Reds 5/2 to finish in top four
Liverpool are 5/2 with Sky Bet to finish in the Premier
League's top four after crushing Portsmouth 4-1 at Anfield
on Monday night.
Midfielder Alberto Aquilani finally found a performance to
justify his £17million price tag, capping a masterful
display with his first Liverpool goal to help lift the Reds
to fifth in the table.
The summer signing, brought in after Xabi Alonso's sale to
Real Madrid, has struggled to adapt to life in England but
was at the heart of everything in only his fifth league
Fernando Torres scored twice, with Ryan Babel and Aquilani
adding goals in between his strikes, before Nadir Belhadj
hit a late consolation.
Liverpool are now one point behind Tottenham, who are 5/2 to
finish in the top four, and one ahead of 13/8 market leaders
However Rafael Benitez's men have played one game more than
Spurs and two more than the Eastlands outfit.
Reds enjoy happy Monday
Liverpool turned a potential blue Monday into a happy
Monday as they swept Portsmouth aside 4-1 to ease the woes
The Reds suffered Monday misery at Wigan seven days ago but
began a big week well with a comprehensive win over Pompey.
Monday night football has rarely suited Liverpool - they had
not opened the week with a win in their last nine attempts -
but they were seldom threatened by the Premier League's
Three goals in six first-half minutes - one each for
Fernando Torres and Ryan Babel to go with Alberto Aquilani's
first strike in English football - killed the game as a
contest and turned the second period into a virtual training
exercise for the home side.
Torres netted his second after 77 minutes as Liverpool
peppered Jamie Ashdown's goal before Nadir Belhadj bagged a
late consolation the visitors scarcely deserved.
Torres and Steven Gerrard were both substituted late on with
matches against Lille and Manchester United to come in the
next week, the Liverpool skipper going off just moments
after appearing to throw an arm at opposite number Michael
Alberto Aquilani starts for Liverpool against Portsmouth
Maxi Rodriguez also comes in, while Lucas and Dirk Kuyt make
The Reds side in full is: Reina, Insua, Johnson, Carragher,
Agger, Mascherano, Aquilani, Gerrard, Babel, Rodriguez,
Torres. Subs: Cavalieri, Kyrgiakos, Ngog, Benayoun, Kuyt,
(LFC Official Website)
Kuyt promises goals
Dirk Kuyt wants to forget all about Liverpool's recent
defeats and start scoring goals and winning games again.
“Last Monday was an off-day for everyone and we just have to
forget about it,” said the Dutchman. “We wanted to change it
at Lille and we put a lot of effort in but it just wasn’t
enough. We controlled the game and didn’t give much away but
we still lost.
“We know we are capable of scoring more goals. We need to
show character now. We are playing for Liverpool Football
Club and you know that you have got to win games and
ultimately win trophies.
“Everyone is so disappointed with what has happened this
season but this is the way it is. We have to try and forget
what has gone before and look forward to what is left. We’ve
got three massive games coming up, in Europe and in the
“We know what we have to do. We have got to win them all.
The positive we took out of the Lille game is that we were
organised and worked hard for each other. We also created a
couple of chances and we were unlucky not to score a goal.
“To then concede one five minutes before the end of the game
was really unlucky but this is football. We have got a
chance to put it right now. We have got another game and we
have got a lot of quality in the team.
“It’s true that we have not been scoring a lot of goals at
the moment but it all changes from now.”
Reds mourn former goalkeeper
Liverpool Football Club were today saddened to learn of the
death of former goalkeeper Charlie Ashcroft at the age of
Ashcroft made his debut for the Reds in 1946 and played in
the title winning
side of 1946-47.
He made 89 appearances for the Reds and famously saved a
penalty from Tom Finney on the opening day of the 1952-53
Everybody at Liverpool FC would like to offer their deepest
condolences to Charlie's family and friends at this sad
(LFC Official Website)
Rafa drops fourth guarantee
Rafael Benitez is no longer guaranteeing fourth place.
A few weeks back Benitez guaranteed that the Reds would end
the season in the Champions League qualifying places. With
no improvement in the football played since then, and no
ground made on fourth spot, he is now only guarenteeing that
the squad will try hard to finish fourth.
"I think I will have to guarantee now that we will work as
hard as we did against Lille," said the boss.
"At home against bottom team Portsmouth people will not just
want a win, but a lot of goals.
"If we play well, 1-0 would be fantastic. You just have to
win. It is an important week and Portsmouth have nothing to
lose, so they are dangerous.
"We were doing so well in the past, and it is sometimes
difficult to keep this level. We were pushing and trying and
every year improving in different areas.
"The Champions League, FA Cup, league - it's not easy to
keep this level if you do not have the money that maybe
other teams have.
"We cannot win the title, so we have to be ready for one
game at a time and see if we can finish in the top four. It
has been a disappointing season, but we can still fight and
Rhone Group bid for Liverpool FC
could lead to more offers
A firm bid to buy a major stake in Liverpool FC could lead
to other offers from around the world arriving within weeks.
American co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett are now
deciding whether to dilute their controversial ownership of
the Reds after the club received a formal offer of more than
£100m in fresh investment.
The offer – a strategic long-term plan put forward by the
Rhone Group – is being seen as a £110m plus vote of
confidence in Liverpool Football Club and its future.
Investment firm Rhone Group make
offer to cut Liverpool FC's debts
Tom Hicks and George Gillett have been offered a way of
relieving the financial pressure at Liverpool after global
investment firm the Rhone Group made a £100million-plus
offer for a 40% stake in the club.
Liverpool’s co-owners have been looking for an injection of
cash to help reduce the current level of debt leveraged on
When they successfully renegotiated the terms of their loan
with the Royal Bank of Scotland last summer one requirement
was that they had to cut £100million off the £237million
Liverpool chief executive Christian Purslow set a deadline
of Easter to have secured new finance.
After much speculation over the source of potential
investors, it is understood the submission from the Rhone
Group is the first genuine offer to be received.
If the offer is accepted by Hicks and Gillett it would
considerably strengthen the club’s financial position.
The people behind the Rhone Group bid have been keen to
stress that the offer comes in the form of fresh money - not
borrowed - which would immediately be used to slash
Liverpool’s debt by nearly half.
Agger: We'll keep believing
Daniel Agger insists points rather than performance will be
all that matters when Portsmouth visit Anfield on Monday
Liverpool kick off a crucial week by taking on Barclays
Premier League bottom club Pompey before the return leg of
the Europa League last 16 tie with Lille, with the Reds
needing to overturn a 1-0 deficit.
Rafael Benitez's side then travel to Old Trafford to face
Manchester United on Sunday - but Agger has warned Liverpool
must simply focus on one game
at a time.
"Against Portsmouth on Monday night the performance doesn't
matter as much as getting the three points," said the
centre-back. "We need to get some victories quickly and move
on to get ourselves up the table.
"Every week we say this is a big week. Last week people said
it was a defining week as well.
"We need to focus on the next game first, not the games
after that. It's as straightforward as that."
(LFC Official Website)
New US bid for Reds set to fail
Sky Sports News understands that a proposed £100million
investment in Liverpool, will not go ahead.
Reports suggest that private US equity firm - Rhone Group -
were set to seal a deal to invest in Anfield.
It is claimed that Rhone Group wanted to take a 40 per cent
stake in the club - reducing the holdings of current joint
owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks.
But Sky Sports News has been told that the offer is unlikely
to go ahead.
The offer has been as a 'non-significant' offer, although
talks had taken place.
Benitez: I'm not
feeling the pressure
Two defeats in four days have once again brought Rafael
Benitez’s position under scrutiny, but the Liverpool manager
insists he is not feeling the pressure.
Losses against Wigan and then Lille in the Europa League
heightened the feeling of impending catastrophe at Anfield.
And with Real Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini’s long-term
future in serious doubt after his side’s exit from the
Champions League, speculation has already started linking
Benitez with the Bernabeu post.
“I don’t feel under pressure. I am disappointed for the
season but we can still fight and still improve,” Benitez
Torres warns Liverpool over future
Fernando Torres has warned Liverpool he may consider his
future at the club if they do not make an assault on the
transfer market to turn them into genuine title contenders.
Talking about his future at Anfield, Torres, who has scored
13 league goals in 18 appearances so far this term, told
Spanish newspaper AS: "It's too soon to talk, I honestly
think that we're going to be fourth, but for me Champions
League qualification isn't so important.
"The really important thing is that the club makes a big
effort and brings in important players, who will improve the
quality of the squad. We need four or five top-class players
to compete, better than we have here, who will make us grit
our teeth and do everything we can to try and keep our
Rafa trusts Torres
to turn things around
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is backing striker Fernando
Torres to end his European goal drought and fire his side
into the quarter-finals of
the Europa League.
The Spain international drew another blank in the 1-0 defeat
in Lille on Thursday night, although that was partly due to
the brilliance of goalkeeper
However, Benitez was pleased with Torres’ performance in
Lille and believes could well prove to be the key figure as
they attempt to overturn a one-goal deficit when the French
club visit Anfield next Thursday.
"It was really important to see Fernando fighting from the
beginning because it sent a very good message to the other
players," said the Liverpool manager.
McLeish linked with Reds
Alex McLeish has been linked with Liverpool.
The Birmingham City manager is being linked with the Reds as
a replacement for Rafael Benitez should he quit for Juventus
or Real Madrid, or end up sacked after a dismal, depressing
season according to today's Daily Mirror.
Real Madrid president Florentino
targets Liverpool boss Benitez
Real Madrid are ready to test Liverpool's resolve over
manager Rafa Benitez.
The Spanish giants will sack Manuel Pellegrini in the
summer, after their Champions League defeat by Lyon.
Real president Florentino Perez has under-fire Liverpool
chief Benitez as the front-runner on a shortlist that also
includes Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti.
A top Real source told The Sun: "Rafa is the preferred
choice. He is a Madrid man and his agent, Manuel Garcia
Quillon, has an excellent relationship
with the club."