Benitez quiet on takeover talk
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has refused to speculate on
potential new investment, but remains keen for an injection
of money at Anfield.
Newspaper reports on Tuesday morning suggested that India's
wealthiest man, Mukesh Ambani, was preparing an offer for a
controlling stake in the Reds.
But a spokesperson for the tycoon has dismissed the
conjecture and, after masterminding a 10-man win in the
Merseyside derby at the weekend, Benitez does not want to
speculate over the implications.
However, the Spaniard, who is said to be unsettled by the
financial problems of Liverpool co-owners Tom Hicks and
George Gillett, still wants transfer funds and the finances
to build a proposed new stadium in Stanley Park.
Benitez told Sky Sports News ahead of Wednesday's crucial
trip Arsenal in the Premier League: "We see a lot of rumours
in the press, but we have to concentrate on football.
Rafa concedes Chamakh defeat
Rafael Benitez believes Liverpool's chances of signing
Bordeaux forward Marouane Chamakh in the summer are now
The 26-year-old is available on a free transfer as his
contract with the French champions expires at the end of the
Benitez had hoped to lure the Morocco international to
Anfield and only last month the Reds appeared to be leading
the race for his signature.
But Chamakh has since expressed an interest in joining their
Premier League rivals Arsenal while reportedly hitting out
at Liverpool for being "fussy" over contract negotiations.
Benitez has now conceded defeat in his bid to secure
Chamakh's services and is angry that talks broke down.
"I think that we will not sign him - but I will not say [any
the Liverpool boss.
Gerrard: We've answered our critics
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes he and his
team-mates have answered their critics after they were
written off earlier this season.
Seven defeats in the first four months of the campaign -
five more than last year when they finished second to
Manchester United - left the club floundering a long way off
the pace in the Premier League.
"Every single player in the squad has rolled his sleeves up
and everyone is fighting for the same thing."
A victory at Arsenal on Wednesday - where they have not won
in the league for a decade - would put Liverpool within two
points of their third-placed opponents.
And Gerrard believes they would not let that slip.
"I'm sure Arsenal will be a bit of a wounded animal on
Wednesday," he added.
Sick Aquilani misses Gunners date
Italian midfielder Alberto Aquilani will miss Liverpool's
trip to face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday
night because of illness.
Aquilani has been vomiting and manager Rafael Benitez said
he was too weak to feature in north London.
Centre-back Sotirios Kyrgiakos starts a three-match
suspension after being sent off in Saturday's fiery
Merseyside derby and is also sidelined for forthcoming games
against Manchester City and Blackburn.
He is likely to be replaced by Martin Skrtel, who was
dropped to the bench at the weekend to allow for the return
of Daniel Agger after a month out injured.
Liverpool's only other absentees are striker Fernando Torres
(knee), Yossi Benayoun (rib) and Glen Johnson (knee), all of
whom are still some way off
Reds (from): Reina, Skrtel, Agger, Carragher, Insua,
Gerrard, Lucas, Rodriguez, Riera, Ngog, Kuyt, Cavalieri,
Pacheco, Spearing, Darby, Babel, Aurelio, Degen.
Rafa pleased with Lucas
Rafael Benitez is happy with the performances of Lucas
The boss believes his Brazilian midfielder is winning fans
over this season with his determination to succeed.
"Lucas is a very good player. His teammates know it and now
the fans are starting to realise it too," said Benitez.
"If you analyse the history of the club you will find
players that have perhaps had bad times.
"But Lucas is the kind of player that has character. The
fans realise that this is what they want to see from their
Molby: A good time to face Arsenal
Jan Molby believes Liverpool can stake a big claim for a
top-four finish when they take on Arsenal at the Emirates
Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Gunners have lost their last two games to title rivals
Manchester United and Chelsea, and the legendary midfielder
feels Rafael Benitez's side can get a positive result in
"I think they can go to Arsenal full of confidence," said
"The results Liverpool have had mean they can feel they have
a good chance against any team, but I think it is a good
time to play Arsenal. I think Arsenal are doubting
themselves at the moment after their own recent run."
(LFC Official Website)
Agger eyes repeat of derby spirit
Daniel Agger believes Liverpool will need to show the same
kind of attitude displayed in Saturday's Merseyside derby
victory at Arsenal.
The Reds travel to London on Wednesday looking for their
first Premier League win at the home of the Gunners since
They have every incentive to push for victory as it would
lift them to within two points of their third-placed
Agger believes the determination exemplified in the 1-0 win
over Everton at Anfield, when the side played the best part
of an hour with 10 men after Sotirios Kyrgiakos' dismissal,
will help to break their disappointing run on Arsenal
"We just have to go for the three points in each game," said
the Denmark international, who is likely to start
back-to-back games for the first time since the end of
December because of Kyrgiakos' three-match suspension.
"We need to have a good result against Arsenal, that is the
most important game right now.
"Arsenal are a good team but every game in this league is
tough so we need to go in with the same attitude as against
"Everyone in the team knows we have the right attitude."
Kyrgiakos: Rafa's the best
Kyrgiakos has played a key role in Liverpool's current
six-match unbeaten run as, of the five games he has featured
in, four have ended with clean sheets.
The Greek international is looking one of the bargain buys
of the season after his £1.5million arrival from AEK Athens
and he attributed his success to Liverpool boss Rafael
"Rafa Benitez is the best manager I have played for," said
the 30-year-old, whose suspension means he also misses
matches at Manchester City and home
"He has won the Champions League for this club and I enjoy
working for him.
"I have learned a lot from playing for Rafa and we want to
play well in every game for him and this club."
Gunners can kill anyone,
claims bullish Theo Walcott
Theo Walcott maintains when Arsenal get it right, they can
“kill” any of their rivals for the Premier League title –
but accepts the Gunners cannot afford any
more off days.
Arsene Wenger’s young side once again came up short when it
really mattered as Chelsea returned to the top of the table
following a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge, with Didier Drogba
scoring both goals.
Afterwards, Wenger congratulated Chelsea on their
efficiency, while also taking a sly dig by claiming “we
didn’t get a demonstration of football” from Carlo
The Blues are now nine points ahead of the third-placed
Gunners, who had been comprehensively beaten by Manchester
United in front of their own fans the previous weekend.
Walcott, making a rare start following a campaign blighted
by injury setbacks, believes a clinical edge is all that is
missing between the teams at the top – and maintained
Arsenal can get it right when Liverpool come to Emirates
“We dominated the game, but Chelsea took their chances and
you have got to be decisive,” Walcott said.
“We need to learn from that and then push on for the
Liverpool game, because if we keep the ball like we did
against Chelsea, but create more chances, we can kill
Liverpool FC thriving in
pursuit of third-placed Arsenal
Big tests are coming thick and fast but the demands are
bringing the best out of Liverpool – can the same be said
It would be wrong to get carried away on the back of a
comfortable win in the Merseyside derby extended our
unbeaten run to seven but, suddenly, there is a slight
chance that third place – never mind fourth – is up for
Much, of course, depends on the outcome of tomorrow night’s
tussle at the Emirates Stadium and, despite losing to
Manchester United and Chelsea in their last two games,
Arsenal will start favourites.
(Ian Rush - Liverpool Echo)
Ambani Reds bid denied
India's wealthiest man Mukesh Ambani denied reports that he
is in the running to buy a controlling stake in Premier
League giants Liverpool.
"There is no truth to the report. We deny it completely,"
Reliance spokeswoman Sudeep Purkayastha stated.
Liverpool FC pay the penalty as
they crash out of FA Youth Cup
There will be no fourth FA Youth Cup final appearance in
five years as Liverpool Youth crashed out in the fifth round
of the competition against Watford at Anfield last night.
A debatable penalty in the first half – fired home by Piero
Mingoia – gave Watford a 1-0 victory over Rodolfo Borrell’s
Liverpool will be hugely disappointed as they never really
got into any attacking rhythm until late on. And they rarely
provided the ammunition for the likes of last season’s top
scorer Lauri Dalla Valle and Tom Ince to show their
It is Watford who take on Chelsea in the quarter-finals as
Liverpool are left to rue their lacklustre display.
(Liverpool Daily Post)
Gerrard looks to keep up momentum
Steven Gerrard has urged Liverpool to build on the victory
over Everton and secure a top-four Premier League finish.
The Reds have shown greater consistency in recent weeks and
produced another battling display to see off their
Merseyside rivals at Anfield on Saturday.
Liverpool's day became even better when Manchester City lost
to Hull City later in the afternoon and then Tottenham
played out a goalless draw with Aston Villa.
Rafa Benitez's men now occupy for the final UEFA Champions
League spot but Gerrard does not want complacency to creep
"We know there is a long way to go and we want to make sure
we are in the top four at the end of the season," he stated.
"It's performances like this that will get you in there. We
have got to try and keep this run going, as we can't afford
Funds raised for Dalglish appeal
More than £200,000 was raised for the Marina Dalglish Appeal
at a charity ball on Saturday evening.
In excess of 600 guests - including Jamie Carragher and Kop
icons Alan Hansen and Jan Molby - attended the annual event
in the grounds of Knowsley Hall, where an auction helped
gather funds for the appeal.
Marina, wife of Reds legend Kenny Dalglish, said: "It was an
absolutely fantastic night, and Kenny and I are absolutely
thrilled with how much we've raised."
(LFC Official Website)
Mascherano: Liverpool FC and Everton FC
made life difficult for the ref during the derby
Javier Mascherano believes both Liverpool and Everton
players made life tough for derby referee Martin Atkinson.
The official was kept busy at Anfield on Saturday as the
most volatile fixture in Premier League history produced two
more red cards.
The dismissals of Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Steven Pienaar
means there have now been 19 red cards in 36 Premier League
"It was a very hard job for the referee because the players
did not help him,"
"It was a hard game with a lot of tackles but this is the
way it is in derby matches, they don’t want to lose and we
don’t want to lose. Sometimes you can see some hard tackles
because of this.
"Soto (Kyrgiakos) said to us that he went for the ball,
maybe he went in the wrong way but he went for the ball."
The red card for Kyrgiakos saw Mascherano pressed into
service as a makeshift right-back.
And the Argentine said: "Last season I played right-back
against Sunderland. This time, it would have been difficult
for the manager to make a sub at that time so maybe he
preferred to move me into right-back and I tried to do my
"The way that we won made it even better. To be a man down
for so long and to have to play with 10 men for almost 60
minutes was really difficult but the result shows how hard
"The most important thing is that the team continued to work
hard and because of this we were able to win with 10
"Maybe it wasn’t our best performance but the only thing
that mattered was the win. Now we have to keep going."
Why Dirk Kuyt’s never
fishing for compliments
When he was a child Dirk Kuyt had his heart set on following
in his father’s footsteps and becoming a fisherman. How
thankful Liverpool are that the Dutchman turned his back on
North Sea trawlers and focused his energy on netting goals
rather than cod.
Outside of Anfield, Kuyt is often unfairly derided. When
things aren’t going well he’s an easy target.
After all he’s not blessed with great pace, there is no box
of tricks and at times his first touch is so heavy his
second is a tackle.
However, what he lacks in those departments he makes up for
with his selfless dedication to the cause.
Rafa Benitez’s admiration for one of his most trusted
lieutenants is well documented.
After all when he brought him to Anfield for £9million from
Feyenoord in 2006 it was the end of a two-year chase for his
Kuyt stands for everything the Spaniard looks for in a
player. Of course there is natural talent but, crucially,
it’s coupled with intelligence and a work ethic which
ensures he strains every sinew for the cause.
(James Pearce - Liverpool Echo)
No love lost between
Liverpool and Everton
You can choose your friends but not your neighbours,
although if money’s no object you can live wherever you
Unfortunately for both Everton and Liverpool it’s a little
bit tight at present and so thoughts of moving into that
dream home have been put on the back-burner.
True to form, the 213th Merseyside derby provided the usual
Two red cards, seven yellows, a black eye and a trip to the
Love thy neighbour? Not a chance.
It hasn’t become the most volatile fixture in Premier League
history for nothing.
(David Randles - Liverpool Daily
Skrtel on Juventus radar
According to the News of the World, Juventus have singled
out Liverpool centre-back Martin Skrtel as the man to
stiffen up their defence next season.
Carragher: Clean sheets win games
Jamie Carragher reckons Liverpool are getting back to their
defensive best after claiming a sixth clean sheet in seven
games on Saturday.
"It is not just three points, it has a massive impact and
everyone is buzzing," said the 32-year-old.
"But that can change if the result doesn't go our way at
"If you keep clean sheets you are going to win games."
That may be easier said than done against Arsenal as none of
the last 11 matches between the two have finished goalless,
producing an astonishing total of 46 goals.
Dirk Kuyt is proud of his half-century of goals.
Kuyt admitted it was a proud personal moment to score his
50th goal for the club and it being a derby winner made it
"It's a great feeling and I'm really happy to have scored 50
goals for the club, especially in a game like this," he
"But I don't think it mattered who scored, just that we got