Benitez reveals Turner interest
By Paul Walker - Press Association Sport
Rafael Benitez has held talks with Hull
boss Phil Brown over the possible transfer of defender
Michael Turner to Liverpool.
The Anfield chief has a number of injury worries in defence,
which were compounded on Saturday when Jamie Carragher
limped off early in the first half of the friendly with
Atletico Madrid nursing an ankle problem.
Benitez is increasingly short of defenders, having seen Sami
Hyypia and Alvaro Arbeloa leave the club this summer.
The problem has been made even more pressing with both
Daniel Agger (back) and Martin Skrtel (hamstring) doubtful
for the season's opening league game at Spurs next weekend.
Benitez has been linked with a bid for Turner, as well as
Portsmouth's Sylvain Distin.
And the Spaniard said after the 2-1 defeat by Atletico
Madrid at Anfield: "I was talking with (Hull manager) Phil
Brown, but I will not talk about figures. But maybe I was
just talking to Phil about the weather."
Benitez is believed to have offered £6million for Turner,
with Hull demanding closer to £12million.
On Liverpool's injury problems, which also saw Fernando
Torres limp off at the end with an ankle injury, Benitez
said: "Carragher twisted his ankle, and because we have
problems with injuries to our centre-backs, we decided to
take him off as a precaution.
"We will have to wait to see how the injured players
improve, but I feel they will be ready for our next game.
"We have two options. One is to bring in someone at the back
and the other option is to keep working with the young
players we have.
"We have three centre-backs to get fit and will need one
more as a fourth. We have to decide what to do, but the one
solution we can achieve is to work with the youngsters.
"Some youngsters need the opportunity to impress, we will
see how they go.
"Jamie will come in tomorrow for treatment at Melwood, and
we will assess the situation then.
"For a twisted ankle you need two or three days to see how
the injury settles down. I do not believe he will need a
"Fernando Torres also came off with an slight injury on his
ankle, but he also came off as a precaution because this was
only a friendly."
for in-form Lucas
By Paul Hassall at Anfield - LFC Official Website
Rafael Benitez hailed Lucas Leiva as
Liverpool's star of pre-season after the Brazilian scored in
Saturday's 2-1 friendly defeat at home to Atletico Madrid.
The Reds midfielder capped another fine display with a late
strike in front of the Kop and, although it wasn't enough to
earn a share of the spoils, the boss was keen to praise the
"I said in my pre-match notes that Lucas has been best
player in pre-season," he said. "He showed why again today.
He is really focused, working hard and is showing quality.
"He knows Aquilani will need time. When we decided to bring
in Aquilani we knew he would be out for one month or so, so
we analysed the squad and we think that with Mascherano,
Lucas, Gerrard and Plessis we have enough."
First-half goals from Kun Aguero and Diego Forlan saw the
Reds end pre-season with a home defeat and Benitez admitted
it was a tough 90 minutes for his men.
"It was a difficult game," he said. "We conceded one when we
were playing with 10 players and Mascherano was at centre
back. It was really disappointing and after this we were a
little bit nervous. We were playing against a good team and
we had our chances but couldn't take them.
"They had spells when they were in control because they have
players with quality who can keep the ball and pass it well.
It wasn't easy for the young players to play against four
offensive players with such quality.
"But we showed a good reaction in the second half and we
were pushing - there were positives and negatives.
"The game was important. We wanted to impress our fans but
credit to Atletico, they are a good team. We haven't seen
all the things we wanted but at least we can analyse the
team and start working on things if we need to change
Reds go down to Atletico defeat
Liverpool's patchy pre-season form
continued with a 2-1 defeat at home to Atletico Madrid,
despite a late flurry and a rare Lucas Leiva strike.
Atletico Madrid were two ahead at the break and deserved
their win, as Liverpool's injury worries worsened.
Their preparations for the new season were not helped by the
sight of Jamie Carragher limping out of this sell-out
Anfield's most experienced defender lasted just 12 minutes
against the Spanish club as he suffered an ankle injury. A
touchline conversation with club doctor Mark Waller was
followed by the 31 year-old disappearing down the tunnel for
Considering boss Rafael Benitez's injury crisis in defence,
losing the vice-captain and defensive leader was the last
thing he wanted.
Initial diagnosis was a "turned" ankle, and his departure
was precautionary. Certainly in the current situation, his
recovery for next week will be a priority as he will be
needed at Tottenham for the Premier League opener next
Benitez has seen Sami Hyypia depart, while Martin Skrtel
(hamstring) and Daniel Agger (back) are major doubts for the
trip to White Hart Lane.
Alvaro Arbeloa has also gone, while Fabio Aurelio will not
play until nearer Christmas with a knee injury, leaving
Liverpool's defensive numbers diminished.
Liverpool spent the rest of the match with untried Spanish
youngsters Danny Ayala and Mikel San Jose, fresh faced from
the reserves, confronting the outstanding Argentina star
Sergio Aguero, one of the best strikers in Europe.
Aguero soon started to take advantage. He dived to head home
a cross from Simao, and then produced the back-heel that
set-up former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan for a
second before the break.
Lucas was given the unenviable job of replacing Xabi Alonso,
£30million worth of midfield artistry now at Real Madrid,
while England full-back Glen Johnson made his home debut.
While all this disruption was going on behind them, Fernando
Torres, against his old club, and Steven Gerrard started
where they finished last term.
The pair were in full flow and Torres could have had a
couple before hitting the post from 20-yards as he played
against his former club.
Referee Phil Dowd refused Liverpool three penalties, one
when Torres looked to be tripped and then when Juanito
handled as Gerrard charged through, before Lucas was knocked
Atletico were certainly taking this seriously. Paulo
Assuncao and Johnny Heitinga were both booked for fouls on
Yossi Benayoun and Gerrard. Liverpool, too, picked up a
booking when Johnson was cautioned for cutting down Simao.
Ryan Babel replaced Dirk Kuyt and another young defender,
Martin Kelly, took over from Johnson, but Liverpool could
not fashion much of a comeback.
Fourth in La Liga last term, and facing a Champions League
play-off tie with Panathinaikos for a chance to join
Liverpool in the group stages, Atletico looked more than a
They introduced former Liverpool forward Florent
Sinama-Pongolle with 15 minutes left to a rousing reception
from the Kop.
Liverpool responded with Jay Spearing and Andriy Voronin
coming on for Javier Mascherano and Benayoun, with David
Ngog replacing Torres soon after.
Lucas finally pulled one back for Liverpool after 81
minutes, side-footing home from a Gerrard through ball.