Liverpool: The Vital LFC News Roundup
Your easy to digest news update on all things LFC. Snippets this week include agents fees, transfer policy and personal landmarks...
In the 12 months up to September 2012, Liverpool FC were the Premier League's second biggest spenders on agents fees according to figures released this week. The Anfield based club spent £8.6m, up £1.6m on the previous year, and only champions Manchester City outlaid more (£10.5m). Managing director Ian Ayre blamed the high costs on player turnover, telling the Liverpool ECHO: "It comes down to how much you are actually spending. As we are in a building process and changing lots of players that's going to see a lot of agents fees, but we will always try to reduce that amount."
Ayre also spoke to the newspaper recently about the club's transfer policy amid concern from some respected figures that the board are putting too much emphasis on signing players under the age of 24. "It's not a policy which is set in stone but it's an aspiration," explained the 49-year-old. "If we feel there's a particular position or player who can contribute to the group and is over that sort of age limit, it doesn't mean we won't consider that player. As everyone saw in the summer we renewed deals with many of our senior player. So experience is vital and we will consider more experienced players where it makes sense."
On the pitch, Liverpool U21s returned to action on Monday afternoon (14th January) with a 1-0 victory over Southampton. Daniel Pacheco scored the only goal of the game as Alex Inglethorpe's side began the Elite stage of the U21 season with victory to remain unbeaten this season. Team: Gulacsi, Flanagan (McLaughlin), Smith (Ibe), Sama, Wilson, Coady, Pelosi (Sokolik), Teixeira, Ngoo, Adorjan, Pacheco. Unused subs: Ward, Yesil.
With two goals in his first two games, new signing Daniel Sturridge has had a brilliant start to his Liverpool career and Reds manager Brendan Rodgers believes he can make a big difference in the remainder of the season. The boss told Liverpoolfc.com: "With Daniel coming in I think everybody recognises we have a good player who is 23 years of age and has his best years ahead of him. You see him [against Manchester United] - and he's not even fully fit yet - he's going to be a real handful. For us going forward, he and one or two of the other players are going to be the real difference."
Many observers are looking forward to seeing how Sturridge gets on when played in tandem with top-scorer Luis Suarez on a regular basis and amongst them is former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann. "There were some very promising signs from the 45 minutes that Suarez and Sturridge played together against Manchester United and I think he will be starting with Luis on Saturday," commented the German international to the official website. "You'll never know how well their partnership will be until they play consistently but I think it's looked promising so far. It's a partnership that really excites the fans and everybody will be looking forward to seeing how they do."
One man with reason to be proud despite the 2-1 loss to rivals Manchester United on Sunday (13th January) was Slovakian centre-back Martin Skrtel. The 28-year-old, who was signed in January 2008 by Rafael Benitez, made his 200th appearance for Liverpool in the game.
Perhaps surprisingly to many, Skrtel did not turn his attention to defending until his late teens after starting out as a striker and then playing as a midfielder. "I was a forward as a child but in my teens I became a holding midfielder," explains Skrtel in the new issue of the official Liverpool FC Magazine. "It wasn't until I was 17 that I first played as a defender. I was in a tournament with Slovakia and in the previous game our two regular central defenders got injured and suspended... I did well, the team won 4-0 against Portugal and I stayed there."
Winger Stewart Downing also reached a personal milestone at Old Trafford by making the 300th league appearance of his career. Interestingly the ex-Aston Villa and Middlesbrough player has only picked up 9 yellow cards in all that time and no reds.
Despite cutting short his loan spell at Anfield last week, Real Madrid midfielder Nuri Sahin has revealed he has no regrets over making the move. The Turkish international explained: "I have matured as a player after playing alongside the best players in my position. Xabi Alonso when I was at Real Madrid, but especially Steven Gerrard at Liverpool - even though I didn't get to play a lot with him." Sahin will spend the rest of the season at Borussia Dortmund.
Liverpool U18s opponents in round four of the FA Youth Cup have been confirmed after Histon defeated Bradford City on penalties last Thursday night (10th January). Steve Cooper's side booked their place with a 5-0 win over Swindon Town back in December. The tie will be played on Wednesday 23rd January at 7pm (GMT).
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