Babel: It hurts so much
Ryan Babel admits no one spoke in the Liverpool dressing
room following a heartbreaking Euro exit at Anfield on
The Reds missed out on facing Fulham in the Europa League
final after Diego Forlan gave Atletico Madrid the away goal
they needed to progress in extra-time.
Babel told Liverpoolfc.tv down the tunnel: "It hurts a lot
because we controlled the game, more or less. We made one
mistake and they scored.
"It's frustrating when you know you are so close to a trophy
and in the end it's gone. It's very disappointing."
(LFC Official Website)
Liverpool coach Borrell says
academy 'was unacceptable'
Liverpool youth coach Rodolfo Borrell has revealed how
surprised he was by the poor quality of the club's academy
when he arrived at the club in 2009.
Borrell, who came with Jose Segura from Barcelona, believes
it could take another two years before a player breaks
through into the first team.
"The reality of what we found here was unacceptable,"
Borrell told BBC Sport.
"I think we have made a lot of progress over eight months,
but we need to improve a lot more to get more players into
the first team.
"I think if we keep working hard maybe in two years somebody
in the first team."
(BBC Sport Online)
Reina: Reds need better squad
Jose Reina admits the strength of Liverpool's squad meant a
Premier League title challenge was always going to be highly
unlikely this season.
Thursday night's away-goals Europa League semi-final exit to
Atletico Madrid realistically ended their chances of
salvaging anything from
a disappointing campaign.
Securing fourth place and with it Champions League football
looks a distant hope with Tottenham, Manchester City and
Aston Villa all ahead of them.
And Reina concedes Liverpool are playing for pride in their
"We couldn't aim to win the Premier League or a big title
yet," said the Spain international.
"So we have to try to have a better squad and try to be a
bit closer to the top of the table and be more competitive."
Benitez slams scheduling
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has hit out at the Premier
League over their end of season fixture schedule.
The Reds chief feels the matter needs to be addressed, with
so much at stake at this stage of the campaign.
His side are due to face title-chasing Chelsea on Sunday
just 63 hours after a gruelling Europa League semi-final
second leg against Atletico Madrid, which went to
They have been handed a lunchtime kick-off at Anfield while
Manchester United, who are also looking to take the Premier
League crown, face Sunderland later in the day.
Benitez believes it would have made more sense for both
games to take place at the same time, ensuring no unfair
advantage is gained.
Liverpool FC suffer more frustration
as season of woe continues
Try telling Steven Gerrard this was only the consolation
cup. Try telling Jamie Carragher the Europa League isn’t
As Liverpool’s players lay prostrate on the Anfield turf
after 120 energy-sapping minutes last night they had to come
to terms with the gut-wrenching agony of a European
The competition that was supposed to offer salvation of
sorts at the end of a desperate campaign ultimately only
provided yet another crushing disappointment.
The Europa League may be the poor relation but it still
matters and this hurt. The fact is the likes of Fernando
Torres, Javier Mascherano, Dirk Kuyt, Yossi Benayoun and
Lucas still have no medals to show for their tireless
efforts in red.
Among the current crop only Gerrard, Carragher and Pepe
Reina have won silverware with the club. The old adage is
that Liverpool only exists to win trophies but one hasn’t
been placed on the Anfield sideboard now since 2006.
(James Pearce - Liverpool Echo)
Benitez blames finances for
Liverpool FC's Europa League loss
Rafa Benitez admitted a major rebuilding job is needed at
Anfield this summer after Liverpool crashed out of the
Europa League at the hands of Atletico Madrid.
The Reds bowed out on away goals after the semi-final with
the Spaniards ended 2-2 on aggregate.
It ended the Reds' hopes of silverware this season and they
must win their remaining two Premier League games to have
any chance of qualifying for
the Champions League.
Benitez believes big changes are needed to ensure this
season is only a one-off.
“Two or three of the players have said we need three, four
or five more players and I agree with them,” Benitez said.
“The goal we conceded here sums up the season, you could say
“It has been one of those seasons where everything has gone
against us, though the players could be very proud tonight
because they were working so hard."
Impotence in attack
is main Anfield ailment
When Liverpool announced Ian Rush was returning to the club
this week you half expected a photo-call at Melwood complete
with Rafa Benitez and
the obligatory scarf.
With the hosts needing at least two goals to overturn
Atletico Madrid, injuries to Fernando Torres, Dirk Kuyt and
David Ngog didn’t bode well for those who had already
snapped up a hotel room in Hamburg.
Rush was at Anfield last night to see Liverpool’s last
chance of silverware this season dwindle.
Perhaps he should have brought his boots.
(David Randles - Liverpool Daily
Kalou: We have to win at Anfield
Salomon Kalou believes Chelsea "have to win"
at Liverpool on Sunday if they are to hold off Manchester
United in the Premier League title race.
Kalou, who fired a hat-trick in last weekend's 7-0 drubbing
of Stoke, believes his side must be ruthless as the Premier
League gears up for a grandstand finish.
"I think we have to win. There's two games to go and there's
no other way of going about it," said the Ivory Coast
Forlan late show sinks Reds
Atletico Madrid ended Liverpool's hopes of Europa League
glory with an away goals success after extra-time at
Diego Forlan, the goalscorer of Atletico's first-leg lead,
came back to haunt the Reds in and will now face Fulham in
the Hamburg final.
Liverpool, who saw the tie enter an additional 30 minutes
after Alberto Aquilani's 44th minute strike, thought they
were on their way to an all-English showpiece against the
Cottagers when Yossi Benayoun grabbed a 95th minute lead.
Forlan, the former Manchester United man who was much
derided during his time in English football, had the last
word however, as he struck in the 102nd minute to put an end
to the Merseyside team's involvement in the competition.
Masch on right, Dirk starts
Dirk Kuyt has been passed fit to start tonight's Europa
League semi-final return against Atletico Madrid.
Meanwhile, Javier Mascherano starts at right-back and Glen
Johnson on the left in what is a really attacking XI
selected by Rafael Benitez.
The team in full: Reina, Mascherano, Johnson, Carragher,
Agger, Lucas, Gerrard, Aquilani, Babel, Benayoun, Kuyt.
Subs: Cavalieri, Kyrgiakos, Pacheco, Degen, El Zhar, Ayala,
(LFC Official Website)
Flores demands positive Atletico
Quique Sanchez Flores has urged Atletico Madrid to be
positive against Liverpool in their Europa League semi-final
second leg at Anfield.
Anfield has witnessed many memorable European nights over
the years and Flores is aware Madrid's 1-0 lead will count
for little if the home side get off to a good start on
"We have to maintain the same intensity and concentration
that we showed in the first leg," Flores said.
"It is important we keep possession of the ball, try to
and be positive.
"What I don't want is us to play a waiting game to see how
Liverpool turn out."
Benitez in the dark
over Anfield future
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez aims to lead his side into
the third European final of his Anfield reign on Thursday
night admitting he has been given no assurances about his
future at the club.
"All my focus is on the next game, that's the future for me,
but no one from the club has spoken to me about mine."
Liverpool and Carlsberg set sights
on lucrative Chinese market
Carlsberg will appear on the shirts of Liverpool FC at
Anfield for the final time this weekend when the Reds take
on Chelsea, and use the opportunity of the biggest game of
the Premier League weekend to target the Chinese market.
Liverpool's sponsor will display its logo on the famous red
shirts worn by Steven Gerrard and his teammates in Chinese.
"Carslberg officials came up with the idea as a way of
interacting with the club's huge support in Asia and as
acknowledgement of Liverpool being the only UK city to be
exhibiting at the World Expo in Shanghai later this year,"
reports the Liverpool Daily Post.
"Chinese messages will be displayed on the perimeter
advertising boardings during the match and a Chinese
competition winner will present a trophy to the 'Man of the
Match' in the Carlsberg Lounge after the final whistle,"
the newspaper adds.
Reds wait on strike pair
Strikers Dirk Kuyt and David Ngog are major doubts for
Liverpool's Europa League semi-final second leg at home to
Kuyt sustained a calf injury in Sunday's 4-0 win at Burnley
while Ngog has a hamstring strain which has developed as a
result of a back problem which forced him off in the first
leg in Madrid last week.
It means Ryan Babel is likely to be asked to play in the
lone striker role.
Midfielder Maxi Rodriguez is ineligible, having already
played in Europe for Atletico, so that could mean Steven
Gerrard is asked to play on the right with Alberto Aquilani
given a chance in the hole behind the striker.
Liverpool (from): Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Kyrgiakos,
Agger, Lucas, Mascherano, Gerrard, Aquilani, Babel,
Benayoun, Ngog, Kuyt, Cavalieri, Degen, El Zhar, Pacheco,
Rafa committed to Reds
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez insists he is committed to the
club and is frustrated at rumours over his future.
Benitez's position at Anfield has been the subject of
intense speculation in recent weeks with Italian giants
Juventus strongly linked with a move for his services.
The Spaniard, who is preparing for Thursday's Europa clash
with Atletico Madrid, is annoyed with the constant
speculation over his Liverpool future and claims the signing
of Charlton youngster Jonjo Shelvey proves his long-term
for the club.
Reds tie up £1.7m Shelvey switch
Liverpool have sealed the signing of Charlton star Jonjo
Shelvey for an initial fee of £1.7million - with the deal
being completed on May 10.
The England Under-17 international has passed a medical and
agreed personal terms at Anfield.
Reds managing director Christian Purslow told the club's
official website: "Jonjo is an exciting young England
international. His signing is part of our long-term
strategic recruitment plan and we all look forward to
welcoming him to Melwood (training ground)."
The fee also contains a number of potential add-ons,
relating to domestic and international appearances.
Babel hoping to become
European hero for Liverpool FC
Ryan Babel tells Liverpool reporter DOMINIC KING of how
confidence in the Liverpool camp is building ahead of their
semi-final second leg clash
with Atletico Madrid
“It is clear that this season has not been the best and
maybe that is why we haven’t scored as many goals away from
home as we should have done. The important thing, is to
believe in a better future.
“It’s true that I had some ups and downs. But I have had
good talks with the staff and the manager. I’ve tried to
work as hard as possible. I know what they want from me and
I am getting some confidence back. Hopefully I can show
a little bit more.”