Liverpool Wants Coyle to Replace Hodgson, Star Says: Roundup

The following is a roundup of soccer stories from U.K. newspapers, with clickable links to the Web.

Liverpool Manager

Liverpool has put Bolton’s Owen Coyle at the top of its list of replacements for manager Roy Hodgson, the Daily Star said.

Hodgson, who was hired in July, is under fire from Liverpool fans with the club 12th in the Premier League, 19 points behind Manchester United. Coyle emerged as the top contender for his job after Marseille’s Didier Deschamp and former Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard ruled themselves out, the Star said.

Liverpool’s new owners have also been warned firing Hodgson may not be enough to stop an exodus of key players, including striker Fernando Torres and goalkeeper Jose Reina, the Guardian said.

While the move would be a step in the right direction for some players, others have been dismayed by the lack of improvements in the squad since New England Sports Ventures took over in October, the Guardian said.

Hodgson gave a farewell speech to the players following a 3-1 loss at Blackburn two days ago, the Sun said. Only an unlikely draw or victory at Manchester United in the F.A. Cup in two days will buy him more time, the Star said.

Two Games

West Ham manager Avram Grant has two Cup matches to save his job, the Guardian said.

West Ham faces Barnsley in the F.A. Cup third round tomorrow and then visits Birmingham in the first leg of the League Cup semifinal three days later. The Hammers lost 5-0 at Newcastle two days ago to drop back into last place in the league table.

No Go

Manchester City has blocked Roque Santa Cruz’s loan move back to Blackburn and wants Rovers agree to buy him after the deal ends, the Daily Mirror said.

Santa Cruz has played little since moving to City from Blackburn prior to last season for 17 million pounds ($26 million). Rovers are reluctant to take the Paraguayan striker back full-time and are hoping to do a wage-share deal once City has exhausted all of its options, the Mirror said.

Hail Cesar

Manchester United is eyeing Inter Milan goalkeeper Julio Cesar as its top choice to replace Edwin van der Sar, the Sun reported.

The 31-year-old Brazil No. 1 is rated at 7 million pounds. United manager Alex Ferguson said last month he expects the 40-year-old van der Sar to retire after this season.

Try Again

Arsenal has revived its interest in Porto striker Radamel Falcao, the Sun said.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger tried unsuccessfully to land the Colombian, who has scored 18 goals in 24 games this season, in 2009, the Sun said.

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