Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Werner Backs Boss On Carroll

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner has refused to clarify Andy Carroll's future at Anfield but gave his full backing to manager Brendan Rodgers.

Carroll has been strongly linked with a move away from Liverpool despite becoming the club's record signing for £35million just last year.

Rodgers, who was appointed as Reds boss earlier this summer, is believed to be willing to allow the striker to leave the club this month and Werner appears comfortable with that scenario.

"The only thing I can say is we will do what's best for the club," he told Sky Sports News.

"At the moment, Andy is on the squad. He was an important member of the English team, he's got a lot of talent and we'll see what happens there.

"Brendan is clearly the leader here and hopefully the question will be answered shortly but at the moment Andy is on the team and we're looking forward to his contributions."

Werner and his fellow members of Fenway Sports Group have shown faith in Rodgers by sacking much-loved manager Kenny Dalglish in May and the chairman has once again defended that move.

"I don't think anybody could have been happy with our performance on the pitch last year," he added.

"No disrespect to Kenny, I think he's an iconic figure for Liverpool and he will always be appreciated for the stability he brought to the club.

"Brendan brings a very thoughtful, modern, attacking philosophy.

"I think our fans will be very delighted with the attacking philosophy that he brings to Liverpool and hopefully we'll see improvement."

Werner also reiterated his commitment to finding a new stadium for Liverpool and called for patience.

Werner said on Monday: "There's actually a call later this afternoon to try and move the ball forward but until we are sure of a solution we don't want to make any announcements and people have been disappointed before.

"There's no-one who would like to put this question behind us more than me but until we are clear about the solution and how it's going to unfold we're going to just say please exercise a bit of patience."

Suarez Swipe At English Media

Uruguay striker Luis Suarez hinted at his contempt for the English press as he prepares to return to Old Trafford this week.

The Liverpool forward is part of the Uruguay team taking on the United Arab Emirates in Group A of the Olympic football competition in Manchester on Thursday.

The fixture represents Suarez's first visit to the ground since triggering a row in February by refusing to shake hands with Manchester United's Patrice Evra - the man he was found guilty of racially abusing in October.

But Suarez does not regard that as an unnecessary distraction ahead of international duty for his country.

"I am representing Uruguay and that's all that matters to me," Suarez said.

"I said before that the English press is what matters least to me. I am proud to represent my country."

Suarez also brushed off suggestions that his knowledge of English football will help him, having played in the stadium before for his club.

"I don't really know Old Trafford that well," he added.

"I have played one match there. I have played just once at many stadiums, so I don't have to give advice to anyone on the stadiums we play at.

"It's a great stadium. What we have to do is play football at a spectacular ground."

Liverpool Make Early Move For Brazilian

Liverpool has offered a contract to a 15-year-old Brazilian wonderkid - after watching him on the Internet.

The Reds have moved to sign promising teenager William McLaren, after club scouts spotted him on Brazilian website Pnera, an online project aimed at discovering and promoting young players.

It certainly seems to have worked, with McLaren attracting interest from a whole of host of Premier League clubs, all of whom have since been to watch him in action, before confirming he is now considering an offer to join Liverpool.

'A representative of Liverpool saw me play, liked what he saw and the club sent me a contract,' McLaren told Globo.

'But other teams are also interested - Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal. We'll see what happens.'

The exciting youngster, who lists his idol as fellow Brazilian Neymar, is already being compared to the 20-year-old Santos superstar.

Dries Mertens Finds Himself On Liverpool’s Shortlist

New Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is looking to strengthen the club’s attacking options for the upcoming season and is believed to have earmarked young Belgian winger Dries Mertens for this purpose.

The Belgian international moved from Utrecht to PSV Eindhoven last summer and stunned fans by adjusting quickly to life at the Philips Stadion. The 25-year-old enjoyed his best campaign to date last season and went on to notch a tally of 21 goals in 33 appearances for the former Eredivisie champions.

According to Belgian magazine Footgoal, Mertens’ tremendous performances have alerted big European clubs including Liverpool, and the Merseyside giants are ready to splash €15M on the winger, a sum which – if tabled – is likely to persuade PSV’s management to part ways with their young talent.

Mertens was one of the Peasants’ best performers last season; the winger started his career with Gent in 2004 before moving to AGOVV in 2007.

After turning in impressive displays for the Eerste Divisie outfit, he was snapped up by Utrecht in 2009, where he excelled by racking up 16 goals in 65 appearances, before moving to PSV in 2011.

The 25-year-old belongs to a rare breed of wingers who chip in regular goals for their teams. Reds fans may hope that interest in the wide-man will soon materialize into a concrete bid as dearth of quality wingers in Liverpool’s squad has been considered to be one of the primary reasons for their poor performances in recent seasons.

Mertens is under contract with PSV until 2016, putting the Dutch club very much in the driving seat over his future.

Hoops In For Bellamy

QPR vice-chairman Amit Bhatia has confirmed that Craig Bellamy is on the club's shopping list as they plot their next transfer move.

Bellamy is currently preparing to represent Team GB at the Olympic Games, but speculation has continued to mount over where he will be plying his trade for the upcoming season.

Brendan Rodgers has expressed a desire to keep the Welshman at Anfield, while Cardiff are thought to be interested in their former player.

Bhatia has confirmed the Hoops are also keen, telling Sky Sports News: "Mark (Hughes) likes to have a long list of players so we'll see what happens.

"We've been a fan of Craig Bellamy for the last few years.

"His is definitely a name that has been mentioned but he's not the only name that we have discussed for that position so we have a few options.

"Mark has loads of names on his list and many of the players we want are wanted by other clubs.

He added: "Whoever Mark settles on, we will do our best to support him."

Liverpool Set To Offer Skrtel An Improved Contract

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers hopes Martin Skrtel will sign a new deal and is not aware of any bids for the defender.

Skrtel gave an interview in Slovakia, suggesting there had been interest in the 27 year-old, but just like the supposed interest in Luis Suarez from Juventus, Rodgers hasn’t received any formal offers for the player.

Liverpool hopes to conclude negotiations on a new deal with the Slovakian and are bemused by suggestions there has been any breakdown in those conversations. The club expects talks to continue in the coming weeks.

Skrtel featured in the opening game of Rodgers’ reign in Canada on Saturday, a low-key 1-1 draw with Toronto, and the Liverpool manager said he would fight to keep his centre-back.

He told the Telegraph: I’ve heard nothing from any other club. Martin has been fantastic and seems happy and contented. He fits into my plans and ideas. I will fight as hard as I can to keep the players that I want here and he is one of them.

“Unfortunately there is always that rumour, speculation and gossip and until the window closes that will continue.”

The Merseyside club is desperate to keep hold of their key players as Rodgers prepares for his first season in charge. He's already held positive talks with Suarez over the phone about his commitment to Anfield and hopes that like Skrtel, he will also sign an improved contract shortly.

Rodgers said: “I’m confident he is really looking forward to playing for us this season and is really looking forward to this way of football.

“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.”

The new Liverpool boss doesn’t have much time to make any changes to his squad, as their season will start in just over a week against opposition from either Belarus or Macedonia in a Europa League qualifier.

Robinson Glad To Be Back

Jack Robinson is hoping to put his injury problems behind him and impress new manager Brendan Rodgers.

The Liverpool left-back became the club's youngest ever player when he came on against Hull City as a 16-year-old in May 2010.

Rafa Benitez was the manager in charge then but Robinson has since seen Roy Hodgson and Kenny Dalglish come and go before the appointment of Rodgers earlier this summer.

The England Under 19 international has spent much of the intervening period on the sidelines and was forced to sit out most of last season after featuring in the League Cup in the autumn.

Robinson is now targeting more involvement in the first-team as he looks to challenge Jose Enrique for a place in the side.

"It's great to be back playing after what happened last season," he told the Liverpool Echo.

"I started off quite well and I was getting on the bench for the first team but then the injury came and that kept me out for four months.

"I had to have an operation on my foot because I had a piece of bone floating around. They took that out and put me in a cast.

"I got back training and was doing okay but then I hurt my groin which really set me back.

"It was difficult and I hardly got to play at all last season. But now I'm back part of it under the new manager and it's just unbelievable to be part of this squad.

"Growing up as a kid this is what I wanted and now I'm in it I don't want to leave it."

Reds Overspent, Admits Werner

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner has indicated that the big spending that marked Kenny Dalglish's second spell as Anfield manager is a thing of the past.

Dalglish spent £35 million on Andy Carroll, lavished around £20 million each on Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson and bought Charlie Adam from Blackpool for £8 million.

Despite the heavy outlay, the Merseysiders - although winning the Carling Cup - finished in a disappointing eighth place in the Premier League and Dalglish departed soon after the end of the season to be replaced by Brendan Rodgers.

"This is a very financially strong organization, LFC," Werner said. "I believe - not just in the previous season, but in the past - we have overspent for players, and the results were not what we have expected.

"We do have the resources to be competitive, but at the same time, we are going to operate in a way that will be a self-sustaining model.

"I think you will see that you don't necessarily have to go out and spend £50 million on one player to see success."

Werner predicted that Rodgers would make a positive impression on the Anfield faithful, adding: "I don't think anyone could have been happy with our performance on the pitch last year - no disrespect to Kenny. I think he is an iconic figure for Liverpool and he will always be appreciated for the stability that he brought to the club.

"Brendan brings a very thoughtful, modern, attacking philosophy - I think our fans will be very delighted with the attacking philosophy that he brings to Liverpool - and hopefully we will see improvement."

Carroll, in particular, has become symbolic of Liverpool's big spending, with reports suggesting the club is likely to take a hit of at least £15 million on the deal in any permanent sale only 18 months after signing him.

The England international, 23, has been linked with a return to Newcastle - who offered to take him on loan with a view to a permanent deal - while AC Milan expressed an interest in a loan after Rodgers hinted that the striker may not be part of his long-term plans.

Werner has insisted that the manager will have the final say on Carroll and suggested a decision will be made on the forward in the near future, insisting the club would not attempt to influence Rodgers in any way.

"Brendan is clearly the leader here," he told Sky Sports News. "The only thing I can say is we will do what is best for the club. At the moment Andy is on the squad, he is an important member of the England team and he has a lot of talent. We will see what happens."

It would appear that Werner does not expect the situation to drag on deep into the transfer window, saying: "Hopefully the question will be answered shortly, but at the moment Andy is on the team and we look forward to him contributing."