Andy Carroll, Liverpool’s number nine, joins Suarez

Liverpool have had arguably the most frantic deadline day since transfer windows were first introduced with a fallen her making way for two new ones.
Fernando Torres abandoned Liverpool at a moment of need but in doing so opened the eyes of fans who’d stood by him for perhaps too long.  Lack of form and lack of enthusiasm were forgiven, often put down to the injuries he was increasingly beginning to suffer from.
He’s understood to have met Chelsea long before this transfer window, but with no firm offers forthcoming after he’d been suffering from injury he left fans thinking he was staying out of loyalty to them. They’d have understood had he left anytime after the summer of 2009, when Liverpool became a club that had to sell players to buy more. They’d have understood had he said he’d had enough of Roy Hodgson’s awful brand of football.
But now that Hicks, Gillett, Purslow and Hodgson were out of the way he no longer had any excuse.
He signed for Chelsea for £50m. There was said to be a tricky moment during negotiations of personal terms, his demands over image rights taking some time to be met.
In his place comes Andy Carroll. Just 22 years of age, this is a player who will serve Liverpool for years to come. His fee might seem high, but by the time his five-and-a-half year contract is up he’ll still have years left to play. He takes the Liverpool number nine shirt.
He also makes a huge emotional sacrifice in joining the Reds. He’s swapped the pride of playing for the hometown club he supported all his life for joining the Reds at the beginning of their effort to get back to where they should be.
The fee hasn’t been disclosed, but is believed to be £35m.  It’s a record for an English player moving to another English club and we look forward to seeing him in the shirt worn by legends like Ian Rush and Robbie Fowler.
We also look forward to the first match for Luis Suarez. He also signed a five-and-a-half year deal, signing from Ajax for a fee that was, briefly, Liverpool’s record transfer fee. The Uruguayan international will cost the Reds up to €26.5m.
Suarez will wear King Kenny’s old number, 7, as also worn by Peter Beardsley and Kevin Keegan.
A youngster also arrived on loan on the last day of the window. 17-year-old Conor Thomas was brought in from Coventry City until the end of the season, when the Reds will consider making it a permanent deal. He’ll join the reserves squad.
Daniel Ayala was set to join Derby County on loan, but the two clubs later agreed that Ayala should continue his rehabilitation from a hamstring injury at Melwood. Another former no 7 for Liverpool, Nigel Clough, is now Derby’s manager and he confirmed that all being well the defender would still be joining up with The Rams: “We still want Daniel to join us and we are pretty confident that will happen, albeit later in February.
“We have had him checked over and the advice we are getting is that he won’t be ready to play for a number of weeks yet It makes sense for everyone involved that Daniel continues his rehabilitation with Liverpool at Melwood.”
Clough praised the club and its staff, as well as the player: “Liverpool have been tremendous to deal with throughout this process and I would like to thank Kenny Dalglish and Damien Comolli for their help and willingness to allow Daniel to come to Derby County.
“The player himself is a great character and the time we have spent with him today showed us he is the right type of person and player we want to bring to Derby County.”

One player who did leave the club on loan today was Paul Konchesky, who will spend the rest of the season on emergency loan at Nottingham Forest.

Moves for Ashley Young, Charlie Adam and Stephen Warnock didn’t come off.

Suarez completes move, Carroll nearly done

Fernando Torres is likely to be a Chelsea player by the time the transfer window closes at 11pm. He’ll cost them a fee believed to be £50m and leaves most Liverpool fans shaking their heads at the manner of his departure.

But the second he becomes an ex-player that’s all he’ll be. A former player. He’s unlikely to become known as a Liverpool legend like Ian Rush or Robbie Fowler, two of his predecessors in that number nine shirt. But he’s not going to be despised the way another former number nine, El-Hadji Diouf, is.

Fans aren’t mourning the loss of Torres. They mourned the loss of what they thought Torres was, or what he could be. They were disappointed to find he thought less of them than they did of him. But now he’s somebody else’s concern. A shrug of the shoulders and we move on.

And how we move on.

Luis Suarez has now completed his £22.8m move from Ajax. Some formalities with paperwork had dragged on longer than expected but tonight the club confirmed their new number seven was signed. It’s fitting he got that shirt from the man who made it so special, and his new manager was clearly looking forward to working with him.

The deal Suarez signed was for five-and-a-half years, it takes him up to the summer of 2016. The £22.8m fee was a club record, but not for long.

One condition of Torres going to Chelsea was that Liverpool were able to bring in a replacement. And at a fee believed to be £35m, Andy Carroll was seen by the club as the ideal replacement. As the transfer window entered its final hour the deal was hinging on him passing his medical. Liverpool’s earlier bids of £25m and £30m had been turned down, but after Carroll put a transfer request in his club couldn’t resist any longer and allowed the Reds to speak to the player.

An attempt to sign Charlie Adam ultimately failed, Blackpool chairman leaving the Scottish midfielder dejected after refusing to accept a bid. Enquiries about Ashley Young never got any further, Aston Villa insisting he wasn’t for sale. Stephen Warnock was another Villa player linked with a move to Anfield, but the proposed loan move never happened.

Paul Konchesky joined Nottingham Forest on an emergency loan until the end of the season, and as a number of fans have pointed out, unlike Torres that means he’s left one European Cup winning club for another. A loan move to Derby County for Danny Ayala fell through after concerns were raised about a hamstring injury; Derby hope to go ahead with the deal next month.

With Ryan Babel sold for around £6m earlier in the month, the Torres sale means Liverpool will have brought around £56m in this window. Carroll’s £35m fee, added to the £22.8m for Suarez, puts the spending up to £57.8m for this first window under FSG control.

A slight profit, but a profit nonetheless. And still plenty of funds to use in the summer. It’s the first time that’s happened in a transfer window since summer 2008. It’s another little sign that the dark days are going, that Liverpool are moving into a new era.

Now to see if we can make a late challenge for fourth place. Maybe Chelsea will be the ones to make way for us.

Torres still a Red, Konchesky off to Forest

All the talk about Liverpool today surrounds the possible departure of Fernando Torres and the likely names that his fee would be spent on.

He trained alone yesterday, but Torres turned up to training as normal today at 9am. The club have said nothing more, officially, on the matter since the statements that were issued late last week. He’s not for sale and he’s expected to see out his contract, the club insist.

Kenny Dalglish said at today’s press conference that he had no more to add to those statements. This doesn’t mean nothing more has happened since those statements were issued; Dalglish is just determined that Liverpool’s business will not be conducted in public.

Reports suggest that Chelsea have been warned that they will have to pay £50m for the Spanish striker but are still to improve on their rejected £35m offer from Thursday.

Meanwhile, Paul Konchesky’s brief Anfield career seems to be over. Kenny revealed this morning that the former Fulham left-back, signed by Roy Hodgson after being pursued throughout last summer, was to spend the rest of the season on loan at Nottingham Forest. Konchesky has already played for the maximum permissible two clubs this season, but with the loan described as an “emergency loan” it seems a way has been found to allow him to get away from what turned into a nightmare move for him.

Emiliano Insua’s loan won’t be recalled and Fabio Aurelio’s injury problems aren’t likely to suddenly ease which means the Reds – who’ve used Glen Johnson as left-back in recent matches – need some more options for that position. Stephen Warnock is expected to return to the club from Aston Villa.

Dalglish also announced that Danny Ayala had gone out on loan until the end of the season, in his case it’s with Derby County.

Reports emerged this morning that Newcastle United had rejected a £30m bid from a Premier League club for their striker Andy Carroll. That club is believed to be Liverpool.

Aston Villa announced that they had not received any bids for Ashley Young. The Reds were linked with a move for him, with owners of both clubs believed to have discussed the possibility of a transfer over the weekend. Villa also stated that the player was not for sale.

One player that has been signed, subject to some final formalities, is Luis Suarez. Kenny explained that Ajax still need to issue some paperwork for the Uruguayan international, who passed his medical over the weekend. Suarez will need a work permit, Kenny doesn’t expect this to be a problem.

The transfer window closes at 11pm tonight. Kenny Dalglish said there is as much chance of someone being signed as there is of someone going out.

Meanwhile, a fee was agreed for Luis Suarez

News about the possible departure of one player dominated what should have been a fairly exciting day for Liverpool fans following news of a successful bid for the purchase of another.

The Reds had finally agreed a deal with Ajax to make Luis Suarez a Liverpool player.

A bid from Chelsea for Fernando Torres, who eventually put a transfer request in, was the only talking point on Friday for Liverpool fans, for all but a couple of hours. Liverpool turned his request down and made it very clear in a late-night statement that he wasn’t for sale.

But a statement released by Liverpool FC at around 5pm was about a player Liverpool fans will definitely be talking about for the rest of this season and – we hope – many more seasons to come.

Suarez still has to undergo a medical, but personal terms are now believed to have been agreed.

The Uruguayan international, who turned 24 on Monday, will cost Liverpool up to €26.5m (£22.8m). This will be a new club record for the Reds beating the £21m ultimately paid for Torres.

As it stands it means the Reds are on target to actually spend more on transfer fees than they bring back in for the first transfer window since summer 2008. Ryan Babel was sold to Hoffenheim earlier in the week for a fee believed to be in the region of £6m.

Liverpool themselves had a bid turned down by Blackpool for Charlie Adam. Blackpool manager Ian Holloway has ensured the world knows about Liverpool’s interest, criticising the Reds’ earlier bid of £4.5m. That has now been upped to £6.5m but Blackpool are still not happy with the amount.

The player’s father, also called Charlie, described Blackpool CEO Karl Oyston as “petty” for the way he’s gone about dealing with Liverpool’s interest in signing his son.

Charlie Snr said: “Blackpool are such a cheap-skate club, I don’t even think this is about money.

“It’s because Charlie took them to a tribunal over the bonus they owed him. This is their pay-back. They are saying ‘you won’t make anything out of this; we have got you under contract’.

“Liverpool’s offer is thirteen times what Blackpool paid for Charles and they are turning it down?

“They have been more than compensated for him already.

“Mr Oyston has got to realise it is somebody’s life and future that he is dealing with here. I think it is petty. This should be a time for common sense to prevail.”

Obviously Blackpool have the right to refuse all bids for Adam, they have him under contract, but it seems a guaranteed way of upsetting morale at a club where goodwill is vital. Especially after the club made it known they were willing to sell him to the right club at the right price.

Earlier this week it was suggested that Liverpool director of football strategy Damien Comolli contacted Blackpool to ask just what the “right price” was – with Karl Oyston refusing to say.

Comolli will keep plugging away until the close of the transfer window is to near to make it feasible to do the deal, but that window closes late on Monday night.

His capture of Luis Suarez, for a fee well below that said to have been quoted as the asking price from Ajax, suggests he will work hard to land the signings he and Kenny Dalglish feel are required.

McManaman recalls Reds’ last Wembley appearance

Much has happened to Liverpool in the twenty years between Kenny Dalglish leaving and then returning to the job of manager.

We’d won the league in his last full season at the club, his third league title as manager. He’d only really needed a break from the game, but by the time he was ready to get back into football his old job had been taken by Graeme Souness. So Kenny went to Blackburn, got them into the top flight and then won them the league.

That title was to be the only league title celebrated at Anfield during Kenny’s absence as Reds boss. And it was certainly celebrated. Blackburn lost at Anfield, but Manchester United couldn’t beat West Ham and that meant Kenny’s team lifted that trophy. It was fitting in many ways that it was clinched at Anfield, but none of us on the Kop that day really thought it was going to be the last time we’d be applauding league champions at Anfield for this length of time. As memorable a day as it was, as good a free-kick as Jamie Redknapp hit for our winner, any celebration was short lived because we’d gone another year without adding to our 18 titles.

To suggest we’ve had no success of our own at all in that twenty years is of course wrong. Although Istanbul in 2005 is an indisputable high from that time we did get to make Cardiff our second home for a few years, in place of the old Wembley that had been our second home for so many years from the 70s onwards. That said, we’re yet to show the new Wembley what it’s like to have an extended travelling Kop making some noise.

Our last match at the old Wembley – at any version of Wembley – is one that should have gone to a replay.
Continue reading McManaman recalls Reds’ last Wembley appearance

Dalglish dishes out the praise for improving Reds

Kenny Dalglish was full of praise for his squad ahead of the rearranged clash with Fulham.

Fresh from the first win since he returned as manager, a win that followed his first uninterrupted week of training with his new squad, Kenny spoke about attitude, commitment and confidence.

Glen Johnson is one of many players to be on the receiving end of criticism this season, including some public criticism he got from the last manager, Roy Hodgson. Kenny, however, was full of praise for the England international: “Glen Johnson has been fantastic in the left-back position in the past three games. I don’t recall anyone going past him.

“He was also involved in the first goal against Everton and was involved more defensively on Saturday. He did really well.”
Continue reading Dalglish dishes out the praise for improving Reds

Babel staying says Kenny as target Adam asks for move

One of Liverpool’s reported transfer targets, Blackpool’s Charlie Adam, is reported to have put in a transfer request in the wake of comments from his manager Ian Holloway that made it clear he’d been the subject of a bid from the Reds.

According to some claims, Adam is set to lose out financially by putting the transfer request in, but with the window closing in a week’s time it seems he was determined to force the issue.

Holloway had claimed to be annoyed at the bid Liverpool had put in, saying he felt it was around £10m under the players’ true value. The bid was believed to have been around £4.5m. Aston Villa have also – according to Holloway – made a bid for the player, but Holloway suggested that Liverpool would be the better club for him to join.

Earlier in the day the Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish had again reminded Sky Sports that he wouldn’t be answering questions about potential targets from other clubs. Sky’s Vinny O’Connor had tried to get Kenny to open up about the possible signing of Adam, but Kenny wasn’t going to fall for it, something he’d made clear to Sky on Saturday after the impressive 3-0 win over Wolves. Continue reading Babel staying says Kenny as target Adam asks for move

Attitude as important as ability at Anfield

It can be very nerve-wracking starting work in a new place, even if the job is something you’ve done for years.

You might have been considered one of the best at the place you just left. But how much of that was down to the place you just left not being of as high a standard?

You might have been struggling to make any progress with your career because there was already somebody doing a great job in the position you wanted to make your own. Was that because the other person was better than you, was it just that they got their first or was it some kind of favouritism from those that make or influence the decisions?

It might not even have been your decision to leave the last job, and self-doubt will leave you wondering if you’d have been kept on if you’d been better at your job, or if it was really just down to pressure of numbers. You might feel you were let go unfairly, you might decide you were lucky to be there in the first place.

All of those self-doubts have to be put to the back of the mind on the first day in the new job. They’ve not got to be forgotten, because they’re handy to use as reference points to avoid any kind of complacency to set in when it’s all going well. But at the very front of the mind there has to be an air of confidence and self-belief. You have to assume that you are there to make things better, and that if you work hard enough there’ll be no problem in doing that.

Of course when you’ve been in the job past that first lunchtime you might find your confidence takes a huge swipe. Your colleagues and customers might not be keen on you because – even though it’s not your fault – you got the job in circumstances they weren’t too pleased about. You might be there because someone was sacked unfairly (in their eyes) or because someone already working there was overlooked for promotion.

From the first minute you walk through that door you have a PR battle on your hands. It might be they expect too much of you, it might be they’ve already written you off. But your job includes winning them over.

It’s fair to say that Roy Hodgson arrived at Anfield as someone considered one of the best at the place he’d just left. And it’s not being disrespectful to say that the place he left was not of the same standard as the place he went to.

It’s also fair to say that when he arrived some of his “colleagues and customers” weren’t keen on him. Although some didn’t have a problem with the manner in which his predecessor had left, many others had huge problems with it. And then, to make it worse, someone very popular was overlooked for promotion despite making it clear they felt they could do the job.

At least he knew this before that first lunchtime. Or at least he should have known it.
Continue reading Attitude as important as ability at Anfield

Reds bid for Adam turned down

Although Liverpool supporters have been discussing the likelihood of a £20m move for Luis Suarez all week, the first firm move Liverpool have made this window looks to be a rejected £4.5m bid for Blackpool’s Charlie Adam.

Charlie AdamBlackpool are reluctant to sell the former-Rangers midfielder but if the right bid comes in from the right club Ian Holloway has suggested they may have to let him go. Clearly £4.5m is not the right bid, but Liverpool are expected to make an improved offer.

Blackpool’s manager Ian Holloway is very protective of the playmaker and wants to try and ensure that if he does move, he moves to the right kind of club. Holloway has made no secret of his admiration of Kenny Dalglish, but it’s unclear if that would be enough for him to see Anfield as the ideal destination for the 25-year-old.

Speaking recently Holloway explained his hopes for the player: “I want him to go to a club which is not struggling; it’s always been my goal to get him to one of the top five or six clubs. He wants one day to go to a bigger club than us and, where we are in the league, there aren’t too many.

“I want him to go to a place where he is likely to win, where he is not going to plug a hole and his manager is in a solid position. I want him to go to a place where he is loved, cherished and appreciated and that is certainly not any of the teams that have rung up about him so far.

“No disrespect to them but they are wasting their time. They can shove their bid wherever they like it because if they think he is only worth £3.5million they are watching a different game to the one I am.

“If they want to insult me by offering £3.5million then, sorry, they are barking up the wrong tree, they are messing with the wrong dog. I’ve seen what he does and some of it is genius – and you don’t get genius cheap.”
Continue reading Reds bid for Adam turned down

Kenny praises Rafa for ‘fantastic’ Academy progress

Understandably, the national press can’t devote every column inch on their football pages to Liverpool FC, just as the national broadcast media can’t cover the Reds for every minute of their sports bulletins.

And at this time of year, when they talk about any team in the top flight, the topic they feel compelled to discuss is the transfer window. And they needed to leave plenty of headroom for Steve Bruce’s rant (if they called it a rant) about the departure of Darren Bent.

People don’t gossip over the garden fence about what they saw through an open window any more, instead they find themselves paying a little too much money to watch twin-phoned gadget operators gossiping over a touch-screen instead.

With the window open for such a short time it’s important to maintain the fall-back option of the managerial sack-list, so any room not taken up by transfer speculation is filled with speculation about the future of various managers.

With all this in mind it’s little wonder that the portions of Kenny Dalglish’s latest press-conference selected for publication related to the transfer window and his own future as Reds boss long-term. They weren’t the only questions he was asked, but little else made the cut by the time the various editors had got their scissors out.

One answer they cut out was an unprompted and heartfelt tribute to Rafael Benítez from Kenny. Not a single word of it would hit the back pages, even in the local papers. Kenny had been asked about the club’s youth sides: “I wouldn’t go and say there are any kids who played in the Youth Cup against Crystal Palace who are going to be in the first team yet, but the progress at the Academy in the last year and a half has been absolutely fantastic,” enthused Kenny.

“That’s great credit to Rafa who brought in Pepe Segura, Rodolfo Borrell and Frank McParland,” said Kenny. “He reorganised the whole Academy and you can see the benefit in the kids now.

“It’s fantastic to see.”
Continue reading Kenny praises Rafa for ‘fantastic’ Academy progress