After The Match 


Tranmere-Liverpool 0-1 (0-1)      12.7.08              Pre-season
Goals: Benayoun (43)
Team: Martin, Darby, Hobbs, Agger, Carragher, Pennant, Plessis, Lucas, Insua, Benayoun, Pacheco
Subs: Cavalieri, Degen, Hyypia, Skrtel, Aurelio, Flynn, Spearing, Gerrard, Voronin
Not used: Kelly
Referee: Mike Dean
Shots on target:
Shots off target:
Blocked shots:
Fouls conceded:
a fantastic goal from Yossi."

Rafael Benitez

1307: Agger eager to start again
1207: Rafa delighted with Agger return
1207: Benayoun on target in Reds victory


Agger eager to start again

Evening Echo

Unlucky defender Daniel Agger believes he has got to start his Liverpool career all over again after almost 10 months of injury anguish.

The 23-year-old played his first senior game since last September in Liverpool’s 1-0 friendly win at neighbours Tranmere yesterday, as he battles to re-establish himself in the Anfield club’s defence.

Agger cost £5.8m from Brondby in January 2006, and made a massive impact at Liverpool, successfully ousting veteran defender Sami Hyypia from the side to become Jamie Carragher’s new defensive partner.

A serious metatarsal injury just a handful of games into last season sidelined him – but the young Dane successfully completed 75 minutes at Prenton Park in his comeback.

Liverpool fielded a side of youngsters and squad players in the match, with Yossi Benayoun’s first-half strike enough for a comfortable victory.

Agger will continue to work his way back to full match fitness at Liverpool’s Swiss training camp over the next fortnight with games against Lucerne, Wisla Krakow and Hertha Berlin in seven days.

He said: “I am delighted to be back, this has been the most frustrating time of my career, I have just had to look forward, concentrate, and work hard to get myself back to fitness.

“This season ahead is now all-important to me. I have missed so much football over the past year that I feel I am almost starting my career at Liverpool all over again.

“Now I am really focused on this season, I am ready. I have been working hard right through the summer to get myself fit for this level of football.

“It has been important to get myself ready so I can be available for the first day of the season.”

Rafa delighted with Agger return

By Toby Davis - Setanta Sports

Rafa Benitez hailed the return to fitness of Daniel Agger after the defender played 75 minutes in Liverpool’s first pre-season fixture against Tranmere.

Agger missed most of the last campaign after breaking a bone in his foot and suffered several abandoned comebacks.

But the Denmark international looked sharp as a youthful Liverpool line-up beat Tranmere 1-0 at Prenton Park.

Benitez told LFC TV: “Agger’s return is an important thing for us. If he is available for the season, you can see he is good on the ball and in defence and we can play more from the back, so it was a very good addition for us.”

Liverpool also gave second-half run-outs to new signings Diego Cavalieri and full back Philipp Degen.

And while keeper Cavalieri barely had a touch of the ball as Liverpool strolled to victory, Benitez was impressed by Degen’s forward running.

Benitez added: “Degen likes to go forward. It was the first game and he showed he can also be a threat on the right side.”

And the Liverpool boss was also delighted with Yossi Benayoun’s stunning curling strike that ensured The Reds got their pre-season off to a winning start.

Benayoun had been linked with a summer move away from Anfield, but recently confirmed his intention to stay and fight to establish himself in Benitez’s side.

“It was a fantastic goal from Yossi,” Benitez added. “It was really good, maybe the best thing of the game; I think everyone would have enjoyed that.”

Benayoun on target in Reds victory


Liverpool winger Yossi Benayoun was on target as the Reds beat League One outfit Tranmere Rovers 1-0 in their first pre-season friendly.

Rafael Benitez ran the rule over Liverpool's supporting cast while his mind was no doubt buzzing with ways of raising the money to complete deals for Gareth Barry and Robbie Keane.

The Liverpool manager admits he has to wheel and deal to do that - but he has raised almost £14million by moving on Peter Crouch and Danny Guthrie this week.

Steve Finnan and Scott Carson were, significantly, absent from Liverpool's 21-man squad for their friendly against Tranmere at Prenton Park on Saturday with further moves likely soon.

And Benitez is not understood to be over-concerned about suggestions Arsenal are trying to snatch Barry at the last moment.

All business is now likely to be conducted while Benitez's squad are at a training camp in Switzerland for the next fortnight, during which time they will also play four matches.

It took a fine angled drive from Benayoun - who has made a point of committing his future to Anfield - to clinch a comfortable victory as Benitez's young brigade impressed.

Liverpool welcomed back defender Daniel Agger for his first game in nine months following a metatarsal injury and had Spanish teenager Danny Pacheco, the former Barcelona junior, up front.

Youngsters Stephen Darby, Jack Hobbs, Damien Plessis, goalkeeper David Martin and Emiliano Insua all had run-outs.

New signings Diego Cavalieri and Philipp Degen were introduced at the break.

Tranmere had their new names - John Curtis, George O'Callaghan, Bas Savage and Edrissa Sonko on show - but it was the expected better passing, movement and control of the Liverpool outfit that had them very much in control.

Martin had to save well from Chris Greenacre, but former Wales international Danny Coyne kept the score down until Benayoun's 20-yarder saw Liverpool ahead.

Jermaine Pennant, a target for Blackburn, hit the bar with Andy Taylor's free-kick clipping the foot of Martin's left-hand post before the break.

But this was little more than a gentle exercise in the sun to entertain a 15,000 full house.

Liverpool made seven changes at the break, with Fabio Aurelio, Martin Skrtel, Sami Hyypia and another couple of youngsters - Jay Spearing and Ryan Flynn - coming on, Academy product Martin Kelly also making a late appearance.

But the crowd had been waiting for Steven Gerrard, who arrived just after the hour-mark along with Andriy Voronin.

Gerrard had a strolling involvement, containing himself for sterner battles over the coming months.

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