TLW: Alves deal off. Reds move for Trabelsi and Pennant and Kuyt

The Tunisia and Ajax right-back Hatem Trabelsi has flown into Liverpool today to discuss the possibility of a move to Anfield under the “Bosman” ruling, according to a report on The Liverpool Way website.

We reported earlier today that the local press had spoken about a move for Trabelsi, but this seemed to be aimed at getting Sevilla to reconsider their demands for right wing-back Daniel Alves. Now, according to this new report, Sevilla’s refusal to drop down from their asking price of £12m means the Reds have given up on a move for him.

Jermaine Pennant has been known to be in Liverpool’s sights for some time now, even to the point where a deal had been agreed tentatively between Liverpool and Birmingham for the player, but only as a second-choice should the Alves deal not go through. The move for Pennant is now back on, according to TLW: “Benitez has now set his sights on a cut price double swoop for Trabelsi and Jermaine Pennant to give him more options on the right flank. The rest of the transfer kitty will be used to try and prise Dirk Kuyt away from Feyenoord.”

The story also talks about Dutch full back Jan Kromkamp going home to Holland, with either Ajax or Feyenoord possible destinations.

TLW is probably the most reliable site for exclusive stories like this. It’s unusual for TLW to publish a story as “news”, so when they do you should take note. They were the site that broke the news Danny Murphy was leaving Anfield against all expectations. Read the story in more detail on the TLW website.

Continue reading TLW: Alves deal off. Reds move for Trabelsi and Pennant and Kuyt

González: I’ll not wear Chile shirt again

After falling out with the Chilean national coach Nelson Acosta Liverpool winger Mark González claims he’s now retired from international football – at the age of 21.

Mark is still to make his Liverpool debut due to stringent work permit requirements, but Liverpool fans are desperate to see him line up on the left in a Red shirt. He performed well for Real Sociedad when on loan there for the second half of last season, playing in important role in them being saved from relegation. 

The issue with the national team revolves around an incident in the team hotel during their stay in Ireland last month. He was allegedly caught with girls in his room and although he says they were only getting autographs, the coach decided to send him straight home.

Reports say González spoke to Radio Cooperativa in Chile about the situation, saying: “I am not going to continue. I am not going to wear the national shirt again. Now the only thing I am thinking of is to keep doing my work in England. All that has been said about me during the national team’s European tour has hurt me a lot. Now it’s over and I don’t want to talk anymore about what happened.”

A decision on his work permit is expected by the end of next week.

Continue reading González: I’ll not wear Chile shirt again

Cheyrou signs for Rennes, Partridge for Rotherham

Bruno Cheyrou has finally ended his career as a Liverpool player after agreeing to join Rennes in France.

Cheyrou was hailed as the next Zidane when Gerard Houllier signed him from Lille four years ago, but despite the white boots he just never managed to live up the reputation. He’s been out on loan for the last two years, clearly not even considered worth a chance by Rafael Benitez.

Now 28, the player managed to get into the French national side at one stage but for whatever reason just couldn’t perform at the standard expected of him. He scored five times in his 48 appearances for the Reds, including one at Chelsea that sticks in the mind.

Rennes plan to unveil him “officially” today, although they actually broke the news on their website yesterday.

As much as Cheyrou arrived with a lot of hype about how good he was going to be, another player who promised much but just seemed unable to deliver was Irish winger Richie Partridge. He wasn’t signed for a huge fee, instead coming through from the academy, but it really was felt by many that he had a lot of potential. He had a spell on loan at Coventry where he impressed hugely.

Gerard Houllier didn’t see any potential though and farmed him out on loan for much of the time. To be fair to Partridge he was also extremely unlucky in that he suffered more than his fair share of injuries. Last summer Liverpool finally released him, his Anfield dream over.

Now Partridge has signed for League One side Rotherham. His new side have their work cut out next season, starting off 10 points behind everyone else but the 25-year-old hopes to help them claw that deficit back quickly. He spent last season at Sheffield Wednesday but was released by manager Paul Sturrock. He passed a medical today and signed a two-year deal. Rotherham boss Alan Knill said: “I am confident Richie will do a great job for us. He is really looking forward to playing for us and I am sure the fans will soon establish him as a favourite.”

Continue reading Cheyrou signs for Rennes, Partridge for Rotherham

Sky announce 11 live TV league games for Reds

Get your diary back out and scribble out a load of those fixtures you’d written in for the new season. Most of you are used to it by now, but the fixtures have all now been changed. In the main it’s for the benefit of Sky TV (and the money from Sky helps LFC bid for the likes of Daniel Alves so we shouldn’t grumble) plus a couple of other changes.

The fixtures against Newcastle (home) and West Ham (away) aren’t changing for sake of the cameras, in fact the West Ham game is next year and could yet be moved again due to FA Cup commitments. Either way, it’s only a day different!

Sky want to see how Liverpool cope with the first game in the top flight for Neil Warnock’s Sheffield United. They also want to treat TV viewers to Liverpool’s games against West Ham, Everton, Chelsea, Spurs, Bolton, Man United, Arsenal, Boro, Charlton and Blackburn.

In addition to these games will be Champions League fixtures to look forward to on TV – assuming Liverpool get through the 3rd round qualifying ties in August.

  • Sheffield United v Liverpool. August 19. Kick-off: 12.45pm
  • Liverpool v West Ham. August 26. Kick-off: 12.45pm
  • Everton v Liverpool. September 9. Kick-off: 12.45pm
  • Chelsea v Liverpool. September 17. Kick-off: 1.30pm
  • Liverpool v Newcastle. September 20. Kick-off 8pm (not currently planned to be televised). 
  • Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur. September 23. Kick-off: 12.45pm 
  • Bolton v Liverpool. September 30. Kick-off: 12.45pm 
  • Manchester United v Liverpool. October 22. Kick-off: 1pm 
  • Arsenal v Liverpool. November 12. Kick-off: 4pm 
  • Middlesbrough v Liverpool. November 18. Kick-off: 5.15pm 
  • Charlton v Liverpool. December 16. Kick-off: 12.45pm 
  • Blackburn Rovers v Liverpool. December 26. Kick-off: 3pm
  • West Ham v Liverpool. January 30 2007 (not currently planned to be televised).

Continue reading Sky announce 11 live TV league games for Reds

July 1st means it’s time for deals to be sewn up

It’s time for transfers that were pretty much done already to be officially completed this weekend. Although the transfer window actually opens on the last day of each country’s season, most contracts for players don’t end until today, the last day of June.

So tomorrow deals which have already been signed become official. Craig Bellamy is officially a Red from midnight tonight, his transfer from Blackburn completed thanks to the date. Fabio Aurelio is officially made a Red tomorrow, in a deal agreed back in January when he was first allowed to make contract negotiations with other clubs under the Bosman rules.

Gabriel Paletta is also going to officially become a Red tomorrow – his signing from Argentinean side Banfield was agreed earlier in the year but he was allowed to finish the rest of the domestic league season off first. He wouldn’t actually have been eligible for Liverpool anyway, the deal not actually being concluded until after the transfer window had closed.

Djibril Cisse may have officially become a player for Marseille tomorrow too had he not suffered that horrific broken leg. There’s a lot of confusion over his future now – Marseille have claimed they have agreed to take him on loan, but Liverpool say that was merely an offer from Marseille, not an agreement between the two clubs.

Daniel Alves is still Rafa’s main target and a £10m deal is tantalisingly close to being agreed. The loss of Djibril Cisse is helping Liverpool to claim they are struggling to better their offer. Reports are being leaked that Rafa is considering giving up on the right-sided player and aiming for another striker instead. The striker is Kuyt, but in reality Rafa is actually hopeful of getting both players this summer. There’s more money available to Rafa than is being let on, but he’s choosing to play it cool. He won’t want to be ripped off – he’s made that clear on many occasions – and he’s not planning to budge on his final offer for Alves. In fact latest reports from the Spanish press say the fee is agreed; now it’s down to the terms of the agreement.

Last summer Rafa had money to spend on Michael Owen and Simao. He was expecting to spend around £21m on the two, but not a penny more. Neither player joined. Although he has made other signings since, they weren’t paid for out of that money. The inability to sell Cisse has had some impact on that figure (his sale would have been likely had the other two deals gone ahead) but not as much as is being hinted at.

The local press in Liverpool claim that Rafa is now switching his attentions to Tunisia’s 29-year-old World Cup player Hatem Trabelsi instead of Alves. Stranger things have happened and the player is now available on a “Bosman” as his contract with Ajax is now at end, but he seems more of a back-up plan than anything. Jan Kromkamp is on his way back to Holland this summer and maybe Trabelsi is being considered as cover.

Continue reading July 1st means it’s time for deals to be sewn up

World Cup over for Spanish trio

Three more of Liverpool’s World Cup stars joined Harry Kewell and Jan Kromkamp in a well-earned rest as Spain were knocked out of the World Cup last night in Hanover.

Xabi Alonso, Luis Garcia and Pepe Reina saw their country defeated in controversial circumstances – Thierri Henri clearly “simulating” in the lead-up to France’s second goal.

Xabi played the whole game with Luis appearing for a good chunk of the second half, but Pepe was once again left on the bench.

That leaves just the England boys who are involved in a quarter-final with Portugal at the weekend.

Not long to go now until all the players are back at Melwood, with the first pre-season game of the new season away to Wrexham less than three weeks away on July 15th.

Not coming back to training, if reports are to be believed, is the player once touted as “the next Zidane”. Bruno Cheyrou was one of the spectacular misjudgements made during the Gerard Houllier reign, but now Rennes say they hope to sign him by the end of the week. He’s spent most of his time at Anfield out on loan as Liverpool attempted to save some money on his huge wages.

Harry Kewell’s injury keeps changing. Once again unlucky with injury, he missed the game that saw Australia victims of injustice against Italy after arriving at the ground on crutches. At first feared to be another groin injury, it was later described as gout. Now Australian reporters are claiming it was in fact a badly infected blister on his toe. With a full pre-season behind him and an end to those injury nightmares, Harry will be hoping to bring even more improvements to his game than what we saw last season when he finally became a key player for the club.

Didi Hamann’s on-off move to Bolton seems to be back on, but Scott Carson’s possible loan move to Sheffield Wednesday seems to be off. Carson won’t have any trouble finding a club to move to on loan however should Rafa Benitez decide that’s what’s best for the goalkeeper.
Continue reading World Cup over for Spanish trio

Dudek’s Istanbul shirt and medal found

Merseyside Police say they’ve recovered Jerzy Dudek’s stolen Champions League winners medal and the shirt he wore for that game. The items were part of a huge haul of memorabilia that had been stolen from Jerzy’s home last week during his holiday in Poland.

Reports say Merseyside Police raided a house in Old Swan in Liverpool yesterday where they arrested two people – a 26-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman. They were arrested on suspicion of burglary and handling stolen goods.

No details of where the items were found have been released. The player’s black Porsche Carrera car had also been stolen during the robbery but had been found earlier in the week. Still missing are over 100 shirts, from international and English Premiership matches, along with Jerzy’s 2002 World Cup and his 2005 League Cup final shirt.
Continue reading Dudek’s Istanbul shirt and medal found

Official: Bellamy is a Red

Liverpool FC have confirmed this afternoon that Welsh international Craig Bellamy has agreed a four-year deal with Liverpool. The deals takes effect officially on July 1st, and a delighted Liverpool-supporting Bellamy went back to his wife and kids on holiday in Greece a very happy man.

Before he left though the newlywed spoke to Liverpool FC’s official website to tell them just how happy and proud he was: “To get the transfer completed today was an unbelievable moment for me. I just got married last month and that was obviously one of the highlights of my life but this is on par with that – I know the missus might not be happy with me saying that but it’s true! It’s a dream come true to sign for the club I supported as a boy and to actually play for Liverpool will be an enormous honour. I’m a very proud person at the moment.”

On Rafa, Bellamy said: “As a fan, he’s impressed me ever since he arrived at Anfield. What he has achieved as a manager, both at Anfield and before that in Spain, tells you everything you need to know about the man and I didn’t need to meet him to know that he was taking the club in the right direction. But as a player, meeting him, what he was saying made so much sense and I just hope I can play a part in this already brilliant football team and hopefully make this great club even more successful. Being a Liverpool supporter myself, at the start of every season it’s the league title that you’re looking to win. Being top of this league is something that Liverpool grew used to in the 70s and 80s but it hasn’t happened for a while, and that has to change. Even from the outside looking in, you could tell that things were heading in the right direction under Mr Benitez and if we can improve on what we did last year and move two steps on, hopefully we can win the title.”

Bellamy knows his reputation off the field goes before him, but he’s determined to prove that there’s no need to worry about that. Liverpool are his idols and he’s not going to mess them about: “I want to say this – it’s hard work coming here but it’s going to be even harder to be a really big hit here – that’s the way I’m looking at it. It’s going to take a lot of hard work, a lot of focus, a lot of discipline – everything – to make it at a club like this. Because I want to be a hit. I don’t want to just be remembered as a Liverpool player, I want to be remembered as a good Liverpool player. That’s my motivation. Obviously I hope to score plenty of goals, I hope to make a lot of goals for my teammates and just to be another attacking option and a threat. I think I suit the way the team plays and the way the team plays is perfect for me. I just feel I can really excel at this club and hopefully that will be the case.”
For now though Bellamy wants to try and come to terms with what he sees as the move of a lifetime: “To be honest, it hasn’t sunk in yet but it’s getting there! I think when I go back on my holiday and sit down with my missus and my two boys and the phone calls start, it’ll really start registering just what has happened. I want to say this though – it’s hard enough to come to a club like Liverpool, because it’s such a special club and these opportunities arrive once in a lifetime, but I’m going to have to work even harder to make a good name for myself here. It’s hard work coming here but it’s going to be even harder to be a really big hit here – that’s the way I’m looking at it. It’s going to take a lot of work, a lot of focus, a lot of discipline – everything – to make it at a club like this. Because I want to be a hit. I don’t want to just be remembered as a Liverpool player, I want to be remembered as a good Liverpool player. That’s my motivation.”
Asked if he had a message for the Liverpool supporters, he said he’ll wait until he’s wearing the Red shirt: “Not really. I just hope to send out a message to them when I play on the pitch. I’ve got to win them over as well. I’ve got to start off well – and that’s not usually the case for me to be honest, it usually takes me one or two game – but I’m sure the fans will see what I’m about as soon as I start playing for this great club.”
Continue reading Official: Bellamy is a Red

Neil Warnock: Tough match for Liverpool

Whatever his acheivements in football, Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock is best known to most fans for something controversial. For Liverpool fans that was his sour comments after Liverpool knocked Sheffield United out of 2003’s League Cup.

It was in the semi-final, Liverpool had lost the first leg 2-1. This was in the Gerard Houllier days and the aggregate equaliser came from El Hadji Diouf. Michael Owen got the winner in extra time, in the wake of one of those mini-scandals the Sunday papers like (this time it was all about his alleged gambling habit.) After seeing his team lose, Warnock made what turned out to be a completely unfounded allegation about Liverpool’s Stephane Henchoz: “I was disappointed at the end as Henchoz spat at me.”

Gerard Houllier rightly denied it: “Neil does a good job in his club but I think at times he speaks a bit too loud. He has said a lot of things that were wrong about us. I saw the incident at the end – there was no spitting in his direction. All players spit on the floor but Stephane did not spit at him.”

Houllier’s now gone from Anfield of course and Liverpool are currently enjoying the Rafael Benitez era. Warnock stayed at Sheffield though and managed to finally get his team promoted to the top flight for the new season. The first team they face is Liverpool – at Bramhall Lane. Rafael Benitez will no doubt be briefed about Warnock’s sense of “humour” before the two sides meet, and also about the type of “football” that Warnock likes to play. Warnock’s mouth was well and truly ready to comment on the game to come: “It’s a tough one for Liverpool.”

The problem is that for the first game of the season it may turn out to be tough for the Reds. Last season Chelsea played their opening game against Chelsea and were very lucky (for a change) to come away with all three points. Liverpool need to be prepared for a match that could end in tears for the Anfield side. No time for complacency.

Warnock expects a sell-out, the first of many: “It’s an exciting one. Obviously, everyone has been waiting for this moment. The ticket sales are already a record and I’m sure they will carry on, when you look at the quality of The Premiership. It’s fantastic. It’s what we went for last season. You want a big club at home and, in the next weeks, everyone will be looking forward to the Liverpool game.”

Warnock isn’t talking about mere survival, he wants to be playing in Europe. He was probably joking, but you can never be sure with Warnock: “It would be nice to get into Europe. We will have to do the best we can to get there.”

At least Warnock won’t be on the touchline for that first game, which will hopefully minimise his chances of causing trouble. He’s banned for the Blade’s first two games.
Continue reading Neil Warnock: Tough match for Liverpool

Liverpool fixtures announced 2006-07

The fixtures for the new season were announced this morning. Here’s the key ones most Reds fans will be looking to find first, most of which are likely to be moved to accomodate the Sky Schedules.

First game of season: August 19th v Sheffield United (away)
First home game: August v West Ham
First battle against the bitter blues: September 9th (Goodison)
First battle against the Chavs: September 16th (Stamford Bridge)
First battle against the Mancs: October 21st (Old Trafford)
Second battle against the Chavs: January 20th (Anfield)
Second battle against the bitter blues: February 3rd (Anfield)
Second battle against the Mancs: March 3rd (Anfield)
Last game of the season: May 13th v Charlton Athletic (Anfield)

Read on for the fixtures in full.

Continue reading Liverpool fixtures announced 2006-07