Rafa happy with Wrexham win
By Al Campbell - LFC Online
Rafael Benitez was pleased with his team's performance in
their first pre-season game of the new campaign.
Liverpool comfortably beat Wrexham 2-0 on Saturday with Paul
Anderson and Craig Bellamy scoring the goals. Gabriel
Paletta also had an impressive debut.
After the game Rafa Benitez declared himself with the Reds'
approach in their first game since returning from their
"It was good for [Bellamy] to get a goal. He likes to play
and he likes to score goals and we hope to see a lot of
goals from him. He linked up well with Robbie and they
worked well together," said Benitez.
"It was a bit dry and difficult to move the ball with any
pace but at this stage of the season it is mostly about
improving the condition of the players," added Benitez.
"We have some players to come in like Mark Gonzalez and
Fabio Aurelio and we need to wait 10 more days for the World
Cup players so they can return with energy.
"There's so many to return to training, Gerrard, Carragher,
Crouch, Alonso, Luis Garcia, Kewell, Sissoko, the list of
really fine players is almost endless. Everywhere you look
here there's class and quality."
rise to biggest challenge
By Andy Kelly - Daily Post Staff
Sami Hyypia has spoken of the dual challenge awaiting him
in the coming Premiership season - from his new team-mates
and from the opposition.
The Finn is well aware that the arrival of the likes of
Gabriel Paletta represents another possible threat to his
position in the Liverpool line-up but is looking forward to
the battle ahead.
Hyypia is happy to grant manager Rafael Benitez his wish of
using the 32-year-old to help the new influx of defenders
settle into life at Anfield, but he's determined that this
doesn't mean giving up his place in the team without a
After a second half run-out at the Racecourse in Liverpool's
2-0 friendly win over Wrexham on Saturday, Hyypia said:
"When Daniel Agger came here, and now Paletta, it makes the
team stronger and I'll do everything I can to help the team
"If that means my experience helping the other players
actually get a place then so be it. But of course I want to
play and I'm not finished yet. I feel fit and there's no
reason why I shouldn't play.
"I played 59 games last season and I was a bit surprised at
how many games I played.
"This time last year the manager told me there was going to
be another centre-back but by the end of the season I had
played 59 games. Now there are two more young players and
it's a challenge for me
"As you get older you notice that the recovery time after
games is longer than it was 10 or 15 years ago. Last season
was quite difficult in that way."
Hyypia believes new arrival Paletta will only improve as he
adapts to life in the Premiership.
"He has all the qualities of a good centre-back and he can
adapt very quickly to the English game. We will see the best
of him when he starts to learn better English and adapts to
the team better."
Bridging the gap to Chelsea at the top of the Premiership
table has not been made any easier for Liverpool by the
arrival of Andriy Shevchenko in west London but Hyypia knows
what to expect.
"Shevchenko will need no introduction to the English game.
I've played against him a few times and seen lots of him on
television," he added.
And joking about the Ukrainian's penalty misses in both the
Champions League final and the World Cup, he added: "I feel
better knowing he has missed two penalties in the last two
I hope that's the first of many
By Paul Eaton - LFC Official Website
Craig Bellamy reflected on his first goal for the Reds
against Wrexham on Saturday and declared: "I hope that's the
first of many goals for me in a Liverpool shirt."
Bellamy netted early in the second half from Robbie Fowler's
pass as the Reds got their pre-season campaign off to a
winning start with a 2-0 victory at the Racecourse Ground.
Paul Anderson opened the scoring with a first half volley.
"It was nice to get a goal at the end of what has been an
amazing couple of weeks for me," said the Welsh striker.
"I knew I was going to play ten minutes more than many other
players at the start of the second half and so I was hoping
a chance would come along for me.
"It was amazing to be in the same team as Robbie Fowler and
it was nice that he set me up for the goal.
"I know the manager has set me a 15 goal target for this
season but I don't think I'll be allowed to count this one.
"Overall I thought it was a good work-out and a good day for
Wrexham to have Liverpool at their place. We got through it
without injuries as well which is the most important thing."
Liverpool face another week of intensive training now ahead
of their next outing at Crewe on Saturday.
Bellamy added: "I think we're stepping up training this week
and concentrating more on power and speed which is obviously
good for me because that's what my game is all about. We've
been doing a lot of stamina work so far but we're moving up
a gear now.
"Of course we've still got a lot of players to come back who
weren't in the squad today. We were missing the
international players and one or two with injuries. It's a
mouth-watering prospect to think of all the players we have
here when everyone is available."
Bellamy on target in debut
By Paul Walker - PA Sport
Craig Bellamy got the goal he desperately wanted on his
The striker drove through on the left early in the second
half to send a left-footed effort wide of substitute
goalkeeper Michael Ingham.
It was a big day for Bellamy but also for Wrexham. Their
19-month battle to save the club is coming to a successful
end and they will pick up £100,000 from this match after
Liverpool waved their cut of the gate.
Liverpool had Salif Diao and Florent Sinama-Pongolle on show
but a host of youngsters were given a run-out with Anfield's
World Cup players still on holiday.
The game was delayed for 15 minutes to allow a near-capacity
11,335 crowd into the Racecourse Ground, and they saw
Liverpool cruise into the lead after six minutes.
Paul Anderson, star of the FA Youth Cup final victory, met a
John Arne Riise cross on the volley to crash the ball past
Michael Jones from 12 yards.
New signing Gabriel Paletta played the first half and a side
sprinkled with youth were doing their best to impress
manager Rafael Benitez.
But Wrexham, who will come out of administration on Tuesday
and had four new signings of their own on display, produced
a spirited response. Mark Jones and Chris Llewellyn both
went close, but keeper Jones was thankful for a benevolent
referee - Mike Jones - who gave him a ticking-off for
handling outside the box. The offence would have meant a red
card in league action.
Bellamy almost punished a Llewellyn error before being one
of only three Liverpool players not to be substituted at the
The reason was pretty clear - the Welshman wanted to score
in front of the Welsh fans - and once that had been achieved
eight minutes after the break, Benitez's sentimentality
deserted him and off came the £6million striker.
Sinama-Pongolle, who may well figure this season if Benitez
fails to sign a right-sided player, looked lively and