Monthly Archives: November 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Manchester City & Liverpool top agents’ fees as Premier League clubs spend combined £77m in past two windows

Manchester City and Liverpool paid more money to agents between 1 October 2011 and 30 September 2012 than any other Premier League club, an official Premier League statement has revealed.

The publication of teams’ expenditure on player agent fees has shown that a total of £77,003,130 was spent during the 12-month period by Premier League clubs.

There were 806 transactions during the period and Manchester City were the highest spenders on agents, accumulating a total expenditure of £10,537,982.

Liverpool spent the second most of any side with £8,600,444, whilst QPR, Tottenham and Chelsea respectively followed in the region of £6.5m.

The lowest spending side, Southampton, spent a meagre £646,106 in comparison during the specified period.

However, Manchester United were one of the lower spending clubs, with a total of £3,681,580, despite their capacity to spend on transfers.

The figures were released following an agreement in June 2008 that clubs would publish their total expenditure of player agents from the 2009/10 season onwards.

Suarez & Van Persie lead race for the Premier League Golden Boot

By Chris Davie

As we reach the hectic festive schedule in the Premier League, strikers have the chance to build a run of form heading into 2013 and emerge as frontrunners for the Golden Boot.

Luis Suarez leads the way in the scoring table with 10 goals this season, while Robin van Persie is right behind the Liverpool forward with one strike less. Despite Newcastle United’s poor form, Demba Ba sits in third with eight goals, while Swansea City’s attacking midfielder Michu boasts the same return as the Senegal international.

Here’s Goal.com’s look at the players who are in with a chance of scooping the Golden Boot this term.

Despite Liverpool’s mediocre start to the season, Luis Suarez’s campaign has begun in blistering fashion as the Uruguay international currently tops the Premier League scoring charts with 10 goals. Suarez has struck five times in his last six league appearances and looks on course to smash last term’s tally of 11 goals. With the 25-year-old also averaging six shots per game – the highest of any player in the league – it is likely he will be a strong contender for the Golden Boot this season.

Robin van Persie sits just behind Suarez in the Golden Boot race with nine goals to his name this term. The Netherlands international had gone three Premier League games without a goal before netting against West Ham on Wednesday, which was his longest spell without scoring in the league since March.

Demba Ba, perhaps surprisingly, sits third in the race with eight goals, although the Senegal international has netted just twice in his last six games, a record which mirrors the recent form of Newcastle United, who have lost their last four matches.


Michu sits alongside Ba on eight Premier League strikes this term and the Spaniard could be in with a shot of challenging the likes of Suarez and Van Persie if his form in front of goal continues. Against West Brom on Wednesday, Michu spearheaded Swansea City’s attack and returned with a goal and an assist to help his side to a 3-1 victory. The 26-year-old netted 15 times from an attacking-midfield position for Rayo Vallecano last season and judging by his swift acclimatisation to the Premier League, that impressive haul should be replicated this term.

PREMIER LEAGUE TOP SCORERS
Player

Suarez
V Persie
Ba
Michu
Defoe
Fellaini
Club

Liverpool
Man Utd
Newcastle
Swansea
Tottenham
Everton
Goals

10
9
8
8
7
7
Odds

3/1
5/2
20/1
40/1
16/1
80/1

Before Sunday’s double against West Ham, Jermain Defoe had not netted in the Premier League since the 4-2 defeat to Chelsea on October 20, but the Tottenham striker has seven goals this season and with Emmanuel Adebayor suspended for another match, the England international will be looking to boost his tally against Fulham in order to cement his place as Andre Villas-Boas’ first-choice forward ahead of the busy festive schedule.

Marouane Fellaini sits alongside Defoe on seven Premier League goals and having netted on his return from suspension against Arsenal on Wednesday, the Belgian looks as though he will be a continuous source of goals for Everton this campaign. Fellaini also averages 3.8 shots per game – the highest of any central midfielder in the top flight.

Carlos Tevez has been a victim of Roberto Mancini’s rotation policy over the past week as the Argentine featured for just 22 minutes in Manchester City’s goalless draw against Chelsea before being an unused substitute at Wigan on Wednesday. With only Sergio Aguero, who has one goal fewer than his compatriot, being handed regular playing time, Tevez’s hunt for the Golden Boot may prove difficult.

After scoring two goals inside 11 minutes as a substitute against West Brom in October, Edin Dzeko looked uncomfortable after being handed a starting berth in a wider position by Roberto Mancini at West Ham. The Bosnian has only been handed one start since his toothless display at Upton Park, and that was in the goalless draw against Chelsea on Sunday, and so he remains on six for the season.

With Van Persie headlining the goal charts at Manchester United, the top scorer for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side last season, Wayne Rooney, has found himself in a deeper position in order to provide support for the Netherlands international. As a result, Rooney has a return of just two goals in 10 appearances this season. Javier Hernandez has had even fewer minutes on the pitch than Rooney, but the Mexico international has netted five times this season.

After an impressive start, Nikica Jelavic has been subdued of late as the Croatia international has found the net just once in his last six games. The 27-year-old has five for the season so far and while Everton are the team who have averaged the most shots per game in the Premier League, it may take another run of form in front of goal to see Jelavic contend for the Golden Boot.

In similar fashion to Jelavic, Steven Fletcher’s potency has diminished after an encouraging opening to the campaign. The Scotland international has six goals to his name this season but has found the net just once in his last six games. Since he is in a team who have averaged the fewest attempts at goal in the Premier League, the Sunderland forward looks an unlikely challenger to Suarez and Van Persie.

Southampton sit in the relegation places despite being on a run of four games without defeat and Nigel Adkins’ side will be reliant on goals from Rickie Lambert for their push to safety this term. The 30-year-old has six goals in 14 appearances so far.

Olivier Giroud appears to have found his feet in the Premier League after a low-key introduction to the Premier League. The France international has been in fine form for Arsenal, netting three goals in his last six games, but with four strikes overall this season, Giroud faces an uphill battle to challenge the league’s seasoned scorers.

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Liverpool midfielder Lucas feared fans would forget about him during his injury

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva has admitted being forgotten by the Liverpool fans was a constant worry of his during his time out with injury.

The 25-year-old has only played two league games for the Merseyside club in a year after suffering lengthy injuries but has recently returned to full training and made his comeback last Friday when he played an hour for the Under-21 side against Middlesbrough.

Brendan Rodgers revealed that the midfielder would be back in the squad for the visit of Southampton, and Lucas thanked the fans for their support.

“Ever since my first injury, the fans have been very important to me,” Lucas told the club’s official website.

“When you don’t play, you think that people might forget about you but I think it has been completely the opposite.

“People send me nice messages and they say that they really miss me. So this has given me the confidence to come back.”

The former Gremio youth player also says the support he has received from within the club has helped him during his recovery.

“The players, on a daily basis, have really supported me,” he added.

“I remember when Luis scored and he had a message for me on his shirt. These are the small things that really mean a lot and they keep you going. Now it’s the time for me to repay that and help them.

“Brendan Rodgers has been very good to me since my first day. When he arrived I was just recovering from the knee injury, so he gave me a lot of confidence and was always very clear about his plans for me. He has tried to keep me very calm and not tried to rush me, in terms of my rehabilitation.

“I am really excited to be involved [against Southampton].

“As the manager said, I will be available for selection and if I get the opportunity to try to help, I have to be very patient.

“I have been out for a long time, so I think that my performance will get better as I get more games. But I am really looking forward to the weekend. It’s another step forward.

“I think it will be like a fresh start for me. I feel stronger and I am really looking forward to meeting the fans again at Anfield. I have been watching games from the stands, and now I want to help the team to get the points that we really need at the moment.

“We are getting to the middle of the season now and it is vital that we start to get more points. December and January are key months for teams in the Barclays Premier League, so it’s important for us to get as many points as we can.”

Liverpool – Southampton Preview: Reds aiming for only their fifth Anfield Premier League win of 2012

Although his injury list has not been painstakingly-long, Brendan Rodgers will have been annoyed that many of the problems were not expected to be cleared before 2013, but there has been good news for one player.

Lucas Leiva (thigh) has managed just two Premier League appearances all season and was not initially expected back until mid-to-late December, but the Brazilian looks set to be available for selection on Saturday, though he may not start.

Martin Kelly (knee) continues to miss out and will not be back before February, while Fabio Borini (foot) appears to have been ruled out of action for the rest of 2012 too, but should return in January.

Nigel Adkins has just about a full squad to pick from for the trip to Anfield on Saturday, with just two players expected to miss out, neither of which being certain starters.

Richard Chaplow (thigh) is still expected to be missing for another week or so, while Frazer Richardson (hip) will also have to continue his spell on the sidelines this weekend.

However, the potential return of Daniel Fox (knee) represents some good news for Adkins, with the defender set to undergo a fitness test on Friday and expected to at least travel with the squad on Saturday.

Rodgers: Lucas in Liverpool squad against Southampton

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has confirmed that Lucas Leiva will return to the matchday squad for the game against Southampton on Saturday.

The former Gremio midfielder has been sidelined since August 26 due to a thigh injury but returned against Middlesbrough for the Liverpool Under-21s side on Friday.

The Reds boss hailed the return of the Brazil international, who had only just returned from an even lengthier absence before his latest setback, as a “big boost”.

“Lucas Leiva will return to the squad, which is great news because he’s been working very, very hard and played the reserve game last week,” Rodgers told reporters.

“He’s very much looking forward to it. He’s worked tirelessly in his recovery. We’re just trying to nudge him along and make sure it’s the right time.

“His next step is games, so hopefully in the next couple of weeks he’ll get opportunities to play and improve his football fitness.

“Mentally he’s a tough boy. His mental fitness is very strong and he’s looking forward to helping the team.

“It’s a big boost because he’s well in tune with what we’re trying to do here. He’s been kicking his heels on the side wanting to help his mates and the group, so I am delighted to have him back.”

Liverpool squad must do more to support Gerrard, says Rodgers

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is adamant his side must do more to support captain Steven Gerrard.

The 32-year-old has scored just once in 13 Premier League appearances so far this term and has struggled for consistency.

But Rodgers feels the weight of responsibility is currently lying solely on the shoulders of his skipper, and believes the other players in his squad need to do more.

He told reporters: “Steven was outstanding last night [against Tottenham]. He’s carried this club for nearly 13 years and it’s about time that there was more than Steven picking up the baton of responsibility.

“He’s been brilliant since I arrived here. His inspiration and leadership within the team has been phenomenal.

“He might not have got the goals that he wanted this season, but you saw him last night – his range of passing, commitment and drive into the box was superb.

“He has been judged on his goals because he’s been a goalscoring midfielder over the years, but he’s still offering this group so much on and off the field.

“There are others that we want to step up to the plate and get the goals. Across the board we want to improve and find the solutions.”

Liverpool were denied two penalty claims in their 2-1 defeat to Tottenham and, though Rodgers refused to blame officials, he feels his side may need their luck to change.

“The referees are doing an honest job. They turn up for every game and make an honest assessment,” continued the 39-year-old.

“Hopefully we can get one or two bits of luck in the second half of the season and benefit from that. I respect that they come in and do a good job – it just seems that this season quite a lot has gone against us.

“You need a wee bit of luck along the way. We went to Tottenham and dominated the game, but we didn’t get the result and that’s what’s important.

“Over the next month or so we’ve got to turn these performances into wins. We had a run of eight games where we were unbeaten, looked solid and the quality of our game was good.”