The Kaiser won’t be a Trotter after all

An update from our earlier story confirming the news as published on Liverpool’s website that Didi Hamman had joined Bolton. They say he hasn’t.

Bolton’s website says: “BOLTON WANDERERS wishes to clarify that although Didi Hamann signed a contract with the Club, he has since had a change of heart and will sign for another football club within the next 24 hours.

Bolton Wanderers will not be making any further comment on this matter.”

Liverpool FC’s website had said earlier – and still does say – the following: “Liverpool have today confirmed that Dietmar Hamann has left Anfield to sign for Bolton Wanderers.”

It looks like his move to Manchester City is back on after all. Didi had signed a contract at Bolton and it seems the reason Liverpool have announced the transfer this way is because technically he was transferred to Bolton. Now he’ll be transferred from Bolton to City tomorrow.

Continue reading The Kaiser won’t be a Trotter after all

The Kaiser becomes a Trotter

Contrary to all the earlier indications, Liverpool’s German midfielder Dietmar “Didi” Hamann has gone to join Sam Allardyce’s Bolton Wanderers.

No doubt Didi will be pleased to have joined a club that allows him to avoid moving house, but whether he’ll enjoy the football there remains to be seen. Perhaps the signature of Didi is a sign that Allardyce is to refine the way his team plays, a way that has seen him roundly criticised in the past by Reds boss Rafa Benitez.

Didi’s been a red now for seven years, joining from Newcastle for £8m back in Gerard Houllier’s day. He earned eight winners’ medals during his time at the club, including his important role in the Champions League final.

Known to the players as “The Kaiser”, Didi is believed to enjoy a pint or two (obviously not to the detriment of his fitness of course) and so may have been enticed by the fact that Allardyce is a keen darts player.

Known as ‘The Kaiser’ by his Anfield team-mates, Hamann was signed by Gerard Houllier from Newcastle United for £8 million in July 1999 and quickly became a fans favourite.
 
AnfieldRoad.com would like to thank Didi for a lot of happy memories, and we’d also like to wish him all the best at his new club. Good luck Kaiser.

Continue reading The Kaiser becomes a Trotter

Kirlkland starts six-month loan at Wigan

Liverpool goalkeeper Chris Kirkland has joined Wigan Athletic in a six-month loan deal.

According the official Wigan Athletic website, Kirkland will possibly be offered a permanent deal when the loan expires, on January 1st.

Kirkland has been unlucky with injuries during his Anfield spell, but that isn’t really the reason Liverpool are letting him look elsewhere. Pepe Reina is clearly Rafa’s first choice keeper, and at 25 years old Kirkland needs to be at a club where he’ll be first choice. Liverpool have still got Scott Carson, Jerzy Dudek and Paul Martin on the books at Anfield.

Wigan manager Paul Jewell told the Wigan website after the deal was confirmed: “Chris is a top quality goalkeeper, he is a very imposing figure who can command his box, and he combines that with a tremendous shot-stopping ability. At 25, he is still hasn’t reached his prime yet as a keeper I think and he has the potential to go on and have a great career in the game. I would love that to be here at Wigan, but we’ll wait and see. Chris is the second England international we have signed in the last few days, which just shows you how far we have come as a club. This is absolutely fantastic news for Wigan Athletic, and sends out all the right signals.” In fact Kirkland hasn’t yet become an international player as such, injuries have taken every chance he’s had away from him, although he did make six under-21 appearances. Jewell continued: “Gary Walsh retired from playing for us at the end of last season, and I am delighted to have brought in such a quality player. You need at least three quality goalkeepers in the Premiership, last season proved that, and I am confident Chris can make a big contribution to the Wigan Athletic cause this season.”

Kirkland himself told the site: “I’m thrilled to be joining an ambitious club like Wigan. What they achieved here last season was absolutely brilliant and they surprised everybody. The set up at Wigan is excellent. They already have two excellent keepers in John Filan and Mike Pollitt and competition for places will be fierce, I realise that. I am really looking forward to meeting and working with both of them, along with such an experienced coach as Gary Walsh. I am just looking forward to playing. The Premiership is where every player wants to be and I am ready to fight for my place in the team. It’s frustrating when you’re injured and I just want to make up for lost time and start proving to the Wigan fans that I can still make an impact in the Premiership.”

Continue reading Kirlkland starts six-month loan at Wigan

Cisse and Didi close to leaving

Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse looks set to finally bring to an end an Anfield career that never really lived up to expectations. Marseille are about to complete the signing of the forward on a loan initially, which will be made permanent once Cisse proves his recovery from his broken leg.

Djibs was signed by Gerard Houllier a year before the French manager left the club, but he didn’t actually arrive until Rafa became boss. His first season at the club was interrupted by a broken leg, although he did return in time to play a part in the Istanbul glory at the end of that season. He scored both Liverpool goals as they won the Super Cup at the start of last season, but was less influential in the FA Cup final at Cardiff. He did score some goals though and his departure will surely be followed by the signing of a replacement.

Cisse always claimed, amid constant speculation about his future, that he was happy at Anfield. His British wife and their children were settled in their Frodsham home he said.  When Rafael Benitez confirmed he had been looking to sell Cisse it seemed certain that he was going to go after all. Lyon and Marseille lodged bids in the region of £8m, a decent fee compared to the £14m paid for him bearing in mind two years of his contract had since passed. Then Cisse broke his leg again.

The disappointment of not being a part of the French squad that got all the way to the semis must have been quite deep for Djibs, coming on top of his Anfield rejection. His arrival back in France at Marseille, the club he supported as a boy, will give him something to look forward to when he recovers from the injury.

Didi Hamann’s move to Manchester City should go ahead by the end of this week. Didi has a year left on his Anfield contract and will cost City around £500,000 – no doubt a chunk of that going to Didi as a payoff for that remaining contract. No Reds would begrudge him a good pay-off at the end of his Anfield career and will wish him well at City. Sam Allardyce tried to sign him, but the style of football played by Bolton doesn’t appeal to many and perhaps Didi was one of those. Bolton had already signed him according to many reports, but these reports had come a little prematurely and Allardyce conceded as much recently: “It’s a big disappointment because this is the second time that we have failed to get Hamann. But it seems that he is going to City, so that’s it. I don’t know why he has changed his mind. Hamann could have done a good job for us.”

With Didi gone, there’s a possibility that Boudewijn Zenden could feature in a more central role at the club. Signed for his abilities on the left wing, Bolo had been playing more centrally for Boro before the Reds signed him. He was starting to get some games in and showing what he was bought for when he suffered a knee-ligament injury which put him out for the rest of the season. Now though he’s gone straight back into pre-season training and has pleased Rafa – especially with his attitude during his absence from the field. Rafa sad: “He is training again now and I was really happy with him at the end of last season. He was injured, but he was always in the dressing room and he was always encouraging his team-mates and supporting them.”

Rafa continued: “This year he has started pre-season training really well. I am thinking about using him sometimes as a central midfielder because he has experience at Middlesbrough in this position. He also has quality, and with his experience and his game intelligence he can give us more things. I think he was happier in this position, and with us losing Hamann, we will have Momo Sissoko, Stevie Gerrard and Xabi Alonso for that position – and maybe Bolo, too.”
Continue reading Cisse and Didi close to leaving

Gonzalez can finally play for Reds and Aurelio is officially a Red

Another two new signings for Liverpool today – although in reality they were signed quite some time ago.

The best news of the day for Rafael Benitez was that Chilean international winger Mark Gonzalez was finally given the go ahead to play for Liverpool after he was granted his a work permit. The 23-year-old was signed last summer, initially on a loan and then in a permanent deal as he was actually injured at the time he signed. The lack of a work permit meant he went on loan to Spanish side Real Sociedad where he had an impressive few months.

Rafa told the official Liverpool website how happy he was that the paperwork had finally been obtained: “This is very good news for us and I am absolutely delighted to welcome Mark Gonzalez to Liverpool as he is a player the supporters will like to see. Mark is an exciting left winger who can cross good balls and beat defenders and he is a very good signing for us. He has a very good mentality as when I was talking with him he told me, ‘I want to play for Liverpool’.”
 
Also today Liverpool announced officially that the signing of Brazilian left-back Fabio Aurelio had gone ahead. Although the signing was pretty much done and dusted months ago and the player had already been training with the club all week, it wasn’t until this afternoon that he finally signed the all important contract. He is one of Rafa’s old charges from Valencia, where he won a La Liga medal during Rafa’s reign there. He signed a four year deal to become Liverpool’s first ever Brazilian. Again speaking to the official Liverpool website, Rafa explained why he wanted to sign Aurelio: “Fabio is a player with a lot of quality and he is a really good signing for us. His technical ability is fantastic and he has a great left foot and provides the team with a lot of options. He has a really good mentality and he is a winner.”

These two announcements followed on from yesterday’s confirmation that Gabriel Paletta was now a Red. Signed from Argentinean side Banfield, Paletta also signed a four-year deal and was compared by Rafa to Liverpool hero Jamie Carragher: “I’ve worked with other Argentinean defenders in the past and there is a good tradition of tough, aggressive and tactically strong defenders from the country. Paletta is very tough and he’s exactly the sort of player we need who will suit the Premiership. When you talk about the Argentinean defenders I worked with in Valencia, Paletta is more like Ayala than Pellegrino. If you’re talking about Liverpool, he’s more like Carra than Sami Hyypia. This is good because we will have a balance in the style of defenders.”
 
Rafa continued: “He is a defender with a lot of aggression and we’re sure he has a great future. He will learn a lot here, like Daniel Agger, and provide competitiveness in our defence. We were watching him in the World Under-21 championships in Holland. That’s when our scouts spotted him and we identified him as the kind of player we’d like.”

Rafa also revealed that any delays could have seen them miss out on a player highly rated in his own country: “He has attracted a lot of interest from top clubs in Argentina like River Plate and Boca Juniors. River Plate even reserved a number six shirt for him, so we had to move quickly to sign him. We’re delighted to have done the deal now.”

Yesterday also saw Craig Bellamy making his first public appearance in a Liverpool shirt, although in this case it was still just a training shirt.

Continue reading Gonzalez can finally play for Reds and Aurelio is officially a Red

Carra and Crouch fight back

England’s failure to bring the World Cup “home” from Germany would never be accepted by the media that have built their country up to be the best in the World at times. Anything less than that big lump of gold wouldn’t be enough. To lose also means someone needs to be blamed. In our view, England lost for a number of reasons, but blaming any of the penalty takers for missing a penalty shouldn’t even be considered until you have looked at the previous 120 minutes of play.

We aren’t an England site, so it’s not our place to discuss the issue in any great detail, but one thing is important to remember – the man in charge of the team is the man who makes the decisions. Sven Goran Eriksson has not exactly been loved by the press, although they’ve never liked any England manager really. They’ll not like the next one either. Sven deserved to get criticised for what happened to England, but what his staff did this week was try to deflect the blame elsewhere.

Quotes were flying from Tord Grip, Sven’s erm assistant (?) and also the fitness coach. The despicable and long-boycotted Sun carried a headline “Bottler” and a picture of Jamie Carragher as an addition to quotes from the pair. The Liverpool Way fanzine have pointed out that both Carra’s and Steven Gerrard’s fathers were involved in something of a heated discussion with a particular Sun reporter in Germany over the weekend, on topics like Hillsborough. Is it just a coincidence that this row unfolded just a couple of days before this reporter wrote this story?

Jamie himself showed what a lot of Liverpool fans think about their country compared to their club. Club first. How big a gap there is between club and country varies from one fan to the next, but the majority of supporters would choose Liverpool winning their 19th league title to be more important than their country winning the World Cup. “I am not finishing the season disappointed. I can look back on winning the Super Cup and the FA Cup with Liverpool and that means I will always look back on 2005/06 as a great season for Liverpool and myself, even if things didn’t quite work out for England,” said the Anfield legend.

Carra says he’s not going to let it get to him – he’d have preferred things to have been different, but it’s not the end of the world: “What happened in the shoot-out is one of those things that happens in football and you just have to get on with it. Of course I wish my penalty had gone in and I wish Stevie’s and Frank’s had and I wish England were still in the tournament. But it didn’t turn out like that so you just have to accept it and move on.”
 
As Carra points out, the game should have been dealt with before it got to penalties: “The fact is we didn’t go out because we lost on penalties. We went out because we didn’t do enough to win the game during the 90 minutes. Even when we had 11 men we hadn’t taken the lead and when it comes down to penalties anything can happen.”
 
The England team’s experts also said Carra should have been able to put his penalty away given he scored one in the Istanbul final. He didn’t of course, he didn’t take one. Carra’s record as part of Reds teams involved in shoot-outs can’t be any better, whether he’s taken any of the pens or not: “I’ve never been in a Liverpool team that’s lost a shoot out. So hopefully that record will continue if we’re ever in another one.”
 
If the attitude coming out of the departing England set-up were to continue then Liverpool fans would demand their England players just retire from international football. However a new set-up is now about to start putting its own identity on things, and they need a new captain. Carra nominates team-mate and club captain Steven Gerrard: “The captain at international level has to be someone who is one of the first names on the team-sheet, someone who has the respect of the other players and someone who has good leadership qualities. Stevie and John Terry have got all that so it’s going to be a really difficult decision. But, from my own point of view, having played under Stevie at Liverpool and seen how well he captains the side I’d like it to be him.”
 
Stevie is a player who was extremely important in his last two major finals for the club: “When you look back at the way he played in Cardiff in the FA Cup final and in Istanbul in the Champions League final you’d have to say there can’t be too many players around who are more inspirational than him,” said Carra.

The comments about Carra from the fitness coach seemed to have struck a nerve with Peter Crouch too. Himself turning into an Anfield legend, he seemed to be indirectly attacking the fitness coach who’d tried to pin all the blame on Carra. He said England were basically not fit enough to perform for the whole game: “I honestly felt exhaustion set in at the end against Portugal. We’d played quite a lot of the game with 10 men and I think we took the penalties in a tired way. Everyone worked so hard and I genuinely feel everyone had given everything by the time we had to take the penalties. That definitely showed in the penalties we had to take.”

Crouch has seen fitness training at arguably its best since he arrived at Anfield, looking at the improvement in Robbie Fowler’s general fitness is a good way of pointing that out. Crouch said that a failure to practice penalties wasn’t a factor in the defeat: “We have come in for criticism in the past for not practising penalties but I can assure you, we had been practising them all the time after going to Germany in early June – and before that. They had been going well in practice – but we were fresh then. We were in an empty stadium as well which is a different ball game to Saturday.”

Maybe if Eriksson had taken the decision he clearly needed to take – to drop Lampard – he’d have found room for Crouch and Rooney to play together. Rooney would have got the chance to be creative, Crouch would have got someone to lay the ball off to, Rooney wouldn’t have been so worked up.

There are a lot of people you can blame, but don’t blame Carra. And don’t buy the Sun, for any reason, ever.

Continue reading Carra and Crouch fight back

Condolences to the people of Valencia from the people of Liverpool

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez joined with fellow coaching colleages and player in sending condolences home to Spain in the wake of the devastating train crash in Valencia. Pako Ayestaran, Jose Manuel Ochotorena, Fabio Aurelio, Momo Sissoko and Eduardo Macia were all back at Melwood yesterday for pre-season training and were named specifically in sending their condolences to all those affected by the train crash, but all Liverpool staff and players, and indeed supporters, will wish to join in with those thoughts.

According to the BBC this morning at least 41 people were killed in the crash. Valencia is to hold three days of mourning. 47 people were injured, 12 of whom are still in hospital. Two of those in hospital are said to be in a “very critical” condition and an expectant mum was said to be one of those seriously injured. It’s also been reported now that the driver of the train was killed in the crash.

Speaking through Liverpool’s official website, the Liverpool manager said: “We have many happy memories of our time in Valencia and want to send our condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives in this awful tragedy. They are very much in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.”
 
“Tenemos muy buenos recuerdos de nuestra estancia en Valencia y queremos enviar nuestras condolencias a las familias y amigos de aquellos que perdieron la vida en este terrible accidente. Todos ellos están en nuestros pensamientos y oraciones en este momento tan difícil”.

RIP. YNWA.
Continue reading Condolences to the people of Valencia from the people of Liverpool

Djibs sad to leave Anfield but feels it was only choice

Reds striker Djibril Cisse, currently out until October with a broken leg, claims he would have been happy to have stayed at Anfield, but was asked to leave by manager Rafael Benitez.

Djibs invited Sky Sports News cameras into his manor house in Frodsham and spoke about how the moves to try and sell him to Marseilles. He said he had been perfectly happy at Anfield and wanted to stay, bet in the end said there was no choice for him: “I have no reason to leave. I feel good here, I have good friends here, I get on with the staff. I have got married here, my son is here. Everything is really good for me here, it’s really hard. If I have the choice, I’d stay here a long time. But I guess I don’t have the choice.”

Cisse says it wasn’t what he wanted, but the decision to leave was pretty much common sense: “Really, I have been asked nicely to leave the club. When you are asked to do something and when the manager asks you to leave, and he has the power to play you or not, then it’s better to leave.”

He also wanted to try and straighten out some confusion about comments he’d made about Marseilles. They were the team the player always supported when growing up, and to say he likes them never meant he wanted to leave Liverpool just to join them. After being told he could leave, he mentioned Marseilles as one option he’d like: “Then I said I was interested in Marseille. It makes me laugh how people twist things when you speak. I always said ‘yes, I like Marseille’ but he said Real Madrid was the club of his heart and that one day he would like to manage there, but that does not mean he will go there next season.”

“I’ve said since I was kid that I always supported Marseille but that doesn’t mean I’m desperate to go to there like I read in the papers. I signed here for five years and wanted to see out that contract but it looks like he does not want me.”

Cisse was filmed walking on crutches around the gardens of his home, no plaster on his leg, and knowing his powers of recovery it would be no surprise if he came back even before October.
Continue reading Djibs sad to leave Anfield but feels it was only choice