Red News


APRIL                   2010
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Benitez wants
to improve on the road

Rafa Benitez knows his side have to find a quick cure for their travel sickness if dreams of Champions League qualification are to be realised.
The Reds have the worst away record of any of the top nine clubs in the Premier League, having not won on an opponent's ground in six matches and taken just 14 points from 16 games on the road.
Their previous worst league run came between August and November in 2006 when they failed to win in seven.
But the problem extends further than that, and since beating Everton at Goodison Park at the end of November, taking into account all competitions, Liverpool have won just twice in 13 away fixtures - and that includes victory over Europa League minnows Unirea Urziceni in Romania.
So a trip to Birmingham on Sunday does not exactly promise an end to their troubles.

Former Red Zenden does
Liverpool a huge favour

The race for fourth place is heating up and Liverpool were handed a massive helping hand by an old friend when Bolo Zenden scored Sunderland’s third to inflict defeat upon current fourth spot occupants Tottenham.
The Dutch midfielder, on as a sub, hit a sweet left-foot volley after another former Anfield favourite, Peter Crouch, had brought Spurs back into the game just minutes earlier.
Although, by that point the Black Cats should have been 4 up, with Darren Bent missing two penalties when already 2-0 up.
Elsewhere, Aston Villa beat Bolton 1-0 to draw level with Liverpool on 54 points.
Liverpool can put the pressure on with a win against Birmingham at St. Andrews tomorrow.
(This is Anfield)

No way back for Riera at Anfield
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has indicated that there is no way back for Spartak Moscow target Albert Riera at Anfield.
The Reds have been trying to offload the Spanish winger after his radio outburst at his manager's expense in his homeland ahead of the Europa League tie
with Lille.
A move to Moscow has stalled, reportedly due to personal terms, and Riera has since announced his desire to stay with Liverpool.
But Benitez, who is preparing his side for Sunday's trip to Birmingham, has let it be known that the 27-year-old does not have future on Merseyside.
"We still have some time until the end of the Russian transfer window so we will see what happens," the Reds chief told the Liverpool Echo.
"I didn't see his latest comments but for me, on the day before a massive game when he was talking this way was disappointing. It was especially so when he was saying things that weren't true, so I was really surprised.
"I was really disappointed with his timing and the comments themselves. He also said he wants to play, that's why he had to go, but our fans are not stupid and they will know what's going on. We'll see what happens now."

Hansen: Gerrard must
stay with Reds

Former Liverpool captain Alan Hansen believes keeping Steven Gerrard at Anfield is crucial to the club's aspirations of success.
Hansen insists holding on to the England midfielder represents the Merseysiders' best chance of success in the near future.
"Liverpool supporters love him, he is part of the place. If he doesn't play there is something missing," said the Scot, who won eight league titles and three European Cups with the club.
"It is just great to have players of the quality of Fernando Torres and Gerrard in the team because with those two in the team Liverpool can beat anyone."

Benitez frustrated by constant
Aquilani injury complaints

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has hinted at frustration over Alberto Aquilani's constant injury complaints.
The Italy international is adamant he has injured the same right ankle which kept him out for the first few months of his Anfield career, as he recovered from surgery at Roma.
But Benitez implied much of the problem could be psychological.
The Reds chief said: "He was complaining of pain in his ankle and said he couldn't train.
"We'll have to talk with the doctors to see what's going on because at the moment we don't know. He has some pain and we will just analyse that with the doctor. It's the same ankle he did before.
"Some players maybe can manage with the pain, but some - when they have
pain - cannot.
"When you talk of pain you never know, it depends on each individual and that makes it really difficult."

Carra still confident
Jamie Carragher believes Liverpool can still reach the Europa League semi-final.
The vice-captain says it is only half-time in the quarter-final with Benfica and the Reds can overturn their 2-1 first leg deficit at Anfield.
"It's disappointing but it's still all to play for and only half-time," said Carragher.
"The plan was to keep it tight and nick a goal, which we got early on. Obviously the sending off has had a big part to play.
"To play an hour with 10 men is always difficult. It's still disappointing but the result is not too bad.
"It's good to get the away goal but we have to capitalise on that in the second leg to make it count.
"At the moment we're behind (in the tie), but a 1-0 victory at home will be enough to see us through and if we can get that, that's when the away goal will
prove crucial."
(LFC Online)
Liverpool make enquiry
for Rangers' Danny Wilson

Rangers chief executive Martin Bain has confirmed that Liverpool have made an enquiry about defender Danny Wilson.
The 18-year-old has been in talks about a new contract at Ibrox but has yet to commit to an extension.
"Danny has been exceptional for us and where I'm at with those negotiations is that we have made him an offer," Bain told the club website.
"Liverpool have expressed an interest but a lot of clubs are keeping abreast of Danny's situation."
Wilson has been a regular at the heart of the Rangers defence this season, having made 22 appearances so far.
And he scored his first goal for the club in last weekend's 4-1 victory at Hearts.
He has a year of his current deal to run and manager Walter Smith had expected him to sign a new contract with the Scottish champions this week.
(BBC Sport Online)

Liverpool to discover Nabil
El Zahr compensation fate

Fifa has promised a decision in the "near future" over St Etienne's claim for £160,000 relating to their training of Liverpool's Nabil El Zhar.
The Moroccan international, now 23, joined Liverpool in October 2006 and signed a new Anfield deal in July 2009.
The French club argues it is entitled to a compensation payment as it helped develop El Zhar between 2004 and 2006.
"The investigation commenced in 2008," Fifa told BBC Sport. "Investigation of the affair is now concluded."
El Zhar was with St Etienne between 2004 and 2006 on a scholarship contract after he joined the Ligue 1 club from Nimes Olympique, before moving to Liverpool at the age of 20 when he signed a professional deal.
"Given Liverpool's size, history and wealth we're disappointed we haven't received compensation - €180,000 (£162,000) is 0.1% of Liverpool's turnover," St Etienne sporting director Damien Comolli told BBC Sport.
"On top of that the player has recently signed a new deal so they must be happy with him and his performances."
(BBC Sport Online)

McLeish backs Rafa
Birmingham manager Alex McLeish says Liverpool counterpart Rafa Benitez would walk into another job should he leave the club in the close season.
Speculation is rife that Benitez's days at Liverpool are numbered, with the club struggling in their battle to win a top four spot after a disappointing season.
A damaging defeat in Thursday's Europa League encounter at Benfica added to the Reds' woes, however they have the chance to put pressure on Tottenham - current occupiers of the last UEFA Champions League place - by beating McLeish's team at St Andrews on Sunday.
And the 51-year-old hailed the qualities of Spaniard Benitez, insisting the Champions League winner has the credentials to manage another big name side.
(Sky Sports)

McLeish has clean bill of health
Birmingham manager Alex McLeish expects to have a full squad to choose from for Sunday's home Premier League clash with Liverpool (3pm).
McLeish has no fresh injury worries as Blues look to defend an unbeaten home record stretching back seven months including draws with Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.
The former Scotland boss said: "We have a couple of little niggles but we think everyone will make it."
Skipper Stephen Carr will be walking a disciplinary tightrope for the games with the Reds and Manchester City the following weekend.
Carr has picked up nine yellow cards this season and one more in either of those fixtures before a Football Association amnesty takes effect will result in a two game suspension.
Birmingham (from): Hart, Carr, Parnaby, Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell, Gardner, Larsson, Ferguson, Bowyer, Michel, Fahey, McFadden, Jerome, Benitez, Phillips, Taylor, Tainio.

Milan Jovanovic still
expects Liverpool move

Despite recent reports to the contrary, Standard Liege striker Milan Jovanovic is adamant he will be joining Liverpool on a free transfer at the end of the season.
Jovanovic, 28, has announced he will be joining the Reds on the Bosman rule but the move is yet to be formally finalised by the Premier League club.
Reports at the weekend suggested his move had stalled and that the contract remains unsigned following doubts over the position of Rafa Benitez, but Jovanovic says the only outstanding issue is his work permit.
The Standard striker, who has scored ten goals in 25 appearances for the Belgian club this season, fully expects to join Fernando Torres at Anfield in the summer.
"For me, it's sorted," Jovanovic said. "The only thing is that my work permit is not yet in order. But I have until June to get it. I'm at ease. Next season I will play
at Liverpool."

Ankle anguish for unhappy Aquilani
Liverpool midfielder Alberto Aquilani is a doubt for Sunday's Premier League trip to Birmingham as he is struggling with an ankle problem.
The injury, similar to the one which he arrived on Merseyside with in the summer after his £17million transfer from Roma, ruled the Italy international out of the Europa League tie against Benfica.
Maxi Rodriguez is likely to return to the starting line-up having been ineligible in Europe but Martin Skrtel (foot) and Fabio Aurelio (thigh) are no nearer returning to fitness while Albert Riera remains frozen out after his row with manager
Rafael Benitez.
Liverpool (from): Reina, Johnson, Agger, Carragher, Insua, Lucas, Mascherano, Kuyt, Gerrard, Rodriguez, Torres, Babel, Ngog, Benayoun, Cavalieri, Kyrgiakos, Kelly, Degen, El Zhar, Pacheco.

Babel sorry for red card

Ryan Babel admits he feels guilty about his sending off against Benfica after Liverpool lost 2-1 to the Portuguese side in their Europa League quarter-final.
Babel felt the dismissal was harsh and he apologised to his team-mates for leaving them to play for over an hour with just 10 men.
"I have spoken to the lads and said sorry. But it is good and I felt they were behind me. They fought all the way and I am confident we can do well in
the next game."
(Sky Sports)  
Babel red baffles Rafa
Rafa Benitez admits it is 'difficult to understand' why Ryan Babel was sent off in Liverpool's 2-1 Europa League defeat by Benfica.
Babel was dismissed just after the half-hour mark in Lisbon after putting his hand in the face of Benfica defender Luisao, who had just committed a poor challenge on Fernando Torres.
Liverpool were leading at the time of the incident and Reds boss Benitez felt Luisao's tackle on Torres was a more serious offence than the one which led to Babel's red card.
"I was surprised because a foul from behind is more serious for me,"
said Benitez.
"I would like to analyse the foul before. And after, when one player is shouting in front of the referee after he already has a yellow card."
(Sky Sports)

Lucas hails 'important' away goal
Lucas Leiva is hoping Daniel Agger's early goal in Liverpool's 2-1 Europa League quarter-final first-leg loss to Benfica could prove decisive.
Lucas told Five: "We are really disappointed. We started really well in the game and scored an early goal. We created some chances even with 10 men.
"Now we have to keep going and try to go through at Anfield. The away goal always is important, we knew that."

Night of terror for Reds
Ten-man Liverpool were undone by two harsh penalty decisions and an at-times shambolic refereeing display as they lost 2-1 to Benfica in a hostile Europa League quarter-final first leg in Lisbon.
Daniel Agger gave his side the perfect start in the ninth-minute but things took a turn for the worse when Ryan Babel was dismissed on the half-hour for thrusting a hand in Luisao’s face.
Oscar Cardozo wasted numerous chances before converting two spot-kicks but with an away goal Rafael Benitez’s side still have hope for the return leg.

Lucas returns
Lucas Leiva returns to the Liverpool starting XI for tonight's Europa League quarter-final, first leg clash with Benfica in Lisbon - listen live online from 8pm.
The Brazilian midfielder replaces the ineligible Maxi Rodriguez as Rafael Benitez makes one change to the side that beat Sunderland.
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Agger, Carragher, Insua, Lucas, Mascherano, Kuyt, Babel, Gerrard, Torres.
Subs: Cavalieri, Benayoun, Kyrgiakos, Ngog, Plessis, El Zhar, Pacheco.
(LFC Official Website)

Riera's Moscow move stalls
Liverpool winger Albert Riera has back-tracked on his "sinking ship" comments about the club after admitting his plans for a move to Spartak Moscow have ground to a halt.
The Spain international was briefly suspended last month for his outburst, in which he also criticised manager Rafael Benitez for failing to communicate with his players.
"Negotiations with Spartak Moscow are intention is to decide my future in the summer," he told Spanish newspaper Marca.
"I want to continue my career at Liverpool because it is one of the best clubs in the world.
"The feeling is spectacular, we have a great stadium and I feel very good
at Liverpool.
"I speak with Fernando Torres and (Jose) Reina and agree on the greatness of Liverpool."
Such apparent contrition is unlikely to convince Benitez to welcome him back into the fold.
The Reds boss has not forgiven Riera, worried about his World Cup chances, for so publicly trying to manufacture a move at a crucial time of the season by misrepresenting his relationship with him.
(Press Association Sport)

Statistics against Liverpool for
their trip to Birmingham City

For a man who likes his ‘facts’, Rafa Benitez will be pained going into Sunday’s match at Birmingham City.
Under his charge, a Liverpool team has yet to defeat Blues in
the Premier League.
The jinx runs to seven games and, for the sake of Liverpool’s Champions League qualification challenge, he knows it can’t go on.
(Birmingham Post)

Hansen predicts Liverpool progress
Alan Hansen is convinced Liverpool will clinch a place in the Europa League semi-finals as Fernando Torres is back on song.
Torres heads into the first leg match against Benfica in Portugal tonight on the back of scoring a brace in the victory over Sunderland on Sunday.
Former Liverpool defender Hansen was impressed with the Spaniard's contribution.
He said: "If Liverpool are going to do anything in the battle for fourth spot or the Europa League then obviously Torres and Steven Gerrard have got to be fit. It looks as though the two are fit.
"It was probably the best performance of the season on Sunday. The form Torres has shown over the last couple of matches proves that he is match fit.
"The sharpness is back, he scored a fantastic goal as well as a great goal against Manchester United."

Rafa admits Reds weaknesses
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has admitted weaknesses in his squad have cost the club dearly this season, particularly in the Barclays Premier
League campaign.
Injuries - primarily to star striker Fernando Torres - have played their part in a disappointing campaign which has seen early exits from the title race, Champions League and FA Cup.
Some of Benitez's less-celebrated signings - the likes of Albert Riera, Ryan Babel, Philipp Degen and David Ngog - have failed to fully fill the void and that has cost the team valuable points.
"Everyone knows we have a good 11. You can see some good players on the bench but also others with less experience," said Benitez, whose side face Benfica in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final first leg
in Lisbon tonight.
"When you talk about the league the depth in your squad is very important and we have had problems with injuries.
"It has been a difficult season for young players as well because they have had to perform on the pitch when the team is not doing well.
"The majority of the players have been fighting from the beginning but the problem in football is you can be working very hard but if you don't win people say you are not doing enough."
(Press Association Sport)

Benfica coach Jorge Jesus says his
team and Liverpool FC are strongest

Benfica coach Jorge Jesus believes the strongest sides left in the Europa League will meet when his team host Liverpool in their quarter-final first leg tonight.
Jesus’ side are a potent attacking force with the likes of Javier Saviola, Pablo Aimar and Oscar Cardozo proving particularly impressive, but the manager believes his side will need to be at their best at Estadio da Luz.
He said: “Liverpool are slightly different to Everton. At the beginning of the season, Liverpool were strong candidates in the Champions League and now they are playing in the Europa League.
“Along with Benfica, they are the strongest team in the competition, so the two strongest teams are going to play each other and we are ready for it. They are very good tactically and technically, but we are ready for them.”
(Liverpool Daily Post)

Benfica’s Luisao knows
how to stop Torres

Benfica defender Luisao claims he knows how to stop Liverpool star
Fernando Torres.
Ahead of their Europa League clash tonight, the Brazilian is confident he and his teammates can do the job against the Reds who admits should be favourites for the tie.
"We will stop Fernando Torres. It will be easy if we stick to our system 100 per cent and keep our concentration,” the 29-year old said.
"We will have two aims - to stop Torres from scoring and to score ourselves. We believe we can do that and go through.
"We have our own goal king, Oscar Cardozo, and I warn Liverpool that he can score in the big matches.
"We accept that Liverpool will start as favourites but we are ready to give everything to reach the semi finals.”

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