Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fernando Torres for £95m! Chelsea owner Roman's amazing deal to land Liverpool superstar

Chelsea will try to push through the signing of Fernando Torres on Monday with a stunning £95million transfer package they believe will trigger an escape clause in the Liverpool striker’s contract.
Roman Abramovich is ready to commit the staggering sum to secure the service of Torres, with £50m needed to activate the clause they are now confident exists.
A further £45m will be guaranteed to the 26-year-old in a five-year deal that would see him earn £175,000 a week

Anelka not keen on Reds move

Nicolas Anelka is not keen on a move to Liverpool as part of any deal for Fernando Torres.
Anelka has been mentioned as a possible makeweight in the deal to take Torres from Liverpool to Chelsea.
Liverpool rejected a bid for Torres from Chelsea last week and the player has subsequently handed in a transfer request as he looks to leave Anfield before the close of the transfer window.
Chelsea are believed to be ready to come back with another bid for Torres and could offer a player in part-exchange.
Reports have suggested Liverpool have asked for Anelka, who enjoyed a successful loan spell at Anfield in 2002, as part of any deal for Torres.
The Reds are reluctant to lose Torres and want a ready-made replacement for the Spaniard if they decide to let him leave before the transfer window slams shut.
Anelka, who is Chelsea's top scorer this season, is not believed to be keen on making a return to Liverpool.
The Frenchman is understood to be happy and settled at Stamford Bridge and is prepared to fight for his place in Carlo Ancelotti's plans.
The news could force Chelsea to make a straight cash offer for Torres with reports suggested Liverpool want £50million for the former Atletico Madrid man.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Liverpool 1 - 0 Fulham

Liverpool clung on for a gritty victory against Fulham as they moved up to seventh in the Premier League.
The Reds went ahead on 52 minutes when a Fernando Torres strike was deflected against the post and John Pantsil sliced a clearance into his own net.
Fulham belatedly came out of their shell and had a Brede Hangeland header cleared off the goal-line.
And a point-blank save late on by Reds keeper Pepe Reina from Moussa Dembele helped secure victory for Liverpool.
The home side may have had to endure a nervous finish as Fulham produced their late rally but the Reds maintain the impetus, although maybe not the improvement in play, that manager
It was the Scot's second win in five games and will have Reds fans looking up the Premier League table towards the European spots rather than over their shoulders at the relegation zone.
Fulham, who had looked comfortable for the most part, do not have that luxury as they lie four points from the bottom three after a game in which both teams struggled to find their passing game or rhythm.
Dalglish masterminded a 10-0 win over Fulham in 1986 in his first spell in charge as Liverpool manager and he almost got the perfect start as he renewed rivalries with the London club.
Raul Meireles slid a weighted ball through for Torres to control and slot past Cottagers' keeper David Stockdale, only for the assistant referee to rule the goal offside in a questionable decision.
Stockdale might have been beaten on that occasion but the 25-year-old, who had not been on the losing side in his previous eight first-team outings for Fulham this season, excelled as he played a big part in keeping his side level at Anfield.
The threatening Reds right-back Stephen Kelly drove in a cross and a steered header from Meireles seemed destined for the bottom corner before the Fulham stopper palmed the ball wide at full stretch.
Stockdale also saved a 20-yard Steven Gerrard strike before he excellently tipped a well-struck Glen Johnson effort, after the defender had cut in from the left, over the bar.
The visitors had grown into their task of nullifying Liverpool and almost benefited when two chances came their way in quick succession.
Fulham forward Clint Dempsey intercepted a Kelly pass and had a left-foot drive parried by Reina before the ball was cleared.
Almost immediately, former Everton forward Andrew Johnson pulled a ball back from the by-line for the unmarked Dembele, who could only shoot straight at Reina from close range as a glorious chance went begging.
The defences appeared to have the upper hand as both teams lacked urgency, but the home side eventually broke the deadlock in scrappy style.
A Torres shot was deflected on to the post by centre-back Hangeland and, in the ensuing melee, Pantsil sliced an attempted clearance into his own net.
Dempsey had a volley from a Pantsil cross saved by Reina and ex-Reds midfielder Danny Murphy sent a free-kick wide for the visitors but Fulham struggled to break down the Liverpool defence.
The visitors threw centre-back Hangeland forward and the move almost paid off when he met a corner with a firm header which beat Reina, only to be cleared off the goal-line by Meireles.
The Cottagers again went close when Dempsey nodded down a Murphy free-kick for Dembele, whose snapshot was again saved by Reina as the Reds dug in to secure victory and extend Fulham's run to 30 games without a win at Anfield.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Wolverhampton 0 - 3 Liverpool

Kenny Dalglish earned his first victory since returning to the managerial helm at Liverpool as his side beat Wolves in a hard-fought game at Molineux.
Fernando Torres tapped in from a pass by the impressive Raul Meireles to put the Reds in front after 36 minutes.
Nenad Milijas had a promising effort saved for Wolves before Meireles struck a dipping 25-yard volley into the top corner of the net in the 50th minute.
Torres completed the win in the last minute with another simple finish.
Victory came in Dalglish's fourth game back in charge and will increase the feel good factor he has engendered as he tries to rescue his team's season.
The manner and style of the win will also help raise Liverpool spirits as the energy and industry of Portuguese midfielder Meireles, which was so key to the win, was matched by the rest of the side.
It earned revenge over Wolves, who had beaten a tame Liverpool 1-0 at Anfield in December by pressing their opponents and depriving them of any space or time on the ball.
The home side employed the same tenacious tactics again as they tried to stay stay shirt-tight to their visitors but, this time around, the Reds were a different proposition as they showed a greater fighting spirit combined with a more accomplished passing game.
Wolves' focus on stifling their opponents came at the cost of their own attacking play as they rarely threatened at 0-0, while the chances that did come along as the two sides wrestled for supremacy were engineered by Liverpool.
Christian Poulsen gave Wolves their first scare when, from a pull-back by fellow midfielder Lucas Leiva, he had a side-footed effort blocked by centre-back Christophe Berra, who had just come back on after having a couple of stitches put into a head wound.
The forward runs of Lucas and, in particular, Meireles from midfield were a feature of the Reds play and the latter also supplied a delightful angled pass over the top of the Wolves defence to release Torres.
The Spaniard took the ball with his first touch, cut inside defender Richard Stearman and struck an early left-footed shot, which keeper Wayne Hennessey parried away.
Torres and Stearman were involved in a running battle as a feisty affair sometimes showed signs of boiling over, while Meireles sent a 20-yard strike wide and a turn-and-shot from Maxi Rodriguez again forced Hennessey into making a save before Liverpool took the lead.
Poulsen slid a pass into the clever run of Meireles, who beat the offside trap and unselfishly slid a ball across goal for Torres to tap in. The striker picked the ball out of the net and dropped it at the feet of Stearman as he celebrated.
Wolves had to be more adventurous and, after striker Steve Fletcher had a shot comfortably saved, team-mate Milijas had an effort blocked at the far post by Pepe Reina.
Liverpool had seen leads overturned in their previous two league games but a similar occurrence seemed unlikely because, after Dirk Kuyt failed in poking the ball through Hennessey leg's when through on goal, Meireles added to his side's lead in spectacular style.
When Berra headed Daniel Agger's long free-kick out of the Wolves defence the ball fell to Meireles and he fired home with unerring precision.
Liverpool started to play on the counter attack as they edgily held on to their advantage and Jonjo Shelvey missed the chance to calm their nerves when he blazed over with just Hennessey to beat.
But, even though the Reds had not kept a clean sheet in their six previous Premier League games, they repelled their rivals and sealed the points when Torres fired into the roof of the net from close range.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Liverpool 2 - 2 Everton

Dirk Kuyt's penalty earned Liverpool a draw in the Merseyside derby with Everton, leaving both sides only four points above the relegation zone.
Raul Meireles opened the scoring with an 18-yard drive after Tim Howard made a double save from Kuyt.
The visitors equalised when Sylvain Distin headed in at the back post before Jermaine Beckford lashed them ahead from close range minutes later.
But when Howard tripped Maxi Rodriguez in the box, Kuyt fired in to level.
With Kenny Dalglish returning to the Anfield dugout as Liverpool manager for the first time in 20 years, there was an air of expectation ahead of the derby clash, heightened by a rousing rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone before kick-off.
However, having replaced Roy Hodgson, Dalglish's return has not exactly gone according to plan so far, with an FA Cup defeat by Manchester United and a humbling at the hands of Blackpool in the week.
Everton, meanwhile, have struggled at Anfield in the past, winning only twice in 18 Premier League visits. But the Toffees' form of late suggested this could change, having beaten Manchester City and Tottenham in their last six games.
Without local boys Steven Gerrard (suspended) and Jamie Carragher (injured) for the 215th Merseyside derby, Dalglish sprung a surprise by including Wirral-born Jay Spearing for his second league start in a Liverpool shirt.
And the 22-year-old injected energy into Liverpool, playing in a combative central midfield trio along with Leiva Lucas and Meireles, which allowed the latter to maraud forward and assist Fernando Torres.
Torres, making his 100th league appearance for Liverpool, almost gave the home side a dream start but he fired his angled drive into the arms of Howard after only nine seconds.
The Spaniard was evidently in the mood and after 16 minutes only the width of the post stopped him opening the scoring following a fine solo effort where he rolled Distin, burst into the area and cut on to his left foot but his curling effort struck the post and Kuyt blazed the rebound over.
With little between the sides, Liverpool took the lead after 28 minutes when Glen Johnson's cross from the left was headed towards goal by Kuyt.
The Dutchman's header was saved low by Howard, who followed that by blocking Kuyt's follow-up shot with his legs but he could do little as Meireles smashed his first goal for Liverpool from 18 yards out.
Seconds later, with Everton reeling, Torres almost doubled the lead when he lashed in an effort but Howard again palmed away and Maxi headed his follow-up over the bar.
However, it only took Everton 43 seconds of the second half to equalise when Mikel Arteta's corner was met by Distin at the back post and the Frenchman out-jumped Martin Skrtel to power his header past Pepe Reina.
Dalglish had talked about Liverpool lacking belief prior to the game and that fragile confidence was again on show as Everton's equaliser immediately knocked the stuffing out of the Reds.
After 51 minutes the turnaround was complete when Leon Osman latched on to Victor Anichebe's flick on and slipped his pass through to Beckford, who was goal-side of Meireles and did not hesitate as he slammed his close-range effort past Reina.
With 20 minutes to play and his side in control, David Moyes might have been forgiven for entertaining the idea of presiding over a first win at Anfield but the derby was to throw up another twist.
Howard, the hero having already made several key saves, turned villain when he clipped the legs of Maxi as he touched the ball away from goal to concede a penalty.
Kuyt showed his composure to step up and drive his penalty into the right corner and set up a tense finale as both sides threw men forward.
Despite plenty of endeavour, quality and clear-cut chances were in short supply and the two sides, inseparable in terms of league points, ended the game with a point that would have done little to ease either side's fears of being dragged into a relegation tussle.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Blackpool 2 - 1 Liverpool

DJ Campbell took advantage of some woeful defending as Blackpool completed the league double over Liverpool.
The visitors took an early lead when Fernando Torres fired a fierce drive high into the net after being fed by Reds full-back Martin Kelly.
The Seasiders equalised soon after when Gary Taylor-Fletcher made the most of slack marking to slot home.
And Campbell handed Blackpool victory after he was left alone in the six-yard area to nod in.
The marking for the goal was as shocking as Liverpool's loss of confidence as the match progressed.
It began well for Reds manager Kenny Dalglish, who was taking charge of his first Premier League match in 12 years.
Although Torres's performance level declined like that of his team-mates during the 90 minutes, the Spain international's goal in the third minute proved that if the ball is played behind the defence then he is still the striker you would bank on.
It took him only two minutes to light up the night at Bloomfield Road when he smashed in high past Blackpool goalkeeper Richard Kingson after he was supplied by Kelly.
That settled the Merseysiders for a short while but it did not blunt the home side's spirit.
The men in tangerine gamely battled for every first and second ball in midfield and were rewarded for their pressing 10 minutes after Liverpool's opener.
Raul Meireles was the victim of the home side's hustling on this occasion giving the ball away to the impressive David Vaughan who slipped in Taylor-Fletcher. The striker sold Daniel Agger with the best dummy of the night before placing his shot past keeper Pepe Reina.
The goal seemed to unsettle the visitors, who began to look like the shaky side their supporters have become accustomed to watching this season.
Campbell should have scored earlier but missed with a header from four yards at the far post before Taylor-Fletcher came close to adding a second when he curled an effort over the stranded Reina, who should have been punished for a poor clearance.
The pain continued for Dalglish's men after the break when Reina was forced to palm away a stinging 20-yard effort from Charlie Adam, who had recovered from worrying fall in the first half.
The Liverpool keeper was then called into action once more, tipping Vaughan's effort over the bar after the wily midfielder created space in the box.
As lax as the visitors' defence was, Blackpool's backline was solid. In the first half the Seasiders cut out final balls to Meireles, one of Liverpool's best players, on two occasions and after the break the brilliant Craig Cathcart got enough on his headed clearance to prevent Torres from planting into the net at the far post.
Kingson also played his part when he made a good low save to deny Dirk Kuyt's placed effort.
Having absorbed the Reds' limited pressure, Blackpool responded with their second goal which proved the winner.
The visitors' undoing was caused by a diagonal ball from the right which was nodded into the six-yard area by Ian Evatt and finished off by Campbell.
Blackpool thus achieved their first double over Liverpool since the 1946-47 season but more significantly they leapfrogged their opponents in the table with a game in hand.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Blackburn 3 - 1 Liverpool

Two goals from Benjani heaped more pressure on under-fire Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson as his side were comprehensively beaten at Ewood Park.
Blackburn struck first, Martin Olsson coolly driving through Pepe Reina's legs before Benjani smashed a second.
And Rovers drove on against hapless Liverpool, Benjani tapping in a close-range third after David Hoilett's run.
Steven Gerrard managed a consolation goal but then blazed a penalty over the bar with six minutes to go.
Liverpool's failure to string a run of results together this season has put Hodgson, whose side have only won once on the road, under significant pressure.
The Englishman came under heavy fire after losing to Wolves over Christmas but their subsequent 2-1 win over Bolton appeared to have bought him some time.
However, this will rank amongst one of Liverpool's worst setbacks this season, along with the 3-1 loss against Newcastle, and 2-0 defeats by Stoke and Everton, and it is difficult to see how he will be able to avoid more negative headlines after a disastrously below-par display which will leave the doom mongers sharpening their knives.
It could have been so different, had Liverpool built on a promising opening five minutes during which Fernando Torres headed wide after a clever one-two with Paul Konchesky.
But inconsistency has dogged both these mid-table sides this season, with each starting the game on 25 points. And Liverpool showed their incredibly flaky nature by losing their momentum almost immediately.
Blackburn boss Steve Kean has also been under pressure after replacing Sam Allardyce, who was fired by Venky's, the club's new owners.
But despite that sacking and a seemingly failed bid for Brazilian star Ronaldinho this week, there is an air of optimism beginning to circle around Ewood Park, with talk of big money being made available by their Indian owners.
And the players fed off that, showing constant endeavour and creating a series of chances on the counter attack.
Mame Diouf had the best of these when Olsson's wicked cross flashed beyond Martin Skrtel but it took the striker by surprise and he could only shin the ball into the hands of Pepe Reina.
Even with Gerrard, Torres and Joe Cole in the starting line-up, Liverpool attacks were in short supply and Rovers took a deserved lead on the half-hour mark.
Ryan Nelsen's long ball found Diouf who played in the overlapping Olsson and the Swede drove his finish through the legs of Reina.
And Blackburn heaped more misery on Liverpool before half-time when Benjani picked up the ball inside the box, spun Sotirios Kyrgiakos expertly and smashed a fierce effort past Reina and into the roof of the net.
Hodgson looked on crestfallen from the sidelines, with his hands planted in his coat pockets and that was a mood echoed by his players' body language on the pitch.
Almost inevitably, Benjani, who had not started since 6 November and scored once in his previous 12 appearances, made it 3-0 on 56 minutes.
Hoilett skinned Martin Skrtel as he hit the bye-line and broke into the box before squaring to Benjani who tapped into the net easily to leave the crowd cruelly singing: "you're getting sacked in the morning" in the direction of Hodgson.
Liverpool did manage to dominate possession in the second half but that was primarily a product of Blackburn sitting back on their healthy lead and relying on the superb centre-back partnership of Nelsen and Christopher Samba, who Rovers will be desperately keen to keep at Ewood Park.
Joe Cole's 25-yard drive was well saved by Mark Bunn as Liverpool finally fired a warning shot.
And they did pull one back when Gerrard, playing his 550th game for Liverpool, lashed into the corner from close range.
Gerrard was then handed a chance to make the remaining six minutes extremely tense when he was brought down by Michel Salgado in the box.
But the Liverpool captain blazed his penalty well over the bar to compound the Reds' agony.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Liverpool 2 - 1 Bolton

Joe Cole came off the bench to score a contested late winner as Liverpool fought back from a goal down to seal a much-needed win over Bolton at Anfield.
Under-fire Reds boss Roy Hodgson cut a dejected figure as Kevin Davies headed Bolton in front just before half-time.
Liverpool replied shortly after the break when Fernando Torres volleyed home from Steven Gerrard's pass.
Cole was introduced on 82 minutes and tapped in at the death from what seemed an offside position to grab the points.
The result sees Liverpool pull six points clear of the relegation zone, rising from 12th to ninth, while Bolton drop to seventh.
It was a dramatic end to a tense encounter and although Bolton may complain bitterly about Cole's strike, Liverpool are sure to toast a crucial three points.
Hodgson's men came into the match under huge pressure following Wednesday's shock defeat by Wolves.
That left the Reds perilously close to the bottom three and confirmed they would enter 2011 on their lowest points tally since the 1953/54 season, which ended in relegation.
The home fans turned on the manager during the Wolves loss and reports on Saturday suggested the Anfield hierarchy were already considering replacements should they decide to sack the 63-year-old.
All of this surely made the game an absolute must-win for Liverpool and, having won 10 of their previous 11 home Premier League meetings with Bolton, the omens were good.
Captain Gerrard dropped to the bench after playing 90 minutes in midweek following six weeks out with a calf injury, but his side got off to an encouraging start - Torres looking particularly lively.
And the Spaniard was at the heart of a move that saw Liverpool threaten to open the scoring, his shot deflecting to the back post where Maxi Rodriguez volleyed across goal and Matt Taylor slid in to avert the danger.
As the half wore on, there was a distinct sense of nervousness around the ground and Bolton, who travelled with a squad of only 15 players, slowly began to grow in confidence.
An injury to Raul Meireles meant Gerrard was introduced on 21 minutes but it was the visitors who appeared more likely to break the deadlock, with Taylor curling a free-kick narrowly wide from 25 yards and Zat Knight heading wide from Johan Elmander's cross.
There seemed a greater urgency about Liverpool with Gerrard on the pitch and they were denied by the woodwork when a Maxi header from Dirk Kuyt's right-wing centre looped on to the crossbar.
Yet Bolton were holding out fairly comfortably and their day got a whole lot better when Kevin Davies pounced shortly before half-time for the Trotters' first goal at Anfield since 2003.
Fabio Aurelio, starting his first league match this season in place of Paul Konchesky, fouled Rodrigo Moreno on the Bolton right and Davies muscled his way ahead of Glen Johnson to power home Taylor's inviting free-kick.
It was a goal that drew anger from the terraces but Liverpool should have been level within a couple of minutes, with Leiva Lucas prodding wide from a Kuyt cross when it looked harder to miss than score.
Fortunately for the hosts, an equaliser was forthcoming just after the break.
David Ngog laid Johnson's chipped pass to Gerrard, who floated a delightful ball over the top for Torres to expertly volley past Jussi Jaaskelainen and send the Kop into raptures.
Liverpool now had the wind in their sails and Torres came close to giving his side the lead. The Spaniard was released by Gerrard and cut in from the left before fizzing a low effort narrowly wide of the far post.
Jaaskelainen then stood tall to deny Gerrard and although the rebound appeared to strike Mark Davies on the arm, referee Kevin Friend waved away Liverpool's appeals for a penalty.
Liverpool continued to probe and Torres volleyed wide from another accurate Gerrard cross, while at the other end Mark Davies shot powerfully at Pepe Reina in a rare Bolton attack.
But the pressure finally told as Gerrard's deep cross from the right was bundled towards goal by Maxi and Cole tapped in for his first league goal since joining Liverpool from Chelsea last summer.
Bolton's protests came to nothing and despite pushing for an even later equaliser - Reina saving well from substitute Ivan Klasnic - their efforts came to nothing.