Sunday, July 28, 2013

Liverpool Owners Dismiss Sale Suggestions

Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group have denied rumours that the club has been put up for sale.

Reports on Saturday suggested that the American investment company were prepared to pull out of the Premier League, with a Saudi Arabian oil firm believed to be interested in purchasing the Anfield side.

A spokesperson said in a statement released to Press Association Sport: "Fenway Sports Group has made its position clear; Liverpool Football Club is not for sale. There is no truth in this story."

And an FSG spokesperson added: "Like so many rumours in the past about a sale of Liverpool Football Club, there is absolutely no truth in this. We have had no meetings with anyone about a sale, we don't know who the source of the rumour is."

FSG purchased Liverpool from American businessmen Tom Hicks and George Gillett in October 2010 after a fan-led protest movement helped oust the controversial duo.

The Boston-based group has since sacked both Roy Hodgson and Kenny Dalglish, with the latter manager having won the only trophy of their tenure thus far in the form of the 2011-12 League Cup.

FSG have also owned Major League Baseball team the Boston Red Sox since 2002, and oversaw the end of their 82-year wait for a World Series victory in 2004.

Wenger Prepared To Wait For Suarez

Arsene Wenger has broken his silence on Arsenal's pursuit of Luis Suarez, claiming the north London club is "prepared to wait" to sign the Liverpool striker.

The Gunners made an improved 40 million-pound bid for the Uruguay international earlier this week, but with Anfield managing director Ian Ayre confirming the bid was rejected, Arsenal remains a long way away from agreeing a deal.

"We are not close to signing Suarez ... or anyone else," Wenger told reporters in Saitama, Japan.

"We are ready to do quick deals but all the transfers do not depend only on us. We are prepared to wait.

"There is nothing to say [on the Suarez deal]. I have been away now for two or [three] weeks and it’s hard to see how things are advanced because everyone is on tour at the moment and it’s very difficult to get in touch with people.

"It looks very unlikely that we will have anyone before the Emirates Cup next week, but we still have a strong squad."

Although Arsenal has only made one signing this summer, Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer from Auxerre, Wenger is confident his current squad has what it takes to win silverware this season.

"With or without additions we can be title challengers next season," the French boss added.

"What we want is not a name but a good player. The name is less important. What is more important is the quality of the player. At the moment I must tell you we are not close to signing anybody.

"Of course we want to do as many top players as we can, but we also have to focus on the players we have and develop them."

Liverpool Fight Napoli For Martinez

Napoli faces competition from Liverpool for Porto hitman Jackson Martinez, as he’s seen as an alternative to Luis Suarez.

This morning Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis confirmed via Twitter that they were in negotiations with Martinez, who has a price-tag of around €32m.

“With regards to another forward, we have to analyze the strength and the quality of the players that we have with boss Rafael Benitez,” wrote ADL.

“The addition could be Martinez or it could be a lot of other players. Benitez will make the decision.”

However, according to The Sun they face competition for Martinez from Liverpool, who see him as the ideal replacement for Arsenal target Suarez.

The 26-year-old Colombian international scored a remarkable 33 goals in 43 games in all competition for Porto last season.

Liverpool Competing With Everton For Brazilian Left-Back

Liverpool is in direct competition with their local rivals Everton as both clubs step up their interest in Granada left-back Guilherme Siqueira.

The 27-year-old has been linked with a possible move to Real Madrid as the Spanish giants look to find a possible replacement for Fabio Coentrao who is expected to leave the club after a somewhat disappointing stay at the Bernebeu.

However, according to Spanish publication El Ideal de Granada, Liverpool and Everton are also keen to recruit the experienced defender as both clubs look to find cover for their current first choice left-backs.

Everton are concerned that Manchester United will come back in with an improved offer for Leighton Baines; while Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has revealed that he feels he needs cover for Jose Enrique.

Siqueira would be somewhat of a surprise as the Brazilian has been with La Liga minnows Granada for the past three seasons, but his consistent performances have clearly caught the eye.

The left-back has admitted that he will take some time to consider his future but it is unlikely that he would turn down an opportunity to move to Merseyside, as both clubs are expected to challenge for a place in the top six next season.

Granda are believed to have inserted a €25m release clause in the contract Siqueira signed last summer which keeps him at the club until 2017, but it is highly unlikely that either club would be willing to spend this amount on the defender.

While Liverpool is merely seeking a back-up option for Enrique, Everton's need for a left-back could become a priority if United come in with an improved offer for Baines.

They have already had an offer of £12m rejected but with more than a month until the transfer window closes there is a chance that David Moyes could attempt to be reunited with the defender at Old Trafford.

Liverpool Linked Pair Eriksen and Alderweireld Waiting For Transfers

Ajax captain Siem de Jong has revealed that Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld are still firmly thinking of a transfer away from the Dutch champions this summer.

Eriksen and Alderweireld, both of whom have been strongly linked with Liverpool on a consistent basis, while the former also has interest from AC Milan and the latter from Norwich City recently, have just one year left to run on their respective contracts in Amsterdam.

De Jong too has a contractual dilemma, however he has a further year left on his agreement with Ajax.

And while he is not spending too much time musing about a transfer, he revealed Eriksen and Alderweireld are still thinking in terms of moving.

"I talk to them about it. I hope they stay and I have spoken with them", he told AT5.

"For them it is a little bit different.

"They may have to wait a little longer and are slightly more concerned with a transfer than I am."

Ajax coach Frank de Boer has hinted that the pair could spend time on the bench if they remain at the club but do not sign contract extensions.

The odds are still that playmaker Eriksen and defender Alderweireld will be playing their football away from Holland by the time the transfer window slams shut however.

Liverpool Set To Resurrect Papadopolous Interest

Liverpool is ready to resurrect their pursuit of Greece international defender Kyriakos Papadopolous, amid reports of Napoli interest in Anfield centre half Martin Skrtel.

Boss Rodgers has long pursed the Schalke defender, but a troubling knee injury at the end of last season, persuaded him to defer a bid for the £12m-rated player.

Now though, the Greek defender, 21, has recovered sufficiently from the problem to be confident of passing any medical, and with Skrtel interesting his former boss Rafa Benitez, he is earmarked as the ideal replacement.

Rodgers has maintained he wants to sign at least one more defender, especially if he loses any cover at the back, and with Skrtel unlikely to be a first choice regular next season, he will press for a move to Italy.

Liverpool Have Set Their Sights On Speedy Young Winger

Liverpool has done a good job bringing burgeoning talent to Anfield this summer, such as Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto.

Brendan Rodgers has always had a good eye for young talent, and is reinforcing the team to challenge for a top four spot this season.

One of the prodigious talents Rodgers is looking to buy is speedy Porto winger Christian Atsu, who wants a new challenge after spending 5 years at the Estadio do Dragao.

It was understood that Liverpool were leading the race for the Ghanaian winger, but were struggling to reach a fee with Porto.

TalkSPORT reports that Liverpool will have to step up their pursuit due to Benfica joining the race for Atsu.

Porto are said to want 6 million pounds for the winger, and Liverpool need to reach an agreement fast if they want to get their man.

It is now a three way race between Liverpool, Benfica and Sporting Lisbon over Atsu.

The 21-year old winger’s possible arrival to Liverpool is probably a plea to get unsettled striker Luis Suarez to stay.

Some reports indicate that Suarez has plans to submit a transfer request after Arsenal’s latest bid.

Liverpool is set for a tumultuous month, with the Suarez saga set to eclipse Liverpool’s decent reinforcing job over the summer.

Oussama Assaidi Prefers Anderlecht Switch

Liverpool winger Oussama Assaidi is understood to prefer a switch to Belgian giants Anderlecht over Dutch side Feyenoord.

The out-of-favour Morocco international has been targeted by both clubs, who are keen to take him from Anfield in time for the upcoming campaign.

Feyenoord had been looking at a loan deal for Assaidi and the player was ready to return to Holland, where he previously turned out for Heerenveen before signing for Liverpool in 2011.

However, interest from Anderlecht coach John van den Brom has turned the tables.

According to Dutch daily the Algemeen Dagblad, Feyenoord have become aware that Anderlecht are Assaidi’s first choice.

It is at this stage not yet clear whether the Belgian champions are looking to loan or buy the winger.

Assaidi saw first team opportunities at Liverpool limited last season, a situation which is unlikely to change in 2013/14.

Gerrard Stunned By Mind-Blowing Support

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has revealed how both himself and his club's new arrivals have been in awe of the support they have received during over the last week.

Liverpool played in front of an 85,000-strong crowd in Jakarta recently where their team bus was welcomed by hordes of Indonesian supporters sprawled across the streets.

The 32-year-old was also subject to a very over-emotional Liverpool after one female supporter, Sarah Hapsari, wept upon meeting him at the team hotel in Jakarta.

Their next match in Australia was watched by 95,000 in a sold-out Melbourne Cricket Ground as they played Melbourne Victory and ran out 2-0 winners.

Gerrard was also greeted by 5,000 Thai supporters in Bangkok recently where he and Brendan Rodgers paid their respects to the King on Friday night ahead of an upcoming friendly.

The Reds' new arrivals have impressed Gerrard. Iago Aspas, Luis Alberto, Kolo Toure and Simon Mignolet have revelled in the support they have witnessed across the other side of the globe.

The skipper told the club's official website: "The support this time has gone to a new level.

"I've obviously experienced unbelievable support throughout the years but over the course of the three places we've been it's been mind-blowing.

"What's been enjoyable for me is to see the new players' reaction.

"When they sign for Liverpool they know they're signing for a big football club, but when you go to places like Indonesia, Australia and Thailand, you can see on their faces how huge it is." Gerrard said.

"They're blown away by the size of this football club. It hits home then what they need to do to become regulars at this football club."

Rodgers Backs Toure To Fill Carragher’s Boots

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers says he doesn’t need to add another player to his defence this summer thanks to the ‘terrific’ form of Kolo Toure.

The Ivorian moved to Anfield earlier this summer on a free transfer, as Rodgers looked to add experience to his defensive line following the retirement of club stalwart Jamie Carragher.

And the Reds boss says 32-year-old Toure has been in such good form he doesn’t need to worry about bolster his back-line any further before the new season.

‘Defensively, I think we’ll be fine,’ Rodgers said.

‘Kolo has been terrific since he came in here. He may be 32 years of age but he’s super fit and in great condition.

‘He’s a player who has looked after himself all his life. His age is no barrier and he’s someone with a winning mentality.

‘We have a number of other outstanding centre-halves in Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel. We also have an up-and-coming top talent in Andre Wisdom who will be a very good centre-half for Liverpool in the future. And we still have Sebastian Coates too.’

Meanwhile Toure, drafted in to replace Carragher as an experienced head at the back, admits it will be tough for him to fill the former England international’s boots at this season.

‘I’m still really hungry for more. I still think I can bring more in football,’ he said.

‘This season is going to be massive for me. I will just try to show that I am still one of the best defenders. For a defender, 32 is nothing and physically I feel great.

‘It’s hard [to replace Carragher] because Jamie is Jamie. He was a fantastic player for Liverpool and in his time here, he was amazing.

‘For me, I just like to try to do things my way and I will try to do what I can, but I think it’s going to be really difficult to replace him. I will give my all and it’s going to be a great challenge for me.’

Peterson Hits Another U21s Winner

Kristoffer Peterson scored the only goal of a Liverpool U21s victory for the second time this week on Saturday as Alex Inglethorpe's side downed Hearts 1-0 at The Oval in Northern Ireland.

The Swede handed the U21s a 1-0 win over hosts Glentoran in midweek and proved the difference today too, latching onto a pass from Nacho and spinning his marker to smartly convert after 64 minutes.

Hearts, featuring former Reds defender Danny Wilson, provided a stern test for Inglethorpe's team - although they had earlier opportunities to take the lead through Peterson and Daniel Trickett-Smith.

But the single strike was enough for the young Reds to record a second victory in two pre-season fixtures so far this summer. They return to action next Saturday, August 3, against Real Sociedad in Spain with kick-off to be confirmed.