Red's Fury™: 2013 2013 ~ Red's Fury™
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Liverpool-vs-Cardiff-CityLuis Suarez celebrated committing his long-term future to Liverpool by firing two more goals and sending the Reds to the Barclays Premier League summit with a 3-1 victory over Cardiff City.

Fresh from signing a new contract on Friday, the stand-in captain fired a brace of sublime first-half efforts which sandwiched a goal from Raheem Sterling that the Uruguayan created selflessly when played behind in acres of space.

Jordon Mutch headed home a consolation for the side from Wales in the second half, but Brendan Rodgers' team took the points and now top the Premier League standings; they will enjoy first place on Christmas Day if early pace-setters Arsenal cannot overcome fellow challengers Chelsea on Monday evening.

The pre-match team news was straightforward; Suarez retained the captain's armband he wore with distinction against Tottenham Hotspur and the boss kept faith with the same starting XI which notched five at White Hart Lane.

Sterling raced in behind the visiting defence in just the second minute from an incisive Glen Johnson through ball and, when his cross was cleared high into the crisp Merseyside air, Suarez directed a volley wide at the near post.

Suarez then had an effort from a promising central position blocked by Andrew Taylor after being teed up by Sterling, who had streaked onto a lofted Jordan Henderson pass; Philippe Coutinho subsequently slashed wide with his left foot.

In response, Mutch whipped a low attempt comfortably wide from the right corner of the Liverpool penalty area, before Simon Mignolet was required to spring to his right and expertly palm away a Craig Noone curler on 15 minutes.

Full report: Official Liverpool FC

liverpool-cardiffThings get started bright and early on Saturday with a match of great consequence when Liverpool hosts Cardiff City at Anfield.

Liverpool could go top of the table if they manage to overcome Cardiff at Anfield tomorrow lunchtime as they look for their fourth consecutive league victory – and build on the 14 goals they have scored in their previous three games. Luis Suarez is to thank for over half of them. You should be placing your bets on Suarez scoring a few goals in this match on betfair.com or Liverpool winning on a big margin again.

Liverpool are still without captain Steven Gerrard, who will not be fit to return to the new year because of his hamstring injury.

Brendan Rodgers is also missing striker Daniel Sturridge and defender Jose Enrique.

Cardiff await news on whether ex-Liverpool striker Craig Bellamy will be fit to face his former club.

Aside from that, Bluebirds manager Malky Mackay has a fully fit squad to select from.

Cardiff enter the match on the back of a much-needed victory over West Bromwich, with Peter Whittingham's header ending their five-match winless run in the top flight.

That result saw the end of another managerial reign in the Premier League, with Steve Clarke sacked at West Bromwich following the loss.

Cardiff sit 15th in the table, four points above the relegation zone, but the strained relationship between chairman Vincent Tan and manager Mackay has hit the headlines again this week.

Mackay had previously spoken about his desire to sign players in January but Tan hit back in a strongly worded statement, saying that "not a penny" would be spent in the upcoming transfer window and that the manager had had more than enough funding.

Rodgers shared his sympathies with Mackay, saying: "He has had great results this season and is going to go on and be a great manager at a big club and I find it absolutely astonishing there is talk about him leaving there."

So far this season Liverpool’s home form has been very good, with the loss to Southampton in September the only blot on their Anfield copybook so far this season, and they come up against a Cardiff side that has only won the one game on the road this term.

The two club’s last met in the final of the Capital One Cup in the 2012 when won 3-2 on penalties after it finished 2-2 in normal time.

The last league meeting between the two sides came during the 1959/1960 season in the old second division when Cardiff won 4-0 at Anfield, a similar result this time round would send shockwaves throughout the Premier League.

Fancy Suarez scoring a hat-trick?

 

EPL - Tottenham v LiverpoolLuis Suarez was the creator and provider in his first Barclays Premier League match as Liverpool captain, leading the side to a resounding 5-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.

The 26-year-old was handed the armband for the second time in his Reds career as Steven Gerrard was missing through injury.

He was on the scoresheet twice, and superbly helping to create the other three goals, which were claimed by Jordan Henderson, Jon Flanagan and Raheem Sterling.

There was just one change to the starting line-up, with Lucas Leiva returning to the team in the place of Gerrard.
The Reds were presented with a chance in the first minute, as the brilliant Suarez played in Philippe Coutinho, but the midfielder wasn't expecting the ball, and snatched at his shot.
The trend continued in the opening stanza, with Liverpool asking Spurs all kinds of questions in and around their box. Sterling was the creator-in-chief, bursting forward and getting the better of Kyle Naughton.

On 16 minutes, he skipped down the right channel and put pressure on Hugo Lloris' near post. In the next move, the winger got behind Spurs' defence again, but the French 'keeper averted the danger.
Suarez had seen an earlier effort go marginally wide, but there was no such repeat when Henderson slipped him in on 18 minutes.

Full report: Official Liverpool FC

Super-Sunday-Live-Panel-Everton-LiverpoolBragging rights on Merseyside will have to be shared after Daniel Sturridge scored a dramatic late equaliser to claim a 3-3 draw for Liverpool against Everton in an action-packed Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.

Philippe Coutinho broke the deadlock with a conversion at the back post, before Everton responded immediately through a clever goal by Kevin Mirallas as the ball fell kindly at the back post.

Suarez fired a sensational set-piece into the bottom corner from long range, but Lukaku found the target with a calm finish and later a powerful header to shock the visitors.

Substitute Sturridge had the last say and salvaged a dramatic point, however, by glancing a beautiful header into the top corner from Steven Gerrard's pinpoint set-piece.

Brendan Rodgers had made two changes to his starting XI against the Blues, with midfielder Joe Allen replacing Sturridge and young defender Jon Flanagan entrusted with the left-back position.

It was the home side who made the faster start, forcing a high tempo in the opening exchanges; James McCarthy, in particular, threatened with a lung-busting drive from the centre of midfield.

But in the fifth minute, the Reds struck. Gerrard curled a corner into the Everton penalty area, Suarez flicked on the delivery and there was Coutinho to control and force into the back of the net from close range.

The lead was short-lived, however, as Mirallas produced an instant response for Roberto Martinez's team on eight minutes. The Belgian latched onto a loose ball in the Liverpool box to flick an improvised effort past the hand of Simon Mignolet and into the top corner.

Full report: Official Liverpool FC

javier pastoreAlthough the summer transfer window is officially closed that doesn’t stop clubs working hard behind the scenes to prepare for future signings, so we’ll keep you up-to-date with all the latest gossip. We take a look at one such prodigious talent, Javier Pastore.

Liverpool are ready to launch a January bid for PSG play-maker Javier Pastore after the player’s agent admitted his client has grown unhappy with life in France.

Pastore kick-started PSG’s big-spending when he arrived from Palermo in 2011, but despite a handful of good performances, he has largely struggled to impress.

The 24-year-old was linked with a move away over the summer, but said at the time he wanted to prove himself to new manager Laurent Blanc.

However, Roma are set to step up their interest in Liverpool target with the PSG star desperate to secure regular first-team football.

Pastore wants to assure his place in the Argentine World Cup squad for next summer's finals in Brazil, but has made only six starts for the French champions this season.

According to reports in Italy, current Serie A table toppers Roma are looking to secure Pastore, 24, on a six-month loan deal and will battle Liverpool for his signature.

The earlier comments are a welcome boost to Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who is now ready to swoop in the new year after months tracking the Argentine.

Liverpool have been on the lookout for a big money marquee player, but missed out on Willian to Chelsea in the summer, and are yet to find an available alternative.

But it’s thought around £17million would be enough to get Pastore from PSG – and the Argentine international would reportedly relish the opportunity to move to the Premier League.

This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club or Red's Fury™ blog.

copyright Martin Rickett-PA WireDaniel Sturridge's early header was enough to secure Liverpool's 1-0 Barclays Premier League victory over Manchester United at Anfield.

The forward's goal - on his 24th birthday - maintained Brendan Rodgers' side's impressive 100 per cent record in the 2013-14 campaign.

Liverpool's win proved to be the perfect occasion to mark the 100th anniversary of Kop legend Bill Shankly's birth.

The match provided the pulsating start that the day deserved as Sturridge became only the second player ever to score for the Reds in the opening three matches of the Premier League season.

The forward instinctively glanced in Daniel Agger's header from a corner in the third minute, causing an already vociferous Anfield atmosphere to erupt.

Sturridge's header proved to be the catalyst for a flurry of attempts at both ends of the pitch as the rapid tempo of the encounter grew.

Robin van Persie improvised with an acrobatic overhead kick after Patrice Evra nodded across the face of goal before Philippe Coutinho dragged a 25-yard effort wide immediately after.

Danny Welbeck failed to trouble the Liverpool goal with an attempt fired straight at Simon Mignolet but the Reds avoided much more of a scare minutes later.

An Ashley Young corner drew no contact in the six-yard box and took the well-placed van Persie by surprise at the back post; the Dutchman failed to control and finish as the ball fortunately bounced away to safety.

Full report: Official Liverpool FC

 

liverpool v notts countyDramatic extra-time strikes from Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson sealed Liverpool's 4-2 victory over Notts County in the second round of the Capital One Cup at Anfield.

Early drives from Raheem Sterling and Sturridge were cancelled out by the League One outfit, with second-half goals from Yoann Arquin and substitute Adam Coombes ensuring the tie progressed into extra time.

Despite being reduced to 10 men through an injury to Kolo Toure, goals in quick succession from Sturridge and Henderson cleared a safe passage into the next stage of the competition for the Reds.

Aly Cissokho and Luis Alberto made their competitive bows for Brendan Rodgers' side, although the French defender's night was drawn to a close early due to an injury in the 10th minute.

Liverpool looked to stamp authority immediately and Sterling epitomised that with an impressive solo goal inside the first four minutes.

The winger charged through the centre of midfield past multiple defenders before drilling a powerful shot underneath the arm of Bartosz Bialkowski and into the corner of the net.

Unfortunately for Cissokho, the full-back's first Reds start was ended prematurely as he was forced off through injury and replaced by Daniel Agger.

Full report: Official Liverpool FC

Liverpool-vs-Stoke-CityDaniel Sturridge's stunning 25-yard strike ensured Liverpool began the 2013-14 campaign in perfect fashion with a 1-0 victory over Stoke City at Anfield.

The forward's goal emphasised how much Brendan Rodgers' side dominated in a match where the Reds hit the woodwork on three occasions.

A heroic Simon Mignolet secured all three points for Liverpool with a penalty save to deny Jonathan Walters in the dying moments of the encounter.

The excitement surrounding the first game of the season was epitomised by a pulsating quarter of an hour that involved the woodwork being rattled twice and the Reds being foiled by the linesman.

Mignolet struggled to properly parry away a cross and Robert Huth failed to hit the target with a rebounding volley that he lashed against the crossbar.

This proved to be the catalyst for Liverpool exercising their dominance and they thought their efforts had paid dividends through Sturridge.

The forward glanced Gerrard's free-kick into the far corner but celebrations were short-lived as he was judged to have been offside.

That didn't dampen the Reds' spirit as they stepped up their search to break the deadlock. Kolo Toure sent a powerful header crashing off the crossbar before Sturridge's follow-up attempt from an acute angle was driven high and wide.

Full report: Official Liverpool FC

Dublin-deciderDaniel Sturridge made his return from an ankle injury as Liverpool ended their 2013-14 pre-season preparations with a 1-0 loss to Celtic in the Dublin Decider at the Aviva Stadium.

The striker made an encouraging 45-minute appearance after missing the majority of the summer as the Reds were unfortunate to lose through an early Amido Balde strike.

The clash brings an end to a highly impressive run of friendlies, with Brendan Rodgers' side emerging victorious in all six of the battles that preceded the match against the Scottish side.

Despite appearing increasingly comfortable in possession in the early stages, the Reds found themselves a goal behind against the run of play, courtesy of Balde.

The towering striker managed to knock the ball around Andre Wisdom before his side-footed effort ricocheted off the onrushing Simon Mignolet's trailing leg - unfortunately it wasn't enough to alter the direction of the shot as the ball bounced into the back of the net.

That proved to be the catalyst for a flurry of attempts from Rodgers' charges that forced Celtic custodian Lukasz Zaluska into a string of impressive saves.

The Pole initially anticipated the danger well to race off his line and block Philippe Coutinho's shot from close range before producing a much more eye-catching stop just a minute later.

Stewart Downing cut in from the right flank before sweeping an attempt that was destined for the far corner before Zaluska acrobatically leapt across to palm away the danger.

Glen Johnson surged forward in typical fashion and broke through Celtic's backline but was foiled when his low shot was met by the diving 'keeper.

Full report: Official Liverpool FC

Liverpool-v-ValerengaLiverpool extended their pre-season winning streak to six matches on Wednesday evening with an enjoyable 4-1 victory over Norwegian outfit Valerenga at the Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo.

In front of the club's principal owner, John Henry, the Reds maintained their impressive form through goals from Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas, Martin Kelly and Raheem Sterling; their clean sheet record was ended by Giancarlo Gonzalez, though.

The pre-match team news had confirmed nine changes to the Liverpool team which celebrated Steven Gerrard's testimonial by beating Olympiacos on Saturday - Joe Allen and Aspas the two men to retain their starting berth.

An incisive burst by Stewart Downing served notice of Liverpool's threat to the hosts as early as the third minute. The winger knocked the ball around his marker and showed lightning pace to collect the ball on the other side, before drilling a centre which Jordon Ibe was unfortunate not to connect with.

First-half captain Jordan Henderson whipped a free-kick high and wide in the eighth minute and Allen trained his sights with a wayward effort shortly after. Continuing the theme, Ibe skipped beyond two challenges to work space - a rash shot followed, though.

Aspas then had two inviting opportunities to break the deadlock on the quarter-hour. Downing claimed possession and drove forward in a two-on-one scenario, releasing the Spaniard to blast goalwards. Saved.

The summer signing swung a boot seconds later at the left edge of the box but his strike drifted the wrong side of the far post after taking a deflection. The subsequent corner looped off Andre Wisdom and briefly scared home goalkeeper Gudmund Taksdal Kongshavn, and Ibe directed an attempt off target as the Reds established control.

Full report: Official Liverpool FC

Luis SuarezLiverpool admitted for the first time they will sell Luis Suarez, after the player told them he wants to talk to Arsenal.

However, Anfield boss Brendan Rodgers has put a £50million price on the head of his Uruguay striker.

Arsenal triggered a clause in Suarez’s contract with a stunning £40,000,0001 bid, although Liverpool rejected the offer. It’s like a game of poker - bottom dealing and hope no other clubs enters the bidding war.

But the first signs Arsenal’s strategy is working came when Suarez was told he can to speak to the Gunners as Liverpool finally admitted they are prepared to sell him.

Arsenal are ready to raise their bid slightly plus add-ons and bonuses but they are unlikely to go to £50M.

Rodgers, however, is unmoved. He has had a number of conversations with Suarez at Liverpool’s base in Melbourne and will have more discussions with the 26-year-old when they arrive in Bangkok on Thursday.

Earlier, Suarez made an 18-minute cameo appearance as a substitute on as he returned to the Liverpool team for the first time since April 21. In front of 95,000 fans at the MCG, he set up the second goal in the Merseysiders’ 2-0 win.

Brendan Rodgers has compared Suarez's value to that of Edinson Cavani, who joined Paris Saint-Germain last week for £55M, but the Anfield manager has stopped short of completely ruling out the Uruguayan's departure, merely saying every player has his value and he will only leave "if something drastic happens".

A bid rising to £42M for a 26-year-old who is banned for the first six games of the new season might be regarded as tempting by Liverpool's America-based owners Fenway Sports Group but a tweet sent from John W Henry's Twitter account seemingly ridiculed Arsenal’s latest bid for Suarez. "What do you think they are smoking over there at Emirates?" the account said.

Mockery aside, Liverpool are angered it took Arsenal two weeks to improve their initial offer of £30M plus £7M in add-ons, and only then to a sum that their chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, had been told would be instantly rejected. For their part Arsenal, evidently encouraged to believe that £40,000,001 would prompt negotiations with Suarez, hope the 26-year-old will agitate for an exit from Anfield in the coming days. A Premier League or legal hearing could ultimately be required to resolve the stand-off should it continue.

It was a message echoed by Brendan Rodgers after Liverpool's 2-0 pre-season friendly victory against Melbourne Victory at the MCG on Wednesday.

Suarez owed the fans, he said. Suarez had a debt of gratitude to a city that has taken him in like a son and sheltered him as he served lengthy bans for racially abusing Patrice Evra and biting Branislav Ivanovic.

And yet the controversial Uruguayan remains intent on leaving Liverpool this summer, intent on walking away to join a club that can offer him Champions League football.

Arsenal’s biggest concern is Real Madrid making a late bid, and they are set to receive a £30M boost to their transfer kitty after agreeing to sell Gonzalo Higuain to Napoli for £30m.

Arsenal will put a five year, £150,000-a-week contract on the table to tempt Suarez.

Arsenal believe they have been given enough encouragement by the Uruguayan's representatives that he is keen to move to Emirates Stadium in search of Champions League football.

lfc-tourSteven Gerrard's first-half strike and a late Iago Aspas goal sealed an encouraging 2-0 win over Melbourne Victory in the second game of the Reds' three-match summer tour at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The skipper's composed finish and Aspas' tap-in epitomised the entire team's impressive performance as they eased their way to yet another victory to maintain their 100 per cent record in pre-season so far.

Wholesale changes were made in the second half and the starting side's replacements looked just as assured in front of the 95,000 sell-out crowd as Brendan Rodgers' squad continued their preparations for the 2013-14 campaign.

An opening quarter of an hour that was starved of goalmouth action forced both sides to bid to break the deadlock in more ambitious circumstances.
Raheem Sterling caught a sight of goal but unfortunately sliced his 25-yard effort wide before Andrew Nabbout tested Brad Jones from similar range. A firm effort from the front-man forced the Australian custodian to palm away the danger.

Gerrard cut across Sterling's pass with a fierce strike that Nathan Coe leapt across to save before the Victory goalkeeper was rendered helpless by the Reds captain shortly after the half-hour mark.

Joe Allen surged through midfield and showed patience before sliding a pinpoint pass through to the onrushing Gerrard, allowing the skipper to calmly tuck the ball into the corner.

Full report: Official Liverpool FC

prestonvliverpoolDebutant Iago Aspas' second-half curling strike aided Liverpool to a comfortable 4-0 win over Preston North End in their Shankly Shield match at the Deepdale Stadium.

Jordon Ibe also scored his first senior Reds goal in what was a resounding win in Brendan Rodgers' side's first pre-season game ahead of the 2013-14 campaign.

New signings Luis Alberto, Simon Mignolet and Kolo Toure also featured as further composed finishes from Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling helped ease the visitors to victory.

Amidst the intense heat within the ground, Daniel Agger was the first to test Lilywhites custodian Declan Rudd with a typically well-struck long-range drive.

The Dane - who was installed as captain for the day - drilled a stinging 30-yard shot that Rudd could only parry, before Preston quickly reacted to clear the danger.

Liverpool's constant pressing paid dividends in the 13th minute when Coutinho forced former Reds midfielder John Welsh into giving away a penalty.

The North End captain hesitated in possession deep into the home side's half before the determined Brazilian stole the ball away from him. In a desperate bid to regain possession, Welsh hauled the 21-year-old to the ground - leaving the referee no choice but to point to the spot.

After dusting himself off, Coutinho stepped up to casually tap the spot-kick into the corner - sending Rudd the wrong way in the process.

A period lacking goalmouth action ensued before Liverpool began re-applying pressure on Preston's backline.

Full report: Official Liverpool FC

eljero-elia-von-werder-bremenLiverpool are on a spending spree. First, the Reds signed Kolo Toure on a free transfer. Luis Alberto checking in from Sevilla and Iago Aspas completed his move to Anfield yesterday.

Liverpool are ready to rekindle their long-standing interest in Eljero Elia.

According to TalkSport, Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers has set his attention to Elia, currently at Werder Bremen.

Liverpool's interest in the Dutchman dates back to his time at Hamburg but they missed out on him when he signed for Juventus.

Elia moved to Bremen in 2012 for £5million and Rodgers has tracked his progress - with a potential move now in the pipeline.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have yet to agree a deal with Sunderland to sign goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, according to the player's agent.

The two clubs had reportedly agreed a fee in excess of £11million for the Belgium international, who has won 13 caps for his country.

But the 25-year-old's representative, Guy Vandermissen, says he has still not been informed from either club that a deal has been done.

Elsewhere, Liverpool have reportedly agreed to meet the €10m (£8.5million) release clause written into Barcelona attacker Cristian Tello's contract but now must look to persuade the young Spaniard to move to Anfield according to Sport.es.

Barcelona may well be ready to sell a number of their squad players as Tito Vilanova eyes up the purchase of a central defender this summer, having already forked out £48m to sign Brazilian starlet Neymar.

However 21-year-old Tello is apparently leaning towards sticking with Barcelona for at least another season to see if he can force his way into a more prominent role in Vilanova's first team set-up.

The adaptable forward, who can play up front in an central striking role or out wide on either wing, was handed just 12 La Liga starts last term and only two starts in the Champions League but did manage to net eight goals in all competitions.

The arrival of Neymar is sure to leave Tello playing an even more limited role in Tito Vilanova's first team set-up with the locally born Barcelona player already having to challenge the likes of David Villa, Alexis Sanchez, Cesc Fabregas and Pedro for a spot supporting Lionel Messi in the Catalan giant's attack.

This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club or Red's Fury™ blog.

Confederations Cup: SPAIN 2 URUGUAY 1

 

 

Simon_MignoletLiverpool are believed to be closing in of the signing of Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, plunging the future of Pepe Reina at Anfield into serious doubt.

A deal for the Belgian international could go through as early as this week, with a fee believed to be in the £10 million region. Should he make the trip south to Liverpool, the likelihood that either Mignolet or Reina would be comfortable sitting on the bench is hugely unlikely, with recent reports linking Reina with a move back to Spain.

Barcelona were considered to be interested in his services with the seemingly impending departure of current goalkeeper Victor Valdes, but Valdes has recent announced that he will complete his final year on his contract with the La Liga champions before leaving after next season.

Sunderland, though, will not be keen to sell Mignolet, who was their Player of the Year in the 2012/13 season.

But the 25-year-old, who has also been linked with Arsenal, has only two years remaining on his contract and Sunderland will know his value will decrease as time drags on.

This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club or Red's Fury™ blog.

Ivan RakiticLiverpool are preparing for a double raid on Spanish Primera Liga side, Sevilla. Sevilla midfielder Ivan Rakitic has admitted he is flattered to be linked with a move to Liverpool.

Luis Alberto, 20, has been linked with a move to the Reds for some time and last week spoke of his imminent arrival at Anfield, saying he’d be “foolish” to turn down the Reds’ offer.

Alberto spent last season on loan at Barcelona B, scoring 11 times in 37 appearances.

Sevilla were keen to keep hold of their exciting young prospect but are now believed to be willing to do business as long as the Reds agree to some supplementary add-ons that could eventually take the deal up to £8million.

Meanwhile, the Croatia international is reportedly attracting interest from Anfield and he has now reiterated his stance that he will only stay with the La Liga side if they bolster their squad.

"I'm really flattered that I'm being linked with such a big club like Liverpool," Rakitic told 24sata.

"I heard that something is happening, but for now there is no concrete offer.

"My brother, who is taking care of my career, is doing all the business about my future.

"But I will repeat what I said before: I will only stay at Sevilla if they will strengthen the team.

"I made it quite clear about that and they know that they have to buy some good players."

25-year-old Rakitic has previous playing experience for Basel in Switzerland and Schalke in Germany.

He has made 53 appearances for his country, scoring 9 international goals.

Source: FoxSports

This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club or Red's Fury™ blog.

iago_aspasAccording to The Guardian, Liverpool are close to completing their second signing of the summer after Iago Aspas arrived on Merseyside to finalise his £7.7m move from Celta Vigo. The 25-year-old forward travelled to Liverpool on Monday, having cancelled a holiday to the Caribbean once he became aware of interest from Anfield, and will undergo a medical on Tuesday before sealing the transfer from his boyhood club.

Aspas, 25, was tracked by Rodgers throughout last season and he initially intended his purchase to complement rather than replace Suárez.

With Suárez’s future looking increasingly to be away from Anfield and Daniel Sturridge fighting to be fit for the start of the season, Rodgers will have to find further striking recruits in the next few months.

Suárez’s public flirtation with Madrid has continued as he has spoken of the attraction of playing alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.

Aspas can operate across the front line and scored 12 goals in Celta's return to the top flight last season following five years in the second division. He had offers from Valencia, Portuguese and Italian teams plus Swansea City, whose failure to conclude the deal has added to Michael Laudrup's frustrations at the Liberty Stadium, but cleared the way for a move to Liverpool after settling a contractual issue with Celta Vigo.

Source: The Guardian

This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club or Red's Fury™ blog.

PD*65478538Liverpool have placed a €14million price tag on its central defender, Slovakian international, Martin Skrtel as manager Brendan Roders looks to trim their squad of underperformers this summer.

Reports have widely been speculating that Napoli are interested in signing Skrtel, with incoming manager Rafael Benitez seeing the 28-year-old as a solid defender who can offer continuity to the Serie A side's backline.

This is despite a below par season for Liverpool in which Skrtel ended up losing his place to Jamie Carragher in the second half of the season.

With Brendan Rodgers already acquiring Kolo Toure, Skrtel, could team up again with Rafa Benitez, who brought the defender to England five years ago.

"It is too easy to say, but if there is contact from the Blues then we will begin to evaluate it," Skrtel's agent Karol Csonto told Italian paper Tutto Mercato.

"Napoli are a great club and Benitez is a great coach, but Skrtel is a Liverpool player and for this reason he is already looking to the next season with the Reds."

This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club or Red's Fury™ blog.

Iago_Aspas-Getty_Images‘Liverpool is one of the biggest clubs in the world. I could have moved to other teams and countries, but I quickly decided that I wanted to be in England.’

Iago Aspas had plenty of offers when he decided it was time to leave Celta Vigo but there was only one place he was going.

According to the paper the move for the fast and direct left-footer isn't finalised yet, but poised to be sealed for £7.7 million. A local idol, the Vigo-born Aspas was Celta's top scorer with 12 goals in La Liga this season, his first in the top flight.

Aspas is set to earn around £45,000-a-week at Liverpool, and moves on a four-year-contract, having scored a 12 goals in 34 matches last season.

However, Premier League rivals Spurs are one of a handful of clubs thought to have tried to hijack the transfer late on, but Aspas says there was never any doubt about his next destination.

‘I did not hesitate when I heard that Liverpool wanted me,’ said Aspas in Marca.

‘I’m quietly confident, but very excited about this new challenge. This is clearly a huge step forward for me.

This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club or Red's Fury™ blog.

Uruguays-footballer-Luis-Suarez-credits-Getty-ImagesFrance manager Didier Deschamps has hailed Liverpool striker Luis Suarez as the 'difference' in his side's 1-0 loss to Uruguay.

He has been in the headlines non-stop over the past couple of months for reasons that are not always positive, but Wednesday night saw him back to doing what he does best—scoring goals and winning games.

Les Bleus travelled to Montevideo for the friendly against the South American opponents but received no hospitality as Suarez scored the only goal of the game. France will be next up against football powerhouse, Brazil and the odds are not so kind for the French as football betting site, Unibet revealed.

And Deschamps said the second-half substitute introduction was the catalyst that turned the advantage to Uruguay's benefit.

After not playing a competitive match since being suspended for biting Branislav Ivanovic in late April, Suarez was left on the bench for the first half of the international friendly, with Diego Forlan and Edinson Cavani paired in attack. A low-key and uneventful first 45 minutes failed to yield a goal, and Suarez was introduced at the break in place of Forlan.

Suarez took only five minutes to score after coming on as a half-time substitute in place of former Manchester United man Diego Forlan. The goal was Suarez's 32nd for his country, which has put him one behind Forlan in the all-time Uruguayan scoring stakes.

Forlan has 33 in close to a century of caps, well ahead of Suarez's 64 appearances. The former Atletico Madrid striker is now 34 years old and is unlikely to add many more goals to that tally, although the Confederations Cup will give him another target to hit.

The 50th minute goal saw him cut in from right-hand side before superbly finishing from a tight angle with the outside of the boot.

Suarez's Liverpool team-mate Sebastian Coates and Southampton striker Gaston Ramirez played for the two-time World Cup winners, whilst Arsenal trio Bacary Sagna, Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud turned out for the French.

It's back to the stands however for Suarez, as he will miss Uruguay's next game, a crucial World Cup qualifier against Venezuela next Tuesday, through suspension.

Betting on Liverpool

Posted In: , , , . By Reds Andy

shoot_new_slot_gamesDespite the end of the football season, there are still plenty of opportunities for more football betting even if your club never made it to Europe. And sadly this is the case for Liverpool FC. So how do you think Liverpool will do in the 2013/14 Premiership? The betting is quite interesting. Not surprisingly Manchester United remains the favourite to win next year’s Premiership despite the retirement of Ferguson, and the odds at 2/1 aren’t bad either, but if you think that Liverpool has a chance then you can get 30/1 on them doing so.

Not very likely sadly, but they could easily be in the top four. The best odds at the moment on them reaching the top four are 15/8, so it is a bet that you might well consider to be worthwhile. Certainly Liverpool will finish in the top 6, but betting on them doing so isn’t really worthwhile, certainly at the current best odds of 1/6 on; you wouldn’t bet at those odds at a casino. Then there are the more political bets such as potential manager changes and transfers. For instance what’s going to happen about Andy Carroll? Will he return to Newcastle as he wants? Currently it seems more likely that he will go to West Ham where he has been on loan. There is still time to get a bet on.

For a different type of football betting you could always go on to your favourite online casino Lucky Nugget and play some football themed slots games such as Shoot. Shoot is one of the best football slots ever produced, and it really is for football fans. Inspired by the Shoot football magazine, it features many of the great players from the 1960s onwards. It is a 5 reel 50 payline slot with a top prize of 50,000 coins on regular spins plus a multi staged bonus feature including free spins with a potential top prize of 619,000 coins; now that is serious money.

a4_AWAY_LANDSCAPE_V1BNew Warrior design redefines standout features of the 80s and 90s

[05 JUNE, 2013] Warrior has officially launched the new 2013/14 Liverpool FC away kit.

Channelling direction from breakthrough patterns and graphics featured throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Warrior’s core inspiration behind the new design stems from the Club’s white and red 1981 League Cup-winning kit.

Head of Warrior Football Richard Wright says the brand worked closely with Liverpool FC throughout the design process.

“We believe we have produced an away kit which stays true to the Club’s heritage but has a fresh look and feel. It has been particularly helpful having LFC involved in the process, emphasising the relevance of past kits which has helped us to design a strip fans will identify with.”

Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool FC manager, agrees.

“A football strip fuses a team together; it is a Club’s uniform for players and fans. The fact that glimpses of the Club’s history appear in this kit is a really nice touch from Warrior,” said Rodgers.

a4_AWAY_PORTRAIT_V1BPrimarily white and black with elements of red, the overall kit carries a strong traditional look. The graduation of colour from the shirt down into the shorts and socks sparks strong interactivity between the three components.

Beyond the traditional colour scheme, the neckline has been reworked to give the shirt a modern edge, while an eye-catching diamond print draws attention to its bottom half. Originally featured as part of the 1989/91 away version, the dynamic pattern is a refreshed interpretation of the detailed graphic.

“I like that this strip is different, the pattern and colours are fresh. It looks and feels great on and I can’t wait to wear it next season,” said Liverpool FC forward Daniel Sturridge.

In line with the new home kit, contrast detailing features on each sleeve. A fully embroidered Liver Bird crest sits on the shirt’s front, while two commemorative Eternal Flames and a 96 logo are prominently positioned on the back of the neck.

Designed using War-Tech, Warrior’s ground-breaking apparel technology system, the away kit is powered by breathable, moisture-wicking War-Tech fabric. Four-way stretch mesh panelling under the arms and across the back of the shirt facilitates optimum ventilation while allowing for added comfort and temperature control in core heat areas.

Fans are encouraged to weigh in with their feedback about the new away kit by connecting with Warrior Football on Twitter using the hashtag, #RiseUpLFC

To learn more, visit www.warriorfootball.com.

Luis-SuarezLiverpool are ready to splash £20million on main summer transfer target,Shakhtar Donetsk's goal-scoring midfielder, Henrikh Mkhitaryan... regardless of whether Luis Suarez gets his transfer or not.

The Anfield club are close to tying up a big money deal for Armenia international Mkhitaryan, despite his Ukrainian club Shaktar Donetsk's high asking price.

Manager Brendan Rodgers will complete the deal for the attacking midfielder he has targeted for months with the blessing of his American owners, regardless of the uncertainty over the Suarez's future.

Mkhitaryan is not seen as a direct replacement for Uruguay striker Suarez, and was identified as the main summer signing long before Real Madrid came calling with an offer that has turned Suarez’s head.

Rodgers wants a midfielder who can knit together his side’s creative play while also providing a goal threat from behind the front line.

The Armenian fits the bill after attracting the attention of the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, Barcelona, Juventus and Atletico Madrid with his 25 goals from midfield this season.

The 24-year-old, who has just set a Ukrainian Premier League record for most goals in a season, signed with Italian super-agent Mino Raiola in May to facilitate his move to a top European club.

Rodgers has stolen a march on his rivals for the player’s signature after sending his scouting team out to watch the midfielder a dozen times in the 2012-13 season.

That is why he is prepared to commit a sizeable part of his summer budget to the capture.

The deal will not depend on securing funds from the sale of Suarez, even though the striker looks certain to leave for around £40m after forcing Liverpool’s hand by admitting he's in the mood for a fresh start away from English football.

The Reds' boss has been guaranteed at least £35m to spend in this summer's transfer window, even before the sale of Suarez.

Striker Andy Carroll is set to confirm his £15m departure to West Ham later this week, and £10m-rated defender Martin Skrtel a contender to follow amid links with ex-Kop boss Rafa Benitez's Napoli.

If Real Madrid follow up their interest in Suarez with a firm offer, then he will insist on exercising a get-out clause in his contract to force the issue.

Rodgers will then look to buy another striker - especially with Daniel Sturridge ruled out for the start of the season after suffering an ankle injury on international duty with England.

Rodgers has already agreed in principle a £7million deal for Celta Vigo forward Iago Aspas, but he will also search for a bigger name to cover the departure of Suarez.

Christian Benteke, whose 19 league goals in his first season with Aston Villa included two against Liverpool at Anfield in December, is on his list of targets.

Source: Mirror

This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club or Red's Fury™ blog.

martin_skrtelMirror, mirror on the wall. Who’s the fairest of them all? According to Mirror, Liverpool defender, Martin Skrtel admits he may consider quitting Liverpool after what he calls the worst season of his Anfield career.

Centre-back Skrtel says it “bugged him” when he was dropped to the bench by boss Brendan Rodgers in favour of Jamie Carragher for the second half of the season.

The Slovakia international feels unsettled, despite signing a new contract last August, and, with Rodgers shopping for new defenders, says he would listen to any offers from other clubs this summer.

In an interview given in his homeland, the 28-year-old said: “I have not had any specific offers. But if some should come and they interest me, I would probably consider it seriously.

“The club has the biggest say in this in any case, with me being contracted.

“I’m not saying that I want to leave at any cost.

“I feel sorry for what happened in this season. But I have been here for five-and-a-half years and I have built a position here.”

Skrtel says it hurt when Rodgers dropped him after the shock FA Cup defeat at Oldham because the Irishman said he needed more leadership at the back.

“After the game, the coach decided he wanted to change the team and justified to me that we lacked the organisation and defensive leadership personality,” he said.

“That was Carragher. Obviously I was not happy, it bugged me.

“On the other hand, I realise that only 11 can play and the 11 the coach chooses now is without me.

“I decided to add even more in training, so I was ready for a chance to show that I belong on the field, and not on the bench.”

Source: Mirror

This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club or Red's Fury™ blog.

rafaRafa Benitez is expected to finalise a two-year deal with Napoli this weekend as the Chelsea interim manager fulfils his final duties at the Premier League club.

Benitez still has to meet Paris St-Germain officials this week before deciding which club he will manage next season.

But Champions League qualifiers Napoli, who prematurely announced a deal with the Chelsea interim manager last week, are favourites to get him because of the determination of president Aurelio de Laurentiis.

Funds raised by the £60million sale of striker Edinson Cavani, who is likely to join Real Madrid, will be reinvested in a Napoli side that finished second in Serie A last season.

They will look to win their first Scudetto since the Diego Maradona era in 1987 and 1990. Last season’s manager, Walter Mazzarri, resigned this month to move to Inter.

Paris St-Germain are trying to stop Carlo Ancelotti leaving for Real Madrid, so a quick decision from them on Benitez is unlikely.

Source: Mail Online

luis_suarezReports heat up at the Santiago Bernabéu these few days - Real Madrid have added Liverpool striker Luis Suarez to their extensive list of potential recruits.

A host of Europe's top clubs including Real's city rivals Atletico have been linked with the 26-year-old, who has three years remaining on a contract signed last August.

Bayern Munich, who could be crowed European champions at Wembley on Saturday, are also ready to make a summer bid.

So far Suarez appears to be content with life at Anfield, and Liverpool defender Jose Enrique wants to know the striker will stay.

'Of course we want to keep him. He is our key player,' Enrique said.

'We've not had a great season in terms of our league position but Luis is there as our top scorer.

'For me he can play in any team in the world. If I was a manager I would have him anywhere. Not only for his goals but for how his character is.

'He is the type of player like if you play with Messi: he does impossible things. He does something out of nothing.

'I think if we keep him we will have a good season next season, for sure.

'We don't want to lose Luis because he is a top player but you never know. But if he goes, someone else has to come.

'Hopefully if that happens it will be a good player.;

Luis Suarez will be suspended for Liverpool's first six matches of next season as he serves the remainder of his 10-game ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic last month.

Source: Mail Online

This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club or Red's Fury™ blog.

Which position would you rather be in heading into the Champions League final?

Would you side with Bayern Munich? They won the German league by a  distance, conquered all before them this season and go into this defining match as odds-on favourites. There aren’t too many people who can  envisage them being beaten.

Or would you choose Borussia Dortmund? Jurgen Klopp’s side have not managed to win a domestic trophy... and finished 25 points behind Bayern in the Bundesliga. It all points to the Wembley showdown being one-sided, doesn’t it? Well, not in my view.

This could be one of the closest finals we have seen in recent years and Dortmund are not the 7-2 shots that bookmakers suggest. If anything, Bayern will be the more apprehensive of the two sides. They, after all, have everything to lose. Dortmund have it all to gain.

Dortmund are in a similar position to the one we experienced with Liverpool on this day exactly eight years ago.

Nobody gave us a chance of beating AC Milan in Istanbul, so that meant we could enjoy the occasion. Winning the biggest trophy in club football went beyond our wildest dreams.

Bayern, in contrast, will in some ways be dreading this match as the pressure on them is immense.
Dortmund have had the edge in recent years — they are undefeated in the past six Bundesliga games and secured last year’s German Cup with a 5-2 win. Bayern, meanwhile, have lost two of the past three Champions League finals.

Having that sequence extended to three out of four would be a major embarrassment.

Bayern Munich are THE club in Germany and to lose the prize they crave most to a team from their own country would be a savage blow to their esteem.

I have been greatly impressed by Dortmund this year. For a retirement present, I was treated by a few Liverpool players to a trip to the Bernabeu earlier this month to watch the second leg of their semi-final against Real Madrid, and the vantage point we had was perfect to see everything at which Dortmund excel.

They have incredible pace, intensity and quality — I read a superb magazine article on Klopp earlier this year and the thing I took from it was how much he wants his players to run — and they swarmed all over Madrid, to the extent that Jose Mourinho had to substitute Xabi Alonso to deal with it.

In Marco Reus, they have a player who — in my opinion — has only been outperformed in the Champions League this year by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

It has been said Mario Gotze’s thigh injury will damage Dortmund’s chances, but losing Reus would have been a significantly worse headache for Klopp.

Gotze was spotted looking at property in Munich, ahead of his move there next season, and the reaction to him has not been good from Dortmund supporters. Would his head have been in the right place for this game? His absence may now work in his side’s favour.

As big a fan as I am of Dortmund, however, Bayern’s claims are there for all to see. Myself and Dietmar Hamann, who used to play for them, began calling Bayern ‘The Grinders’ a few years ago because they always get the job done.

They have incredible mental strength and to come back from the disappointment they endured 12 months ago — losing to Chelsea in front of their own fans — is a notable achievement. Some teams may never have got over such a defeat.

Given that Pep Guardiola is  taking over as manager next season and the way they have spent — they have paid out more than £100million in the past two summers, compared to Dortmund, who have spent in the region of £30m — you can see why it is being said they are on the verge of dominating  European football.

Let’s not think, however, that Germany is significantly ahead of all the other leagues.

Yes, it is very good, but it reminds me of the way the Premier League was five years ago — big, strong sides that can press with great intensity but have the skill to match. However, had it not been for a linesman’s mistake in the quarter-finals, Spain would have had three teams in the last four of the Champions League. I believe the two best teams in the competition will contest the final but Dortmund came perilously close to losing to Malaga in the last eight.

Bayern, on the other hand, have made relentless progress through the competition and the way they demolished Barcelona in the semi-finals was exceptional.

I don’t think they touched the ball in the first 15 minutes of the first leg but kept their composure and  then ran Barcelona into the ground. There should not, though, be such a discrepancy in the way the  respective chances of each side are viewed.

Bayern have strength in depth and are slight favourites but Dortmund have had their measure in recent times  — and you wouldn’t bet against them doing it one more time.

Source: Mail Online

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andy_carrollWest Ham have agreed a fee with Liverpool for Andy Carroll but the England striker has yet to decide if he wants to join the Hammers permanently.

The London side will match Liverpool's asking price of around £15m, but the 24-year-old is unsure about the move ahead of a World Cup year.

It is understood interest from former club Newcastle United has cooled.

West Ham are expected to bid for Vitesse Arnhem's Wilfried Bony if Carroll rejects their approach.

The 24-year-old Ivory Coast international finished as 31-goal top scorer in the Dutch league this season, but West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has made no secret about Carroll being his main summer target,

Meanwhile, Carroll has withdrawn from the England squad for the upcoming friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil because of a heel injury.

Carroll was signed by Kenny Dalglish and moved to Liverpool on transfer deadline day in January 2011, for what remains a record fee for a British player of £35m.

He had impressed by scoring 31 times for his boyhood club Newcastle United in 81 appearances, but his time at Anfield was short lived.

Coupled with the arrival of Brendan Rodgers and a new style of play, Carroll's return of just six goals in 44 outings for Liverpool saw him loaned to West Ham in late August 2012.

Despite a knee injury ruling him out for December, Carroll scored seven times for Allardyce's side during the season, form which encouraged the West Ham boss to pursue a permanent deal.

"If we can start with Andy Carroll, that would be a great achievement for us as he can only get better and better," he said after West Ham's weekend win over Reading.

"Then we build around that in terms of how we want to improve next year, with better quality.

"Andy is a player who is wanting to enjoy his football. He lives for his football and wants to play every game. He wants to use his strengths and score as many as he can - but he also works very hard for the team."

Whether the deal goes through appears to rest with Carroll, who has said he has "enjoyed every minute" of his loan spell in London.

"I have had a great season here at West Ham, really enjoyed being part of a great set of lads in the team, with the staff around us and the fans," Carroll told the club's official website.

"Everyone has been so welcoming to me and I have been over the moon to be here. This is a great club."

Source: BBC UK

This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club or Red's Fury™ blog.

Iago AspasLiverpool are planning a move for Celta Vigo forward Iago Aspas, according to the Mirror. The Spanish club are perilously close to relegation from the top flight and need two wins from the final two games of the season, in addition to having other results go their way, to escape the drop.

Aspas' release clause is believed to stand at €10m but that will drop by almost a third if relegation is confirmed. Reds' boss Brendan Rodgers believes a cut-price fee for the 25-year-old could be a steal and he may have a point. Aspas has 11 goals and six assists from 32 league starts, which means he has had a hand, directly, in half of his side's goals this campaign.

A salary of £45,000 per week has reportedly been agreed but Rodgers' former club, Swansea City, have also shown interest and could look to make a second bargain signing from La Liga in as many years, after signing Rayo Vallecano forward Michu last summer.

Meanwhile, Rodgers has already confirmed the Anfield club will add, despite a meager summer budget, at least two attacking players to the first team. The Northern Irishman has Uruguayan Luis Suarez, England international Daniel Sturridge and young Brazilian Philippe Coutinho as his first choice attacking line but wants cover and reinforcements.

Liverpool fans are used to having a player in Luis Suarez that so ferociously divides opinion. They’ve taken to the Uruguayan as one of their own, irrelevant of the opinions Suarez’s detractors hold.

It will make fascinating viewing then, if another contentious character in Iago Aspas turns out for them.

Aspas too, is of that 'love to have him on your team, hate to play against him' mould. He also happens to be a very, very good footballer.

The 25-year-old plays each game like it’s his last, getting in the faces of opponents and going to the ends of the earth for his team. He’s energy, enthusiasm, and endeavour. But he’s also skill and sublime.

He was born in Moana, a town of just 20,000 in Galician. At school he was a terror too, constantly distracted in lessons with only focus on football.

Asked what his favourite moment as a Celta fan was he didn’t mention a goal, or assist, he recalled when Wagner infamously booted Diego Tristan in the air during a Galician derby.

It was in 2010/2011 that he first rose to prominence, scoring 23 goals in 35 games as Celta pushed towards a return to Spain’s top flight.

He played as a lone striker in the Segunda that season, working in tandem with the various support acts he was handed. His coach at the time was a certain ex-Liverpool man in Paco Herrera, part of that glorious Champions League victory steered by Rafa Benitez.

Herrera had to handle Aspas with care, for he was always on the brink of breaking.

That season he played for every single fan that entered the stadium; would chase lost causes, formed the first part of defence from his attacking role, put in tackles and of course, scored goals.

He’s a passionate character too, constantly muttering to himself when moving around the field and when against an opponent engaging in some exchanged words. It motivated him, psyched himself up. It rarely did not produce an end product.

Aspas' transition from Segunda to Primera was seemingly effortless for the player. He managed three goals in his opening seven games, and as it stands has 11 in 32 matches.

There's a common misconception that Aspas is just a tenacious striker, but there's much more to him than that. He’s a creator too, marking down six assists and generally being the centre of everything good his team produces.

Aspas can drop off into midfield and start attacks, move into the channels and take players on with pace – particularly on the right hand side, where he likes to drift in from with a drop of the shoulder. He can also play on the shoulder like a number 9, offering a team verticality in their play.

His movement is one of the most impressive aspects of his game, harnessing a sweet change of direction and burst of pace. Although he doesn’t have great strength or power, he puts his body between the ball and an opponent intelligently while using skill or that pace to jet away.

His stature and skill set makes him a slippery character, difficult to contain. Out-and-out striker, inverted winger, second striker – Aspas would do any of these roles justice. He is though most at home in that second striker berth.

Aspas is seen as a Jekyll and Hyde character, so much so his ex-coach Herrera referred to him as part Messi and part monster. The latter part came to fruition in two incidents this season; one when he had to be substituted by Herrera to avoid being sent off then another when he head-butted an opponent and was banned for four games. All the while, Celta fans still sung the name of their hero who they felt represented them.

The truth is Aspas had many faces and many talents, and if he can channel that passion he has in the right direction he’ll accomplish great things.

Source: Mirror

This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club or Red's Fury™ blog.

SOCCER-GERMANY/Brendan Rodgers is hoping to start his crucial summer of spending with a bang by snapping up a long-term replacement for Jamie Carragher.

Liverpool manager Rodgers has targeted highly-rated Greece international Kyriakos Papadopoulos, and will table a firm £13.5million offer for the centre-half.

At just 21, Papadopoulos has the right age profile for a big Anfield signing but already has vast experience, having become the youngest-ever player in the Greek league at the age of 15 and won 14 caps.

His performances with Olympiacos earned him a move to Schalke, and he helped the Germans reach the later stages of the Champions League before turning down a £16m move to Russia's Zenit St Petersburg.

Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City have all monitored his progress in the Bundesliga, but Liverpool have been in contact with the player's father and believe he would choose Anfield.

The Reds will first need a medical thumbs-up on a knee problem that kept him out for the second half of the season, but are expected to make a formal approach within the next week.

Rodgers also wants £7m-rated right-back Sam Byram from Championship side Leeds.

The Yorkshire club have resigned themselves to losing the talented 19-year-old - also a target for Everton - and have already lined up Manchester City starlet Reese Wabara as a replacement.

Source: Liverpool FC

This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club or Red's Fury™ blog.

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