Sunday, June 09, 2013

Liverpool Face Three More Years Without Champions League

A senior Liverpool official admits that it may take three years for the club to return to Europe's top club competition and has urged fans to be patient.

Ian Ayre, the Reds' managing director, has acknowledged that coach Brendan Rodgers still need time to rebuild the side and that Liverpool supporters could have to wait as long as three years for Champions League football.

He is quoted on as saying: "The expectation is to keep progressing and, of course, our ambition is to play in the Champions League. That's where everyone wants to be from the owners down," the executive explained.

"Our ambition is to get there," said Ayre, who was put in charge by the Anfield club's American owners in March 2011. "Whether we do that in one year, two years or three, we will see. That's where Liverpool should be."

After replacing Kenny Dalglish with Rodgers last summer, the Reds improved to finish seventh in the most recent Premier League campaign, following a significant shift to an expansive and less direct manner of play.

The Merseyside club, however, finished 28 points behind fierce rivals Manchester United. But Ayre added: "We made a big change a year ago with the ambition of getting Liverpool back where they should be at the top of football."

He explained: "We changed the manager, we changed the style of play and we changed some players. We said we wanted to build something here. Rome was not built in a day. If you could do it in one day, then everybody would do it.

It seems Brendan Rodgers will be given time to put his formula into place with the long term goal of getting the Merseyside club back into the Champions League.

Liverpool Edge Nearer To Swoop For Portugal Defender

Liverpool are believed to have moved a step closer to sealing a £3 million move for highly-rated young Sporting Lisbon centre back Tiago Ilori, reports the Liverpool Echo.

The Portugal Under-20 international has been with the Lisbon giants for his entire career to date, having made his debut in the Portuguese capital two years ago, during which time the London-born 20-year-old has featured in just the 12 first-team fixtures for Sporting, scoring once in the process.

However, Liverpool head coach Brendan Rodgers wants to bring the central defender to Anfield when the transfer window swings open into action finally again on July 1 as a player who the Northern Irishman views for the future, especially in light of veteran defender Jamie Carragher’s recent retirement.

Ilori has a contract with Sporting that runs until June 30 2015, but it is not believed that his employers will stand in his way of a dream move to the Premier League.

Reina: Aspas Would Be Great Addition

Pepe Reina has backed Iago Aspas to become a success at Liverpool if he completes a move from Celta Vigo.

Aspas, 25, is reportedly on the verge of a £7.7 million move to Anfield where he will sign a four-year contract. Able to play as a main forward, second striker, or out wide, Aspas broke into the first team in 2008 after emerging from the club's academy.

And Reina is impressed by Liverpool's latest potential acquisition, saying of his fellow Spaniard: "I haven't played with him or against him. He is much younger than me and during my time in England is when he came through the different divisions at Celta.

"I know as much as I have seen on TV and I think he is a great player and could be a great addition.

"I've been asking around and everyone talks well about him so hopefully he will be an asset for us and will be very helpful for the team."

Meanwhile, Reina has also moved to dismiss reports that he could leave Liverpool this summer saying he cannot control speculation and insisting he is happy at the club.

"It has never been a distraction for me," Reina said. "My mind is pretty much in Liverpool as a person. I know the rumours and the talks in the press is something you cannot control.

"To come away with Spain somehow is good because it keeps your mind a little busier and focus on the national team right now. I can guarantee you my future is in Liverpool right now."

I Chose Liverpool Over Other Clubs, Says Aspas

Spanish forward Iago Aspas claims his heart was always set on Liverpool once the club registered interest ahead of a £7 million move from Celta Vigo.

The 25-year-old, whose 12 goals last season helped Celta narrowly escape relegation, enjoyed a fine debut season in top-flight football, attracting widespread interest throughout Europe.

But he says the combined allure of Liverpool and playing in England easily topped all the other offers he had also received.

"When I heard of Liverpool's interest I did not hesitate even for a minute," Aspas told Marca.

"It is one of the biggest clubs in the world and although I also had offers from Italy and Portugal and other countries I decided that my future was in English football."

The striker, who can also operate out wide, added he was very much looking forward to the next step in his career.

He continued: "I am very calm but at the same time very excited because I am making a very significant step forward in my sporting career."

Reina Unsure Over Suarez Liverpool Stay

Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina insists he is hopeful Luis Suarez will remain at Anfield, but understands the Uruguayan's desire to leave the club.

Real Madrid appear keen on the striker, although Liverpool will attempt to hold onto their top scorer unless a significant figure over the £50 million mark is offered.

Reina, who is preparing for Spain's friendly against Haiti, is sympathetic to his team-mate's wishes.

"I haven't read Luis himself say he wants out of Liverpool to be honest," Reina said. "He might say that the times have been a little bit rough and the media has been having a bit of a go at him. In the past it's been difficult for him and his family.

"To be honest, I would like for Luis to stay at Liverpool, but I understand if he's thinking about leaving for something bigger - when I say bigger I mean not as a club, just challenging for titles and playing in the Champions League and competing with the best.

"Because of the situation, because of the treatment by the media, it would be difficult for any player, not just Luis, to stay strong and be happy. Hopefully he will stay at Liverpool for many years, but I understand if the right offer comes for him and for the club for him to go."

Former Liverpool striker Fernando Torres threw his support behind Suarez, claiming he has also been a victim of media scrutiny.

Lovren Coy On Liverpool Link

Lyon defender Dejan Lovren insists he is not looking to leave the Ligue 1 side in the wake of reported interest from Liverpool.

The 23-year old has established himself as a regular at Lyon since joining from Dinamo Zagreb in 2010 and his performances in France have seen him attract interest from a number of clubs.

Lovren refused to rule out the possibility of a Premier League switch further down the line, but says he has no plans to move on just yet.

"Each player wants to join a big club. I am under contract until 2016, but anything can happen. Anyway, I am in no rush to leave Lyon," he told

Lovren's team-mate Yoann Gourcuff also played down the possibility of a Lyon exit.

"I have two years remaining on my contract. We will talk in peace. If there are attracted clubs, I don't close the door on anything," the midfielder said to Ouest France.

"But everyone has to agree to it. The most important is to play. But I have to see the project too."

Liverpool Losing Battle For Real Madrid Midfielder

Liverpool's proposed move for Real Madrid midfielder Jose Callejon could be scuppered by former manager Rafa Benitez, after Napoli entered the race for the Tottenham Hotspur target's signature.

TalkSPORT reports how the 26-year-old is on the Serie 'A' club's summer radar, who are ready to rival the Premier League duo for the Spaniard's signature, by making an £8million bid when the transfer window reopens on July 1.

Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas has been credited with an interest in bringing Callejon to White Hart Lane in the past, but it's Liverpool who looked most likely of any English club to secure the former Mallorca star's services ahead of the 2013/14 campaign.
However, Brendan Rodgers's hopes of luring the player to Anfield have now been dealt a serious blow, with Napoli prepared to enter a bidding war.

Callejon came through the youth ranks at Real Madrid before joining Espanyol in 2008.

After impressing at Estadi Cornella-El Prat, the midfielder returned to the Santiago Bernabeu three years later, but has only made 20 La Liga appearances for his boyhood club since.

His search for regular first-team action now looks to be over, though, with Tottenham, Liverpool, and Napoli ready to offer him the chance to rejuvenate his career.

Tevez To Liverpool Unlikely Say Reports

Yesterday rumours circle that Liverpool were ready make an offer for Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez, however this is very unlikely according to reports.

It was alleged that Brendan Rodgers felt that Tevez was the man to replace Luis Suarez if he was to leave the club this summer after saying that he was considering his future.

However talkSPORT say that any move for the Argentine is very unlikely.

Liverpool are very reluctant to sell Suarez considering his impressive form last season but his relationship with the media has left his Premier League future hanging by a thread.

Robben & Suarez Swap Deal Off

The reported swap deal between Liverpool and Bayern Munich for Luis Suarez and Arjen Robben is off as the Dutchman has no intentions of leaving the Allianz Arena.

Suarez is unsure whether he wants to stay at Anfield after another controversial season at the Reds and had been tipped with a move to the Champions League winners with Robben coming in the opposite direction.

"It is football, nothing is a certainty. This is a profession where anything can happen," Robben, who netted the winning goal in the Champions League final, told German newspaper Bild.

"I want to avoid any speculation, though. I am feeling very well here and I have a contract until 2015. Leaving Bayern is not an option for me at this point.

"There is absolutely no reason to leave, so I intend to stay put."

Liverpool Plan £150m Anfield Expansion

Liverpool are set to take a major step closer to a £150 million redevelopment of Anfield by submitting a planning application before the start of next season.

Managing director Ian Ayre has confirmed that plans are on course for the rebuilding program, which would see the Main Stand and Anfield Road End expanded, increasing the capacity to around 60,000.

That would potentially make the ground the second biggest in the top flight, behind the 76,000-capacity Old Trafford. Arsenal's Emirates Stadium is currently the next largest, as it can hold just over 60,000 fans.

The plans come soon after reports emerged that Manchester City are planning to increase the size of their Etihad Stadium to house as many as 54,000 fans.

Last October, Liverpool announced that they planned to stay at Anfield rather than pushing ahead with proposals for a new stadium in neighbouring Stanley Park, seeking to expand their current ground's 45,000 capacity.

But the expansion, going ahead in partnership with Liverpool City Council and social housing developer Your Housing, requires the purchase and demolition of homes that back on to the ground.

Ayre has indicated that negotiations to buy the last few of the 90 houses that need to be demolished are almost complete.

"We are in an interesting period in terms of our aspirations around the stadium," he told the Liverpool Echo. "Our goal is to extend Anfield. But we need certainty, and that comes with the acquisition of properties.

"Real progress has been made in acquiring them. Once they have all been acquired, we will go through the planning process.

"We would expect to be in a position to make that a certainty this summer. Once planning has been achieved, then we can start construction."

Ayre has indicated that the club needs to expand Anfield to increase revenue and allow them to compete financially with the Premier League's top teams.

"There are three core revenue streams - media, commercial and matchday," he added.

"Our media and commercial revenues are very impressive, but where we fall behind is our matchday revenues. Having a bigger stadium and playing in the Champions League are two mechanisms which would dramatically change our fortunes.

"We're determined to press on with the stadium solution. It's in the hands of other people, but hopefully we will get there and deliver what our fans want."