Harry boosted by
Reds' missing big guns
Harry Redknapp wants Spurs to be the beneficiaries of the
cold snap when they face a Liverpool side without Fernando
Torres or Steven Gerrard.
Spurs were due to face their rivals for a Champions League
place earlier in the month but the match was postponed due
to snow, with Gerrard and Torres then suffering injuries in
the FA Cup defeat to Reading.
Redknapp's own options have been bolstered by the return of
Jamie O'Hara as the Premier League's transfer embargo for
Portsmouth meant the midfielder could not re-register on
loan at Fratton Park.
"I'd be lying if I stood here and said that the absence of
Gerrard and Torres won't matter," said Redknapp, ahead of
the Wednesday evening fixture.
"Of course, they are two world-class players, and they will
Rafa looks to add to squad
Rafa Benitez admits he will try to further add to his squad
in the transfer window although he is happy with the players
he has at his disposal.
The Liverpool boss has already brought in midfielder Maxi
Rodriguez from Atletico Madrid last week but may now feel it
necessary to bring in cover upfront after the news that
Fernando Torres will be out for six weeks.
The Reds were linked with a loan move for Kenwyne Jones on
Monday but Sunderland have already stated that the front-man
is not for sale.
However Benitez knows funds are limited due to the club's
poor financial situation and has been told that he must sell
before he looks to buy.
"We will see if we can do something more in the transfer
window," he said.
"If we cannot we will stick together for the next challenge.
We have a good team, a good squad and not as bad as people
Kranjcar fires warning to Liverpool
Niko Kranjcar says Tottenham will be looking to put some
daylight between themselves and Liverpool on Wednesday in
the battle for fourth place.
The two teams meet at Anfield in midweek with Spurs
occupying fourth spot, level on points with Manchester City
and four ahead of Liverpool in seventh.
Kranjcar, who has impressed since his cut-price move from
Portsmouth in the summer, believes Spurs can go to
Merseyside and bring back all three points.
Cats rule out Jones-Babel swap talk
Sunderland manager Steve Bruce insists he has no intention
of sanctioning a swap deal involving Kenwyne Jones and
Liverpool's Ryan Babel.
Bruce is adamant the Black Cats will not be offloading key
men during the January transfer window, despite speculation
to the contrary.
He claims reports regarding the future of Jones, who is
believed to be a target for a number of Premier League
clubs, are wide of the mark.
Liverpool are one of those said to be keen on the Trinidad &
Tobago striker with Rafa Benitez keen to cover the loss of
Fernando Torres to injury.
A deal involving Dutch winger Babel, who is unhappy at a
lack of first-team opportunities at Anfield, has been mooted
- but Bruce has made it clear he has no interest in
discussing such an agreement.
"The one thing I am trying to do is build the squad and
build the squad to improve," he said.
"The last thing I want to be doing is trade or anything like
Aurelio unimpressed by Mason
Fabio Aurelio feels referee Lee Mason was partially
responsible for costing Liverpool two points at Stoke.
Brazilian full-back believes that Benitez's men were
deserving of a morale-boosting success, after battling
bravely against stubborn opposition, but insists referee
Mason did all he could to deny them a welcome win.
"We mentioned before the game that we just had to let the
referee do his job and not speak to him because he has not
been very good for us in the past," Aurelio said in the
Liverpool Daily Post.
"In the end, during the game, we had to push him on things
because we could see a lot of decisions that should have
been in our favour.
"Speaking to Lucas, he said he has two clear penalties
"There were a lot of decisions that the referee just didn't
see. That's why we are so disappointed."
Torres surgery 'a success'
Fernando Torres' knee surgeon believes the striker could be
back in action inside six weeks.
The Liverpool striker has gone under the knife in an effort
to cure a niggling problem which has been plaguing him for
The hope is that the operation will rid the Spaniard of the
ailment and allow him to rediscover full match fitness.
Liverpool need that to be the case, with Torres vital to
their plans going forward.
Under-fire coach Rafa Benitez needs as many of his key men
available as possible and will be desperate to welcome his
countryman back into his
That situation may be someway off at present, by the Reds
boss will have welcomed news that that his most potent
attacking weapon will be ready for the end of season run-in.
Dr Ramon Cugat, the specialist who operated on Torres in a
Barcelona hospital, has confirmed that the cartilage surgery
has been a success and sees no reason why the fearsome
frontman should not be back by the start of March.
"The surgery was a success and, if there are no problems,
Fernando will be okay in six weeks," he said in The Sun.
Liverpool to fine
Babel for Twitter rant
FIFA 'hand' Henry a reprieve Liverpool attacker Ryan Babel
will be fined for his Twitter outburst last week.
The Daily Mail says Babel was yesterday told by Reds boss
Rafa Benitez he would be fined for his Twitter outburst
complaining about being left out of the squad for Saturday’s
1-1 draw at Stoke.
As an indication of his deteriorating relationship with
Benitez, who called him ‘unprofessional’, Babel stormed away
from Liverpool’s Melwood training ground after a stern
rebuke from his manager.
The player headed home but was contacted half-an-hour later
with instructions to rejoin his team-mates for their warming
Benitez denies Gerrard bust up
Rafael Benitez has thrown himself into crisis mode after
Liverpool’s latest setback against Stoke but his ability to
keep a sinking ship afloat cannot hide the fact they are
bailing out water on the Anfield decks this morning.
Benitez will defy speculation about his future by calling
for an ‘us against the world’ mentality at the club’s
Melwood training ground as he assesses another lead thrown
Benitez, whose team now face Tottenham at Anfield on
Wednesday, also moved quickly to dismiss rumours of a
dressing-room fallout with captain Gerrard, who is reported
to be considering a move to Real Madrid if Liverpool’s slump
continues much longer.
"It’s not true," insisted Benitez. "He was at the game in
the stands to support the team. He wanted to show his
commitment. He was in the dressing room with me and the rest
of the players and staff."
Mascherano: We are cursed
Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano thinks his team are
cursed following their draw against Stoke on Saturday.
The Reds were undone by a late equaliser from Robert Huth at
the Britannia Stadium, having taken the lead through Greek
defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos
in the 57th minute.
In a week when they also crashed out of the FA Cup after a
home defeat to Reading, Mascherano is beginning to feel like
there is a spell on the Anfield club.
"It seems like we are cursed in terms of injuries and
letting in incredible goals in the last minutes of games,"
he said in The People.
Liverpool icon Aldridge keen to see
Bolton skipper Davies at Anfield
Liverpool icon John Aldridge has urged manager Rafa Benitez
to move for Bolton Wanderers captain Kevin Davies.
Aldridge says Liverpool need a centre-forward to cover for
He told the Liverpool Echo: "We have to get another striker
in and if money is tight Benitez might have to be canny.
"Someone like Kevin Davies from Bolton would do a job. He’s
strong, can hold the ball up and put himself about a bit. We
might have to sell (Ryan) Babel to strengthen but that
wouldn’t be a bad thing."
Beardsley backing for Benitez
Former Anfield star Peter Beardsley believes Liverpool
should stick by under-pressure manager Rafael Benitez.
And he insists the Spanish boss, who has signed more than
100 players in his five years on Merseyside, is the best man
for the job even if Liverpool do not finish in the top four
at the end of the season.
Beardsley puts most of Liverpool's woes this season down to
injuries to their most influential players, Fernando Torres
and Steven Gerrard.
Beardsley said: "He's (Benitez) signed a lot of players but
look at most teams in the world. If they lost their stars
then they would struggle. If you lost Rooney out of
Manchester United's team they would struggle.
"The criticism is a bit over the top. I would definitely
stick with him. What have they got to lose? It's only going
to be the same players I would imagine for whoever takes
over anyway. I would give him to the summer definitely and
beyond then because he has done a brilliant job at
Marseille turn to
Liverpool winger Babel
Olympique Marseille are interested in Liverpool winger Ryan
The News of the World says Marseille are running out of
patience in their bid to sign Alessandro Mancini and have
considered Babel as an alternative option.
Murphy: Rafa should go
Danny Murphy feels Liverpool have gone backwards under Rafa
Benitez since he left the club in 2004.
The experienced midfielder, who is now on the books of
Fulham, believes the time has come for sweeping changes to
be made at Anfield if they are to set out on the road to
The 32-year-old playmaker is of the opinion that in order
for progress to be made, Benitez needs to be shown the door
and a new manager brought in to help steady the ship.
"If you ask me has the time for Liverpool come to look for a
new manager then I have to say 'yes'," Murphy told the News
of the World.
Dirk: It feels like a defeat
Dirk Kuyt reflected on Liverpool's last-gasp heartbreak at
Stoke and admitted: "It feels like a defeat."
Kuyt had a golden chance to win it for the Reds in the 95th
minute but headed against the bar from close range.
"It feels like a defeat," said the Dutchman. "We didn't play
our best football but we were fighting for the right result
and to concede in the last minute and then miss that chance
at the end is unbelievable."
(LFC Official Website)
Rafa feels Reds were robbed
Rafa Benitez felt Liverpool were given a rough ride by the
match officials during their 1-1 draw with Stoke.
"I think that it was a difficult game. We showed great
character," the Spaniard
told Sky Sports.
"The players were fantastic, you could see the fans were
really happy with
"Two or three incidents could have changed everything, so
27,000 people in the stadium saw the incidents and three
people in the stadium didn't."
Potters pile pressure on Rafa
Liverpool's miserable week continued at Stoke as Robert Huth
snatched a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw.
A tame encounter at the Britannia Stadium saw the Reds offer
a lacklustre response to their midweek cup exit to Reading,
and Sotirios Kyrgiakos' opener never really looked like
being enough to settle their nerves.
Aquilani on the bench for Liverpool
Liverpool's £20m man Alberto Aquilani is once again on the
bench as Liverpool face a difficult task at the Britannia
Stadium this afternoon.
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has made six changes to the
side humiliated in the FA Cup by Reading.
Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Yossi Benayoun and Daniel
Agger were all injured, while Aquilani and Diego Cavalieri
were dropped to the bench as Jose Reina, Sotirios Kyrgiakos,
Martin Skrtel, Javier Mascherano, Fabio Aurelio and David
Ngog all return.
Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Kyrgiakos, Skrtel, Insua,
Degen, Lucas, Mascherano, Aurelio, Kuyt, Ngog.
Subs: Cavalieri, Aquilani, Riera, Rodriquez, Spearing,
Referee: Lee Mason.
Ancelotti supports Benitez
Chelsea head coach Carlo Ancelotti has offered his support
to Liverpool counterpart Rafael Benitez, who has come under
pressure following a recent run of poor results.
Ancelotti believes that the Spaniard will turn things around
at Anfield, having locked horns with Benitez in two
Champions League finals during his time in charge at AC
The Italian told reporters: "It can happen that some things
are not very good. Benitez did a fantastic job for Liverpool
and won the Champions League in 2005,
"He got to the final in 2007. He has done a fantastic job
and he has the personality and the quality to do a good job
"I consider Benitez one of the best coaches in the world.
Sometimes you have to have confidence in a coach, above all
in a coach who has already done very well at the club.
Benitez has done well at Liverpool."