Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Liverpool Set For Anfield Stay

Liverpool has confirmed their intention to stay at Anfield and redevelop the ground, scrapping plans for a brand new stadium.

Liverpool City Council have announced plans for a regeneration of the Anfield area after securing a £25m grant, with a housing association also set to invest.

But the idea of a new home in Stanley Park, which was previously considered, cannot be ruled out until plans to carry out the redevelopment of the club's home are approved.

"Today represents a huge step forward for the Anfield area. Everyone at the football club knows the importance of today," said managing director Ian Ayre.

"We welcome the opportunity to be part of this partnership - we want to thank Joe Anderson (Mayor of Liverpool) and the council for the time and the support they've given us to help make the right decision.

"LFC celebrated its 120th year in 2012 at Anfield and there is no doubt Anfield is the spiritual home of the club - our preference was always to remain at Anfield.

"This is a major step forward for the football club but more importantly the residents. This is step one as there is land to acquire, plans to be approved etc, but this is a significant moment.

"Questions about capacity and cost are not for today - not until we have certainty."

Redevelopment is set to include extensions of the main stand and the Anfield Road end, made possible by plans to clear some streets close to the ground and the support of homeowners and the community.

One of the main reasons a new stadium did not fit the bill was the financial aspect. The club would have spent upwards of £300million and yet increased match-day capacity by only around 15,000.

Ayre always maintained that - even with a naming rights deal which the club explored - did not make good financial sense and that is why they always leaned towards a redevelopment of Anfield.

FSG have a history of updating historic old stadiums as they did a similar thing at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, and they will now look to do the same on Merseyside.

"Over the last two years one of the things that we've had to do and was important to do was analyze the detail of what works, what doesn't work, what the economical situation is for either solution," Ayre told liverpoolfc.com.

"If you build a new stadium, for example, one of the big challenges is that you don't get 60,000 new seats in a new stadium, you only get the difference (with the existing capacity).

"That makes it very difficult to make it viable because the cost of building such a big new stadium doesn't work economically, particularly in this market.

"So one of the things we had to look at was the balance between that solution and a staying-at-Anfield-type solution.

"The work we've done on that showed us that as long as we could find the right solution to stay at Anfield, and get through the barriers and hurdles that we needed, we would have to find the best long-term solution for the club that had sustainability and worked economically."

Gerrard Hails Anfield Decision

Steven Gerrard says he is thrilled that Liverpool will be staying at Anfield rather than building a new stadium.

The Reds have confirmed their intention to redevelop the ground and Liverpool captain Gerrard says the decision is "fantastic" news.

He said: "I'm really pleased. I've had some special occasions at Anfield and so have the club.

"If they are going to spend all that money on Anfield and improve it, then fantastic. I'm very happy at that news.

"It is major news for the club. It has been on everyone's lips for a number of years now, would we move away from Anfield or reinvent Anfield?

"I've been like everyone, waiting for the verdict on that, and it looks like it is going to be Anfield which is great.

"A lot of history and important things have happened at Anfield and I think it is fantastic Liverpool is staying there."

Ayre Excited By Anfield Plans

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre insists the planned redevelopment of Anfield will enhance the club's spending power within the transfer market.

The club has confirmed their intention to remain at Anfield and redevelop the ground instead of pursuing plans to build a new home at Stanley Park.

And Ayre maintains that moving to a new stadium would not have made financial sense, with the club spending upwards of £300m yet only increasing match-day capacity by around 15,000.

"As we've said, the right solution is the right economic solution," Ayre told the club's official website.

"More so from it detracting from our spending in the transfer market, the whole point of doing this is to actually increase our revenues.

"If we look at our biggest competitors with a bigger capacity, like Manchester United, Arsenal, their matchday revenues are significantly ahead of ours.

"This whole initiative is designed to generate additional revenues so the ultimate solution has to be one that increases the overall output through the process rather than decreasing it."

Liverpool City Council has secured a £25m for the regeneration of the Anfield area, with a housing association also set to invest.

"We need a much-increased capacity and it has to be one that is right for the club going forward," Ayre told the Liverpool Echo.

"We could have achieved that in a new stadium but the cost of doing so would have been at least double what we expect to spend by staying put.

"We would have been making very big payments - servicing the loans involved in building a brand new stadium - for very many years into the future.

"That would have hampered our ability to spend money where we and the supporters want to see it spent: in buying and developing top players to allow us to continue to compete successfully at the highest levels in Britain and Europe."

Smith Backs Anfield Plan

Former Liverpool captain Tommy Smith believes the Premier League club could attract up to 75,000 supporters after announcing plans to redevelop Anfield.

The Reds have shelved their scheme to move away from their home for the past 120 years to a new purpose-built stadium and will instead focus on improving their current ground.

Smith, who made over 450 appearances for the Merseyside outfit in the 60s and 70s, has welcomed the club's decision to stay at their spiritual home.

And he believes that there is the potential to attract even higher numbers than the anticipated increase in capacity of 60,000.

Smith told Sky Sports News Radio: "Anfield is something that nobody else in this world has got.

"Any person that I have played with, or any person I know, says that it is not a good idea building another ground elsewhere.

"Anfield is a place that as soon as you get there it is about football.

"I honestly think that they could get to 75,000. Don't forget that it is Liverpool. If you look at playing at Anfield against big teams in Europe it is crowded to the last person.

"I'm absolutely made up that they are going to have 60 or perhaps 70,000."

Liverpool Target Barcelona And Atletico Madrid Stars

Liverpool is lining up an ambitious La Liga double swoop for Atletico Madrid winger Arda Turan and Barcelona star Alexis Sanchez.

Brendan Rodgers' side have scored just nine times in seven Premier League games so far this season - with five of those coming in the win at Norwich.

And Rodgers, who sanctioned the loan departure of club record signing Andy Carroll to West Ham earlier this year, has seen his attacking options reduced once more following the news that Fabio Borini suffered a fractured foot.

And according to reports in Spain, Rodgers dispatched scouts to Turkey's recent 1-0 World Cup qualifying defeat at home to Romania in order to keep an eye on Turan, who is a self-confessed Liverpool fan.

The 25-year-old, who joined Atletico Madrid last year, was heavily linked with a switch to Anfield during his time at former club Galatasaray.

Another player on Rodgers' radar is Chile international Sanchez.

The 23-year-old impressed during his debut campaign at the Nou Camp last term, but there are some suggestions that he could fall out of favour under new Barca boss Tito Vilanova, having failed to start three of his side's seven league games this season.

Liverpool Fighting For Argentine Star

Liverpool will battle it out with Juventus, PSG and Real Madrid to sign Argentinian starlet Luciano Vietto.

The 18-year-old, who plays for Racing Club, is rated as one of the brightest young talents in South America.

The midfielder has started this since in fine form, bagging four goals in seven domestic appearances.

Juventus have already sounded out his agent Jorge Cyterszpiler over a move, while reports across Europe claim that Real Madrid and PSG are also ready to rival Liverpool for his signature.

Speaking to TMV, Cyterszpiler said: "I confirm, Juve is watching him. He's eighteen and has caught the attention of big clubs, including Juventus. He was the second top scorer in the league."

Spanish newspaper AS suggests Real are willing to table a £6.5m euro offer for Vietto, but Racing are believed to be holding out for double that amount before they cash in on the midfielder.

Liverpool Star Wants Reds To Sign Neymar

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva said he would love to see the arrival Neymar at Anfield, but admits the Reds will struggle to beat the likes of Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester United to his signature.

Neymar has frequently been linked with a move away from Santos, with Chelsea, Barcelona and Manchester United all reported to be pursuing the Brazilian, and Barca appear to be the most likely to pip Liverpool's Premier League rivals in the race to sign him.

According to reports in Spain, Barcelona already have a deal in place for the 20-year-old, and Santos would have to pay the Nou Camp club compensation should they sell Neymar to the likes of Chelsea or United.

Lucas, meanwhile, yearns for Liverpool to join the list of potential destinations for Neymar, although realizes a move for his compatriot would be unlikely.

The Reds midfielder was answering questions from Liverpool fans at Melwood, and also outlined Paris Saint-German defender as a Brazilian he would welcome at Anfield.

"I would sign two [Brazilian players] - Neymar and Thiago Silva. For me, Thiago Silva is the best centre-back in the world," Lucas told The Redmen.

"Neymar is, you know, already proving himself in Brazil but I'm sure he'll be coming to Europe very soon. But I don't think they will be very cheap."

Neymar's arrival in European football appears to be a forgone conclusion, with Barcelona his apparent destination, although Chelsea and Manchester United have been credited with strong interest in the forward.

Chelsea midfielder Oscar has pleaded with Neymar to move to Stamford Bridge, while Sir Alex Ferguson was linked with a deadline day move to bring him to Old Trafford.

Malaga Want Liverpool To Pay More For Isco

Liverpool has been dealt a blow in their chase for Spain starlet Isco. Interest in him has been increasing after his impressive start to the season and Malaga are keen to discuss a new contract in response to him being linked with a move to Anfield, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Liverpool was reportedly leading the race to sign him, but Manchester City has since been credited with an interest and Malaga has, according to the report, responded by attempting to agree a new contract with the 20-year-old in order to increase his value.

Isco’s current deal reportedly includes a buy-out clause worth €21million and Malaga has made it a priority to renegotiate the deal before January, so that interest from Brendan Rodgers can be converted into a more lucrative deal.

Liverpool’s interest could be to do with the striking problems they’ve been having in the early stages of the season, as Isco would provide greater creativity in and around the area. Isco’s improvement could have a lot to do with Santo Cazorla’s move to Arsenal, which has allowed the youngster more playing time and a more prominent role in the side.

Marseille Midfielder Recalls Liverpool 'Nightmare'

Joey Barton has admitted that Liverpool's thrilling comeback victory against AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League final, was a real life "nightmare".

The 30-year-old midfielder, currently on loan with Ligue 1 giants Marseille from Queens Park Rangers, recently explained in an interview with his parent club's official website.

Les Phoceens fans have been keen to find out all they can about their newly inherited player, asking him a series of questions, including the best match he has ever seen.

"The best I've seen? The fans say Munich. It is hard to choose just one," said Barton, referring to the 1993 Champions League final, between Marseille and AC Milan, which his current employers won 1-0. "I love football and I watch a lot of it.

"The fans love to see goals, but I could pick other games because I like to watch tackling and the defence."

It was later suggested that Liverpool's turnaround against AC Milan, after coming from 3-0 down at half-time to draw 3-3 and win on penalties, might be a contender, but Barton insisted for him - a former trainee at Merseyside rivals Everton - it would not be.

"Oh no," he exclaimed. "I am an Everton supporter. So for me, it is a nightmare."

On that famous night in Istanbul, Rafa Benitez's Reds were spearheaded by inspirational skipper Steven Gerrard, who scored the first and won a penalty to set up the equalizing goal for Xabi Alonso, to ensure the European Cup returned to Anfield for the first time since 1984.

Liverpool Striker Following The Lead Of Owen & Torres

Liverpool teenager Samed Yesil has continued his sensational run of scoring form for his country with the striker netting his 30th and 31st strikes at youth level for Germany.

The 18-year-old has taken only 32 matches to net 31 goals - a better record than former Liverpool star Fernando Torres had during his time playing in the Spain youth ranks.

Torres scored 22 times in 30 matches for Spain at youth level before progressing to the senior football, and Yesil would do well to reach the heights of the ex-Anfield hero.

Although Yesil can boast to have been more potent in his teens that Torres, the German will have to go some way before he is able to beat another former Liverpool striker.

Michael Owen scored 41 goals in 38 appearances in the England youth system - and carried this form into the Liverpool first-team while still a teenager, while he also made his full international debut at 18 years and 59 days.

The arrival of another Owen at Anfield is a prospect to excite Liverpool supporters and, should Yesil keep up his form, he could be provided with an opportunity to prove his worth this season, given the lack of first-team strikers.

Liverpool look particularly light in the goalscoring department, and Brendan Rodgers has already shown he is willing to trust in youth given the promotions of Raheem Sterling and Suso this season.