Aguero wants to join Reds, so do the blues

Liverpool are the dream club of Argentinean teenager Sergio Aguero, according to quotes attributed to the teenager this week. Independiente are said to be looking for around £10million for the 17-year-old, a skilful attacking midfielder. He’s drawn attention from Bayern Munich amongst others, but says the Reds are the team he really wants to play for: “If I had to choose a league then it would be the Premier League. I have been a Liverpool fan for as long as I can remember and it would be a dream to play there. I watched the Champions League final and celebrated every goal as if it was for Independiente.”

It seems unlikely that Liverpool would pay the asking price for the player, although if a deal can be struck based on appearances then maybe Liverpool would show some real interest.

Meanwhile across the park there’s still some misguided hope from Everton that they’ll be able to ground share with Liverpool. The speculation earlier in the week that investment was imminent for Liverpool seemed to give Everton’s chief executive Keith Wyness the impression that maybe his club will be allowed to join Liverpool’s plans for a new ground. Liverpool have made it patently clear that they have absolutely no intention or wish to ground-share with their bitter rivals, but according to Wyness a change of owner at Anfield could see a change of heart.

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Liverpool worth £200million – Reuters

Reuters have reported that they have been given information from a “source close to the situation” that the Liverpool Football Club board is seeking a valuation of the club of in the region of  £200m (US$348.5m).

Earlier today Liverpool FC released the following statement to the press:

“The board of Liverpool FC has noted the recent press speculation concerning possible third-party investment into the club and can confirm that it is continuing discussions with a number of parties regarding a potential investment of new funds into the club.
“Although the structure of any such investment is uncertain, it may include an offer for the entire share capital of the club. Shareholders will be kept updated as appropriate.”

Continue reading Liverpool worth £200million – Reuters

Reds make takeover announcement, but reveal little

Liverpool Football Club today announced that they were in talks with potential investors, although the statement really said nothing new. Liverpool need to confirm they have investment available for their new stadium before the end of the week if they are to avoid losing out on around £9m of funding from the North West Development Agency, which may well be the reason for this announcement.

The statement simply said: “The board of Liverpool FC has noted the recent press speculation concerning possible third-party investment into the club and can confirm that it is continuing discussions with a number of parties regarding a potential investment of new funds into the club. Although the structure of any such investment is uncertain, it may include an offer for the entire share capital of the club.”

This is the first time that any mention of a complete takeover has been made.
Continue reading Reds make takeover announcement, but reveal little

Mellor back at Melwood, round-up

Liverpool striker Neil Mellor has had to come back to Melwood in an attempt to sort out his latest injury setback. Mellor had to have double knee surgery last year and spent a long time trying to get back to fitness. He was loaned to Wigan during the January transfer window, with Rafa Benitez wanting the player to get some games in before the summer. Unfortunately a new problem with his knee flared up and he’s hardly played for the ‘Latics. He scored on his début for Paul Jewell’s side and looked set to be a great asset to the new Premiership side, but injury has brought those hopes to a standstill.

Liverpool’s medical staff will look after him for a week hoping that they can give him some treatment to get him back on the pitch again at Wigan.

Another Reds player out on loan is goalkeeper Scott Carson. With Jerzy Dudek staying on at Anfield the England under-21 star became the Reds third-choice keeper, and so once Liverpool had been eliminated from the Champions League Rafa Benitez accepted he could leave on loan. Sheffield Wednesday were the club that got to use his services but only for a month. Now they want to try and extend that deal for the rest of this term. Their manager, Paul Sturrock, says the keeper is ideal for the Owls: “We had to wait a long time for Scott. I was after him for three months with Liverpool’s European commitments, but now we know he’s the type of player we need to have at Sheffield Wednesday. He’s on the dreaded 24-hour recall, so I’m hoping Liverpool have no injury problems and their keepers stay fit.” Carson is certainly having better fortune than another Reds goalkeeper who’s out on loan – Chris Kirkland looks set to be out for the rest of the season after breaking a bone in his finger during a training session with West Brom.

Reds striker Fernando Morientes has made it clear that despite some impatience from some Reds fans he wants to stay on at Anfield and show the supporters just what sort of player he really is. Nando has scored 11 goals in 53 appearances since his £6.3m move 14 months ago which is not as many as he’d like. With all the rumours of him being unhappy and unsettled, it is inevitable that interest has come from various places, be says: “I’m not thinking about leaving. People have yet to see the true Morientes. I’m not thinking about leaving,” said Morientes. “I’ve heard the rumours about Turkey but they don’t interest me. People here have yet to see the true Fernando Morientes.”

Two sides to one story involving Bolton’s Stelios Giannakopolous. First of all in reports coming out of Greece he was reported as saying he wanted to leave Bolton and become a Red during the summer. Stelios turned down a chance to join the Reds last summer and signed a new three-year deal, so it’s unlikely Rafael Benitez would be interested again now. The only outside chance would be if Bolton were to take a surplus Liverpool player rather than cash. In the Greek reports Stelios said: “I would give everything to go to Liverpool. I have become more stubborn since last season when I didn’t go to Liverpool, although their official proposal gave me moral satisfaction. That’s my dream. Not only to go to Liverpool, but in general, to go to a bigger team. I am working every week to make Liverpool, or any big team, chase my signature.”

Whether the quotes were real, made up or taken out of context remains unclear, but the player put out a different statement entirely on the Bolton official website, where he said: “I have aspirations of playing in Europe again with Bolton Wanderers and I am fully committed in helping them to qualify this season.”

The Reds chief executive Rick Parry says that Liverpool don’t want to sign Tottenham’s Jermain Defoe. There has been an attempt ongoing in the media, seemingly from Spurs, to unsettle Djibril Cisse by constantly linking the North London team with the French striker. On deadline day there was reportedly a bid at the last minute from Spurs to sign the striker, one which was refused by the Reds. Rafael Benitez spoke in a press conference about how tiresome he was finding the Spurs tactics, and Spurs officials complained to the press about Rafa’s words. They wrote to the Premier League but seemingly stopped short of raising a formal complaint. Parry says Liverpool are, “in dialogue with Spurs, and it is an episode we want to put behind us and move on. I am sure we will do that. They are making the point they are not interested in our player, and we not interested in their player – so I think we’ll resolve that one.”

Why Spurs didn’t raise a formal complaint is open to speculation, but for Rafa to make such an outburst does suggest he has evidence to back up his claims that Spurs are trying to make a move for Cisse through the press. Premier League spokesman Dan Johnson said explained that although they had been notified of the situation from the Spurs perspective they wouldn’t be acting without a formal complaint: “We have been made aware of the situation and we are monitoring it. We cannot launch an official inquiry until we receive a complaint.”

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Ten-man Reds too good for the blues at Anfield

Barclays Premiership Result.

Liverpool 3(Neville 45 og, Luis Garcia 47, Kewell 84) Everton 1 (Cahill 61)

Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Riise, Luis Garcia, Gerrard, Sissoko, Alonso, Kewell, Crouch.
Subs: Dudek, Kromkamp, Fowler, Morientes, Warnock.
Booked: Gerrard 17, Alonso 23, Kewell 34
Sent off: Gerrard 18

Everton: Wright, Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Naysmith, Osman, Cahill, Neville, Kilbane, Beattie, McFadden.
Subs: Turner, Yobo, Ferguson, Davies, Van der Meyde.
Booked: Cahill 13, Stubbs 34, Kilbane 52, Weir 66, Ferguson 76, Neville 86, Hibbert 90          
Sent off: A Van der Meyde 74

“Referee”: P Dowd (Staffordshire)
Attendance: 44,923
Half-time: 1-0

Continue reading Ten-man Reds too good for the blues at Anfield

Mersey derby to feature some culture

Today’s Anfield derby kicks off at 12:45 for the benefit of pay-per-view television on Sky TV. One player itching to get back into derby action is Liverpool “new boy” Robbie Fowler. The striker, brought back to the club in Anfield, was an Everton fan as a boy but dislikes the bitter half of the city as much as any Red nowadays.

Jamie Carragher was also a blue during his very early days, but soon saw sense to become a Red, and eventually a Reds hero. Steven Gerrard, Liverpool captain, was always a Reds supporter, and he’ll be wearing the number “08” on his back today, along with Everton’s James Beattie, in a bit of publicity for the city of Liverpool’s successful bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2008. Call us biased, but we feel that the Red portion of the city is the most cultured. The blue side is there to make us realise how lucky we are.

Forget talk of a friendly derby. Everton fans and also former players and staff spend most of their time blaming Liverpool for anything that goes wrong for them. Liverpool and Everton fans do generally get on with each other, just as long as you don’t get the Evertonian started on anything to do with football.

Everton fans will have had some extra ribbing in recent days. So pleased are they with the fact that they managed to win some games after Christmas that they actually brought out a DVD of the return to form. Find it in your local video store in the same section as Everton’s “Great Escapes” DVD, not too far away from Liverpool’s various European Cup winning videos.

Everton’s return to form has been credited to the return of Alan Stubbs, the former captain they had let go in the summer over some clause to do with his new contract being void if he got a recurrence of his testicular cancer. David Moyes, Everton manager, said of the new-found form: “I don’t think it’s anything I’ve done, or anything we had or hadn’t done on the training ground. Since Christmas players like James Beattie, Mikel Arteta and James McFadden have had the most consistent form of their Everton careers. Alan Stubbs’ return has also steadied the ship.”

Moyes was linked with a move North East to take the Newcastle job earlier in the week, a rumour that horrified both teams. Everton wouldn’t want to lose him now (even though most were demanding his sacking as recently as December) and blamed the story on Liverpool trying to unsettle the blues. Newcastle quickly rubbished the story before any of their fans started to call for the heads of the board to be displayed on the Tyne Bridge. Liverpool fans mainly laughed.

Rafael Benitez is looking forward to the game today. He knows what it means to the fans and is hoping to win it for their sakes if nothing else: “I enjoy the derby and it is a fantastic and amazing occasion, and we want to win for our supporters. We know if we can win it will make the people happy and we have confidence and we are scoring goals. Everton are also playing well and it will be a tough game as they have a good manager in David Moyes who is doing a good job. We must work really hard and keep up the pressure on Manchester United and we need to win on our home ground.”

Liverpool have scored 15 goals in their last three games, Everton seven in their last two. All the signs of a goalless draw for today’s game then. Today’s referee is Phil Dowd, who sent Liverpool’s Momo Sissoko off at Sunderland earlier in the season.

As with any Merseyside derby, the cliche book comes out and the form book goes out of the window. Referees generally let things go that in other games they’d hand out punishments for. This can lead to more and more anger building up, and a referee to make a mistake or a misjudgement. A missed handball or a controversial red card can be talked about for years. Today’s result will have an impact on both Everton’s late rush for European qualification and Liverpool’s efforts to try and finish second, but the biggest impact is on bragging rights tonight in the pub, on Monday morning at work and for the rest of this season and into the next for whoever wins the game.

Derbies – love them and hate them.

Continue reading Mersey derby to feature some culture

FA Cup draw – it’s Chelsea. Again.

The draw for the FA Cup semi-final has been made and once again Liverpool have been drawn against Chelsea. The two sides have already met nine times since the start of last season, this will be the second time they’ve met at a neutral venue. The venue is yet to be decided, but it won’t the same venue as last time, when the sides met in the Carling Cup final at Cardiff.

Chelsea have become pretenders to Manchester United’s crown of most-hated side in England, not because of their new-found wealth or their recent success, but because of their attitude to everyone else in the game. There’s little need to go through it all again now, few people in the country fail to see what Chelsea do wrong. Suffice to say that Jose Mourinho will almost certainly complain about “the goal that never was”. It did cross the line, but being the goal that sent Chelsea out of the Champions League last season Mourinho has complained about it ever since. Last time the two sides met Chelsea deserved to win, but tarnished the game further with the blatant dive by Arjen Robben which got Jose Reina sent off.

Rafael Benitez isn’t worried unduly; he told Liverpool’s official site that both sides will find it is a difficult game: “It will be a difficult game for both teams. We know each other so well and when you play a cup tie you know it will always be a difficult tie. We shall see what happens. They are a very good side but so are we. We have a lot of confidence and we know it’s a game we can win.”

The biggest frustration is having to listen to the former Barcelona translator’s voice once again, and no doubt we’ll hear a lot about it in the four weeks until the tie is played, on either the 22nd or 23rd of April. The other semi will be between West Ham and the winners of the Middlesbrough-Charlton replay.

Continue reading FA Cup draw – it’s Chelsea. Again.

Red news round-up

Liverpool goalkeeper Chris Kirkland has suffered yet another injury in a career that seems to have been riddled with injuries all unconnected with each other. The latest injury is a break to the tip of his index finger and occurred in training at West Brom, where he’s been on loan all season. Kirkland has not played a league game for the Baggies since October, kept out of the side by other injuries and the form of Polish keeper Tomasz Kuszczak. This injury will keep him out for six weeks, meaning he’s not likely to win a place back in the West Brom side in time to push for a World Cup squad place. It also seems unlikely that West Brom will keep him on board next season, meaning a return to Anfield is almost certain for the 24-year-old.

Today sees the draw for the semi-finals of the FA Cup. Liverpool will go into the hat with Chelsea, West Ham, Charlton and Middlesbrough. Charlton and Boro drew their quarter final match last night and so that tie goes to a replay. The two semi-finals are scheduled to be played on the weekend of the 22nd and 23rd of April, and despite rumours there are no plans to stage them at Cardiff. The FA will choose neutral league venues after the draw has been made. Liverpool are “ball number 4” in the draw.

The Reds youth team now know who their final opponents will be in the FA Youth Cup. Manchester City won their semi-final over Newcastle 4-3 on aggregate, 1-1 on the night. The final is played over two legs, with dates yet to be announced awaiting agreement between the two clubs.

Some of the Reds youth team turned out for the reserves last night in a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa reserves. A bad-tempered game saw Liverpool end the match with 10 men and Villa with 9. Robbie Foy scored Liverpool’s goal after 73 minutes with the equaliser coming on 80. Lee Peltier was sent off for the Reds after retaliating to another bad tackle. Bad feeling all came about from a disgraceful tackle on Peltier in the opening minutes which should have resulted in a straight red and not a yellow. According to reserve coach Hughie McAuley the referee ruined a decent game: “Despite all that went on with the referee losing control of the game I actually thought it was a decent game and we did very well. I don’t want to say too much about the referee but there were certain things going on in the game that should have been stamped out early on. We scored a good goal very well taken by Robbie Foy after a great ball from Danny Guthrie, but unfortunately we lost concentration and let Aston Villa back into it.” For a more detailed report check out The Liverpool Way website later today.

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FA Cup: Birmingham 0 Liverpool 7

FA Cup Quarter Final.

Birmingham 0 Liverpool 7 (S Hyypia 1, P Crouch 4, 37, F Morientes 59, J Riise 69, O Tebily o.g. 76, D Cisse 88)

Rafael Benítez: “We have already won one cup this season, the Super Cup, and we hope the FA Cup can be the second. We always want to do well in the cups and this competition is no different. The FA Cup is very important for us. We have confidence and will try to do the same things again in the next round but we have to take one game at a time and see what happens.
“I am delighted with the final result and the performance of the players tonight. They worked really hard and it is the first time in my professional career that I have won by seven goals.
“Sometimes you have lots of shots but cannot score, like against Charlton recently, but tonight almost everything we hit went in. Also, sometimes you need a bit of luck in front of goal and tonight we had that with a couple of the goals.
“Despite the victory I still stand by my pre-match comment that you cannot play two games in three days at this high level. We changed some players tonight and it showed because we had fresh legs out there. For this reason we were able to keep going. The players wanted to keep scoring and were determined to keep a clean sheet.
“I was particularly pleased with the return of Momo Sissoko. This was really good news for us. He showed great character.”

“I’m delighted with the final result and the performance of the players, sometimes you cannot score goals after 30 attempts – as against Charlton – but here every time we shot it was a goal. 

“We have quality. The strikers are really good, and in this case we had a lot of luck. We are closer to the final and we will try to do the same things, play well. But in one game anything can happen.”
Rafa on Steve Bruce: “Games like this are difficult for a manager. I think Birmingham worked hard but to start a game and then suddenly find yourself two down after five minutes is never easy. He can be proud of the effort his players put in and I do feel some sympathy. If you are losing 2-0 inside five minutes, it is very difficult. They did a lot of things to try to score but at 3-0 it was virtually impossible for them to win. You try to go forward, you leave spaces and we have done a good job also.

Birmingham manager Steve Bruce: “I’ll analyse myself but I want to turn it round. I’m not going to take anything for granted and questions will be asked. The board have always been good to me, but I still think I’m the right person to see it through. The one thing I am is resilient and I’ll need to be. Sometimes football kicks you in the teeth – and certainly that is the biggest one I have taken.

“I’m shell-shocked, disappointed and humiliated. It was men against boys, a result possibly waiting to happen with the patched up side we have got. It’s possibly the worst night I have ever experienced, certainly in management and with the players there are a lot of dented egos in the dressing room – and my ego is dented as well.

“There is very little you can say to them. They are absolutely humiliated. You have got to try to go again. It’s going to be a long 24, 48 hours but the one thing about football is there is another game around the corner.

“We have got Manchester United coming up and Chelsea after that. It’s going to be a big test for us all, myself, my staff and my managerial ability to try to lift everyone if I can. But I am determined to try to do it.

“Have I the backing of the board still? You will have to ask them that. It is hard for me to answer that. It is a question for the board themselves.”

Steven Gerrard: “I was listening to some of the Everton players saying they were happy to be coming to Anfield full of confidence, but I think it’s the same for us now. We’ve been getting criticised for not scoring goals of late but hopefully we have proved the critics wrong. We’re really pleased with our performance tonight.
“Nothing has changed in terms of why we’re suddenly scoring goals. I just think we’re getting more luck now. We’ve always been playing well but the strikers hadn’t been having much luck. Now they’re starting to go in and we’re delighted.”
Peter Crouch: “I was a bit gutted not to have a chance of a hat-trick, but I think the manager was thinking about the Everton game.
“It was a great performance by us and a good result. It’s always the case that when you score a couple of goals then the next ones tend to go in a bit easier. Hopefully we can keep this run going now.”

Birmingham: Maik Taylor, Melchiot, Cunningham, Martin Taylor (Tebily 45), Painter, Pennant, Johnson (Bruce 75), Clemence, Clapham, Forssell, Dunn (Kilkenny 71).
Subs Not Used: Vaesen, Lazaridis.
Booked: S Clemence 44, D Johnson 66, A Bruce 79

Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Traore (Kewell 22), Alonso, Gerrard (Cisse 71), Sissoko, Riise, Crouch (Morientes 56), Luis Garcia.
Subs Not Used: Dudek, Kromkamp.

Half-time: 0-3.

Attendance: 27,378.

Referee: Rob Styles (Hampshire).

Continue reading FA Cup: Birmingham 0 Liverpool 7

Momo could be back tonight’s FA Cup game

Strong rumours coming out of the Liverpool camp this morning that the Reds will see the return to action tonight of Momo Sissoko, who’s been out of action with an eye injury initially feared bad enough to end his career. Although there has been no official confirmation from Anfield, stories say Momo is in tonight’s squad and may even start. There could also be a return from injury of John Arne Riise.

Liverpool played a 5-3-2 formation on Sunday against Newcastle and there’s no way of telling yet whether Rafa intends to use the same system tonight. He is worried about the close proximity of the two fixtures, and so is likely to make whatever changes he feels he can. Robbie Fowler is not involved tonight of course – he is cup-tied for the game after playing in the third round for Manchester City. Some newspapers have him listed in their “possible” line-ups for tonight, and even the fact Robbie scored a goal for the reserves last night hasn’t rung any alarm bells for them. Whether Momo is fit to return tonight or not, there’s almost certainly going to be a recall for Xabi Alonso.

According to the Liverpool boss this fixture schedule shouldn’t be allowed to happen in this way. Rafa and his staff take physical fitness very seriously and the boss says the game tonight is a huge risk: “It is impossible – you cannot prepare a team to play 100 per cent two days after a fixture. That is why we used a different system on Sunday and we will use some different players at Birmingham. After you play a game you often feel fine on the first day but it is on the second day that things are worse and your muscles are sore. On the third day you are maybe back to 70 per cent but you cannot play at the same level.”
Continue reading Momo could be back tonight’s FA Cup game