Red News


FEBRUARY            2010
10 11 12



Benitez rejects Torres return talk
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has dismissed speculation star striker Fernando Torres could return to action next week.
Torres has been out since suffering a knee injury in the shock FA Cup loss to Reading last month.
The Spaniard is reportedly making good progress in his recovery but Benitez insists any claims he could feature at Manchester City a week on Sunday
are premature.
Benitez told the club's website: "I think it will be too early.
"He is training with the physios and the fitness coach, but he's still not involved with the team. We will see next week how he progresses."
Torres, 25, is Liverpool's top goalscorer with 12 this season despite being restricted to 21 appearances by injuries.
A niggling groin problem curtailed his involvement earlier in the campaign.
(Press Association Sport)

Johnson closes in on training return

Liverpool star Glen Johnson has revealed his frustration at being forced to sit on the sidelines but admits he could be back in training soon.
Johnson has been out of action with a knee problem since the 1-0 win over Aston Villa on December 29.
The England international admits he feared he had sustained a cruciate ligament knee injury against Vila, but he hopes to return to training in three weeks.
"It's been frustrating. The worst thing for a footballer is being injured, but now I'm looking forward," Johnson told the club's official website.
"It was strange. When I did it, it wasn't much of a tackle, it was more the way the lad (Agbonlahor) fell on me.
"I heard something snap in my knee, so I knew it wasn't good but I wasn't sure how bad it would be at the time.
"The following morning, it was thought it could have been my cruciate ligament, so it was good that it wasn't."
Johnson has been able to resume light running and he is hoping to hand Rafa Benitez a boost by returning to action in March.
"I'm definitely over the worst of it now and I'm about two or three weeks away from training, so I'm getting there," added Johnson.
"It's been like groundhog day - I've been doing the same things, working in the gym and doing stability work.
"Every day has been the same for the last two weeks, but now I've started to run, things can change.
"I don't expect to walk back into the side and play, but I am doing everything I can to be in the best shape possible."

Sissoko eyes Rafa arrival
Mohamed Sissoko has admitted that he would love Rafa Benitez to become manager at Juventus.
The Italian giants are on the lookout for a new boss after sacking Ciro Ferrara at the end of last month and appointing Alberto Zaccheroni on a short-term deal until the summer.
Benitez is understood to be one of Juve's preferred candidates despite his insistence that he is focused on staying at Liverpool.
And Sissoko, who worked with Benitez at Valencia and Liverpool earlier in his career, would welcome such an appointment.
"Benitez? If he came I would be very happy," the midfielder said on
the Juventus channel.
"He gave me the opportunity to play in Valencia when I was 17 and with him I won a title.
"He is an excellent technician but when he knew me I was still immature. Now I've grown up as a footballer."
(Sky Sports)

Carragher facing race to be
fit for Manchester City trip

Jamie Carragher is facing a race against time to be fit for Liverpool’s crucial Premier League trip to Manchester City next Sunday – but Fernando Torres is on the comeback trail.
The Reds defender was forced off during Wednesday night’s 1-0 defeat at Arsenal after tweaking his groin and has been ruled out for seven to 10 days.
Carragher is doubtful for next Thursday’s Europa League clash with Romanian champions Unirea Urziceni at Anfield and Rafa Benitez will take no chances with his vice-captain ahead of the potentially season-defining contest at Eastlands.
The manager’s major concern will be ensuring Carragher is ready to face
Roberto Mancini’s side.
Manchester City pose the greatest threat to fourth placed Liverpool’s hopes of Champions League qualification and if the 32-year-old was to miss out it would be a huge blow.
(Liverpool Echo)

Torres returns to Liverpool
training eyeing Man City showdown

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres hopes to be back for their clash with Manchester City.
Torres has stepped up his fight for fitness and started running again in an attempt to make a shock return to Liverpool's line-up against fourth-placed rivals Manchester City, says the Daily Mail.
Liverpool's £21million record signing was expected to be out until the beginning of next month but has set his sights on the crucial Eastlands showdown with City a week on Sunday after a significant breakthrough in his recovery programme.
Manager Rafa Benitez has repeatedly refused to put a date on Torres' likely return but has been hugely encouraged by signs the Spain striker is finally ready to start working his way back to match fitness.
Torres was given the all-clear to begin running on Tuesday and was seen lapping the pitches at their Melwood training headquarters without any ill-effects.

Benitez cautious over Jovanovic deal
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez claims the deal to sign Standard Liege forward Milan Jovanovic has yet to be finalised.
Jovanovic, 28, claimed earlier in the week that he had agreed a three-year contract to join the Reds on a free transfer at the end of the season.
However, a cautious Benitez claims that the deal to sign the Serbia international frontman has yet to be fully completed.
Jovanovic, who has scored 52 goals during 110 league appearances for Standard, is out of contract at the Belgian club at the end of the campaign.
"There are a lot of rumours in the press but we are working and we will say something if we finalise things," explained Benitez.
"At this moment we are talking with people and we are working."
Earlier in the week, Jovanovic had told Belgian newspaper Sporza: "We have reached an agreement for three years, with the option to extend for
another season.
"I have yet to undergo a medical, but that shouldn't be a problem. I don't have any physical problems and I'm feeling perfectly fit."
Agent rubbishes Krasic to Reds talk
Milos Krasic's agent has quashed rumours linking the CSKA Moscow forward with a move to Liverpool, saying he "hasn't held talks with them".
Reports in Russia this week had suggested that Krasic would be joining the Reds in the summer after signing a pre-contract.
The stories appeared after the 25-year-old's representative Dejan Joksimovic travelled to Merseyside to sort out a deal for Milan Jovanovic.
Jovanovic has agreed to move to Anfield from Standard Liege after the World Cup - but Joksimovic insists Krasic will not be following his fellow Serbian.
"I was in Liverpool to sort out a transfer," Joksimovic told Russian sports newspaper Sovetski Sport. "But not for Krasic, for Milan Jovanovic, the Standard Liege forward who has signed a three-year contract with the English side and will start playing there this summer.
"Journalists decided that if Jovanovic was moving to Rafael Benitez's team, then why not Krasic too? It's an excellent theme for an article, and sure to be well-read
"Krasic is not signing for Liverpool, and hasn't even held talks with them. Everything is just rumour so far."
Joksimovic expects to find out soon whether Krasic might leave CSKA when the transfer window reopens.
"Some kind of information might become available after CSKA's Champions League match with Sevilla," he explained.

Gerrard 'fancies' Reds to beat City
Liverpool star Steven Gerrard has set his sights on beating Manchester City in 10 days' time as the race for Champions League places heats up.
Wednesday night's 1-0 defeat at Arsenal - where the Reds have not won for a decade - along with a similar reverse for Tottenham at Wolves and Aston Villa's
1-1 draw with Manchester United handed the initiative to City.
They are level on points with fourth-placed Liverpool but have two matches in hand and the fixture list pitches the two together at Eastlands a week on Sunday.
With third place now seemingly a distant hope after the Gunners extended their advantage to eight points, Gerrard has called for all efforts to be put into beating Roberto Mancini's side.
"There is nothing we can do about this result now. The lads will reflect on it and we have a very big game coming up against Manchester City.
"But if we play like we did at Arsenal, then I fancy us to beat them."

Gerrard blasts 'crazy' decision
Steven Gerrard believes it was 'crazy' that Liverpool were not awarded a late penalty in their 1-0 defeat at Arsenal.
Liverpool were trailing to Abou Diaby's header when the visitors vehemently called for the award of a spot-kick after Gerrard's free-kick deep into injury-time struck Cesc Fabregas' arm.
Gerrard led the protests to Webb at the end of the game and the Liverpool captain was unhappy that the officials did not spot the handball.
"The referee told the Liverpool wall in the first half that if anyone raises their arms above their waist he was going to give a penalty," said the midfielder.
"So for some crazy reason he didn't give it. He told me after the game he hadn't seen it.
"I would say he is one of the best referees in the league so I am very surprised he didn't see it."
(Sky Sports)

Rafa predicts tight finish
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez believes the race for fourth place will go right down to the end of the season.
The Reds missed the chance to go clear in the battle to claim fourth spot after being beaten 1-0 at Arsenal on Wednesday night.
Liverpool currently hold the coveted fourth spot, but Manchester City, Tottenham and Aston Villa are all battling to qualify for next season's UEFA
Champions League.
Benitez was disappointed to see their recent unbeaten run come to an end at the Emirates and has called on his side to bounce back in their next league outing, which is a testing trip to City.
"When you lose after nine games without losing you have to be disappointed," said Benitez. "They (Arsenal) are a good team but now we think about the future.
"The race for the fourth position will be to the end and we have to be ready for the next game."
(Sky Sports)

Arsene Wenger's hoodoo
over Rafa Benitez continues
Life's great certainties are death and taxes but perhaps the time has come to add another constant to that list.
After another fruitless, frustrating trip to the Emirates Stadium, Rafa Benitez must surely be wondering whether the hoodoo Arsene Wenger has over him in London will ever end.
Bursting with determination and pushing themselves to the physical limit to maintain a seven-match unbeaten run, a sense of injustice infuses Liverpool’s squad today and it is easy to see why that is so.
They have arguably never had better prospects of beating Arsenal on enemy territory since Titi Camara’s winner in February 2000 than this but a series of fine details – and a referee’s error – prevented them turning promise into points.
(Dominic King - Liverpool Echo)

Wenger: Title race still wide open
Arsene Wenger reckons the Premier League title race remains "wide open" after Arsenal beat Liverpool to move within six points of Chelsea.
The Gunners were 1-0 winners at the Emirates Stadium, with a second-half headed goal from Abou Diaby sealing the victory.
He said: "I said after the Chelsea game we will fight until the last second of the season. We did that tonight and that's what we will continue to do. Everybody can drop points everywhere. It is open for everybody."
(TEAMtalk)     read more
Rafa rues 'clear penalty'
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez felt his side were denied a 'very clear' penalty in their 1-0 loss to Arsenal on Wednesday.
Liverpool strongly appealed for at least a free-kick, with Fabregas positioned around on or near the18-yard line, but referee Howard Webb waved away appeals.
Asked whether he felt his side should have been awarded a penalty, Benitez told Sky Sports: "I think so. I think that it was very clear.
"The referee said to our players to be careful and not put your hands too high. It was unbelievable to see the replay and how he could not see it."
(Sky Sports)

Diaby nods Gunners back into race
Arsenal breathed new life into their faint Premier League title hopes with a narrow 1-0 win over Liverpool at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.
Abou Diaby finally got the breakthrough on 72 minutes when he headed in Tomas Rosicky's cross as the Gunners bounced back from successive defeats to Manchester United and Chelsea.
Liverpool, who are just ahead of Manchester City in fourth place, almost grabbed a late equaliser when substitute Ryan Babel saw his shot tipped onto the bar.

Skrtel returns v Gunners
Martin Skrtel returns to the line-up for tonight's clash at Arsenal.
The Slovakian is the only change to the side that saw off Everton at the weekend, replacing the suspended Sotirios Kyrgiakos.
Martin Kelly is on the bench following a long absence with injury.
Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Insua, Skrtel, Agger, Mascherano, Lucas, Maxi, Kuyt, Gerrard, Ngog.
Subs: Cavalieri, Riera, Aurelio, Babel, Spearing, Degen, Kelly.
(LFC Official Website)

Sahara owner Subrata Roy
steps up Liverpool takeover plans

Subrata Roy is intensifying his plans to takeover Liverpool, it has been revealed.
The Times says a spokesman for Sahara, the Indian tycoon’s company, declined to comment on the takeover attempt yesterday, but sources in India confirmed the interest while saying that discussions were at an early stage.

Jovanovic ready to sign for Reds
Standard Liege's Serbia international Milan Jovanovic has agreed to join Liverpool this summer, according to the midfieder and his agent.
A number of clubs across Europe have been chasing Jovanovic, who is available on a free transfer when his contract in Belgium expires at the end of the season.
Valencia, AC Milan and Juventus were all thought to be keen on acquiring the attacking midfielder, but Jovanovic's representative Zoran Stojadinovic has revealed the 28-year-old has been convinced to move to Anfield on a three-year deal by Reds boss Rafa Benitez.
"We have spoken with Rafa Benitez and he convinced us about his project for the club," Stojadinovic told the Daily Mirror.
The player himself now claims he has just to complete a medical before everything is concluded.
"We have reached an agreement for three years, with the option to extend with another season," the player told Belgian newspaper Sporza.

backbutton.gif (1697 bytes)

Thor Zakariassen ©