Germany striker Lukas Podolski has dismissed speculation that he is looking to retire from international football. The 29-year-old striker has been in and out of the international team due to the presence of players like Mario Gomez and Thomas Müller ahead of him in the pecking order. Podolski has also been struggling for gametime at club level with Arsenal recently signing Danny Welbeck to act as the backup for Olivier Giroud. This puts Podolski as the third choice striker at the club, but the former Bayern Munich continues to have a great record at international level.
After having made his debut for Germany in 2004, Podolski has appeared in 118 matches and scored 47 goals. This goal record is extremely impressive considering that he has been used as a substitute in most of them. Germany recently saw a number of their top players like Miroslav Klose, Philipp Lahm, and Per Mertesacker announce their retirements. Their reasoning was that they could not go out of international football in a much better position after having recently won the World Cup. Podolski says that he is not the kind of person to turn his back towards the national team at any stage.
Even though he has been linked with a move away from Arsenal, Podolski says that he will continue to make himself available for Germany. “I’m still as hungry as ever. My next big goal is the European Championship. I still enjoy playing for Germany and it’s a pleasure to be part of it all. I don’t need to be afraid of anybody in the national team. And I’m not here just because I’m the joker Podolski who raises everybody’s spirits. I’m here because I deserve to be here. I’m part of this team and I will get my games,” said Podolski.
With the transfer window reaching its last few weeks before it officially shuts down, some managers have already successfully completed signing all of their desired players while others are rushing to have it done within the next few days. Having already signed Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez, many fans were expecting Carlo Ancelotti and Real Madrid to not have any more new players but recently the Spanish club has been heavily linked with Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling.
Liverpool is believed to be in the process of increasing the wage and salary of the 19 year old Raheem Sterling as a way to steer off interest from Real Madrid. Now that Brendan Rodgers will be without the services of Luis Suarez, it is critical that he can keep promising players at the club and this is why Liverpool would be willing to increase the salary of Sterling up to 4 times what he is currently earning.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers praised Sterling as he talked about the youngster during a press conference and said: ‘’this kid is only going to get better. He’s way above the level from when he first came in. Tactically, technically, and what has been beautiful to watch with Raheem has been his maturity. He’s turning into a beautiful young man, with all the responsibility. He’s still only 19, but in big games he’s performed and he’s a wonderful talent’’
Raheem Sterling has a contract with Liverpool that expires in 3 years but the club wants to keep him on an even long period of time and the Premier League club is believed to be willing to increase his current deal of £30,000-a-week to £120,000-a-week in order to keep him tied up with the club on a long term contract and keep him away from the interest of other teams such as Real Madrid.
At a certain period in time Liverpool were favorites on winning the previous season as they were only a few points away from claiming the league title but a series of disappointing results saw the team of Brendan Rodgers falling to 2nd place as Manchester City got ahead of them.
It still was a fairly impressive season for Liverpool as they secured a Champions League spot but Rodgers revealed that the squad still needs significant strengthening needed to be done before the start of the next season which kicks off in August.
Some of the major targets of Rodgers in this summer Barcelona’s Pedro and Southampton’s Adam Lallana.
Luis Enrique was revealed to be the new coach of Barcelona and he stated that a number of changes will be done in the squad which means that the future of certain players is in doubt.
Enrique said: ‘’the players must know that you cannot let a year pass at Barca. If they are not at the level required then there will be changes. We will reinforce the team in the best way possible, to be as competitive as possible. There is a market there teams ask a lot of money for players. You must manage it all. We will reinforce, maybe in all lines of the team, to have the best players for the club and for me’’.
Pedro Rodriguez played an important role in the last season of Barcelona which is why it will be more difficult for Liverpool to secure his services however with the arrival of Enrique into the club, just about anything can happen.
Adam Lallana from Southampton is on the wish list of Brendan Rodgers as he is going to have meetings and discussions with the player as well as his agent in the next few weeks when the summer transfer window officially opens.
Steven Gerrard earned all of the praise in Liverpool after their match against West Ham United a few days ago as the veteran English midfielder scored which helped his club on continuing their charge at the top of the Premier League.
This match not only saw Gerrard scoring 2 penalty shots but it also marked the return of Mamadou Sakho into the team of Brendan Rodgers. The 24 years old French defender had not played for the Premier League club since December and following the conclusion of the match, Sakho confessed his satisfaction of being back into the team.
“I was very happy at West Ham as I’d worked very hard to get back to full fitness. So that’s been achieved now,” Sakho told Liverpoolfc.com.
“I was simply just making myself available for the team, because the most important thing here is the group, so you need to be ready to give your absolute best when you are called upon’’.
“It’s normal when you are a competitor like me, you always want to be involved and be out there on the pitch trying to help your team out. But [the matches I missed] were games which Liverpool came through extremely well, which was great, and I’m even happier when we win and grab all three points.”
Sakho returned to action after completing his recovery from an injury he sustained and the Frenchman praised the medical staff of the club which helped him overcome a hamstring problem which forced him to be out of action for more than 3 months. Sakho is hoping he can remain fit for the rest of the Premier League campaign and continue helping Liverpool at their charge for the league title.
Lazio president Claudio Lotito has increased the tension between his club and archrivals Roma by suggesting that Roma will falter towards the end of the season to miss Champions League qualification for next campaign. Roma are currently second in the table after being involved in a title race with Juventus for most of the season, but their poor form in recent weeks have allowed Antonio Conte’s men to open a 14 point lead with only a few matches remaining in the season. Their third successive title has been virtually sealed after the recent 1-0 defeat for Roma against Napoli.
This result meant that Roma have just two wins in the last five matches and it has allowed Napoli to close the gap on the second place. There are just three points behind Roma, but with a far greater momentum leading into the final few matches. This will lead to the downfall of Roma according to Lotito, whose team has not done themselves great this campaign. Lazio have been consistently slipping down the table since the turn of the year and they are currently eighth with only 38 points. They face a huge fight just to qualify for the Europa league.
Lotito also predicts that Juventus will win a third straight title with Napoli coming second.
“Juventus will win the title, Napoli will finish second. For third place, I don’t know. I don’t want to make predictions. Now, the gap (on Juventus) is fairly significant. We just have to keep on going and stay focused on reinforcing second place. It’s been a few years since Roma breathed in the air of European competition, only that of Serie A,” said Lotito. Roma have not been seen in the Champions League since the 2011 season when they were knocked out of the competition by Shakhtar Donetsk.
Bacary Sagna has a contract with Arsenal that ends at the end of the current campaign and there are doubts whether or not he will be extending his contract with the Premier League club and now Liverpool are preparing an offer for the French defender as they want to sign him when the transfer window reopens in the summer.
There are no signs of the Frenchman having any talks or interest of extending his contract with Arsenal and the possibility of him leaving the club is becoming more likely as each day passes on and the transfer window edges closer.
Chelsea’s Ashley Cole will be allowed to leave the club of Jose Mourinho at the end of the current campaign and he is being taken in consideration as a player that can solve some of the problems that Liverpool have been experiencing in this season.
Liverpool has conceded 32 goals in just 26 league matches which is not the best of records that a high-profile team which is aiming for the Premier League title to have.
Ashley Cole has already fallen behind in the pecking order of Jose Mourinho as Cesar Azpilicueta is the player that is being taken more into consideration by the Portuguese coach and it does not seem to be changing anytime soon and a move to another club might just be the best decision he makes for what remains of his career.
Richairo Zivkovic is another player that is on the radar of Liverpool, Richairo is a 17 years old forward who has already attracted the interest of Manchester City and more recently Ajax. He has been compared to Arjen Robben with his capabilities on playing anywhere across the front three but the player considers himself to be more comfortable as a centre-forward than anything else.