Thursday, December 20, 2012

Rodgers Not Eyeing Quick Fix

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has warned that the club's struggles are unlikely to be solved in the January transfer window due to a lack of 'availability and affordability'.

Rodgers' erratic debut season at Anfield continued on Saturday as Liverpool slipped to defeat against Aston Villa to leave them 12th in the Premier League.

The Reds have been linked with a host of transfer targets ahead of the upcoming transfer window as they look to turn things around and climb the table, with only five points between them and fifth place.

Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge and Blackpool youngster Thomas Ince are among the players thought to be on Rodgers' radar as he looks to bolster his limited attacking options.

But while the boss intends to strengthen in January, he insists many of the names being linked with the club are not necessarily realistic options and does not predict a quick fix.

He told The Independent: "There is a bigger picture for sure and it goes back to affordability.

"We will spend money in January to try and bring fresh faces into the group and give us that support at the top end. But the reality [about] all the names bandied about is 'Are they going to be available?' Certainly we will bring in what we can and help us and then we will revisit it again.

"All our problems were never going to be solved in this window because the January window is one of the least productive and the least movement goes on there. But we will look to solve some of our problems then and then we will look to revisit it in the summer knowing that in the summer we will be better placed than the previous summer."

He added: "There is no doubt we will get reinforcements in and there is no doubt that we will get the backing, but it will come down to two things. The availability and affordability of players - I see lots of names bandied about that are pie in the sky because there won't be too many top players moving about in January because clubs want top money. But there is no doubt that we want to bring in goals and we want to bring in players who can assist in scoring goals.

"If we can do that then that will set us up and then we can really reinforce when the transfer market opens up in the summer again."

Nicol: Liverpool Should Target Bundesliga Duo

Steve Nicol believes that Bundesliga goalscorers Robert Lewandowski and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar should be at the top of Liverpool's transfer wishlist for January, with the former Red questioning their pursuit of Daniel Sturridge and Tom Ince.

The side are in desperate need of support for Luis Suarez, who has been a star across the Premier League this season but is unlikely to be capable of holding up the fort up front on his own for the entirety of the season.

And as deals look to be close to being completed for Tom Ince and Daniel Sturridge, Nicol insists that Liverpool should be looking abroad for proven goal scorers rather than just looking to the future.

"I'd be happy if Liverpool were being linked with Lewandowski," he told Talksport. "He's got just over a year left on his contract and Borussia Dortmund would let him go.

"Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is another one [they should target]. He's a proven goalscorer. They need to get a couple of guys who they know can get the ball in the back of the net. That will take the pressure off everybody."

Nicol has little faith in the likes of Sturridge and Ince coming into the fray for Liverpool and making an immediate difference as the club continue to struggle with results. In the last 10 matches, the side has won just four, and has often been dominant in possession and had many chances to win the game.

The former Red explained: "Daniel Sturridge and Tom Ince are good players but they're not proven quality.

"Sturridge can't get into the Chelsea team, so why do Liverpool think he's going to come here and set the place alight?

"Ince is the same, he's a good player but he's not proven at this level. They're also both not goalscorers."

Liverpool are currently 12th on the table, and with the side facing Fulham, Stoke and QPR before 2013 rolls around, they will be looking to take maximum points to show any potential signings they can challenge for a top four spot.

Liverpool Told They Can Land Anderlecht Ace For £8m

Liverpool target Lucas Biglia has been told he can leave Anderlecht if they offer £8.35m.

The Argentine midfielder has long been an Anfield target and was linked with Arsenal in the summer.

And Anderlecht have decided that the 26-year-old can leave, but only if they receive an offer of €10.25m.

"We have not formally received an offer for Lucas but we know that his agent is making moves in the transfer market," Anderlecht general manager Herman Van Holsbeeck told

"Biglia has two and a half years left on his contract and we would only consider letting him go if we receive an offer of €10.25m. He won't leave in January for a penny less."

AC Milan is also reported to be strongly interested in the former Independiente midfielder.

Liverpool Chase Valencia Winger Sofiane Feghouli

According to reports in Spain Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers wants Valencia winger Sofiane Feghouli to bolster his depleted squad.

SuperDeporte say Liverpool have made contact with the player's representatives - just at a time when Valencia were frantically trying to extend the winger's contract.

The Reds are currently trying to offload current failed wingers Joe Cole and Stewart Downing and see Feghouli as a cheaper and better option, it would also mean Rodgers would not have to sacrifice Jonjo Shelvey in a wide position as he was forced to do in Saturday's defeat to Aston Villa.

His current deal runs out in the summer of 2014, so a January transfer may be the best option for the Mestalla outfit if Feghouli decides to play hardball over an extension.

Despite an improvement in their financial position, Valencia are still mired in a debt crisis with work on their new stadium suspended and poor on-field performances meaning they are likely to miss out on Champions League football - and its important revenue streams - for next season.

Derby Slap £5 Million Price Tag On Arsenal & Liverpool Target

Derby County has put a £5 million price tag on their teenage sensation Will Hughes amid interest from Arsenal and Liverpool.

Ideally the Championship club would like to keep hold of the 17 year old until the end of the season but believe that bids from Premier League duo Arsenal and Liverpool are likely to come in the January transfer window.

Liverpool and Arsenal are showing the strongest interest in making bids for the creative midfielder, while he is also being closely tracked by Manchester City, Tottenham and Fulham.

There is a growing possibility that Hughes, who has been compared to a young Liam Brady by his manager Nigel Clough, could be sold in January to raise much-needed funds for the second-tier outfit.

Liverpool and Arsenal would both be keen on recruiting Hughes in the forthcoming window to give him time to integrate into their set-ups in the second half of the season.

Speaking earlier this month, Clough said, “I think a few of the big boys are watching him, which is a great compliment to him and the academy lads, but if they are we will do everything we can to hang on to him.”

Tottenham & Liverpool Eyeing Real Madrid Forward

Tottenham and Liverpool are weighing up a summer move for Real Madrid forward Jose Callejon, according to reports in Italy.

The 25-year-old has failed to establish himself as a regular at the Bernabeu under Jose Mourinho and is reportedly ready to consider a move away from the club if the situation does not change before the end of the season.

And Italian newspaper Tuttosport claim that Tottenham, Liverpool and Udinese are leading the chase for the forward.

But they will have to pay £16.3m to meet Callejon's buy-out clause and prise him away from Real, who are said to still value him highly.

Comolli Urges Sterling To Sign New Liverpool Contract

Liverpool's former director of football, Damien Comolli, has urged Raheem Sterling to sign a new contract with the Anfield outfit.

As exclusively revealed on Tuesday, the 18-year-old is set to confirm a five-year deal in the New Year, starting at a basic £30,000 per week.

"My advice would be sign the contract and stay at Liverpool unless there is something which makes him really uncomfortable," Comolli told TalkSPORT.

"We tried to look after Raheem as much as we could - he was really a long-term project - and I think he should commit.

"I really don't think money should be an issue. He is 18 and it is going to be one of many contracts he is going to sign and he is going to end up being a wealthy individual.

"The important contract, if you are money-orientated, is the one you sign when you are 31 not 18."

Enrique Defends Suso Over Twitter Banter

Jose Enrique has defended Liverpool team-mate Suso after he was fined £10,000 by the FA, dismissing the tweet which sparked the censure as "banter".

Winger Suso was disciplined by the governing body for teasing Enrique after the left-back posted a picture of himself getting his teeth whitened online.

Suso tweeted: "What f*** is he doing? This guy is gay... he does everything except play football." The tweet was deleted soon afterwards and an apology was issued by the 19-year-old, but that did not stop the FA acting by handing out the fine on Tuesday.

However, Enrique then took to Twitter himself to state that he thought the punishment on his team-mate was harsh.

He tweeted: "Is amazing how FA can fine my friend @suso30fernandez for a banter thing. Was just a joke!!!"

Suso, who has made 13 appearances for the Reds this season since making his first-team debut in September, insisted in his apology that he had not meant to cause any offence to anyone.

"I'm very sorry if anyone has been offended by my comments about the photo of my team-mate Jose Enrique," he wrote.

"It was only a joke between the two of us. I realize that my words were unfortunate and it was not my intention to offend anyone.

"I apologise again if anyone was offended."

Hillsborough Verdicts Quashed

The original Hillsborough inquest verdicts were quashed in the High Court on Wednesday, with a new investigation led by Jon Stoddart announced.

Following an application by the Attorney General Dominic Grieve, the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge and two other judges ordered fresh inquests, quashing the original accidental death inquest verdicts after 96 Liverpool supporters died 23 years ago.

A new police inquiry, led by former Durham Chief Constable Stoddart, will focus specifically on the 96 deaths of the Liverpool fans in April 1989, working closely with the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) into police conduct in the aftermath of the disaster.

Grieve made his request to the High Court after a new report established 41 of those who died might have been saved, and new medical evidence has been used as a basis for the new inquests application.

The Home Secretary Theresa May announced the new investigation will finally earn justice for the fans who were crushed at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium during the FA Cup semi-final with Nottingham Forest on April 15, 1989.

May said: "I am determined to see a swift and thorough response to the findings of the Hillsborough Panel to deliver justice for the 96 football fans who died and the families who have fought so hard on their behalf."

Mr. Stoddart will be able to recruit investigators and staff to his team, but he will not be allowed to employ officers or former officers with any previous connection to the Hillsborough disaster, or from the West Midlands, South Yorkshire or Merseyside police forces.

He said: "I am aware of the great significance and personal responsibility which comes with leading this criminal investigation.

"My first priority is to meet with as many of the families as possible and to establish a working open relationship with them throughout the investigation.

"I have held a number of meetings already and have been struck by the families' humility and steadfast determination to see justice delivered for their loved ones.

"My role is to ensure that we determine exactly what happened in the lead-up to and on the day of the disaster and establish where any culpability lies."

The Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge said there were "good grounds" for the application made by Mr. Grieve and described what happened in 1989 as "catastrophic".

Referring to the families, he said there had been a "profound, almost palpable belief that justice has not been done and that it cannot be done without and until the full truth is revealed".

He said: "We must record our admiration and respect for their determined search for the truth about the circumstances of the disaster and why and how it had occurred, which - despite disappointments and setbacks - has continued for nearly quarter of a century."

After Lord Judge announced the decision of the court, families in the packed courtroom greeted it with a loud round of applause.

More than 40 families had made the journey to London for the hearing, while others watched by videolink from Liverpool.

When giving the ruling, Lord Judge expressed regret that the process the families had gone through over the years since the disaster had been "so unbearingly dispiriting and prolonged".

Responding to the decision to quash the original Hillsborough inquest verdicts and the announcement that a fresh police investigation is to be held into the disaster, Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: "This is a watershed moment on the road to justice for the families of the 96, and I share their overwhelming relief that, after 23 very painful years, the inquest verdicts have been quashed.

"It is the only right and proper decision that the High Court could make in the wake of the overwhelming and compelling evidence uncovered by the Hillsborough Independent Panel.

"We must all keep up the pressure that has driven the momentum over the last few months to make sure that the families get the justice they deserve.

"I also welcome the new police investigation, which we all hope will result in those that played a role in causing the disaster and the monumental cover-up are brought to account."