Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ayre Hails Infectious Rodgers At Liverpool

Managing director Ian Ayre has admitted it took Brendan Rodgers the best part of a season to get used to Liverpool - but is confident his "infectious" enthusiasm equips him to succeed at Anfield now.

Rodgers joined Liverpool from Swansea last summer after two years at the Welsh club, who he led to promotion and then an 11th-place finish in the Premier League.

But he made a slow start at Liverpool, only taking two points from his first five games and being 12th in the table after 17 matches before improved form took the Reds into the top seven.

And Ayre told the Liverpool Echo: "I think it took him most of last year to understand the size of Liverpool Football Club and he said some of this himself in the final couple of months of last season.

"I think coming from Swansea as an ambitious, young, successful manager and stepping into the Liverpool club was overwhelming in terms of size - certainly not in terms of his ability - and I think he felt that as he went through the season he got more and more used to that."

Liverpool took 36 points from the second half of last season and Ayre believes it shows Rodgers is getting the rewards he deserves.

"He had a fantastic second half of the season," Ayre added. "Brendan is a fantastic person to work with. He's quite infectious, a great person to spend time with and he's very personable with the players.

"He never stops working, is always on the phone, very collaborative and we work great as a team here so we're very optimistic about this year.

"We've made some good investments in the transfer window and we will continue to look at that until the end of August."

Liverpool Ready To Snap Up Kevin Gameiro

Liverpool has set their sights on bringing Paris Saint-Germain star Kevin Gameiro to Anfield.

Having missed out on signing Gameiro, who's faded from the picture in Paris since the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, in January the club are now ready to renew their interest.

According to Andalusian newspaper Eldesmarque, the Reds are ready to go head-to-head with Sevilla to land the 26-year-old.

Gameiro has fallen further down the pecking order at the Paris based club since the arrival of Edinson Cavani, who signed for the club on a five-year-deal.

The Spanish had hoped to tie up a deal for the former Strasbourg hitman in the coming weeks, but now face being outbid by the Premier League outfit.

It'll be important for Sevilla to fill the gaping hole left by Manchester City bound Alvaro Negredo, who looks set to sign for The Citizens.

Liverpool Set To Offer £6million For Morata

Liverpool is hoping to continue their Spanish recruitment drive with a deal for Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata.

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has already raided La Liga for Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto this summer, and talented forward Morata is his next target.

According to reports in Spain, Liverpool has approached Madrid to discuss a deal for the 20-year-old, who is highly rated in his homeland.

Liverpool believe they can land the striker for around £6million and are encouraged by his previous comments in which he admitted he would be interested in playing in England.

Morata is expected to decide on his future in the coming days, having met with new Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti for the first time this week.

It was hoped that Ancelotti would be open to giving Morata regular match time next season, but he failed to offer assurances over the future and the player is open to leaving.

Madrid would prefer to include Morata in a possible deal for Luis Suarez, but such a swap is not currently on the table.

Morata has a contract with Madrid until 2015.

Disagreement Over Suarez Clause

Liverpool and Luis Suarez's agent are in disagreement over a reported £40 million clause in the striker's contract, according to the Times.

Suarez signed a new long-term contract with Liverpool last summer, and the Times reports that there is confusion regarding a clause inserted in that deal.

The newspaper claims Liverpool interpret the stipulation as that they "must consider" offers of £40m or more, whereas Suarez's agent, Pere Guardiola, believes such an offer "would effectively trigger his release".

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre recently confirmed to Bloomberg that Arsenal has made an offer for the Uruguay international, with a second bid from the Gunners said to be in the region of £35m.

Real Madrid has also been strongly linked with an interest in the forward, although it is claimed the Liga club have yet to table a bid.

Chelsea Facing Showdown With Arsenal For Suarez

Arsenal and Chelsea's battle to try and lure Luis Suarez away from Liverpool intensified as players from both teams pleaded their case from him to join them.

Gunners’ striker Olivier Giroud has revealed he would welcome the competition for a starting berth if he was to head to north London, and would relish the chance of joining him up-front.

He told L'Equipe: "Luis Suarez is someone with whom I could have a good feeling with on the pitch, so I am for his arrival. I'm not afraid of competition.

"With Arsenal we want to qualify for the Champions League."

Arsenal is seen as a front-runner to snap up the Uruguayan international, having already placed a bid and being able to offer Champions League football this term.

But their not alone in their ambitions for Suarez, and Chelsea have also been linked with the formidable forward.

And Blues centre-back Branislav Ivanovic, who was bitten by Suarez during a game, has also revealed his feeling on the recent rumours.

Liverpool To Miss Out On Bayern Starlet

Liverpool has not made a bid for Bayern Munich player Xherdan Shaqiri.

The German clubs chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has said that the club has not received an offer for the player.

“Nobody has called about Shaqiri,” he was reported as saying in The Express.

Rumours have been swirling about the player, who only joined Bayern last year from FC Basel, due to the fact that he had not experienced much game time due to the competition for places.

Competition that is not going to get any easier, due to the fact that they have since added Mario Gotze and Thiago Alcantara to their squad.

However, the Champions League winners do not want to let the 21-year-old go, and still think he can develop and play a part in any future success.

“Right now there are no plans (to sell), the coach is completely satisfied with him,” continued Rummenigge.

Liverpool turned their radar towards the Swiss international after they lost out on Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Borussia Dortmund last week.

And while Bayern may be interested in a loan deal, Liverpool is unlikely to want to bring in the player on a temporary basis.

The Reds were prepared to offer around £20m to lure the youngster to Merseyside, but that deal appears to be dead before it even came to life.

Shaqiri only started 13 times in the Bundesliga last season, and came off the bench a further 13 times. He managed four goals and five assists in the league.

Lucas Digne To Snub Liverpool For PSG

Lille full back Lucas Digne looks set to join French Champions Paris Saint Germain despite interest from a number of Premier League clubs including Liverpool.

According to talkSPORT, the defender looks poised on signing for the Parisian club for a reported £12 million.

Apparently, the player is due in Paris this week to complete a medical at club.

Liverpool had been interested in bringing the under-20 international to Anfield but the possible move has broken down since the player has opted to stay in France.

Brendan Rodgers was looking to sign Digne as a possible long-term replacement for current full back Jose Enrique.

The defender is already fairly experienced despite only being 19 years old. The youngster has already made 40 appearances in Ligue 1 for Lille.

Despite renewing his contract at Lille until 2016, it seems as though the player is set to depart after only playing two whole seasons with the senior squad.

If Digne signs at PSG he will follow Edison Cavani who also chooses to sign for the French club over the Premier League.

Feyenoord Want Liverpool Winger

Feyenoord manager Ronald Koeman has conceded that he would like to sign Liverpool winger Oussama Assaidi this summer.

The 24-year-old joined the Reds from Heerenveen last year, but he struggled to make an impact at Anfield and made just 12 appearances in all competitions.

Following reports that Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers would be prepared to sell the Moroccan, Koeman has admitted that the winger would be welcome at De Kuip.

"I hope that [the deal] comes around soon. Assaidi is a player who can play in different positions - we just have to wait and see whether this is feasible," he is quoted as saying by AD.

FC Twente is also thought to be monitoring Assaidi's situation.

Liverpool Striker Set For Anfield Exit

Liverpool forward Dani Pacheco is set to leave Anfield after revealing he will not be travelling with Brendan Rodgers' squad for the club's pre-season tour of Asia and Australia.

The Spaniard, who featured in Liverpool's 4-0 friendly win against Preston on Saturday, has struggled to establish himself on Merseyside since joining from Barcelona in 2007.

The 22-year-old was snapped up by former Anfield boss Rafa Benitez and tipped for big things after a string of dazzling performances for the club's reserve side.

However, the striker has managed just 17 senior appearances for the Merseysiders and has been sent out on loan four times in the last three seasons.

Reds boss Rodgers named Pacheco in his 28-man squad for forthcoming matches in Indonesia, Australia and Thailand but the player himself says he will be staying behind to sort out his future.

He tweeted: "Finally not travelling to Asia. Will talk about my future this season in next couple of days. Thank you. YNWA."

Stewart Downing Rules Out Move From Liverpool

Stewart Downing has ruled out a move away from Liverpool after speculation linking him with summer switch.

The 28-year-old was told by Brendan Rodgers that he could leave the club at the start of last season but he managed to force his way back into the manager's plans.

"I'm here to stay. I'm enjoying it, especially last season when I got a good run in the team. Hopefully that will continue, and I need to work hard," he told the Liverpool website.

"I want it to continue. It's why I came here, to play in a successful team."

Downing also spoke on his chances of playing in the World Cup next summer in Brazil should England qualify.

The winger has not featured in any of Roy Hodgson's recent teams but he remains hopeful that he can force his way back into the national side.

"It's been difficult as I've not played for England over the last year or so, but I'd love to play at the World Cup," he added.

"It's a year away and I've got a full season to get in the manager's thoughts. I'll just take every game as it comes and see what happens at the end of the year."

Liverpool begin their Premier League campaign at home to Stoke City on August 17.

Liverpool Jet Into Jakarta To Begin 2013 Summer Tour

Liverpool Football Club has kicked off their 2013 summer tour of Asia and Australia after touching down in Indonesia on Wednesday morning.

The Reds arrived at Jakarta airport after a long-haul flight which departed John Lennon airport shortly after 2.30pm BST on Tuesday afternoon - and they did so in style as Garuda Indonesia supplied an aircraft branded with the LFC logo and the words 'You'll Never Walk Alone'.

The journey included a brief stop in Abu Dhabi, during which those on the aircraft were allowed to enter the terminal to stretch their legs - but Fabio Borini was the only player to take advantage of the opportunity, with many of the squad preferring to grab as much sleep as possible ahead of the 12-day tour, which will also take in Australia and Thailand.

Joining the likes of Brendan Rodgers, Steven Gerrard, Philippe Coutinho and summer signings Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas, Simon Mignolet and Kolo Toure were a number of staff from the club's community department, who will take part in coaching activities with local youngsters throughout the course of the trip.

Also on board was Liverpool's official mascot, Mighty Red, and club ambassadors Ian Rush and Robbie Fowler.

Upon touching down in Jakarta a little before 2pm local time, the travelling party were given a fanatical welcome by hundreds of Indonesian Kopites eager to give their heroes a welcome to remember upon LFC's first ever visit to the country.

After arriving at the team hotel in Jakarta, the players enjoyed a bite to eat and a quick rest. They'll later head out on a stroll to stretch the limbs.

Liverpool will take on an Indonesian XI this Saturday at the Gelora Bung Karno National Stadium. They'll then depart for Australia to face Melbourne Victory on July 24 before wrapping up the trip in Bangkok against the Thailand national team on July 28.