Thursday, November 15, 2012

Liverpool Captain Dimisses Ibrahimovic's Advice

Steven Gerrard has dismissed the recommendation of Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, after the forward suggested that Gerrard should leave Liverpool and seek a move to a “big international club.”

Ahead of Wednesday evening’s friendly in Stockholm, Ibrahimovic sang the praises of the Liverpool captain, praising the midfielder’s continental approach to the game and qualities as a club and international captain, before admitting his desire to see Gerrard ply his trade abroad.

When quizzed as to whether Gerrard was as widely admired across the continent as he is in the Premier League, the Swede replied, “I know so. Every time we play against Steven, the coach always says to be careful with that player because he is the player who makes the difference,” ESPN report. “Of course Liverpool is a big club but I would like to see Steven in a big international club.”

Over the past ten years, Ibrahimovic has enjoyed spells at Malmo, Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, Milan and currently Paris Saint Germain. In a direct contrast, Gerrard has remained a one-man club throughout his career, and while appreciative of the mercurial forward’s advice, the Liverpool man intends to keep it that way.

“I’m a big fan of Zlatan Ibrahimovic as a player but unfortunately I’m not going to take his advice on board,” said Gerrard, who is set to earn his 100th England cap this evening. “I am at Liverpool FC – one of the biggest clubs in the world, five times European champions. I’m happy where I am but I appreciate his opinion.”

Arsenal & Liverpool Consider Move For Brazilian Striker

Arsenal and Liverpool are reportedly considering respective approaches for Shakhtar Donetsk striker Luiz Adriano during the January transfer news, while Tottenham have also been linked with a move for the Brazilian.

Adriano has scored 45 goals in 107 appearances for Shakhtar Donetsk, and could seemingly be rewarded with a high-profile move to Arsenal, Liverpool or Tottenham in the New Year.

The 25-year-old is one of a trio of Shakhtar attracting interest from the Premier League, with Willian and Fernandinho linked with Chelsea, Spurs and Manchester City.

It is unlikely that all three will be allowed to leave Shakhtar during the January transfer window, but Arsenal and Liverpool will seemingly be hopeful that they can prise Adriano away from Ukraine.

According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal and Liverpool are both in pursuit of Adriano, although Tottenham are likely to provide extreme competition for his signature.

Arsene Wenger may not outline the acquisition of goalscoring reinforcements as a January priority for Arsenal, but the Gunners have yet to sufficiently compensate for the summer departure of Robin van Persie, so could do with reinforcements.

Liverpool, meanwhile, are in desperate need of more numbers up front, with Luis Suarez currently the only fit senior striker available to Anfield manager Brendan Rodgers.

Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas also has a relatively threadbare frontline, and bringing in another goalscorer alongside Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor wouldn't hurt.

However, with all three clubs currently in European competition, Adriano would arrive in England cup-tied given his exploits in the Champions League with Shakhtar.

Derby County Teenager Will Hughes Attracts Premier League Interest

Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool are among the clubs considering bidding for highly-rated Derby County youngster Will Hughes.

Derby manager Nigel Clough is under pressure from the club’s American owners to raise £1.8 million in January, increasing the chances of the 17-year-old midfielder being sold during the transfer window.

Hughes is poised to become the second youngest player to represent the England Under-21s in Tuesday night’s friendly against Northern Ireland to raise his profile even further.

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has sent scouts to watch Hughes this season, while Manchester City and Liverpool are also aware of his potential. His manager, Clough, has already compared him to a young Liam Brady.

Arsenal is understood to have made tentative contact over a possible deal. Wenger is keen to recruit more young talent for the future and has received glowing reports from chief scout Steve Rowley.

Derby will ask for at least £4 million and will attempt to resist any offers in the new year but are aware that an auction could raise the sale price even higher. The club’s owners are also keen to lower costs, primarily the wage bill.

Hughes, who has come through Derby’s highly-regarded academy and started 15 Championship games this season, received the news about his under-21s call-up last week after one of his A-level lessons.

He said: “Being called up for England Under-21s is a fantastic achievement on my part and it’s something I’m really looking forward to.

“You look at the names in the squad – people like Jordan Henderson, Tom Ince, Josh McEachran – they are the players I’ve been watching on TV over the past two or three years.

“So to be involved in a squad with those kind of players should be a great experience for me. It was a bit of a shock and I didn’t believe him at first, seeing as my last call-up was for the under-17s. But I’m delighted and I’m looking forward to the game.”

Nicolas Anelka Keen On Liverpool Return

Former Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka is eyeing a return to the Premier League after struggling to settle in China, with his preferred choice of transfer being Liverpool, according to The Sun.

The 33-year-old moved to Shanghai Shenhua in January 2012, where he was briefly named player-manager following the sacking of Jean Tigana.

In the summer, Anelka was joined by former Stamford Bridge team-mate Didier Drogba, who arrived in the Far East upon the completion of his Chelsea contract, after helping Roberto Di Matteo deliver the Champions League trophy, following the Blues' European final penalty shoot-out success over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.

Drogba has embraced the change in culture, while Anelka has failed to acclimatize to his new surroundings fully, and reportedly longs for a move back to England, with a number of Premier League clubs circling.

West Ham were earlier this week linked with a move for the Frenchman, and now QPR have been credited with an interest in bringing him in, to help fire the club away from relegation danger.

Loftus Road owner Tony Fernandes has spent nearly £22million on 12 players in a bid to keep the Hoops in the top-flight, but with Anelka earning a reported £250,000-a-week in China, even the Formula One tycoon will struggle to match his wages.

Liverpool would be even more unlikely to pay anywhere near that salary, even if Brendan Rodgers is desperate for attacking reinforcements at Anfield in January.

Luis Suarez is currently the only fit first-team striker on Merseyside, following the recent injury to Fabio Borini, who is facing a three-month spell on the sidelines.

Arsenal & Liverpool Monitor Barcelona Star

Contract negotiations between Barcelona and Cristian Tello have come to a halt with just seven months remaining on the player’s current deal, leaving a host of clubs including Liverpool and Arsenal to patiently monitor the situation.

Despite quickly coming to an agreement on wages and the length of a contract, Tello and the Catalan club have encountered problems regarding a release clause in the winger’s new deal. Tito Vilanova is now in danger of losing the 21-year-old on a cut price fee or even a free transfer, despite being keen to hold onto the promising attacker who rose to prominence in the second half of last season.

Barcelona has traditionally included exorbitant buy out clauses in contracts for their players, in efforts to dissuade European clubs from bidding for their prized assets. Tello however, is demanding a more reasonable release clause that reflects his ability. His current release clause stands at €10 million, according El Mundo Deportivo, a figure that is likely to attract a number of suitors if the stand off between the player and club continues into January.

Tello has made 11 appearances for Barcelona this season, finding the net on four occasions, most recently in the side’s 4-2 victory over Real Zaragoza at the weekend. A host of clubs from within La Liga including Atletico Madrid and Valencia are keen on the winger-cum-forward, but interest from the Premier League still exists. The 21-year-old was closely linked with a move to Liverpool during the summer transfer window, with a loan move similar to the club’s arrangement with Real Madrid and Nuri Sahin widely reported.

Huntelaar Agent Denies Deal

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's agent has denied an agreement has been reached with a Premier League club over the transfer of the Schalke striker.

The Netherlands international's current contract with the German outfit runs out in June 2013 and he has yet to sign a new deal, prompting speculation about his future.

The 29-year-old has previously been linked with a move to Italian side Juventus, while rumours have recently emerged suggesting Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham were vying for his signature.

The player's representative Arnoldus Oosterveer has denied a deal has been struck with a Premier League side, insisting the player is keeping his options open.

However, he did reveal the former PSV, Real Madrid and Milan forward will make a decision on his future during the January transfer window.

"There is no agreement with any English club and Klaas has not yet decided anything about his future," Oosterveer told

"He has not decided if he wants to play in Italy, Spain, England or stay in Germany. He is planning his future in the winter."

Regarding a possible contract extension with Schalke, he added: "Currently no hypothesis is rejected because in football you never know.

"So you [will] have to wait to know Huntelaar's future."

Liverpool Linked With Traore

Lacina Traore's agent claims Liverpool have made enquiries about signing the Anzhi Makhachkala striker.

Liverpool is thought to be in the market for a new striker when the transfer window reopens in January, with Brendan Rodgers short of attacking options at Anfield.

The Reds failed to bring in a replacement for Andy Carroll during the summer transfer window and with Fabio Borini injured, Luis Suarez is the only recognized senior striker available to Rodgers.

Traore is now thought to be on Liverpool's radar after impressing for Anzhi against them in the Europa League clash last week.

The giant Ivory Coast hit-man scored the winning goal in Thursday's Europa League tie and Traore's representative, Dmitry Selyuk, claims Liverpool are leading the race ahead of Udinese to sign the 22-year-old.

"Aside from Liverpool, Udinese is another on the list of clubs to have made contact about the purchase of Traore," Selyuk, told Izvestia.

"I'm afraid the Italian side won't be able to meet the player's valuation."

However, Selyuk claims Traore is in no rush to leave Anzhi for Liverpool.

"At the moment Lacina is happy with his situation at Anzhi," Selyuk added. "Not long ago he signed a new contract until June 2016.

"There's no reason for Traore to rush."

Premier League Clubs Monitoring Berardi

Sassuolo striker Domenico Berardi's agent claims Manchester City are interested in the teenager, while the club's general director says Liverpool and Southampton are also monitoring him.

The 18-year-old has impressed in Serie B this season, scoring three goals in 10 appearances, to reportedly turn the heads of some of Europe's heavyweights.

His agent, Giuseppe Galli, says City have joined Serie A clubs Juventus and Roma in the race for Berardi's signature and revealed all three clubs have sent scouts to watch him in action for Sassuolo.

"Juventus, Roma and Manchester City seeking Berardi? These are not rumours - this is real interest," Galli told

"During recent weeks these clubs have sent observers to see Sassuolo's matches on many occasions.

"Manchester City's scouts have often come from England."

Sassuolo's general director, Nereo Bonato, insists there has been no contact with any clubs but says Liverpool and Southampton have requested to attend matches.

He told "We have received accreditation requests to view our games in recent times from English clubs such as Liverpool and Southampton.

"But it is too early to talk about the market so there has been no contact with any club."

Bonato is hoping to keep Berardi, who has also been linked with Manchester United, at the Serie B club until at least the end of the season.

"Berardi has important qualities and certainly he deserves attention, but I think the guy has yet to grow and that Sassuolo is the right place for him to do it," he added.

"We would like to keep the whole team until the end of the season, then in June we'll see."

Rodgers Gives Johnson Credit

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes Glen Johnson is among the most versatile defenders in the world.

Johnson, an £18million signing from Portsmouth in the summer of 2009, has sometimes been criticized for lapses in concentration.

But, over the past year, the England international has silenced critics by also proving he can play at left-back to solve Liverpool's injury problems and lack of personnel.

And Rodgers has been extremely impressed since taking over in the summer, as he said: "If there is a team of the season so far in the Premier League, then Glen would be in it.

"He's one of the best right-backs in the world playing on the left."

Johnson most recently found himself at left-back after Rodgers switched from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2 against Chelsea on Sunday.

Liverpool played that game without Martin Skrtel, whose late withdrawal through illness meant Daniel Agger had to start despite a groin strain.

Skrtel remains a doubt for Saturday's meeting with Wigan Athletic at Anfield and he said of his absence against Chelsea: "I had no choice. I hope I'll be OK."

Agger Reveals Injury Concerns

Liverpool defender Daniel Agger admits he should have rested a groin problem against Chelsea at the weekend but played because of illness to Martin Skrtel.

The 27-year-old, who has withdrawn from Denmark's friendly in Turkey on Wednesday in order not to aggravate the injury, took his place alongside the incoming Jamie Carragher for the 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge as his regular centre-back partner had a virus.

And while he felt he should have sat out that game, Agger is hopeful he will be fit to face Wigan on Saturday.

"I should not have played on Sunday but Skrtel became ill and there was not much I could do. I was thrown into it," Agger told TV2 in Denmark.

"I have a pulled groin. It was something that should have kept me out on Sunday but it did not. I played the game.

"It takes hopefully only a few days (to recover).

"The reason why I have cancelled for Wednesday is that it is a bit early to play three days after I played 90 minutes with a groin problem."

Meanwhile, Agger has been named Denmark's Player of the Year for the second time.

The classy central defender was delighted to scoop the award after a successful year for club and country.

"Winning this award is one of the greatest things you can achieve as a Danish footballer," added Agger.

"I'm really committed to spending all my time involved in football.

"I have to admit that there were times when I doubted that I would ever stand here.

"I have been down and out with injuries but awards like this make me want to keep going.

"It is my attitude that means I am standing in this position."

Young Reds Thrash Rosenborg

Liverpool U19s kept their NextGen series qualification hopes alive with an impressive 4-1 win over Rosenborg at St Helens' Langtree Park on Tuesday night.

Rodolfo Borrell's young side were boosted by the inclusion of Conor Coady, Adam Morgan and Stephen Sama and the Reds played some superb football at times as they set out to avenge a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Rosenborg on Friday.

And following three successive defeats in the NextGen series, the Reds got the perfect start when Lloyd Jones headed the opening goal from a Kris Peterson left-wing corner.

Liverpool rode their luck after 27 minutes when Sindre Haarberg struck the post with a fine effort from 25 yards out.

Five minutes later Morgan made it 2-0 with a wonderful turn and shot from the edge of the box after superb approach play from Jordon Ibe.

Jakub Sokolik then had a header cleared off the line and Marc Pelosi hit the post after more good work from Ibe.

Rosenborg pulled a goal back after 38 minutes when Martin Lundal let fly with an unstoppable half-volley from 20 yards that flew into the net.

However, Liverpool's two-goal cushion was soon restored on the stroke of half-time when Morgan got his second and the Reds' third.

After a lovely one-two with Pelosi, the forward's initial effort was superbly kept out by Jacob Storevik but the No.9 reacted brilliantly to keep the ball in play and fire past the 'keeper.

Liverpool continued to play some excellent football in the second half with Coady and Morgan both being denied by some superb saves from Storevik.

Borrell's charges added a fourth right at the end when substitute Jerome Sinclair fired a superb individual goal.

The result is a lifeline for the youngsters in the NextGen series and with Borussia Dortmund next up at St Helens on November 28, the youngsters will still feel they have a chance.

Liverpool Eager To Secure New Deal With Standard Chartered

Liverpool is in talks with banking firm Standard Chartered to extend and improve on a lucrative shirt sponsorship deal presently worth £20 million a year.

Less than two years into a four-year contract, the Merseyside club hopes to swiftly conclude negotiations to secure the partnership beyond the end of 2014.

Under the present terms Standard Chartered has been granted a period of exclusivity enabling it the option of prolonging its relationship with Liverpool and the club are confident they can better the arrangement which began in 2010.

The £80 million over the course of four years was a club record at the time, but it was agreed in 2009 – a year before it came into effect – when Liverpool were second in the Premier League and still part of Europe’s elite competition. The global economic downturn and the club’s deteriorating on-pitch performance have made securing sponsorship even more challenging since then.

Commercial revenues at Anfield have increased in recent years despite Liverpool falling out of the top four, but the well-documented pursuit of a stadium sponsor was abandoned after the club were unable to raise funds to move to Stanley Park.

A lack of Champions League football would seem to make investment in Anfield less attractive, and last season the furore over Luis Suárez’s refusal to shake hands with Manchester United's Patrice Evra prompted a statement from Standard Chartered expressing “disappointment” and “concerned” about how the racism controversy was being handled.

However, that does not appear to have left any lasting damage and Liverpool is confident a healthy relationship will be extended.

Club executives are also believe the lack of Champions League football will not have an unduly negative impact on negotiations because Standard Chartered is based in Asia where the Premier League holds such sway.

The evening kick-offs in Europe do not attract such a large television audience in places such as Singapore and Thailand because of the differing time zones.