Benitez rejects Torres return talk
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has dismissed speculation
star striker Fernando Torres could return to action next
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
Benitez told the club's website: "I think it will be too
"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
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
"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,"
"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
"Benitez? If he came I would be very happy," the midfielder
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."
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
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.
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
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
"At this moment we are talking with people and we are
Earlier in the week, Jovanovic had told Belgian newspaper
Sporza: "We have reached an agreement for three years, with
the option to extend for
"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
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
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
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
"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
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
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."
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
Liverpool currently hold the coveted fourth spot, but
Manchester City, Tottenham and Aston Villa are all battling
to qualify for next season's UEFA
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."
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
(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."
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
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."
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
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
The Slovakian is the only change to the side that saw off
Everton at the weekend, replacing the suspended Sotirios
Martin Kelly is on the bench following a long absence with
Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Insua, Skrtel, Agger,
Mascherano, Lucas, Maxi, Kuyt, Gerrard, Ngog.
Subs: Cavalieri, Riera, Aurelio, Babel, Spearing, Degen,
(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
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.