Saturday, July 31, 2010

Coady Seals Cup Double For Liverpool Reserves

England U17 European Champion Conor Coady was on the mark as Liverpool Reserves came from behind to win the Liverpool Senior Cup after a 3-2 win over Skelmersdale United at the Ashley Travel Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Coady and Andre Wisdom had superb games at the heart of Liverpool's defence and John McMahon's side have now completed a cup double in the space of a week after last Saturday's Lancashire Senior Cup final win over Oldham Athletic.
Skelmersdale United gave it everything they had and were a real credit to themselves and the non-league circuit, but McMahon's side showed great character to come back and win.
Coady, Gerardo Bruna and Alex Cooper all found the net for Liverpool.
This match was held over from last season and there was a good crowd in to watch the game.
McMahon fielded a young side with Icelandic midfielder Victor Palsson and Danish 'keeper Martin Hansen given an outing after recently being included in Roy Hodgson's first team squad for the Swiss training camp. Promising Academy midfielder Michael Roberts made his first start for the reserves in the middle of the park.
Liverpool's Danish youth international Nikola Saric went close after four minutes when he cut in from the right and fired a left-footed effort just wide of Damien Eastham's near post.
Two minutes later Bruna got clear down the left and was unlucky to see his attempted chip just clear the bar.
The home side went close themselves when Roberts lost position and Skem captain Aaron Turner fired wide.
The match had started in superb fashion with both sides intent on attacking and Palsson was next to go close when he was denied by Eastham after a determined run into the box.
Karl O'Donnell then found himself clean through, but under pressure from Reds stopper Hansen he hesitated, then when the ball fell invitingly to Ryan Wade he was denied superbly by the Dane.
Skelmersdale United took the lead after 11 minutes from a well worked corner when the unmarked Karl Ledsham headed home after a near post flick on.
Liverpool had a great chance to equalise when Palsson fired wide from a good position after superb play down the right from Saric.
McMahon's side were level after 24 minutes and it came through a typical free-kick from Bruna. The former Real Madrid man caught the Skem defence and 'keeper off guard as he curled a sweet effort into the corner of the net.
Two minutes later it was almost 2-1 but Palsson's near post header was cleared off the line by Paul Byrne.
Exciting Portugese youngster Toni Silva was next to go close when he fired just wide after a superb pass from Roberts.
The crowd were then left applauding Silva after a wonderful run down the right. After exchanging passes with Bruna he gave himself a great chance but with a reluctance to shoot with his right foot was denied by a brave save from Eastham.
A minute after the break Liverpool went 2-1 up when Coady headed home Bruna's right wing corner.
Skem then went close to an equaliser when Phil Mooney hit post with a superb strike.
Bruna was a whisker away from making it 3-1 with a long range driver that landed just wide.
The home side had a great chance for an equaliser after 70 minutes when Wade saw a sight of goal, but a magnificent challenge from John Flanagan put him off his stride.
Liverpool made it 3-1 five minutes from time with a great finish from Alex Cooper. Substitute Michael Ngoo made the goal with a fantastic run down the right and from his cross, Cooper fired home.
Skelmersdale United then made it a frantic last few minutes for the Reds when O'Donnell netted from close range to make it 3-2, and only a superb last ditch challenge from Emmanuel Mendy denied them a stoppage time equaliser.
Then at the other end Vincent Weijl almost made it 4-2 but his powerful drive was superbly kept out by Eastham.
Captain Andre Wisdom was then presented with the magnificent Liverpool County FA Senior Cup trophy as the reserves retained the trophy.
Skelmersdale United: Damien Eastham, Chris Almond, Paul Byrne, Rob McIntosh, Shaun Foster, Aaron Turner, Paul Woolcott, Phil Mooney (Andy Walmsley 58), Karl O'Donnell, Ryan Wade (Peter Birch 83), Karl Ledsham.
Liverpool Reserves:  Martin Hansen, John Flanagan, Emmanuel Mendy, Michael Roberts (Nicolaj Kohlert 65), Andre Wisdom, Conor Coady, Toni Silva (Vincent Weijl 85), Victor Palsson, Nikola Saric, Gerardo Bruna (Michael Ngoo 76), Alex Cooper.
Referee: Mr AW Pownall. Man of the Match: Conor Coady. He and Andre Wisdom were rock solid at the back but Coady just shades it.

Villa Boss Rejects Petrov Rumours

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill has dismissed reports linking Stiliyan Petrov with Liverpool.
Speculation has suggested that Reds boss Roy Hodgson has identified the Bulgarian midfielder as a potential new recruit at Anfield.
The 31-year-old has been a virtual ever-present for Villa since joining from Celtic in 2006 and has not looked out of place among the Premier League elite.
An accomplished performer throughout his career, it is no surprise to hear that he is now attracting interest from the likes of Liverpool.
O'Neill admits as much, as he is full of praise for the work Petrov does at Villa, but insists he has no plans to part with his club captain.
He told Villa's official website: "There was a story that appeared in the newspapers that Liverpool were about to pounce and Stiliyan was going to be the player they would want to replace (Javier) Mascherano.
"Stiliyan has been absolutely fantastic for us in the last couple of years and - please don't take this as if I'm inviting offers, I'm not - but I'm not surprised that teams are interested in him.
"I haven't spoken to Paul (Faulkner) or Randy (Lerner) for a day or two, but there's nothing in the story and if you look at the source I wouldn't hold phenomenal store by it.
"But that doesn't mean that teams like Liverpool wouldn't be interested in him because he's a top quality player. But as we speak, no-one from Liverpool has contacted us."
Meanwhile, O'Neill has admitted that he is uncertain as to where Villa stand in their efforts to keep James Milner at the club.
Manchester City remain keen on the England international and talks regarding a possible agreement are ongoing.
O'Neill said: "I've left that with the chief executive and the owner and I'm sure that they'll fill me in with what might have developed.
"I think that there is some sort of dialogue going on and I think that you can see that Manchester City have made an offer which has not been accepted and it hasn't reached the valuation that Aston Villa are putting on James.
"Who knows what might happen in the foreseeable future? The answer is I'm not sure myself."

Pacheco Emulates Torres By Winning Golden Boot

Liverpool youngster Dani Pacheco was won the Golden Boot at the European U19 Championships.In 2002 a young Fernando Torres won the golden boot when he netted four times.

Pacheco is evidently happy to match the star striker at liverpool.

Pacheco's Spain side lost the final 2-1 to hosts France in Caen last night with Reds teammate Chris Mavinga in opposition.

The former Barcelona junior has expressed an ambition to sign with Real Sociedad this summer.

Liverpool Simply Want £25m For Mascherano

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson is ready to sell Javier Mascherano to Inter Milan.

The Daily Mail says with Mascherano expressing his desire to leave Anfield, Hodgson and the Liverpool board will not stand in his way but they are determined not to sell him on the cheap to former boss Rafael Benitez.

The Spaniard and his new employers are prepare for a long fight for the Argentina captain, valued at £25m by Liverpool, and are ready to offer former Portsmouth midfielder Sulley Muntari as part of their first offer this week.

But the Ghana international, a virtual ever-present at Inter under Jose Mourinho, is unlikely to want to quit the San Siro, while Hodgson has his eyes on other options in any case.

Liverpool Target Witsel And Defour

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson has added Belgian starlet Axel Witsel to his shopping list.

The Daily Express says Liverpool were set to send a delegation to watch Steven Defour in Standard’s Belgian league game with Zulte-Waregem last night and run the rule over both he and team-mate Witsel.

Belgium midfielder Defour, 22, has been tracked by a host of English clubs, including Manchester United and Aston Villa, over the past two years without anyone willing as yet to make the £10m gamble to acquire his services.

Witsel is a goal scoring midfielder and also has been tracked by United.

Liverpool Set To Bid For Konchesky

Fulham fullback Paul Konchesky is a target for Liverpool.

The Liverpool Echo says Liverpool are weighing up a £2.5million swoop for Fulham left-back Konchesky.

Reds boss Roy Hodgson has been anxious to bring in experienced cover in that position since Fabio Aurelio's release and the impending sale of Emiliano Insua to Fiorentina.

Spearing Admits This Is The Biggest Challenge Of His Career

Jay Spearing admits the 2010-11 season will provide him with the biggest challenge of his career to-date.
The Reds midfielder spent part of last season on loan at Leicester City and has now targeted a more regular place in Roy Hodgson's starting XI.
To watch our exclusive interview click on the play button below
"It's a massive season for me," Spearing told "With the new manager here I have to try and impress. From my own point of view I want to show him I'm capable of sticking around and getting in that starting XI."
Spearing's performances in pre-season have already earned him rave reviews from the manager - but he insists he cannot afford to rest on his laurels.
"It's nice to hear the manager say nice things about you but I can't dwell on that now," he said. "I have to show him in games and training that I can keep it up.
"This (the clash with Rabotniki) is up there as one of my best performances for the club. As a team performance we did well from start to finish. We came here, got the job done and we are very happy with what we ended up with.
"It's all about the team. We wanted to win the game and now we have half a job to at Anfield."

Jovanovic Is Indebted To Roy

Milan Jovanovic admits he is determined to make a real impression and show Roy Hodgson that he has what it takes to be a success at Anfield.
Liverpool's No.14 firmly believes the best years of his career are ahead of him in front of the Kop and he wants to help the Reds get back to the top of the tree once again in English football.
Speaking exclusively to the official LFC magazine, Jovanovic said: "My main thing now is to show Roy Hodgson that the club hasn't made an error in bringing me here.
"The coach is fantastic. He speaks very openly with us and tries to put across his ideas clearly. I hope that I will learn more and more. I accept the coach's words and now it is up to me to show him I really can do everything he asks me to do.
"I have only been here a short time but I want to show all my qualities.
"I know that physically the Barclays Premier League is a demanding league but when I thought about this characteristic, I thought: 'this is me'.
"I think I can do everything I need to play at the top level here. It is a long season and if you count games with the national team as well, you can be looking at 60 or 70 games but I feel okay and of course I am really looking forward to it.
"I couldn't have asked for more from the other players in making me feel welcome. They have been very kind and I feel very close to the group in a short space of time.
"I am 29 and feel I am at my best. I feel this is my best time and I am with the best team."

Mavinga Wins Over Pacheco

There was joy for Chris Mavinga after France came from behind to beat Spain 2-1 and become UEFA U19 European Champions on home turf.

The former Paris St Germain defender had an outstanding 90 minutes and he now follows in the footsteps of Fe...rnando Torres in 2002 and Alberto Aquilani in 2003 in winning this prestigious tournament.

Pacheco and Spain were the better side in the first half and Liverpool's No.47 created the opening goal of the game with a perfectly weighted pass which saw Rodrigo run through to score.

Spain then had chances to increase their lead and should have made it 2-0 three minutes into the second half, but seconds after missing a great chance France were level.

Arsenal striker Gilles Sunu found the net with a nice finish after a through pass sent him clear.

France then began to look the more likely to score again and five minutes from time substitute Alexandre Lacazette headed home a Gael Kakuta cross.

Overall Pacheco ends the tournament emulating Torres's 2002 four goal total, and he has the consolation of being named's World Player of the Week and winning the Golden Boot for being top scorer.

Here Are Mascherano's Replacements At Anfield

Roy Hodgson, the Liverpool manager, is already thought to have drawn up a list of possible replacements for the midfielder, who told him last week that he wanted to leave. Standard Liege’s Steven Defour and Christian Poulsen, Juventus’s Denmark international, are the leading contenders.
Despite omitting many of his most valuable assets for Thursday night’s simple 2-0 Europa League victory over FK Rabotnicki, Hodgson will hand Steven Gerrard, Joe Cole, Glen Johnson and Jamie Carragher an hour apiece in a friendly for which Liverpool stand to receive as much as £1 million in Germany.
Mascherano, however, will not be there despite Hodgson insisting earlier this week that he would continue to regard the 26 year-old as a Liverpool player until his exit was formally concluded.
That the former West Ham midfielder, who has made no secret of his desire to rejoin former manager Rafael Benítez, will be absent suggests his departure is imminent.
Inter will present Liverpool with a first bid for the player as soon as the sales of Brazil international full-back Maicon, to Real Madrid, and Mario Balotelli, to Manchester City, are complete. Informal talks have already opened between the Serie A and Premier League sides, though Liverpool are likely to hold out for around £25 million for one of their crown jewels.
Hodgson insisted after victory in Skopje that he did not believe his squad required a “major overhaul”, suggesting that just “one or two” further arrivals would suffice, but the former Fulham manager’s need to replace Mascherano — as well as Liverpool’s deficiencies at left-back, where Paul Konchesky and Maynor Figueroa are thought to be targets, and in attack — indicates that estimate may be conservative.
In the case of Mascherano, Hodgson at least had plenty of warning to draw up a shortlist of targets in the event of his departure.
The Argentine’s confession during the World Cup that he had started learning Italian and his admission that he shared Benítez’s vision of football, as well as the drip-feed of statements suggesting his family had not settled on Merseyside, made it clear he did not intend to remain.
Together with his agent Walter Tamer, he informed Hodgson upon his return to the club’s Melwood training base last Monday that he wished to leave.
Liverpool hope to conclude a sale within a week. That will allow Hodgson time to assess his options, which are believed to include a £9 million move for Defour, the Standard captain who has been linked with Manchester United and Everton in recent years, and Poulsen, a player he knows well from his time at FC Copenhagen.
Liverpool are yet to make formal contact with Standard — from whom they signed Milan Jovanovic on a free transfer this month — but Hodgson is known to be an admirer of the player. Axel Witsel, the 22 year-old’s club and international team-mate, is also believed to be under consideration.
The Belgian side, absent from Europe this year, are resigned to losing both players.
Poulsen, meanwhile, has been deemed surplus to requirements by the new Juventus manager Luigi Delneri, and the club’s technical director Beppe Marotta on Friday confirmed Liverpool’s interest.
The 30 year-old, who helped Hodgson win the 2001 title in his homeland, would cost around £4 million.
Though Poulsen would be a more like-for-like replacement for Mascherano than the all-action Defour, there is no pressing need for Hodgson to look for a player cast in the Argentine’s mould, according to one player who will remain at Anfield for the coming campaign, Lucas Leiva.
“I know I am able to play in Javier’s role,” said the Brazilian, who captained Liverpool in Macedonia. “Last season I played a few games there when Javier was at right back. We all hope he stays, but if my chance comes, I will try and take it and stay in the starting XI.”

Steven Defour Is Hodgson's New Target

STEVEN DEFOUR has become a major transfer target for Liverpool after Javier Mascherano edged nearer an inevitable Anfield exit. Mascherano has been left out of the squad for tomorrow's friendly in Germany to increase speculation of an move to Inter Milan.
And Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has lined up Standard Liege midfielder Defour as a possible replacement for the wantaway Argentina international.
Mascherano confirmed Liverpool's fears earlier this week when, on returning from World Cup duty, he informed the club of his desire to leave.
Inter's former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez wants to be reunited with the Argentine at the San Siro with the Serie A side preparing a £25million offer for his services.
And now Hodgson has taken the decision to omit Mascherano from the squad for tomorrow's friendly against Borussia Moenchengladbach despite intimating the player would remain available for selection as long as he was at Anfield.
Preliminary talks have already been held with Inter representatives and it seems certain Mascherano, who was signed for more than £18m in January 2007, has played his last game for the club with Hodgson already pondering midfield alternatives.
And top of his wanted list is highly-rated Belgium international Defour, who could follow Milan Jovanovic in making the move from Standard Liege to Anfield.
Defour has won two domestic championships with Standard and has been the creative force behind their impressive European showings in recent seasons, the Belgian side running Liverpool close in a Champions League qualifier two years ago before dumping Everton out of the UEFA Cup.
But Defour missed much of last season with a serious foot injury and, in his absence, Standard failed to qualify for Europe.
And the 22-year-old, a one-time target of both Arsenal and Everton, is now available for a fee of around £10m (12m euros).
However, Liverpool would face serious competition from Manchester United for Defour's signature, with Sir Alex Ferguson a known admirer of the player.
Hodgson is also monitoring Denmark international defensive midfielder Christian Poulsen.
Juventus general director Giuseppe Marotta claims Liverpool are interested in the 30-year-old, whose absence from the side that faced Shamrock Rovers in Thursday's Europa League qualifier has fuelled speculation of an imminent move.
And Marotta said: “Liverpool have shown interest in Poulsen, but the fact that he did not play in this game is only due to a technical decision.”
Meanwhile, Joe Cole will make his first appearance in a Liverpool shirt in tomorrow's friendly in Moenchengladbach, which is being held to celebrate the German club's 110th anniversary.
Cole, who was signed on a free transfer last week following his release from Chelsea, is among the latest batch of World Cup representatives to return to action.
Fellow England internationals Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Glen Johnson will also fly to Germany. “Yes they will be involved,” said Hodgson. “It's a friendly game so I can control the amount of time they play. “In competitive games we only have three substitutes to use, so it's very dangerous to put players on the field who don't have 90 minutes in their legs.”
New signing Danny Wilson, who travelled with the party to Macedonia to take part in training, is also in line to make his Liverpool bow while Argentine winger Maxi Rodriguez may also appear.
And with Spanish duo Fernando Torres and Pepe Reina and Holland pair Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel back at Melwood next week, Hodgson will finally be given the opportunity to work with a full-strength squad.  

Lucas Ready To Fill Mascherano Void

Lucas Leiva would relish stepping into Javier Mascherano's boots should, as is widely expected, the unsettled Argentinian depart Liverpool this summer. At one time that idea might have prompted derision among Anfield regulars but the Brazilian central midfielder has begun quietly winning over his critics.
Deployed in an enforcement role Lucas not only captained an understrength Liverpool during a comfortable 2-0 Europa League qualifier first‑leg win against FK Rabotnicki in Skopje on Thursday night but played with real authority.
"I know I am able to do that [occupy the Mascherano role] because last season I played a few games when Javier was at right-back," said Lucas. "I've got no problem with doing that job. We all hope Javier stays because he is such a good player but if my chances come I will try and take them. I'm not the same player as Javier, we have different styles, but I am ready to play and to impress and do whatever job the manager needs from me. I think I did well last season but I think in this one I can do even better."
Lucas still has his detractors but Liverpool's new manager, Roy Hodgson, does not appear to be among them and the midfielder is duly hoping this summer may mark a watershed in his hitherto underwhelming career on Merseyside. "I'm really proud, really happy of being captain in such an important game. I know there are a lot of senior players in front of me but I hope I can stay in the team. Having the captaincy shows that the manager knows a lot about me and believes in me. I am ready to give my best for Liverpool."
Hodgson's starting XI for the Anfield return on Thursday could be significantly revamped with Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Joe Cole possibly coming back into contention following post‑World Cup breaks. However, Lucas insists he and others, most notably the £17m Alberto Aquilani, will not step aside without a fight. "There is a lot of competition for places, but that can only be good for Liverpool and what we want this season," he said. "There are lots of good players going for the team now – and Alberto is getting his fitness back all the time."
Aquilani was used in a floating role behind the impressive, newly robust lone striker David Ngog – who scored both goals and held the ball up far better than on previous occasions – in Skopje. It was a tactical switch applauded by Lucas. "The shape was really good and hopefully that will carry on. Hopefully this year will be a lot better than last. We are expecting positive things."
There were isolated reports of racist abuse during the match on Thursday. Accordingly Uefa is waiting to assess submissions from its delegate in Skopje and the match referee before deciding whether a disciplinary case should be opened against FK Rabotnicki. Liverpool were unaware of any such incident, although their Greek centre‑half Sotirios Kyrgiakos was jeered every time he touched the ball, thereby reflecting the loathing many Macedonians harbour for their southern neighbours.

Inter Set To Bid For Mascherano

INTER MILAN are poised to make an official bid for want-away Liverpool star Javier Mascherano as Roy Hodgson lines up the ­candidates to succeed him.
European champions Inter will table an opening gambit of about £20 million for Argentina captain and midfielder Mascherano, who is set to be omitted from Hodgson’s squad who head to Germany for tomorrow’s friendly with Borussia Moenchgladbach.
Sporting director Marco Branca will make the offer in the next few days and Hodgson is already preparing for a parting by adding Standard Liege skipper Steven Defour and Juventus’s Denmark midfielder Christian Poulsen to his list of potential replacements for Mascherano.
Poulsen, 30, was left out of Juve’s Europa League qualifying win over Shamrock Rovers on Thursday. General director Giuseppe Marotta confirmed interest from Anfield but added: “The fact that he did not play in this game [against Shamrock] was only due to a technical decision.”
Hodgson knows Poulsen well, having managed him at FC Copenhagen between 2000 and 2001 when the player was a key figure in the team that won the Danish title for the first time in eight years.
Liverpool were also set to send a delegation to watch Defour in Standard’s Belgian league game with Zulte-Waregem last night and run the rule over both he and team-mate Axel Witsel.
Belgium midfielder Defour, 22, has been tracked by a host of English clubs, including Manchester United and Aston Villa, over the past two years without anyone willing as yet to make the £10m gamble to acquire his services. He is still not 100 per cent fit after missing most of last season with a broken leg.
Hodgson is also keen on Scott Parker, although Tottenham have already had a £7.3m bid rejected for West Ham’s captain, who is said to want to remain in London.
Brazilian Lucas, meanwhile, believes he can prove to Hodgson that he is equipped to fill the void set to be created by Mascherano’s impending departure to team up again with Rafa Benitez.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Fiorentina Capture Insua

Fiorentina are expected to announce the signing of Liverpool defender Emiliano Insua later today, according to reports in Italy.
La Viola president Pantaleo Corvino confirmed on Tuesday that talks over the Argentina international's £5million move had stalled due to his refusal to accept a pay-cut but the 21-year-old has since agreed personal terms and will earn £35,000-a-week with the Serie A outfit.

Roy Hodgson had previously admitted that he liked Insua on both on a professional and personal level from his own dealings with the left-back but revealed that talks to sell him to Fiorentina had taken place before he was appointed Liverpool manager.

Insua leaves Anfield with 62 appearances to his name following his move from Boca Juniors in 2007 in exchange for Gabriel Paletta.

Alonso Helping Pacheco Quit Liverpool

Despite impressing for Spain at the Under 19 European Championship in France, the 19-year-old thinks he has little chance of breaking into Roy Hodgson's team and is tempted by a move to Real Sociedad.

The Basque club are keen and Pacheco adm...itted he had been guided by Real Madrid midfielder Alonso, who played for five years at Sociedad before joining Liverpool in 2004.

'Playing for Sociedad appeals to me. I have heard good things about the club, the city and the people. He (Alonso) has been helping and advising me,' said Pacheco.

'I've been told good things about the coach. They say he bets on youngsters who have character.'

Photos From The Europa Win

Young Snubs Liverpool

Luke Young will play a part in Villa's pre-season Guadiana Cup tournament in Portugal after dramatically snubbing a move to Liverpool.
Martin O'Neill wants the out-of-favour defender to boost his match fitness after the player yesterday rejected a £2.5 million switch to Anfield.
With Young in limbo, Villa hope the collapsed move will publicly alert other clubs of their asking price and flush out more potential suitors.
But Young is set to feature in Saturday and Sunday's matches against Feyenoord (9.30pm) and Benfica (9.15pm) after missing three friendlies.
The popular 31-year-old right-back was excused pre-season match action while he contemplated a move to Roy Hodgson's Reds.
O'Neill confirmed that Villa accepted a bid from an unnamed club earlier this week, which turned out to be the £2.5 million offer from Liverpool.
But Young, who still has three years left of a five-year contract on a reported £40,000-a-week wages, turned the transfer down for personal reasons.
Having moved from Middlesbrough to Villa for £6 million two summers ago, the Londoner was reluctant to relocate his young family up north again.
Young was also concerned that his first team prospects at Anfield behind Glen Johnson and Jamie Carragher could be no better than at Villa Park, where he has lost his place to Carlos Cuellar.

Liverpool Frustated As Young Move Collpases

Luke Young's proposed transfer to Liverpool collapsed yesterday, leaving the full-back facing an uncertain future at Aston Villa.
Liverpool had agreed a £2.5m fee with Villa on Tuesday for the former England international but there were suggestions that Young was unable to agree personal terms at Anfield as well as being reluctant to relocate to the north.
The news will come as a disappointment to Liverpool and Villa. Roy Hodgson, the Liverpool manager, was keen to bring in the experienced defender to improve his options at full-back and also increase his quota of home-grown players, while Villa were eager to move on one of their higher earners as they look to reduce their £70million annual wage bill.
Young was earning more than £2m a year at Villa and has three years remaining on his contract, with further signing-on fees due over the course of that period.
Liverpool had initially indicated Young would have to lower his demands, which have deterred interest from other clubs this summer, although when Martin O'Neill, the Villa manager, reported earlier in the week that a bid had been accepted it began to look like a deal might go through. That is no longer the case, leaving Young to continue his pre-season training in Portugal with Villa and O'Neill cursing a missed opportunity to free up some money.

Stuttgart Plan Degen Swoop

Stuttgart are set to rekindle their interest in out-of-favour Liverpool defender Philipp Degen.
The Bundesliga outfit have been tracking the 27-year-old since January but failed to table a formal offer before the close of the winter transfer window.

But Die Roten are now hoping to finally get their man by using funds from the imminent transfer of defensive midfielder Sami Khedira to Real Madrid.

The 23-year-old did not travel to Norway for Stuttgart's 3-2 win over Molde in last night's Europa League qualifier in anticipation of the move, which will see his hometown club net €10million (£8.3M).

Persistent injury and last summer's capture of Glen Johnson have curtailed Degen's Anfield career with the attacking full-back restricted to just 13 appearances since arriving on a free transfer from Borussia Dortmund two years ago.

New Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson told the Swiss international last week that he is free to look for a new club after being deemed surplus to requirements.

Ngog Delighted With His Brace

David Ngog today revealed his delight after his superb double ensured Roy Hodgson got off to a winning start as Liverpool manager.
The French striker netted either side of half-time to give the Reds a 2-0 Europa League victory against FK Rabotnicki and then warned that they will still have a job to do when the two sides reconvene at Anfield next Thursday.
"It's very good for me to score," Ngog told "But the most important thing tonight was to win the match.
"We did well and it is good for the confidence of the team - but nothing has been decided yet. We still have to play the second leg. Part of the job is done and we are confident we can progress if we play to our level.
"We have played two friendly games and we are not 100 per cent fit yet, but we are improving all the time.
"We are always looking to work harder and with more training we can improve further."
Ngog's lethal finishing put the seal on what proved to be a confident Liverpool performance in Skopje and he was quick to pay tribute to the teammates who provided him with the key assists.
"The first came from a free-kick when I saw some space beyond the defender. Lucas played a good ball towards me and I was lucky to finish.
"Kelly did really well for the second goal too and gave me a great cross.
"I think we played well in attack and it was nice to link up with Aquilani. He's a really good player and I enjoyed playing with him. He is very clever and has a good quality of pass. He sees the game very well."

Agger Praises Ngog

Daniel Agger today insisted Liverpool reaped the benefits of David Ngog's hard work in training during Thursday's 2-0 victory over FK Rabotnicki in Skopje.
The 21-year-old struck a goal in each half to ensure Roy Hodgson got his Anfield era off to a winning start and help the Reds take a big step towards the next round of the Europa League.
Agger admits he was delighted with Ngog's performance and is predicting the striker will only improve further if he continues to put the hours in at Melwood.
"We have got to give David credit for the two goals. He took them very well - it was a very good performance," said Agger.
"He was there in the right place at the right time, which is what all good strikers do. He is a good player and has the qualities but he knows that he still has a bit to learn.
"I know that he works hard every day but if he continues to work hard then he will come on a long way. But he has to keep working hard, as every one of us is doing, if he wants to get there."
Liverpool were good value for their triumph in Macedonia and can now look forward to next week's second leg at Anfield in a commanding position to reach the next stage of the competition.
However, Agger is refusing to take anything for granted or look beyond the return with Rabotnicki.
He said: "It was just a question of managing the game and keeping hold of the ball so they couldn't cause us problems. Hopefully we have taken care of it for next week but you never know.
"We have still got to play the second leg and we have got to make sure that we win it. How will we be for the season? We have just got to get on with it and not complain.
"Things are different at the minute and I am only just getting to know the manager; I've only trained with him a few times but we are all going to try and push on again. We'll see what happens."
The victory over Rabotnicki was achieved without many of Liverpool's World Cup stars, although Agger - along with Martin Skrtel and Sotirios Kyrgiakos - was handed a starting berth.
It was the Dane's first appearance since representing his country in South Africa and he added: "I feel okay. A bit tired but good. It's a bit different to training and I suppose after six training sessions, it was okay to get through the game without any problems."

Joe Cole Set To Debut On Sunday

Roy Hodgson has confirmed Joe Cole will make his Liverpool debut in Sunday’s pre-season friendly with Borussia Moenchengladbach – a match you can watch exclusively live online.
Liverpool's No.10 will play some part of the match which is a repeat of the 1977 European Cup final.
The Reds boss also confirmed Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher will also be given their first outing of pre-season.
"Yes they will be involved," Hodgson told
"It's a friendly game so I can control the amount of time they play.
"In competitive games we only have three substitutes to use, so it's very dangerous to put players on the field who don't have 90 minutes in their legs."
Sign up for an e-Season Ticket in time to watch Cole's debut live with our coverage starting from 12.30pm on Sunday.
You can also listen to live audio commentary online with Kop favourite Alan Kennedy, and the match kicks-off at 1.30pm.
If you've never signed up for an e-Season Ticket before then there's never been a better time as we look forward to bringing you the first matches of the Roy Hodgson reign live and exclusive online.

Its Pacheco Vs Mavinga In Final

Dani Pacheco comes up against Chris Mavinga tonight as Spain take on France in the final of the UEFA U19 European Championships.
Both Reds have been in terrific form during the run to the final and it promises to be classic final.
Pacheco has already netted four goals in the tournament and also was named's World Player of the Week.
Liverpool's No.47 has been in brilliant form for Spain who will try and emulate the achievements of Fernando Torres and co.
Mavinga will be hoping to stop his Anfield teammate and help France to glory.
Kick-off is at 6pm.

Hodgson Feels Liverpool Are Perfect

Roy Hodgson believes the manner of Liverpool's 2-0 victory over FK Rabotnicki proves the squad has the quality to sustain challenges for top honours this season.
A youthful Reds contingent secured a 2-0 victory in the first leg of the Europa League third qualifying round tie in Skopje on Thursday evening, without the likes of Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Fernando Torres, Pepe Reina, Dirk Kuyt and new signing Joe Cole.
And Hodgson feels the performance shows the importance of keeping a settled squad - although the manager admits he is still looking to add to his charges.
"I don't think I've ever said the squad is in need of a major overhaul," said the boss. "We need to add one or two players to the team.
"It is important we keep the nucleus from last season and a nucleus of players who are maybe just behind the first team."

UEFA Looking Into Racist 'MONKEY' Chants In Europa League Tie

UEFA have confirmed they are aware of claims racist chants were directed at Liverpool's players during last night's Europa League qualifying game against FK Rabotnicki in Macedonia.
The governing body are waiting to assess reports from both the UEFA delegate and the referee before taking any action against FK Rabotnicki.  
Liverpool won the first leg of their third qualifying round tie against the Macedonian side thanks to a brace from David Ngog.

But pictures emerged after the game that showed Rabotnicki fans appearing to direct so-called 'monkey taunts' at Liverpool players.
Liverpool started the game with two black players in Ngog and impressive 19-year-old winger David Amoo.
A spokesman for UEFA told Press Association Sport: "We are aware of the matter but we are waiting for the reports from the delegate and the referee."
Once UEFA have assessed the reports, a disciplinary case could be opened against FK Rabotnicki.
Macedonian football has had problems with racism before and their governing body was fined after England players Emile Heskey, Ashley Cole and Sol Campbell were subjected to abuse during an international in 2003.

Liverpool Want Poulsen, Claim Juventus

Christian Poulsen
Christian Poulsen represented Denmark at this summer's World Cup

Juventus general director Giuseppe Marotta claims Liverpool are interested in defensive midfielder Christian Poulsen.
Poulsen, 30, has frequently been linked with a move away from Juve, and rumours of an exit were fuelled as he was left out of the side that faced Shamrock Rovers in Thursday's Europa League qualification match.
Marotta has denied his exclusion was prompted by his imminent departure but did say Liverpool are looking to sign the Denmark international.
"Liverpool have shown interest in Poulsen, but the fact that he did not play in this game is only due to a technical decision," Marotta told Mediaset.
Poulsen's agent claimed last summer that Fulham had seen a loan bid rejected for the player.

Ngog Is Staying At Liverpool

Roy Hodgson has insisted two-goal Europa League hero David Ngog is staying at Liverpool.

Ngog's brace made it a perfect start for Hodgson in his first competitive game in charge of the Reds on Thursday night as they eased to a 2-0 win over Macedonian minnows FK Rabotnicki.
Ngog, who hit eight goals last season, had been linked with a loan move away from Anfield with West Brom keen on signing him, but Hodgson praised his performance on Thursday and revealed he has no plans to sell the Frenchman.
"I can't stop players being linked with other clubs. I certainly have never discussed him leaving," he said.
"I think Ngog has done well in the pre-season matches so far and he has worked very hard in the training sessions. I was pleased that he crowned his performance with two goals.
"I thought his target play, his general movement and his ability to keep the ball for us was also very good. But front players need goals and that will be a very big weight off his mind.
"It will mean he doesn't have to worry too much about the coming matches." Liverpool's next outing is a friendly against Borussia Monchengladbach on Sunday, a game which Hodgson has confirmed will see Joe Cole make his Reds debut while fellow England internationals Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Glen Johnson should all also get a run out.

Lucas Looks To Retain Captaincy

Liverpool midfielder Lucas hopes to have laid down a marker after captaining the team to a comfortable season-opening Europa League victory last night.
The Reds were pressed into action with an inexperienced side 17 days before their Barclays Premier League campaign begins after last season's seventh-placed finish left them needing to qualify for Europe's second-tier competition.
With several World Cup players having only recently returned to training, and others still on holiday, manager Roy Hodgson chose to travel to face Macedonian side FK Rabotnicki in Skopje with a youthful squad.
Lucas was one of just a handful of senior players to feature and, in the absence of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, wore the captain's armband.
And, after a comfortable 2-0 victory, the Brazilian wants to keep it for the second leg of the third round qualifier next week.
Lucas said: "It is a really good achievement for me. I am really proud, really happy, but the most important thing was the win.
"I know there are a lot of senior players in front of me but I hope I did a really good job and hopefully I will keep it.
"We are really pleased. It is our first win of the season and it was an important game.
"We got two away goals against a difficult team, so we have started the right way.
"Hopefully we will keep the same for the next match."
David Ngog scored both goals as Liverpool eased to victory with few alarms.
Lucas played alongside homegrown youngster Jay Spearing with Alberto Aquilani playing in a more advanced role behind lone striker Ngog.
With the likes of Gerrard, Joe Cole and Javier Mascherano - although the latter has expressed a desire to leave - training back on Merseyside, Lucas feels competition for midfield places is strong.
"Jay was fantastic and Alberto is getting the fitness back," Lucas said.
"This is good for the team, this is good for the season.
"When you have good competition with good players it will always be good for the team.
"The first two friendlies were to get our fitness back. Now for the official game we were 100% and we were ready.
"It was really important we won away with two goals and we didn't concede.
"The shape of the team was really good and hopefully we will keep doing the same, but we still have to play the second leg.
"We have to make sure we beat them again."
For Spearing the tie offers an early opportunity to impress new manager Hodgson.
The 21-year-old Wirral-born player briefly broke into Rafael Benitez's first team last season but ended the campaign on loan at Leicester.
Spearing said: "It's a massive season for me, with a new manager I've got to try to impress.
"It was a chance for me and the other young lads, (David) Amoo and (Martin) Kelly, to show the boss what we are capable of.
"I'm happy with my performance but at the end of the day it is a team one.
"We had our shape right, played for the 90 minutes and passed the ball well at times.
"We are halfway there but we need to get back to Anfield and finish the job off as soon as possible.
"We have got a lot of players to come back and fight for places.
"We have got to try to show the boss as many times as we can that we can stay in it. I've got to show him I'm capable of sticking around."

Roy Hodgson Praises Ngog

Hodgson was full of praise for the French striker after his double gave the Reds a comfortable first leg lead over Rabotnicki in their Europa League third qualifying round tie.
"I can't stop players being linked with other clubs but I certainly have never discussed him leaving the club," said the boss after the game.
"I think Ngog has done well in the pre-season matches so far. He has worked very hard in the training sessions and today he crowned his performance with two goals.
"I also thought his target play, his general movement and ability to keep the ball was very good too.
"Some players need goals and today he got them. That will be a big weight off his mind because it means he doesn't have to worry too much about them in the coming matches."

Liverpool Win Marred by Racism

Liverpool's Europa League opponents FK Rabotnicki could face action if UEFA authorities are alerted to an incident of racist crowd behaviour.

Pictures have emerged from Liverpool's 2-0 over the Macedonian side in Skopje of supporters directing monkey taunts towards the English side's players.

Liverpool started the third qualifying round tie at the Philip II Stadium with two black players in their side in double goalscorer David Ngog and 19-year-old winger David Amoo.

Macedonian football has had a problem with racist behaviour in the past.

In September 2003, England players Emile Heskey, Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole were all the subject of abuse in an international against Macedonia at the same stadium.

An English flag was also burned and European governing body UEFA later fined the Football Federation of Macedonia £10,730

Blackpool Want El Zhar On Loan

Premier League new boys Blackpool are eyeing a loan deal for Liverpool attacker Nabil El Zhar.

The speedy Moroccan winger has come to the attention of Seasiders boss Ian Holloway who is trialling a handful of players as he goes about strengthening his squad for the top flight.

23-year old El Zhar has had a very small amount of first team opportunities since arriving at Anfield as a teenager in 2006 so a loan deal to another Premier League club may be a positive move.

Insua Close To Liverpool Exit

Liverpool defender Emiliano Insua's move to Fiorentina is edging ever closer and he is expected to complete the switch next week. Reports earlier this week claimed the deal was in danger of falling through because of Insua's personal demands. Fiorentina have agreed an undisclosed fee with Liverpool for the Argentina international as they look to bolster their defensive options. Liverpool are willing to sell Insua despite their lack of left-back options as Roy Hodgson looks to raise funds for his own signings. Fiorentina are determined to push through the move and it is believed both parties are now close to completing the transfer. Insua is expected seal his switch to Italy next week to end his three-year spell at Anfield.

Hodgson Impressed With Liverpool's Character In Europa Game

Hodgson was happy to see his young side leave Macedonia with a 2-0 first leg lead and was encouraged with the performance of the team.
"I am very satisfied. I think it is a game that could have been very difficult for us. The crowd were fantastic for them and supported them quite brilliantly throughout the game," said the boss.
"It was a big crowd and some of our players today are not used to playing in front of as many people as that.
"I am really pleased about the way everybody went about their business.
"I am very pleased we can go back to Anfield with a margin of victory that will enable us to be a little bit more comfortable there.
"You learn a lot about your team every time you play. I have worked with some of the players, and there are those that I haven't.
"Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger haven't done much training with me, so it was a very good exercise in that respect.
"I am just delighted that so many players who had pressure on them coming into the game - both senior and younger players looking to make their mark - were able to help us secure a positive outcome and can head back to Liverpool feeling good about themselves."

Ngog Brace Seals Liverool Win Over Rabotnicki

David Ngog struck twice as Roy Hodgson began his reign as Liverpool manager with a comfortable victory from a potentially tricky Europa League test last night.
The Frenchman found the net in each half as an under-strength Liverpool side overcame FK Rabotnicki with little alarm in the first leg of their third qualifying round tie in Macedonia.
With 17 days still to go before their Premier League opener, Liverpool were without 10 of their World Cup players but their blend of youth and experience coped well in a game of little drama. Hodgson's decision to leave behind the likes of Steven Gerrard and Joe Cole was fully vindicated.
Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel, Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Alberto Aquilani, Lucas and Ngog were the established players to start, while new signing Milan Jovanovic was handed his debut alongside David Amoo, making his first senior appearance.
Diego Cavalieri, Martin Kelly and Jay Spearing made up the team but it was a sign of the times that the side on show at the Philip II Stadium — an old arena halfway through an impressive rebuild — was still worth £41million.
Liverpool, playing in black, began with Aquilani operating in an advanced role behind Ngog on a balmy evening in sweltering Skopje.
Rabotnicki had the first opportunity but Ze Carlos' optimistic shot from a 40-yard free-kick was blocked by Lucas.
Liverpool's first serious chance came when Kyrgiakos headed wide from an Aquilani corner.
The visitors took the lead in the 17th minute when Ngog raced through a static Rabotnicki defence to reach a Lucas free-kick.
The Frenchman ran into the box unchallenged and clipped the ball past a half-hearted attempt at a save from Martin Bogatinov.
Brazil-born Ze Carlos found space as Rabotnicki tried to respond but shot tamely at Cavalieri from distance.
Amoo showed a glimpse of his potential early in the second half as he set off on a run down the right after a neat turn on halfway.
The 19-year-old Londoner cut inside to beat one man and then went outside another but his cross was too long.
Another good run by Amoo created an opening for Lucas but the Brazilian's touch let him down.
Liverpool were almost caught out as Wandeir Dos Santos ran onto a long ball into the box but he lost balance and Cavalieri gathered.
Liverpool doubled their advantage just before the hour as Ngog volleyed in a fine second.
The referee played on when half of the floodlights went out with 10 minutes remaining and any fears the game might be abandoned were quickly dispelled as some of the failed power was quickly restored.
Liverpool eased to walking pace in the latter stages and the final whistle eventually came to signal a winning start to the Hodgson era. 

Rabotnicki (4-1-4-1): Bogatinov, Belica, Sekulovski, Dimovski, Todorovski; Gligorov; Tuneski, Fernando Lopes, Ze Carlos, Da Silva; Wandeir. Substitutes not used Kandikijan, Marcio, Mojsov, Adem, Roberto Carlos, Petkovski, Sinkovic. 

Liverpool (4-4-1-1): Cavalieri; Kelly, Kyrgiakos, Skrtel, Agger (Darby, 72); Amoo (Dalla Valle, 84), Spearing, Lucas, Jovanovic; Aquilani (Eccleston, 84); Ngog. Substitutes not used Gulacsi, Shelvey,Ayala, Ince. 

Referee A Damato ( Italy ).

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Marek Hamsik Linked To Liverpool

Liverpool are being linked with a fresh move for Napoli midfielder and Slovakian captain Marek Hamsik.
According to, reports in Italy are suggesting that Roy Hodgson may look to revive interest in the the 23 year old who was first linked with a move to Anfield under Rafa Benitez.
The website believes however that the sizeable transfer fee that Napoli would demand for the player will prove to be a major stumbling block in any move. Hamsik scored 12 goals in all competitions last season, taking his total to 33 in his 116 appearances for Napoli during his three seasons at the club.
He was named runner-up in Slovakia's footballer of the year last year and was also named the young player of the year. He captained his country during his first World Cup in South Africa this summer.

Benitez Ready To Coup For Kuyt

Inter Milan are ready to make an offer for Liverpool attacker Dirk Kuyt.

The Daily Mail says Rafa Benitez wants to raid his old club Liverpool for Kuyt despite the signing being met with a lukewarm response in Milan.

However, Moratti is ready to back the man who stepped in when Jose Mourinho defected for the Real Madrid hot seat.

"We shouldn’t necessarily be always looking for star players, but functional ones," said Moratti.

"There is a different coach, maybe slightly different from last year, but first and foremost he wants to keep the good players. Then we will start thinking about the team's true needs."

Kuyt's ability to play either up front or on the wings attracts Benitez, but the Spaniard agreed not buy players from Liverpool for three months after leaving Anfield.

New York-based Liverpool fans join calls for American owners to walk away

LIVERPOOL’S New York Supporters Club have joined the calls for Tom Hicks and George Gillett to sell the club immediately.
LFCNY, which is the oldest and biggest fans club in North America, is joining forces with Spirit of Shankly to crank up the pressure on the Reds’ owners.
In a statement they labelled Hicks and Gillett as "financial parasites" and urged them to "get out of our club".
It read: "They are nothing more than financial parasites who are using the club we have known and loved all our lives for nothing more than increasing their bank balances.
"They care not for our 18 League Championships; they care not for our 5 European Cups; they care not for our 3 UEFA Cups; they care not for our 7 FA Cups; they care not for our 7 League Cups; they care not for our 3 European Super Cups.
"They care not for the Liverpool way, for the fans, for the history, for the memories, for the glories of our great club. For the glory that is Liverpool FC.
"They are not fit and proper persons to be the guardians of Liverpool FC.
"All they have contributed to Liverpool FC since that horrendous day in February 2007 is shame and dishonor.
"When they arrived, the club debt stood at £44.8 million; we were told that their debts incurred in buying the club would not be foisted upon the club. We were also told that work would begin on a new stadium in 60 days.
"This summer, the debt of Liverpool FC is £350 million and there are no plans for any stadium and the manager Rafael Benitez has been fired.
"Lies, subterfuge and debts. This has been the sad and sorry story of the tenure of Tom Hicks and George Gillett at Liverpool FC.
"In coming weeks, the LFCNY will be working closely with all the other Liverpool supporters’ clubs in North America and Spirit of Shankly to make sure that these two men will have nothing more to do with Liverpool FC.
"The people of Liverpool, the fans worldwide and the club itself deserves better than the steady diet of falsehoods and insults that have been served up by Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
"Get out of our club now and forever. You’ve done enough damage. Go before you do any more."