Pacheco shines as Reserves draw
The table's two frontrunners put on a fine display of
football in freezing conditions at Prenton Park, where Dani
Pacheco illustrated his Premier League credentials with a
superb performance and a cracking first-half volley.
Jay Spearing was Liverpool's other goalscorer, but strikes
from James Poole, Alex Nimely and Robert Mak ensured City
left with a point.
Liverpool Reserves: Gulacsi, Darby, Mavinga, Ayala,
Threlfall, Spearing, Pacheco, Amoo, Eccleston (Mendy 83),
Plessis (Irwin 56), Kacaniklic (Saric 69). Subs not used:
(LFC Official Website)
Babel considers Birmingham offer
Liverpool winger Ryan Babel's agent claims his client could
yet seal a move to Birmingham City.
The Blues lodged a big-money bid with their Premier League
rivals for the Dutch international earlier this month.
However, the £9million offer was rejected amid claims that
Babel himself had shunned the approach.
But now it seems the 23-year-old, who has attracted
attention from a number of clubs on the continent, is now
ready to consider a switch to St Andrews after yet another
spat with manager Rafa Benietz.
His agent Winnie Haatrecht confirmed that Babel is now
thinking over Birmingham's offer.
"Birmingham is still a possibility," he told The Sun.
"It would be simpler for Ryan to continue in the Premier
League, a competition he knows well.
"We're actually studying an offer."
Lucas laughs off two-man team tag
Midfielder Lucas Leiva has called on his Liverpool
colleagues to prove they are better than the "two-man team"
tag given to them by critics.
Injuries to striker Fernando Torres (knee) and captain
Steven Gerrard (hamstring) have deprived the side of their
best two players for six and two weeks respectively.
Injuries also meant Yossi Benayoun, Glen Johnson, Fabio
Aurelio and Daniel Agger were all missing on Wednesday
In their absence there has been a noticeable rise in
commitment from the rest of the squad and Lucas thinks that
will be crucial to their hopes for the future.
"Now it is time for other players to show we have quality,"
said the Brazil midfielder.
Carragher praises Liverpool attitude
Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes the Reds are
showing the right attitude in their bid for a Champions
League place after the win over Spurs.
The Reds rose one place to sixth with Wednesday's 2-0 win
and are now one point behind fourth place.
Carragher told BBC Radio Merseyside: "We realised we had to
come together and show everyone what we're about.
"It's important to show when you don't play well we're still
fighting for the club to get the right result."
(BBC Sport Online)
Sammy: Spurs win was for you
When the team coach arrived in Anfield Road ahead of
kick-off the players and staff on board were greeted by
hundreds of passionate Kopites - and the Reds' assistant
boss admitted the players were touched by their show of
"Every three points is crucial but considering what has been
happening this week in the build up to the game this was
massive," Lee told Liverpoolfc.tv.
"Everyone realised that, the staff, the players and all the
supporters and everyone involved in the football club.
"There is not enough praise for our supporters. To see them
showing their support when we arrived was massive. We try to
intregrate our supporters into everything we do because they
are part of what we are doing."
(LFC Official Website)
Rafa's reaction to Spurs win
Rafael Benitez paid tribute to Dirk Kuyt after the
Dutchman's double downed Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on
The 29-year-old put the Reds on their way to the 2-0 victory
with a sixth minute opener against the top four hopefuls.
And Kuyt displayed great composure to secure the three
points when he netted a penalty in second half injury-time
at the second time of asking after referee Howard Webb had
ordered the striker to retake his initial kick.
"He was working very hard and maybe he could have scored
four today," Benitez told reporters at his post-match press
conference. "His commitment is always 100 per cent, so we
are pleased for him."
(LFC Official Website)
Kuyt double lifts Liverpool
Liverpool boosted their UEFA Champions League hopes with an
impressive 2-0 victory over Tottenham.
The Reds were full of energy in the early stages and opened
the scoring after just six minutes when Alberto Aquilani
played in Dirk Kuyt and the Dutchman provided a fine finish
from outside the area.
Chances were few and far between for the remainder of the
first half as Tottenham struggled to find their usual
fluency, although Pepe Reina had to make a fine save from
Luka Modric just before the interval.
Jermain Defoe had a goal controversially disallowed at the
start of the second period and from then on Liverpool
contained the Londoners expertly.
Rafa Benitez's side missed several opportunities to double
their advantage before Kuyt eventually secured the points
with his second goal of the night.
The striker scored from the penalty spot deep into stoppage
time after substitute David Ngog had been brought down by
Hiddink agent denies Reds rumours
Guus Hiddink's agent has denied an approach from Liverpool -
but believes his client may be interested in taking over at
Anfield in the summer.
Reports have suggested Cees van Nieuwenhuizen had held talks
with the Anfield club, something the agent strongly denies.
"That's absolutely not right," he told BBC Radio Five Live.
"Each day I'm surprised when I read comments in the
newspapers in Russia, or in Italy with Juventus, or in
England with Manchester City before and now Liverpool."
The former Chelsea boss is under contract with Russia until
this summer, but Van Nieuwenhuizen admitted a move to
Liverpool could interest his client when that deal is
"It would be fair to say because it's one of the big names
in global football," he said. "But if Liverpool have a
problem today or tomorrow then Guus is
"Guus is not available for any club until August 1."
Aquilani faces Spurs
Alberto Aquilani returns to the starting XI for tonight's
clash with Spurs.
The Italian is one of two changes to the side that drew at
Stoke City, with Albert Riera also involved.
Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Insua, Kyrgiakos, Skrtel,
Degen, Mascherano, Lucas, Riera, Aquilani, Kuyt.
Subs: Cavalieri, Maxi, Babel, Ngog, Spearing, Darby,
(LFC Official Website)
Youth Cup date
Liverpool will face Watford in the 5th round of the FA Youth
Cup at Anfield on Friday, February 12.
Kick-off will be at 7pm GMT and the tie has to be decided on
the night with extra-time and penalties if necessary.
(LFC Official Website)
Aquilani agent laughs off Juve link
Alberto Aquilani's agent has laughed off claims the
Liverpool midfielder could return to Seria A with Juventus
Last January, manager Rafa Benitez sold Robbie Keane back to
Tottenham at a heavy loss after just half a season at the
club, prompting many to suggest he is ready to give Aquilani
the same treatment.
However, the player's agent Franco Zavaglia is baffled by
the speculation, despite reported interest from the Turin
"There aren't possibilities that Aquilani will go back to
Italy in January," Zavaglia told laroma24.it.
"The boy has started playing with some continuity only in
recent weeks. So that hypothesis is really far from
The 25-year-old has his work cut out if he is to make
Marcello Lippi's Italy World Cup squad should he fail to up
his game at Liverpool, fuelling further speculation of a
possible loan deal back to Serie A.
Zavaglia again dismissed such claims: "On loan? This is
fantasy football. Aquilani is happy at Liverpool and the
adventure has not the slightest possibility of changing."
Benitez receives Gillett backing
Liverpool co-owner George Gillett believes Rafael Benitez is
one of the top five managers in the world and that this
season’s disappointing results are
just a “blip”.
“We believe if you were to put a list together of the top
five coaches, managers in the world, he would definitely be
on that list for us,” said Gillett, who was united in his
agreement with Hicks to give Benitez an improved five-year
contract towards the end of last season.
“And we think he’s been tossed a curve ball by circumstance,
“I think that’s been a real challenge to the coach. He’s had
to really make some innovations and play some players out of
position and so forth.
“And notwithstanding that, they’ve generally played with a
lot of passion. I really believes it’s a blip.”
Injuries have certainly compounded Liverpool’s problems with
striker Fernando Torres, captain Steven Gerrard, right-back
Glen Johnson and midfielder Yossi Benayoun all currently
But they have also been unlucky in other areas, such as when
a beach ball on the pitch at Sunderland back in October
contributed to the only goal of the game for the Black Cats.
“That was a real low blow,” Gillett told Canadian radio
station Prime Time Sports.
“He (Benitez) has had a struggle getting the morale of the
boys back up but we’ve got a great group of young men.”
Rafa plays down return of pair
Rafael Benitez is not fearing the return of Robbie Keane and
Peter Crouch when Liverpool host Tottenham at Anfield on
Benitez sold both - Crouch because he wanted more first-team
football and Keane after a disappointing spell of just six
months - in July 2008 and last January respectively.
The pair - along with England striker Jermain Defoe - have
helped fire Spurs into fourth place this season.
But Benitez believes too much is made of players facing
their former clubs, which happens virtually every week in
the Premier League.
"You can talk about which players are against you but I am
sure there are 200 cases where they did not do anything
against their former clubs but it always seems important
when they score," said the Spaniard.
"If you name one player who will score against us it has to
be Defoe, Keane or Crouch because they are the strikers and
are scoring goals.
"Crouch wanted to play more games, he wanted to play every
week, and he went to Portsmouth and then Tottenham - which
was fantastic for him.
"Keane had a different situation. He came as a big name but
sometimes players don't perform at the level you are
expecting in your team.
"He is doing well now with Tottenham but I don't want to see
them scoring too many goals because we want to be in the top
Gerrard rubbishes rumours
he'll quit Liverpool FC
Steven Gerrard has rubbished rumours he was at the centre of
a dressing room row and insists he remains fully committed
Tales swept Merseyside and beyond in the wake of last week’s
FA Cup defeat at home to Reading concerning a bust-up
involving the Liverpool skipper.
They came on top of renewed reports claiming Gerrard – who
will again be sidelined this evening’s home clash with
Tottenham Hotspur – was considering a summer move away from
Anfield with Benitez’s side struggling to compete for
honours this season.
“I’ve heard about a dozen versions of the same rumour and
they’re all as daft as each other,” said the 29-year-old.
“I’d love to know who comes up with this kind of stuff
because they must have an unbelievable imagination.
“Nothing happened, that’s an absolute fact. But if anyone
thinks this nonsense unsettles either me or the club then
they’re mistaken, if anything it’s brought everyone even
closer together because we’ve all had a good laugh about it.
“In the time since he’s been here I’ve never had a problem
with the manager or his staff, and certainly not at
half-time in the Reading game when I was actually receiving
treatment for the injury I’d picked up during the first
“The important thing for me now is trying to get myself fit
as soon as possible so
I can get back to working with the manager and the team to
try and improve
Some reports have suggested Gerrard is poised to depart for
Real Madrid or Manchester City in the summer, while Inter
Milan have repeatedly attempted to drum up talk of a move
for the midfielder.
But the Anfield captain said: “All the stories about me
leaving are unfounded. The fans can be assured that I am
doing all I can to get back to top form and help Liverpool
finish the season on a high.”
Reds hold Jovanovic talks
Milan Jovanovic's representatives have held talks with
Liverpool, skysports.com understands.
The Standard Liege star is out-of-contract in the summer and
has made it clear he intends to take up the option of a
Despite holding talks this week, Jovanovic is unlikely to
give Liverpool or any of his suitors a decision this month.
Rafa: Reds have
made big strides
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has launched a staunch
defence of his record at the club as speculation about his
future refuses to die down.
The Spaniard insists there have been huge improvements since
he took over in the summer of 2004 and that has restored
pride among the staff and fans.
Benitez has spoken to Dalglish about the fortunes of the
club but it was in relation to a long-term strategy and not
in regard to their recent troubles.
"The difference between the club before (Benitez's arrival)
and now is massive in terms of money, the value of the squad
and the pride of the fans," said the Liverpool boss.
"When I arrived here the club needed to win and the people
had been talking about [winning] the championship for 19
"We won the Champions League (in Benitez's first season)
after 21 years and we are the only club in England that has
the trophy [to keep] for five wins.
"As a club we have pride again and that is important."
Boss: Babel in contention
Rafael Benitez has confirmed Ryan Babel is back in
contention for a first-team place against Tottenham Hotspur
on Wednesday night.
Referring to comments made by the player following his
omission from the matchday squad against Stoke, Benitez
said: "He came to my office and
"He knows he has made a mistake and for me that's enough. I
don't want to talk about it too much, it is better to focus
on things we can change.
"Ryan will be in the squad. We have 20 players ready for the
training session and he is among these 20 players."
(LFC Official Website)
Masch: Spurs win
would be monster
Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano has told his
team-mates to forget about their struggles and focus on
beating Tottenham on Wednesday.
The Reds have endured a dismal first half to the season -
and it all started with a 2-1 defeat at White Hart Lane in
their opening Premier League match.
Mascherano is expecting another difficult game when Spurs
travel to Anfield but he would prefer to think of the
Liverpool remain in the hunt for a top-four spot and beating
Harry Redknapp's men would boost their chances of qualifying
for the Champions League.
"Tottenham is an important game for us because we can reduce
the gap to fourth," Mascherano told Liverpool's official
"We'll play at Anfield with all the supporters behind us and
this support is really important at the moment.
"They have some very good attacking players, so it'll be
difficult to stop them. But we've done it before.
Getting rid of Rafa Benitez won’t
get rid of Liverpool FC's problems
There were many calls for changes at the top when Liverpool
woefully crashed out of the FA Cup against Reading last
But a week is a long time in football – and now the shock of
that exit has died down there are many reasons why Rafael
Benitez should not be sacked
The man in charge of the team has to go when he reaches the
stage where the players won’t play for him and he has, to
coin the phrase ‘lost the dressing room’.
And the performance against Stoke proved that’s not
(Mark Lawrenson - Liverpool Daily