adapt, says Benitez
By Gill Clark - Goal.com
Rafael Benitez has reportedly admitted he
will continue to play captain Steven Gerrard in a variety of
positions ahead of the start of the new season.
The subject of the Liverpool skipper’s best position is one
of much debate especially as Benitez played Gerrard in a
number of different positions last season, a move which is
unlikely to have impressed his skipper.
Yet despite this, the Liverpool manager has admitted that he
will continue to play Gerrard where he thinks is best and
that his captain must learn to adapt.
According to the Mirror, Benitez said: “I think Steven is
clever enough to do that. If he needs to adapt then he will
adapt because he is a player of quality who can play in
Whilst Gerrard is thought to favour a central midfield role,
he spent much of last season playing just behind Fernando
Torres. However, that may now change with the arrival of
Robbie Keane. Benitez confirmed as much by revealing: “If we
play a 4-4-2 formation then Gerrard can play as a
midfielder. If we play with Torres on his own up front then
Gerrard and Keane can play either side of him.”
Although the continual swapping of positions is unlikely to
please Gerrard, his manager suggested it shouldn’t bother
the player. He said: “I don't think that Steven will be
frustrated by that.”
Benitez also went on to say that he believes Gerrard now
understands the importance of flexibility for players and
that he appreciates that this is something he needs to add
to his game. Benitez revealed: “I was reading an interview
recently about Gerrard's role in the England team and he is
now very clear about his role in the football world - that
you need to adapt, think about the team, and play in
different positions when it is required.”
The arrival of Robbie Keane at the club will certainly bring
Benitez more attacking options and should he sign Gareth
Barry, this may also cause him to rethink his midfield
Yet with the Barry deal yet to be concluded, the Liverpool
manager was keen to reveal some of the many reasons why he
had signed Robbie Keane and what he thought he could bring
to the club.
“He can play in maybe four positions in the team. I see him
as a player who understands the game and who will always
work hard,” said Benitez before concluding, “Robbie has a
good mentality - a winning mentality. As a manager, you look
for these qualities in every signing you make, but I am sure
that Keane is this type of player.”
delighted by Keane signing
By Laura Slatcher - Sporting Life
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has
revealed his delight at the signing of Robbie Keane after
the striker's first two games for the club.
The former Wolves, Coventry, Leeds and Inter Milan forward
joined the Reds from Tottenham in a £20million deal last
Keane featured in Liverpool's draw with Villarreal before
starting in their friendly win over Rangers on Saturday.
Gerrard believes the club's new strikeforce of Keane and
Fernando Torres will be among the best in the Premier
League, with the new arrival making an impression on the
"As soon as we heard of the interest in Robbie, those of us
who know him wanted the deal to happen," Gerrard told the
News of the World.
"We know what he can add to the side and, alongside Fernando
Torres, we feel we've a strikeforce to rival any in the
"A lot of Liverpool fans see similarities to when we signed
Gary McAllister in 2000. You'd hear people say how we should
have signed him years ago.
"The same applies with Robbie. He probably should have been
here five or six years earlier."
salutes strike duo
By Toby Davis - Setanta Sports
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez praised
fledgling strike partnership Fernando Torres and Robbie
Keane after the pair started their first game together in a
4-0 win over Rangers.
The Reds dominated from start to finish with Torres grabbing
the first in a four-goal rout of the Glasgow side.
And Kop boss Benitez declared himself satisfied with the
movement of his £40 million strikeforce, who he described as
key to The Reds retaining possession at Ibrox.
"Both players showed good movement and so did (Steven)
Gerrard," he said.
"Dirk Kuyt and Yossi Benayoun were coming inside so I felt
we had five offensive players, very clever and with quality
so we were a threat all the time.
"Keane is very clever and he worked hard. He is very happy
here and hopefully we will see a lot of good movement and
also goals from him.
"Gerrard, Torres and Keane playing together was one of the
keys to keeping possession.
"But I feel we have some good players in the team, different
players with different qualities and a good mentality."
Benitez was keeping tight-lipped about the drawn out
transfer of Gareth Barry, but was keen to salute the Reds’
industry in the face of difficult opposition.
He added: "The first half was okay but in the second half
they needed to go forward in front of their supporters.
"We had more space and we scored the second goal on the
"But from the start of the game we wanted to impress and we
wanted to win.
"We worked hard, had plenty of possession and wanted to keep
a high tempo with the ball.
"We scored once and had one or two problems near the end of
the first half but we controlled it.
"In the second half, with the game more open, it was easier
for us to keep the high tempo."
score in 4-0 ibrox win
LFC Official Website
A first goal for David Ngog helped
Liverpool to a 4-0 win over a strong Rangers side at Ibrox
on Saturday afternoon.
Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso and Yossi Benayoun also found
the net in a thrilling encounter which saw our pre-season
campaign burst into life.
Trips to the Wirral, Switzerland, Germany and Spain yielded
just four goals for the travelling Kop to cheer, but a rush
of goalmouth action north of the border had the faithful
Their pre-match chat centred on Rafa Benitez's team
selection, for in a city famed for its double acts (Rangers
and Celtic; Hateley and McCoist; The Krankies) another
perfect pairing was this afternoon born as Liverpool's two
most expensive acquisitions, Robbie Keane and Fernando
Torres, combined for the very first time.
They might have enjoyed just 45 minutes together, but
initial glimpses of understanding were there for all to see:
the Spaniard finding his partner with a Cruyff turn; Keane
returning the favour with an intelligent dummy; then a neat
one-two which Torres couldn't turn into a goal.
That said, it was Rangers, whose fans sang as if this were a
Champions League semi-final, who had the best of the early
exchanges, with former Celtic man Kenny Miller and teammate
Lee McCulloch both coming close from the edge of the box.
It took 16 minutes for Liverpool to rouse as Steven Gerrard,
Keane and Torres started to stamp their authority on the
game. The latter headed narrowly over after a well-placed
cross from left-back Andrea Dossena.
Next Benayoun thrilled the English contingent inside Ibrox
with one of his mercurial runs. The Israeli skipped past
five men before finally being stopped in his tracks in the
Never mind, for an opening goal was just around the corner.
It was Damien Plessis who can claim the assist after his
long-distance hit was spilled by Allan McGregor on 23
minutes, with Torres on hand to tap home his first strike of
It was nearly two - and nearly a first Liverpool goal for
Keane - when Gerrard surged forward for the umpteenth time
before unleashing a fierce drive towards McGregor's goal.
Again the 'keeper could only parry, this time towards
centre-back Kirk Broadfoot, whose subsequent backpass was
inches away from being converted by our new number seven.
Down at the other end, Diego Cavalieri, so impressive
against Villarreal in midweek, had to make a fingertip save
when Sasa Papac sent a teasing chip towards the top corner.
The Brazilian couldn't do anything, however, to stop Nacho
Novo skipping towards an open goal on the stroke of half
time. Fortunately, Dossena was on hand to thwart an almost
certain equaliser with a marvellous goalline clearance.
Half-time brought five changes for Liverpool, Jamie
Carragher giving an early indication that he would depart by
throwing his shirt into the away end. Torres, Skrtel,
Arbeloa and Plessis also made way, with Hyypia, Ngog,
Alonso, Darby and Agger entering the fray.
The latter almost made an immediate impact at the wrong end
when his attempt at a headed clearance went a little too
close for Cavalieri's comfort. Luckily the ball crept over
for a corner.
Minutes later Liverpool's new goalkeeper was again called
into action when he palmed away a shot-cum-cross by
substitute Jean Claude Darcheville.
Just as it seemed Rangers were closing in on a leveller, the
visitors, or rather new boy Ngog, stuck the knife in. The
French hotshot picked up the ball midway inside the Rangers
half on 56 minutes, turning his man one way and the other
before cracking an unstoppable left-foot shot into the
The goal prompted Benitez to make three more changes -
Insua, Nemeth, Spearing replacing Gerrard, Kuyt and Keane -
which, had the result not already been in the bag, could
have been described as inspired.
For just seconds after play resumed, with the clock reading
58 minutes, Insua burst down the left before picking out
Nemeth, whose dipping effort was palmed away to be volleyed
home by the impressive Benayoun.
It was almost 4-0 five minutes later when the unpredictable
Ngog grazed the post after swinging his left foot from 25
The fourth did arrive on 70 minutes when Alonso found Nemeth
in the box before Christian Dailly's rash challenge gave
referee Craig Thomson no option but to point to the spot.
Alonso duly converted and it was game over.