The Deadwood at Melwood

1 06 2011

A busy summer of transfer window activity is something us Liverpool fans have wished for in the last few years but, ultimately, they have been few and far between. This, of course, can be put down to the horrific running of the club by Messrs Tom Hicks and George Gillett. Fortunately, “internet terrorists” such as you and I watched as an “epic swindle” unfolded before our very eyes which saw Hicks and Gillett finally leave our shores once and for all with Boston Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner becoming our new owners. “At the end of a storm, there’s a golden sky”. Thank you John and Tom for playing the part of the golden sky.

The 22nd of May 2011 saw the curtain fall on another compelling season of Premier League action and that date also meant that football fans across the globe began to impatiently wait on news of who their team will be signing for the coming season. “In the knows” have begun to link Liverpool with every player under the sun, safe in the knowledge that the law of averages will ensure they’re right at least once. Well, if you can’t beat them join them! Allow me to reveal an exclusive for you, dear reader. I have it on good authority that Liverpool will NOT be signing Lionel Messi, Lionel Richie or Lionel Blair any time soon. I feel an overwhelming sense of relief now that’s off my chest.

It is important to note that the return of Kenny Dalglish as manager also means a return of ‘The Liverpool Way’. The simple but effective implementing of “pass and move” is small evidence of the philosophy’s return on the pitch but off the pitch it signals a return to all affairs being conducted in private with little chance of details creeping out of the club until all of the I’s have been dotted and all of the T’s have been crossed. I’m sure I’m not the only one who found the ease in which one could find out information about the club shocking under Roy Hodgson’s watch. Whilst it was nice to know the starting line-ups 24 hours before kick-off, it was more shocking than it was nice. In short, don’t believe anyone who claims to be “in the know” because they’re almost certainly not.

Instead of speculating on who we might sign in the coming months, I’ll be focusing on those who should be moved on although some will definitely be up for debate. There is plenty of deadwood in the playing squad so let’s not delay any further.

Joe Cole

What has happened to Joe Cole? The imposter we had parading around as him last season bore strikingly little resemblance to the same one who was scoring the winning goal for Chelsea at Old Trafford little over one year ago. I was as excited as anyone when the news broke that Liverpool had secured the signing of Cole on a free transfer after his release from Chelsea. Now, we can see that his début was a sign of things to come and he cannot any longer justify reported wages of £90k per week when he offers so little. Whilst his technical ability has never been in doubt, his proneness to injury and lack of pace and stamina makes him expendable. Rumours have surfaced that Harry Redknapp would be interested in taking him to Tottenham. If true, which I somehow doubt, would Cole offer anything that Luka Modric, Rafael Van der Vaart or even Niko Kranjcar do not currently offer? The short answer is no. Whilst it remains unclear whether or not the Liverpool hierarchy see a future for Cole at the club, I cannot see many Liverpool fans being disappointed at the sight of Cole leaving L4 after just one season. They might, however, be disappointed that Joe Cole never reached the heights that so many had hoped he would.

Milan Jovanovic

I would be lying if I told you that I had seen much of Jovanovic prior to his arrival on a free transfer from Belgian side Standard Liege in 2010. As such, I watched Serbia’s matches at the World Cup with more than a passing interest and he seemed to be solid rather than spectacular. The highlight of his World Cup would almost certainly be scoring the winning goal against Germany in the group stage. Jovanovic seemed to posses a fair amount of pace and came to us with a decent goalscoring record of 52 goals in 116 appearances for Standard Liege. Operating primarily as a striker, it was frustrating to see him rarely deployed in this position for Liverpool. He struggled to make an impact when utilised as a left winger and the Serbian was part of the team which lost to Northampton Town in the Carling Cup. Having recently gone on record expressing his regret at signing for Liverpool, I will be astonished if he is still a Liverpool player next season. So astonished will I be, if Milan Jovanovic is still a Liverpool player next season I will erect a life-size statue of Gary Neville in my back garden and kiss its feet on a daily basis.

Sotirios Kyrgiakos

Sotirios Kyrgiakos Greece vs moldova

Image via Wikipedia

I have to say that I have been pleasantly surprised with the Greek’s two years as a Liverpool player. His size and aerial prowess instantly made many view him as Sami Hyypia‘s replacement although few expected him to succeed let alone reaching Sami’s level. Well, he didn’t reach Sami’s level (who could?) but that’s not to say he’s been a bad signing. Kyrgiakos was drafted in to the squad mainly as cover for Jamie Carragher, Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger and, more often than not, he’s done well when called upon. However, there have been signs towards the end of the current season which have suggested that Kyrgiakos’ days could be numbered. A lack of pace and agility were brutally highlighted in the away fixture against Braga in the Europa League. Kyriagkos gave away the penalty which the brilliantly named ‘Alan’ dispatched in an even more brilliant manner. It isn’t too unrealistic to imagine Kyrgiakos still being a Liverpool player next season but if another club who could offer him regular first team football showed an interest, I don’t think anyone would stand in his way from moving on.

Brad Jones

Any goalkeeper signed by Liverpool has an almost impossible task on his hands in trying to dislodge Pepe Reina as number 1. A quick look back over Brad Jones’ career shows that he seems quite content in being an understudy to someone like Reina. Jones is 29-years-old and he’s only made 99 league appearances in his career. Should he finally fancy a stint as a number 1 somewhere, I’m sure Liverpool will not stand in his way. However, Jones is a “home-grown” player, despite being an Australian international, and if he is content to play second fiddle to Reina there might be a chance he’ll stay but don’t expect Brad Jones to feature often in the starting XI.

Brad Jones is a thoroughly fine man and has campaigned endlessly in a bid to raise money and awareness for Stem Cell transplants. His son, Luca, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia but he appears to have found a match in their bid for a cure. As you can probably tell, I’m more than a little bit out my depth talking about this so click here to visit Brad’s Just Giving page and donate if you can.

Paul Konchesky

I know what you’re thinking. Is Paul Konchesky still a Liverpool player? Unfortunately, yes. I’ll keep this short and sweet as there’s not much to discuss that you don’t already know. Many fans did their best Carlo Ancelotti impressions by raising an eyebrow when Konchesky was signed by Roy Hogdson last summer. There could be no denying that a new left-back was needed, mainly because Emiliano Insua didn’t appear ready to handle the burden of playing week-in, week-out. Hopefully Insua is given another crack at succeeding at Liverpool as there’s definitely potential to be realised there. Konchesky’s position at the club wasn’t helped when his mother took to Facebook to unleash a rage-filled rant at Liverpool fans, branding them “Scouse scum”. It’s nice to know that Mother Konchesky is as good with words as Paul is with a football. An uninspiring loan spell at Nottingham Forest did little to revive Konchesky’s fortunes and it is almost certain that Paul Konchesky will leave Liverpool this summer.

Christian Poulsen

Christian Poulsen came to Liverpool with a fairly big reputation and seemed to be a decent enough replacement for Javier Mascherano. With the benefit of hindsight, such comparisons should never have been made and Poulsen never even came close to playing at the level of Mascherano. Many looked back at Poulsen’s time with Sevilla in Spain with hope as he was instrumental in seeing the Spanish club defend the UEFA Cup as well as helping them win the Copa Del Rey. The emergence of Jay Spearing has pushed Poulsen further down the pecking order and with new signings to look forward to, as well as the possibility of Alberto Aquilani returning from his loan spell at Juventus, Poulsen’s Anfield future appears to be pretty grim. Unfortunately, Poulsen struggled to adapt to the pace of the Premier League and, at the age of 31, he seems to be expendable.

Philipp Degen

Philipp Degen can be ranked alongside Joe Cole, Milan Jovanovic and Andrey Voronin as a recent free transfer flop. Degen spent last season on loan at Stuttgart and only made 5 appearances in the Bundesliga. I can’t imagine there are too many Stuttgart supporters praying his loan deal is made permanent. Degen has been blighted with injuries throughout his career and his time with Liverpool was no different. Deployed either at right-back or as a winger, Degen never showed anything to suggest he would be anything more than an average squad player. On the handful of appearances he made for the first team he seemed better going forward than he did defending. This doesn’t necessarily mean he was good going forward.

Nabil El Zhar

The diminutive Moroccan winger joined Liverpool in 2006 from French side Nîmes Olympique but, despite making 24 first team appearances, he never genuinely looked like establishing himself as a regular first team player. El Zhar spent last season on loan at Greek side PAOK where he featured 12 times in the league and scored 3 goals. El Zhar’s contract expires in 2012 so there shouldn’t be too many problems in finding a buyer for the French-born Morocco international.

The aforementioned players may not come as much of a shock as outward-bound players so let’s have a look at a few controversial suggestions of players who may move on.

Fabio Aurelio

Let me start by saying that I am a massive fan of Fabio Aurelio. Technically, he’s as good as anybody in the league. Some may think that’s hyperbole but I genuinely think he’s a very gifted footballer. Just ask Edwin Van der Sar and Petr Cech how deadly his left foot is! Unfortunately, Aurelio has suffered horrendously with injuries throughout his career, ranging from the broken leg he suffered in the 2003-2004 season with Valencia to the niggling muscle injuries frequently picked up during his time on Merseyside. It was around this time last year that Aurelio left Liverpool after rejecting a pay-as-you-play deal. Aurelio re-signed with the club just weeks later and he still has one year left on his current deal. Perhaps Aurelio will stay one more year but is hard to envisage Aurelio staying around longer than that unless he accepts a pay-as-you-play deal; the type of deal he was previously unwilling to accept. If Aurelio could overcome the constant injuries I’m sure he would become a very important player for Liverpool. Unfortunately, I think Aurelio is destined to spend the majority of his remaining career on the treatment table rather than the hallowed turf of Anfield.

Daniel Agger

I could copy the above paragraph and just substitute Fabio Aurelio’s name for Daniel Agger’s. Agger is a top-class centre-half who is comfortable on the ball and it is no surprise that Liverpool are better with Agger than they are without him. Agger is the type of player that one would imagine will work well in a Kenny Dalglish side which encourages short passing where attacks are patiently built from the back. You may then question why he’s been included but it boils down to one word; injuries. Since signing for Liverpool from Brondby in 2006, injuries have restricted Agger to 93 league appearances and, whilst that’s not too bad, it’s not brilliant either. The centre-half position is one where, ideally, constant disruptions are unwelcome. The best sides are usually the ones which have had a settled partnership in the heart of the defence. Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic have been as good a partnership as any in recent years and their settled partnership is one of the key factors behind Manchester United’s success. If we delve a little further back in time it won’t be long before we stumble across Arrigo Sacchi’s incredible AC Milan teams of the 1980s. It should come as no surprise that a significant contributing factor to Milan’s success was their excellent defence. Their remarkable defensive capabilities were demonstrated at their best during the 1987-1988 season where they conceded just 14 goals in the entire campaign.

If Daniel Agger’s injury problems are behind him I sincerely hope he is still a Liverpool player when the transfer window shuts on the 1st of September 2011. However, if a big offer was made for him whilst question marks about his fitness still loomed large, it would be reasonable to strongly consider such a bid and use the funds to sign a centre-half who is capable of featuring on a regular basis.

Luis Suarez

Of course, I’m joking. No need to berate me in the comment section!





Kenny Dalglish – The First Interview

8 01 2011
Ronnie Moran (left), manager Kenny Dalglish an...

Image by wekkuzipp via Flickr

Kenny Dalglish was unveiled as Roy Hodgson’s successor earlier today. The Liverpool legend will take charge of the team until the end of the season. Paul Eaton interviews Kenny.

Shortly after arriving at the team hotel in Manchester ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup showdown with Manchester United, Kenny Dalglish sat down with Liverpoolfc.tv to give his first in-depth interview after being named Reds boss for the second time.

Firstly, Kenny, another dramatic day at Liverpool Football Club?

Obviously it’s a great honour for me to be back in charge of a football club which means so much to so many people. When somebody gets a bit of pleasure there’s always the disappointment of someone else, and it’s Roy. Roy is a very honourable guy with loads of integrity and I feel really sad for him. He came in at the start of the season when Rafa left, he tried his best but it just didn’t happen for him and the disappointing thing for me is that this opportunity has come along and he has lost out. If you ask any manager if they want to manage Liverpool Football Club there’s no way in the world they’re going to say no, so he came in and unfortunately for himself and everyone else it didn’t work out as we all hoped and I don’t think there’s anybody who supports the football club who will get any pleasure out of seeing it not work.

How does it feel to once again be the manager of Liverpool Football Club?

I’m a very lucky person. That’s twice I’ve been very fortunate. I came here as a 15-year-old boy when Shanks asked me to sign and I was a wee bit homesick thinking I was too young to leave home. Then I got back as a player and left the club in February 1991. I’m fortunate to come back, even if it’s only to the end of the season it makes no difference to me, this place is very special and all we can do is try our best to move the club forward a bit and try to win some more games.

What was your immediate reaction when you were asked to step in and help the club out?

Marina and I were away for a break, but I said at the start of the season that if they wanted me to help in any way, shape or form then I would do. My situation never changed. I was there to be of help to the football club and if John and Tom and Ian Ayre and Damien were happy to offer me the position then there was no way I could be disrespectful and not take it. I’ve been a very lucky boy to be asked to do this. All I would say is I’m going to do the best I possibly can to try and help the club, but everybody has to pull in the same direction. There’s no point not being a unified unit. If we pull in different directions we won’t get anywhere. I’m really looking forward to it and it’ll be a real pleasure for me to be in that dressing room again and on the bench.

What’s the reaction been like so far from your family, friends, ex-players and fans you’ve seen?

I was on the plane to come back from Dubai and it went out to take off and the news hadn’t broken. Then it came back in to repair something and everybody’s phone was going and people were coming up to me to say ‘Congratulations, all the best’. My family have been brought up here and know what the football club stands for and what it means to a lot of people, so they’re delighted. The excitement has to calm down a wee bit, we have to make sure we turn the excitement into some positivity for everybody and make sure we win games. That’s the most important thing we have to do and the best way for us to do it is to support each other and we’re very good at that. As someone once said, the closer we are and the harder we work then the luckier we’ll get. So we’ll work hard to get the luck we need.

You’ve spoken in the past about your desire to manage the club again, how confident are you that you can turn Liverpool’s fortunes around this season?

I always said I’d help but I also made it perfectly clear I wasn’t going to stand on anyone’s toes to help. I was happy to help in any way I could, the football club and Roy. I think people know what they’re getting and what’s in the package with Kenny Dalglish, they know they’ll get honesty and a great deal of commitment. I’ll take my chances and hopefully we’ll get more positive results than negative ones.

It has been a disappointing campaign so far but why do you think the results haven’t been what we’d like and will a big part of your job now be trying to lift the confidence of the players?

Some people may find it strange that you’re talking about some great players – Steven, Fernando, Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, Raul Meireles – and you mention confidence. It doesn’t matter how good you are, if you’re not confident in what you’re doing and not believing that it’s going to turn for you then you’re not going to play as well. You can point them in the right direction and tell them how good they are, but they’ve got to believe in it. Our lads will admit themselves that they’ve not achieved this season and not maintained the standards that they’re very capable of reaching. I might be fortunate and I might come in and get the luck that Roy missed out on. I’m sure Roy will be sitting and watching and hoping that we do well, because when you read the statement he made when he left the club then that tells you how dignified the man is.

On Sunday you’ll walk out at Old Trafford to the sight and sound of 9,000 Liverpool fans singing your name – how do you think you’ll feel when you make that walk along the touchline?

I’ll feel very humble and probably a bit emotional. They know that they’re equally as important as what we are, not just for Sunday’s game but for every game. We might lose a game – not necessarily on Sunday – or we might not play too well and that’s when we’ll need their support. We also as a squad of players and as a management have to give them something to cheer about as well. I’m sure our people will respond if we go out there and they see that our lads are proud to play and that they’ll do their best for Liverpool Football Club. We’ll do our best to get the results that they all want, we won’t always be successful, and to be perfectly realistic I think we have to say ‘Let’s just start walking before we run’. Let’s not go crazy here and think the season changes and we’re going to sweep everything aside now and go undefeated from now to the end of the season. We’re perfectly capable of doing it but let’s be realistic, let’s just go out there and try our best and take things one game at a time.

Manchester United away in your first game back – exciting or daunting?

It’s the same for both clubs I think. I’m sure Fergie would have picked an easier game if he could have picked one. Old Trafford is a fantastic stage to go and play your football, it’s an FA Cup tie and the FA Cup has been devalued of late with people fielding weakened teams. United lost to Leeds last year after putting out a weakened side and I can’t see him doing that tomorrow. All we’ve got to do is concern ourselves with us. Sammy, Mike, Damien and Roy up to today have been getting the boys ready for the game so they’ll be the ones who are bigger players than me, but I’ll be there beside them on the bench and we’ll all be singing from the same hymn-sheet.

And have you thought about what you’ll say to the players in your first team talk?

Yes, but it’s changed 25 times on the flight home, so I’m sure it’ll change again before the morning.

Do you think you’ll feel nervous before kick off?

I felt nervous last night after I got the phone call, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with feeling that anticipation. I also feel a great sense of pride to try and help everybody get what they want, which is results.

You’ll be renewing past rivalries with Alex Ferguson as well, of course….

Yes, I don’t have a problem with that. You have to respect what Alex has done in the game and you don’t do it through gritted teeth. It’s a fantastic achievement what he’s done, his track record is fantastic, we respect him as a person and a football manager. It’s all well and good people disliking him or disliking Manchester United, but it doesn’t mean you don’t respect what other people have done in football.

Away from matters on the pitch, will you be having conversations with Damien Comolli and the owners with a view to bringing in new players during this transfer window?

I’m just in the door. I’m sure there will be conversations but honestly, I have had minimal conversations about what’s happening. I need to sit down and be told. I’ve got straight off the plane to do this interview and to try and get a message to the supporters and hope that I can repay the trust that John, Tom and the other footballing people, Ian and Damien, have put in me.

How excited are you by the challenge which lies ahead this season?

I’m really looking forward to it. You get nervous with anticipation but I’m looking forward to it. The games come up thick and fast, Sunday and then Wednesday at Blackpool and then the derby next Sunday. We’ve got to get on with it. It’s really exciting and something I’m looking forward to. There’s no fear, just a nervous anticipation about what’s going to happen.

What is your target for the rest of this season?

To get as many wins as we can muster and then take it from there.

And finally, what’s your message to Liverpool supporters as we all look forward to your second term as manager?

I’d just say if there’s excitement among the supporters then I can share in that excitement. I think we’ve got to be realistic and a little bit patient. It’s not going to turn overnight. I know there are lots of times when a manager leaves a football club and a new guy comes in and gives everyone a lift, well if the players get a bit of a lift then it has to last for more than one game. We’ve got to get it right between now and the end of the season and as I said earlier, there might be some disappointments but the biggest disappointment for me is if everyone who is involved in this football club doesn’t give everything they have to give. If we do that then we have a good chance of finishing the season well.

I’m sure everybody is right behind you Kenny and we all wish you the best of luck…

It’s a great pleasure to be back. We’re working for people we know we can trust and working for people who only want the best for us as well. Let’s just hope we can take this journey over the next five or six months together and have a successful time.

 





Liverpool’s Fernando Torres & Jamie Carragher take on the blindfold penalty challenge

24 10 2010

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 





Is Roy Hodgson the Right Manager for Liverpool?

17 10 2010




Message for Tom Hicks: Get Out of Our Club

5 10 2010

This is a short and simple message but it needs to be said loud and clear. Tom Hicks and George Gillett are not welcome here. They are not welcome anywhere.

The short film was made by Mike Jeffries and I speak on behalf of every Liverpool fan in congratulating and thanking him for doing so. At the time of writing this, the #DearMrHicks tag is trending in second spot on the UK Twitter trending topics.

Tom Hicks: Get Out of Our Club!

YNWA





Reds Consider Cole Appeal

16 08 2010

Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole was sent off on his home debut against Arsenal yesterday.

Referee Martin Atkinson needed little time to make up his mind and show a red card for Cole’s tackle on Arsenal debutant Laurent Koscielny (below). [picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=joe+cole&iid=9555456″ src=”http://view3.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9555456/sports-news-august-2010/sports-news-august-2010.jpg?size=500&imageId=9555456″ width=”234″ height=”201″ /]

Roy Hodgson has gone on record saying that he will review the footage and then decide whether or not to appeal against the red card. He has also revealed how the decision left the England midfielder “devastated.”

“He is devastated,” said Hodgson. “It was his debut at Liverpool and a fantastic atmosphere. He was desperate to do well, not playing at the top of his game, but trying even harder to get to that level, and then suddenly he gets sent off.

“He was absolutely devastated and saddened by it all, not least because he’d put us in a difficult position. 0-0 with 10 men gives the advantage to the opposition.

“I’ve seen it on the video. At the time, from our position on the bench, I don’t think either myself or Arsene (Wenger) had a strong opinion on the incident.

“We now have the benefit of TV replays, and those replays suggest to me he was a little bit unlucky because I don’t think he actually dived to tackle the player.

“Joe Cole has got an unblemished record – he’d been previously never been sent off and had very few yellow cards. Everyone who has watched him play will agree he does not go in for ‘blood curdling tackles’, as I heard it described by a radio reporter.

“The fact the player wasn’t seriously injured means we might just be fortunate enough that an appeal might go in our favour.

“It will be a big loss if he is suspended. We will look at the video again and try in some way to find out from referees and experts whether we do have a case for an appeal.

“I don’t want a frivolous appeal, that’s for sure, but it’s a bit early in the day to ask me the question if we will appeal.”

Mark Jepson

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Fernando Torres Returns to Anfield For Pre-Season

3 08 2010

Sky’s Fraser Dainton reports on Fernando Torres and reveals a few details about Kenny Huang’s bid for the club.

Vodpod videos no longer available.








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