Morgan blames Moores
for Anfield chaos
By Chris Bascombe - News of the World
David Moores has been accused of
triggering the Anfield chaos by 'putting his own interests
Wolves owner Steve Morgan, whose side faced the Merseysiders
yesterday, laid the blame for the current turmoil on
Liverpool's Life President for selling to the American
Morgan's efforts to buy Liverpool for £100million were
rebuffed in 2004 before then-chairman Moores sold to Tom
Hicks and George Gillett Jr.
And the resentment between the former rivals is still
Morgan blasted: "I've no wish to get involved in a slanging
match with David Moores, but the fact is he wanted the best
for David Moores and not for the club.
"He was entitled to do that but it's his decision which has
led to the situation Liverpool are in now.
"What I find unfortunate is I saw what could happen and
predicted it. That's all on record at the time. You can't
have that level of debt and move a football club forward.
"My fear is if they miss out on the Champions League they'll
be even more short of money.
"The best players like Fernando Torres will want to leave.
And even Steven Gerrard, who has given everything for the
club for the last 10 years, will be considering his future.
"It was an emotional day for me to go to Anfield yesterday,
especially with my son as a mascot, but I'm 100 per cent
committed to Wolves now."
One of Morgan's backers when he made his bid five years ago
was Anfield's new managing director Christian Purslow.
The Scouse-born Molineux chief reckons Purslow offers the
best hope of resolving the on-going ownership crisis. He
said: "Christian and I have been friends for the last six
years. I remember he spoke very well at an AGM and we met up
"From a business point of view, they couldn't have found
anyone better to try and sort out their problems. I'll be
keeping my fingers crossed for them, except when they're
playing Wolves, of course."
While Liverpool struggle to keep pace with the Champions
League contenders, Morgan has set his own boss Mick McCarthy
the ambition of a mid-table finish.
"I wouldn't be happy finishing fourth from bottom," said
"I'll be happy with a mid-table position. I'd consider that
"The last thing I want is an exciting last weekend where we
are in the mix to stay up. I hope by the end of the season
we're involved in boring games where relegation is not an
McCarthy grumbles at dismissal
By Elliot Ball - Sky Sports
Wolves boss Mick McCarthy did not agree
with Rafa Benitez that Stephen Ward deserved to be given his
marching orders in the Boxing Day 2-0 defeat to Liverpool.
McCarthy did not echo the views of his Spanish counterpart
as Ward saw red for a tug on Lucas Leiva in the second half
which saw him given a second yellow card amidst plenty of
Originally referee Andre Marriner gave Christoph Berra the
yellow card, but after appeals - including a 90-yard dash
from Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina - Marriner consulted
his assistant and sent the Wolves left-back on his way.
Although McCarthy confessed the West Midlanders were
"masters of their own downfall" the he still lamented the
"I've just had a look at our replay and I don't think it's a
sending-off," he said. "I don't think he caught him. I think
he's running out of space and he's fallen over.
"I don't know if he got any help from the fourth official,
from Phil Dowd, but if he did I just wonder about getting a
bit of help for the Irish team in France, because I didn't
think you could do it.
"I guess once he's made up his mind it's a booking for Berra
he's got to get the book out for Ward. I've seen it, I just
don't think he caught him."
McCarthy was proud of his players' performance despite the
"I'm really proud of the way we played," added McCarthy of
his side, who defended resolutely until the 62nd minute when
Steven Gerrard grabbed the lead before Yossi Benayoun
wrapped up the three points eight minutes later.
"I think the fans showed they were proud of the effort. It's
all hinged on a decision that's really changed the game.
"You need a break sometimes. Liverpool were desperately in
need of a break and I think they've been given one because
we were down to 10 men.
"We contained them. We didn't look in any danger. It's hard
work playing against them (even) with 11."
breaker can turn season
By Jimmy Rice at Anfield - LFC Official Website
Rafa Benitez claimed an in-form Steven
Gerrard can transform Liverpool's season after the skipper
fired himself into the history books with a goal in the 2-0
victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Boxing Day.
It was Gerrard's 75th league goal of the decade - lifting
him above Michael Owen on 74 to become Liverpool's top
scorer in the Noughties.
Benitez is hopeful his No.8 will now embark on a purple
patch to get his tally for the next decade up and running.
He said: "It was very important for us and for him. If he
can score goals again he will have more confidence and that
will be really good for the team."
The result gives Liverpool some momentum heading into a
crunch clash at Villa Park on December 29.
Benitez added: "We have to win, we won. We kept a clean
sheet, scored two goals and created chances. We have to go
"The main thing was to get three points and now we have to
be ready. The fans can enjoy three or four days and we can
see if we can beat Aston Villa. Then we'll be closer.
"The second half we started really well, pressing and some
corners. We were doing the right things, especially at the
beginning of the second half.
"We know it's a long race but we have to start winning games
in a row. We have won today and hopefully we can win the
next one, then it'll be easy to keep the confidence high."
Alberto Aquilani started his first Premier League game,
spraying some lovely passes around the Anfield turf before
being substituted with 10 minutes to go.
Benitez said: "Aquilani was okay. He was trying to be
involved, trying to receive the ball and pass the ball.
"The match fitness is something that will improve with games
and the Premier League is also difficult so he'll settle
down little by little."
The Italian is likely to be given more pitch time thanks to
Javier Mascherano's suspension.
And Benitez is now assessing his midfield line-up for Villa,
with Lucas playing on Boxing Day despite a slight knock.
"We had some problems before," said the gaffer. "We will see
because some of them were a little bit tired. We have three
days - sometimes that's enough, but when people are tired
you have to manage carefully.
"Mascherano is not available for three or four games so
maybe Aquilani will have more time."
Gerrard relieved after win
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard admitted
his relief after his fine opening goal set up a 2-0 Barclays
Premier League win over Wolves.
Second-half goals from Gerrard and Yossi Benayoun gave nervy
Liverpool a victory that was only secured once Wolves had
been reduced to 10 men.
Gerrard told ESPN: “Wolves come here organised, they were
always going to be difficult to beat.
“It was just all about waiting for that breakthrough. We
were nervous at times, the crowd were getting on our backs
at times. But we knew if we had the belief it would come,
and it did.
“When you’re not getting the results you expect it’s always
going to affect confidence.
“But we want to put it right. The players are hurting at the
moment. If we keep showing the attitude we did today we’ll
move up to where we want to be.”
Defender Jamie Carragher conceded the dismissal of Stephen
Ward had assisted the Reds’ cause.
Ward was eventually penalised for a second bookable offence,
referee Andre Marriner at first getting the wrong man and
cautioning Christophe Berra.
Liverpool players persuaded the official to check with a
linesman, the error was corrected and the hosts were able to
take full advantage of the situation.
Carragher said: “Wolves played very well first half, were
very well organised and caught us on the counter-attack a
couple of times. The sending-off obviously gave us a helping
“Once you get the first (goal) it settles people down but I
think the second one killed the game, especially when they
had 10 men. That’s what we needed because we’re not fully
confident at the moment so it certainly settled the nerves.”
Win over Wolves
gives Reds relief
Liverpool scrambled their way to a
much-needed 2-0 home win over Wolves on Boxing Day as the
pressure lifted slightly from the Anfield club.
It was never going to be simple against an organised Wolves
side, with the three Premier League points only being
secured after the Midlanders were reduced to 10 men when
defender Stephen Ward was sent-off.
Even that was a bizarre decision, with referee Andre
Marriner at first getting the wrong man, booking Christophe
Berra before his error was pointed out by a pack of
Liverpool players who made sure that Ward was punished for a
second bookable offence.
From that point Liverpool took over, and goals from Steven
Gerrard - only his fifth of the season - and a deflected
Yossi Benayoun effort gave them victory.
Italian midfielder Alberto Aquilani was finally included in
a Liverpool league starting line-up, his previous apperances
having been from the bench.
The £20m international had recovered from a calf injury,
with Liverpool also recalling Fabio Aurelio and Benayoun.
Javier Mascherano was suspended, while Dirk Kuyt was rested
on the bench with Andrea Dossena dropped from the match day
Wolves boss Mick McCarthy, who controversially made ten
changes from his team at Manchester United last month, this
time fielded an unchanged team from the one that beat
Burnley last weekend to vindicate that Old Trafford
More through luck than design, this was Liverpool's most
attacking line-up in ages with Benayoun wide, Aquilani
providing neat touches from midfield and only Lucas Leiva as
a holding player.
After the abject defeat at Portsmouth last weekend,
Liverpool needed to do something to restore any level of
belief in their fans.
And they started well with Aurelio's free-kick testing
Marcus Hahnemann, before Glen Johnson chipped wide of the
Steven Gerrard had a go from 20 yards and Fernando Torres,
only eight yards out, kept the American goalkeeper on his
But Wolves, growing in confidence now in the top flight, are
organised, compact and resolute. And they slowly imposed
themselves on a game that became increasingly difficult for
On the break Wolves were always dangerous. Jose Reina needed
to be alert to keep out a shot on the turn from Sylvan
Ebanks-Blake and had to touch over a Nenad Milijas
Anxiety is never far from Liverpool's defence these days,
and Kevin Doyle's header wide from a corner and a 20-yarder
from Milijas had the hosts worried.
Wolves could sense the unease, and Liverpool were failing to
keep possession as they tried to put together quick-passing
Hahnemann saved well when Johnson found space in the box for
a low drive, but generally Liverpool struggled desperately
to create significant openings.
Liverpool started the second period with greater resolve and
one decent passing movement created space for Gerrard to let
fly, Hahnemann saving to his left.
Then six minutes into the half came the key moment in the
match when referee Marriner got himself into a terrible mess
after a second foul in quick succession by Ward.
Firstly he was booked for pulling back Benayoun after 48
minutes, then three minutes later he hauled down Lucas.
But the West Midlands official initially booked Berra for
that second offence before a posse of Liverpool players
persuaded him to consult a linesman, who pointed out the
Reina was booed from then on by the Wolves fans for racing
80 yards to get involved in the debate.
Ward was eventually called forward and shown a second yellow
card and a red, putting Wolves down to ten men.
And it did not take Liverpool to take the lead. It came
after 62 minutes when Emiliano Insua got down the left to
cross for Gerrard to climb above Milijas and head powerfully
The Serbian was replaced before the restart, Michael
Mancienne coming on to further re-enforce Wolves' defence,
with striker Chris Iwelumo replacing Ebanks-Blake.
But the balance had swung now to Liverpool, and even a home
side still way short of their best were not going to waste
this opportunity for a much-needed win.
Benayoun settled the issue with a deflected drive off Karl
Henry for the second after 70 minutes.
Kuyt came on for Aurelio with 14 minutes left, with teenager
Daniel Pacheco replacing a tiring Aquilani after 84 minutes.
Jay Spearing then took over from Benayoun, a relieved
Liverpool having secured a much-needed victory.