Aston Villa have accepted a £20million offer from Liverpool for England winger Stewart Downing.
The Reds have been chasing the Villain for some time now, having previous bids of £12.5million and £15million rejected. The former Middlesbrough man was also a target for Arsenal‘s Arsene Wenger, but Downing indicated that he would prefer a move to Anfield.
Liverpool released a statement on their official website: “Liverpool FC tonight announced they had agreed a fee with Aston Villa for the transfer of Stewart Downing.
After 6 months of much boardroom wrestling, Liverpool have finally settled on an agreement with Blackpool over the transfer of their talisman Charlie Adam, for an undisclosed fee (mixed reports believing it to be somewhere between £7 million and £9 million) Adam has now passed the Anfield medical and only needs to agree personal terms with the Reds before making the long awaited switch to Merseyside.
Liverpool made a last gasp attempt to acquire the services of the 25 year old midfielder during the Premier League‘s January transfer window, but an inflated price tag and little time remaining for Ian Holloway to find an adequate replacement led the Reds to a failed pursuit. Being a boyhood Liverpool fan and having his heart set on a move to Anfield being widely reported, it has been expected that Adam would eventually do so.
Rodriguez put Liverpool ahead after 32 seconds, and volleyed a second before Dirk Kuyt made it 3-0 on 16 minutes.
Moussa Dembele gave Fulham hope with a crisp finish from Bobby Zamora’s pass.
Rodriguez smashed a spectacular third from 25 yards and Luis Suarez rounded Mark Schwarzer to make it 5-1 before Steve Sidwell fired a late consolation.
It was a sensational display from Liverpool, who have now scored 13 goals in their last three games and have climbed from 12th to fifth in the table since Kenny Dalglish took over from Roy Hodgson in January.
With new majority shareholder Stan Kroenke watching from the directors’ box, Wenger’s side appeared to have snatched a stoppage-time victory when Cesc Fabregas was tripped by Jay Spearing in the penalty area.
Robin van Persie scored from the spot but Arsenal couldn’t keep their composure and there was more drama to come, with Lucas Leiva bundled over by Emmanuel Eboue in the 12th minute of added time and Kuyt converting the spot-kick.
It leaves Arsenal six points behind leaders Manchester United with six games for each side to play and the Gunners’ confidence sure to dip even further after three consecutive draws on their own turf.
Carroll, the most expensive English player after his 35 million pound ($57,28 million) transfer from Newcastle in January, lashed in the opener from the edge of the box after 13 minutes and added his second shortly after Dirk Kuyt’s strike.
City’s first half went from bad to worse after striker and captain Carlos Tevez hobbled off with a hamstring injury and is set to miss the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United on Saturday.
Kuyt slotted the ball neatly into the net on 34 minutes before Carroll’s second, a header from a Raul Meireles cross, left Liverpool in sixth place on 48 points with six games remaining. City remain fourth on 56 points from 32 matches.
Liverpool expect their three injured players of Steven Gerrard, Martin Kelly and Jonjo Shelvey to back in training with them next week.
Captain Gerrard was set to be sidelined for a month but could feature at West Brom in the Premier League on 2 April.
Reds first-team coach Steve Clarke said: “They are all improving. Fingers crossed, we will have Martin Kelly and Steven Gerrard back training next week.
“We hope the same for Jonjo Shelvey, who has been out for a long time. Fabio Aurelio is also making good progress.”
Gerrard suffered the injury in Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on 6 February.
Liverpool were trailing Braga 1-0 from the first leg of their last-16 tie and, although Andy Carroll started his first game for the club, the Reds struggled to produce clear-cut chances and were held to a 0-0 draw.
Liverpool, who have qualified for Europe every year since 1999, will have to finish fifth or above in the Premier League if they are to be involved next season.
Mario Balotelli was sent off as Manchester City failed to overturn a 2-0 first leg deficit against Dynamo Kiev, with a 1-0 win on the night not enough to prevent them crashing out of the Europa League.
Balotelli was issued a straight red card for a crashing 36th-minute challenge on Goran Popov, but City gave themselves hope three minutes later when Aleksandar Kolarov hit a low free-kick under Oleksandr Shovkovskiy.
The Ukrainians defended deep in the second half and restricted City to few chances, threatening to make the game safe themselves when Denis Garmash had a header cleared off the line but holding on for their last eight place.
Rangers – having secured a 0-0 draw in the Netherlands in the first leg – were defeated 1-0at home by PSV Eindhoven. Jeremain Lens scored in the 13th minute and it proved enough to send the Eredivisie side through as the hosts struggled to provide a response.