Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Henry Insistent Over Transfers

Liverpool owner John W Henry insists that the club's summer transfer plans cannot be 'deemed a failure'.

Manager Brendan Rodgers was quizzed about Liverpool's transfer dealings following their 2-0 loss to Arsenal, and he admitted his own disappointment.

In particular, Rodgers admitted that their failure to bring in a striker was a concern after they loaned out Andy Carroll to West Ham earlier in the week.

Henry has looked to address the angst amongst many Liverpool fans, by insisting they were disappointed to miss out on bolstering their strike-force.

"I am as disappointed as anyone connected with Liverpool Football Club that we were unable to add further to our strike force in this summer transfer window, but that was not through any lack of desire or effort on the part of all of those involved," he said in an open letter to the fans.

"They pushed hard in the final days of the transfer window on a number of forward targets and it is unfortunate that on this occasion we were unable to conclude acceptable deals to bring those targets in."

Despite their disappointment Henry insists that overall they had a succesful window with the signings of Joe Allen, Nuri Sahin and Fabio Borini - whilst also hanging on to the likes of Luis Suarez,Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger.
"A summer window which brought in three young, but significantly talented starters in Joe Allen, Nuri Sahin and Fabio Borini as well as two exciting young potential stars of the future - Samed Yesil and Oussama Assaidi - could hardly be deemed a failure as we build for the future," he stressed.

"Nor should anyone minimise the importance of keeping our best players during this window. We successfully retained Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel and Luis Suarez. We greatly appreciate their faith and belief in the club. And we successfully negotiated new, long-term contracts with Luis and with Martin."

Henry also insisted that the club were not cutting back on spending, despite failing to land their top target Clint Dempsey on deadline day as they could not match Tottenham's offer.

"The transfer policy was not about cutting costs. It was - and will be in the future - about getting maximum value for what is spent so that we can build quality and depth," he continued.

"Spending is not merely about buying talent. Our ambitions do not lie in cementing a mid-table place with expensive, short-term quick fixes that will only contribute for a couple of years.

"Our emphasis will be on developing our own players using the skills of an increasingly impressive coaching team. Much thought and investment already have gone into developing a self-sustaining pool of youngsters imbued in the club's traditions.

"We are still in the process of reversing the errors of previous regimes. It will not happen overnight. It has been compounded by our own mistakes in a difficult first two years of ownership. It has been a harsh education, but make no mistake, the club is healthier today than when we took over.

"Finally, I can say with authority that our ownership is not about profit. Contrary to popular opinion, owners rarely get involved in sports in order to generate cash.

"They generally get involved with a club in order to compete and work for the benefit of their club. It's often difficult. In our case we work every day in order to generate revenues to improve the club.

"We have only one driving ambition at Liverpool and that is the quest to win the Premier League playing the kind of football our supporters want to see.

"That will only occur if we do absolutely the right things to build the club in a way that makes sense for supporters, for us and for those who will follow us.

"We will deliver what every long-term supporter of Liverpool Football Club aches for."

Henry also insisted the club is firmly committed to Brendan Rodgers's regime - despite his troubled start as boss.

"No one should doubt our commitment to the club. In Brendan Rodgers we have a talented young manager and we have valued highly his judgement about the make-up of the squad," he said.

"This is a work in progress. It will take time for Brendan to instil his philosophy into the squad and build exactly what he needs for the long term."

Rodgers - Issues To Iron Out

Brendan Rodgers says Liverpool's owners have been very honest with him but admits there are operational matters to sort out to help the club in the next transfer window.

The Reds manager was left short of strikers at Friday's deadline after failing to bring in a replacement for Andy Carroll, who joined West Ham United on loan.

Rodgers has had contact with the club's owners since the window closed and is now looking to move forward.

He understands that players needed to be sold but hopes to be able to put his own stamp on the squad in January.

"There is no doubt the finances here had to be changed. That was the reality. We can't do anything about it," said Rodgers.

"We have lost nine players and bought in three. From the business side, the club has done well and what we need to do for the future is make sure the football side is looked after and help the players here.

"We will reflect on it as a club and hopefully, come January and the next window, we can transition the group to allow us to compete.

"That was always the intention. I wanted to build a squad."

Rodgers is thankful to the Fenway Sports Group for putting their faith in him but admits there are issues that need to be resolved ahead of the January window.

"It is a learning process for the owners as well. They have come in and invested well over £100million and then they have made the change for whatever reason and one of the most iconic figures in the club's history (Kenny Dalglish) has left.

"They made the change and made a big commitment to have me here for the longer term. I have a group of people I worked well with and the owners have been very up front and honest with me. I have no problem with that.

"There are obviously one or two things we need to iron out but the owners have been very honest and haven't misled me in any way whatsoever. There are operational things we need to sort out and if we do that, which will help us in the next transfer window.
"I have spoken to people back in America since Friday. They have my thoughts. We move on and will reflect on it next week. The reality is not a lot is done in January, but we certainly need help."

Allen Loving Anfield Life

Joe Allen claims to be 'loving every second' of his time at Liverpool, with the Anfield new boy living the dream after securing a summer switch to the Reds.

Brendan Rodgers raided his former employers Swansea during the summer transfer window for Wales international Allen, with a £15million deal taking him to Merseyside.

The 22-year-old admits things could not have gone much better for him in 2012, with an impressive season with the Swans followed by an Olympic outing with Team GB and a big-money move.

He now finds himself lining up alongside the likes of Steven Gerrard on a regular basis, but is confident he can handle the added expectation being placed on his shoulders.

Allen said: "I'm loving every second here. It's very inspiring. When I look alongside me and Steven Gerrard is standing there, that's something you never would have dreamed of.

"As a kid and a budding footballer you look up and admire footballers like that. Having been in the Olympics and played alongside Ryan Giggs as well, it's been an incredible couple of months.

"But in all fairness, I think the most important factor has been the settling-in process. Every single player, every staff member at the club has made a massive effort in welcoming me with open arms.

"I have been able to concentrate purely on my football. I'm trying to become a sort of all-round player.

"And the only thing which gives me satisfaction is getting the results.

"At the end of the day, that's what it is all about. I'm as bad a loser as everyone else in that dressing room so I have got to do what I have got to do for the team and try to win football matches.

"No one's going to deny that there is pressure on footballers. It's a career we have chosen, though, and we all live with that.

"I said on the day I signed here I wouldn't do anything different to what I had been doing, which is give my all.

"That's all you can do. You have got to remember the reason we're playing this game is because we love it."

Liverpool Manager Reportedly Ready To Lure Drogba To Anfield

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers may consider a move for former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, after admitting that he made a mistake in letting Andy Carroll join West Ham United on loan and not acquiring a suitable replacement.

Rodgers has come under fire for a lack of foresight in not securing additional striking options for Liverpool after sanctioning Carroll’s season-long loan move to the Hammers. In the aftermath of Sunday’s defeat to Arsenal, which marks Liverpool’s worst start to a season in 50 years, Rodgers was quizzed on whether he would enquire into a move for Didier Drogba, who left the Premier League for Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua earlier in the summer. The northern Irishman replied: "I will have to ask the question, won't I?" The Independent report.

Liverpool have also been linked with an intriguing move for free agent Michael Owen, the forward who left the club for Real Madrid in 2003, but the thought of Drogba offering his presence up front would be a far more exciting prospect. Liverpool are yet to score a Premier League goal from open play this season, and with just the misfiring Luis Suarez and Fabio Borini the club’s only established forwards, Brendan Rodgers finds himself in a desperate position.

Drogba completed a money-laden move to Shenhua following his Champions League heroics for Chelsea, earning a reported £200,000 per week. But a conflict concerning club investment at the boardroom level has thrown the Ivorian’s future at the club, in addition to that of Nicolas Anelka, who joined the Chinese outfit last January.

Michael Owen Reportedly Set For Liverpool Return

Liverpool is considering a sensational swoop for Michael Owen, following his release from Manchester United earlier in the summer.

Brendan Rodgers’ side were severely lacking in fire power in their 2-0 defeat at home to Arsenal Sunday afternoon, Liverpool’s second defeat of their three Premier League games. With just Fabio Borini and Luis Suarez the club’s only established forwards, Rodgers had been expected to add to his strike force before Friday evening’s transfer deadline day. After failing to do so, ESPN reveal that Rodgers has now looked to free agent Owen in a bid to strengthen his misfiring front line, and is to hold talks with the 32-year-old this week.

The former Swansea City manager sanctioned the departures of Craig Bellamy, Dirk Kuyt and Andy Carroll from Anfield this summer, seemingly confident of the club’s ability to bring in quality replacements. But despite being heavily linked with moves for Chelsea’s Daniel Sturridge and ex-Fulham star Clint Dempsey on deadline day, moves failed to materialize.

The defeat to Arsenal is likely to increase Rodgers’ need to add another forward to his squad. The northern Irishman is likely to face a considerable backlash over the prospective pursuit of Owen, with a large contingent of Liverpool fans still irate at the player’s decision to join Manchester United in 2009. Once a club legend, Owen scored a total of 158 goals in 297 appearances after making his debut as a 17-year-old.

Liverpool Reject Gulacsi Move

Liverpool has knocked back a loan request for Hungarian keeper Peter Gulacsi from Spanish side Xerez.

The move was expected to go through but Xerez say Liverpool rejected it at the last minute.

The young keeper is yet to feature for Liverpool's first team but has been loaned out to Hereford, Tranmere and Hull.

Gulacsi's management say he is disappointed that the deal broke down and will now concentrate on finding an English club to join on loan.

"We and the Xerez officials were hopeful until the last minute that Liverpool were going to say 'yes' but they decided to say 'no' on the last day of the transfer period," Gulacsi's agent Viktor Kovesdi told Pepsifoci.hu.

"The Spanish team had some final offers but Liverpool rejected all of them categorically.

"We're sorry about it because Xerez expected Gulacsi's arrival so much that they've already chosen a flat for him. It could have been a great possibility for him to spend one year in Spain but there's no time to worry.

"From now we have to concentrate on the English market and we hope Peter can stand in an English team's goal sooner or later."

Scotland Option For Shelvey

Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey admits to having held talks with the Scottish FA about the prospect of turning out for them at international level.

The 20-year-old playmaker was born in England and has represented the Three Lions at youth level.

He could, however, switch allegiance as his grandfather was born in Scotland.

Shelvey concedes he is contemplating making himself available to Craig Levein, but insists he will not be rushed into making such a big decision.

Regular games at Anfield in the future could yet see him drafted into the senior England squad, and the youngster is reluctant to close that door.

"I have had a few meetings with the Scottish FA because my grandfather is from Edinburgh," said Shelvey.

"At the moment I'm concentrating on my club career. But if the time comes that I'm not playing for England then it is something I might not turn down.

"I am still young, only 20, so I don't have to make a decision yet."

Rodgers Rues Carroll Move

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admits he would not have let Andy Carroll move to West Ham if he had known he could not replace him.

Rodgers allowed Carroll to move to the Hammers on loan thinking Clint Dempsey would be arriving from Fulham.

Liverpool was then outbid by Tottenham who offered the United States international a more favourable deal.

The Anfield side is now woefully short of forwards and Rodgers reportedly may even consider out-of-contract Michael Owen or Didier Drogba.

Rodgers gave one-word answers when quizzed about Carroll replying 'no' when asked if he would have let him leave and 'very' about how confident he was in getting a replacement in.

In relation to signing former Liverpool striker Owen and Drogba, Rodgers said: "I can't say no. Any player I believe can improve the squad, I will look at.

"We have a very small group. We had 19 training yesterday. It is something that would have to be discussed."

A 2-0 home defeat by Arsenal on Sunday condemned Liverpool to their worst start to a season since 1962-63.

Match Report: Liverpool 0 - 2 Arsenal

Liverpool was condemned to their worst start to a season for half-a-century as Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla gave Arsenal victory at Anfield.

On what would have been Bill Shankly's 99th birthday, the Reds equalled the record of his newly-promoted side in 1962-63 by collecting just one point from their opening three games.

Coming on the back of Friday's deadline-day transfer debacle, when they failed to secure a replacement for Andy Carroll who had joined West Ham 24 hours earlier, the situation has provided huge cause for concern on Merseyside, with both owner John Henry and manager Brendan Rodgers in the firing line.

Arsene Wenger will reflect that he could easily have been in the same position had Arsenal lost.

However, with Cazorla capping an excellent display by profiting from a Jose Reina blunder after summer recruit Podolski had opened their account for the season before half-time, the Gunners chief can start looking forward with confidence.

A summer of optimism has given way to a sobering reality at Anfield.

Henry did spend big in his backing of Kenny Dalglish but as only Luis Suarez of those expensive purchases started against Arsenal, the wisdom of Dalglish's work has to be questioned.

So much now rests on Suarez and for the first half at least, he almost seemed to be trying too hard.

Fabio Borini and Raheem Sterling had Liverpool's best chances before the break. The latter continues to catch the eye and his excellent turn onto Steven Gerrard's knockdown created the half-chance he belted against the outside of a post. Borini was rather more rash with his openings, two of which he sent sailing over the bar.

Worst of all, Daniel Agger failed to head home a Gerrard corner when he had been left completely unmarked.

The impression Liverpool were in control was a misleading one.

With Cazorla continuing to impress and Abou Diaby thriving in the space Nuri Sahin failed to fill, Arsenal looked capable of opening their opponents up on the counter.

That worrying statistic of potentially becoming the first side to start the season with three successive scoreless games hung heavy for a while.

But after Cazorla's shot had been saved by Reina, the Spain midfielder was instrumental in Arsenal breaking their duck for the campaign.

A wayward Gerrard pass allowed Thomas Vermaelen to set up a break from the edge of his own box. Podolski fed Cazorla, then kept motoring. By the time Cazorla was in a position to play the killer pass, Podolski had arrived in support and the German drilled expertly past Reina from 10 yards.

The visitors should have doubled their advantage almost immediately.

Diaby's surging run out of his own half was reminiscent of Patrick Vieira in his pomp. He released Olivier Giroud inside the Liverpool box, but the finish was poor and Reina watched it fly wide.

Liverpool emerged with more purpose after the break, and once Stewart Downing was introduced they had more penetration too.

The winger had a shot deflected wide by Vermaelen not long after Per Mertesacker, who had been booked very early on, had sent Suarez to the deck with a clumsy challenge that could easily have brought Liverpool a penalty.

As it turned out, Arsenal was merely softening their opponents up for another body blow.

Just on in place of the ineffective Sahin, Jonjo Shelvey failed to track Cazorla's arcing run around the corner of the Liverpool area. After an excellent one-two with Podolski, Cazorla also left Downing standing before firing a shot goalwards from an acute angle which Reina was unable to keep out.

The goal merely heightened growing worries about Reina, whose form has dipped below the high standards he set a couple of years ago.

At the other end, Vito Mannone twice denied Shelvey and Suarez lifted his shot over after turning onto Gerrard's pass.

"You're getting sacked in the morning," taunted the visiting supporters to Rodgers before the final whistle. He isn't. But with the squad at his disposal, the Northern Irishman will do well to preside over any substantial improvement on last term's eighth-placed finish.