Monthly Archives: July 2013

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.”

Liverpool should offload Suarez as soon as possible, warns Barnes

The former Reds winger has urged the club to sell the wantaway striker because there is no way of guaranteeing his commitment to the side should he remain at Anfield

Former Liverpool midfielder John Barnes says the club should aim to sell Luis Suarez as soon as possible.

Goal revealed that the striker is preparing to hand in a formal transfer request in order to secure a move to Arsenal, who submitted an improved £42 million bid for the Uruguay international last week.

Barnes has urged the club to sort out the striker’s future quickly because he fears they will have no time to find and secure an adequate replacement should he leave.

“We’ve seen in the past when transfers go down to the last minute that it doesn’t help anybody, especially for a club like Liverpool who, if they lose Suarez, would have to find a big-name replacement,” he told talkSPORT.

“I’d like it to be done sooner rather than later because if it goes down to the last day, and you then have to go and get somebody, it’s not ideal.

“As far as Suarez is concerned, if he’s not going to be happy, then he has to go.

“We can all say, ‘yes, we think Suarez is going to be a player like Carlos Tevez, who gives 100 per cent no matter what’ but we don’t know what his mental state is going to be if he doesn’t get his wish [to leave the club].”

Bernard nears Porto transfer

The Portuguese side’s coach was cagey when asked about a move for the Brazilian youngster, while his agent has all but ruled out a deal with Arsenal

Porto coach Paulo Fonseca has refused to comment on growing speculation that Atletico Mineiro attacker Bernard is set to complete a transfer to the Portugese champions.

Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham have all been linked with the 20-year-old in recent weeks, but a move to the Premier League has become unlikely after the player’s agent, Adriano Spodato, admitted he would like his client to move to Portugal.

But after rumours that Porto would announce a deal before their friendly against Celta on Sunday proved unfounded, Fonseca was keen not to give too much away.

“I don’t have any information about Bernard,” he told reporters. “I only speak about the players who are here. I don’t know if he is coming and I will not speak about somebody not in the squad.”

Spodato had claimed over the weekend that a move to a big European club such as Arsenal would be too risky, and expects things to become clearer in the coming days.

“I can confirm that the possibility [of joining Porto] is strong, but there is Shakhtar Donetsk, too,” he told Mais Futebol. “It should be between those [clubs]. On Monday or Tuesday there should be something more concrete.

“If it was up to me, Bernard would be a Porto player. I told him that this is the best way.

“It is preferable to enter a medium, but good, European club, rather than risk a top club and have no space to play. Indeed, Bernard is very interested in going to Porto.”

And Bernard’s father, Delio Duarte, also admitted that his son has his heart set on Porto after speaking to compatriot and former Dragao Hulk.

“He wants to continue his career at a club like Porto,” Duarte told O Jogo. “He dreams of that. Bernard is Hulk’s friend, they became very close in the national squad and they talked about this.

“Hulk spoke highly of the club and [Bernard] was convinced it would be a safe bet for this stage of his career.”

Reina: Liverpool forced me out

The Spaniard revealed the Reds hierarchy accepted Napoli’s loan offer without consulting him, and insists he was willing to extend his contract if Barcelona made no offer

Pepe Reina has claimed that he was forced out of Liverpool after agreeing to join Napoli on a season-long loan.

With Brendan Rodgers electing to make new signing Simon Mignolet his first-choice goalkeeper ahead of the coming campaign, the Spaniard signed a temporary deal with the Serie A club this month.

Reina had been widely expected to return to Barcelona ahead of the transfer window, but a proposed switch failed to materialise after Victor Valdes opted to see out the final year of his contract at Camp Nou.

And though Reina admits he would have liked to move to the Catalan club, he insists he was happy to remain at Anfield when that offer did not arrive.

“If I have one regret, it is the way that I am leaving,” he wrote in an open letter to Liverpool’s supporters.

“It is only natural that I would be disappointed that the Liverpool management agreed to loan me to Napoli without telling me first, I thought that I deserved better than that even though I understand that difficult decisions have to be taken in football.

“A lot has been made about me informing the club that if an offer came in from Barcelona that I would have liked them to consider it. But I had also spoken to the club about the possibility of extending my contract if the offer was not made.

“I told the manager that I wanted to play for Liverpool and that Barcelona would only become an option for me if the opportunity arrived, like the rumours said it would, as it would be a chance for me to go back home.”

The 30-year-old also had kind words for the Merseyside club’s loyal support, insisting they are “unique” in world football.

“[Playing for Liverpool] has given me an understanding of what it is like to play for the most wonderful English club,” he added.

“I may not have won as many trophies and medals as I would have liked since joining in 2005 but the experiences I have been a part of are as important as any silverware.

“I now understand how supporters can lift a team and inspire them to do special things. I appreciate that there is something unique about Anfield and the atmosphere it creates.”

Reina has made 394 appearances for Liverpool since his arrival from Villarreal in 2005, keeping 176 clean sheets in that time.

Suarez still ‘very much part of the group’ at Liverpool, insists Rodgers

The Reds manager insists the striker remains key to the club’s preparations going into the new Premier League season, despite the ongoing speculation surrounding his future

Brendan Rodgers insists Luis Suarez remains “very much a part of the group” at Liverpool despite the striker’s desire to leave the club.

The Uruguay international is understood to be preparing to submit a transfer request to force through an exit from Anfield with Arsenal favourites for his signature after lodging a £42 million bid.

Suarez has now joined up with the squad on their current tour, following his participation in the Confederations Cup, and Rodgers is adamant it is vital that Suarez is involved in the club’s pre-season preparations.

“It is important [Suarez] is very much part of the group,” he told reporters.

“He has still got some way to go [with his fitness]. He is a number of weeks behind the other players.

“He is working hard on his conditioning and over the course of time as he gets closer to playing we will build him up to more minutes on the field.”

Suarez will miss the start of the Premier League season after being handed a 10-match ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic last season and Rodgers is already making contingency plans.

“I also have to consider that our focus over the course of pre-season is for the first game [of the Premier League] and Luis will not be available for the first game,” he added.

Liverpool kick off their new campaign at home to Stoke City on August 17.