Rodgers delighted with squad

9 August 2012 15:29

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has hailed the quality of his players but feels it will take time for them to understand his tactical approach.

The Anfield club amassed their lowest points total since the 1953/54 season during the 2011/12 campaign but the Northern Irishman said there is plenty of talent available to him.

Liverpool have brought in only one player so far this off-season, striker Fabio Borini from Roma, who cost the club around 10.5 million pounds.

“I will have quality players all the way through the team,” Rodgers told the Liverpool Echo.

“The goalkeeper (Pepe Reina) is one of the leading ones in the world, the back four are top international players, really good players, and (we have) a young midfield that can play.”

The former Swansea City manager went on to lavish praise on the club’s attacking options, revealing that he could use a combination of Borini, Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard and Stewart Downing up front.

Andy Carroll, however, was not mentioned by Rodgers as he detailed his offensive options.

“Then I look at the potential of the front four in terms of Borini, Suarez, Gerrard and Downing and you’ve got pace, power, creativity and hunger, so I’m excited about going forward,” Rodgers said.

“It will just take time for the chemistry to take place. That’s why we do our work on the (training) field, so in time we can execute those patterns.”

Japan leave out suspended trio

9 August 2012 14:57

Japan have named a 22-man squad for the international friendly against Venezuela next Wednesday in Sapporo.

Half of the squad play in European leagues, with the remaining 11 from J.League teams.

The full-strength roster includes Manchester United newcomer Shinji Kagawa and CSKA Moscow star Keisuke Honda as well as Arsenal’s Ryo Miyaichi, but does not feature defenders Atsuto Uchida, Yuzo Kurisawa, and Yasuyuki Konno, all of whom are suspended for Japan’s September 11 World Cup qualifier against Iraq.

Fresh from their Olympic campaign will be back-up goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda, as well as defenders Maya Yoshida and Gotoku Sakai. Fellow Olympians Hiroki Sakai and Hiroshi Kiyotake were omitted from the squad to avoid fatigue as they look towards their respective Bundesliga debuts.

Japan will host Venezuela at the Sapporo Dome on August 15.

Full squad: Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Standard Liege), Shunsaku Nishikawa (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Shuichi Gonda (FC Tokyo).

Defenders: Yuichi Komano (Jubilo Iwata), Maya Yoshida (VVV), Daiki Iwamasa (Kashima Antlers), Masahiko Inoha (Vissel Kobe), Yuto Nagatomo (Inter), Tomoaki Makino (Urawa Reds), Hiroku Mizumoto (Sanfrecce), Gotoku Sakai (Stuttgart).

Midfielders: Kengo Nakamura (Kawasaki Frontale), Makoto Hasebe (Wolfsburg), Hajime Hosogai (Leverkusen), Keisuke Honda (CSKA Moscow), Hideto Takahashi (FC Tokyo), Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka).

Forwards: Ryoichi Maeda (Jubilo), Shinji Okazaki (Stuttgart), Kengo Fujimoto (Nagoya Grampus), Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United), Mike Havenaar (Vitesse), Ryo Miyaichi (Arsenal).

Emanuelson: Milan still keen on Rossi, Kaka

9 August 2012 14:56

Urby Emanuelson says he would love to see Giuseppe Rossi and Kaka arrive at San Siro before the season starts on August 25.

The Villarreal striker and Real Madrid playmaker were both seen chatting with the Milan squad, who suffered a humiliating 5-1 friendly defeat to Real Madrid at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday.

And the Dutchman was enthusiastic about the idea of both players joining the club.

“Yes, those guys are two great players,” Emanuelson told “I think they will make the team a lot stronger. We will see what will happen.

“We still have three weeks for us to rebuild. We will see what happens. I think the club obviously wants to bring in some players, so we’ll see.”

Milan have been looking to make additions to their squad since selling Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Paris Saint-Germain for a combined fee of 63 million euros, and releasing a whole host of experienced stars whose contracts ended this year.

The club have recently said they hope to re-sign former playmaker Kaka from Real Madrid, while Villarreal striker Rossi, who could be available for as little as eight million euros, has also been linked with the club over the past week.

However, it is Juventus’ Alessandro Matri on who Milan are most keen on, but they must wait for Juve to make a decision on their own transfer moves up front before a resolution is found.

With the Turin giants having seemingly given up on Napoli’s Edinson Cavani and Chelsea’s Fernando Torres, they now look set to make a move for Athletic Bilbao’s Fernando Llorente.

If Juve were to pick up the Spaniard, then they could allow Matri leave for Milan, though sporting director Giuseppe Marotta is said to want as much as 14 million euros for the former Cagliari striker.

Meanwhile, Milan continue to carry a torch for Italy striker Mario Balotelli, and they are hoping that there may be scope for the capture of the Manchester City man in the January transfer window.

Deschamps names first France squad

9 August 2012 14:25

New France coach Didier Deschamps has named a 22-man squad for the international friendly against Uruguay on August 15.

The former Olympique de Marseille coach had already said that he was likely to make a number of changes to the Euro 2012 squad, and he has called up several players who did not travel to Poland and Ukraine this summer.

Rio Mavuba, Christophe Jallet, Raphael Varane, Etienne Capoue, Maxime Gonalons, Bafetimbi Gomis, Jimmy Briand and Dimitri Payet are all fresh faces in les Bleus’ team for next week’s match.

Adil Rami and Yohan Cabaye miss out due to injury, while Samir Nasri and Jeremy Menez are suspended after being sanctioned by the French Football Federation (FFF) for their behaviour at Euro 2012.

Other players who have not been called up include Yann M’Vila, Hatem Ben Arfa and Florent Malouda.

The Rennes midfielder has been in poor form of late, having failed to make an impact at Euro 2012, while his future remains shrouded in doubt.

Elsewhere, the Newcastle ace’s reported bust-up with French officials in Poland and Ukraine appears to have ruled him out of contention, along with the Chelsea star, who is in now in the twilight of his career.

Full Squad: Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris, Steve Mandanda (Olympique de Marseille).

Defenders: Gael Clichy (Manchester City), Mathieu Debuchy (Lille), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Christophe Jallet (Paris Saint-Germain), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Mamadou Sakho (Paris Saint-Germain), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (Montpellier).

Midfielders: Etienne Capoue (Toulouse), Maxime Gonalons (Olympique Lyonnais), Marvin Martin (Lille), Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain), Rio Mavuba (Lille), Mathieu Valbuena (Olympique de Marseille).

Attackers: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Jimmy Briand (Olympique Lyonnais), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Bafetimbi Gomis (Olympique Lyonnais), Dimitri Payet (Lille), Franck Ribery (Sporting).

Brazil Serie A wrap: Santos see off Cruzeiro comebacks

9 August 2012 13:11

Santos have survived two comebacks by Cruzeiro to triumph 4-2 and claim just their second victory in seven Brazilian Serie A matches.

With their two best players Neymar and Ganso in London for the Olympics, Santos have had a tough month but finally had some joy on Wednesday with a two-goal victory over the visitors from Belo Horizonte.

Felipe Anderson got Santos going with a 22nd-minute strike before Cruzeiro equalised seven minutes later through Borges.

Victor Andrade put the home side ahead in the 32nd minute but Cruzeiro again fought back with a goal from Ceara six minutes after half-time.

Santos refused to be denied, with Durval and Bill scoring the decisive goals to move their team ahead of Coritiba and Recife on the Serie A table.

Santos have taken 14th spot with 16 points, while Cruzeiro sit eighth with 23.

League-leaders Vasco da Gama had to wait to knock off Recife 2-0, scoring both goals in the last half hour.

Juninho Pernambucano gave Vasco the lead away from home after 67 minutes before Carlos Tenorio wrapped up the win with an 85th-minute goal.

Vagner Love scored twice as Flamengo defeated Figueirense 2-0, while fifth-placed Internacional could only manage a 0-0 draw with 12th-placed Nautico.

In other Serie A results on Wednesday, Corinthians were held 1-1 at home by Atletico GO, Hernan Bacos scored twice as Palmeiras defeated Botafogo 2-1 and Bahia drew 0-0 with Portuguesa.