Reina I'm in
no rush to exit Anfield
By Chris Bascombe - Liverpool Echo
Pepe Reina today eased fears about of homesickness may
prompt an early return to Spain at the end of the season.
The Spanish keeper is consistently being linked with a
summer move to Valencia - much to the annoyance of manager
Rafa Benitez who's determined to keep his number one.
Negotiations over a new contract are planned in the New
Year, and although Reina insists he's in 'no hurry' to
thrash out fresh terms, he's dismissed rumours he's
unsettled on Merseyside.
"As the manager keeps saying, we don't know where these
stories keep beginning," said Reina.
"I'm really happy here at Liverpool. It's a big club and I
have a good relationship with all the people. I have two and
a half years left of my contract, so I'm in no hurry.
"I don't know if now is the right time to be talking about a
contract because I like to focus just on the games. There
will be plenty of time to do this.
"I'm not homesick. Obviously there are things in Spain we
all miss because our family and friends are all back there,
but that's normal.
"There are things which are not the same, but that's what
you expect as a foot-baller.
"I have a very happy life here with my wife and a daughter
which is on the way, so there's no problem for me here."
Reina's form certainly isn't being affected by the
speculation, as he helped Liverpool to another clean sheet
at the weekend.
That's the club's tenth in their last 12 games.
"I'm happy with another clean sheet, but even happier with
the victory," said Reina.
"We have some momentum away from home now.
"The beginning of the season wasn't the best for us, but we
always said it would improve.
"The schedule wasn't easy forus. It seemed we had to go to
all the most difficult stadiums first. But now we're playing
more away games where we know the chances of winning for us
are much better."
Liverpool returned to training yesterday, but were given the
day off ahead of tomorrow's League Cup quarter-final with
The competition is often considered low on the priority
list, but with such illustrious opponents heading to
Merseyside, both Benitez and Arsene Wenger are expected to
field strong sides at Anfield.
Reina is in no doubt of the significance of the fixture.
"It's Arsenal and it's a cup game, so of course it's
important," he said.
still believes title is in reach
By Christopher Beesley - Liverpool Daily Post Staff
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has not given up hope of
capturing an unlikely Premiership title triumph after his
side climbed to third in the Premiership table.
Less than a month ago, his side were without an away victory
and languishing in mid-table but following 4-0 thrashings of
Wigan Athletic and Fulham, Liverpool's latest comprehensive
success - 3-0 at Charlton on Saturday - has convinced the
Spaniardthat there is still time for his team to play
He said: "When I was at Valencia we were seven points behind
Real Madrid at Christmas time and I said to some of my
players at a hotel 'Keep going because we will win the
"Afterwards they said to me that they were laughing at the
time but we won the league and we were seven points ahead.
"Maybe it's not the case when you have two teams at the top
of the table because you cannot change the things they are
However Benitez added: "The only thing you can do is keep
winning, keep the team with the same mentality and keep the
team playing as well as possible, scoring goals and keeping
clean sheets and afterwards you will see - you cannot keep
looking at the table every day.
"It's a long race. To be ahead or below for one week is not
a big difference. The question is to see if we can keep the
team winning and the performance is similar."
With 11 goals in their last three Premiership matches,
including seven in two away games, and no goals conceded,
Liverpool are enjoying their best form of the season, but
Benitez reckons that is a reward for the hard work his side
put in earlier in the campaign when they did not get the end
He said: "I've said before, maybe it was bad luck (earlier
in the season). We were creating chances a lot of times away
from home and we could not win.
"When you have 20 attempts which we had in some of the games
against Middlesbrough or Everton were losing 3-0 or drawing,
people were saying 'bad performance' but I said 'no'.
"As a manager you must give the team the idea and they must
play well and create chances - and after you need to score.
"We've now scored three against Charlton and last week four
against Fulham but we keep creating chances and I am very
pleased with this."
Meanwhile, man-of-the-match Craig Bellamy, who netted his
50th league goal as well as laying on several good
opportunities for his team-mates was delighted to get
another comprehensive win.
He said: "I'm delighted to have scored my 50th league goal,
but it's even better to get the three points and keep our
"We knew the second goal was vital. It took us a while to
get it, but when we did we knew it was all over.
"While there was only one goal in it, it didn't matter that
we were dominating and Charlton missed agood chance just
before I scored."
Bellamy was ruled onside by an eagle-eyed linesman to score
the important second, but had no doubts over the validity of
"It is going pretty well for us lately and I thought we
dominated it against Charlton," he added. "We just couldn't
get the second goal until late on but I was happy with it
and knew I was not offside."
Benitez added that he would continue to rotate his strikers,
wanting a look at Robbie Fowler alongside Kuyt at the next
He also offered rival manager Les Reed and Charlton some
hope, saying: "They must try to stay calm when the matches
they are capable of winning come around, but they couldn't
stop us from the start.
"I have got to be pleased with 3-0 away from home because
that's 11 in three games."
Benitez buoyed by Reds display
By Mark Kendall - Sky Sports
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez was delighted by his side's
display in the 3-0 win over Charlton, but admitted they were
fortunate not to be punished for their profligacy in front
The Reds created a veritable feast of chances, but had to
wait until the final ten minutes to add to Xabi Alonso's
By that time Charlton had missed a couple of chances of
their own and Benitez insists his side must be more
"It was a good game, we were creating a lot of chances and
had a lot of opportunities to score two or three more
goals," he stated.
"But we made mistakes and they could have scored. In the
first 15 minutes we had five chances, we needed to score the
"The second half was the same and when you make mistakes
sometimes you pay for them."
But the Spaniard is pleased with how his side is developing,
adding: "We have the balance now to defend properly and
attack well. We are creating chances up front.
"We made one or two mistakes but normally we don't now."
looking for positives
By Mark Kendall - Sky Sports
Charlton manager Les Reed conceded his side had been
outplayed by Liverpool, but still felt they could have
snatched something from a one-sided encounter.
Having taken an early lead, the Merseysiders could not find
a second goal to kill off the game and were nearly made to
pay as Charlton created a couple of decent second half
"We had a 10-minute spell before the end when it was 1-0
when it looked like we might create something," Reed opined.
"We created a couple of chances, didn't take them and got
punished. They made it 2-0 and out of our grasp."
The Addicks chief admitted his troops were down on
confidence but felt misfortune also played a part in their
"They say nothing goes for you when you are at the bottom,"
"A penalty two minutes in is the first knock, then enforced
substitutions, you pick up injuries, those things don't
"That knocks your confidence. I'm not making excuses but we
did lack confidence today."
Reds stroll to Valley victory
By Mark Kendall - Sky Sports
Having failed to win any of their first seven matches
away from home in the Premiership, Liverpool made it two
from two after a comprehensive 3-0 triumph over Charlton at
In truth the scoreline did not the reflect the gulf between
the two teams with The Addicks booed off by their own fans
after an incompetent display.
Liverpool were ahead early courtesy of a Xabi Alonso
penalty, but somehow spurned a plethora of chances before
finally making sure of the result with two goals in the
final ten minutes through Craig Bellamy and Steven Gerrard.
The tone for an incredibly open first half in which
Liverpool carved their hosts open seemingly at will was set
after just two minutes as the Merseysiders were awarded a
Djimi Traore was the Charlton villain, the former Red
attempted to meet Mark Gonzalez's cross from the left with a
boot when his head seemed the obvious option and succeeded
only in nearly decapitating Jermaine Pennant.
Referee Howard Webb had no hesitation in pointing to spot
and also showed Traore a yellow card for his troubles. The
defender's woes were then compounded as Alonso effortlessly
dispatched the spot-kick, stroking down the middle with
Thomas Myhre diving to his left.
The pace of Bellamy appeared to be all too much for a
nervous-looking Charlton backline with the Welshman creating
no end of problems.
He should have doubled the lead on ten minutes as he sped
clear and into the box, but having rounded the advancing
Myhre was denied by a fantastic last-ditch block by Luke
Young as he prepared to tap into empty net.
A lovely interchange between Bellamy and Dirk Kuyt on the
edge of the box soon produced another gilt-edged
opportunity, twice the strike partners exchanged passes with
Bellamy releasing the Dutchman who dragged his shot wide of
goal from when he should have done better.
Pennant was much more clinical when Bellamy laid on yet
another opening after getting to the by-line, but saw his
goal-bound left-footer cleared off the line by Traore who
went some way to atoning for his earlier blunder.
For all their dominance Liverpool could have paid for their
profligacy in front of goal as Talal El Kharkouri picked out
Andy Reid on the right in yards of space with a raking ball
from the back. The Republic of Ireland international had
time and space and unleashed a measured shot that Jose Reina
could only push out to Hermann Hreidarsson, but the
Icelander will want to forget his attempt as he blazed over
from six yards with goal at his mercy.
It was, though, an isolated scare as the visitors promptly
reasserted their stranglehold on proceedings, carving out
several more chances before the interval.
Gonzalez saw a header well saved and Bellamy was caught in
two minds having seen a cross-cum-shot fall into no man's
land and Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez must have been asking
himself just how the lead stood only at one as he made his
way down the tunnel at half-time.
Somewhat strangely Charlton opted to sacrifice arguably
their brightest spark at the interval as Darren Ambrose was
introduced to replace Reid, however, the swap did little to
change the flow of the game as Liverpool took up where they
left off before the break.
A rapid counter saw them create a three on two breakaway and
although Charlton regrouped to cover the danger, Steven
Gerrard laid the ball back to Alonso whose measured strike
from 25 required an alert save from Myhre.
The home fans were becoming increasingly vocal in showing
their displeasure at Liverpool's domination with Faye the
scapegoat following a couple of clumsy touches and it was no
surprise to see Les Reed haul the Senegalese midfielder off
on the hour mark.
But it was the whole Charlton team who seemed to be
suffering from a lack of confidence and belief, summed up
when a long throw from Riise was allowed to float over a
host of defenders and into the path of Bellamy who teed up
Kuyt to strike the woodwork with a precise effort from the
edge of the box.
As the game entered its final quarter it remained an utter
mystery how Liverpool remained only one ahead, but the
fragility of their lead was underlined 20 minutes from time
as Charlton manufactured their first meaningful attack of
the second period.
Rommedahl made tracks down the left and his flighted cross
looped over everybody to Darren Ambrose at the far post
whose rasping volley flew narrowly over the bar.
The incident provided the lift the home side had so
desperately needed and a second chance to draw level arrived
almost instantly as Darren Bent found space in the box, but
the England international snatched at his shot and failed to
get his effort on target.
It proved to be a false dawn as Benitez's men got the second
goal their play richly deserved nine minutes from time.
Bellamy's clever run into the box went untracked and on
meeting's substitute Luis Garcia's clever pass he produced
the clinical finish that had been missing for so much of the
afternoon to put a one-sided game to bed.
Still there was time for a third to give the scoreline a
more realistic look, Gerrard stamping his class on an
afternoon where he had been unusually quiet by curling a
delicious third from just inside the box after some more
ponderous defending from a beleaguered home defence.