Thursday, May 09, 2013

Liverpool Council Defend Regeneration Plans For Anfield Area

Liverpool City Council insists plans for the regeneration of the Anfield area remain on track.

A newspaper report criticized the football club's long-established policy of buying houses around the stadium - and then leaving them empty - to prepare for a ground expansion.

Residents still living in the shadow of the Anfield ground are unhappy that a process which began in the mid-1990s has left the area derelict and in decline, and has adversely affected the price of their own homes - the final ones which will be targeted ahead of the revamp.

Householders claim they are not being offered the proper value and, although the football club has not commented, Liverpool City Council insists cases are assessed on an individual basis and in some cases people have been paid above the market price.

The council, which is planning a community-wide consultation process in the coming months, is also keen to stress redevelopment of the stadium and the regeneration of Anfield as an area are not both driven by the football club.

"Since last autumn, we have been developing a robust set of plans for the area which are absolutely on track," said a council spokesman.

"We will be giving an update about the next steps in the coming months.

"This will include working with the local community on a blueprint for the wider regeneration of Anfield.

"We are unshakably committed to delivering regeneration for the people of Anfield."

Liverpool Captain To Have Shoulder Surgery

Liverpool captain and England international Steven Gerrard will have surgery on a shoulder injury this week.

The midfielder, 32, has started all 36 of the Reds' Premier League games this season.

However, Gerrard's injury has worsened in recent weeks and Liverpool has decided to bring forward the operation.

He will miss the final two Premier League games of the season, against Fulham and Queens Park Rangers, but is expected to be fit for pre-season.

The operation means Gerrard will miss England's friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil on 29 May and 2 June respectively.

Gerrard played in Liverpool's goalless draw with rivals Everton on Sunday - a result that leaves the Reds seventh with 55 points and unable to finish higher than sixth.

Agger To Miss Final Two Liverpool Games

Liverpool defender Daniel Agger is set to miss the remaining two games of the season as he undergoes "proactive" treatment to strengthen his back, the club has announced.

The Denmark international has made 39 appearances in all competitions for the Reds this season, scoring four goals in the process.

However, he will be unavailable to manager Brendan Rodgers for the fixtures against Fulham and QPR, joining captain Steven Gerrard on the sidelines.

Agger has long struggled with a succession of knee and back troubles, undergoing surgery on a recurring spinal injury in 2009 and admitting on Tuesday that he had considered retirement.

The centre-back's latest treatment involves a stint of rehabilitation that could preclude him from pre-season training, although the club is yet to confirm the likely duration of his recovery.

Fabio Desires Long-Term LFC Bond

Liverpool forward Fabio Borini is determined to forge a long-term emotional bond with the club but the Italian continues to set short-term aims on his comeback from a dislocated shoulder.

The 22-year-old returned from his second injury of the season as a substitute against Newcastle at the end of April and bagged a first Barclays Premier League goal within a minute of entering the action.

Borini, who revealed that his dream is for Liverpool supporters to copy his unique celebration after he finds the net, explained his target to establish a lasting relationship at Anfield.

"If I've got emotion that comes from that club, obviously I take that emotion with me," he told

"At Swansea I had three months I could never think of. In three months, I got into the hearts of the people and I could see Italian flags in the stadium - I never expected that.

"In Roma, after a long injury, I started scoring and the people were showing things in the stands as well.

"When you see those things, it gives you an emotion you can never forget. I hope I can do the same here because I'm trying very hard."

The Italy international arrived on Merseyside for a season in which Jamie Carragher has announced his retirement and Steven Gerrard has started every single Premier League fixture under Brendan Rodgers.

Southampton Join Liverpool In Chase For Victor Wanyama

Southampton have joined Liverpool in trying to lure Celtic star Victor Wanyama to the Premier League.

Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino sent his scouts to watch Wanyama play against Motherwell last weekend and is readying a £10 million bid.

The Kenyan midfielder is also attracting the interest of Manchester United and Arsenal after starring for The Bhoys in their Champions League run this season.

Tottenham Join Liverpool In Tracking Spanish Starlet

Tottenham Hotspur has joined Premier League rivals Liverpool in showing an interest in Barcelona starlet Cristian Tello, according to talkSPORT.

Tello has been with the Catalans since he joined Barca’s B team in 2010 from Espanyol and made his first team debut in 2011, but struggled to make an impact in his first couple of years at the Nou Camp.

However, the 21-year-old has now emerged as one of the most promising youngsters in Spanish football this season after making a breakthrough in to the Barcelona first team, scoring 7 goals in just 19 appearances so far this campaign.

talkSPORT claim that Liverpool and Atletico Madrid are among the clubs keeping a close eye on his progress with Brendan Rodgers believed to have failed with an attempt to take the youngster to Anfield last summer.

It appears Tottenham is the latest club to declare their interest with the report suggesting boss Andre Villas-Boas has identified the exciting winger as a potential replacement for Gareth Bale in case one of the world’s super-powers manages to wrestle the Welshman away from White Hart Lane this summer, although it’s believed Barca is keen to keep hold of Tello and are unlikely to entertain any offers over the coming months.

Tello has represented Spain at every youth level and while he’s yet to make his debut for the senior side, his first cap can’t be too far away if he keeps developing as he has done this season, but is seems like Spurs and Liverpool have a fight on their hands if they want to try and sign the talented attacker at the end of the season.

Liverpool & Man United In Transfer War Over Kyriakos Papadopoulos

Schalke defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos is attracting attention from some of the biggest clubs in England – and the Gelsenkirchen-based outfit could be powerless to prevent his departure this summer, according to German daily Bild.

The 21-year-old is rated as one of the finest defensive talents in the game and won many admirers for his fearless displays for Greece during last summer’s European Championship in Poland/Ukraine.

Schalke worked hard to keep hold of Papadopoulos after the tournament, and succeeded, but 12 months on they may not be able to resit the large cheques heading in their direction.

Four English clubs, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City, are all fans of Papadopoulos, and would dearly love to tempt the Olympiacos youth product to the Premier League.

And whether the centre-back stays or goes may indeed just come down to his own decision, rather than that of Schalke.

Papadopoulos is thought to have a release clause in his contract, set at €22.5M, and if activated, Schalke would be powerless to prevent his departure.

The Greek international has spent time on the sidelines this season and is currently out with a knee injury.

It is not known when Papadopoulos will return, but he may have played his last game for Schalke.

Toby Alderweireld Snubs Liverpool

Ajax defender Toby Alderweireld has snubbed interest from Liverpool and Tottenham to join Roma at the end of the season.

The 24-year-old centre back announced he was leaving Ajax two months ago and had hinted that a switch to the Premier League would be his preference.

However, despite Liverpool, Tottenham and Newcastle all expressing an interest in the player, Roma have jumped the queue and agreed a deal.

According to reports in Italy, the Serie A club had made Alderweireld one of their top summer transfer targets but feared losing him in a scrum at the end of the season.

But their quick thinking has secured the services of one of the most exciting defenders in Europe, and will leave Liverpool – who was especially keen – furious at missing out on another defensive target.

The Reds have already failed to land Brazil centre back Dede after he moved to Cruzeiro, and losing Alderweireld too sees their list of potential signings to replace the retiring Jamie Carragher further diminish.

Barcelona Step Up Pursuit Of Liverpool Goalkeeper

Barcelona is ready to step up their interest in Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina as they look to replace Victor Valdes this summer, reports the Daily Mail.

The 30-year-old Spaniard has been consistently linked with a return to the Camp Nou as question marks continue to surround the Catalan club's current first-choice stopper.

Valdes is under contract until 2014, but announced earlier in the year that he would not be extending his deal, prompting a raft of speculation he could leave Barca at the end of the season.

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has made clear his desire to keep Reina at Anfield, but having been encouraged by the Liverpool board to reduce the wage bill this summer, the Northern Irishman's resolve will be tested if a bid for one of the club's highest earners is received.

Reina still has three years to run on his current deal on Merseyside, and although the former Valencia goalkeeper remains committed to the Liverpool cause, he might find it difficult to turn down the prospect of returning to his homeland to finish his career.

Barcelona has also been credited with an interest in a number of other Premier League custodians, with Swansea's Michel Vorm, Stoke City's Asmir Begovic, and Manchester United's David de Gea among the different names in the frame for Tito Vilanova.

Agger Pledges Future To Liverpool

Daniel Agger is committed to staying at Liverpool despite mounting speculation Barcelona are ready to claw him away.

The Danish centre-half has been continually linked with a move to the Catalan giants in the summer, as Tito Vilanova is looking for a potential replacement for Carles Puyol who has been beset by injuries this season.

Agger, who will miss the remaining two games of the season through a recurring back problem, reportedly admitted he was close to retiring.

But he has put the transfer speculation to one side, insisting he will see out the final three years of his contract at Anfield.

He said: "I still have three years left and I intend to fulfill them.

"There are always rumours, but who is creating them? I don't know.

"It is not a bad thing to be linked with top clubs but you have to take 70% of the speculation off and then you have the reality."

The Reds have been lining up a number of high-profile defensive targets for the summer, including Swansea's Ashley Williams.

Suarez Escapes Fifa Punishment

The Uruguayan FA (AUF) has announced that Liverpool striker Luis Suarez will not face punishment after appearing to punch Chile defender Gonzalo Jara during Uruguay’s World Cup Qualifier against La Roja on March 26.

The incident was not spotted by officials but was retrospectively analyzed, but Fernando Cacares, AUF's general secretary, has revealed that the President of Fifa's Disciplinary Commission has decided against reprimanding the 26-year-old.

“The president of the Disciplinary Commission of FIFA has decided that this matter does not require the intervention of the Disciplinary Commission of FIFA and therefore, this procedure is now closed", the statement read.

"We beg you to extend this communication to the player Luis Suarez as soon as possible and we thank you for your invaluable collaboration".

The announcement will be a welcome relief for Suarez, who is currently serving a lengthy 10-match ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic when the two sides faced each other in late April.

Ajax Barred From Playing Liverpool

South Africa's premier soccer league (PSL) have stopped one of their clubs from playing a prestige friendly against Liverpool this month saying it would take publicity away from the country's cup final.

Ajax Cape Town has been refused permission by the league to play a friendly against the English club in Cape Town on May 21 in a move that was immediately criticized.

"We don't allow international friendlies while the season is still on because it competes with our own events and our own sponsors," said the league's general manager Derek Blankensee on Wednesday.

South Africa's cup final, sponsored by the banking group Nedbank, completes the season on May 25, four days after the proposed friendly. The last round of league matches is on May 18.

"This is the biggest game of the season for our sponsor and we want them to get the exposure they deserve," Blankensee added.

Cape Town's municipal authorities, who were bankrolling the game, criticized the decision.

"I think it's short-sighted because we are trying to build brand South Africa, and getting one of the greatest football teams in the world to play in this country is a massive achievement for us," Cape Town city councillor Grant Pascoe told local media.

"Football attracts guests and what sort of message does this send out to our guests?"

An invitation side, made up of players from Ajax and other Cape Town professional sides, is now planned to face Liverpool, although all the players are registered with the PSL.

Last year Ajax hosted Manchester United in a friendly two weeks before the start of the season.