Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Five Liverpool Players Out Injured

Liverpool has flown out to Norway for Wednesday’s pre-season friendly with Valerenga without Luis Suarez, Glen Johnson, Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel who have all received knocks.

Johnson, Agger and Skrtel are being rested back on Merseyside “as a precaution”, according to a statement issued by the club earlier today.

Meanwhile Suarez will undergo a scan on his foot after sustaining an injury during Monday’s open training session at Anfield.

Daniel Sturridge also doesn’t travel, as expected, as he continues his full recovery from the ankle injury sustained whilst on international duty in May. Sturridge did however train with his teammates for the first time yesterday.

The Liverpool squad that travels to Norway is: Jones, Enrique, Toure, Alberto, Gerrard, Aspas, Coutinho, Assaidi, Henderson, Coates, Downing, Spearing, Lucas, Mignolet, Allen, Borini, Sterling, Kelly, Flanagan, Ibe, Wisdom.

No doubt the non-inclusion of Suarez in the squad will further fuel the British media’s pursuit of a good transfer story, with the Uruguayan still linked with a big money exit from Anfield this summer.

Brendan Rodgers will be hoping his squad can continue their 100% record in this summer’s pre-season games, having won five from five so far and clean sheets in all.

The Reds face Valerenga, who are currently seventh in the Norwegian Tippeligaen on Wednesday. They then face Celtic in Dublin on Saturday in their final warm-up game before the Premier League kicks off on Saturday, 17th August.

Allen Hails Striking Options

Midfielder Joe Allen believes Liverpool is now better equipped to deal with the absence of last season's leading goalscorer Luis Suarez.

The Uruguay international, who has told the club he wants to play in the Champions League, is suspended for the first six games of this season as his 10-match ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic is carried over.

There is also the prospect the 26-year-old will not still be at the club come next month as he has been the subject of two failed bids from Arsenal - the last being an offer of £40million plus £1 which they thought would trigger a sale clause.

While Liverpool have remained steadfast in their stance that Suarez is not for sale, speculation about his future refuses to go away, with legal action and Premier League arbitration reported to be possible routes his advisors are exploring.

Allen, unlike captain Steven Gerrard who has told Suarez he wants him to stay, has steered clear of becoming involved in the saga.

"I think there are individual situations and as players you just get on with it," he told Press Association Sport.

"You keep your nose out. We are all waiting to see what will happen."

But the Wales international feels there are more goals in the side now than 12 months ago to lessen the impact should Suarez depart. At the start of last season Suarez, who finished the campaign with 30 goals, almost single-handedly carried the club as their only senior striker after Andy Carroll was loaned to West Ham and a last-minute deal for Clint Dempsey fell through.

This summer manager Brendan Rodgers has brought in attacking reinforcements early, securing the services of Celta Vigo forward Iago Aspas and Sevilla midfielder Luis Alberto, and is currently pursuing a £21.8million deal for Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa.
"Maybe that was a slight problem last year in that we didn't quite get the players we wanted in time and it left the squad a bit bare at times," Allen added.

"There were a lot of games, especially early on in the season, when we didn't quite get the breakthrough goal.

"But with the quality that has been brought in to add to the quality we already have, you can see the attacking way we want to play and we are reaping the rewards of that.

"This season we have had the chance to get players in early, which has been great to allow us to have a full pre-season working together.

"If we have any injuries or suspensions we have players who can step in and do the job just as well, so I think the signs are really positive in those regards."

Allen himself was on target in Gerrard's testimonial victory over Olympiacos on Saturday and could easily have had a first-half hat-trick.

Having begun his first season at the club positively his performances tailed off as a shoulder problem got progressively worse and he eventually underwent surgery in March which prematurely ended his campaign.

It did, however, allow him to come back in plenty of time for pre-season and he feels he has benefited from that.

"It has been different. Obviously I've had the chance to have the full pre-season this year because I missed the tour last year (having signed just a week before the new season started)," he said.

"I got a goal and things went quite well on Saturday, although I missed a couple of chances.

"I'd like to think there are a couple of positions I can offer something in so when I get my chance to play whatever position I need to show I can perform and do the job.

"There is massive competition for places in the squad and that is what you want as it as it always brings out the best in everyone.

"You know if you are off your game slightly there is someone waiting in the wings to take your spot."

Liverpool has won all five of their pre-season friendlies and is yet to concede a goal.

They face Valerenga in Norway on Wednesday before heading to Dublin to play Celtic in their final warm-up ahead of the season starting at home to Stoke.

"From the team's point of view we've had a successful tour and some great performances and results in friendlies," Allen said.

"It's an exciting time for the club and everyone involved."

Liverpool Boss Excited About Sturridge Return

Brendan Rodgers is eagerly anticipating the return to full fitness of striker Daniel Sturridge ahead of the new Premier League season.

Sturridge picked up an ankle injury towards the end of last season during England’s friendly with the Republic of Ireland but having missed out on much of pre season the Reds boss is looking forward to his strikers return.

"Thankfully Daniel had his first training session (on Monday) with the team and I thought he looked very sharp," he said in The Times and was quoted on Sky Sports.

"He obviously had an injury at the end of the season which set him back, but he's worked very hard along with the medical guys who have done a great job with him.

"He's played no part in the pre-season so you put him in at the top end of the field with his pace, power and his quality and we are able to add something more to the group as well.

"So it all bodes well for us for the beginning of the season and sets us up nice and solid and exciting for the first game."

If the speculation around Luis Suarez’s future does come to fruition and he was to join Arsenal this summer then Sturridge’s fitness concerns will be move vital to Brendan Rodgers.

Having moved to Merseyside in January this year the England striker grabbed himself 11 goals before the season closed.

Luis Suarez Holding Out For Real Madrid Move

Liverpool forward Luis Suarez is thought to be holding out for a dream move to Real Madrid according to reports.

The 26-year-old Uruguayan has been trying to engineer a move to Arsenal who saw their £40m plus £1 bid rejected by the Reds earlier this month.

The Suarez saga has been dragging on for a while, and he has already stated he wishes to join a team competing in the Champions League.

But now it seems that Real could be in the driving seat for Suarez.

According to The Evening Standard, Suarez is prepared to seek legal clarification from the Premier League over his position in a bid to resurrect interest from the Spanish powerhouses.

It is also thought that there is a growing belief in Suarez's camp that Real will revive their interest should the Premier League rule in his favour.

Brendan Rodgers has hardened his stance on Suarez, saying he is not for sale even though the club values him north of £50m.

Real are yet to table a formal offer, but this could cause them to re-think their plans.

Suarez is Arsenal's main priority after missing out on Gonzalo Higuain who joined Napoli.

Fiorentina To Battle Everton And Liverpool For Verona Starlet

Fiorentina is ready to compete with Everton and Liverpool in an attempt to sign Hellas Verona midfielder Jorginho.

The versatile midfielder has attracted interest from a host of clubs with Premier League duo Liverpool and Everton particularly keen to land the player’s signature.

However, the Viola have now entered the race and are considering a move for the 21-year-old to add to the club’s options in midfield, especially as Adem Ljajic’s future at the club is still in doubt.

The Brazilian born player, who has opted to play for Italy and already has one cap for the Under 21 side, could be tempted with an offer to stay within the peninsula.

However, the club face must act quickly if they are to sign the Verona starlet, as Everton have made the first approach for the player with a €9 million bid according to Sportitalia.

Jorginho has made 77 appearances and scored four goals during his two seasons with Gialloblu.

Liverpool To Off-Load Winger

Liverpool FC is prepared to off-load Stewart Downing at a massive loss with Newcastle United having been told they can sign him for a cut-price £5million.

The winger's representatives have been contacted by the North East outfit to confirm their interest and find out whether he would be keen on a move to St James' Park.

Downing, who cost the Reds £20million from Aston Villa two years ago, has asked for some time to consider his options.

The 29-year-old had no intention of leaving Anfield after being reassured by Brendan Rodgers earlier in pre-season that he remained part of his plans.

However, he now intends to hold talks over his future after learning of Liverpool's willingness to sell him on.

Downing played in Liverpool's opening three friendlies against Preston, Indonesia and Melbourne Victory but has been an unused substitute in the past two games against Thailand and Olympiacos.

Philippe Coutinho, Iago Aspas, Raheem Sterling and Jordon Ibe have all been selected ahead of him in the wide attacking roles.

Downing, who was the subject of interest from West Ham last month, wants to stay put and fight for his place. However, if he's informed he's not going to feature then he will reluctantly agree to a transfer.

Having battled so hard to establish himself as a first-team regular in the second half of last season, the England international doesn't want to go back to life warming the bench.

Downing, who has two years left on his contract, was told by Rodgers last November he could leave in the January transfer window but responded by kick-starting his Anfield career and played a key role in Liverpool's revival.

“I feel settled now,” he said recently. “The first year at Liverpool was difficult but once I established myself in the team last season I really enjoyed it.

“That's why I don't want to leave. If you are playing with good players in a good team then you don't want to lose that.”

Liverpool Tell Napoli To Meet Skrtel Valuations

Liverpool has said they will only sell defender Martin Skrtel to Napoli if they reach their valuations of £12million with a reunion between the Slovakian and Rafa Benitez becoming increasingly likely.

The Daily Mail report that Benitez is ready to step up the chase for his former Liverpool signing but is only considering a loan deal for the defender, similar to that of Pepe Reina who joined Napoli last month.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has been linked with several defenders this summer and the Daily Mail believes Skrtel’s future may lie in the hands of Barcelona as they continue to show interest in Daniel Agger.

Liverpool signed Kolo Toure from Manchester City earlier this summer and Skrtel could be forced to compete for a place in the first eleven despite having been Liverpool’s dependable defender over the past few seasons.

His first team appearances slipped last season and he will be sure to get a lot of playing time if he joins back up with Benitez who signed him for Liverpool in 2008.

Liverpool Deal For Melgarejo Falls Through

Liverpool's bid to sign Benfica defender Lorenzo Melgarejo has fallen through due to problems over a work permit, according to talkSPORT.

The 22-year-old Paraguayan was expected to be the latest addition to Brendan Rodgers' squad at Anfield, but the move has collapsed after he failed to secure a work permit to play in England.

The Benfica star has not played enough matches for the Paraguay national team to qualify for a permit - he's only made one appearance for his country.

The report claims Rodgers will now turn his attention elsewhere, but will continue his search for competition for current first-choice full-back Jose Enrique.

Promising youth team player Jack Robinson has joined Blackpool on loan, opening up a space in the Liverpool squad for a player to challenge the Spanish left-back for a starting berth.

Melgarejo was expected to join Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto - the recent Liverpool signings - on Merseyside, but the Reds will now look at two other full-backs instead.

Top of the shortlist is Valencia left-back Aly Cissokho, while another La Liga star - Guilherme Siqueira from Granada - has also been linked with the Anfield club.

Anderlecht Deny Bid To Take Liverpool Flop

Anderlecht has NOT reached an agreement with Liverpool over the transfer of Oussama Assaidi.

The Morocco international failed to make an impact on Merseyside following a move from Heerenveen last summer and he is surplus to requirements at Anfield.

Assaidi, who has also been linked with Feyenoord and Utrecht in recent weeks, made just six appearances in all competitions under Brendan Rodgers.

And reports earlier this week claimed Anderlecht had struck a £2.6m deal with the Reds to sign the winger - but the Belgian giants insist this is not the case.

Krisztian Adorjan Hopes For Groningen Impact

Liverpool forward Krisztian Adorjan says he hopes that a loan spell with Dutch side Groningen can put him in good stead to push for a first-team place at Anfield in the future.

The 20-year old joined the Reds as a youth player in 2009, but has spent the majority of his time on Merseyside playing in the under-21s.

With the arrival of Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto this summer, chances were likely to have been limited again this season, and Adorjan says it is important that he gets a taste of first-team football.

"Erwin van de Looi told me after my first friendly game in Groningen that he'd like to sign me," the Hungarian told Nemzeti Sport.

"Liverpool sign complete footballers for their first team, it's not impossible but very difficult to get in next to Luis Suarez or Steven Gerrard.

"I outgrew the second team so I'm happy that I signed to Holland and I can show myself in the first team of a first division team. It's important that I can go on with my development here."

Adorjan also admitted that he was keen to follow in the footsteps of some of the players to have starred for Groningen down the years, including Liverpool team-mate Luis Suarez.

"I'm prepared for the city and the club. This was Luis Suarez' first club in Europe and Arjen Robben and Erwin Koeman also played here."