Monthly Archives: January 2013

Official: Liverpool keeper Doni seals return to Brazil with Botafogo

Liverpool have confirmed goalkeeper Doni has joined Brazilian side Botafogo on a free transfer.

The 33-year-old moved to Anfield in 2011 when the Reds paid Roma €1.5 million for his services, but only made four appearances since his arrival.

His last appearance for Liverpool was in the 1-0 defeat at Swansea on the final day of the 2011-12 season.

And the keeper has since fallen down the pecking order behind Pepe Reina and Brad Jones, with Jones deputising recently during an injury spell for Reina.

Doni has won 10 caps for Brazil and was in the squad for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Michu, Frank Lampard and Luis Suarez – This week’s Premier League Fantasy Football Team

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Goalkeeper

Julio Cesar

The QPR goalkeeper has been in fine form of late and made 12 points against Manchester City in midweek – the third time he has managed a double figure points score in his last four games.

With Harry Redknapp intent on improving the defensive line in front of Cesar he’s a good pick to keep another clean sheet against poor travellers Norwich.

Defenders

Angel Rangel

The Swansea full-back has five clean sheets to his name in this campaign and with a trip to West Ham a potentially tight, low scoring game, he could be a solid inclusion this weekend.

Luke Shaw

After signing a long term deal with Southampton recently, Luke Shaw has wasted no time in showing what he’s capable of. The arrival of Mauricio Pochettino was marked with a clean sheet against Everton and with a crucial clash against Wigan this weekend, the Spanish boss will hope his side can build on an encouraging performance against Manchester United.

Leighton Baines

It was impossible to leave out Leighton Baines after his midweek performance, two goals against West Brom meant he scored 14 points and with Aston Villa coming up next, he’ll be confident of getting more joy down the Everton left.

Patrice Evra

The Manchester United full back has provided six assists so far for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side this season and with just two cards and four goals, he has a solid defensive pick in fantasy football terms.

Midfielders

Gareth Bale

The Spurs winger scored a great equaliser against Norwich in midweek to take his tally to 10 goals so far this season. The threat he poses to opposition defences means he consistently scores points in this game (7.8 per game in this campaign) and he’s capable of another good score against West Brom.

Michu

A return of 13 Premier League goals would be a fantastic at this time in the season for most new signings and Michu has been a fantasy football revelation since his summer transfer to Swansea. Now playing in a more advanced role he is an ideal midfielder to include.

Frank Lampard

Although he looks set to leave Chelsea at the end of the season, Frank Lampard has continued to score goals and show exactly what he is capable of at the highest level including scoring the second goal against Reading on Wednesday. Five goals and just one card this season mean another double figure points haul is well within his reach.

Theo Walcott

Although he is listed as a midfielder, much like Michu, Theo Walcott is finding himself deployed in a much more advanced role than others in the same category. This means not only does he score plenty of goals, but when he does, those goals count for more points than if they were scored by a striker.

Forwards

Robin van Persie

Wayne Rooney stole the headlines against Southampton but Van Persie looked very lively and had a goal ruled out for offside in the second half.

The Netherlands international could well be the winner of the top scorer award in the Premier League this season and is a great fantasy football inclusion.

Luis Suarez

One of the advantages of having no transfer budgets for Totel Football is that you can pair the two Premier League top scorers together without having to make sacrifices in other areas of your team. 17 goal Luis Suarez averages eight points a game and should give Manchester City’s defence plenty of problems.

If you think you can do better than Jim this week, why not sign up for Totel Football and receive up to £100 in free bets to start your Fantasy Football betting

You can read more about Totel Football here

Jim’s starting XI

Julio Cesar; Angel Rangel, Patrice Evra, Luke Shaw, Leighton Baines; Gareth Bale, Michu, Frank Lampard, Theo Walcott; Luis Suarez, Robin van Persie.

Substitutes

Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham), Maourane Fellaini (Everton), Papiss Cisse (Newcastle)

Official: Liverpool forward Pacheco completes Huesca loan

Liverpool youngster Dani Pacheco has joined Huesca on loan until the end of the season.

The 22-year-old has struggled to break into the first team at Anfield and has been sent out on loan for a third time after previous spells with Rayo Vallecano and Norwich, where he scored two goals in six appearances when the Canaries were in the Championship in 2011.

Pacheco joins Huesca in a relegation scrap with the club 19th in the Segunda division having played 23 games in the current season.

The former Spain Under-21 international has made 17 appearances for Liverpool since making a move to Merseyside from Barcelona in 2007.

Enrique: Liverpool can beat Manchester City

Liverpool defender Jose Enrique believes his side can win their upcoming clash with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium if they emulate their performance in Wednesday’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal.

The Reds had carved out a two-goal lead by the hour mark at the Emirates Stadium thanks to Luis Suarez and Jordan Henderson but let that slip as Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott earned the Gunners a point.

But the Spaniard, who made his return from injury with a 20-minute run-out in north London, is confident Brendan Rodgers’ side can improve on the result.

“I think when you get a draw away at Arsenal it is a good result for the team, but we were 2-0 up and I thought we deserved more,” he told the club’s official website.

“We played very well in the first half and had some chances to increase our score and were a little bit unlucky.



“In the second half they pressed us and made it difficult for us and both sides had chances, but it was a great game and in the end it’s not a bad result.

“We have another very important game at Manchester City on Sunday and I think if we can play like we did on Wednesday night then we can win it.

“There is a long way to go in the race for the top-four and if we can take four points from these two games that would be fantastic.

“We won there last season in the Carling Cup and there’s no reason why we can’t do it again.”

The 27-year-old is now keen to regain a starting place after recovering from a hamstring injury which has kept him out since the 3-0 win over QPR on December 30.

He added: “It feels good to be back and I felt okay and tried to get forward as much as I could.
 I just want to prove my fitness quickly now and help the team.”

Suarez planning to stay at Liverpool for a ‘very long time’

Liverpool forward Luis Suarez has revealed that he plans to stay at the club for “a very long time”.

The Uruguay international scored his 18th league goal of the season during the Reds’ 2-2 draw with Arsenal on Wednesday night, taking his tally to 22 for the campaign in all competitions.

And, despite routinely courting controversy during his two-year stay in England so far, Suarez insists he has never contemplated leaving Liverpool.
“I hope [to be at Liverpool] for a very long time because it’s a massive club that kids dream about playing for,” Suarez told the club’s official website.

“I’ve been very proud to be at a club like Liverpool and to have made the decision to come here. In two years I’ve lived through some spectacular and very special moments that I will never, ever forget.

“There have been a few difficult times as well, but with the support of my family, the club and the fans, things have gone well for me.

“I do feel at home here. When I’m out and about, all I get is support and encouragement from the local people and that’s very important, and when I come here to the club I feel like people have known me all my life. That also helps a great deal to making me feel so at home.

“I hope to be able to help out the team for as long as I possibly can while trying do something to make the club and the fans very happy.”

Liverpool currently sit in seventh place in the Premier League table, seven points behind fourth-placed Tottenham.

From wonderkid to unwanted goods – what went wrong for Coutinho at Inter?

ANALYSIS
By Kris Voakes | Italian Football Writer

Inter were not always of the belief that Philippe Coutinho was better off away from San Siro. Back in 2008, he was seen as a huge coup when the Nerazzurri landed his signature at the age of just 16 for a €3.5 million fee. Yet now, the Brazilian is headed for the Premier League and Liverpool with the Italian club’s best wishes.

Although they could not make use of their new signing until he turned 18, there was a great deal of satisfaction around Appiano Gentile when Inter persuaded Vasco da Gama to part with his economic rights two years before his eventual move to Europe. Coutinho had developed such a reputation while making his way through the Vasco youth ranks that it was seen in no way as a gamble, despite his age and the fact they would have to wait 24 months before he could pull on the blue and black in a competitive fixture.

But things have not exactly gone to plan since Coutinho arrived in Italy, with Inter going as far as to persuade the player that a move away from the club is for the best as they looked to cash in on the €11m Liverpool offered.

After a promising initial spell in Rafael Benitez’s six-month reign, the 20-year-old has found it difficult to find a regular spot in the side. Even under the Spaniard, the attacking midfielder was regularly forced to play on the left of a 4-2-3-1 simply to get into the team, but things have only grown more difficult for him under the subsequent coaching spells of Leonardo, Gian Piero Gasperini, Claudio Ranieri and Andrea Stramaccioni. There have been occasional sights of a first-team shirt, but not since Benitez was in charge has Coutinho started more than two league fixtures in succession.

TWO DIFFERENT PLAYERS | Coutinho since 2010
39 TOTAL APPEARANCES 16
20 TOTAL STARTS 14
1,777 TOTAL MINUTES PLAYED 1,222
28 LEAGUE APPEARANCES 16
15 LEAGUE STARTS 14
1,320 LEAGUE MINUTES PLAYED
1,222
4 GOALS 5
444.3 MINUTES PER GOAL
244.4
3 ASSISTS 1

Sergio Chesi, Goal.com Italy’s deputy editor, explains why things have not worked out for Countinho in a Nerazzurri shirt.

“Coutinho has been unlucky at Inter, for many reasons,” explains Sergio. “The first is because he arrived immediately after the club had won the treble, when they began going through the difficulties they are still experiencing to this day. It was hard for a youngster to find himself thrust into such a problematic situation.

“Not since Benitez was in charge has Coutinho started more than two league fixtures in succession

“Then there were the frequent physical problems he suffered, showing certain limitations as he grew, and also the fact he never really gave the impression that he had the personality to make the difference at the very highest levels, nor the physical attributes to have a say in the Italian championship. Personally, I am amazed that Liverpool are spending such a sum of money on a player who has offered so little in Serie A.”

So why are the Reds taking such a gamble? Well, during his loan spell with Espanyol in the second half of the 2011-12 season, Coutinho revelled in the freedom he was given, attracting a whole host of great reviews in the process. The only fixture in which he did not feature during his spell in Barcelona was one for which he was suspended after seeing red against Osasuna. Such was his form in the blue and white shirt, he scored more goals in four months in Spain than he has during his entire spell with Inter.

That stat is less surprising when you look at the fact he started 14 league games for the Periquitos compared to 15 in two-and-a-half years at San Siro. Given the chance to prove himself over a long period, Coutinho spread his wings and made a real impression. It is an unavoidable fact that the Brazilian has not produced any kind of consistency at Inter, but how can he be expected to do so when he has not been picked with any consistency either?

It is often said of skillful players that teams can struggle to locate them a spot in which they can truly show their best football, and that has never been more true than in the case of Inter and Coutinho. A player of undoubted qualities on the ball, great pace, a sure eye for a pass and impressive composure for a youngster, he is the latest talent to be lost at the Nerazzurri.

And if he excels on Merseyside, then a succession of Inter coaches past and present may well be left to answer a few difficult questions as to why he was not given the chance to show just how good he can be.

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