Konoplyanka excited by Reds interest

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Dnipro winger Yevhen Konoplyanka has claimed he is ‘excited’ by the possibility of joining Liverpool before the transfer window slams shut at 11pm tonight.


konoplyankaIan Ayre, Liverpool’s Managing Director, is in Ukraine trying to iron out a deal for the attacker before tonight’s deadline.

Premiership rivals Spurs were reported to be considering a bid as well, but appear to have fallen away in the battle for Konoplyanka with Liverpool said to have put their bid up to the £16m mark for the 24 year old.


Konoplyanka, who scored against England in a 2014 World Cup qualifier at Wembley in September 2012, has said that he is surprised at just how strong the interest from Anfield is and that he is also excited by the proposition.

“I’m excited about it and soon everyone will know where I will play,” Konoplyanka is quoted as saying.

“Is it very serious with Liverpool? I am shocked myself at how serious it is. I think in the near future everything will become clear.”


Anfield redevelopment moves closer

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The redevelopment of Anfield has moved a step closer after documents outlining plans were submitted for approval.

A new document called the ‘Anfield Spatial Regeneration Framework’ (SRF) has been released. It gives an update on the club’s plans, which include outlines for improvements in housing in the surround area and employment too.

The SRF will be considered by the council on 7th February and, if it is approved at that stage, a four-week public consultation will then take place before it would be adopted by the council in April. Four more houses in the area close to Anfield need to be purchased by the club, which has caused delay. The plan to build to build a new stadium on Stanley Park were scrapped last year after they were originally initiated.

anfieldOnce the plans have been approved, work can begin on the Main Stand and Anfield Road end to increase capacity to 60,000 seats.


“The stadium is expected to be a landmark not only for the Anfield area but representing the Liverpool city on a global stage,” said the SRF.

“Therefore the highest quality of design is required.”

Part of plans include a new memorial to those who tragically lost their lives at Hillsborough in 1989 with a ‘Avenue 96’ being incorporated into the designs.

 

Henderson hopes to keep improving

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Jordan Henderson is hoping to continue his improvement this season after claiming a regular first team spot in his preferred central role.

After being told he was able to join Fulham in the Summer of 2012 by Brendan Rodgers he has knuckled down and become a key performer in the Reds’ engine room.

hendoHe spoke to LFCtv this week and said that he is happy with being labelled ‘most improved’ in the Liverpool squad – and he’s determined to keep impressing.

“Obviously it is a compliment but it’s what my aim is every time I play – and that is to improve.” he said.


“That’s all I’m trying to do and I’m training every day and coming to work to try and improve and become a better player, so I’d have to take that as a compliment.

“With the staff and the players around us, I can definitely become a better player here, so I’ve just got to keep working hard and hopefully carry on improving.”

The England midfielder played a key role in the midfield battle, alongside captain Steven Gerrard, against Everton in the 4-0 victory on Tuesday.

“It is important – it gives you more confidence if you know everybody else is confident when you go on the pitch.” he added.

“We all have belief in each other as a team and our team mates and you can see that when we play every week.”

Lucas would welcome de Jong

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Lucas Leiva has said that he would be happy should Dutch international midfielder Nigel de Jong arrive at Anfield this month.

dejongThe Brazilian midfielder has been sidelined by a ligament injury that he picked up in the 2-2 draw with Aston Villa last week – and he agrees that cover is required.

And he has said that he would be pleased to see cover arrive in the shape of the AC Milan enforcer.

“He is a good player and produced many good performances at Manchester City,” Lucas said.

“If he comes it will be good for the squad because it’s important to have a strong squad.

“I believe that if anyone comes who plays in my position it will not be because of my injury but rather to strengthen the squad.”

The former Manchester City midfielder may well be available for a loan move until the Summer after the arrival of Michael Essien from Chelsea at the San Siro.

Liverpool make Konoplyanka bid

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Reports have emerged claiming that Liverpool have made an official bid for Dnipro’s Ukrainian winger Yevhan Konoplyanka.

konoplyankaThe Reds have been linked heavily with the player this week after missing out on primary target Mohamed Salah to Chelsea last week.

As with many other players, Liverpool appear to be in direct competition for the signing with Tottenham after the North London club were also linked with a move for the player who scored a cracker against England at Wembley.

The bid has been confirmed by Dnipro, with their president Ihor Kolomoyskyi telling the Ukrainian press that the offer was “in the region of £16 million”.

Brendan Rodgers will be hoping that a deal can be completed swiftly with the deadline set for tomorrow evening and Ian Ayre is reported to be in Ukraine working on the move.

It’s thought that they will offer him a healthy wage increase to seal his transfer to Anfield, although Spurs and two German clubs who are also in the race could make late moves.

Sturridge praises supporters

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Daniel Sturridge has praised the Liverpool supporters and stated how happy he is with life at Anfield. The England striker scored twice in Tuesday’s 4-0 win over Everton at Anfield – meaning he now has 27 goals in just 34 appearances for the club.

sturridgeThe 24 year old did appear happy when he was substituted by Brendan Rodgers with a little under twenty minutes reamining, however. But he moved quickly to clear that up.

“I am just really enjoying my football at the moment,” Sturridge said.

“The love I have for this club just grows and grows more and more each day and I can only thank the fans for embracing me in the way that they have.”

Sturridge also reflected on the derby win, saying that it is a ‘massive three points’.

“It’s a massive three points, it’s massive for the fans, who get the bragging rights now, and that’s what it is all about,” he told the Liverpool Echo.

“It was fantastic for the boys. We wanted to put on a performance for the fans, for the team, for everyone and obviously we’re delighted.”

Liverpool 4-0 Everton

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Liverpool made history at Anfield last night by recording the biggest winning margin in a Mersey derby since 1982, with a 4-0 triumph over bitter rivals Everton.

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Steven Gerrard, who led by example, scored the first goal and acted as an impressively secure shield in front of his team’s back four. He leapt above the Everton backline to head home the opener after twenty-one minutes and looked a man possessed as he ran towards corner taker Luis Suarez to celebrate. After much criticism of his deployment as the deep lying midfielder, he rolled back the years with a remarkably impressive performance that encapsulated long range passing, tackles, blocks and leadership.

Gerrard’s sixth strike of the season was also Liverpool’s 150th in the fixture – and his ninth against the rivals from across Stanley Park.

Daniel Sturridge made sure of victory with two strikes within the space of a few minutes not long after his captain had sent the team on their way. His first was calm and assured while his second was an example of just how accomplished a striker the former Manchester City and Chelsea man has become. Sturridge got his opening goal after an a fine through pass from Philippe Coutinho, who also looked in fine form, played him in on goal with just Tim Howard to beat. And beat him he did with a calm slot into the right hand corner of the net. His second, and Liverpool’s third, was a strike of pure class that few strikers in the game could pull. Aly Cissokho lofted a ball forward which saw the Everton defence attempt to play Sturridge offside. It didn’t work. The England man allowed the ball to bounce across his back before lifting it over the on-rushing Howard into the net. It was a measured and calculated strike that elated the home fans as much as it deflated the visiting Toffees.

It could have been better for Sturridge after fifty-four minutes when he was presented with an opportunity to become just the eighth man to score a hat-trick in the Merseyside derby after Raheem Sterling was felled in the box by Howard. Steven Gerrard later said that he handed the ball to Sturridge to allow him the chance to savour the feeling that he himself had in the same fixture two years ago. But Sturridge went for power over placement and put too much on a shot that raced over the top of the bar.

Fortunately for Sturridge, and Liverpool, Luis Suarez had put his side 4-0 up and out of sight shortly after half time when he slotted past Howard neatly after cashing in on Phil Jagielka’s defensive error on the halfway line. The Uruguayan striker was having a relatively quiet game by his high standards and it would have been a surprise to anyone switching on at 3-0 that he hadn’t scored any of them. It was his 23rd league goal of the season and he now has nine more than Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and ten more than team-mate Sturridge – who he was less than impressed with after seventy minutes when the England forward had the opportunity to square for him but he ended up in a tangle on a floor after a weak shot.

That was to be Sturridge’s last action in a pulsating match as Brendan Rodgers decided to withdraw him for Victor Moses in the 72nd minute. The twenty-four year old appeared less than impressed that he was being withdrawn as he appeared to sulk off onto the bench. He later apologised in a post-match interview and said that he was just annoyed with himself for missing the penalty. It was a sign of maturity from the striker that many had accused him of lacking in the past.

Everton had started brightly, with a Ross Barkley strike whistling over Simon Mignolet’s goal after less than two minutes. The young England midfielder, who will be hoping to make it into Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad this Summer, didn’t seem fit and wasn’t at his sharpest as he was comfortably shackled by his national captain Gerrard. Kevin Mirallas, on the other hand, was a constant spark of anything good the visitors offered, which wasn’t much, as he refused to give up on his side. Few other Everton players can come out the game with much credit, however, as they were caught on the counter attack savagely on three occasions. They had plenty of possession, but just couldn’t do much with it. They did look more threatening with Leon Osman’s introduction at half time in place of the ineffective Steven Pienaar, but they still couldn’t make the breakthrough. They would likely have been more of a threat had Romelu Lukaku not been stretchered off immediately after Gerrard’s opening goal, after being caught by team-mate Gareth Barry in the aerial battle.

Lukaku’s replacement, Steven Naismith, came closer than anyone to notching a goal for Everton as he couldn’t quite get onto the end of James McCarthy’s cross shot after the former Wigan Athletic midfielder made an impressive run into the box following some neat and determined play from Mirallas.

The result will come as a great spur for a Liverpool side hanging on to fourth place after a disappointing 2-2 draw with Aston Villa, while Everton will be feeling hugely deflated having been presented with the opportunity to leapfrog their rivals into fourth place with a first victory on their soil since Kevin Campbell lifted them to victory all the way back in 1999 at Anfield.

Gerrard makes Hillsborough donation

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Steven Gerrard has made a personal donation of £96,000 to the Hillsborough Family Support Group.

salahThe England midfielder has a family connection to the tragedy, as his cousin Jon-Paul Gilhooley was one of the 96 Liverpool fans who died in the tragedy.

“I think the timing’s right and having spoken to the club, I’ve decided to do it now,” Gerrard told the Liverpool Echo.

“It had been in the media a lot so I didn’t think it was needed where I had to step in and keep it on everyone’s lips and in everyone’s minds.

“But now it’s gone a little bit quiet over the last couple of weeks, I think the timing’s really good to get it back out there – sending another message out about how much we really want this justice.”

Gerrard made the donation to the Hillsborough Family Support Group, with Chairperson Margaret Aspinall delighted by the move.

“It’s a wonderful gesture by Steven and we cannot thank him enough,” she said.

“It’s a lot of money he has donated and it will help all the families a great deal with our work.”

The tragedy at Hillsborough on 15th April 1989 remains the worst sporting disaster in British history.

The 96 victims were killed in a crush caused by huge overcrowding at the Leppings Lane end before an FA Cup semi-final between their team and Nottingham Forest.

Fresh investigations into the deaths are due to begin in March after the London High Court quashed the coroner’s verdicts.

An investigation into police handling of the disaster is also underway, after evidence emerged that South Yorkshire Police tried to cover up exactly what happened on that fateful day.

Liverpool too slow in Salah negotiations

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The agent of Mohammed Salah has said that Liverpool procrastinated too long in negotiations for his client and so missed out on him to Chelsea.

salahSascha Empacher says Liverpool’s negotiations with Basel over a deal for the Egypt international went on for months – which was “too long”.

This hesitancy saw the Reds lose out to Premiership rivals Chelsea for the attacker after he signed for them on Sunday in an £11m deal – with Liverpool said to have only offered £8m.

Empacher went on to say that once Chelsea came into the equation, they were the only club he wanted to join.

“It was a long and fair negotiation with Liverpool, but it lasted two-and-a-half months – too long,” said Empacher.

“Both clubs could not agree on terms. When Chelsea contacted Basel, he was happy and took his chance. It was no financial matter.”

Johnson set for spell out

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Glen Johnson will be out for an “indefinite” period with a number of niggling injuries, manager Brendan Rodgers has said.

The England defender has been suffering with ankle trouble and several other injury problems, and will sit out Saturday’s FA Cup fourth round encounter away at Bournemouth.

Rodgers said: “Glen’s played a lot of the season, having been injured, and has really put himself out for the team but, unfortunately, he’s struggling with a number of injuries. It’ll be indefinite, really, in terms of the length of time he’ll be out.

“We just need to assess that and see how quickly he comes through.”