Friday, August 02, 2013

Rodgers Won’t Buy For The Sake Of It

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has said he won’t be spending Liverpool’s transfer budget just for the sake of getting in new players.

Liverpool has spent £25million on four players so far this summer rather than throwing big money at one player as in previous years.

Now Rodgers has said he will only spend the money available to him if the quality player he is looking for is there, Sky Sports report.

Speaking to LFC TV Rodgers said: "They have to be of the right quality, that's the bottom line.”

"We've got money to spend on getting that quality in but if it's not available I won't waste it for the sake of bringing a player in.

"We're really working hard to bring in the type of profile that can really help us push on."

So far Rodgers has brought in Iago Aspas, Simon Mignolet, Luis Alberto and Kolo Toure but it seems he is in no hurry to add to that list.

The debate over Suarez’ transfer goes on and Liverpool continues to be linked with players around Europe, but Rodgers is focusing on his own players, speaking about Raheem Sterling and Simon Mignolet.

"He [Sterling] has reminded me of what he was last summer, but he has got a little bit more personality now he has had a year's experience. At 18, he has looked really good."

"Simon Mignolet has been first-class. He has shown that he is one of the top young goalkeepers in European football.

"I think he will prove over the next coming years at Liverpool that he is a top goalkeeper," Rodgers added.

Liverpool hasn’t qualified for the Champions league since the 2009/10 season and faces a year out of Europe for the second time in three seasons.

Gerrard Urges Suarez To Stay

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has urged unsettled striker Luis Suarez to stay with the club for one more season to help them regain their UEFA Champions League status.

Gerrard described Suarez as "the best footballer I've ever played with" to the Daily Telegraph, launching a renewed plea for the Uruguayan to spurn moves from Arsenal to sign him. "I'd say to Luis: 'Give it one more year, see if we can achieve that'," Gerrard said.

Gerrard also said Liverpool needed to invest in a world-class defender and forward to bolster a squad which finished seventh last season. "This club needs to make one or two big signings if we are to compete for the top four - and keep Suarez. Alongside Gareth Bale, Luis is the third best player in the world after Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Luis and Bale are the two hottest properties out there at the moment," Gerrard said.

"When you're in that position, you're going to get all kinds of teams wanting to pull you away, especially when you are at a club not in the Champions League. It's nothing to do with the British media (criticizing Suarez). Knowing the guy as I do that's probably the thing on his mind: wanting to be in the Champions League."

Gerrard, 33, was speaking ahead of his testimonial match on Saturday against Greek champions Olympiakos, who were the opposition when the midfielder scored a spectacular goal in a Champions League game in 2004. "If Luis experiences Champions League football here he'll love it. They'll be some of the best nights in his career. To play Champions League football in front of our fans is special. It's an awful lot bigger than doing it at other clubs."

Gerrard said he did not believe Arsenal would be a "step up" for Suarez, despite the fact that Arsene Wenger's team have qualified for the Champions League in the upcoming season. "I don't think Arsenal is a step up. Us, Arsenal and Tottenham are fighting for one of the Champions League places. In an ideal scenario we keep Suarez, make one or two more signings and Tottenham lose Bale.

"Of course, we're slightly behind the big three (Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea), who are powerhouses at the moment. I don't want to disrespect Arsenal. They're a wonderful club with a manager who I've an awful amount of respect for and they have talented players throughout the team. But so have we. We've got just as good a chance of achieving things as Arsenal have."

Arsenal is believed to be preparing a renewed bid in excess of £40 million ($61 million) for the prolific Suarez, who has scored 51 goals in 96 appearances for Liverpool.

Andre Ayew Wants To Hold Liverpool Talks Soon

Liverpool is on red alert for Andre Ayew who has expressed a desire to hold talks with the club.

The 23-year-old, who had previously rejected his desire to leave the Stade Velodrome has had a change of heart after being played out of position.

Marseille's president Vincent Labrune emphatically stated earlier this week that Ayew is not for sale, saying: "Let me be clear: I am counting on all the players who are here."

A cluster of clubs including the Reds and AC Milan have been keeping an eye on Ayew, and it seems the Ghanaian is willing to enter into talks.

Ayew stressed his desire to join his childhood club Liverpool last month.

"It's a league (the Premier League) every player dreams about," Ayew said.

"I speak English, and the English league is the one most followed here in Ghana. It's true that I have a real preference for England.

"I have a little preference for the Reds. I've always followed them ever since I was little, Liverpool, and Real Madrid."

Ayew weighed in with nine goals for Marseille in Ligue 1 last term.

Liverpool Make £21.8m Bid For Diego Costa

Liverpool has bid €25m (£21.8m) for the Atlético Madrid striker Diego Costa as the manager, Brendan Rodgers, looks to add quality to his squad before the transfer deadline.

The Anfield club has moved for the twice-capped Brazil international despite ongoing uncertainty over Luis Suárez's future and having been frustrated on several big-money signings this summer. Liverpool's offer is understood to meet the release clause in Costa's contract and the club is hopeful the 24-year-old, and Atlético, will agree to a deal swiftly. Arsenal, the only club to have made an offer for Suárez, has also been linked with the Brazilian this summer.

Costa is a controversial figure in Spain with a chequered disciplinary record but enjoyed his most productive campaign at Atlético last season, scoring 10 goals in 31 league appearances and a total of 20 goals in 44 games. He had been expected to play a bigger role at Vicente Calderón this season following the departure of Radamel Falcao to Monaco. However, the arrival of David Villa and Léo Baptistão cast doubt on his claims to a regular first-team place and the coach, Diego Simeone, has indicated Atlético would consider allowing Costa to leave too.

Rodgers is determined to improve Liverpool's attack irrespective of whether Suárez stays or goes, and with the club refusing to countenance his sale to Arsenal for a sum of £40,000,001. Arsenal have not returned with a higher offer since their second bid was rejected more than a week ago and the striker has not sought Premier League intervention over a disputed clause in his Liverpool contract.

Barcelona Continue Seesaw Over Agger

Barcelona is reportedly ready to make a bid for Liverpool defender Daniel Agger after a year of interest that has yet to mount to anything.

Agger has been on Barcelona’s radar for a while and it seems the interest has not died with the arrival of Gerardo Martino as manager.

The La Liga champions are lining up a possible move for the Danish international with Martino keen to strengthen Barcelona’s defence, the Daily Star reports.

According to the article, Martino believes Agger will suit Barcelona’s playing style but is wary of paying too much for the centre back.

It won’t be easy, however, with Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers desperate to keep Agger after the retirement of Jamie Carragher and the future of Martin Skrtel in the air.

Agger has played at Liverpool since 2006, racking up over 150 Premier League appearances for the club, including 35 of the 38 matches last season.

Napoli Push To Take Martin Skrtel On Loan

Napoli is pushing ahead with plans to sign Slovakian international defender Martin Skrtel on loan from Liverpool.

Former Reds boss Rafael Benitez is keen to snap up Skrtel, who grew unhappy at Anfield in the second half of last season as manager Brendan Rodgers preferred Jamie Carragher ahead of the Slovak.

Napoli has already raided Liverpool once this summer, taking goalkeeper Pepe Reina on a season-long loan.

Now the Serie A side would like to follow that up with a similar loan deal for Skrtel, with reports in Italy placing the defender close to Napoli.

Indeed, it has been suggested that Skrtel has even agreed personal terms with Benitez’s men, according to SportMediaSet, while a loan fee of €2m, with an option to buy for €10m, has been mooted.

Napoli has been splashing the cash this summer following the sale of Edinson Cavani to Paris Saint-Germain for €64.5m.

Benitez has already captured Reina, Rafael, Raul Albiol, Jose Callejon, Dries Mertens and Gonzalo Higuain.

Southampton Youngster Turns Down Liverpool

Southampton youngster Calum Chambers has turned down Liverpool in favour or penning a four year deal at St Mary’s.

Saints have secured the foreseeable future of many of their starlets coming through their academy in hope that they don’t move on just as the likes of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gareth Bale have done.

James Ward-Prowse, Lloyd Isgrove, Jordan Turnbull and Jack Stephens have all signed new contracts during the past 12 months.

Highly-rated left-back Luke Shaw has also recently agreed a new deal and 18-year-old Chambers has now followed suit.

Chambers told the club’s official website, "It's fantastic – it's like my dream, really," said a delighted Chambers after putting pen to paper.

"I've been at the Club since I was so young, so this is a great feeling. I've been here since I was seven and I've been treated really well so it means the world.

"The Club has a great set-up and it's going through a really good time at the moment. There are going to be big things from Southampton in the future.

"I've always wanted to play for the First Team at this club, and this is another step towards that," he continued.

"I'd like to push myself into the First Team and to prove myself there. I went out [to Spain and Austria] to prove a point because I feel I'm ready, and hopefully I have done that.

"There is a pathway from the Academy for everyone, and hopefully I'm showing that now so I really want to step on.”

Whilst boss Mauricio Pochettino added, "I'm delighted to see another young player commit their future to the Club.

"Calum has shown in his performances in pre-season that he is more than capable of performing at this level, and we hope that this commitment allows him to push on and thrive within the First Team environment.

"He settled into the group nicely during our training camp, demonstrating his maturity off the pitch as well as his quality and potential on it while playing against a good standard of opposition.

"From the beginning of my time at Southampton, Nicola [Cortese, Executive Chairman] spoke to me of his project of bringing young talented players through the Academy and into the First Team, and that was something that really appealed to me.

"To now see Calum – along with many others – make that step up pays great testament to the hard work that goes on here that is driven from the very top."

The Daily Star reported that Liverpool was interested in snaring Chambers.

Schalke Deny Liverpool Bid For Papadopoulos

Schalke has denied reports that Liverpool have made a bid for Greek defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos but are willing to listen to offers if and when they are made.

Papadopoulos has been touted to join Liverpool despite major injury problems last season that could become a long-term issue for Liverpool should he join.

It has been widely reported that Liverpool have made a move for the defender but Schalke’s general manager Horst Heldt has denied such claims, Sky Sports report.

Brendan Rodgers seems set on bringing Papadopoulos to Anfield to tighten up a defence that lost experienced Jamie Carragher to retirement at the end of last season.

However, Heldt has rubbished such reports stating there have been no offers whatsoever for him.

"There is no truth in those rumours," Heldt told Reviersport.

"There is no offer put up for the services of Kyriakos Papadopoulos. Not from Liverpool FC or any other club.

"In case we receive a written transfer offer for his services we would sit down and discuss that with him."

Papadopoulos has had a strong career at Schalke but is looking to break into the Premier League, something only possible if he manages to avoid lengthy periods out through injury.

Heldt insisted that Papadopoulos was recovering well from a knee injury that has kept him out since November.

"Papa is making good progress after his knee injuries and we hope to see him back fit soon. He is fully inside our future plans,” Heldt added.

Liverpool Defender Robinson Joins Blackpool On Loan

Liverpool defender Jack Robinson has joined Championship side Blackpool on a season-long loan.

The 19-year-old becomes Paul Ince's fifth summer signing following the arrivals of Michael Chopra, Steven Davies, Bobby Grant and Gary Mackenzie.

Robinson made his debut for Liverpool in 2010, then becoming the club's youngest ever player, but has struggled to maintain a regular first-team berth, achieving just 10 further appearances since.

The full-back joined Wolves on loan for the second half of last season as the club was relegated to League One.

Liverpool holds the right to recall Robinson, who also featured for Stuart Pearce's England Under-21s at the European Championship this summer, within 28 days of his departure.

Lucas Leiva Hails Liverpool Teammate Coutinho

Lucas Leiva believes that Liverpool will continue to strengthen before the transfer window closes in September.

The Brazilian says the Reds are going through a 'restructuring' period and says they have recruited well so far.

"I think we will have a few more signings to improve our squad. The club is going through a restructuring process, with young players, but with experience," Lucas told UOL.

"In the case of Coutinho, he joined the team very well. He's had a big season since he arrived in January. It shows that the young players are evolving every year and adding to the staff.

"Liverpool has gambled and it has worked. Sometimes the process is a little slower, but our team is strong enough to return to play in the Champions League, which is something the club wants to achieve in the coming years.

"I talked a lot with Philippe before he signed with Liverpool, the coach asked me to speak with him, if I could lend a hand.

"I had contacted Philippe at the time, then just talked and he decided to come here, where he would have more opportunities to play, would be a major player within the team, something that unfortunately he did not have many chances at Internazionale.

"He has already shown his value. My role was to help him adapt to the city, especially with small things, finding a home because he is a young player who does not speak the language.

"I also came at a very young age, so I know he needs this kind of help, because he comes from another country, does not speak the language, and just taking a little longer to adapt."

Shoot-Out Glory For 10-Man Reds

Liverpool U17s are through to the final of the premier Milk Cup Globe after winning a tense penalty shoot-out against Brazilian side Corinthians.

The Reds were held to a 1-1 draw in normal time. Harry Wilson gave them the lead from the penalty spot on 27 minutes after he was fouled inside the area.

Shortly after the interval, however, full-back Sam Hart was shown a straight red card for a challenge out near the left touchline and Mike Garrity's team were forced to play with 10 men for the remainder of the semi-final.

They showed a huge amount of discipline to keep the Brazilians at bay for most of the second half, but their defence was eventually breached by a fine passing move, which was finished coolly by Miullen Natha with 15 minutes to go.

No extra-time was played and it was straight to penalties. Pedro Chirivella, Tom Brewitt and Louis Robles all converted for the Reds, but Adam Phillips and Dave Roberts missed theirs, so the shoot-out went to sudden death.

Wilson stepped up to send the 'keeper the wrong way and edge the Reds in front, before Pablo Victor Pires cannoned his effort against the crossbar, meaning Liverpool won 4-3 in the shoot-out.

LFC Partners With EA SPORTS

Liverpool Football Club has announced a new three-year partnership with Electronic Arts Inc that will make EA SPORTS the club's official football video gaming partner from the start of the 2013-14 Barclays Premier League season.

Through the partnership, EA SPORTS will give Liverpool fans the opportunity to play FIFA 14 at Anfield for selected fixtures throughout the season. EA SPORTS Goal of the Month will also offer fans the chance to upload their best FIFA 14 goals for an opportunity to win great prizes all season long.

Billy Hogan, chief commercial officer at Liverpool FC, said: "We are thrilled to have EA SPORTS, one of the world's leading sports entertainment brands, as our new partner. We know that so many of our Liverpool family, including fans and players, play EA SPORTS FIFA regularly so this new partnership will help bring the club closer to our fans in innovative new ways."

Jamie McKinlay, VP marketing at EA SPORTS, added: "We have over half a million registered LFC fans playing FIFA 13 and they all want to see authentic representation of their favourite Liverpool players in FIFA 14. We're looking forward to delivering that authenticity, as well as a wide range of new and engaging initiatives for this historic club and its fans."

EA SPORTS has captured 360 degree 3D digital head scan images of the Liverpool team, ensuring stunning accurate visuals of players including Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho, which will be featured in FIFA 14 when it releases on September 27. It will be available on the Xbox 360® games and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, and PC in the UK, as well as later on Xbox One®, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, and PlayStation®4.