Red News


MARCH                 2010
22 23 24



Rafa warns Torres
Rafa Benitez has told Fernando Torres to 'concentrate on football' after a spate of petulant incidents.
The Spanish striker has picked up five yellow cards in his last seven games and could have been sent off against Manchester United if the referee had punished his angry kick at the penalty spot.
"Fernando knows he has to focus a little bit more," said Rafa Benitez. "He can score more goals by concentrating on football.
"All strikers, especially top-class strikers, they are marked a little bit more closely than others and that is normal. It's not easy every game.
"People don't understand when you're a player on the pitch and you're fighting and sometimes you can't understand these things."
Benitez has admitted that he is looking towards Torres, the under-performing Steven Gerrard and Javier Mascherano to deliver the fourth place he guaranteed.
"Sometimes, when you talk about big names, top-class players, you are expecting something from them when the team isn't doing well," he said.
"You expect them to say, 'It's OK, follow me'. We have had this conversation with Fernando and the rest of the team. It was something we were expecting from Torres and he was really good the other day against Lille."
(Football 365)

Rafa pleased with Aqua
Rafael Benitez is happy with Alberto Aquilani's recent performances.
The boss is pleased to see his £20m signing settling in now and has predicted Aquilani will have a big part to play as the Reds look to take that final Champions League qualifying spot and win the Europa League.
"It was a shame he was sick because he had been good for the performance [against Portsmouth]. You can see he wants to improve and it is important for us to have another player pushing," said Benitez.
"We need players with quality to help us improve until the end of the season. Alberto has got desire and he is working very hard. When we have him available, he can give us a different approach on the pitch in different games.
"Physically you could see he coped with a lot of running last time and it was much better.
"It is a question of time. It is disappointing that he was ill and missed out against Lille but we are hopeful he will continue to improve and play more games before the end of the season."
(LFC Online)

Riera pondering move to Moscow
Unsettled Liverpool winger Albert Riera has admitted a transfer to the Russian Premier League is an attractive option for him.
Riera has been frozen out at Anfield after last week's astonishing attack on manager Rafa Benitez in the Spanish media, in which he referred to Liverpool as 'a sinking ship'.
And the Spain international may take advantage of Russia's extended transfer window, which runs until April 8, to depart to Spartak Moscow on loan.
"Russia presents a very interesting option for me," Riera is quoted as saying in Russian newspaper Sport Express.
"For one, it's the only prestigious league in Europe where the transfer window
is open.
"And secondly, if I play there regularly, I may be able to earn my ticket to the World Cup in South Africa."
Riera appears hopeful a deal can be concluded in the near future.
"I hope that the question of my transfer will be resolved by this week," he stated.
Dutch star tames the Tigers
Jordy Brouwer struck a sublime winner as Liverpool Reserves maintained their push for the Barclays Premier Reserve League North title with a hard-fought 1-0 success at Hull City on Tuesday night.
The Dutch striker fired home the only goal of the game early in the first-half as John McMahon's men extended their unbeaten run to 14 matches and moved to within seven points of leaders Manchester United, with four games in hand.
The Reds coach was forced to field a youthful side for the trip to Humberside, bringing Academy starlets Alex Cooper and John Flanagan into the full-back positions, while Francisco Duran continued his recovery from a long-term knee injury in the midfield.
Liverpool Reserves: Peter Gulacsi, John Flanagan, Alex Cooper, Daniel Ayala, Victor Palsson, Francisco Duran (Nikolaj Kohlert 59), Jordy Brouwer (Nikola Saric 73), Steven Irwin, Lauri Dalla Valle, Damien Plessis,
Alex Kacaniklic (Tony Silva 85).
Unused subs: Chris Oldfield, Michael Ihiekwe.
(LFC Official Website)

Benitez demands more from key players
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez expects his "big names" to lead by example and drive the club on to Champions League qualification.
Liverpool have seven matches - with only one against a top-four club in Chelsea at home - to save their season and Benitez believes his experienced players have to lead the way.
"Sometimes when you talk about big names, top-class players, you are expecting something from them when the team is not doing well," said Benitez.
(PA Sport)

Babel still looking for improvement
Liverpool forward Ryan Babel admits he owes the Anfield club some good performances between now and the end of the season.
The Holland international's future on Merseyside seemed in doubt in January as he appeared to be trying to manufacture a move in the transfer window.
His outbursts on Twitter about his treatment by Rafael Benitez resulted in him being hauled into the manager's office and told to just concentrate on playing.
Since then the 23-year-old has responded with some improved performances and he is starting to look like he could eventually fulfil the potential which persuaded Liverpool to pay Ajax £11.5million in July 2007.
"Every player wants to get a run of games to show what he can do. I hope I can continue to show more - if I can then I will be happy," said Babel.
"Hopefully I can give something back to the squad. I'm slowly feeling
more confident.
"I'm playing games now and want to show what I can do."
The Dutchman said he wanted to try to entertain supporters by showing off his attacking skills, which would hopefully secure him a World Cup place.
"The fans expect me always to dribble and take men on. It's not always possible but I try to do it as much as I can," he told the Liverpool Echo.
"I like to take men on and hopefully I'll show more of that in the future.
"I know if I play a lot of games then I'll have a good chance of going to the World Cup."

Skrtel and Aurelio injury latest
Martin Skrtel and Fabio Aurelio could be back on the pitch in the coming weeks, Rafa Benitez has revealed.
Skrtel broke a metatarsal in his right foot during our trip to Unirea on February 25, while Aurelio injured his thigh against Blackburn three days later.
However, both players could soon be back to help Liverpool's quest for a top-four finish and Europa League glory.
Benitez said: "Both are still injured and will need some time, but it's only a question of a couple of weeks. It depends for each one."
(LFC Official Website)

Liverpool FC can salvage
fourth spot with attacking verve

When times are testing, inevitably criticism intensifies – especially when you lose to Manchester United.
It was only to be expected that there was a fallout from Sunday’s 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford and many are now saying that Liverpool’s hopes of a top four finish are all but over.
Clearly, the situation is no longer in our hands but the fixture list offers us plenty of opportunities to make ground and Liverpool have got to keep believing they can turn the tide, starting at home to Sunderland.
This, though, is the season that is going to be laced with frustration and it’s hard to see Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal battling for the title, while we scrap with City, Spurs and Aston Villa.
If, however, we play with the verve that brushed Portsmouth and Lille aside, fourth place is still possible.
(Ian Rush - Liverpool Echo)

How long will Torres put up with
being out in cold with Liverpool FC?

I'm not suggesting that Fernando Torres would make any noises abut wanting to leave Liverpool. He loves the club, the fans and desperately wants to succeed
at Anfield.
But the facts are inescapable. There’s a World Cup this year and chances are he will be one of the star players in one of the best teams in the tournament.
And once its over, what then? Can anyone seriously believe that a player in that class won’t be in the Champions League next season?
It’s looking more and more likely that Liverpool won’t finish in the top four this season and that’s when you have to start worrying about their ability to hold on to players like Torres.
(Mark Lawrenson - Liverpool Daily Post)

Reds to sell Riera
Liverpool have agreed a £6m deal for Albert Riera to join CSKA Moscow.
According to the Guardian, the deal will be completed by the end of the week.
(LFC Online)  
Whelan believes players
have given up on boss

Former Liverpool player Ronnie Whelan believes that after Sunday's 2-1 defeat to Manchester United in the Premier League, key members of the Reds' squad have given up on manager Rafael Benitez.
Having watched proceedings unfold at Old Trafford over the weekend, Whelan believes the attitudes of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres throughout the game underline the fact that the Spaniard's time at Anfield must be coming
to an end.
"We saw Torres at his brilliant best for the opening goal but turn into a petulant child as the game slipped away," Whelan wrote in his column for Irish newspaper The Herald.
"We saw Gerrard ghosting around the pitch without much purpose, occasionally bursting into activity but mostly ineffective.
"Players usually know when a manager's time is up and if they're smart, a long time before anyone else realises it. It's now plain to see from their performances against Manchester United that they've had enough."

Rafa: Masch deal almost wrapped
Rafael Benitez accepts there is still a little more work to do to bring contract talks with Liverpool's Javier Mascherano to a resolution.
"We were talking, progressing and we're closer now. Still we need to talk a little bit but we are closer," said Benitez.

Benitez: Reds relying on others
Rafael Benitez remains confident Liverpool can secure Champions League qualification but accepts he is relying on their rivals making mistakes.
Sunday's 2-1 Premier League defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford - their 10th in the league this season - saw the Reds drop to sixth, four points behind fourth-placed Tottenham.
"We knew the game against United would be very tough. The question is now about the other teams," said Benitez.
"There are still a lot of points to be played for so we have to keep going. If we can win our games we will be there at the end."

Red-dy for the fight
It may have been a disappointing season for Liverpool, but John Barnes reckons the club are not too far from where they should be.
The Anfield legend joined Ian Payne and Chris Kamara on the Goals on Sunday sofa to discuss the state of his former club and he admitted Liverpool have been too inconsistent in the last decade.
Last season the Reds finished four points behind champions Manchester United, but they are struggling to repeat that form this time around and are involved in a race with Tottenham, Manchester City and Aston Villa for the fourth Champions League spot.
However, Barnes is confident Liverpool will finish in fourth - and says that is arguably where they should finish given the players that Benitez has at
his disposal.
(Sky Sports)

Foxes to snare Reds starlet understands Liverpool starlet Jay Spearing is set to join Leicester on loan.
Leicester boss Nigel Pearson is keen to bolster his squad before the loan window closes on Thursday and has targeted a move for Spearing.
Spearing is highly rated at Liverpool after captaining the youth side to
the FA Youth Cup in 2007.
The talented midfielder made his competitive first-team debut in December 2008, coming on as a substitute in a 3-1 UEFA Champions League win against
PSV Eindhoven.
The 21-year-old has made five appearances in the first team this season, including his first start in the Premier League in the defeat to Sunderland
last October.
Reds boss Rafa Benitez is happy to loan out Spearing so that he can gain some valuable first-team experience as he is down the pecking order at Anfield.
(Sky Sports)

Aquilani exit talk rubbished
Alberto Aquilani's agent has dismissed rumours linking the Italian with a summer exit from Liverpool.
Reports emanating from England have suggested Liverpool could offload Aquilani after just one season to raise funds for their summer rebuilding plans.
Aquilani, who missed the first few months of the season because of injury, has struggled to hold down a regular place in Rafa Benitez's starting XI since returning to fitness.
The former Roma man has been linked with a quick return to Serie A, but Aquilani's representative, Franco Zavaglia, insists the rumours are wrong.
"False news has been circulated around," Zavaglia told
"The player is happy in England and he will stay there with no problems.
"There is absolutely nothing that concerns him."
(Sky Sports)

Liverpool FC need
to go for jugular

They say fortune favours the brave and at Old Trafford yesterday Liverpool simply weren't brave enough.
It was easy to point an accusing finger at referee Howard Webb for his part in a painful defeat which delivered a shattering blow to the Reds' hopes of Champions League qualification.
The erratic official got just about everything wrong, including, crucially, the penalty he awarded when Javier Mascherano fouled Antonio Valencia just outside the box.
But the key reasons for this defeat lie much closer to home.
A year ago Liverpool went to Old Trafford and played United off the park en route to their biggest victory on enemy territory for 73 years.
This time they were overly cautious – more concerned with stifling the title contenders than bossing the game.
Benitez insisted he still believes he can deliver on his promise of landing fourth, but it's sounding hollow. To have any hope the boss must now throw caution to the wind and go for the jugular.
(James Pearce - Liverpool Echo)

Defender extends loan
Robbie Threlfall has extended his loan at Bradford City until the end
of the season.
He has proved to be a popular figure with the Bantams supporters and netted two goals so far including a fantastic free-kick on his debut in a 3-1 win at Rochdale.
Threlfall has been a regular member of Peter Taylor's League Two side and is enjoying the experience.
The defender, who can play at left-back or centre-half has also enjoyed loan spells in the past with Hereford United and Northampton Town.
(LFC Official Website)

Brum game moved
Liverpool's game with Birmingham has been put back 24 hours.
The away game at St Andrews has been put back from Saturday, April 3rd to Sunday, April 4th, kick off 3pm. The match has been moved because the Reds are in Europa League action on the Thursday before the game.
(LFC Online)

Liverpool FC can still finish
fourth, says Jamie Carragher

Jamie Carragher today insisted Liverpool possess the strength of character to shrug off their disappointment at Old Trafford and get their push for the top four back on track.
He is adamant there will still be plenty of twists and turns in the coming weeks and, having studied the fixture list, is confident Liverpool can still make their presence felt.
“We have just got to recover from this as quickly as possible and get on a run of victories,” said the Reds’ vice-captain.
(Liverpool Echo)

Rafa: Fergie influenced Webb
Rafa Benitez claimed Sir Alex Ferguson influenced referee Howard Webb's decision to award Manchester United a penalty in their 2-1 win over Liverpool.
Webb gave the penalty after Javier Mascherano brought Luis Antonio Valencia down, despite the foul appearing to begin a few yards outside the area.
Benitez believed Valencia dived, and pointed to Ferguson's complaints about the Football Association being 'dysfunctional' over their disciplinary policy.
(Football 365)

Cautious Benitez pays the price
There moments when all football managers must speculate to accumulate – and not just in the transfer market. With Tottenham and Manchester City intensifying their pursuit of fourth place, the time had arrived for Rafael Benitez to go
for broke yesterday.
In driving parlance Liverpool were approaching a dangerous corner and their manager needed to demand that they daringly risk accelerating hard into it, thereby gaining the momentum to overtake a queue of Champions League rivals on the home straight.
The price of balking at such a gamble could be not just the loss of a disillusioned Fernando Torres, but a failure to find an investor willing to cough up the €111 million Liverpool desperately require if the Royal Bank of Scotland is to be pacified this summer.
(Louise Taylor - The Irish Times)

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