Red News


MARCH                 2010
25 26 27



Rafa reveals title-tilt plan
Rafa Benitez insists plans are underway for Liverpool to become title-challengers next season.
The Reds boss has already made inroads in the transfer market for next season with a pre-contract agreed with Standard Liege forward Milan Jovanovic, while Jose Reina and Javier Mascherano are set to sign their deals at Anfield in the next month.
The Merseysiders have already secured the future of their key men in the last 12 months with forwards Fernando Torres and Dirk Kuyt, midfielder Steven Gerrard and defender Daniel Agger on new long-term contracts.
Torres, Liverpool's star striker, said on Saturday that he thinks the Reds need to bring in new additions in the summer.
And Benitez, whose side have failed to build from last season's second-place finish and are currently sixth in the table, is keen to bring more quality to Anfield in the summer to complement his current squad.
(Sky Sports)

Torres quashes Reds exit claims
Liverpool striker Fernando Torres has rebuffed reports he will leave the club at the end of the season.
The news will come as a relief to the Anfield faithful, who have seen Torres net 18 goals in just 24 starts this term - a shining light in an otherwise wretched season for the Reds.
Rafa Benitez's men face an uphill struggle if they are to qualify for next season's Champions League and at present look short of mounting a Premier League charge next term.
Torres admits Liverpool must bring in "quality players" over the summer but insists failure to qualify for Europe's premier club competition will not force him to consider a move.
"My place is here at Liverpool, and in England," the 26-year-old told his
personal website.
"We need some new signings," he admitted, while adding his ambitions for next season include "challenging for the Premier League title, and the Champions League or Europa League".
(Football 365)

Rafa makes budget claim
Rafa Benitez has claimed next season's transfer budget will not be affected if Liverpool finish outside the top four in the Premier League.
The Spaniard suggested he has not benefited from five successive qualifications to the UEFA Champions League in terms of the money he is given to invest.
The Reds have enjoyed sitting at Europe's top table since Benitez arrived in 2004, but their place is under serious threat this season and failure to qualify would set the debt-laden club back a reported £20million.
But the Spanish tactician, whose side are four points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham having a played a game more, insists the Merseysiders' spending plans will not be restricted if they do not return to Europe's elite competition next term after speaking to the owners.
"They told me before that it [Champions League qualification] didn't make a big difference [to his transfer budget]," the Liverpool manager said in The Guardian.
"Every year that we have qualified for the Champions League it hasn't made a big difference so if we don't qualify this time I don't expect it to make
a big difference."
(Sky Sports)

Rafa defends Insua
Rafael Benitez has defended Emiliano Insua.
The 21 year old defender has come in for some criticism this season but, while admitting the player can improve, Benitez was quick to defend Insua.
"He has made some mistakes like the other players, but he has also played some good games. I don't see him as a problem," said the boss.
"It is true with Fabio Aurelio we had more experience and different options - we could give a rest to Aurelio and Insua - but that is not the case now, so we have to keep pushing Emiliano.
"He is at the age to learn. He is young and wants to improve, so we are working very hard with him trying to give him some ideas and advice.
"I think he is doing well - he is not doing bad."
(LFC Online)
Bruce and Benitez renew rivalry
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce will renew battle with Liverpool counterpart Rafael Benitez on Sunday still smarting over the Spaniard's January pursuit of
Kenwyne Jones.
Bruce was furious at persistent speculation from Merseyside during the winter transfer window that the Trinidad & Tobago international would leave Wearside and join the Reds on loan for the rest of the season before completing a permanent switch during the summer.
Jones was clearly unsettled by the rumours and his form dipped alarmingly and, while his manager insists there will be no continued resentment as he sends his team out at Anfield, the saga still clearly rankles.
(Press Association Sport)

Benitez hoping to get rid of Riera
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has confirmed the club are looking to offload winger Albert Riera in the next fortnight.
The Spain international angered Benitez with his outspoken criticism last week, claiming the manager does not communicate with players and describing Liverpool as a "sinking ship".
He was immediately suspended for several days by the club and it now seems certain Riera, who has a Russian wife, is likely to be farmed out on loan to a Russian club before the close of their transfer window early next month.
"We are working with different clubs trying to find a solution at this moment,"
said Benitez.
"We will try to do some business if we can and see what happens."
(Press Association)

Liverpool could go on the attack
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has no new injury worries for Sunday's home match against Sunderland in the Premier League.
With no midweek match the Reds boss has been able to give his squad some time off to recuperate from a busy schedule involving Europa League matches.
He may opt for a more attacking line-up at home than he did for last Sunday's defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford, which could bring the likes of Ryan Babel, Alberto Aquilani and Yossi Benayoun into contention.
Martin Skrtel (foot) and Fabio Aurelio (thigh) are still a couple of weeks away from fitness while Albert Riera is unlikely to be included as the club consider a loan deal to Russia for the Spain winger.
Liverpool (from): Reina, Johnson, Agger, Carragher, Insua, Lucas, Mascherano, Kuyt, Gerrard, Rodriguez, Torres, Babel, Ngog, Benayoun, Aquilani, Cavalieri, Kyrgiakos, Spearing, Kelly, Degen.

Benitez looking for lift from Gerrard
Rafa Benitez admits Liverpool's failings have not brought the best out of Steven Gerrard - but he still expects more from the Reds skipper.
The England international accepts his form has left him unhappy and that has been obvious watching his body language on the field.
Benitez sympathises with Gerrard because he accepts the season has been a disappointing one but that does not mean he will absolve the player from taking any responsibility.

Ubisoft announce
partnership with Gerrard

Ubisoft has today announced its partnership with the Liverpool FC captain and new England vice-captain, Steven Gerrard in the latest football game entitled, Pure Football.
The game will be available in May 2010 for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC and features 230 elite footballers and 17 International teams to play with.
“I’m proud to be the ambassador of Pure Football.” said Steven Gerrard “Not only does this game reflect the way I like Football, more physical, more technical, but it’s also a lot of fun to play with friends.”
In Pure FootballTM, players can choose Stevie G. among 230 elite footballers, 17 international teams, and 17 legendary players. The Liverpool FC number 8 has won 2 FA and League Cups, as well as the UEFA Cup in 2001 and the UEFA Champions League 2004-05 in 2005, following Liverpool's Gerrard inspired comeback in the Final. Last year, Gerrard was named as the 2009 FWA Footballer of the Year, becoming the first Liverpool player to win the award in nineteen years.
(MSXbox World)

Bruce: Liverpool are formidable
Steve Bruce has laughed off suggestions that Liverpool are a fading
football power.
The Black Cats visit Anfield this Sunday hoping to improve their away record and their spirited performance against Villa midweek, coupled with Liverpool's inconsistent campaign, will give hope that the Wearsiders can improve their points total further.
"They've been a formidable side for as long as I can remember and they remain so now.
"I know there's been a lot of talk about them this season and by their own standards they'll be very disappointed not to be in the Champion's League and not to be in with a chance of winning the Premier League either.
"But they still have a good chance of finishing in the top four and you'd have to be daft to write them off.
(Sunderland Echo)

Gerrard eyes improvement
Liverpool and England star Steven Gerrard admits he has not been at his best this season.
The Reds skipper, though, has vowed that he is still more than capable of returning to the top of his game at any chosen moment.
Gerrard admits he needs to improve, but he has his sights firmly set on making the top-four in the Premier League - whilst also making the Europa League final.
"I think it can be better, if you look at my form through the season as a whole I am not totally happy, I have not reached the level I would like to be at," he told Sky Sports News.
"It is not worrying me as I still have confidence that it can switch and turn at any given time to where I would want it to be at any given time, I have played well this season but I have come out of games when I have not been totally happy."
(Sky Sports)

Mascherano reveals
Rafa admiration

Midfielder Javier Mascherano has praised Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez for making him "a better player and a better person".
The Reds boss last week was criticised by winger Albert Riera for his communication skills and handling of players.
That outburst appears certain to see the Spain international farmed out on loan in the next fortnight to a club in Russia, where the transfer window does not close until early next month.
However, Argentina captain Mascherano, who yesterday said he expected to sign a new contract very soon, has praised Benitez.

Kelly scores as Liverpool FC
reserves draw with Wigan

Martin Kelly fired as Liverpool Reserves were held to a 1-1 draw.
Right-back Kelly did his first-team ambitions no harm with a goal early in the second half at Prenton Park only to have it cancelled out within minutes by Jordan Mustoe.
The result, which makes it 15 unbeaten for John McMahon’s youngsters, leaves them six points behind league leaders Manchester United with three games
in hand.
(Liverpool Echo)
Benitez: Tough to keep morale up
Rafael Benitez admits a tough season has made it difficult to change the mindset within Liverpool's squad on occasions when his side have lost.
"We were not doing well at the beginning [of the season] and we lost a bit of confidence because we couldn't be contenders but you cannot change what has happened in the past," said Benitez.

Thompson wants Reds stars
to demand ultimatums

Former Liverpool captain Phil Thompson has called on the club’s star players to issue co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett with an ultimatum to provide more transfer funds or they will walk out.
Striker Fernando Torres has already gone public with his thoughts, suggesting the Reds need four or five quality signings in the summer, while skipper Steven Gerrard currently cuts an unhappy figure on the pitch as the his side battle to secure fourth place in the Barclays Premier League.
Thompson, who lifted the European Cup for Liverpool in 1981, believes only players of their stature can get through to the American owners, who have failed to provide the necessary investment in the squad and a new stadium since taking control three years ago.
“Fernando Torres said he didn’t want to be fighting for fourth place every year and he is absolutely bang on,” said Thompson.
“He’s a player, a foreign player, who has come to the club. They have to listen
to him.
“He and Stevie Gerrard should be saying ’If you’re not going to invest, why would we want to remain here?’
“They need to give them (Tom Hicks and George Gillett) some ultimatums."
(Irish Examiner)

Mascherano: I want to stay
Javier Mascherano today stressed his desire to remain on Merseyside and spoke of his confidence that he will soon put pen to paper on a new Liverpool contract.
Manager Rafael Benitez revealed this week that talks between the club and Mascherano's advisors were progressing - and the Argentine midfielder has now admitted he expects to soon commit his future to the Reds.
"The club are talking with my agents. I don't like to be involved in the contract meetings so I leave that to my agents and the people at the club,"
said Mascherano.
"Liverpool know I want to stay. I don't think it will be difficult to arrive at a deal and we will see what happens in the next few weeks."
There had been speculation suggesting Mascherano's Anfield career was heading to its end following reported interest from abroad, but the player himself admits he only sees himself as a Liverpool player.
"I have never said I was not happy at Liverpool," he added. "That was the press. I am happy here and the only way I can show that is with my performances
on the pitch.
"I always try to do everything I can to help my teammates and manager. Sometimes I can do well and sometimes I can't, but I always look to give one hundred per cent in training and in games."
(LFC Official Website)

Spartak Moscow in for Riera
Spartak Moscow have now been linked with Albert Riera.
The winger, who is being forced out of Liverpool after hitting a reserve team player and publicly criticising Rafael Benitez, had been linked with a move to CSKA Moscow. However, they have denied any interest in Riera.
"We know that the CSKA brand is very attractive for any player who is searching for a new challenge but Albert Riera is not in our plans," said a club spokesman.
"It has come as a surprise to us that we are interested in this player."
Although CSKA don't want Riera, city rivals Spartak Moscow have now been linked with him. Spartak apparently want to sign Riera on loan for the rest of the season with a permanent transfer in the Summer, should he impress.
(LFC Online)

Reds confirm fixture details
Liverpool Football Club have confirmed the arrangements for the forthcoming Barclays Premier League fixtures with Fulham and Hull City.
Due to Fulham's exit from the FA Cup, the Reds' Anfield clash with the Cottagers will definitely be played on Sunday, April 11 with a 3pm kick-off.
Meanwhile, our final league game of the campaign against Hull at the KC Stadium will kick-off at 4pm on Sunday, May 9 in line with all other Barclays Premier League fixtures that day.
(LFC Official Website)

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