Red News


MARCH                 2010
1 2 3



Kuyt nets: Complete round-up
Liverpool's international stars enjoyed a night of mixed fortunes as preparations for the World Cup were stepped up on Wednesday evening.
Dirk Kuyt wore perhaps the biggest smile of the night as he netted a 40th minute penalty in Amsterdam to help Holland on their way to a 2-1 victory over USA,
Anfield teammate Ryan Babel was introduced to the action ten minutes from time as the Dutch ran out winners against the country England will kick off their World Cup campaign against in the summer.
England, meanwhile, eventually cruised to a 3-1 victory over Egypt at Wembley - although they had to recover from going a goal behind before claiming
a confidence boosting success thanks to a brace from Peter Crouch and
a Shaun Wright-Phillips strike.
Steven Gerrard wore the captain's armband for his country, and stayed on the field for 72 minutes before being replaced by James Milner.
Elsewhere, Fernando Torres was a second half substitute for Spain in their 2-0 victory over France in a glamour friendly in Paris. David Villa, who was replaced by Torres at the break, and Sergio Ramos grabbed the goals for the current European champions.
In another clash of the heavyweights, Javier Mascherano played all 90 minutes as Argentina secured an impressive 1-0 success over Germany in Munich.
It was a bad night, though, for Sotirios Kyrgiakos who completed the match for Greece against Senegal, but couldn't prevent his country going down to
a 2-0 defeat.
And despite not qualifying for the World Cup, Israel enjoyed an impressive 2-0 victory in Romania with Yossi Benayoun netting the first goal of the night.
(LFC Official Website)

Kjaer courting Liverpool move
Palmero want to keep hold of star defender Simon Kjaer, despite the player admitting he would like to leave the club at the end of the season.
Kjaer has conceded he wants a move to one of the bigger clubs in European football - highlighting Premier League giants Liverpool as his preferred choice.
The 20-year-old - who joined Palmero just over two years ago - says he is seeking a new challenge in his career, but insisted any switch would have to be to an "attractive club."
The central defender still has over two and a half years left on his current deal at the Stadio Renzo Barbera, however the Dane is eager to finalise a transfer before he turns his attention to World Cup duties with his national said.
Kjaer said: "I will take a step towards the dream or I will stay in Palmero. I would prefer to have it sorted out before the World Cup. I am ready for a new challenge, but is has to be an attractive club.
"(The) Premier League is the best league in the world and then there is Barcelona and Real Madrid in Spain.
"England and the physical playing style would probably suit me better. In case the right offers come, it would be exciting to form a pair with (Daniel) Agger
(at Liverpool)."

Reds rocked by new Aurelio blow
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez believes defender Fabio Aurelio could be sidelined for three weeks with a thigh problem.
The Brazilian was forced off midway through the first half of Sunday's victory over Blackburn after straining quadriceps in his right leg.
Aurelio has not had the best luck with injuries, having missed the start of the season after sustaining a freak knee problem in a kickabout with his children during the summer.
Since then he has struggled with a few niggling injuries but appeared to be ready for a longer run in the team before this latest setback as Benitez was keen for young left-back Emiliano Insua to have a break.
"It's not good news and we think he is going to be out for maybe another two or three weeks - Fabio has had really bad luck," said Benitez.
"It all began at the start of the season, when he suffered the injury during the summer with his family, and it's like there has been something every month
since then.
"It is a shame because he is a top footballer and a really nice person but him being out leaves us with a problem because we wanted to play him, so we could give Insua a rest."
(Football 365)

Keegan honoured by Shankly gong
Kop legend Kevin Keegan spoke of his delight after receiving the prestigious Bill Shankly award at the Liverpool Echo Sports Personality of the Year event earlier this week.
The former Reds striker, who was signed by Shankly from Scunthorpe in 1971 and went on to make 323 appearances for the club, admits he felt humbled to win the gong named after the legendary Anfield boss.
"It's a great honour," said Keegan. "Watching the clips of this guy made us all very emotional. He would have been nearly 97 this year, had he still been with us.
"He was an inspiration to me from the day I first walked into the club. When he left, for me, a little a bit of the club died because he meant that much
to everyone.
"It was a very special night and receiving the award made me very proud, particularly when you see some of the people who have won it in the past."
Asked what qualities he tried to take from Shankly into his own managerial career, Keegan replied: "Not enough of the winning, that's for sure, but you can't have everything!
"He respected players, he treated them properly and he always made it clear that the fans were always the most important things about the club.
"Players come and go - look at the table I was sat on. We have all long since left but the club will always be there because of those fans. That's what makes it
so great."
(LFC Official Website)

Riera facing uncertain
Liverpool FC future

Albert Riera is facing an uncertain Anfield future – as Pepe Reina agreed to extend his Liverpool FC career.
Riera has not even made the bench for the last two games after some under-par performances following his return from six weeks out with a hamstring problem
in January.
With Yossi Benayoun again fit, the arrival of Maxi Rodriguez increasing competition and Ryan Babel back in favour, Riera has slipped down Rafael Benitez’s pecking order.
Having been strongly linked with a return to Spain last summer, the winger has been hampered by niggling injury and loss of form, and so far making only
15 appearances.
That lack of action threatening Riera’s place at this year’s World Cup, with the 27-year-old absent from the Spain squad for tonight’s glamour friendly in France.
And Riera will also have a fight to avoid being moved on from Anfield at the end of the season as Benitez looks to shake up his squad after an underwhelming campaign.
(Daily Post)
Lucas: Gerrard better than Kaka
Brazil midfielder Lucas Leiva rates Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard higher than his compatriot Kaka.
Lucas, who has been capped four times by his country, has been a mainstay in the centre of Rafa Benitez's midfield at Anfield this season, with Gerrard operating in an advanced role ahead of him.
Real Madrid forward Kaka, meanwhile, is beginning to find the kind of form which prompted the Bernabeu club to pay £59million for his services from AC Milan
last summer.
Reds captain Gerrard, who has also played down the entire right flank in his Liverpool career, has struggled to live up to his expected level this season but having played with both players, Lucas is in no doubt who is the more
complete player.
"There are similarities with Kaka and Stevie but Stevie makes more of a contribution all over the pitch," said the 23-year-old when comparing Gerrard
to his compatriot.
"Stevie is more complete in that sense because he can attack but also defend just as well. This is probably because Stevie has experience playing in a number of positions earlier in his career."
Lucas added in LFC Weekly: "Even now, he is so good, he could probably play anywhere."
(Sky Sports)

Garner blasts 'disgraceful' Rafa

Former Blackburn striker Simon Garner has labelled Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez's comments about Rovers "a complete disgrace".
Benitez continued his running fued with opposite number Sam Allardyce after the Reds' 2-1 win at Anfield on Sunday as he criticised the visitors' playing style, sarcastically suggesting Barcelona were planning to copy it.
But Garner, Rovers' record goalscorer, said Benitez is a hypocrite.
"Who is he to say that? I can't imagine Barcelona are falling over themselves wanting to copy the way Liverpool play at the moment. Those comments are completely unnecessary and a complete disgrace," he told
the Lancashire Telegraph.
"If you look at the amount of money Rafa has spent since coming to Liverpool then you would be worried if they weren't beating Blackburn Rovers. The fact is this season they have struggled to beat them in two games, with the home game a draw.
"Perhaps he is having a go at Sam to try and deflect the pressure because they look to be fighting a losing battle for fourth place. I don't really care why he is saying it but there is no room for personal attacks like that."

Reina agrees new
long-term Anfield deal

Liverpool were today given a massive boost after Pepe Reina agreed a new long-term deal – now the club are hoping Javier Mascherano will follow suit.
Rafa Benitez has been desperate to get the future of his influential goalkeeper sorted out and he will be delighted that talks with Reina’s advisors have now reached a successful conclusion.
Signed from Villarreal in the summer of 2005, the Spanish international has been one of Benitez’s biggest success stories and is currently on course to win his fourth ‘Golden Gloves’ – the Premier League award for most clean sheets
in a season.
There has never been any suggestion that Reina, 27, was looking to move away from Anfield – on more than one occasion he has reiterated his commitment to the club – but Benitez wanted him to have a deal that recognised his standing.
That is now the case and once Reina returns back to Merseyside following Spain’s friendly with France tomorrow night, the formalities of putting pen-to-paper on the contract that will take him through to the end of 2014/15 campaign.
(Liverpool Echo)

Liverpool bid to tie down Mascherano
Liverpool are set to offer Javier Mascherano a two-year contract extension that would keep him at Anfield until 2014, as they try to stop him going to Barcelona.
Mascherano has been the subject of long-standing interest from the Spanish and European champions; last year, Barca manager Pep Guardiola identified the Argentina captain as the perfect foil for his attacking midfield duo, Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
In keeping with his policy of tying up key players to long-term deals, Reds boss Rafael Benitez wants Mascherano to follow in the footsteps of Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard, Dirk Kuyt, Daniel Agger and Yossi Benayoun, who have all signed contract extensions in the past 12 months.
Preliminary talks have been held with Mascherano's representatives and Liverpool are hopeful that the 25-year-old will sign an extension to his present deal, which expires in February 2012.
(Irish Independent)

Liverpool FC all geared up
for a battle to the bitter end

Better football last year, better at grinding out result this year – Liverpool’s win over Blackburn was not for the purists but its importance should
not be dismissed.
It was hard work but when you come up against a side like Blackburn, the first thing that you must do is fight and it was really encouraging to see Liverpool roll their sleeves up and battle.
With Tottenham and Manchester City winning, we had no other option but to do likewise to keep ourselves in the running for fourth place; our two main rivals are refusing to go away and the remainder of the season is going centre on which team can hold their nerve.
There is some speculation that it will take a tally of around 80 points to win the title, so what do you imagine it will need to clinch the final Champions League spot? Looking at it from this distance, with 10 games left, I’d say 68-70 points will be enough to achieve that goal, which effectively means Liverpool need to win another seven times before May 9.
With games against Chelsea and Manchester United impossible to predict, you are working on the basis that we need to win every other fixture to get to where we want to be.
(Ian Rush - Liverpool Echo) 
Skrtel out for eight weeks
Liverpool have confirmed Martin Skrtel will be sidelined for eight weeks after suffering a broken metatarsal in his right foot.
Skrtel picked up the problem during Liverpool's 3-1 away win over Unirea Urziceni in the Europa League last Thursday.
Scans confirmed the nature of the injury, but the Reds were awaiting further X-rays to determine how long the Slovakia international would be out of action.
Those tests have now shown that the centre-half will be absent for two months, although he will not require an operation.
Skrtel's absence has been compounded by an injury worry over Daniel Agger, who suffered severe bruising to his knee in Sunday's 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers.
Agger is undergoing treatment at the club's Melwood training ground this week to give him every chance of being fit for next Monday's Premier League game at Wigan Athletic.
Jamie Carragher partnered Agger at the heart of the defence against Blackburn having been generally deployed at right-back in recent weeks.
(Sky Sports)

Carragher welcomes return of Torres
Liverpool vice-captain Jamie Carragher hailed the “special” talents of Fernando Torres, expressing hope the player would come through Spain’s midweek friendly against France unscathed to spearhead the club’s bid for Champions League football next season.
Torres marked his first start since January 13 with the winning goal in the bruising 2-1 victory over Blackburn at Anfield yesterday.
The Spain international has now scored 13 goals in 17 Barclays Premier League appearances and despite having missed nearly six weeks after a knee operation he is still the club’s top scorer.
Liverpool remain sixth, a point behind fourth-placed Tottenham, but Carragher believes a fit Torres will give them an extra dimension in their final 10 Barclays Premier League matches.
“Fernando has come back in and it goes without saying how much we have missed him,” said the defender.
“He is still our top scorer, the kind of special player who will make a difference."
(Irish Examiner)

Torres plays down Spain fears
Fernando Torres is delighted to have joined up with the Spain national side and insists he is raring to go.
The Liverpool striker has only recently recovered from a lengthy spell on the sidelines and has made just two appearances for the Reds since suffering from a knee problem.
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has expressed concerns in the past about Torres' commitments with his country, in the wake of previous injuries, but the 25-year-old hitman insists he is back to full health and ready for action.
"Rafa has enough to deal with, with what he's got," Torres said as he reported
for duty.
"It's normal that he's thinking about his interests but he knows that all the players want to go to the national team.
"For us it is an honour to be here, to play as much as possible and to return as fit as possible to our teams.
Torres, who helped Liverpool to a 2-1 victory over Blackburn on Sunday on his first start since returning to the side, admits he is drained after so long on the sidelines but is gunning for revenge against France after Les Bleus dumped Spain out of the 2006 World Cup in the second round.
"I'm tired after playing nearly 90 minutes after two months of not doing so,"
he said.
"But I'm ready for as much as the coach thinks is right.
"These games are always special for Spain. We can't wait to play against them, especially after they knocked us out of the last World Cup.
"We always have it in for them."
(Sky Sports)

Agger undergoes scan
Daniel Agger underwent a scan on an injured knee today after leaving Anfield on crutches following the 2-1 win over Blackburn.
Doctors discovered severe bruising to the Dane's right knee, and he will now undergo treatment at Melwood.
A club spokesman said: "Daniel underwent a scan this morning which has shown severe bruising to the bone in his right knee. The knee is still very swollen and he will continue to receive treatment at Melwood this week."
Agger was one of several Liverpool players to pick up knocks during
a physical encounter.
Fabio Aurelio suffered a strain in his quadriceps, while Maxi Rodriguez was left with stud marks just below his chest.
(LFC Official Website)

Reina backs Torres
Pepe Reina has backed Fernando Torres to fire Liverpool into
the Champions League.
Reina believes a fit again Torres can get the vital goals to help the Reds in their battle for a Champions League qualifying spot.
"It was great to see Fernando score because he is a key player for us,"
said the goalkeeper.
"We have 10 league games left now and it can make a big difference with him back in the team. He is an important player for us and hopefully he can keep scoring goals now and help us end the season with a winning run."
(LFC Online)

Maximum points
all that matter at Anfield

Three points gained, 90 minutes for Fernando Torres and Sam Allardyce sent home in a huff; for Rafa Benitez it was, clearly, a case of mission accomplished.
When Blackburn Rovers come to town, the prospects of witnessing a classic game of football are as realistic as their manager – not someone who is familiar with the concept of self-effacement – winning a shrinking violet competition. It will never happen.
We have reached the stage of the season, though, where classics are games not required; some, inevitably, will throw their hands in the air and say Liverpool have a duty to start playing with a swagger but all that matters now is they keep their points tally ticking over.
So while Allardyce ranted and raved about how Blackburn deserved to win as “they created the most chances”, Benitez was able to afford himself a wry smile, as Liverpool kept themselves in Champions League contention with
a crucial triumph.
(Dominic King - Liverpool Echo)

backbutton.gif (1697 bytes)

Thor Zakariassen ©