Liverpool mull January bids for Lille stars Rami and Gervinho
Friday 26 November 2010
Liverpool are are examining a group of players at the French side Lille, with the central defender Adil Rami a possible target for January, according to sources in France.
Rami, who appeared for France against England at Wembley last week, has become a permanent fixture for Laurent Blanc, and Roy Hodgson saw him play in the 2-1 win over Monaco which took Lille to the top of the French league. France Football magazine cites Rami as a prime target, though the Ivorian wide man and forward Gervinho also impressed in that game, while the Belgian striker Eden Hazard was responsible for both Lille goals.
Hazard also impressed hugely in the first leg of Liverpool's Europa League tie at Stade-Lille Metropole last season, though Liverpool's director of football strategy Damien Comolli – who left Saint Etienne to take the job at Anfield – is all too aware of the £30m price tag which prevented Lyons signing him this summer.
Though the signing of Rami – who like other Lille players Liverpool have been watching for five months – would appear to plug a gap at a club who are currently one defender down, there is hope at Anfield that Daniel Agger will be back within three weeks. A second striker is the top priority, which is why 23-year-old Gervinho is considered a prospect for a club for whom young acquisitions are essential. Moussa Sow, Lille's 23-year-old Senegalese striker, has scored nine goals in 13 games this season though it is unclear whether he is a contender.
Hodgson has admitted that visiting Spurs, as his side do on Sunday, is a much tougher proposition than in the past and that Harry Redknapp's side "are no longer the Tottenham of old." Hodgson needs a win to cement Liverpool's pursuit of a top-four position and Champions League football, which Spurs have deprived them of this season. But he characterised Tottenham as a wealthy, lavishly assembled club this season.
"One defeat in eight is a good run at any stage of the season. We have to be happy with that but we are not stupid," Hodgson said. "We know that if you go to Tottenham it could be two defeats in nine but, if we can play like this, we can make sure Tottenham don't have a cakewalk and, if we can keep Fernando Torres and David Ngog firing, we may spring a surprise. Wins are hard to come by against the top teams and today we have got to admit that Tottenham... are a top team and have just beaten the European champions in the Champions League. It is an expensively-assembled team and we are not playing against mugs any more."
Liverpool's 2-0 victory over Tottenham in January in one of their better performances of last season heralded hopes that they might tighten their grip on the fourth place which ultimately proved way beyond them. Steven Gerrard is targeting the Aston Villa home match on 5 December for his comeback, which means he will have missed only three games with his hamstring pull.
Liverpool have confirmed that Tom Werner, John W Henry's co-owner at Liverpool and chairman of New England Sports Ventures, will succeed Martin Broughton as the club's chairman on 1 December. Broughton said of his task: "It was more difficult [a challenge than expected]. I think the low point was pretty early on, when we had a situation with unpopular owners, the manager [Rafael Benitez] going – so no manager – stories about Stevie [Gerrard] wanting to go, stories about Fernando [Torres] wanting to go. That looked a pretty uncomfortable position at the time."
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