Babel vents anger on Twitter
Maxi Rodriguez celebrated his arrival as a Liverpool player
by pledging to help to revitalise the fortunes of the ailing
club, but Ryan Babel may not be at Anfield to help the
The Holland forward was left out of Rafael Benitez's squad
for the match away to Stoke City in the Premier League
today, a decision that Babel questioned
Babel wrote on the social-networking website: "It is
disappointing news. The boss left me out (of) the squad. No
explanation. What happened after a first good season?
Scoring 10 goals, being young talent of the year, and then
second and this season don't play at all?
"I never had a fight with the manager. I always kept quiet.
Where did it go wrong? You have people who support me and
don't support me and one day, you will see what I'm capable
of. Will it be at LFC or somewhere else? I have faith."
The decision to omit Babel is likely to have been taken to
ensure he does not suffer an injury that could jeopardise
his sale. Benitez is hoping to use the fee for the
23-year-old to sign cover for Steven Gerrard, Fernando
Torres and Yossi Benayoun, the injured players.
(The Irish Independent)
Babel left out of Stoke squad
Ryan Babel has been left out of Liverpool’s squad to face
The Dutch attacker told his Twitter followers “Hey people, I
got some disappointing news, I’m not travelling to Stoke.
The Boss left me out the squad. No explanation.”
Rafa Benitez has left Babel out despite being without fellow
attackers Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and Yossi
New signing Maxi Rodriguez is in the squad, and winger
Albert Riera returns
Benitez is likely to start with Dirk Kuyt in attack,
probably alongside David Ngog, on Saturday.
(This is Anfield)
Rodriguez raring to go with Reds
New Liverpool star Maxi Rodriguez has set his sights on
adapting quickly to his new surroundings and helping the
Reds climb the league table.
The Argentine arrived at Anfield on Wednesday after
completing a free transfer from Atletico Madrid, signing an
18-month contract with the struggling Reds.
The 29-year-old has already begun learning the English
language but, after spending most of this season on the
bench in Spain, Rodriguez is eager
to get going.
"It is a good move in my career and I am very happy to be
stepping up to a club like Liverpool," he told the club's
"My primary objective is to adapt, fit in, support the team,
help other players and just get out there and get playing.
"For any player it is a great honour to pull on the
Liverpool shirt and I'd like to do that as soon as possible.
"I am looking forward to a successful time here. I want to
help the institution that is Liverpool and contribute the
best I can.
"Of course it will be a challenge, but I don't think it will
take me too long to adapt," he added.
Liverpool say manager Rafa
Benitez is not under threat
Rafael Benitez's position is "not on the agenda" despite
Liverpool's shock FA Cup defeat by Reading, according to
managing director Christian Purslow.
Benitez is under increasing pressure as boss after the loss
to the Championship side, an early Champions League exit and
poor Premier League form.
Despite his problems, the Spaniard has vowed to fight on at
And, in an email to BBC Sport, Purslow reiterated that
Benitez has the full support of the club's board.
(BBC Sport Online)
Reeling Reds seeking lift at Stoke
Rafael Benitez admits it will take "a lot of effort" to
raise Liverpool's spirits ahead of Saturday's trip to
The Reds are reeling after a humbling loss to Reading in the
FA Cup in midweek and a triple injury blow that has ruled
out Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and Yossi Benayoun.
Star striker Torres is the worst hit, being told on Thursday
he faces a six-week lay-off after a scan revealed he needs
surgery to repair a torn knee cartilage.
Influential captain Gerrard will be out for a fortnight with
a hamstring injury while playmaker Benayoun has a cracked
rib that will keep him on the sidelines for up to four
weeks. They join Glen Johnson in the treatment room, with
the full-back also out until mid-February with a knee
Liverpool, seventh in the Barclays Premier League, must now
rouse themselves to get their bid for a top-four place back
But immediately standing in their way are a difficult Stoke
side, who twice held Liverpool to goalless draws last
Benitez said: "We have to start again. All I can do is start
the next game.
"We can only carry on and be ready for the next game. All we
can say is that we must focus on the next challenge, but I
accept that it will be tough to raise spirits.
"But we cannot change the Reading result, we must move
forward. We have to think only about the future."
Hiddink hints at England return
Reports suggesting Liverpool are lining up Guus Hiddink to
be their new manager have intensfied after the Dutchman
admitted he would like to coach
in England again.
Hiddink spent a successful spell in charge of Chelsea in the
second half of last season, guiding the club to success in
the FA Cup.
Although Liverpool have backed Rafa Benitez to continue in
the Anfield hot-seat, the former Valencia coacj has presided
over a disastrous season for the club.
They are areuggling to finish in the top four of the Premier
League and have already crashed out of the Champions League,
FA Cup and Carling Cup.
Hiddink is expected to leave his job as Russia coach after
he failed to guide them to this summer's World Cup finals.
He said: "I have to speak to the federation president before
making any decision on my future, but it is true that I
would like to coach in England again.
"After all the support I've received from Roman Abramovich I
owe it to them to discuss anything with them first."
Liverpool FC is a club in crisis
They say that a fish rots from the head down – and the
fishy stench emanating from Anfield at present is
overpowering. Out of the Champions League. Out of the FA
Cup. Out of the Carling Cup. Their best two players now out
How much longer before Rafael Benitez is out of a job?
The likelihood is, not any time soon.
And that highlights the insurmountable problems faced by
Liverpool Football Club.
Not because I believe the time has come to change managers
For what it’s worth I still believe Benitez has the
managerial talent, acumen and most importantly appetite to
turn things around.
But alarmingly the custodians of Liverpool Football Club
lack the focus and the single-minded strength of purpose to
make such an onerous decision, even if the desire existed
for such a change.
Liverpool is pulling in several different directions – and
has been for years – that’s not a sign of a healthy football
(David Prentice - Liverpool Echo)
Torres tells Reds owners to spend
Fernando Torres has pleaded with Liverpool's owners to spend
on the squad, insisting the Reds need more "genuinely
Liverpool are out of the Champions League and effectively
out of the Premier League title race.
Wednesday's FA Cup third round replay defeat to Reading has
left them with just the Europa League trophy to chase.
And Torres wants the club's American co-owners Tom Hicks and
George Gillett to back his fellow Spaniard and manager
Torres said: "It's frustrating. We finished second last
season. This season should have been a turning point for us
- a chance to do something great.
"Manchester United sold Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo,
while Chelsea didn't sign anyone. But it hasn't been. It's
now the owners' turn. They have to sign players so that this
does not happen again.
"If we want to compete with United and Chelsea we need a
much, much more complete squad. We need more genuinely
first-class players and we can't let our best players
Torres, currently out with a knee injury, told Four-Four-Two
magazine: "We didn't want to win the Europa League at the
start of the season but it's a reality now.
"Now we have to win it. Anything less than winning the
tournament would be terrible. We need to improve, we need to
take responsibility and we need to get into the top four and
"We have virtually no chance of winning the title now. Now
we need to make the best of this situation."
Torres out for six weeks
- Gerrard out for two
Under-pressure Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez today suffered
another setback after Fernando Torres was ruled out for six
The Spanish striker - who lasted just 29 minutes of the
Reds' disastrous FA Cup third round replay defeat to Reading
last night - requires knee surgery after scans revealed torn
Steven Gerrard, who was also forced off with injury, will be
out for a fortnight with a hamstring strain while Yossi
Benayoun could face a month on the sidelines with a broken
Belt up for Raf ride
Liverpool must keep faith with Rafa Benitez in the hope of
winning the Europa League or finishing fourth in the Premier
So say former Reds players John Aldridge and Jason McAteer
despite Liverpool's 2-1 defeat to Championship side Reading
in the FA Cup third round.
Hammond: No Anfield bid for keeper
Reading director of football Nick Hammond has denied that
the Royals have received a bid from Liverpool for goalkeeper
The Australian has been linked with a move to Anfield as
number two to Pepe Reina, with his father telling press
after the shock 2-1 FA Cup win on Wednesday night that the
Reds had been in touch.
But Hammond told the Reading Chronicle: "I think Adam has
done exceptionally well since the difficult transition from
number two to number one.
"But we've had no contact from anyone regarding him.
"We have a big squad and the pressure remains in terms of
balancing the books.
"The key is keeping the players who are integral to us
moving forward. If we trade it will be on our terms."
goes public on Chamakh talks
Bordeaux president Jean-Louis Triaud still has no idea
whether Moroccan striker Marouane Chamakh will sign a new
deal at the Stade Gerland.
With his current deal at the reigning Ligue 1 champions set
to end in the summer, the 26-year-old is eligible to sign a
pre-contract agreement with other clubs and has been heavily
linked with Premier League pair Arsenal and Liverpool.
It had been reported earlier in the week that Rafael Benitez
had agreed a £25 million package to snap up the highly-rated
forward with Chamakh offered an apparent £12 million signing
on fee to move to Anfield at the end of the season.
Nevertheless, with Liverpool playing down the reports and
the club struggling financially, it appears that Arsenal
retain their position as favourites to snap up the player
Having made a strong impression on continental suitors with
his debut appearance in the Champions League earlier in the
season it is believed that Spanish giants Barcelona and
Serie A side Juventus could compete with Arsenal and
Liverpool should the protracted saga not come to an end this
Speaking about any progression in negotiations, Triaud told
French radio station RMC that he was unsure if his prized
asset could be persuaded to stay under Laurent Blanc’s
“I don’t know,” he reflected.
“Is it because of his affection to the club that he takes
his time to reply? I find him hard to understand. But we
have so much friendship and respect for this boy that we
wish him good luck.”
King Kenny and Hiddink
favourites to succeed Benitez
Bookies up and down the country are tipping former Liverpool
legend Kenny Dalglish or former Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink to
takeover from under pressure manager Rafa Benitez.
Liverpool crashed out of the FA Cup last night at Anfield at
the hands of Championship side Reading, which now sees the
reds fighting for fourth place having been knocked out of
the Champions League and League Cup.
Dalglish and Hiddink have been placed at 5/2 by Sky Bet
while next in line is a return to the Premier League for
Jose Mourinho, who has been placed at 5/1, alongside another
former Anfield boss Gerard Houllier to takeover from
Rafa Benitez has more problems this morning with injuries to
key forward Fernando Torres and captain Steven Gerrard.
However on a brighter note for the Spaniard Liverpool have
announced that they have completed the signing of Atletico
Madrid and Argentinean star Maxi Rodriguez on a free
transfer on a three and a half year deal.
SKY BET – FAVOURITES TO REPLACE RAFA BENITEZ
Kenny Dalglish – 5/2
Guus Hiddink – 5/2
Jose Mourinho – 5/1
Gerard Houllier – 5/1
Jurgen Klinsmann – 5/1
Oswaldo de Oliveira – 12/1
Martin O’Neill – 8/1
Roy Hodgson – 16/1
Frank Rijkaard – 16/1
Maurice Pelligrini – 16/1
Phil Scolari – 16/1
Steve McClaren – 25/1
Carragher says sorry
Jamie Carragher has apologised to Liverpool fans after their
embarrassing FA Cup exit at the hands of Reading.
The club's vice-captain admits that the Reds' performance
against the Championship strugglers was "not acceptable".
They led 1-0 via an own goal but conceded a late penalty and
then an extra-time goal to crash out of the competition.
"It was a very bad night for Liverpool and we can't disguise
that - we had to do more against a side from a lower
league," Carragher told the Liverpool Echo.
"We have to apologise for the way we performed. We have to
give credit to Reading, hold our hands up. We all like to
win but when you don't, you have to be a good loser."
Liverpool FC in chaos
both on and off the pitch
It seemed like business as usual for Rafa Benitez last
night. But this has been an unusual week.
The Liverpool manager remained composed and unflustered as
he answered some pressing questions about his team’s FA Cup
exit to Championship strugglers Reading.
“We have to improve defensively but we also have to take our
chances,” he said.
Of course, we’ve heard it before this season as Liverpool
have lurched from one problem to another.
At least the headlines might be dominated by events on the
The 2-1 defeat completed a couple of miserable days when,
not for the first time in recent years at Anfield, football
has taken a back seat.
In what should have been an uneventful build-up to the third
round replay it was off the field matters that caused the
club further embarrassment.
Following the postponement of Saturday’s league game with
Tottenham, it should have been a slow news week.
Instead, in the time it takes to send an e-mail, all hell
sincerest apologies' Hicks Jnr is said to be mortified by
the whole sorry affair. Whether his feelings bear comparison
to the emotions of Liverpool fans every time the club's
dirty linen is washed in public is another matter.
(David Randles - Liverpool Echo)
Liverpool interest in 'keeper confirmed
The father of Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici has confirmed
his son is attracting interest from Liverpool and has
advised him to move to Anfield if a formal offer is
Federici, 24, was a member of the Reading side that shocked
Liverpool on Wednesday night when forcing extra time with a
late penalty and then winning 2-1 in the FA Cup third-round
replay at Anfield.
The Australian, who has made 26 appearances in all
competitions for the Royals this season, has been linked
with a move to Merseyside in recent days.
While Federici is undoubtedly being targeted as a back-up to
current number one Jose Reina, his father, Tony, feels a
transfer to Anfield could prove difficult
"If I was advising him, in the big scheme of things, you'd
have to be mad not to not to take it," Federici senior told
the Daily Mirror. "I spoke to Adam and his agent has said he
was aware that there had been some contact.
"There is some substance to it, but I don't know how keen
Reading would be to let him go given he is their
"Adam has always wanted to play with one of the top four or
five clubs. We'll all know more after Thursday. To be part
of such a big club would be a great opportunity, but he
needs to play."
Whelan urges Reds to sack Rafa
Ronnie Whelan believes Liverpool should have sacked Rafa
Benitez "a long time ago" and must appoint someone new until
the end of the season.
Pressure on Benitez increased on Wednesday night as
Liverpool were dumped out of the FA Cup by Championship
strugglers Reading in a third-round replay
Liverpool, one of the pre-season title favourites, have
endured a difficult campaign having also slipped out of
contention in the Premier League and been knocked out of the
Whelan, who made 493 appearances for the Reds and captained
them in their 1989 FA Cup final win, believes the team now
need a new direction.
The ex-Republic of Ireland international, 48, told BBC Radio
Five Live: "The way Liverpool have been playing, they have
not been good. They have lost 10 of the last 20 games.
"He should have gone a long time ago. They have got to do it
"Do they bring in someone until the end of the season? Kenny
Dalglish is back at the football club. Could he do it until
the end of the season and see what happens?"
Scans for Gerrard and Torres
Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres both face scans later on
Thursday after being injured during Liverpool's shock FA Cup
exit at the hands of Reading on Wednesday night.
The Reds saw their star duo hurt on a night when the Anfield
faithful saw their side humbled 2-1 after extra-time by the
Under-pressure Rafa Benitez told the club's website
afterwards: "Both players will have a scan tomorrow
(Thursday) and we have to wait for the doctor. Gerrard has a
problem with his hamstring and Torres twisted his knee.
"Yossi Benayoun also has some problems with his ribs so
again we will have
Liverpool, who realistically now only have a top-four spot
and the Europa League to play for this season, are due to
visit Stoke in the Premier League on Saturday lunchtime.
McAteer: Reds running out of answers
Former Liverpool midfielder Jason McAteer admits the Reds
can have no excuses for their latest embarrassing result.
Manager Rafael Benitez's troubled campaign took another turn
for the worse as his side were bundled out of the FA Cup by
Championship strugglers Reading on Wednesday night.
The result increases the pressure on Benitez with his side
already out of the Champions League and seventh in the
Barclays Premier League. McAteer told LFC TV: "Sometimes you
just can't defend that kind of performance. It was poor."
He added: "Liverpool just didn't really create anything and
to be fair the better team won on the night."
(The Irish Independet/PA Sport)
Benitez vows to fight on at Liverpool
Under-pressure Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has vowed to
fight on, despite seeing his side exit the FA Cup at the
hands of Championship outfit Reading.
The Reds squandered a one-goal lead to lose 2-1 after extra
time in their third-round replay with the Royals.
Liverpool are already out of the Champions League and are 12
points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea.
"Everybody has been talking about me but I'll keep working
hard with my team," Benitez told the club's website.
"From the beginning of the season we have been a little bit
frustrated but we have to carry on. When you are in the race
you need to keep going.
"We are not in the competition [FA Cup] any more. If the
critics are fair, then it's OK but it's been the same for
(BBC Sport Online)
Benitez 6/1 to go this week
Rafael Benitez is 6/1 to have left his post as Liverpool
manager before Saturday's game with Stoke after another
disastrous result on Wednesday night.
The Reds lost 2-1 to Reading in their FA Cup third-round
replay at Anfield, effectively ending their chances of
domestic silverware this season.
Benitez is now 6/1 with Sky Bet to be gone by the weekend
when failure to beat the Potters would make Liverpool's goal
of winning a place in next season's Champions League look
even more distant.
The Harrogate-based firm make it 5/6 (from evens) that the
Spaniard sees the current season out at Anfield. He's the
same price to be gone by May.
bet365 make him odds-on (8/11) to be gone before the end of
the season, while he's 4/9 to be out of his job by the start
of the 2010/11 campaign.
Their spokesman Steve Freeth said: "The excuses are running
out for Rafa."
Reds flushed by Royals
Shane Long's extra-time goal gave Reading a deserved 2-1
victory over Liverpool in their FA Cup third-round replay at
Gylfi Sigurdsson's injury-time penalty forced the game into
extra-time to cancel out Ryan Bertrand's unfortunate own
goal on the stroke of half-time.
Long came off the bench to win the penalty after being
kicked by Yossi Benayoun inside the box and Sigurdsson
coolly slotted the ball past Diego Cavalieri, sending the
reserve goalkeeper the wrong way from the spot.
Reading grabbed the winner 10 minutes into the first period
of extra-time when Brynjar Gunnarsson skipped past Benayoun
and nutmegged Emiliano Insua before sending a cross over for
Long to head home from six yards.
To make matters worse on a miserable night for Rafa Benitez
he saw star duo Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard forced
off with knocks.
Liverpool hold Genk talks
Belgian outfit Genk are ready to tie up a co-operation deal
Genk officials are set to hold talks with their Reds
counterparts this week, to discuss terms on the proposed
Director general Dirk Degraen and coach Frank Vercautern are
set to travel to Merseyside in the coming days.
"Now we are going to look on which way we can co-operate in
the short term," Degraen told Het Belang van Limburg.
"Liverpool has a very big squad and many players didn't get
"Genk can offer a solution for that, if we are offered the
players that can make our squad better.
"Liverpool wants to sign young talented players from Africa
and South America. But because of the British law it isn't
possible. We can get the players to Belgium and let them
develop. It would be a win-win situation for both clubs.
"We still have to talk about how to work the co-operation.
At the moment we don't even know which players we can get."
Aqua faces Reading
Alberto Aquilani starts for Liverpool in tonight's FA Cup
third round replay at home to Reading - listen live from
The Italian is one of five changes to the team that drew 1-1
at the Madejski, with Diego Cavalieri, Philipp Degen, Daniel
Agger and Yossi Benayoun also involved.
Liverpool: Cavalieri, Degen, Carragher, Agger, Insua,
Aquilani, Lucas, Benayoun, Kuyt, Gerrard, Torres.
Subs: Aurelio, Babel, Ngog, Spearing, Skrtel, Gulacsi,
(LFC Official Website)
Torres thrilled with Maxi deal
Fernando Torres has pledged to help Maxi Rodriguez adapt to
English football - but he is expecting something in return.
The pair played together for two years at Atletico Madrid
and Torres is confident the Argentina international can be a
star in the Barclays Premier League.
El Nino will be there to lend a helping hand - but the
superstar striker hopes it will be a mutually beneficial
He explained to Liverpoolfc.tv: "He has a very good
mentality - a winner, just like every Argentinean player. He
has Javier Mascherano as a friend, not just me, so we can
help him adapt during his first days here in England.
"And of course he can help me score goals. One of the main
qualities he has is to help strikers. He will help Stevie,
Dirk or myself to score goals because he gets a lot of
"Maxi will help us a lot. I played with him for two seasons
at Atletico and he's a very good player. I am sure he'll
score goals and work hard. He is a team player."
Torres also lifted the lid on conversations between the pair
about Liverpool over the last few years.
"I talk to him every month or so because I have a good
relationship with him," said the No.9. "We always talk about
Liverpool, how big the club is and how I'd like to play with
"He likes Liverpool, he likes the mentality and the history.
I'm sure he'll be very happy to join Liverpool.
"I have no doubt he can adapt to English football. He is an
international player who's played in World Cups and South
American cups. He knows about
the top level."
(LFC Official Website)
Rafa's delight at Maxi deal
Rafael Benitez is confident new signing Maxi Rodriguez has
all the necessary attributes to become a success in the
Barclays Premier League.
The 29-year-old became Liverpool's first acquisition of the
January transfer window when he put pen to paper on a
three-and-a-half year deal at Anfield
And Benitez believes the former Atletico Madrid ace will
prove to be a fine addition to his Reds squad.
"We were looking for players with character and a good
mentality," the boss told Liverpoolfc.tv. "He has played for
Argentina and Atletico Madrid and is a player with
"He can play in three positions - on the right, left or as a
second striker - and is someone with a very positive
mentality, which is what we are looking for."
(LFC Official Website)
In profile: Our new no. 17
Liverpool today announced the acquisition of Maxi Rodriguez
from Atletico Madrid. Here's the lowdown on our new number
A talented winger with an eye for goal, Maxi is the Reds'
first signing of the January transfer window.
The Argentina international can play on either flank and has
also been known to feature in an attacking midfield role.
Nicknamed La Fiera, he first came to prominence with
Newell's Old Boys and enjoyed three seasons with Los
Leprosos after rising through their youth system.
(LFC Official Website)
Maxi Rodriguez makes Reds move
Liverpool have signed Argentina international Maxi Rodriguez
on a free transfer from Atletico Madrid.
The 29-year-old winger has penned a three-and-a-half-year
deal with Rafael Benitez's side after spending four years in
the Spanish capital.
After passing a medical and agreeing terms Rodriguez put pen
to paper on the deal, which is subject to international
Liverpool FC deny signing
Marouane Chamakh in £25m deal
Liverpool today rubbished suggestions they have signed
Marouane Chamakh in
a £25m deal.
It is no secret the Reds are in the race to sign the
26-year-old striker from Bordeaux, along with several other
clubs but they are still waiting to hear whether their bid
to land him has been successful.
Chamakh is available on a Bosman in June and has indicated
that he will make a decision on his future by the end of the
current transfer window.
But Liverpool have not tried to steal a march on their
rivals by offering him a £12m signing on fee or a contract
reported to be worth more than £60,000 a week.
That would equate to a deal worth more than £100,000 per
week for a player who is currently earns around a tenth of
that figure in Ligue 1.
Liverpool are intent exercising prudence and are simply
interested in individuals who are want enhance their medal
collection rather swelling their bank balance.
Church relishing Reds showdown
Reading striker Simon Church has warned Liverpool not to
underestimate his side as they look to dump the seven-time
FA Cup winners out of the competition.
The Royals will swap the lower reaches of the Coca-Cola
Championship for the bright lights of Anfield as they look
to make it through to the fourth round of
the FA Cup.
Brian McDermott's side earned a third-round replay against
the Reds after holding the 2006 winners to a 1-1 home draw
on January 2.
Church opened the scoring at the Madejski Stadium and is
hoping he can repeat the feat.
"You always want to play in the big stadiums and against the
big players and it would be great to score at Anfield," the
"People think it will be a walkover for Liverpool but we
have to have the belief that we can go there and give them a
"We can take a lot of confidence from the first game because
they obviously put out a full-strength team and we kept them
quiet for a long time. We also created a lot of chances so
we can only take that confidence in with us."
(Press Association Sport)
Purslow: We won’t be
selling Gerrard or Torres
Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow has dismissed
weekend reports that suggested star players Fernando Torres
and Steven Gerrard may be sold
Speaking to the Liverpool ECHO Purslow said “The idea that
we would ever wish to sell our top players is completely
against the interests of this club.”
(This is Anfield)
Liverpool set to sell
naming rights to new stadium
Liverpool will sell off the naming rights to their new
stadium at Stanley Park, the club's commercial director has
The stadium is not due to start being built until April, but
Ian Ayre has admitted that he has already spoken with
several companies over the possible branding of the new
Liverpool are looking to raise new revenue streams and will
seek a deal that tops the £100 million that Arsenal got for
changing their stadium name to 'Emirates Stadium' and Ayre
said: "Naming rights is now an accepted part of building any
new footballing venue in the world. And as one of only a few
global football brands, it would be crazy of us not to tap
into that opportunity.
"It is an area that some of our competitors have dabbled -
Arsenal for example - and it is an opportunity for us to
step forward. But what is important again is to find the
right partner, who offers the right cultural fit. Who knows
who that would be for Liverpool, but we have had some
Benitez wins battle to spend
funds from Babel transfer
Rafael Benitez has won a battle with the Liverpool hierarchy
after being told he will be able to spend any money he
raises from the sale of Ryan Babel
Senior figures within the Anfield boardroom have performed
an about-turn on the issue of funds generated from player
sales after initially warning Benitez that money raised
would not be reinvested in his playing squad in the transfer
Dutch winger Babel, the subject of a £9m bid from Birmingham
City earlier this month, is ready to leave Liverpool in an
effort to secure his place in Holland's World Cup squad. An
£11.5m buy from Ajax in July 2007, the 23-year-old failed to
justify his price tag at Anfield, but the club will look to
raise in the region of £10m.
Fiorentina are keen to sign the player, with Galatasaray,
managed by former Holland and Ajax coach Frank Rijkaard,