Move to the wing
can help Bellamy
By Mark Lawrenson - Daily Post
He was the big-money signing desperate to score the goals
to lift the club he supported as a boy back to the top of
the English game. But now, it's time for Liverpool to take
Craig Bellamy out of the limelight.
That doesn't mean taking him out of the team.
It just means moving him into an area where the pressure on
him to score goals won't be as great.
As he isn't finding the net at the moment I don't see what
Rafael Benitez would lose by playing Bellamy out on the left
or on the right.
It's not as if either Mark Gonzalez or Jermaine Pennant are
making themselves immune from the drop in either of those
positions, is it?
The one thing Bellamy is giving to the team at the moment is
It's clear he's still got that and can cause teams problems
in wide areas, where he often pulls away during the natural
course of a game anyway.
This would then make it easy for Benitez to play his two top
scorers, Dirk Kuyt and Peter Crouch, up front with Bellamy
adding an extra dimension to the attack without also having
the added burden of needing to score.
Whether anyone agrees with this tactic or not, what can't be
argued is that something needs to be done to alter
Liverpool's dismal scoring record away from Anfield.
I would say that Kuyt and, if you count him as an attacking
player, Steven Gerrard are the two who are looking dangerous
Bellamy, Pennant and Gonzalez aren't.
So 60% of the attack is just not threatening.
What happens then is, when you get the odd chance but you
have to take it because there's no sustained pressure being
put on the opposition - who, incidentally, I thought were
there for the taking on Saturday.
While Liverpool have suffered for their failure to score in
their five previous games, you could argue that this was due
to the quality of the opposition, who punished them by
sending them to defeats.
But Middlesbrough are one of those teams that they should be
looking to come away with three points from and not doing
that just compounds the misery over the non-existent title
challenge even further.
That genuine shot at the Premiership so many predicted was
mainly based on the additions but the three I've mentioned -
Bellamy, Pennant and Gonzalez - just haven't grasped the
Gonzalez has an excuse because every foreign player is a
little taken aback by the pace of the Premiership when they
come in but the other two know what this league is all
But they just seem to have been overwhelmed by the standards
expected of Liverpool players and, as a result, the Anfield
side has been overwhelmed by the top teams.
So my answer is to try Bellamy in a new role and maybe give
him a new lease of life.
I know it sounds like taking him out of the middle is
avoiding the problem rather than meeting it head on and
But right now it's the only solution I can come up with.
confident in Bellamy
By Lewis Rutledge - Sky Sports
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez believes Craig Bellamy will
soon discover his best form.
The 27-year-old has scored just one goal in The Premiership
this season and again failed to impress against
Middlesbrough on Saturday after being preferred to Peter
Crouch up front.
Benitez splashed out £6.5 million for the Welsh striker in
June and is eager to see him regain his confidence.
He spoke to Bellamy after last week's internationals and
assured him that if he continued to put the effort in the
goals would start flying in before too long.
"Sometimes when you are not playing well and you have that
mentality of his then you get frustrated. You start making
mistakes," Benitez told Liverpool's official website.
"He said to me he wanted to make an impact. Now maybe he's
worried about these things and thinks I don't have
confidence in him.
"I have said to him if he continues to work hard for me then
it's OK. He will score goals and play well. Sometimes he has
this anxiety and wants to do everything in a perfect way.
"I have confidence in Craig and had a good talk with him
after the Wales game. We analysed things and are trying to
give him confidence."
for fan patience
By Chris Bascombe - Liverpool Echo
Mark Gonzalez today pleaded for patience as he comes to
terms with Premiership football.
Liverpool's ongoing failure to score goals on their travels
was again the focus of attention following the 0-0 draw with
Gonzalez came as close as any Liverpool player to breaking
the deadlock in the second half, but admitted he's still
adapting to the physical demands of the English game.
"I need to settle more to English football. I knew it would
be difficult and it's going to take me more time to get used
to it," he said.
"I know I must do more, but I'm confident I will. I know
sometimes people don't understand that you can make mistakes
in a game and things don't always look perfect immediately,
but I'll keep on working.
"I know in football it's not normal for people to be
patient, but we all understand that will be the case until
we do our best on the pitch and win more games.
"I just have to keep working hard to get myself fitter. It's
a demanding league and it's not the same working on physical
training as playing in games.
"The best way to adjust is always to play as much as
possible, and at the moment I'm doing that.
"There are a lot of new players to the squad, and it's
normal for it to take time.
"We're working every day to learn each other's game and then
show it on the pitch.
"At the moment it's not happening, but hopefully it's not
going to take long to gel using a system with the two
Rafa Benitez and his players tried to focus on the positives
from a game Liverpool dominated, and at least ended the
sequence of five consecutive away defeats in the
"We played a very good second half but it wasn't the result
we're waiting for," said Gonzalez. "In general, I felt we
had a number of chances but just couldn't score. Now we have
to look forward and keep improving.
"It was a big improvement on the second half against
Arsenal. Maybe the start of the game wasn't the best, but we
know we've not done enough unless we score as well.
"There are still six months to play, and it's important not
to throw in the towel. We're a long way from the end."
turn dominance into victory
By Ian Doyle - Daily Post Staff
Frustrated Rafael Benitez admitted Saturday's goalless
draw at Middlesbrough "felt like a defeat" after Liverpool
wasted the chance to end their away-day misery.
The visitors dominated possession and created a number of
chances but could not break down a stubborn Middlesbrough
It left Liverpool searching for their first Premiership away
goal since the opening day of the season and saw them fall
16 points behind leaders Manchester United.
And Liverpool manager Benitez said: "You could say it felt
like a bit of a defeat - if you analyse the game you see
that we lost two points.
"The players more than anyone don't want this poor away
record to continue.
"They know they needed to win and they worked really hard to
give themselves plenty of options.
"It was clear that we were trying to win - sometimes when
you are under pressure you try not to lose but we were
trying to go forward as much as possible and score as much
"You need your players to have an offensive mentality and we
Benitez selected an attacking line-up and his team dominated
the second half without being able to find the killer touch,
coming closest eight minutes from time when Middlesbrough
defender Jonathan Woodgate headed substitute Peter Crouch's
header off the line.
And Benitez is confident it's only a matter of time before
the away victories come if Liverpool continue to perform in
the same manner as on Teesside on Saturday evening.
"In the second half it was almost like we were playing back
at Anfield, no?" he added.
"When you are a manager and your team doesn't create many
chances you are massively worried.
"But when you create chances and your players get forward so
much like we did here you will win 99 times out of 100 when
you play like this.
"They had a lot of defenders back and we knew that, so
that's why we attacked the near post and why we played short
"We tried to move the defenders because we knew they were
Benitez added: "Thinking about the future we know that if we
put in performances like that we will win more games.
"Against Chelsea I thought we played really well, and
against Bolton until we conceded.
"Away we have conceded a number of opportunities and we
can't do any more.
"We were attacking a lot and we needed to be aware of long
keeps faith for goal
return on away days
By Ian Doyle, Chief Football Correspondent - Daily Post
Dirk Kuyt has dismissed fears Liverpool's players are
lacking mental strength away from home despite conceding it
was "taking too long" to claim a first league win on their
travels this season.
Rafael Benitez's side were held to a goalless draw at
Middlesbrough on Saturday evening despite dominating
possession and creating a number of chances at the
The result ended a run of five successive away defeats but
left Liverpool seeking their first Premiership away goal
since Robbie Fowler netted at Sheffield United on the
opening day of the season in August.
The last time Liverpool went six away games without scoring
was in the 1991-92 season when they ended up finishing in
But Holland international Kuyt, who is still seeking his
first goal away from Anfield, believes Liverpool retain the
belief they can succeed on their Premiership travels.
"It's been lots of games away from home now without a goal
but we have to back ourselves because we have top quality
players," said the striker..
"Mentally we are very strong but we just have to keep making
the chances and we will soon start scoring the goals.
"We've played really well at home this season and if we play
like we did at Middlesbrough I'm sure it won't be long
before we get our first away win. It's taking too long,
Kuyt revealed the squad have talked among themselves about
the away goal drought and is confident the barren spell will
soon be over.
"I don't know why we can't score but this match was very
different from the other ones because on this occasion we
played very well," said the Dutchman..
"We've spoken about the lack of goals as a team but I'm sure
they'll come. A point here is two dropped for us, but we
have to believe in ourselves and that we can catch the
"We worked really hard and we deserved to win but you can't
win if you don't score. Although we played well, that was
again the problem here.
"We had plenty of chances but we had to take one of them, we
were much the better team but football is all about getting
goals and we were unlucky."
Saturday saw Liverpool claim their first away clean sheet in
the league this season, and Kuyt has urged his team-mates to
build on that positive and start moving up the Premiership
"There was lots of quality from us but it's all about
putting the ball in the net," he added. "I'm sure we'll soon
start doing that but it's a big disappointment.
"We can go on from this because a clean sheet is not so bad.
We only had one moment when we had any problems. Apart from
that we controlled the game.
"We can only focus on our own games and if we keep winning
our home games we will keep moving up the league. I think
firstly we have to make sure we get in the top four.
"Then, with the players we have got, try to develop it from
Xabi worried by 'negative' Reds
By Chris Stanton - Sky Sports
Xabi Alonso believes the doom and gloom engulfing
Liverpool has already all but scuppered their hopes of
the Premiership title.
Another below par performance from The Reds in a goalless
draw at Middlesbrough on Saturday evening means the team
trail leaders Manchester United by 16 points after just 13
A run of just two points from 21 available away from home
has left their title hopes hanging by a thread.
Alonso admits he would be able to see a light at the end of
the tunnel, were it not for the negativity pervading the
Anfield dressing room.
"The fight for the title is getting more and more difficult
for us," said Alonso.
"Not just because of the points difference but because of
the atmosphere I see at the club.
"I see pessimism and in that respect it is going to be very
hard to come back.
"We can't put three straight wins together and are unable to
transmit the spirit of Europe to league games.
"I don't know if it is something psychological but we are
frustration at draw
By Graeme Bailey - Sky Sports
Rafa Benitez could barely believe his side did not come
away from Middlesbrough with a victory.
Liverpool dominated for huge periods at The Riverside, but
they failed create much or convert what little did come
Benitez though insists he was not unhappy as they would win
'99 games out of 100' playing as they do.
"We created a lot of chances. We deserved to win, we had a
clean sheet and we were going forward all the time," he told
"We have created enough for scoring goals and we must do the
same, keep going.
"Today the team was controlling the game and creating a lot
"If they had scored the first goal it could have been
"If we play as today for 100 games we would win 99."
Boro hold Reds
By Graeme Bailey - Sky Sports
Liverpool failed to break down a stubborn Middlesbrough
defence as they were held to a disappointing 0-0 draw at The
Riverside in Saturday's late Premiership kick-off.
The Reds dominated the play, but there was little cutting
edge to their play and they could not find a way through a
defence excellently marshalled by Jonathan Woodgate.
Indeed a toothless Boro could have won it in the second half
through Yakubu Aiyegbeni - but he missed a great chance,
while Mark Schwarzer was on hand to prevent Mark Gonzalez,
Jermaine Pennant and Dan Agger from breaking the deadlock
and seal a share of the spoils for the home side.
An abject opening 45 minutes saw few chances and indeed not
a single one for Boro.
Dirk Kuyt arguably had the best chance of the opening 45
minutes with the first real opportunity of the game. It came
as Craig Bellamy latched onto a Steven Gerrard pass and the
ball deflected into the path of Kuyt, but the Dutchman fired
wide of goal.
Just a minute later and Gerrard almost burst clear in
archetypal fashion but just in the nick of time Andrew
Taylor came across to cut out the Liverpool skipper.
Pennant almost broke the deadlock before the interval as he
picked up the ball before turning and shooting which needed
Schwarzer to be at his best to turn the ball wide.
Boro were forced to make a change at the interval with
Andrew Davies limping off which meant Robert Huth coming on
and playing in an unaccustomed role at right back.
Indeed the change seemed to give Boro a much needed spark
and they should have taken the lead on 53 minutes.
Good work from James Morrison on the right saw him pick out
Jason Euell in the box, his header was excellently parried
by Jose Reina but the rebound somehow evaded Yakubu with the
goal at his mercy.
Liverpool then again took control and dominated possession.
Some nice work from Pennant saw him pick out a deep run from
Kuyt who in turn found Bellamy - but his goal-bound header
was blocked by Huth.
Schwarzer then had to produce a wonderful save to stop
Agger, whose marauding run from the back went unchecked and
he was allowed to unleash a stinging drive which needed the
Boro number one to tip round the post.
The big Australian was becoming increasingly busier and
Gonzalez was next to test him as he was found by a Gerrard
cross to the back post and he met the ball with a
side-footed volley - but Schwarzer was there to get down and
Middlesbrough introduced Lee Cattermole and Massimo
Maccarone to the fray - but it did little to alter the flow
of the game as they remained camped in their own half.
In-turn Peter Crouch was introduced by Liverpool and the
England striker soon had a wonderful chance to put his side
ahead. Gonzalez for the first time in the game found his man
with a cross but despite beating Schwarzer he could not find
the net as Woodgate was there to head over with a great
piece of defensive work.
A chorus of boos then greeted Bolo Zenden's introduction as
The Reds went for the victory which their pressure deserved
- but aside from a late Crouch header it never looked likely
and indeed it ended goalless.