Friday, August 17, 2012

Rodgers To Bolster Ranks

Brendan Rodgers claims to be closing in on a couple of new additions to his Liverpool squad, with movement expected in the next 48 hours.

The Reds have already completed deals for Fabio Borini and Joe Allen this summer, but further strengthening is required if the club is to challenge for a top-four finish.

Rodgers is aware of the need to bolster his ranks and claims to be working hard to push deals through.

He is confident those efforts will have produced positive results by the time Liverpool get their 2012/13 Premier League campaign underway against West Brom on Saturday.

Rodgers told the club's official website: "There has been a lot of great work done behind the scenes, enquiring about players.

"I'll find out (more) later, to be honest.

"We hope in the next couple of days we'll have one or two coming in, which is great - players that can come in and help the ones that are here. Hopefully in the next 48 hours we'll find out."

Rodgers believes the squad he is assembling is capable of pushing for UEFA Champions League qualification this season, but appreciates that competition for a limited number of places towards the top of the table is fierce.

He said: "For us it's about being competitive this year in every competition we're in. The challenge at the top of the table is greater than ever.

"It was the top two, the top three, then the top four. Now there are seven or eight teams involved in that.

"The top four is certainly not something we'll shy away from. It's where a club of this status wants to be, but it's always easier said than done. The reality over the past three seasons or so hasn't been that.

"It's important that if you don't have the money, you have got to be different. That's the idea of trying to find a style. One of the ways in which we can hopefully gain an edge is in how we play and control and dominate games.

"I've got some wonderful players here, some world-class players, and I'm excited about the young players that are coming through. There are always ways in which you are trying to make the difference.

"Everyone wants the money but you can't always have the money. But it won't stop our hunger and desire to improve and be better, and one of the ways in which we'll look to do that is to define our model of play."

Allen In Line For Reds Debut

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers admits new signing Joe Allen is in his thoughts for Saturday's Premier League opener against West Brom.

The midfielder has followed Rodgers from Swansea to Anfield this summer, with the Reds putting a big-money deal in place to bring him to Merseyside.

Allen has had a week to find his feet in new surroundings and the Wales international could now make his debut at The Hawthorns.

Asked if the 22-year-old is in contention for a starting berth, Rodgers told the club's official website: "Yes.

"We got the go ahead (to sign him) at the weekend and then he went away with his international team.

"I'm sure he's enjoyed his first couple of days here. Like I said to him, I was afforded a great welcome here by the people, the players have been brilliant since I've been here - and I'm sure it's been likewise for him, but you'll need to ask him that."

Rodgers admits he already has a starting XI in mind, but will check on the fitness of those in his plans before sending his troops into battle.

He said: "I normally have a good idea in relation to what the team will be, but there are obviously considerations I'll need to make in the next couple of days in terms of players coming back and their fitness.

"In terms of tactics and my thoughts on the game, I've already got my team in mind."

Rodgers added: "We had 16 players training on Wednesday morning, and we've obviously got a number to come back Thursday afternoon after the internationals. Touch wood, they'll all come out of that quite well.

"The players are looking fit, they look strong, and the intensity in their work has been very, very good."

Rodgers Awaits Loan Move News

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers hopes to find out in the "next 48 hours" whether loan moves for Nuri Sahin and Cristian Tello have been successful.

Rodgers refused to disclose names, but has made enquiries for Barcelona winger Tello and Real Madrid midfielder Sahin.

"We hope in the next couple of days we'll have one or two coming in," the 39-year-old said. "Hopefully in the next 48 hours we will find out."

Rodgers added there was nothing imminent on players leaving the club.

Playmaker Sahin, 23, has struggled to make an impression at the Bernabeu since he arrived from Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund last summer, and head coach Jose Mourinho has said he is free to find a new club.

Barcelona are believed to be open to the idea of allowing Spain youth international Tello, 21, the chance to gain first-team experience at another club.

Since Rodgers took over at Anfield he has brought in striker Fabio Borini and midfielder Joe Allen, both of whom he worked with at Swansea.

Previous manager Kenny Dalglish spent more than £100m during his tenure, but Rodgers has no qualms about operating on a much smaller budget as he attempts to lift Liverpool above their eighth-place finish in the Premier League last season.

He said: "These things take time. There has been a lot of great work going on behind the scenes enquiring about players but the reality is we did not have the money this year.

"We had a certain budget we had to work within and even to get those one or two players we had to move one or two out.

"That is something which does not worry or frustrate me, it is the real world we are in here. It just means we have to be effective with the players we have."

Liverpool Agree Assaidi Deal

Liverpool has reached an agreement with Heerenveen to sign winger Oussama Assaidi, subject to the player passing a medical.

The Morocco international, who has scored 20 goals in 68 appearances for the Eredivisie side, is poised to become Brendan Rodgers' third signing of the summer after Fabio Borini and Joe Allen.

Liverpool confirmed the agreement on their official website on Thursday evening, with the 24-year-old to undergo a medical at Melwood.

Assaidi, who joined Heerenveen from De Graafschap in 2008, has been capped 22 times for Morocco since making his international debut in February 2011.

He has previously been linked with a move to the Premier League with Fulham, as well as Dutch champions Ajax.

Liverpool Consider Tottenham Hotspur Pair

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers wants to bring one of Tottenham Hotspur duo Michael Dawson and Steven Caulker to Anfield, if Daniel Agger leaves the club.

Liverpool has resisted the Premier League champions’ offers for the Danish international, having already turned down a bid thought to be in the region of £20 million.

Agger revealed that he would like to stay at the club, but admitted he knew the decision was in the hands of the Liverpool hierarchy.

Agger may have also attracted the attention of Barcelona, after disclosing that the Catalan giants are the only other club the defender could see himself playing for.

Metro report that Brendan Rodgers is preparing a list of possible replacements in response, and considers Dawson or Caulker viable targets.

Tottenham signed former Ajax captain and Dutch international Jan Vertonghen earlier in the summer for £10 million, and he is expected to partner Younes Kaboul, who excelled last season, in the heart of defence.

20-year-old Caulker enjoyed an impressive campaign on loan at Swansea City last season, which preceded another eye-catching showing for Team GB at this summer’s London 2012 games.

Metro suggest he could be available on loan again this season, which may be of interest of Rodgers, who has already investigated the loan market, eyeing short term deals for Real Madrid’s Nuri Sahin and Barcelona’s Cristian Tello.

Michael Dawson, who spent most of the 2011/12 season out through injury, may find his route to the first team slightly more difficult, with Frenchman William Gallas still at the club too, and may be considered a more realistic option for Rodgers.

Liverpool Midfielder Linked With Shock Switch To Everton

Liverpool midfielder Charlie Adam is being linked with a shock switch across town to Merseyside rivals Everton.

According to the Mirror, Adam could be sold for as little as £5 million, as Liverpool plan to bring in Real Madrid star Nuri Sahin on an initial season long loan.

Adam, who announced himself in the Premier League two years ago with Blackpool, has reportedly been informed by new Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers that he is not a guaranteed started and that increased competition in the squad may see his game time severely restricted.

The stance could well see Adam become the first player since Gary Ablett to make the switch across town, with Everton boss David Moyes known to be an admirer of the 26 year-old.

Everton were in the running to sign the former Rangers player when he was available last summer, but were priced out of a deal. However, following the recent departure of Jack Rodwell to Manchester City for an estimated £15 million, Moyes will be handed the cash to strengthen his squad before the end of the summer.

Cole Back In Training

Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole is happy with his fitness after returning to training following an injury sustained in the Europa League clash with Gomel.

Cole picked up a hamstring problem in the first leg of the qualifying round tie earlier this month and had to be withdrawn midway through the first half as a precaution.

But he has now given Brendan Rodgers a boost by coming back to train with the rest of the squad and, having only missed a fortnight, he is feeling good once again.

The 30-year-old is looking to play as regularly as possible for the Reds after working hard over the summer to get himself in shape.

"I trained on Thursday for the first time after the injury and it feels good," Cole told the club's official website.

"It's good to be back around the squad and available for selection again. I've only missed two weeks, so I feel good fitness-wise as we had a good long pre-season and I just need some games now.

"It was frustrating having to come off in the first game of the season but that's one of those things you have to deal with as a footballer.

"There's never a good time to get injured but luckily it wasn't a major thing and I'm back now raring to go and raring to be part of the team.

"I've had a good pre-season. I've trained really well and the training was really intense. I really enjoyed the games we played in and playing at Fenway Park was great. I enjoyed the pre-season.

"It does what it says on the tin - it gets you fit and that's the main thing."

Agger Admits Barca Admiration

Liverpool defender Daniel Agger is being linked with a move to Barcelona after admitting his admiration for the Spanish giants.

The centre-back has looked set for the Anfield exit throughout the summer and has been the target of bids from Premier League champions Manchester City.

Agger, though, has seen the offers rejected by Liverpool, who are thought to value the Dane at close to £30million, and the player himself has seemingly snubbed City by stating he is in happy on Merseyside.

But in a latest twist, the £5.8million January 2006 signing from Brondby has now surprisingly admitted he would find it hard to say no to Barcelona.

Agger is quoted as saying by Ekstra Bladet: "Playing for Barcelona would be a huge accomplishment. They have the best team in the world so that is a given.

"But I am very happy here (Liverpool). I feel that I have a good place in the club and that I have a lot of influence on the pitch."

Henry Fires Reds Warning

John W Henry believes Liverpool have a long way to go to make up for the mismanagement of the club by their previous owners.

Henry claims there is still much work to be done, both on and off the pitch, to get the Reds heading in the right direction following the buyout by The Fenway Sports Group (FSG) in October 2010.

Henry has revealed how he and business partner Tom Werner, had serious doubts about the acquisition while undertaking due diligence, before eventually buying the club from Tom Hicks and George Gillett for £300m.

He is convinced that without their intervention, the Anfield giants were heading towards administration under the stewardship of unpopular American duo, while warning that it will a long time before they close the gap on arch rivals Manchester United.

Henry, who's FSG also own the Boston Red Sox, told the Liverpool Echo: "The best analogy is that you can't turn an ocean liner around like you can turn a speedboat.

"When you look at the rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United, Liverpool isn't holding up its side of the rivalry.

"That is the way it was with the Red Sox and the New York Yankees. The Yankees were just completely dominant when we arrived.

"Looking back at the day we bought Liverpool, I was trying to make a point then about how much of a challenge it was going to be because of the issues we inherited.

"We had a lack of depth in the squad and some really high payrolls. We also had issues with the age of the players and so forth. We knew it was going to be very difficult.

"Tom and I went for a long walk and we had to make the decision: Are we going to buy Liverpool? We had to decide whether we really wanted to take this on because we knew this was a huge challenge.

"A much larger challenge than any supporter could know. We had done due diligence and looked at how the situation was financially, with the player contracts and the youth system. The further we went into it, the more sobered we were."

LFC Secure Two New Partnership Deals

Liverpool FC today announced that it is entering into two new betting partnership deals with Paddy Power and 188BET.

Paddy Power will become the club's official betting partner for the UK, Ireland and Italy, with 188BET becoming the club's official international betting partner.

Both parties have signed two-year agreements, which take them through until the end of the 2013-14 Premier League season. They will both enjoy an extensive, but distinguished, suite of rights. The structure of the deals reflect the evolution in Liverpool's ability to offer fans a geo-targeted betting experience, and the club is proud to announce these two deals simultaneously.

These deals follow two other recent partnership agreements for Liverpool with Chevrolet, the club's official automotive partner, and Garuda Indonesia, the official global airline. The club has enjoyed a partnership with Paddy Power previously, whilst 188BET is the club's incumbent, exclusive global betting partner.

Ian Ayre, Liverpool Football Club's managing director, said: "We're delighted to welcome Paddy Power back to the LFC family and continue our successful relationship with 188BET.

"The betting category has always been an area where the club has enjoyed great success, particularly in the digital space. We took the decision to invest heavily in our website in order to accommodate multiple betting partners, and that decision is vindicated in the uplift in fees that we have seen.

"Liverpool FC has a huge international following so we are glad to be able to help fans enjoy their betting experience wherever they are around the world. We look forward to working with both parties to support our mutual goals."

Paddy Power, spokesperson for Paddy Power, said: "We've built our name on our commitment to offering unbeatable value and entertainment, not least through our money-back specials and justice pay-outs, which have seen us give millions back to punters over the years.

"Liverpool FC share this history and passion for delighting fans above all else and therefore we're extremely excited to partner with them."

Nigel Singer, 188BET's managing director, said: "We are delighted to extend the partnership and excellent working relationship with Liverpool FC. The club has been a key driver for us to engage football fans, both in the UK and globally, over the past three seasons.

"Liverpool FC is an iconic global sports brand and this extension of our partnership represents a perfect fit for the 188BET international brand strategy. Our continuing status as the international betting partner ensures that 188BET customers and Liverpool FC's fans, globally, will benefit from exclusive promotions, exciting content and great gaming prices on every Liverpool FC game.

"We are looking forward to working closely with the club to ensure this partnership brings continued success for both parties."