target for 'angry' Ramos
By Ben Blackmore - Setanta Sports
Jonathan Woodgate has revealed Tottenham
have an angry Juande Ramos entering the summer buying
period, and the centre back pinpointed Liverpool as the
model Spurs should follow.
If Jekyll and Hyde could have supported a football club, it
surely would have been Tottenham after one of the most
bizarre seasons in Premier League history.
After a shocking start to the season that yielded one win in
nine games and a sacked manager, Spurs changed coaches and
promptly won the Carling Cup – only to then limp across the
finishing line in 11th position.
Ramos has already signalled his intention for change with
the capture of £16 million Luka Modric, and Woodgate insists
Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to Liverpool showed just how much
Tottenham have to improve.
"We have got a lot of improving to do. Liverpool are a
benchmark, they're a top side and showed they were a better
side than us,” said the former Real Madrid man.
“It shows how much we have to compete and how much we have
to work to get the standard they're at.
"They are 20-odd points ahead of us and that is a big
difference but we'll have a big go next season. I'm sure the
chairman will back the manager to buy some more players to
build a strong squad here.
“Ramos is not happy. The players aren’t happy. Since the
Carling Cup win, we haven’t played well at all and it’s not
“What’s the point of competing if you go into the season
looking to finish fifth? We want to try and get in the
Champions League, that’s the benchmark.
“We have players of Champions League quality but there’s no
point in saying it every week, we have to prove it. At the
moment we are not.”
was gunning for Ruud
By Jimmy Rice at White Hart Lane - LFC Official Website
Rafa Benitez has revealed how Fernando
Torres asked him to play at White Hart Lane so he could try
to become the most prolific foreigner ever in a debut season
El Nino hit his 24th league goal during the 2-0 victory over
Spurs to leapfrog the tally reached by Ruud van Nistelrooy
in his first Premier League season.
Though unlikely to be rested anyway as the Reds looked to
end the year on a high, Torres did talk to the boss ahead of
the game to reiterate his desire to play.
Benitez said: "We were talking about the record before the
game. He wanted to play in this game and wanted to score.
"Always when you sign a player it's difficult to know if
they'll settle in the Premier League, but Torres is young
and hungry. He wants to be successful for a number of years.
He has shown all these things on the pitch.
"He is a good striker and there are a lot of good strikers
in the Premier League. I don't like to say he is the best
because other strikers have other skills, but he is the best
Liverpool have now scored 119 goals in all competitions this
term, while at the other end Pepe Reina has kept 18 clean
sheets – more than any other top flight stopper.
Benitez added: "When you talk about 119 goals, more than
anyone in England, another clean sheet and a goalkeeper
who's won the Golden Glove three years in a row, and Torres
being the most prolific foreigner in a first season, there
are a lot of positives.
"People say we are a defensive team but the numbers are
there. We play good, attacking football, and try to win
every game. Sometimes you cannot do this.
"The only thing, and this is the most important, is that we
didn't win a trophy."
On possible summer signings, Benitez remained coy,
explaining: "We are working hard trying to improve the
squad. We have a list of players in different positions and
we'll try to progress.
"I think we will go forward. We now have a week more
training and a lot of meetings. Then maybe I will have a
holiday for a week, then I'll be back doing interviews with
Benitez also had a word for Spanish counterpart Juande
Ramos, who he believes has done a good job since taking over
at Spurs earlier in the season.
The Liverpool boss quipped: "Sometimes I look over to the
bench to see if they have anyone who speaks Spanish, but
this was difficult because I knew when I was talking to
Mascherano or Arbeloa that they could hear. I was having to
talk in English and then in Spanish!
"He is doing a good job. It's always hard when you come here
and you can't speak perfect English. It's difficult but he's
doing a good job."
Reds sink sorry Spurs
Torres sets new Premier League record
By Peter Fraser - Sky Sports
Fernando Torres set a new record for goals
scored by a foreign player in a debut Premier League
campaign as he helped Liverpool to a 2-0 victory over
at White Hart Lane.
Two goals in five second half minutes from
strikers Andrei Voronin and Torres, who broke former
Manchester United forward Ruud van Nistelrooy's 23-goal
tally, secured a comfortable win for Liverpool in a classic
end of season affair.
Dimitar Berbatov, who is rumoured to be heading for pastures
new in the summer, came the closest to opening the scoring
in first half with a header from a Jamie O'Hara corner, but
Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina was equal to the effort.
Liverpool had dominated possession in the first half without
truly threatening Radek Cerny in the home goal, but after
the break Steven Gerrard began to pull the strings and
Voronin prodded the visitors in front after showing good
strength to latch on to a 69th minute flick from Torres.
And on 74 minutes Torres, who joined Liverpool at the
beginning of the season from Atletico Madrid, had the goal
his performance deserved as he found himself one-on-one with
Michael Dawson before cruising past the Spurs centre-back to
caress the ball home from close range to ensure Tottenham
finish in the bottom half of the table.
Should this be a farewell to Spurs striker Berbatov, it was
a subdued one, although perhaps not the game to bring the
best out of him. Aside from Torres needing his goal 24th
goal, there was nothing significant to play for.
Spurs had a chance of moving up a place to 10th - earning an
extra £720,000 in merit payment from the league - while
Liverpool had already secured fourth.
Rafa Benitez's season has appeared overshadowed by the power
struggle behind the scenes at Anfield and a reminder of
their problems was the sight of co-owner George Gillett in
the directors' box next to chief executive Rick Parry.
Benitez's team selection appeared to point towards the
players he wants to keep next season when Liverpool will try
again for their first title since 1990.
Peter Crouch, Xabi Alonso, John Arne Riise and Jermaine
Pennant were left out of the squad, fuelling uncertainty
over their respective futures.
There was little to choose from the two teams in the early
stages, with Cerny saving comfortably from Voronin, then
getting stretched a little more when Ryan Babel found a yard
on the edge of the area.
Berbatov produced an impish flick for the hosts in the
penalty box, after Jermaine Jenas had cut in from the right,
but no Spurs player was on the end of the move.
It was Berbatov who almost opened the scoring, in the 26th
minute, jumping with Jonathan Woodgate and beating his
team-mate to O'Hara's corner. Reina palmed the effort away
at full stretch.
Gerrard attempted to up the tempo from the centre of
midfield, and the intensity was raised when Javier
Mascherano clattered into Alan Hutton.
Referee Uriah Rennie chose not to book the Liverpool
midfielder, then Hutton escaped a caution shortly afterwards
when he brought down Babel at the byline.
Torres almost broke the deadlock five minutes into the
second half as the Liverpool striker sent Cerny the wrong
way with his finish, but the Spurs goalkeeper managed to
save with his feet.
Gerrard was guilty of losing his radar with his passes and
one error gifted the ball to Steed Malbranque in a dangerous
position. The Frenchman fed Robbie Keane but the finish was
Reina then flicked a Tom Huddlestone cross off Berbatov's
head, while Gerrard had a couple of efforts, one straight at
Cerny and the other dipping over the crossbar.
The deadlock was broken 21 minutes from time when Alvaro
Arbeloa angled a long ball from right to left towards the
penalty area. Torres headed on and Voronin poked past Cerny.
Berbatov almost replied immediately but Reina tipped over
his powerful volley.
Then came Torres' goal in the 74th minute, twisting and
turning past Michael Dawson and slotting past Cerny. It
could have got worse for Spurs but Cerny saved Hutton from
an embarrassing own goal. Torres also grazed the crossbar
with a chip.