Forlan: Reds are reeling
Diego Forlan believes Atletico Madrid can compound
Liverpool's misery this season by dumping them out of
Former Manchester United forward Forlan believes the absence
of the Spanish hit-man could be key to Atletico's hopes and
feels they are more than capable of claiming a positive
result at Vicente Calderon.
"I won many times for United against Liverpool so I know
they are not invincible - especially without Torres," the
Uruguayan told The Sun.
Babel back for Liverpool
Forward Ryan Babel returns to Liverpool’s squad for their
Europa League semi-final first leg against Atletico Madrid
The Holland international has served a one-match suspension
for his sending-off in the last-eight first leg against
Benfica and provides a welcome boost to an injury-ravaged
Striker Fernando Torres has been ruled out for the rest of
the season after a knee operation at the weekend while
defenders Fabio Aurelio, Emiliano Insua (both thigh), Martin
Skrtel (foot) and Martin Kelly (knee) were all left behind
on Merseyside to continue their rehabilitation.
Provisional squad: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Kyrgiakos,
Agger, Lucas, Mascherano, Kuyt, Gerrard, Benayoun, Ngog,
Cavalieri, Babel, Aquilani, Degen, El Zhar, Pacheco, Ayala,
Benitez: Long journey has helped
Liverpool FC team bonding
Rafa Benitez today expressed confidence that his players
will be primed to make the best of a bad situation by
ensuring their arduous journey ends on a high.
Liverpool spent last night in Paris after completing the
first phase of their 1,200-mile trip to Madrid by train but
had an early start in order to catch a flight to Spain from
“You have to try to find the positives when you are in this
kind of situation and it is vital that everyone stays
together when you have a problem,” said Benitez, stressing
the importance of team bonding.
“Of course this isn’t ideal and we would have preferred to
have flown but, you never know, maybe something like this
can work in your favour."
Jurado: Reds won't be travel weary
Atletico Madrid's Jose Manuel Jurado says Liverpool will not
show any ill-effects from their road trip to Spain when the
teams meet tomorrow.
"I'm sorry that they have to travel so many kilometres to
get to Madrid, although I don't think it's something that
will be noticed on the pitch," Jurado said.
"I think, more than the journey, they could be more tired
because they played on Monday, but in a semi-final like this
you don't notice fatigue."
Cahill rumours denied
Bolton boss Owen Coyle has dismissed rumours linking
Liverpool with a move for Gary Cahill and says he wants to
keep hold of him.
Cahill is attracting interest from the Premier League's top
clubs after another impressive season for Wanderers and
there had been suggestions that Liverpool had made an
However Coyle has played down such rumours and insists
no-one from Liverpool has made contact regards the player's
"I don't know anything about it," he said. "No-one has
spoken to me. There was also speculation about Liverpool and
Chung-Yong Lee, wasn't there?
"I can assure you there has been no dialogue (with
Liverpool) at my level. And I hope I would have been told
had it gone any higher."
Blues stun young Reds
Jose Baxter struck a dramatic injury-time winner as
Liverpool Reserves slumped to a 1-0 defeat against Everton
in the mini-derby at Prenton Park
on Tuesday evening.
A tense contest saw little by way of clear cut chances, but
the Reds' second-string turned in a battling display against
a Blues side that contained several first-team fringe
And it was one of those, Baxter, who fired home a volley in
the 90th minute to harshly condemn Liverpool to a fourth
The result means Liverpool's outside hopes of being crowned
Barclays Premier Reserve League North champions are over,
but John McMahon will no doubt be pleased by the character
shown by his men after suffering three back-to-back losses
which derailed their title charge.
Liverpool Reserves: David Martin, John Flanagan, Alex
Cooper, Jakub Sokolik, Victor Palsson, Steven Irwin, Gerardo
Bruna, David Amoo, Lauri Dalla Valle, Nicolaj Kohlert, Alex
Subs: Conor Coady, Chris Oldfield, Jordy Brouwer, Thomas
Ince, Jack Robinson.
(LFC Official Website)
Del Bosque backs Torres
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque does not think that Fernando
Torres put country before club after undergoing surgery.
He is also confident that all of his stars will be ready for
this summer's World Cup in South Africa.
The timing of Torres' operation has been questioned by some,
as he will miss the end of the domestic season, but his
international coach believes he had no alternative.
"If he has decided to have an operation then it will have
been with the consent of the club," Del Bosque explained.
"It would have been because he could not have continued
playing in the condition he was in."
Whether Torres returns in time for the World Cup is a matter
Del Bosque is monitoring closely, but he is not prepared to
take any players to the finals that are not fully fit.
"We cannot go with five or six players wrapped in cotton
wool. In the case that some players are not able to come
then we have other great players," he said.
"But there is just over a month before we start to work and
I think that is enough time for everyone to be fit.
"Now we are at the crunch stage of the season and I think
that everyone will join us in great condition."
Yossi: We'll win it for Nando
Yossi Benayoun today vowed to try and win the Europa League
for the injured Fernando Torres.
The Israeli star, who was on target in Monday night's 3-0
triumph over West Ham, admits he feels a deep disappointment
for the loss of the Reds' no. 9 and has now set his sights
on compensating him by securing a winners' medal
"I believe we can cause them problems, even without
Fernando. He's the best striker in the world and with him
things are much easier. Unfortunately he is injured and
"I wanted him to play against his old club - he deserves to
do it - as it would have been a special moment for him but
we need to try and win the game for him."
(LFC Official Website)
Trio shine on loan
Three of Liverpool's promising youngsters celebated a
at the weekend.
Jay Spearing, Stephen Darby and Robbie Threlfall all picked
up the sponsors Man of the Match award for Leicester City,
Swindon Town and Bradford City respectively.
Wirral born Spearing netted his first Foxes goal in the 4-1
win over Watford and Nigel Pearson's side are currently
fifth in the Championship. With two games left they are four
points clear of fellow promotion play-off challengers
Darby has been a regular performer for Danny Wilson's
Swindon Town and they drew 1-1 with Walsall on Saturday.
They are in fourth place in League One and with three games
left they are just two points behind Leeds United in the
race for the second automatic promotion spot.
Meanwhile, Threlfall has been in impressive form for Peter
Taylor's Bradford and he was excellent in Saturday's 2-1 win
(LFC Official Website)
Gerrard: Quality, not quantity, is
Steven Gerrard claims Liverpool need "three or four quality
players" to challenge for the Premier League title next
The Reds lifted themselves back into sixth place with a 3-0
victory over West Ham on Monday night but remain 18 points
behind leaders Chelsea.
Gerrard does not believe Rafa Benitez' squad needs an
overhaul, but that quality players are needed to close that
"There are teams that have grown significantly in recent
times, like Chelsea. In addition, Manchester United have
been too strong [for us] for many years," Gerrard is quoted
as saying in the Daily Mail.
"Last year we came close to beating them but it is very
difficult to overcome such a powerful team.
"Everyone knows that we must learn from this season. Some
players have said we need a stronger squad and the key is to
have better players and improve. I do not believe in
profound changes or a revolution. Three or four quality
players should be enough but more quality than quantity.
"The Premier League is the food of this club. We haven't won
it for such a long time and the crowd demand it.
"They want us to win this more than any other competition.
We must continue to fight for this, hopefully finishing
fourth this season and having a real go
"After finishing second last year we started this season
with the idea of winning the league and the Champions
"After a series of bad results we had to change targets. Now
the fans are desperate for us to win the Europa League. It's
the only trophy left for us to fight for and we want to win
Boss on Madrid travel plans
Rafael Benitez admits Liverpool face an uncertain couple of
days after their travel plans for the Europa League
semi-final with Atletico Madrid were thrown into chaos
following the closure of British air space.
The cloud of volcanic ash has grounded all flights in and
out of the UK, and the Reds will travel to Spain by planes,
trains and automobiles.
"We haven't too many days left now to be ready for the
important game on Thursday but hopefully the journey will be
good," said Benitez.
(LFC Official Website)
Rafa happy with solid display
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez was pleased with side's solid
display after the Reds easily beat West Ham 3-0 to keep
their faint UEFA Champions League
Afterwards Benitez said: "Everything was solid, they were
trying to win
from the start.
"After we scored the first goal it was easier, we had more
chances. We scored the second goal and the third goal killed
Liverpool sink struggling Hammers
Liverpool cruised to a comfortable 3-0 victory over West Ham
at Anfield on Monday to keep their slim Champions League
Former West Ham midfielder Yossi Benayoun and David Ngog
gave the hosts a 2-0 lead in a low-key first half and
goalkeeper Robert Green's unfortunate own goal finished off
However, both teams still have a great deal to do to achieve
their aims as Liverpool are still five points adrift of
fourth place while West Ham are only three above the drop
Dirk Kuyt returns to Liverpool's starting line-up in the
absence of the injured Fernando Torres against West Ham
United at Anfield tonight.
The Dutchman will support David Ngog in attack, while there
are also starts for Lucas Leiva and Yossi Benayoun.
Javier Mascherano, Alberto Aquilani and Ryan Babel drop to
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Kyrgiakos, Agger,
Maxi, Gerrard, Lucas, Benayoun, Kuyt, Ngog.
Subs: Cavalieri, Aquilani, Babel, Mascherano, Degen, El
(LFC Official Website)
Madrid game to go ahead
Liverpool FC has been advised by UEFA that the Europa League
semi-final tie with Atletico Madrid goes ahead at the
Vincente Calderon Stadium on Thursday.
The club is currently examining all travel options.
(LFC Official Website)
Torres: I didn't put Spain first
Striker Fernando Torres has denied putting country before
club after having a second knee operation which ended his
The Spain international had surgery in Barcelona on Sunday
night to repair damaged cartilage in his right knee, a
problem which resurfaced after a similar operation in
That ruled him out of Liverpool's remaining four Barclays
Premier League matches and their Europa League semi-final
against former club Atletico Madrid but a six-week recovery
period still gives him a good chance of going to the World
Cup in South Africa.
But Torres said safeguarding his international place was not
the overriding factor in the decision to operate again.
"It's not true. We exhausted all the possibilities before
arriving at the final one," said the 26-year-old.
"There were three options. One was that the meniscus was
okay, the second was that the problem was not clear and the
third that the meniscus was affected.
"On Friday afternoon in Liverpool the scan I had cleared up
the doubts and made us see that I would almost definitely
have to have an operation.
"The meniscus was affected and the doctors said they had to
"What's more, the injury happened in the second minute of
the game (Europa League quarter-final second leg) against
Benfica at Anfield and I played injured for 85 minutes.
"If I had been thinking about the World Cup and Spain I
would have asked for a change (substitution).
"It wasn't like that, I wanted to get to the final of the
Europa League with my team."
The current restrictions on air travel because of the
volcanic ash cloud meant Torres' planned return to Barcelona
on Thursday to see specialist Dr Ramon Cugat was delayed
When another flight was cancelled Torres decided to make the
arduous road and rail trip with an overnight stop just
"The trip was an adventure. I arrived exhausted at 8.30 on
Sunday evening and barely had time to have a shower at the
hotel before going to the clinic where Dr Cugat was waiting
for me," he said.
"Three hours after I had the meniscus operation."
(Press Association Sport)
Bolton defender Cahill
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez is willing to offer £15 million
for Bolton Wanderers defender Gary Cahill.
The People says Benitez wants to beat off rivals Tottenham
for the classy defender...
Reds may face long
Madrid road trip
Liverpool are looking at a contingency plan for alternative
travel options to Madrid for Thursday's Europa League
semi-final against Atletico.
UEFA are yet to rule on whether the last-four first-leg
clashes - Fulham also have to go to Hamburg - will go ahead
because of the chaos caused by a cloud of volcanic ash which
has grounded thousands of flights across the continent.
However, having already insisted the Champions League
semi-finals between Inter Milan and Barcelona and Bayern
Munich and Lyon will go ahead, forcing the Spanish and
French sides to make long journeys by coach, there is a real
possibility UEFA will follow suit with the Europa League.
But with the flying ban extended until Tuesday morning at
the earliest Liverpool are having to plan for a worst-case
scenario by tackling the 2,600-mile round trip overland.
It is not an option the club are happy with but are wary of
the precedent which appears to have been set by the decision
to play the Champions League semis.
Sources at the club have pointed out that, although arduous,
it is easier for Barcelona and Lyon to get to their
destinations in continental Europe than it is for the
Merseysiders to make the trek from north-west England to
The journey by road would take an estimated 21 hours
non-stop but that would be impractical, although the
alternative of a two-day trip would mean the squad would
have to leave just a few hours after Monday night's Premier
League match at home to West Ham and get back shortly before
an away game at Burnley on Sunday.
A combination of road and rail travel is another potential
option but any plans cannot be finalised until UEFA have
made their decision.
Hicks claims he will sell the club
for four times the price he paid
Tom Hicks has said he expects to pocket £600m from the sale
of Liverpool FC – making the deal his most profitable yet.
The Texan businessman told the Wall Street Journal he
expects the Anfield club to fetch £600m to £800m, four times
what he and co-owner George Gillett
paid for it.
Industry experts believe the true sale price will probably