Thursday, May 02, 2013

Rodgers Eyeing Early Liverpool Transfer Swoops

Brendan Rodgers is aiming to conclude Liverpool’s transfer business as early as possible in the summer window in a bid to replicate the success of his January shopping.

The Reds boss reaped the rewards of tying up early deals for Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho at the turn of the year, with both proving to be immediate hits at Anfield, and the Northern Irishman is aiming to use similar tactics in this summer’s transfer window.

‘The club respects where we need to strengthen and where we need to improve,’ Rodgers told Sky Sports.

‘We have seen from the last window in January, we got our business done early and brought in two outstanding players in Sturridge and Coutinho.

Hopefully we will have a similar impact in the summer. If we can do that, that will make me really happy with the group going forward.

‘I just think we need a bit more depth and a bit more quality.

‘The players this year have done very well. I have asked everything of them and, in the main, they have done very well.

‘The majority of the time, there has not been too many performances where I have been really disappointed.’

Liverpool Chase Michu

Liverpool is reportedly lining up a bid for Swansea City striker Michu.

The Spaniard has impressed during his maiden season in the Premier League, helping the Swans to a League Cup triumph and scoring 17 goals in the process.

The Reds will be without Luis Suarez for the first six games of next season through suspension and the club is ready to launch a summer raid for Michu according to Italian publication Tutto Mercato.

Michu moved to the Welsh side last summer from Rayo Vallecano for a reported £1.9m.

Liverpool Face Battle With Inter Milan For Barcelona Defender

Liverpool face a battle with Inter Milan to clinch the signing of Barcelona defender Martin Montoya.

The Merseyside club is looking to strengthen their squad during the summer and manager Brendan Rodgers is reported to be a big admirer of the 22-year-old.

With Jamie Carragher announcing his retirement from the game, Rodgers is keen to bolster his defence and add some quality players to the squad as they look to close the gap on the top four.

But he will have to move quickly if he wants to sign the Spanish defender as Inter are making advanced moves to sign Montoya.

The Italian giants are looking for another right sided player after Javier Zanetti was ruled out for a lengthy period after rupturing his Achilles' tendon.

Barcelona will be looking for a sizeable fee for the talented full-back and both clubs look set for a bidding war during the summer.

Spurs & Liverpool Set To Battle It Out For Ben Arfa

Tottenham and Liverpool are set to fight it out to land Newcastle United winger Hatem Ben Arfa this summer.

Ben Arfa has struggled with injuries this season but it has not stopped the two clubs from chasing his signature at the end of this season and despite being strongly linked with Liverpool.

The Express says media outlets in France say that he has began talks with the north Londoners.

The former Marseille star joined the Magpies in 2010 for a fee that reached around £7m after his initial loan spell, becoming an important fixture in Alan Pardew's side.

This campaign has not gone to plan for Ben Arfa, due to persistent injury niggles but he has still made 19 appearances scoring three goals.

Newcastle Interested In Recruiting Jay Spearing

Newcastle United is closely monitoring Jay Spearing's potential availability at Liverpool and considering bidding for the midfielder as long as the slump that has taken Alan Pardew's team to one place above the relegation zone does not get any worse and sends them into the Championship.

Spearing has spent this season on loan at Bolton Wanderers, where he has already won player of the year awards from two different supporters' groups. He has a year remaining on his contract at Liverpool and may have to leave Anfield on a permanent basis if he wants to carry on getting regular first-team football.

The 24-year-old has become an integral part of the Bolton side that Dougie Freedman has taken to sixth in the Championship, with the opportunity to confirm a play-off spot by beating Blackpool at home on Saturday.

A broken toe has ruled out Spearing but he still has a chance of figuring in the play-off final, should Bolton get there, and is due for talks with the Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers, to establish his future.

Sterling: Merseyside Derby Is Our Biggest Game

Raheem Sterling says that the Merseyside derby means more to them than any other fixture in the calendar season.

Sterling had his first taster of derby day on Merseyside in October as the two teams battled out a 2-2 draw and although he has been taken out of the first team since then admits he would relish the opportunity to experience the derby at Anfield.

Sterling told Sky Sports, "People say the Man Uniteds and the Arsenals are big games but when it comes to Everton, they are the biggest because we're obviously from the same city and both sets of fans are rivals.

"When I played at Goodison, it was one of the best experiences I've ever had.

"It's just the passion from both sides of the city. Obviously the red side is the one that we want to win, but the passion from both sides and the players is one of the best things you'll ever see in the game."

Lucas Targets Everton Scalp

Lucas says Liverpool can still overhaul Everton in the Premier League by winning their remaining three games - starting with Sunday's derby.

The Reds currently sit five points and one position behind the sixth-placed Toffees heading into this weekend's showdown.

Brazil midfielder Lucas knows a win for Liverpool at the weekend will be vital if they are to finish ahead of their neighbours and secure a top-six finish.

"We still have a chance of catching Everton and that's our target," said Lucas. "We know we have to win if we want to finish a position higher than we are now.

"Merseyside derbies are always special to play in. The atmosphere will be amazing at Anfield and it's the kind of game you really look forward to playing in.

"We will go into the derby with a lot of confidence. Hopefully we can get another win and try to finish the season on a bit of a high.

"It's been a difficult season for us but we have to keep going. We still have three games remaining and the chance to get nine more points. The manner of our victory against Newcastle showed the character of everyone."

Lucas says the 6-0 rout in the north-east shows how good the spirit in the Liverpool camp is at the moment and added: "We showed on Saturday that we are a team.

"We approached the game in the right way and played with a lot of confidence and intensity. After going 4-0 up in the second half, we just controlled the game. I remember when we beat Newcastle 5-1 at St James' Park a few years ago and this was even better.

"But even though we won 6-0 there are still areas that we can improve upon. We need to keep working and keep believing."

Gerrard: Win Derby For Carragher

Steven Gerrard wants Liverpool to send Jamie Carragher into retirement with one last derby victory on his CV.

Carragher comes up against the club he supported as a boy this Sunday in the final derby of his 16-year Anfield career.

The 35-year-old will swap Melwood for the Sky Sports studios next season after signing up as a pundit, and Gerrard is desperate to send his long-time friend and team-mate off in style.

The Liverpool captain said: "I think being local lads we feel the passion in the city.

"Jamie will be playing at the weekend, he will be one of the first on the teamsheet and has been brilliant since he came back into the team.

"We're hoping to get a nice derby victory for Carra to remember because you will always remember your last derby.

"I'm going to miss him more than anyone. I'm close to Jamie on and off the pitch. It's an emotional time him packing it in but he is going on to Sky and I'm sure he'll do a fantastic job."

Carragher Stand Firm On His Decision To Retire

Jamie Carragher believes that he has made the right decision swapping Anfield for the Sky Sports studio's next season.

The 35 year old announced his retirement in February bringing an end to his career at Liverpool, which also saw him win 38 caps for England.

Carragher admits to being aware of calls for him to play on for at least another year, but is adamant that the time is right to hang up his boots.

He told the Daily Mirror, "I'd been thinking for a while: How do you get out? How do you finish with Liverpool? And a quote I'd read years ago from a foreign player stuck with me: 'Leave the football before football leaves you'.

"I've always had that in the back of my mind. Especially as I've been at Liverpool all of my life and I never want to let the club or supporters down.

"I'm not stupid. New players will come in and at my age I could be back on the bench next season. There might even be games where I don't make the bench. Imagine walking around Anfield in a suit on a match day when you're fit to play.

"Of course there will be things I miss, like the great camaraderie in the dressing room after a good result, but I won't miss the bit where you've lost the game and you're devastated."

Ivanovic Forgives Suarez For Biting Him

Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic says that he has forgiven Luis Suarez for biting him when the two sides last met.

Suarez bit Ivanovic during last month’s Premier League fixture and was consequently handed a 10 match ban by the Football Association.

The 29-year-old is not dwelling on the matter and, in an interview in his homeland, confirmed he does not hold a grudge against Suarez.

"When it happened I was really surprised and, of course, in shock," Ivanovic told Vecernje Novosti.

"But, when the match it ended, it all cooled down. I almost forgot about everything.

"The next day we talked on the phone and I accepted his apology. I didn't attack him for what he had done, but I also didn't defend him.

"But I forgive him. For me that can happen. But I really don't care too much."

Enrique Enjoying Anfield Stay

Liverpool's Jose Enrique says his decision to leave Newcastle for Anfield was "one of the best" of his career.

The Spanish defender swapped Tyneside for Merseyside in August 2011 after a four-year spell with the Magpies that included relegation from the Premier League followed by immediate promotion as Championship title-winners.

His first season at Anfield ended with his new club three places below Newcastle in the Premier League table, but as 2012/13 draws to a close Enrique's former employers are locked in a battle against relegation.

The possibility of a return to the Championship for Newcastle drew nearer when they were thrashed 6-0 by Liverpool last Saturday, and for Enrique he feels his move of nearly two years ago was the right one.

"Coming to Liverpool was one of the best decisions in my life, in terms of football," the 27-year-old told LFC TV.

"Of course, I already played for a good club at Newcastle, but you can't compare one club with the other in terms of history.

"I'm really happy with my decision to be here; it's my second season and I'm playing a lot, like last year. I'm improving a lot as a player and a person as well."

Manager Brendan Rodgers' influence is also something that Enrique feels is a having a positive effect at the club.

"He likes to be close with the players. He talks with everyone the same," added Enrique. "It surprised me that he knows all the young players, coming from the Under 16s and Under 18s.

"He knows the name of everyone; it's good because the young players are people like us and it's good for them to know that the manager knows them. I really like the manager."