of the season on August 24.

Liverpool To Offer Adam To Fulham In Dempsey Deal

Liverpool are ready to up their bid for Fulham's Clint Dempsey to a player plus cash deal, with the inclusion of Charlie Adam, according to the Daily Mail.

The United States midfielder seems to be the top target for new Reds boss Brendan Rodgers and he is willing to let Adam leave in order to get his man.

However, the addition of the Scottish midfielder in that deal does depend on Liverpool’s discussions with Swansea player Joe Allen who is reportedly the subject of a £15m bid from Rodgers.

Adam and Allen play a similar role and it is thought the new Anfield boss would be willing to let the 26-year-old leave to help build his own Liverpool squad.

Signed from Blackpool last summer, for a fee in the region of £7m, Adam managed 26 league games and 2 goals before a knee injury ruled him out of the last two months of last season.

His future could now lie in West London with Martin Jol’s Fulham.

Reds Consider Sterling Loan

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is considering sending winger Raheem Sterling out on loan this season.

The 17-year-old has impressed in his three substitute appearances for the club, having made his debut against Wigan Athletic in March.

But Rodgers is keen to give the former Queens Park Rangers youngster some experience away from Anfield, rather than rushing him into the Liverpool team.

"He is a talent, but he's not ready for the first team yet," Rodgers told Liverpool's official website.

"One of the things I've done over my career is to manage the expectation of young players and the reality is he is still very young.

"There are very few players in the world who get into a Premier League team at 17, never mind a top club.

"He has certainly shown qualities and we'll decide over the next few weeks whether he stays, and he's involved now, or if he goes for a loan period."

Toulouse Ace Admits Premier League Lure As Liverpool Circle

France midfielder Moussa Sissoko has put Liverpool on red alert after revealing that he is keen to quench his 'thirst' for Premier League football.

Sissoko, 22, currently plays for Ligue 1 side Toulouse, where he has established himself as a key player since making his first-team debut in 2007.

The 22-year-old, whose athletic style has seen him draw comparisons with Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira, is out of contract next summer and he believes he would be well-suited to life in the Premier League.

"Everybody knows I’m thirsty to learn about other leagues, especially the Premier League, which I think suits my profile," he told French newspaper La Depeche du Midi.

"However, it does not mean that I have failed if I stay at Toulouse. I’m not unhappy here, I have a good position in a good club, where everything is set-up to succeed."

Laudrup Braced For Allen Exit

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup has a contingency plan should Joe Allen leave for Liverpool, and says the midfielder will be allowed to decide his own future.

Laudrup made Rayo Vallecano midfielder Michu his third signing of the summer on Friday following the captures of Chico Flores and Jonathan de Guzman.

But it is the future of Allen that is attracting the most attention with speculation mounting that former boss Brendan Rodgers is keen to take the talented playmaker to Anfield.

The 22-year-old was one of the stars of Swansea's maiden Barclays Premier League campaign and secured a place in the Team GB squad for the Olympics.

He signed a new four-year contract at the Liberty Stadium last summer, but Rodgers is a keen admirer of the Wales international and reports have linked the Reds with a £15million deal.

Laudrup reiterated that Swansea have yet to receive any contact from Liverpool, but has a plan in place should Allen move on.

"You always have to be one step ahead so we have to be prepared for everything," he said.

"It's not only in this case, but with each position in the team.

"When the transfer window closes on August 31 you can breathe a sigh of relief, but you only have three or four months when people do not talk about transfers because then you look ahead to January 1. It will be the same then.

"You have to think about the present window as well as the future, which will be the winter window.

"But we obviously want to be able to have the best possible team available."

Although Laudrup would like Allen to remain in south Wales, he insists that should an offer come in then the player would be allowed to decide whether he would welcome a move.

He said: "I haven't spoken to Joe since I have taken over. I haven't spoken to any of the three Olympics players and we have not had any contact from Liverpool.

"I am in contact with the chairman every day. We agree that if there will be an approach then we will have to talk to the player.

"We cannot just answer 100% yes or no without having talked to the player.

"That's a problem because he has to concentrate on the Olympics but we will have to deal with that if and when it comes to that.

"You can force players to stay but how does that help? It doesn't work like that. It's better to find a solution that suits both parties."

Reds Held In Tour Opener

Lucas Leiva made his comeback from injury as Liverpool played out a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC in Brendan Rodgers' first game in charge.

The appropriately named Rogers Centre was the venue for the start of the new Liverpool manager's reign, and there were plenty of positives to take from an intriguing encounter in Canada.

Even without several senior members of his squad, Rodgers decided to select a different XI for each half and there were further substitutions as well, including a welcome return for Lucas following eight months out with anterior cruciate ligament damage.

There was little goalmouth action in the first half but the Reds looked eager to impress and Dani Pacheco caught the eye with a lively performance, with Alberto Aquilani also granted an opportunity to shine in midfield.

The game came to life after the interval and it was Toronto who broke the deadlock just before the hour mark when Peter Gulacsi could only parry a shot from Andrew Wiedeman and Quincy Amarikwa slotted home.

The lead lasted little more than ten minutes as Adam Morgan provided the simplest of finishes into an empty net after a brilliant run and shot from the impressive Raheem Sterling.

There were also some good touches from Suso as Liverpool pushed for a winner, but they ultimately had to settle for a draw on the first leg of their North American tour.

Rodgers Hails Brilliant Lucas

Brendan Rodgers has given Lucas Leiva a ringing endorsement and declared he will be integral to his new-look Liverpool team.

The 25-year-old has been out for seven months after he sustained a cruciate ligament injury last November, which interrupted his best Liverpool campaign to date.

Lucas' recovery is ahead of schedule and he has joined his team-mates on their pre-season tour of America.

It is something which has triggered praise from the new Liverpool chief, who views the Brazil international as integral to the success of the team.

"He's the ultimate professional," Rodgers told the club's official website.

"He is going to be a brilliant player for me in my career here at Liverpool and I'm looking forward to seeing him back fully fit.

"I've only been at the club a short period of time, and when I first arrived, everyone told me about how special he was as a player and a character, and he's even better when you meet him in real life and see how hard he works.

"The injury he's had is normally nine months before you get back at all, so he's back two months early. You only do that through one thing: sheer determination and hard work.

"I know that every day of his life he is fighting hard to get back, and as I said, he's not only a top footballer but a top guy as well."

Rodgers Full Of Praise For Adam Morgan

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was full of praise for Adam Morgan after the young striker scored the equalizer in the Reds' 1-1 draw against Toronto FC.

The 18-year-old netted in the 69th minute after Quincy Amarikwa had given the Canadians the lead in the pre-season friendly.

Morgan had only arrived in Canada on the morning of the match and headed straight to the bench to hug his new boss after converting from close range.

Rodgers told Liverpool's official website: "He's a really, really good kid. He's come in, he's taken everything on board that I've talked about.

"He's technically good, he's got a natural eye for a goal - if he doesn't arrive at that moment, the goal doesn't go in because the defender would have got to the line to defend it.

"He's got that natural instinct to score but I was also pleased with the cleverness in his pressing. He pressed the ball really well. That forced them into some mistakes.

"It was a great moment for him. His father flew in this morning from Liverpool, so to get here and to see the goal would have been a special moment."

The former Swansea manager was pleased that his tactical instructions were followed by the players as he tries to get the Reds playing his possession-orientated brand of football.

He added: "We've still got a long way to go. It's very important that we dictate games, we control games, we dominate games. You saw for large parts of the game we forced Toronto back.

"It's just that penetration that will get better as time goes on, because possession is no good on its own.

"Some of the movement patterns were very good and it'll get better."