Benitez keeps believing
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez still believes his side will
be in the top four of the Premier League at the end of the
The Reds played out a dour 0-0 draw against fellow UEFA
Champions League hopefuls Manchester City at Eastlands and
they remain one point behind
Neither side deserved to win the game but Benitez, who
promised to lead the club to fourth spot earlier in the
campaign, insists his side will kick on and secure the
much-coveted position in the table.
He told Sky Sports: "I have to believe. If the manager
doesn't have confidence it is difficult for the players.
"I think we have enough quality, Yossi (Benayoun) is coming
back, (Fernando) Torres is coming back, hopefully (Glen)
Johnson will come back in the next week.
"So we are now bringing players back and the competition
will be better for us and hopefully we can improve."
City and Reds serve up stalemate
The eagerly-awaited Premier League top-four showdown at
Eastlands on Sunday turned into a dull 0-0 draw between
Manchester City and Liverpool.
Gripped by the fear of losing, the North-West rivals did not
manage a shot on target during the first half and only threw
off their shackles in a half-hearted search for victory in
the final 15 minutes.
But even the introductions of Craig Bellamy and Fernando
Torres failed to lift the game from its overall torpor.
Pepe Reina's smart save to deny Emmanuel Adebayor
represented the biggest thrill of a pitiful afternoon that
convinced no-one of either club's worthiness to sit at
Europe's top table, and proved how shrewd Sky and ESPN were
not to bother screening it live.
Torres and Yossi on bench
Fernando Torres and Yossi Benayoun have been named on the
substitutes' bench for Liverpool's Barclays Premier League
clash at Manchester City this afternoon.
The pair are included in the matchday squad for the first
time since the FA Cup third round replay with Reading in
Meanwhile, Ryan Babel, Lucas Leiva, Maxi Rodriguez and
Emiliano Insua are restored to the starting line-up.
Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Skrtel, Agger, Insua, Kuyt,
Lucas, Mascherano, Maxi, Gerrard, Babel.
Subs: Cavalieri, Torres, Benayoun, Aquilani, Riera, Aurelio,
(LFC Official Website)
Carra eyes Anfield exit
Jamie Carragher has admitted he is considering what the
future holds when he becomes surplus to requirements with
The defender has been with the Anfield outfit for his entire
career, having come through the ranks of the club's youth
team to make his mark as a Kop hero.
But the 32-year-old accepts that there will come a time when
he is no longer assured of a first-team place and knows that
could well be the point when he brings the curtain down on
his Merseyside career.
"The idea of being described as a 'squad player' doesn't
appeal to me," he told the News of the World.
"I dread to think the time might come to play somewhere
other than Liverpool. For as long as I'm good enough to be
in the team here, I'm playing and I feel physically I can do
myself justice, there's nowhere else I'd want to be.
"But like anyone at this stage of their career, I have no
choice but to think about the possibilities beyond that.
"I've only ever known one club, but I'm interested in how
other clubs operate. There's more to football than The
Liverpool Way and I'd like to hear
Kuyt aims taunt at cash-happy City
Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt has aimed a swipe at Manchester
City, claiming the big-spending Eastlands outfit cannot buy
The Reds lock horns with City on Sunday with the coveted
fourth spot in the Premier League up for grabs.
The lavish spending at City has seen Liverpool's spot in the
top four put under serious threat, but Kuyt is adamant the
history of a club is more important than all the money and
he claims players would prefer to join Liverpool because of
their heritage rather than City because of their wealth.
"The history of Liverpool is much, much bigger and every now
and again you see clubs doing things like Manchester City
now and Chelsea a few years ago,"
"It happens but it's very difficult to buy the history of
"I don't know whether more players will join City for the
money. For every player it's a different situation.
"I think the most important thing for a player is to win
trophies and be successful as a football player."
Kuyt acknowledges his side cannot afford to lose to City at
Eastlands if they are to reach their goal of finishing in
the top four.
"It's just a really big game and if we can win this game we
will be back in it and if we lose it we have a big problem,"
"We all look back a couple of months ago and we would have
preferred to be in a better position than this position, but
at the end of the day it is what it is and we have to try
and win this game and try to finish in the top four and we
think we have the quality to do that."
Maxi hoping for City start
Maxi Rodriguez is hoping to start today's game.
The winger says important six-pointers like this afternoon's
away game at Man City are the sort of matches every player
wants to play in.
"It's the sort of big, important game every player wants to
play in. They're a direct rival for a top four place along
with ourselves, so it's an important game,"
"We'll be looking to go there with a positive attitude and,
like always, look to get the three points.
"I don't think the fact they have spent money will influence
anything that happens out there on the field. Whatever
amount they've spent, it's still 11 against 11 and those 22
players will be doing battle to get the three points on
"It's up to us to prepare, go there with the right mentality
and attitude, be bright, intelligent and try to impose
ourselves on the game and run it.
"We know it's very important because if we can get three
points there it will really be positive for us in terms of
confidence levels for the rest of the season."
Aurelio expects tight game
Fabio Aurelio is expecting a close game today.
The Brazilian defender doesn't expect there to be much
between the Reds and Man City this afternoon and believes
one goal could be enough to win the game
"I think we can say it's a real six-pointer," said Aurelio.
"They are one of our main rivals fighting for fourth place
in the Premier League so we know it will be a really hard
"They have a new manager and they have improved a lot
defensive wise, so we know they will be tough opponents.
"I think one goal could be the difference on Sunday and
hopefully that will be us. I think it will be important to
score first and hopefully we can get it.
"It's important to keep a clean sheet and we know that we
can score goals. We will go there with confidence."
Benitez sees change
of attitude from Babel
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has had cause to doubt the
commitment of forward Ryan Babel, but recent performances
from the Holland international have been
The 23 year old looked dangerous when he came off the bench
in last week's defeat at Arsenal, where he was denied an
equaliser only by Manuel Almunia's fingertip save onto the
And he was Liverpool's biggest threat by far during a
27-minute Europa League run-out in which he set up the only
goal for David Ngog against Unirea Urziceni
Benitez has seen a change in Babel's attitude and is hopeful
the improvement continues.
"He was doing well in training sessions. He wants to impress
now and you could see he was a threat from the beginning,"
said the Spaniard.
"Babel's fresh legs with pace was a different approach and
it was good for us. I was really pleased with him."
Emilsson on target in City win
Liverpool Under-18s produced a brilliant performance to beat
Manchester City 2-1 on Saturday morning.
Icelandic starlet Kristjan Gauti Emilsson recently netted
the winner against City's rivals United on his debut, and he
was on target again as Rodolfo Borrell's side deservedly
Stephen Sama netted the other goal as Borrell's side bounced
back from their youth cup exit at the hands of Watford.
Back in September City had beaten a young Liverpool side 6-2
in Kirkby, but it was a totally different story on Saturday.
Liverpool team: Chris Oldfield, John Flanagan, Jack
Robinson, Andre Wisdom, Stephen Sama, Conor Coady, Michael
Ngoo, Michael Roberts, Lauri Dalla Valle, Krisztian Adorjan,
Subs: Kristjan Gauti Emilsson, Craig Roddan, Alex Cooper,
(LFC Official Website)
Mancini: Pressure on Reds
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini says all the
pressure is on Liverpool ahead of their Premier League clash
Liverpool are currently one point behind City in the table
having played a game more than their opponents, which
Mancini says means his side have
the upper hand.
"We want to win and so do they, so it will be difficult but
more so for Liverpool," he said.
"We are above them and they have to try to get past us. We
have to be positive, if we can win, we will go further ahead
of them so that's what we must try to do.
"We are in a good position with 13 games to go and I hope
that Sunday is a fantastic game for our supporters."
Mascherano: We need to find balance
Javier Mascherano has warned his Liverpool team-mates
against all-out attack in Sunday's crucial Premier League
clash at Manchester City.
Roberto Mancini's side have lost four Premier League matches
this season but all have been on their travels, with their
tally at home being 30 points from
a possible 36.
For that reason Mascherano insists Liverpool cannot
under-estimate their opponents at Eastlands on Sunday.
But they should not be drawn into a scenario where they
believe they have to beat fourth-placed City, who are one
point ahead of the Reds with a match in hand in the race for
the final Champions League spot, at all costs.
"We have to win but we cannot lose our heads," he said.
"We have to go there thinking about winning but we have to
play a very good game from the beginning.
"Obviously when you want to win you have to go forward but
you have to be careful about the counter-attack because they
have some very good players - so we have to be clever."
Kennedy: City should fear us
Alan Kennedy believes Liverpool can make a statement of
intent when they travel to Eastlands on Sunday.
Rafael Benitez's side take on fourth place Manchester City
in a crucial top-four clash at the City of Manchester
Stadium with just one point separating
the two sides.
Kop hero Kennedy insists there is no reason to fear Roberto
Mancini's side and claims the Reds can take all three
"We have a good away record at Manchester City and I am
backing Rafa's team to win the game," Kennedy told
"This is a massive game, no doubt about it and it's probably
one of the biggest games of the season for Liverpool but we
don't need to fear them. We have a good record and we know
what you need to do to finish in the top-four.
"Another team competing for the top-four Tottenham came here
recently and we played ever so well and deserved the
victory, so there is no reason why we can't do the same to
(LFC Official Website)
Benitez wary of Man City threat
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez admits he will be happy his
team do not have to face striker Carlos Tevez at Eastlands
on Sunday, but is still wary of Manchester City's quality.
"Clearly he is a good player who is doing well," said the
the 19-goal striker.
"But they have other good strikers, so I think they have
enough quality in the squad and can replace Tevez with
another good player.
"If Tevez is not there and they miss him we will be pleased,
but I will say again, they have quality."
(Press Association Sport)
City duo to miss Reds clash
Manchester City will be without Carlos Tevez and Patrick
Vieira for Sunday's clash with Liverpool at Eastlands.
Roberto Mancini's side go into the game one point ahead of
the Reds in the race for fourth - but without two of their
most influential stars.
Tevez is still on compassionate leave in Argentina where his
wife has just given birth to their daughter, while Vieira
will serve the first game of a three match ban after
admitting a charge of violent conduct in an incident with
Stoke City's Glenn Whelan in midweek.
However, Mancini insisted former Liverpool striker Craig
Bellamy could be available for selection if he proves his
fitness, despite reports of a bust-up between the pair at
the City training ground.
"I read that I have a problem with him, that I shouted at
him. Craig trained on Wednesday, yesterday and he will train
today. I have spoken to him, face to face, but as a manager
speaks to a player," he said.
"I have not shouted at him, never. I am happy to resolve
things, face to face, in a room but I do not have a problem
with him. If his knee is OK today and tomorrow, he will be
available for Sunday."
(LFC Official Website)
Date change for Hammers clash
Liverpool's Barclays Premier League meeting with West Ham
United at Anfield will now take place on Monday, April 19.
This replaces the original date of Saturday, April 17.
(LFC Official Website)
Reds waiting on Benayoun fitness
Liverpool midfielder Yossi Benayoun faces a late fitness
test ahead of their crucial trip to face Manchester City at
Eastlands on Sunday.
The Israel international has recovered from a broken rib
which has sidelined him since January 13, but did not
feature in Thursday night's Europa League victory over
Unirea Urziceni because of a back problem.
Maxi Rodriguez returns to the squad having been ineligible
for the European tie.
Centre-back Sotirios Kyrgiakos serves the second game of a
three-match ban while striker Fernando Torres and full-back
Glen Johnson are still not fit
after knee injuries.
Liverpool (from): Reina, Skrtel, Agger, Carragher, Insua,
Gerrard, Lucas, Aquilani, Rodriguez, Riera, Benayoun, Ngog,
Kuyt, Cavalieri, Pacheco, Spearing, Babel, Aurelio, Degen.
De Jong: Reds game massive
Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong believes Sunday's
showdown with Liverpool at Eastlands could be pivotal for
Roberto Mancini's men edged back above their rivals in the
race for fourth place in midweek with a scrappy and
unconvincing 1-1 draw against 10-man Stoke.
The Blues now hold a one point advantage over Rafa Benitez's
men and also have the benefit of a game in hand, while Aston
Villa and Tottenham remain firmly in contention as the
season enters the home straight.
Holland international De Jong believes victory over the
Merseysiders will help them make a major step towards
realising their ambition of qualifying for the UEFA
He said: "It's a massive game for us and we know a win will
dent one of our main rivals for a Champions League spot."
Pacheco and Babel
praised by Carragher
Jamie Carragher paid tribute to Liverpool super subs Ryan
Babel and Daniel Pacheco after they helped secure a 1-0
victory over Unirea Urziceni in the first leg of the Europa
League clash at Anfield.
Babel provided the cross from the left which Pacheco headed
back across goal for David Ngog to net the only goal of the
game nine minutes from time.
“Ryan and Dani did very well when they came on and made a
big contribution for the goal,” Carragher said.
“They gave us a bit of a lift and more energy and that’s
what we needed. They made the difference.”
Fourth place is priority for Reds
It started just days after the Champions League exit.
Arsenal were the visitors to Anfield. Not renowned for their
sharp terrace humour, the Gunners supporters proceeded to
have a laugh at the expense of their hosts, trying out a new
ditty that was purpose made for the occasion.
As ‘Thursday night. Channel Five’ rang out from the Anfield
Road towards the Kop the ignominy of slipping through the
Champions League trap door into the Europa League suddenly
For anyone watching on TV last night, the temptation to
flick over to Channel 4 and My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding must
have been difficult to resist as Liverpool struggled to
break the deadlock against the little known Unirea Urziceni.
(David Randles - Liverpool Echo)
Narrow advantage suits Benitez
Rafael Benitez was satisfied with Liverpool's 1-0 Europa
League victory over Unirea Urziceni despite their obvious
struggles at Anfield.
Striker David Ngog's goal nine minutes from time eventually
ended the Romanians' resistance on Thursday night to give
the Reds some breathing space ahead of next week's return
And although Benitez would have liked a bigger cushion, he
was happy to take a slender lead to Bucharest.
"I think we could have scored one or two more goals but that
is football," he said.
"The team was doing well in defence, 1-0 and a clean sheet
is not bad."
Dani Pacheco was proud of his contribution last night.
Pacheco came off the subsitute's bench to claim an assist
for David Ngog's winner against Unirea Urziceni. Creating
the goal and hearing the Kop chant his name was a special
moment for the youngster.
"It was very important we won this game and to play a part
in the winning goal made it a special night," he told the
"It was a brilliant cross from Ryan and I managed to head
the ball back for David to score so everyone was really
happy at the end.
"When I came on the boss told me to play between the lines
off the striker and then I went to play on the right side
which I was happy to do for the team.
"It's a really special feeling when you hear the crowd
singing your name and it was a nice moment for my family,
but it was important the team won and we got a good result."