Thursday, October 03, 2013

Barnes Questions Younger Players' Motivations

Liverpool legend John Barnes has questioned the motivation for younger players, adding that money could be detrimental to a footballer's success.

The former England international compared his generation to those in England today, with Reds youngster Raheem Sterling reportedly finding it testing to solve his off-field problems while breaking into the first-team squad at Anfield.

"What we need is young players that are going to be hungry for success. By success I mean the intrinsic motivation, what happens when a player has played in Europe? That desire to strive for more after winning a championship," Barnes told Goal.

"The greatest players understand that mental training is important. That is what separates the ordinary from the best. We have become so comfortable in rewarding mediocrity.

"Our young generation is too comfortable; as a result they have closed that gap to grow. Money should not be the motivation, because what happens then when you have the money? Our young generation needs to focus on doing well and money will follow after that, not the other way around.

Foreign Players Affecting English Talent - Gerrard

Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard believes young players are struggling to break through at top clubs because of the high numbers of foreign players in the Premier League.

Gerrard, 33, made his Liverpool debut at the age of 18 and has been a mainstay in the club's first-team ever since.

However, the midfielder is a rare example of a player from the Reds' academy being promoted to the first-team, with Jamie Carragher the only other notable example in the past 15 years.

The likes of Martin Kelly, Andre Wisdom and Raheem Sterling have shown signs that they, too, could make the step up permanently, but Gerrard recognizes that their path to the senior side is harder than his was 15 years ago.

"Managers are only ever eight to 10 days away from the sack so to take risks on unknown young players is difficult,'' he told BBC Breakfast. "[Liverpool manager] Brendan Rodgers has been fantastic at this club because he's been brave and he's given young players a chance.

"But there's no two ways about it, it's a lot more difficult to break through nowadays because of the standard of players and because there is a lot more foreigners about. That's the whole top and bottom of it.''

New Football Association chairman Greg Dyke recently expressed his concern about the diminishing number of English players in the Premier League and has suggested that more must be done to encourage club's to utilize young homegrown talent ahead of foreign imports.

Moses Happy With Starting Point

Liverpool forward Victor Moses is satisfied with the start to his loan spell and has targeted providing more creativity and goals.

The 22-year-old Nigeria international arrived at Anfield from Chelsea on a season-long loan and has started the last four matches.

He scored on his debut at Swansea last month and with a shoulder injury sidelining Philippe Coutinho, he has been handed a key role playing just behind the strikers recently.

While there will be a natural settling-in process, Moses is happy with the way his spell on Merseyside has begun.

"I am loving it here and I am very satisfied. As long as I am on the pitch I just want to enjoy myself," he told LFCTV.

"The more games you play the more experience you get and I just want to carry on playing, help the team out and score some more goals.

"We are doing well, second in the league and we've just got to keep the momentum going and keep winning games really."

Having beaten Sunderland last weekend the Reds will look to go on another winning run with lowly Crystal Palace visiting Anfield on Saturday.

Liverpool will be without suspended defensive midfielder Lucas Leiva, who has already accrued five bookings, but with strikers Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez clicking into gear at the Stadium of Light the Brazil international knows the side can go on the offensive against Ian Holloway's side.

Suarez's return from a 10-match suspension has given everyone a boost and his two goals against the Black Cats in his first league game back show his sharpness is returning.

Lucas believes not only does the Uruguay international provide a threat up front but he gives them a psychological edge.

"Luis was the best player in the Premier League last year, so having him in our side again this season is just a real boost for all the team and the squad," he told

"We just hope he can have the same season that he had last year because he was a really important player for us.

"If he does the same as last season, we will have a better chance to achieve what we want to achieve.

"He's just given us more confidence. The squad that we had without him was a good one but with him back in it, we'll be even better. He's one of the best in the world.

"He's a fighter and he will do everything he can to help the team, just as he did last year and the season before.

"That's what everyone expects from him and I don't think he's thinking any other way.

"He just wants to play his game and score goals and help his team-mates because he has a really good relationship with everyone here at Melwood (training ground)."

In Lucas's absence it may be that Jordan Henderson is switched to his preferred position in central midfield from the right-sided role.

The England Under-21 international has impressed this season, just 12 months after he seemed destined to be leaving the club.

Henderson has noted the advancements he has made in two seasons at Anfield.

"I think I have improved quite a lot, first under Kenny (Dalglish) and than again under Brendan (Rodgers), who I think has brought my game on again," he said.

"Hopefully I can keep learning every day and keep getting better."

Milan To Rival Liverpool In Pastore Bid

AC Milan look set to join Liverpool in the race to sign heavily admired Paris Saint-Germain attacking midfielder Javier Pastore as it seems more likely that a transfer will be made in January.

Liverpool have been linked as number one contenders for his signature, something talkSport believe has stemmed from the inability to sign Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Willian during the summer transfer window.

However, talkSport reveal they will have a transfer battle on their hands as Milan enters the fight with intentions of bringing Pastore back to Italy.

The Argentine international was at Serie A club Palermo for two seasons before his big money move to PSG in 2011.

Following a strong first season at the Parc des Princes in which he scored 13 league goals and a further two in Europe, Pastore has been overshadowed by the arrivals of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani.

This season the 24-year-old has played just five of eight Ligue 1 games and wasn’t included in the squad for their Champions League match with Olympiakos two weeks ago.

Liverpool & Man City Monitor Argentine Forward

Liverpool and Manchester City are the latest clubs to enquire about the availability of Racing Club starlet Luciano Vietto, reports the Daily Mail.

The 19-year-old Argentine forward is widely regarded as one of the brightest young prospects in South America at the moment, and has attracted interest from a host of top European clubs.

Real Madrid and Juventus are believed to be monitoring the talented teenager's progress in his homeland, and are weighing up rival offers for his signature.

Citizens boss Manuel Pellegrini is also a reported admirer of Vietto, and is hoping that his South American connections will help convince the player to move to the Etihad Stadium.

In addition to Juventus and Real Madrid, Manchester City face rival Premier League interest in the in-demand star from Liverpool, with Brendan Rodgers equally keen to bring the player to Anfield.

"Vietto is the best young player in Argentina," said his agent Jorge Cyterszpiler. "I have received many offers from several European clubs."

With so many clubs keeping tabs on the player for the past 12 months, surely it's only a matter of time before Vietto makes a high-profile move to Europe.

Suarez Agent In Talks Over Real Madrid Switch

Real Madrid are set to launch a £42 million January bid for Liverpool star Luis Suarez, according to Spanish TV show Punto Pelota.

26-year-old Suarez, who notched his first Premier League goals of the season with a brace against Sunderland on Sunday in what was his first top-flight fixture since returning from a 10-match ban imposed after he shockingly sunk his teeth into Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic at Anfield in April, was the subject of a protracted transfer pursuit during the summer transfer window.

After making no secret of his desire to leave Liverpool in search of Champions League football, Suarez was linked with a move to Real and Premier League rivals Arsenal - with the latter outfit evidently hoping to boost their attacking ranks with such a marquee signing.

Real's summer transfer business eventually centered on ensuring they completed their world-record £85 million move for Welsh star Gareth Bale while Arsenal missed out on the Reds star after failing with a bid that they seemingly initially - and ultimately mistakenly - believed would trigger a clause in his contract.

According to Punto Pelota, however, Real are set to re-visit their interest in Suarez and plan to considerably test Liverpool's resolve with a £42 million bid in January.

Indeed, they further suggest that Suarez's representatives are already talking with the La Liga giants, with the Uruguayan international allegedly eager to leave Anfield.

Napoli Confirm Reina Will Return To Liverpool

Napoli have announced that on-loan goalkeeper Pepe Reina will return to Liverpool once his spell at the club has finished but failed to rule out whether they would be interested in signing him on a permanent basis.

The Spaniard has been impressive under Rafa Benitez this season, even becoming the first ‘keeper to save a penalty from Mario Balotelli.

Simon Mignolet has taken over Reina’s role at Liverpool and been equally successful, leading Reina to say he doesn’t think he will play for Liverpool ever again.

Napoli sporting director Riccardo Bigon revealed the goalkeeper would return to Anfield once his loan finished in Italy but also said it was too early to talk about signing him permanently.

"Keep Reina? At the end of this year he will return to Liverpool," said Bigon talking to Italian newspaper Tuttomercatoweb.

"In life you can look again at everything, but to date Reina is a Liverpool player.

"It is too early to talk about it, at the moment we have only taken him on loan.

"When [Morgan] De Sanctis raised the idea of joining another club we tried Rafael as a first choice goalkeeper; the Brazilian will be the future of the club. Reina, we chose him because [Rafael] Benitez knew him well."

Napoli suffered their first defeat of the season on Tuesday night as Reina returned to England to take on Arsenal.

It was only the second time this season Reina conceded more than once in a game, having previously only been beaten twice away to Chievo in a 4-2 win.

Liverpool Warned Against Suarez Deal

Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge has urged the club to hold back on plans to give Luis Suarez a new contract.

Aldridge, a league title and FA Cup winner who scored 50 top-flight goals for Liverpool between 1987 and 1989, believes Suarez still wants to leave Anfield and could try to engineer a move away.

The 26-year-old marked his return to Premier League action by scoring twice in a 3-1 win at Sunderland on Sunday.

It was his first league appearance since completing a 10-match domestic ban imposed for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic during a match at Anfield in April.

Suarez gave a series of interviews over the summer stating that he wanted to leave Liverpool -- who responded by rejecting two bids from Arsenal and making clear that he would not be sold.

Since then, there have been suggestions that the striker will be offered an extension to his Liverpool contract, which runs until 2016.

Manager Brendan Rodgers indicated last Friday, though, that there would be no rush on talks.

Aldridge told the Metro: "Suarez was very keen to leave Liverpool in the summer and I have no doubt that he will look to get away once again.

"So why try to get him to commit to the club now, so soon after he did the dirty on them with his bid to join Arsenal?

"Liverpool [managing director] Ian Ayre may have told the media he would consider a new contract for Suarez in a bid to dampen down any fresh speculation over the future of the striker.

"But if Liverpool fail to qualify for the Champions League once again, I’m sure Suarez will want to leave and I would advise my old club to get as much money for him as possible and rebuild the team with the new funds."

Rodgers Snaps Up Liverpool Legends As Coaches

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has recruited some familiar faces to help with the club’s youth teams as Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman join the backroom staff at Anfield.

Rob Jones will also join the team who has been given the role of coaching the U21 and U18 sides at the Liverpool Academy in Kirkby.

Rodgers, speaking to the Liverpool Echo, said he was keen to use the expertise of some of the former players at the club to inspire the young players at Liverpool.

"It's great to have Robbie, Steve and Rob on board," said Rodgers.

"I wanted to get more former players involved and over the off-season I spoke to a number of them about a possible role here.

"For me it's so important to have players like that around. These are players who the young guys look up to.

"The three of them have come in recently and I know they have thoroughly enjoyed having that involvement of working with the kids.

"We're starting with the older academy players as they are ones they can really affect at this moment. It's both coaching and mentoring."

According to Sky Sports, Jamie Carragher had also been on Rodgers’ radar following his retirement but the former Liverpool defender decided to go into television as a pundit.

Between Fowler, Jones and McManaman the trio have almost 1,000 games experience for Liverpool, something Rodgers hopes will give them the ability to pass down advice to the youngsters at the club.

Liverpool currently sit second in the Premier League after victory over Sunderland on Sunday, their fourth league win of the season.