Sunday, July 21, 2013

Match Report: Indonesia All Stars 0 - 2 Liverpool

Liverpool got their pre-season tour off to a winning start as goals from Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling handed them a comfortable 2-0 win over an Indonesia XI in Jakarta.

Coutinho got the Reds going with a 10th-minute opener and Sterling sealed the win two minutes from time as Brendan Rodgers' men prepared to go to Australia to face Melbourne Victory on Wednesday.

They will then round off their tour with a game in Thailand on July 28 before beginning their Barclays Premier League campaign against Stoke on August 17.

Coutinho opened the scoring as he attempted to find new signing Luis Alberto but the ball ended up back at his feet, allowing the Brazilian to slot home underneath goalkeeper Kurnia Meiga.

Stewart Downing then brought a save out of the stopper before Alberto hit the post.

And he was not to be the only newcomer to trouble the woodwork as Iago Aspas hit the bar before the break.

Simon Mignolet did well to save a long-range effort from Sergio Van Dijk but the Reds should have gone two up as Coutinho put a great chance over the bar.

Multiple substitutions came in the last half-hour and Sterling hit the bar twice soon after being introduced.

But he was not to be denied in the 88th minute as he side-footed into an empty net after some good work from Oussama Assaidi and Jordon Ibe.

Coutinho Scores In Liverpool Friendly Victory

Philippe Coutinho scored his second goal of preseason as Liverpool ran out 2-0 winners over an Indonesian XI on their Asian tour.

Coutinho opened the scoring and Raheem Sterling added a second in the final minutes to seal the win for the Reds as they prepare for the upcoming Premier League campaign.

The Brazilian slalomed past two defenders via a fortunate bounce of the ball and coolly slotted a finish past the advancing goalkeeper.

Lucas Leiva was also deployed alongside Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard in what was a comfortable second half.

Both Brazilians made way in the second half in a raft of substitutions and Jordon Ibe's superb run set up Oussama Assaidi to square a pass to Sterling for the second goal.

The Reds will now head to Australia as they prepare to take on Melbourne Victory in the next stage of their preseason tour.

Liverpool Make Ben Arfa Approach

Liverpool has made contact with Newcastle over the signing of Hatem Ben Arfa, according to reports.

The Daily Star cite speculation in L’Equipe when claiming that Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has made an approach for the 26-year-old, who has been linked with a move to Anfield in the past.

Indeed, The Daily Express reported at the end of May that Liverpool were set to go head-to-head with AS Monaco and Spurs in a £10million battle for the player.

Ben Arfa has suffered a number of injury nightmares during his time with Newcastle, who he joined from Marseille in 2011 after a year on loan at St. James’ Park.

During that season-long loan, he suffered a broken leg, but was still snapped up by the Toon for an undisclosed fee.

He impressed the following season when fit for Alan Pardew’s side, but again missed large spells of last term with a hamstring problem.

Rodgers must have seen enough to believe the player can enhance the attack at Liverpool, having already added Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas to the ranks at Anfield.

A 13-cap international with Les Bleus, there is little doubting the winger’s credentials, but keeping him fit would surely be the key if he did move to Merseyside from Tyneside.

Liverpool Drop Interest In Chelsea's Bertrand

Liverpool have dropped their interest in Chelsea defender Ryan Bertrand after baulking at the player’s wage demands, Goal understands

The Reds made an approach to the Londoners for the 23-year-old but were told he would demand a salary package worth more than £60,000-a-week.

Bertrand currently earns £35,000-a-week at Chelsea and is happy at Stamford Bridge having made 38 appearances for the club last season.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers worked with the England international at Chelsea and values his versatility, with Bertrand also comfortable in a midfield role.

But the Reds are no longer pursuing a deal for Bertrand and will look at other options to reinforce their left side ahead of the new season.

Rodgers has already been busy in the transfer market this summer brining in experienced former Arsenal defender Kolo Toure, Belgium goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and La Liga duo Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto.

Liverpool Miss Out On Barcelona Bargain

Cristian Tello is set to sign a new deal with the club which would make the release clause activation in his previous deal null and void.

Liverpool recently missed out on Henrikh Mkhitaryan and it now looks likely they are on the verge of missing out on yet another long-term transfer target.

For the second summer in a row the club has been linked with the same Barcelona player because of an issue with his contract.

A year ago Liverpool was one of many teams linked with the signature of talented Spanish winger Cristian Tello. The pacy forward only had 12 months remaining on his contract at the time and it was rumoured he was unhappy with his lack of first-team football at the club.

Therefore the assumption was made that Barca would cash in on Tello and Liverpool; along with AC Milan and others were linked with a vested interest in the player.

Six months later however and he signed a long-term extension to his deal.

However that new deal had a clause written into it similar to that in Thiago Alcantara’s; and if Tello did not play a certain percentage of games in the season for Blaugrana he would have a release clause activated.

That release clause was just €10 million (approximately £8.5 million) and after Tello did not play the requisite amount of minutes for the club the clause was activated at the end of the season.

Along with the arrival of Neymar it seemed that Tello was finally destined for a Catalan exit; with Liverpool again strongly linked with taking advantage of his contract issues.

Other teams were also mentioned including Borussia Dortmund, Fulham and even Tottenham but it was always Liverpool who headed the running in the media's eye due to the style in which Tello plays being conducive to Brendan Rodgers’ footballing philosophy.

But unfortunately nobody will be signing him.

It seems that Tello will continue to be a Barcelona player for the foreseeable future after reports in Spain suggested he was on the verge of signing a new deal with the club this week which would eliminate such a clause.

For Barcelona it is good news because at just 21-years-old if a team, including Liverpool, could have snapped up Tello for just £8.5 million it would absolutely be a deal that would come back to haunt them a little ways down the line.

Lucky for them his obvious adoration for the club has outweighed any starting ambitions as he will continue to fight for a starting spot amongst one of the best attacking line-ups in world football today.

Lucas Still Hopeful Of Making 2014 World Cup Team

Liverpool's defensive midfielder Lucas Leiva still hopes to be included in the Brazilian squad for the 2014 World Cup.

The midfielder talked with Liverpool's official site about it, he said: "It's a big season for us. We always talk about this.

"We know how difficult it is to be involved with the squad. I was involved before the injuries so I probably feel worse than him, because I was there and very close to making the Confederations and the World Cup.

"Now it's harder, but this season is a last chance to try and impress and get a place in the national squad.

"The World Cup in our country will be amazing. Every international break that you are not involved in becomes harder, but you have to believe until the end."

Reina Set To Join Napoli On Loan

Liverpool's Pepe Reina is set to link up with his former manager Rafael Benítez at Napoli on a season-long loan deal.

The Spanish goalkeeper's place at Anfield had looked increasingly uncertain since Liverpool signed Simon Mignolet for £9m from Sunderland in June and the prospect of having one of the club's highest earners on the bench appears to have forced a decision.

The Spaniard had been given time off after the Confederations Cup and was due to fly to Australia to link up with the Liverpool squad on their pre-season tour. The academy keeper Danny Ward will instead travel to Melbourne as back-up to Mignolet and Brad Jones.

Benítez turned to Reina after being frustrated in his attempts to sign Julio Cesar on a season-long loan deal from Queens Park Rangers.

Partick Snap Up Reds' Mukendi

Partick Thistle have signed Liverpool youngster Henoc Mukendi on loan.

The 19-year-old will remain at Firhill until at least January 1, 2014.

Mukendi has been part of the Liverpool Academy set-up since 2007 and has progressed through the youth ranks at Anfield.

The teenager, who can play as a striker or wide on the left, will be hoping to aid Partick's bid for top flight survival as they prepare for a return to the Scottish Premier League this coming season.

The player's loan is subject to international clearance, but if granted in time he will be part of the squad for tomorrow's friendly with Arbroath at Gayfield.

Conor Coady Close To Joining Sheffield United On Loan

Sheffield United boss David Weir has revealed that the club is close to signing Liverpool midfielder Conor Coady on a six-month loan.

The England Under-20 captain, who made one first-team appearance for the Reds last season, has been branded "a top player" by Weir.

"Conor is a top player, I've seen him a lot and desperate to join us as well. Liverpool have been great to deal with and Brendan Rodgers has been fantastic," Weir told Sky Sports News.

"It benefits both sides, which is what a loan is supposed to do."

It is understood that Sheffield United have beaten a host of Championship clubs to his signature.

Liverpool Extend Standard Chartered Sponsorship Deal

Liverpool have agreed an extension with shirt sponsors Standard Chartered, which will see the international banking group continue sponsorship of the Reds’ shirts until the end of the 2015-16 campaign, according to The Daily Mail.

The north west outfit had been in negotiations with the organization for months relating to an extension, and while no figures in relation to terms have yet been disclosed neither side is thought to have harboured any desire to walk away from the deal.

When the group first took over the shirt sponsorship from Carlsberg in July 2010, Liverpool had just finished second in the Premier League and was Champions League regulars.

Glory on the pitch may have waned somewhat in that time, but optimism remains high at Anfield under the regime of Brendan Rodgers, who has impressed many with his ability to make good deals in a swift fashion in the transfer market.

Liverpool’s chief commercial officer, Billy Hogan, said: “When Standard Chartered first came on board we knew we found a partner that shares our passion for community and desire to make a positive difference.

“We are delighted to announce the extension of our partnership, which shows the belief and continued commitment to the work that we are doing together and the values that we share.”

The club had been linked with a sponsorship agreement with Qatar-based telecom firm Ooredoo, but these links appear to have been of little substance, with both the club and the sponsors reiterating the healthy relationship shared between the two parties.

Group chief executive of Standard Chartered PLC, Peter Sands, also commented on the deal: “Our sponsorship of Liverpool Football Club has proved successful for both parties and we are delighted to be extending our partnership.

“Liverpool is hugely popular in the markets where we do business, and we are excited about the opportunity to continue to work with this fantastic club and their passionate fans.”