Friday, August 23, 2013

Coutinho Could Be As Big As Dalglish

Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho has received a whole host of compliments since joining Liverpool in January but former Liverpool player Peter Beardsley has trumped them all, stating he could be on a par with legend Kenny Dalglish.

In his short time at Liverpool Coutinho has won the praise of the fans and the critics with quick feet, great ball control and the ability to create chances.

Beardsley, who played in the Liverpool team of the late 1980s that won the First Division title in 87/88 and 89/90, has said the Brazilian is a better player than he ever was and could even be as big as Dalglish if he fulfills his potential.

“I love Coutinho. He is outstanding and has unbelievable ability,” Beardsley told the Liverpool Echo.

“He’s better than I ever was and I really mean that. He’s miles better than me.

“If he stays here for a long time he’s got a chance of being as big as Kenny – that kind of stature.

“I look at his ability and I think he could be the new Kenny Dalglish. He is a very special player.”

Beardsley now works as football development manager at Newcastle and remembers watching the 21-year-old at St James’ Park last season.

“I watched him closely that day and he ran the game against us.

“It was a smart signing by Brendan [Rodgers]. I don’t think anyone saw it coming and he was a real bargain.”

Speaking of Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, Beardsley believes Suarez will be forgiven by the fans and will come back after his ban as if he was a new signing.

“With the likes of Kenny and Kevin Keegan some special players have worn that No 7 shirt and I hope Suarez is wearing it this season,” he added.

“The healing process is underway and I think the fans will forgive him. He’s going to be like a new signing when he has served his ban.”

Agger Looks To Gerrard For Guidance

Daniel Agger has hailed the influence of Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard and says he will follow the midfielder's example after being made vice-captain.

The centre-back, who has been linked with a move to Barcelona in recent weeks, succeeded the recently retired Jamie Carragher for the new season, while goalkeeper Pepe Reina joined Napoli on loan.

And Agger is aware of the responsibilities that come with the armband, and sees Gerrard as the perfect inspiration to follow.

"I always have responsibility, no matter if you're vice-captain or not," Agger told the club's official website. "You have to always be there, always be at the front and, of course, try to help some of the young players.

"Now I have been here for almost eight years and Stevie has been the captain all the way. He is an amazing captain: he is the one I will look at.

"Not only in his football skills, because that speaks for itself, but the person he is and the way he treats people - he's just the best.

"It's the same in every single football team, in every single job - when somebody goes, somebody new has to take over. It has been like that forever. So there's nothing new there. Over the years, the players have changed a lot.

Agger, though, is confident he can shine when the opportunity arises, having captained Denmark of late - an achievement he describes as the pinnacle of a player's career.

He continued: "When I play for Denmark and I'm the captain for Denmark, I've learned a lot in the last 10 years of my career.

"I'm trying to take the best part of all the good things, also from Stevie, and put it together in the way I want to do it. I think that's the best way to describe that.

"It's the biggest thing you can achieve at international level, being captain of your country. Every time I put that armband on, it makes me proud.

"You learn something all the time and when you put that armband on, something happens to you. It's difficult to describe but it's a good thing."

Rodgers Disappointed To Miss Out On Willian

Brendan Rodgers has warned Liverpool they must get over the disappointment of being beaten to the punch by Tottenham to the signing of Willian from Anzhi Makhachkala.

Liverpool looked on course to make the Brazilian their marquee summer signing before Spurs swooped to agree a deal believed to be worth around £30 million with Anzhi.

Willian is believed to have completed his medical and will be announced as a Spurs player soon, but Rodgers says Liverpool cannot afford to dwell on the near miss as they try to improve their squad ahead of a push for a top-four finish.

“This is Liverpool football club and we're trying to get the best players we possibly can and if we can't get them in, then we have to move on," he said.

“If you're going to climb the league, then you have to get the best players you possibly can to help you and that are our aim.

“Of course, if you don't get the player you want, then there's always that initial disappointment, but you can't dwell on it.”

Rodgers went on to reveal that signing a new centre-back is his priority, and added that with 11 days to go until the close of the transfer window he still hopes to seal the arrival of a few new faces.

“There's still a chunk of the window left and we got a lot of our business done early on, which was good. If we can finish off in these remaining days and get players in that can help us, it would end a very good window for us.”

Liverpool has endured a frustrating summer in the transfer market despite the arrival of five new players, the latest of which being Aly Cissokho on loan from Valencia.

They originally targeted Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Shakhtar Donetsk but he opted to join Borussia Dortmund, while a bid for Diego Costa eventually resulted in the striker signing a new deal with Atletico Madrid.

Mamadou Sakho Tells PSG He Wants Anfield Transfer

Liverpool is hopeful of pulling off the signing of defender Mamadou Sakho after he told PSG he is desperate to move to Anfield this summer.

Brendan Rodgers is keen to add another centre back to his squad before the transfer window shuts on September 2, and Sakho is a key target.

The Reds have already approached PSG to discuss a deal, but their opening offer of £8million was rejected, with the French club speaking to other clubs about the player.

However, Sakho has made it clear to PSG this week that Liverpool is the only club he is interested in joining, and had ordered them to let him move to Merseyside.

Liverpool has so far failed to return with a new offer for the 23-year-old, but his agent has briefed Rodgers that a bid of around £12million would be enough to do business.

Sakho currently scoops around £60,000-a-week at PSG, which is topped up further with large performance related bonuses.

It’s a giant salary that Liverpool would be uncomfortable with paying, but Sakho is believed to be so keen to make the move, he would consider lowering it.

Arsenal, Tottenham and AC Milan have previously been linked with the defender, who is targeting regular playing time ahead of the World Cup next year.

Newcastle Rival Liverpool For Ayew

Newcastle has joined Premier League rivals Liverpool in the race to sign Marseille winger Andre Ayew, reports the Daily Express.

The Ghanaian has been linked with a move away from the south of France with Liverpool, Napoli and Inter Milan all reportedly interested in his signature.

He had previously stated his desire to join Brendan Rodgers at Anfield, saying to reporters: "I have a little preference for the Reds. I've always followed them ever since I was little, Liverpool, and Real Madrid."

Now reports in France have suggested that the Magpies will steal a march in the race for the 23-year-old after failing to sign Andre-Pierre Gignac.

Ayew has a buy-out-clause of £15.5m written in to his contract but it is believed his club no longer deems that as his value and is willing to accept less.

French publication Le10Sport reports that Newcastle believes £8.5m will be enough to tempt Marseille to sell the controversial star, who infamously retired from international football before reversing his decision months later.

Ayew and his brother Jordan decided to retire from their services to Ghana after independently falling out with the management.

They later reversed their decision after having peace talks with President John Mahama.

Marseille boss Elie Baup had ruled out an exit for Ayew earlier in the summer by saying: "Let me be clear: I am counting on all the players who are here."

However, after falling out with the player over his best position, it is believed Baup is ready to cut his loses and let Ayew go.

Arsenal Ready To Battle Liverpool For Diego Capel

Arsenal has fixed their sights on £6m rated Diego Capel with the clock ticking until the transfer window closes.

The 25-year-old winger has been on Liverpool's radar this summer and saw a £3m bid for him snubbed by Sporting Lisbon.

The Portuguese outfit would only consider selling should a suitor meet their £6m valuation.

Reports in Portugal ascertain that Capel is ready to leave Sporting and would relish playing at a higher level.

According to O Jogo, Arsenal is considering a move for him as it is believed he will complement their style of play.

They have it that Arsenal could make a formal enquiry for his services within the coming days.

Marseille have also been tracking Capel, and have made him a back-up option should they be unsuccessful in clawing away Arsenal and Newcastle target Florian Thuavin from Lille.

Capel has earned two caps for Spain at senior level.

He is currently contracted with Sporting until 2016.

Reds Yet To Receive Skrtel Bid

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers claims the club has not received any approach for defender Martin Skrtel.

It has been reported that Napoli, now managed by Skrtel's former Reds boss Rafael Benitez, have had a £10million offer for the Slovakia international turned down by the Anfield club.

Rodgers says that was news to him and he would have been informed had a bid been made.

When asked if there had been an approach, Rodgers said: "No, not at all.

"I haven't been told anything about that whatsoever. It was mentioned this morning but it is the first I have heard of it.

"Ian Ayre, our managing director, does a terrific job and he always informs me straight away of anything. I haven't heard anything."

Skrtel, 28, appeared to fall out of favour last season and faces increased competition for his place this term following the summer signing of Kolo Toure.

But with fringe player Sebastian Coates suffering a serious knee injury playing for Uruguay last week, Rodgers says he may even need to strengthen in central defence.

Rodgers said: "I think it is something we are looking at certainly, a player to come in and cover that position.

One move Liverpool have made in the transfer market this week is to sign Valencia's French left-back Aly Cissokho on a season-long loan.

The 25-year-old, who has one France cap and has previously played for Lyon and Porto, brings strength to a position in which Rodgers only had Jose Enrique to call upon.

Rodgers said: "I think he provides competition for Enrique. He is a player with experience.

"A few years back he went for 15million Euros. He is a player with qualities.

"The idea was to build a squad and to make it competitive. It was important to bring in someone so that if anything happens to Jose he can come straight into the team, and to fight for the position.

"Hopefully that will get the best out of both of them."

Liverpool Chasing New Centre-Back

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has revealed he is looking to sign a centre-back as Sebastian Coates has been ruled out for the majority of the season.

The 22-year-old damaged the anterior cruciate knee ligament in his right knee while on international duty with Uruguay and is now set to undergo surgery.

Rodgers has also confirmed he is willing to allow defender Andre Wisdom to move out on loan.

"We feel for big Seba because he's obviously played the latter part of the game," Rodgers told reporters.

"He's picked up a similar injury to what Martin Skrtel had last year, so it's probably going to rule him out for most of the season, which is disappointing for him because he's never given me a minute's problem since he's been here and this was probably the year where he needed to go out and play so unfortunately that put an end to that.

"It's something that we're looking at, a player to come in in that position. I really need to get young Andre Wisdom out on loan.

"It's one to strengthen the squad but it's also to allow some of our younger players to develop, for us to maximize Wisdom and his talent we need to get him some games and to get him out on loan, but I can only do that if somebody with a bit more experience can come in and support the ground. So it's two-fold really, but it's certainly a position that we're looking at."

Coates Set For Lengthy Lay-Off

Liverpool defender Sebastian Coates is set for a lengthy lay-off after suffering a serious knee injury on international duty.

The 22-year-old sustained an anterior cruciate knee ligament problem during Uruguay's 4-2 victory over Japan in Saitama, having featured in the final 10 minutes after replacing Diego Godin in central defence.

And the Uruguayan FA has now confirmed that Coates will undergo surgery on Friday prior to an extended recovery period.

A statement read: "After finishing Uruguay's friendly match against Japan on Wednesday, an injury to Sebastian Coates' right knee was discovered for which he received an anti-inflammatory treatment.

"After communication between the Uruguayan doctors and those at Liverpool, it was decided that further examination was required in England prior to his return to Montevideo.

"The studies showed an injury anterior cruciate ligament and so it was decided that surgical treatment was necessary. It will be done on Friday in the city of San Pablo.

"The player will subsequently undergo a rehabilitation strategy that will, in part, take place in Montevideo."

Coates made just 12 appearances for Liverpool last season after finding himself out of favour with manager Brendan Rodgers.

A close-season departure from Anfield had been mooted as a result, though his chances of sealing a switch now appear to be gone with a lengthy spell on the sidelines inevitable.