Thursday, July 26, 2012

Excitement Building For Gerrard

Steven Gerrard is looking forward to the start of 'an exciting new era' at Liverpool and claims he is raring to go ahead of the 2012/13 campaign.

The Reds skipper has linked up with the rest of his team-mates in Boston after being granted extended leave on the back of his efforts at Euro 2012 with England.

It may have been a busy summer for Gerrard and those at Anfield, but he believes Brendan Rodgers' arrival as boss and the continued support of the club's American owners bodes well.

Liverpool will have little time to find their feet under the new coaching team, as they prepare for an early entrance into the Europa League qualifiers, but all of those connected with the Reds are in buoyant mood.

"It's great to be here in Boston and it's an exciting new era for the players," Gerrard told the Liverpool Echo.

"We've been looking in from our holidays and hearing what the manager is saying and what his vision is.

"All we can do is give him our full support and work as hard as we can to make his job a bit easier.

"The Boston Red Sox are such a big team out here and so is Liverpool in England. The challenge for the owners is to try and make both successful at the same time.

"I can only speak on behalf of Liverpool Football Club and promise the owners we will give everything we have got to bring as much success to the owners as possible.

"We started that last year with two big cup finals. We won one and lost one, so there is a platform there for this team to grow and improve.

"With a new manager and new coaching staff, it's an exciting time and I'm really looking forward to bringing more success to this club.

"I just need to get my legs going again and try to stay fit. After two friendlies we're straight into the Europa League. I am really looking forward to that and will hopefully play some part."

Borini Itching To Get Going

Fabio Borini admits he is 'desperate to get started' at Liverpool after cutting short his summer break to settle into new surroundings.

The Italy international became Brendan Rodgers' first signing as Reds boss when he completed a switch from Roma.

He has worked with Rodgers before at Chelsea and Swansea, but appreciates that it will take time to get to know his new team-mates and the intricacies of their game.

For that reason, Borini was only too happy to return to pre-season training ahead of schedule and give himself the best possible preparation for the start of the 2012/13 campaign.

"I chose to come early because I think it's important to be with the team, especially because I'm a new player," the 21-year-old told the club's official website.

"I could have had a month but I didn't play at the Euros.

"I chose to come early to get used to the team and adapt more quickly. I am desperate to get started."

Borini admits Rodgers' presence at Anfield helped to lure him back to English football and he has full faith in the Ulsterman's ability to bring success to the red half of Merseyside.

"First of all he is a good person outside of football, and it's important to work with good people," he said.

"As a manager he is great. He knows what he is going to do every single day, he is very organized.

"You can see at the training ground, he gets there early and he really wants to work and improve every day.

"I think he is the kind of manager players love to play for. I love to play for him.

"We are very close. When he was working at Swansea, he'd text after I scored twice, and I'd text when he achieved good results with Swansea, when he beat the big teams.

"It's a good relationship as a friend, as human beings, and then as a working relationship."

Rodgers Ponders De Vries Move

Sky Sports understands that Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is planning a surprise swoop for Dorus de Vries, a goalkeeper he knows well.

De Vries worked under Rodgers during their time together at Swansea City, with the pair helping the Swans secure promotion to the Premier League.

They parted company in the summer of 2011, with De Vries opting to link up with Wolves as a free agent.

He penned a three-year deal at Molineux, but was restricted to just five appearances in all competitions during his debut campaign as the club suffered relegation out of the top-flight.

The 31-year-old could be tempted to move on if the right bid arrives, and Rodgers is understood to be ready to offer him a route to Anfield.

Liverpool is expected to part with the services of Alexander Doni and Brad Jones this summer, leaving them short in the keeping department.

De Vries would provide experienced cover for undisputed number one Jose Reina.

Liverpool To Trigger Release Clause For Swansea Midfielder

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is edging closer to making Swansea City’s Joe Allen his second signing of the summer by triggering a £15 million release clause in the midfielder’s contract.

Details of the clause in the 22-year-old’s contract emerged in The Daily Telegraph this morning, whereby if any club from an elite five of Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal or Chelsea meet the valuation of the Welsh midfielder, Swansea are contractually bound to let the player leave.

Strangely, Allen’s contract also stipulates that any other club outside of this quintet can make a bid lower than the £15 million valuation, creating an open market where anyone can pursue the player.

Liverpool would appear to be firm favourites in the race to sign Allen, who is currently with Team GB as they prepare for their group stage opener with Senegal. Rodgers has expressed his desire to make Allen, his former player at Swansea City, a central figure in his Liverpool revolution, conceding last week that if any club made a move for the midfielder before Liverpool, then they would have to make a bid.

Following Kenny Dalglish’s extravagant spending last season, Rodgers has been told to operate under a far more prudent budget, which has seen negotiations for new signings taken in a more meticulous fashion, and the swift departures of high-earners, such as Maxi Rodriguez and Dirk Kuyt, who did not figure in the Northern Irishman’s plans.

Clint Dempsey is another Liverpool target alongside Joe Allen, as Rodgers seeks to implement his sleek passing game that earned so him so many admirers during his time at Swansea. Should they complete the move, the Welsh midfielder would be Liverpool’s second signing of the summer, following the arrival of 21-year-old Italian forward, Fabio Borini.

Liverpool Target Snubs Anfield Interest To Pen New Deal

Borussia Dortmund star Jakub Blaszczykowski has snubbed rumoured interest from Liverpool, by agreeing a new four-year deal with the Bundesliga champions.

In a statement on Dortmund's official website, it was announced that the Polish international put pen to paper over a new long-term deal, effectively ending any such chances Liverpool had of luring him to Anfield.

Blaszczykowski, who captained his country at this summer's European Championships has been imperative in Dortmund's rise to prominence in Germany, playing a pivotal role in their back-to-back League titles.

He has developed into one of Europe's most sought-after acquisitions, with talkSPORT claiming that Liverpool were considering a move.

With new boss Brendan Rodgers looking to build a squad capable of challenging for honours next season, the 26 year-old could have added a strong influence to the midfield, with his ability to play out wide, as well as in narrower positions.

However any such strengthening will not feature Blaszczykowski, whose contract will keep him at the Westfalenstadion until 2016, with Dortmund reserving the option to extend it by a further year.

The midfielder is the latest player to be offered a new deal at Dortmund, with the club having extended the contracts of defender Mats Hummels, a reported target for Arsenal, and the highly-rated Mario Götze.

Lucas Wary Of Rushing Comeback

Lucas Leiva is confident of being fit for the start of the new Premier League season, although the Liverpool midfielder is refusing to rush his comeback from injury.

Lucas returned to action for the first time in seven months after damaging cruciate ligaments in November, coming on as a 75th-minute substitute in Liverpool's pre-season friendly with Toronto FC at the weekend.

The 25-year-old returned to training earlier than expected following a cruciate operation, and the Brazilian has been lavished with praise by new manager Brendan Rodgers, who has tipped the midfielder to play a key role during his tenure.

Although Lucas is keen to make up for lost time, he is in no hurry to load his body with too much work having suffered such a serious knee injury.

"Firstly it's been a very good two or three weeks training," he told ESPN. "It's nice to be back and building up again in terms of strength and performance. Everything is going well, the progression is going well. I'm looking forward to the new season and hopefully I'm free of injury.

"I'm hoping to play the first game of the season [against West Brom on August 18] but there is still a long way to go. I'm sure the way we do things will be safe, not taking risks because I've been out for a long time and we need to be careful and progress very slow."

Lucas signed for the Reds from Gremio for £5 million in 2007, and he initially struggled to make an impact at Anfield. However, he has since developed into a formidable holding midfielder and now says he is "comfortable" playing in a deeper role.

"I used to play in a forward position but the way I could adapt and the way I feel more comfortable in the Premier League is as a holding midfielder," he said. "We have one of the best players in the world in Stevie [Steven Gerrard] in that [attacking] position so it was very hard for me at the beginning. But slowly I changed, and now I feel really comfortable in my position and the role that I'm doing.

"I had to get used to the football, the country, the people. I came at such a young age, I had to change the way I live and I was far from my family. I started to adapt to the Premier League, in terms of the pace and the physical game, I got a bit older and gained more experience. I had to prove myself, show that I can play [in the Premier League]."

Despite the Reds winning the Carling Cup and reaching the FA Cup final last season, they endured a tough season in the league, finishing eighth. Subsequently Kenny Dalglish was replaced by former Swansea boss Rodgers and Lucas is eyeing a change in fortunes under the new regime.

"If you talk about Liverpool you always talk about challenging for titles and Champions League spots, it's what we want but it's too early to set targets," he added. "It's a new manager and he'll build a new squad. During the season we will see how good will be in terms of targets and what we can achieve. The way we are training and the way the new manger has been approaching the sessions has been good. I think we will have a great season. If we can be more consistent we'll have a great season."

Aquilani Wanted Roma Return

Liverpool midfielder Alberto Aquilani has admitted that he wanted to return to Roma last season, as he prepares to face his former side in a pre-season friendly.

The 28-year-old left his boyhood club in 2009 for the Premier League after then-Anfield manager Rafa Benitez stumped up €20 million [£15.6m] for the playmaker's purchase.

Injuries thwarted Aquilani's settling into his new environment, however, and a subsequent return to Italy fared no better as both Juventus and then AC Milan declined to take up the options to make their initial loan arrangements permanent.

The midfielder has now revealed that he had the option to return to Roma following his spell with the Old Lady at the end of the 2010-11 season, as he gears up to potentially face his former employers.

"I had the opportunity to go back to Roma last year, and would even have been prepared to take a pay cut to represent my old club's colours again," stated Aquilani to Corriere dello Sport.

"Facing my old side is always a strong emotion for me, and to do that in a Liverpool jersey will be different to those when I played for Juventus and Milan.

"[New coach] Zdenek Zeman is the right choice for the club, although I thought Luis Enrique did a good job too."

Liverpool Must Accept Loss On Carroll, Says Newcastle Boss

Liverpool will have to accept making a loss if they wish to part ways with Andy Carroll this summer, according to Newcastle United manager, Alan Pardew.

Carroll’s future at Anfield has been under more scrutiny than ever since Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers hinted that the 23-year old forward may not be part of his plans as the club prepares to embark on a new season.

Since then, several clubs have expressed their interest in taking Carroll on loan, including Fulham and West Ham United. But Alan Pardew has made the most significant efforts to bring their would-be-prodigal son back to St James’ Park, initially through a loan bid, followed by an offer on a permanent basis.

Thus far, Newcastle’s efforts have been turned away, but Pardew believes it’s time for Liverpool to cut their losses for the club’s own good.

“[Reading chairman] John Madejski used to say to me about certain players, 'Just wipe your nose and move on', and I think [Liverpool] are going to have to do that with Andy,” Pardew told BBC Radio Newcastle.

"I think it was obvious as soon as Brendan went into Liverpool that Andy's time was going to have to be somewhere else. I think it's quite right we're involved in that.”

Newcastle are yet to make a signing this summer, with the transfer of Lille right back Mathieu Debuchy yet to be resolved. Interest has also been shown in Marseille forward Loic Remy, but Pardew remains open to bringing the Gateshead-born forward back to Newcastle United.

"Whether he comes here, is something that I will take or I will leave,” Pardew added. "It's a lot of money for Mike [Ashley, Newcastle's owner], although we'll obviously be getting a big upside in terms of what we sold him for, and we've got three great strikers here already.

"But of course as the manager, I want the best players I can get."

Liverpool’s Rodgers has made one signing in this summer transfer window, Italian forward Fabio Borini. The former Swansea manager has found himself in a situation where funds for new recruits are scarcer than they were for his predecessor, Kenny Dalglish, and Pardew believes that money generated by any potential deal for Carroll will be used wisely by Rodgers

“Whether it's £15m, £16m or £20m, if [Rodgers] uses that money and gets an uplift in the player that he brings in that's OK."

Liverpool Signs Up Chevrolet As Club Car Sponsor

US carmaker Chevrolet has signed a four-year deal with Liverpool to become the football club's car sponsor.

The firm, owned by GM, signed a similar deal with Premier League rivals Manchester United in May.

The LFC partnership runs to the end of the 2015/16 Barclays Premier League and European campaigns.

Ian Ayre, managing director of the Anfield club, said the deal demonstrated "the value of Liverpool's international appeal".

No financial details have been given about the arrangement.

Chevrolet is also an official sponsor for the cub's North American pre-season tour, which has already seen Liverpool play Toronto FC, and will later play AS Roma and Spurs in the US.

GM's UK-based Vauxhall business sponsors the England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland national football teams.

In May, GM said it would drop advertising from next year's broadcast of the National Football League's Super Bowl, and has also pulled out of advertising on Facebook.