Gerrard: We'll finish job off
Steven Gerrard reflected on Liverpool's slender first leg
victory over Unirea Urziceni on Thursday night and insisted
the Reds will finish the job off in Bucharest next week.
Liverpool will travel to the Romanian capital with a David
Ngog goal to protect as they look to secure their place in
the last sixteen of the competiiton, but the skipper
believes Rafael Benitez's side will prove too strong for
their own pitch.
"Unirea were very stubborn tonight," he said. "We expected
that because their manager has set up a team against us
before and we knew they'd be difficult to break down.
"We have to be more clinical and I am confident we will get
more joy away from home against them. They will have to try
to beat us and we can kill them off."
(LFC Official Website)
Ngog fires frustrated
Liverpool to victory
Striker David Ngog’s goal nine minutes from time eventually
broke the resistance of a determined Unirea Urziceni at
Anfield in the Europa League.
With the visitors intent on soaking up plenty of pressure
Rafael Benitez’s side struggled to find the creativity to
get past the massed Romanian ranks.
However, the Frenchman’s close-range header meant the Reds
have some breathing space as they head to Bucharest for next
week’s last-32 second leg.
The victory was only Liverpool’s third in nine European
fixtures since they hammered Real Madrid 4-0 in the last 16
of the Champions League 11 months ago - a disappointing run
which contributed to their exit from Europe’s elite-level
competition in December.
Jamie Carragher is included in Liverpool's starting line-up
for this evening's Europa League clash with Unirea Urziceni
The Reds vice-captain has recovered from an abductor injury
sustained against Arsenal to face the Romanian champions.
There are also starts for Fabio Aurelio and Alberto
Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Skrtel, Agger, Aurelio, Kuyt,
Aquilani, Mascherano, Riera, Gerrard, Ngog.
Subs: Cavalieri, Kyrgiakos, Babel, Lucas, Insua, Degen,
(LFC Official Website)
Gerrard: Reds gunning for trophy
Captain Steven Gerrard has warned their Europa League rivals
not to underestimate Liverpool.
Despite what has been a disappointing season for the Reds so
far, with early exits from the Champions League, FA Cup and
Premier League title race, the England midfielder stressed
they were not prepared to give up without a fight.
"It's very dangerous to bet against Liverpool, especially
when our backs are to the wall," said the 29-year-old, who,
along with Jamie Carragher, is one of only two remaining
squad members who played in the 5-4 UEFA Cup final victory
over Alaves nine years ago.
(Press Association Sport)
Insua calls for Europa focus
Emiliano Insua knows Liverpool must approach the Europa
League with the same mentality they would if they were still
in the Champions League.
Having failed to make it through the group stage for the
first time in manager Rafael Benitez's reign of almost six
years, the Reds are facing up to the reality of UEFA's
Romanian opponents Unirea Urziceni also dropped out of the
Champions League this season but their expectations on their
first appearance among Europe's elite will have been a lot
lower than Liverpool's.
But Insua insists the Reds have to call on their vast
European experience to get them through what will be an
unfamiliar challenge for many of the squad.
"It is a bit strange to see Liverpool in the Europa League
but we have to approach the game like we're playing in the
Champions League," said the Argentinian
Vieira to miss Liverpool clash
Patrick Vieira will miss Man City's game against Liverpool
after picking up a three-match ban for violent conduct.
The former Arsenal midfielder has until Thursday afternoon
to appeal against
Benitez derides Champions
League play-off plan
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has laughed off the idea of
a Champions League play-off, saying teams would be playing
"until the end of the century".
The suggestion of a play-off between the teams who come
fourth to seventh for the fourth spot has drawn mixed
reviews but Benitez says it is absurd.
"We are playing too much now. They were talking about a 39th
game being played in Asia," he said.
"If we now play the play-offs we'll be playing until the end
of the century."
"To play three, maybe four fixtures, when you don't have
time with international football - when will you play, how
can you play these games and what does it mean for the team
that finishes fourth?," stated Benitez.
"Maybe we can do the same with the teams at the bottom of
the table. If you finish fourth maybe you could play with
the team who finished third
from the bottom.
"Then during the whole season we can play 50 games and we
don't have to rest so that will be fantastic."
(BBC Sport Online)
Maxi enjoying Reds life
Liverpool new boy Maxi Rodriguez insists he is enjoying life
at Anfield following his arrival last month.
Argentine ace Rodriguez joined Liverpool during the January
transfer window on a free transfer after leaving Atletico
Maxi has started Liverpool's last two matches and he
believes he is getting used to the style of English
"It's going fantastic so far and I couldn't have hoped for
better," Rodriguez told the club's official website. "It's
so different to daily life in Madrid, but I think I am
settling in and it's even better here than I expected it to
"Gradually as the weeks have gone by, I've been getting used
to daily life in the city. I think it will be even better
when I'm more settled.
"It's totally different here to the football in La Liga.
Certainly you are aware of the fact it is a lot more
physical, tougher and aggressive - they are
the big differences.
"But wherever you play football in the world, you still play
with a round ball, so you get used to it.
"What's more, I really like the competitive, physical aspect
of the game. I think it suits my style and I'm enjoying it."
Joining Liverpool would be my pinnacle,
says Sunderland's Kenwyne Jones
Sunderland striker Kenwyne Jones has dropped a huge hint
that he would jump at the chance of joining Liverpool.
Jones was linked with a move to Anfield last month and
although he remains committed to the Sunderland cause the
speculation has pricked his interest in swapping Wearside
"If one of the world's big clubs comes in for you it's
understandable a player might have the desire to go to that
next level," said the Trinidad & Tobago international.
"Until you sign a contract with a new club it's all just
talk. January was a crazy time and now I have to focus on
the games ahead.
"The manager spoke to me. The reassuring speech came out to
let me know the club still wanted me. That is always nice to
"But sometimes a big situation like the transfer story can
make it hard for the manager to say anything. But as far as
I am concerned, we are all needed."
(The Daily Telegraph)
Carragher set for Liverpool return
Injury worries appear to be easing for Liverpool as defender
Jamie Carragher is fit to face Unirea Urziceni in the Europa
League tie at Anfield.
And in another boost to Reds boss Rafa Benitez, Yossi
Benayoun, Fernando Torres and Glen Johnson are all close to
Reds vice-captain Carragher was forced off in last
Wednesday's 1-0 defeat at Arsenal with a groin problem but
has now recovered.
Midfielder Benayoun, who has been out for more than a month
after breaking a rib in the FA Cup defeat by Reading on
January 13, has an outside chance of featuring against the
"Carra is training again and he will be available, which is
very good news for us as he is an important player for us,"
"Yossi is training with the team. He still has a problem
with his rib but at least he is training. We will decide
about him on Thursday."
Striker Torres and full-back Johnson will not be available
for the match but continue to make good progress with their
comebacks from knee injuries.
"Torres and Johnson are progressing and working with the
"They are very close but not available yet."
Marouane Fellaini out for six months
after Sotirios Kyrgiakos tackle
Everton's Marouane Fellaini lies in pain after the tackle
which saw Liverpool's Sotirios Kyrgiakos sent off.
Photograph: John Walton/Empics
Everton have been dealt a major injury setback after their
influential midfielder Marouane Fellaini was ruled out for
six months with ankle ligament damage.
The Belgium international, who has been in superb form of
late, visited a specialist in London yesterday to assess the
extent of the injury inflicted by Sotirios Kyrgiakos's
two-footed challenge in the recent Merseyside derby.
Fellaini was carried off as a result of the foul that
brought a straight red card for the Liverpool defender and
had to delay his appointment with the specialist due to
inflammation around the ankle.
His scheduled absence means the £15m club record signing
will miss the remainder of this campaign, pre-season
training, and will not be available until the start of next
Benitez: Liverpool FC will
give Europa League best shot
Rafa Benitez today promised Liverpool will make the best of
a difficult situation when they return to European action
later this week.
In normal circumstances, the Reds’ boss would have been
preparing his side for a Champions League clash this week
but events before Christmas means they have had to lower
Benitez, though, is looking forward to Thursday night’s
assignment against Unirea Urziceni and insists he is
preparing for the Anfield clash without any pangs for the
competition with which Liverpool have become accustomed in
“You have to be positive and turn things in your favour. Now
we have another opportunity (of playing in Europe) and we
must try to keep playing better.
“We have got to keep progressing in the Europa League and
aim to finish as high as we can in the Premier League.”
Carlos Tévez to miss Manchester City's
Premier League showdown with Liverpool
Carlos Tévez is unlikely to return from Argentina in time to
play for Manchester City against Liverpool on Sunday, even
though his second daughter was born over the weekend.
Tévez missed City's 1-1 FA Cup fifth-round draw with Stoke
at Eastlands after being granted leave to travel to his
homeland to be at the birth in a hospital in Buenos Aires.
The Argentina international, City's leading scorer this
season, will not be pressured into returning to England and
manager Roberto Mancini is not thought to be expecting him
back in time for the crucial fixture against Liverpool.
(The Daily Telegraph)