Monthly Archives: July 2013

Reina: I’m not angry with Liverpool

The goalkeeper has now denied suggestions the Reds effectively forced him out of Anfield, and expressed happiness at linking up with Rafael Benitez again

Pepe Reina has backtracked on claims Liverpool accepted a loan offer from Napoli without his consent, now insisting he holds no ill feeling over the move.

The goalkeeper posted an open letter on his personal website earlier in the week that alleged the Anfield outfit had made arrangements to send him to Italy for the upcoming campaign without discussing matters with him first.

However, Reina has now moved to clarify his position, maintaining that whilst he believes the situation was not dealt with in an ideal way, he is, in fact, delighted to be linking up with Rafael Benitez again.

“I’m not angry with Liverpool – quite the opposite. I am very grateful to them for everything they have given me,” he told Spanish radio programme El Larguero on Wednesday.

“My departure was different to what I expected, but I will always be grateful to them.

“The signing wasn’t sealed, because you can’t do that without the consent of the player, but it was at an advanced stage and I didn’t know about it.

“This is the nature of football – when you are loved by a team, you really feel it, but when you go through bad moments, you are treated differently. In the end I will remember the love I felt from the fans for so many years.

“My time in England is where I have felt truly like a footballer and I have put my name among the best players. I’m very proud to have played almost 400 games with Liverpool.”

Reina went on to note that the presence of former Liverpool manager Benitez at the helm of Napoli has made his unanticipated switch to southern Italy more palatable.

“Rafael Benitez is the best coach I have had,” the Spain international enthused. “I don’t know if I’d have joined Napoli without him being there.

“There are many positive things about the city of Napoli and they have a fervent support, like Liverpool’s, but Benitez being there made it much easier for me to sign.”

Reina came through the youth ranks at Barcelona before moving to Villarreal in 2002 and then on to Anfield three years later.

No agreement with Liverpool for Papadopoulos, insist Schalke

The German club’s general manager says the Reds are yet to make a concrete offer for the Greek defender, but admits that his side would consider a sale should a bid arrive

Schalke general manager Horst Heldt has moved to deny rumours suggesting centre-back Kyriakos Papadopoulos is close to joining Liverpool.

The 21-year-old has been linked with a move to Anfield for months now, with recent reports suggesting that a deal somewhere in the region of €15 million is close to being concluded.

However, Heldt has claimed the Bundesliga outfit are yet to receive any offers for the promising Greek international, insisting his side are currently planning for the youngster’s return from a devastating knee injury suffered in November 2012.

“There’s not a jot of truth in it,” Heldt told German newspaper Reviersport. “We have no offer for Papadopoulos. Neither from Liverpool or some other club.

“On the contrary: we are very happy that ‘Papa’ is making progress and can be back soon, hopefully. We’re planning with him.”

Despite being adamant that no bid has arrived for Schalke’s prized asset, Heldt did go on to reveal that the club will consider the sale of Papadopoulos should a sufficient offer be tabled.

He added: “If we receive an offer for him, we will come together and talk about that as we do with every player for us.”

Liverpool set for Melgarejo loan deal

Brendan Rodgers also has the option to buy the Paraguayan full-back for around £7 million next summer, if the temporary move proves successful

Liverpool have agreed a deal with Benfica to sign defender Lorenzo Melgarejo on a season-long loan.

Brendan Rodgers also has the option to make the move permanent for a fee of approximately £7 million at the end of the campaign.

The 22-year-old Paraguay international is being brought to Anfield to provide competition for Jose Enrique at left-back, with Rodgers keen to strengthen his defensive options before competing for a top-four place this term.

Melgarejo made 35 appearances in all competitions for Benfica last season, including the club’s Europa League final defeat to Chelsea in May.

Liverpool’s move for defender hinges on whether a work permit can be obtained as Melgarejo has secured just one senior international cap.

The Paraguayan has also been linked with a move to Arsenal and Turkish side Fenerbahce this summer.

Suarez understands Liverpool’s no-sale stance, says Rodgers

The Uruguay international’s future has been the subject of intense speculation following Arsenal’s interest in the striker, but the Anfield manager says the star is still “happy”

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists Luis Suarez understands why the club are not willing to listen to offers for the striker this summer.

Goal exclusively revealed that the Uruguay international is poised to hand in a formal transfer request in order to secure a move to Arsenal, who lodged a £42 million bid for the forward on July 22.

But despite the speculation surrounding Suarez’s future, his Anfield boss believes the player is fully understanding of the club’s position – and even described the player as being “happy” with the situation.

“It’s a story that can keep running but for me there is no new news,” Rodgers told the Liverpool Echo.

“Luis is happy. He totally understands the club’s point of view. He’s in a difficult position in terms of not being able to play because of his suspension – he will sit out the first six games and he will miss playing football.”

Suarez is currently four games into a 10-match ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic during a Premier League clash on 21 April.

And while Rodgers suggests the time on the sidelines and the transfer speculation could have a detrimental impact on his player’s preparation for the season, he insists Suarez is remaining positive and is ready for the new season.

“He’s working hard and remains part of the group. He hasn’t been moping about,” he continued. “It’s obviously difficult when you come back after a break but he has settled in and has been working well.

“He needs to get up to speed and we will continue to work to get all the players ready for the first game of the season.”

Suarez scored 23 goals in 33 Premier League appearances last term, and was odds-on to finish with the Golden Boot before his ban allowed Robin van Persie to edge him out with 26 strikes.

Transfer Talk: £100m Bale deal can win Real Madrid the Champions League

Following the release of the Goal 50, we look at the world’s best who have moved this summer, and those that could yet set the market alight

Real Madrid’s high-pitch calls for Gareth Bale had fallen on deaf ears at Spurs, but now, it seems, talk of a staggering £100m deal has got their attention.

Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman, has been resolute in his stance every since releasing a statement on the club’s website at the end of last season. He insisted then, despite failing to qualifying for the Champions League, that their star names would not be sold.

Bale’s blistering campaign saw him named 6th in the 2012-13 Goal 50, our list of the 50 greatest players of the past season. A jump from last year’s 19th spot has seen his stock increase tenfold.

Meanwhile, Luis Suarez – 31st on the Goal 50 – continues to edge towards Arsenal. The Uruguayan is considered ‘Plan B’ by Real Madrid, while for Arsene Wenger’s, Suarez is certainly ‘Plan A’.

Joining Nat Coombs for our Transfer Talk Goal 50 special are Goal correspondent Greg Stobart, international football writer Peter Staunton, and former Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Manchester City midfielder Dietmar Hamann.

Remember, to pose a question to next week’s panel, leave your comment below, or Tweet us by using the hashtag #askgoal.

Click HERE to see the full list for the Goal 50 for 2012-13.

Liverpool new-boy Aspas hopeful hard work will pay off

The striker has notched three goals in four pre-season games and believes his impressive displays will leave him in good stead ahead of the start of the new campaign

Liverpool new-boy Iago Aspas believes the club’s gruelling pre-season schedule has prepared him for the battle to earn a starting place.

The Spaniard, who arrived at Anfield from Celta Vigo in June, has shown promising form ahead of the new campaign, scoring three goals in four warm-up matches.

Aspas now hopes to extend that run into his debut season in England, and is certain that the intense nature of training with Liverpool will leave him in good stead ahead of the August 17 kick-off.

“At the beginning it has been a little bit tougher than the sessions in Spain, but we know there is a little more running involved in this league,” he told the club’s official website.

“However, we do a lot of work with the ball and I think in that respect the sessions are similar to back in Spain. I’m working hard every day to try and earn my place on the team sheet for the first game.

“From that moment on it’s all about doing as well as I can and gaining in confidence to keep my place in the side.”

The 25-year-old also explained that fellow new arrival and compatriot Luis Alberto has helped him settle on Merseyside, while full-back Jose Enrique has been providing guidance on and off the pitch.

“Luis has been a real source of support for me,” he continued. “Because we’re the two new boys, we hang out and go everywhere together.

“Jose Enrique is the person who’s helping out the most at the moment. He’s Spanish like us, so he’s helping us out with everything – finding a house, a car, translating training ground explanations – whatever it may be, he’s there to help us.”