Red News


JANUARY              2010
28 29 30 31



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 manager.
"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 for himself.
"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.
(Fotball 365)

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 year.
"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 Bolton.
"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."
(Yahoo! Eurosport)

Hansen praises determined Dirk
Former Liverpool captain Alan Hansen believes Dirk Kuyt deserves praise for his attitude and endeavour in recent weeks.
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 earlier.
"He might not have played as well as he can this season, but he never lies down and dies, something which supporters appreciate."
(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'.
(Daily Mail)

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 endeavour.
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 Lancashire.
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 Valle.
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
in midweek.
The back four remains unchanged.
Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Skrtel, Kyrgiakos, Insua Mascherano, Aquilani, Gerrard, Riera, Kuyt, Ngog.
Subs: Cavalieri, Agger, Rodriguez, Babel, Lucas, Darby, Pacheco.
(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
yesterday afternoon.
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 backing.
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 future holds.
(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 this summer.
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 the campaign.
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 rumoured interest.
That will act as further encouragement to the Italians after Benitez earlier this week expressed his ongoing frustration at the current financial climate
at Liverpool.
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.
(Daily Post)
Reds reject new Babel bid 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
City's offer.
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 St Andrews.
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 shunned.
(Sky Sports)

Benitez focused on Reds
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez admits he is proud to be linked with Juventus but insists he is “really happy” at Anfield.
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 too much,”
said Benitez.
“I am focused on preparing my team for the game against Bolton (tomorrow)."
(Irish Examiner)

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 with Wolves.
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,
Darby, Babel.

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 service.
(Liverpool Echo)

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 the season
thus far.
”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.”
(Daily Post)

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 troubled campaign.
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 defenders.
“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 side."
(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 the summer.
(Anfield Online)

Liverpool youngster
poised for Holland return claims that Liverpool teenager Vincent Weijl is poised to return
to Holland.
The Reds signed the attacking midfielder from AZ Alkmaar in July 2008 and he is a member of the Premier League side's reserves.
But Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez is understood to be prepared to allow Weijl to leave on loan in order to build first-team experience.
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 been deployed
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 a possibly.
"We have to be careful with what we do," Benitez told the Liverpool Echo.
"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
on Saturday.
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 Anfield.
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 website.

Congratulations, Jamie !!!
Our congratulations today go to Jamie Carragher, on his 32nd birthday.

Striker seals loan deal
Reserve striker Nathan Eccleston has joined League One outfit Huddersfield Town on loan until the beginning of March.
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 this season.
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 the Terriers
last season.
(LFC Official Website)

Lazio hope to welcome
Liverpool midfielder Plessis

Lazio are ready to wrap up a deal for Liverpool midfielder Damien Plessis.
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 deal in
the coming days.

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