Rafa rubbishes Juve deal claims
Rafael Benitez has today rubbished further press speculation
linking him with a move to Serie A side Juventus.
"Contrary to reports in the Italian media this weekend, I
want to make it absolutely clear I have no agreement with
Juventus and have not and will not be meeting Juventus or
their representatives or any other club," said the Liverpool
"I have a long term contract with Liverpool and I'll repeat
what I said on Friday that I am happy here and my only focus
is to do my job as well as I can to get the team back into
to the top four, beginning with the derby against Everton."
(LFC Official Website)
Benitez coy over Hicks visit
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is too intelligent not to
have drawn his own conclusions over the significance of the
surprise visit of co-owner Tom Hicks to Anfield on Saturday
but he side-stepped questions over what implications it had
"If he is around I will see him. It is good to see him here.
It is always positive," said Benitez when asked if Hicks had
come for a meeting.
Kuyt keeps Benitez
speculation in perspective
Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt insists speculation about
manager Rafael Benitez's future at the club is a long way
down the players' list of priorities.
Juventus have made the Reds boss their number one target to
take over in the summer having sacked Ciro Ferrara on Friday
and installed Alberto Zaccheroni as the stop-gap until the
end of the season.
Benitez stoked the fires slightly by admitting he was
"proud" to be linked with such an institution but Kuyt said
the concentration of everyone at the club was on their
minimum target of securing Champions League football next
"To be honest we just focus on football and not other things
outside the pitch," said the Holland international, who
scored Liverpool's first in Saturday's 2-0 win at home to
"As far as I know there is no doubt. I've not heard there is
any trouble or indication the manager could leave so if that
is not happening we just want to play football."
Hansen praises determined Dirk
Former Liverpool captain Alan Hansen believes Dirk Kuyt
deserves praise for his attitude and endeavour in recent
In the absence of Fernando Torres the task of leading the
line has been passed to Kuyt and the Dutchman recently found
his goal scoring touch against Tottenham, before netting the
opener in Saturday's 2-0 win over Bolton.
Hansen told LFC Weekly: "Dirk Kuyt scored both our goals
against Spurs and that will do his confidence the power of
good following his late miss against Stoke a few weeks
"He might not have played as well as he can this season, but
he never lies down and dies, something which supporters
(LFC Official Website)
Report: Juventus agree
terms with Benitez
Juventus have reportedly agreed terms with Liverpool manager
Rafael Benitez, with the Spaniard set to take charge of the
Serie A side from the start
of next season.
According to the Independent, Juventus’ lawyers are due in
England on Sunday for talks about releasing Benitez from his
current Anfield contract.
Liverpool fans protest after
co-owner Tom Hicks’ surprise visit
Hundreds of Liverpool fans protested against American
co-owner Tom Hicks as he made a surprise visit to see the
game at Anfield yesterday, heightening speculation about the
future of Rafa Benitez.
Club officials were told of Hicks' attendance only on the
morning of the game and the Texan was given a security
escort into the stadium.
But once his presence was spotted by fans, about 500
gathered outside the main Anfield entrance and chanted
'Yanks out' and 'Get out of our club' for 90 minutes. One
banner unfurled on The Kop earlier read 'Yank Liars'.
Rafa: Still room for improvement
Rafa Benitez admits Liverpool's performance in the 2-0 win
over Bolton was far from perfect - but he believes his side
now have momentum heading into three massive encounters.
It means Liverpool are now six league games unbeaten as they
prepare for fixtures against Everton, Arsenal and City.
Benitez said: "I'm pleased with the result, pleased with the
second half - but not too happy with the first. At the end
of the day we needed to win and we won.
"I am really happy because we're six games unbeaten and have
more clean sheets. Very good."
(LFC Official Website)
Kuyt leads way
as Reds beat Bolton
Liverpool kept up the pressure in the race for fourth place
in the Premier League with a 2-0 victory over Bolton at
Anfield on Saturday.
Dirk Kuyt's 49th strike for the club and Kevin Davies' own
goal either side of half-time eventually proved enough in a
performance which was lacking a touch of class if not
Rafael Benitez's side are now unbeaten in six league games,
in which they have conceded just once, and remain on course
to deliver the manager's "guarantee" of Champions League
football next season.
It was also the first time this campaign they have shut out
opponents on three successive occasions, which contributed
to a fourth-successive home victory.
New signing sinks Man U
Kristjan Gauti Emilsson struck a late winner on his debut as
Liverpool under-18s secured an impressive 1-0 win over
Manchester United on Saturday.
The Icelandic starlet came off the bench to head home Tom
Ince's 80th minute cross and claim all three points for
Rodolfo Borrell's men after keenly contested encounter in
It capped a fantastic day for the Academy, with the
under-16s running riot against the Red Devils with a
comprehensive 6-0 triumph.
Liverpool: Oldfield, Flanagan, Wisdom, Sama, Robinson,
Roberts, Coady, Ince, Ngoo, Adorjan ( Emilsson 60), Dalla
Unused subs: Chamberlain, Ellison, Roddan, Ihiekwe.
(LFC Official Website)
Liverpool v Bolton: Aquilani returns, Ngog starts
For the first time since his arrival at Anfield last summer,
midfielder Alberto Aquilani starts in the role Rafa Benitez
originally earmarked for the Italian.
Aquilani replaces Lucas Leiva in midfield, lining up
alongside Javier Mascherano and behind Steven Gerrard.
David Ngog is expected to lead the attack, with Dirk Kuyt
switching to the right of a 4231 formation.
Maxi Rodriguez makes way for Ngog after making his full
debut against Wolves
The back four remains unchanged.
Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Skrtel, Kyrgiakos, Insua
Mascherano, Aquilani, Gerrard, Riera, Kuyt, Ngog.
Subs: Cavalieri, Agger, Rodriguez, Babel, Lucas, Darby,
(This is Anfield)
Battle-weary Benitez could
decide to end Liverpool FC war
Suddenly it seems different. Liverpool supporters have seen
Rafa Benitez linked with jobs away from Anfield before but
never thought he would leave – until now.
The prospect, you see, of Benitez walking away from the club
he has managed since the summer of 2004 is more real than
ever before, a point which was hammered home during his
weekly press conference at Melwood
In the past, notably when Real Madrid have come calling,
Benitez has batted away questions from his interrogators
without fuss, insisting he could never accept another offer
while he is so happy in the area.
That point, it must be stressed, is still valid; Benitez
loves Liverpool life, so does his wife, Montse, and their
children Claudia and Agata; he also wants to deliver success
to the fans who have, in the main, given him unconditional
Benitez, though, appears to have grown weary of the constant
battle that is now life at Anfield and the events during the
latest transfer window have left him wondering what the
(Dominic King - Liverpool Echo)
Benitez wants cash for players
if he's to stay at Liverpool FC
Rafa Benitez has warned Liverpool FC’s board they must find
new investment if he is to resist overtures from Juventus
Speculation surrounding the Spaniard intensified yesterday
when the Serie A side sacked Ciro Ferrara as coach and named
Alberto Zaccheroni as his replacement for the remainder of
It leaves the door open for Juventus to make a move for
number one target Benitez at the end of the season, with the
Liverpool manager yesterday stating he is “proud” at the
That will act as further encouragement to the Italians after
Benitez earlier this week expressed his ongoing frustration
at the current financial climate
And while revealing assurances have been given over fresh
investors and the building of the much-delayed new stadium
on Stanley Park, the Spaniard has cast renewed doubt over
his Anfield future by insisting the time has now come for
those words to be followed by actions.
Reds reject new Babel bid
Skysports.com understands Liverpool have rejected a new bid
from Birmingham for Ryan Babel.
The Blues have been tracking the Reds winger since the
opening of the January transfer window but saw a reported £9
million bid rebuffed by the Merseyside giants at the start
of the month.
Liverpool chief Rafael Benitez claimed Babel still had an
integral to play at Anfield, but the 23-year-old has made
just one substitute appearance since
Babel, who announced his displeasure at being left out of a
recent Liverpool squad on Twitter before apologising
personally to Benitez, was originally not keen on a move to
But the player's agent has since revealed the Dutch
international had a change of heart, with the World Cup on
the horizon, but it appears Alex McLeish's latest bid to
lure the former Ajax star to the West Midlands has been
Benitez focused on Reds
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez admits he is proud to be
linked with Juventus but insists he is “really happy” at
Over the last fortnight the Turin club have made Benitez
their top managerial target and today sacked Ciro Ferrara
following five defeats in the last six Serie A matches, an
early exit from the Champions League and a Coppa Italia
quarter-final loss to Inter Milan last night.
Alberto Zaccheroni has taken charge in the interim but his
appointment is only until the end of the season and will
increase speculation about Benitez’s long-term future.
Reports in Italy had suggested a Juve delegation had flown
to Merseyside this week to convince the Spaniard to leave
Anfield in the summer but Benitez side-stepped that issue.
“I am not here to talk about speculation because people talk
“I am focused on preparing my team for the game against
Defensive duo to miss Bolton battle
Liverpool defenders Fabio Aurelio and Philipp Degen will
both miss Saturday afternoon's Premier League clash against
Bolton at Anfield.
Aurelio has missed the last two matches with a minor knock
while Degen (calf) did not play in the midweek goalless draw
However, centre-back Daniel Agger returns to the squad after
regaining fitness while captain Steven Gerrard has reported
no after-effects from Tuesday night when he made his
comeback after a hamstring problem.
Reds (from): Reina, Skrtel, Agger, Carragher, Insua,
Aquilani, Gerrard, Lucas, Rodriguez, Riera, Ngog, Kuyt,
Cavalieri, Kyrgiakos, Pacheco, Spearing,
Zaccheroni replaces Ferrara at Juve
Serie A giants Juventus have sacked coach Ciro Ferrara and
appointed Alberto Zaccheroni as his replacement until the
end of the season.
Ferrara's future had long been the source of speculation and
uncertainty after the Bianconeri were knocked out of the
Champions League and suffered a drop in form that has all
but ruled them out of the race for the Serie A title.
The news ends speculation linking Liverpool boss Rafa
Benitez with the post, at least in the short term.
A statement from Juventus read: "The Bianconeri club
announces it has released Ciro Ferrara as coach and
appointed Alberto Zaccheroni, who has signed a contract
until June 2010.
"Zaccheroni will take over the team immediately and will
guide this afternoon's training session in Vinovo before
being officially unveiled to the media."
Kyrgiakos has big boots to fill
Boots do not come any bigger to fill: if Alberto Aquilani
accepted mission impossible last summer, how must Sotirios
Kyrgiakos have felt upon touching down at Anfield?
As the man bought to replace Xabi Alonso, a huge crowd
favourite and Liverpool's play-maker supreme, Aquilani was
always destined to be subjected to a succession of
unfavourable and unhelpful comparisons with his predecessor.
When a player has enjoyed the kind of popularity that Alonso
did on Merseyside, and been able to exert such an influence
on the team, no matter what Aquilani does in a red shirt, he
will be unable to stop certain sections of supporters
hankering for the past.
Aquilani, however, was not in a unique position at the start
of this campaign.
Kyrgiakos, after all, was drafted in to assume the role
vacated by Sami Hyppia, a defender who had been a giant for
Liverpool over 10 trophy-laden years, giving them phenomenal
Agger: The hard work
has only just begun
While Steven Gerrard’s claims that Liverpool have turned a
corner may be true in part, a fairer reflection might be
that for every step forward, they take half
a step back.
Daniel Agger adds some clarity to the notion when he
mentions the hard work ahead of the Reds.
Hard work is exactly what Rafael Benitez’s team have made of
”It’s a really tough challenge this year,” said the Denmark
international. “There are more teams competing than
normally. We have a lot of work to do if we want to finish
in the top four. But that’s our aim.
“I think things are starting to turn for us. We have to keep
winning because there is a lot more work to do.”
Benitez praise for captain Pepe
Rafa Benitez has been full of praise for performances and
leadership qualities shown by Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe
Reina during what’s turned out to be a disappointing season
for the Reds.
Reina has been carrying a back injury in recent weeks but
still managed to keep his fourth clean sheet in six games
against Wolves on Wednesday and has been one of the few,
perhaps only, standout performers for Liverpool during this
Benitez said: “Pepe has had problems with injury but his
mentality is really good.
“He is not just a good goalkeeper, I think he shows great
character and is always pushing his teammates.
“He is a leader on the pitch too. He can see the big
picture, the full pitch, and then can give advice to the
“Pepe watches the game and can then manage the defenders,
especially the movement of the full-backs.
“It is part of his job and he is doing well but he can still
improve in this particular area and it is something he will
do in his time here.”
"I’ve never been a big fan of goalkeepers wearing the
captain’s armband but I’d make an exception for Pepe. He is
definitely one of the leaders in our team and certainly
seems to have the right qualities to one day skipper the
(This is Anfield)
Juventus continue chase for Benitez
According to the Italian media, Juventus president
Jean-Claude Blanc has flown in to Liverpool in order to
attempt to prise the Liverpool boss away from Anfield.
Benitez was very coy in his post match interview in mid-week
when asked, on an opportunity when he normally would have
brushed off the debate.
Suggestions have been rife that Benitez will move to
Juventus in the summer, after failing to receive any
assurances about player investment from the Liverpool board.
For the fourth successive transfer window Liverpool’s net
spend in the transfer window looks set to be negative as the
club continue to hoard money to pay for enormous debts.
The Juve president is convinced the current malaise will
ensure he can bring in Benitez now rather than wait until
poised for Holland return
Skysports.com claims that Liverpool teenager Vincent Weijl
is poised to return
The Reds signed the attacking midfielder from AZ Alkmaar in
July 2008 and he is a member of the Premier League side's
But Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez is understood to be prepared
to allow Weijl to leave on loan in order to build first-team
An unnamed Dutch club have made approach for the 19-year-old
and he could therefore be moving back to the Eredivisie.
Rafa keen to draft in a right-back
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has indicated he is keen to
draft in a right-back before the transfer window closes at
the end of this month.
Benitez wants to act as Glen Johnson is taking time to
recover from medial ligament damage.
In the England international's absence, Jamie Carragher has
in that role.
However Benitez, whose side face Bolton on Saturday, would
like Carragher to return to the centre of the defence.
The Spanish boss knows time is against him to recruit with
the transfer window about to close but a fresh face remains
"We have to be careful with what we do," Benitez told the
"There are not too many good players around who are
available and we will think about it."
Mascherano wants fortress Anfield
Javier Mascherano knows Liverpool must make Anfield a
fortress until the end of the season if the Reds are to
claim top-four finish.
Rafa Benitez's Reds have struggled this campaign, but they
have won their last three home Premier League matches and
welcome Bolton to Merseyside
Liverpool are fighting with Manchester City, Tottenham and
Aston Villa for a place in next season's Champions League,
and Mascherano is aware of the importance of fixtures at
The Argentine believes a winning run at home, with Everton,
Blackburn, Portsmouth and Sunderland to visit before April,
will build self-belief in what promises to be a tense
conclusion to the season.
"If we can be really strong at Anfield, it will be really
good for our confidence," he told Liverpool's official
Congratulations, Jamie !!!
Our congratulations today go to Jamie Carragher, on his 32nd
Striker seals loan deal
Reserve striker Nathan Eccleston has joined League One
outfit Huddersfield Town on loan until the beginning of
The former Academy starlet, who recently put pen to paper on
a new deal with the Reds, made the move to Melwood full-time
during the summer and made his first team debut for the club
He made his bow against Arsenal in the Carling Cup before he
appeared against Fulham in the Barclays Premier League.
Eccleston will team up with Kop hero Terry McDermott who is
assistant to Lee Clark at the Galpharm Stadium.
Huddersfield are having a good season and are just one point
from a play-off position and have two games in hand.
Fellow Red Martin Kelly enjoyed a successful loan spell with
(LFC Official Website)
Lazio hope to welcome
Liverpool midfielder Plessis
Lazio are ready to wrap up a deal for Liverpool midfielder
The France U21 international has been told by Liverpool
manager Rafa Benitez he can move away on-loan before the
January market shuts.
Lazio are keen to bring Plessis to Rome and hope to do a
the coming days.