Roberto not shedding tears for Rafa
Roberto Martinez does not feel too much sympathy for Rafa
Benitez as he believes there are "too many managers worried
at the moment".
Wigan secured only their second victory against 'big four'
opposition with a 1-0 win over Liverpool at the DW Stadium.
Martinez was not too concerned for his fellow Spaniard,
saying: "Rafa doesn't need my sympathy because he is too
talented to be worried.
"I think there are too many managers worried at the moment
for me to sympathise with anyone."
Whelan: Liverpool have no heart
Wigan chairman Dave Whelan claims Liverpool are currently
"in a mess", and insists the supporters at Anfield deserve
Rafael Benitez's men were beaten 1-0 by the Latics in a
lacklustre display at the stadium which bears Whelan's
The Reds lie sixth in the table, a point behind
fourth-placed Tottenham, and have now played more games than
all of their rivals for the final Champions League
And Whelan feels the club's American owners, George Gillett
and Tom Hicks, are out of touch with the traditions of
He told Sky Sports News: "The big sympathy I have is for the
Liverpool supporters because they are a fantastic lot.
"Liverpool are in a mess. The owners, being American, I
don't think they feel what we (British club owners) feel.
"I'm really, really sorry for their supporters. We went to
Anfield earlier in the season and there's absolutely no
atmosphere and no heart at all at present.
"The supporters feel that and I think the players are
starting to feel it."
Yossi misses training
Yossi Benayoun is a doubt for the trip to Lille after
sustaining an ankle injury in the 1-0 defeat to Wigan on
The Israel international missed training today and Rafa
Benitez must now decide whether to include him in the party
which will travel to France for Thursday's Europa League
last 16 clash.
Meanwhile, Daniel Agger should make the trip after
recovering from a sickness bug which ruled him out of Wigan.
Benitez told Liverpoolfc.tv: "We had some problems with
Agger. He was sick and lost some weight. We had to be
careful with him but he's training now so hopefully will be
"Benayoun had a problem with his ankle. We have to see - we
have one more day. He wasn't training today so we have to
One plus for Benitez on Monday night was the return as a
The gaffer added: "It was the only positive. To have another
body and another player. He can be an important player for
us for the rest of the season.
"It was clear he still hasn't got the match fitness but at
least he showed his quality. He was going forward and it's a
different option in the side."
(LFC Official Website)
Babel: Down but not out
Ryan Babel admits Liverpool were left bitterly disappointed
by Monday's 1-0 defeat at Wigan Athletic – but the Dutchman
insists the Reds' top four prospects shouldn't be written
Babel acknowledges Liverpool's frustration at the reversal,
but the forward, who was a second-half substitute at the DW
Stadium, is confident the Reds can embark on another
morale-boosting run as the season enters its latter stages.
"I think we made it difficult for ourselves," he said. "In
the first half especially, there was space to play football
but we failed to do it.
"Then they scored and it was difficult because they were
staying behind the ball. In any away game it is hard to
score two goals.
"We definitely still have faith we can get fourth place. It
will be harder and it's important to get three points in
every game, as it was before Wigan. That's why it is so
disappointing to have lost."
(LFC Official Website)
Gerrard could be in hot water
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard could face an FA
investigation after he appeared to flash a V-sign at referee
Andre Marriner during his side's 1-0 defeat at Wigan.
The England midfielder was booked in the 81st minute of the
Barclays Premier League clash at the DW Stadium following a
robust challenge from behind on James McCarthy, and replays
of the incident suggested Gerrard had gestured towards
Marriner as well as mouthing an obscenity at the official.
Marriner did not notice the gesture but the FA may decide
that Gerrard, who captained England in their 3-1 friendly
victory over Egypt last week, has
a case to answer.
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez, speaking after the game,
insisted he had not seen the incident.
"I don't know, I was too far away," he said.
Another inept display
just raises more questions
Never mind the new pitch, Liverpool laid out the red carpet
for Wigan Athletic
An utterly woeful performance from Rafael Benitez’s side saw
them slip to defeat at the DW Stadium and suffer a
devastating blow to their hopes of Champions League
Knowing victory would move them back into fourth place,
Liverpool were architects of their own downfall as Hugo
Rodallega’s 35th-minute strike was enough to deepen the
gloom at Anfield.
That it was Wigan’s first-ever victory over Liverpool at the
12th attempt said everything about a truly shockingly inept
display that raises serious questions about the rest of the
campaign and beyond.
Liverpool clearly don’t like Mondays, having not won on the
first day of the working week since 2001 – a sequence of
And they never convinced that statistic would be altered
here, Roberto Martinez increasing the pressure on his
Spanish compatriot by masterminding
(Ian Doyle - Liverpool Daily Post)
Benitez questions attitude
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez was disappointed with his
team's attitude after their defeat to Wigan Athletic.
The Reds were beaten 1-0 at the DW Stadium in a Premier
League tie that could prove influential in the race for a
top-four finish come the end of the season.
"We have to be really disappointed, after a defeat you
always cannot be happy," he told Sky Sports.
"In the first-half we didn't do anything, (we were) giving
the ball away, not winning any first or second balls.
"It's difficult to explain. The second-half a much better
attitude but it
Hugo hits Reds' top-four challenge
Hugo Rodallega's eighth Premier League goal of the season
put a huge dent in Liverpool's top-four hopes as Wigan won
1-0 at the DW Stadium.
The Colombia international volleyed home Emmerson Boyce's
35th-minute cross after Dirk Kuyt had needlessly given away
possession close to his own
Liverpool showed little of the quality required for a place
in the Champions League once Fernando Torres had hit a post
in the eighth minute and the Latics were well worth their
It was Wigan's first Premier League win over Liverpool and
only their second over one of the so-called 'big four' - the
other coming at home to Chelsea earlier
That ended a run of seven league matches without a victory
and lifted them four points clear of the relegation zone.
And while it was only sixth-placed Liverpool's second defeat
in 11 games it could have done irreparable damage to their
chances of finishing fourth as they have now played more
games than all of their rivals.
Rafael Benitez's side's problems are clear to see as this
was the sixth time in their last eight away league matches
they have failed to score.
Torres and Kyrgiakos start against Wigan
Fernando Torres and Sotirios Kyrgiakos start against Wigan
at the DW Stadium.
Pepe Reina is in goal with Javier Mascherano at right-back
along side Jamie Carragher, Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Emiliano
Lucas Leiva and Steven Gerrard start in midfield with Dirk
Kuyt behind Fernando Torres, who has support from Maxi
Rodriguez and Yossi Benayoun who
are on the wings.
Glen Johnson is on the bench after recovering from an injury
while Ryan Babel, David Ngog and Albert Riera are also named
Diego Cavalieri, Daniel Agger and Alberto Aquilani complete
Starting XI: Reina, Mascherano, Carragher, Kyrgiakos, Insua,
Lucas, Gerrard, Rodriguez, Kuyt, Benayoun, Torres.
Subs: Cavalieri, Johnson, Agger, Babel, Ngog, Aquilani,
Martinez backs Reds
Roberto Martinez has backed Liverpool to finish fourth.
The Wigan boss believes the Reds' experience and world class
players will give them the edge in the battle for the final
"They have got great experience in trying to achieve the aim
they are looking for and, whoever is going to have that
composure and calmness in the next 10 or 11 games, which
they have got, it's going to make a big difference," said
"Looking at the Liverpool squad and the other squads around
them, that position is theirs to lose.
"Looking at the quality of their individuals, you are
talking about world-class players, and the experience and
know-how of those players, playing together for a long time,
and the knowledge of their manager - I think it is for
Liverpool to lose, the fourth spot."
Benitez praises Wigan's Martinez
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez believes his Wigan
counterpart Roberto Martinez is using the right tactics as
the Latics battle to avoid relegation.
The Reds head to the DW Stadium looking for a victory which
will lift them back into the coveted fourth place in the
In contrast Wigan are struggling towards the foot of the
table but Martinez is determined his side should play their
way out of trouble.
After the recent debate about over-physical styles - in
which Benitez criticised Blackburn and Arsene Wenger
attacked Stoke - the Liverpool manager thinks his compatriot
has struck the right balance.
"Martinez is doing a good job. They try to play football but
they have strong players too so we have to respect them," he
Benitez added: "In football you have to win and playing nice
football is not always possible. But being too physical is
not always possible so to find the balance is the key."
Rafa firm over Aquilani
Rafa Benitez insists that Liverpool midfielder Alberto
Aquilani will be picked when he thinks it is right.
The Liverpool boss splashed out £20million on the Italian
international, who was heralded as the big-name replacement
for Xabi Alonso after he was sold
to Real Madrid.
Aquilani, though, has played less than 10 games for the
Reds, mainly due to injury, but now fully fit he is still
not holding down a regular first-team berth.
"When you have been injured for a while, it's not easy for a
player," said Benitez.
"Then when you are available and the team isn't doing well,
it makes it even
"You have to decide if you can afford to give him two or
three games when you know he's maybe not at the level he
could be, so you could end up losing some
"Alberto isn't stupid. He knows the priority now has to be
the team and what's best for that. All he can do is keep
training and making sure he is ready when we need him."
Benitez dismissed claims that Aquilani did not play in the
recent game at Wolves because of their pitch.
"When I didn't play him at Wolves, it wasn't to do with the
state of their pitch,"
"It was because of the kind of game and because others were
available, which meant we could manage in a different way.
So whether I play him at Wigan or not isn't a decision that
will be determined by the pitch.
"But we have had a conversation about things and he knows
the situation. Alberto is a very good professional, who was
a big name in Italy, and he wants to show his quality here.
"When you're like that but cannot play for three or four
months and then you're available but can't play because the
team is maybe doing really well or has problems, it's a
difficult situation for any professional."
Big Sam hits back in Rafa row
Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce has hit back at Rafa Benitez in
a war of words following Liverpool's recent victory over
The Reds manager was caustic in his assessment of Rovers'
performance after Liverpool struggled to a 2-1 win at
Anfield last weekend.
But Allardyce, who has never seen eye to eye with Benitez
since the Reds tactician came to England in 2004, believes
the Spaniard personally criticised him to deflect attention
away from his own team.
Allardyce told The Mail on Sunday: "Blackburn's performance
was the best any of my teams have played there.
"Benitez knows his team played poorly and were lucky to get
a win so he deflected any criticism by personally
"That covered the true facts that we had better
opportunities than them and came extremely close to beating
what is supposed to be an outstanding Liverpool team.
"Being able to wind up a manager is satisfying, even if it
doesn't quite work your way in terms of results."
He continued: "It just galls him that we make things
difficult for him when he plays against my teams.
"There's no love lost between us.
"The truth is Liverpool are having to dig out results when
they are not playing well.
"They didn't particularly earn the win last week but they
dug it out.
"My reputation has been a perception for some time rather
than a reality.
"It's a great shame for the Blackburn players because it's
not their fault the manager is tagged by a so-called
"It's just not factual."
Carragher would leave Reds
Jamie Carragher has revealed that he would be prepared to
walk away from Liverpool if he is not offered a new
Carragher has spent his entire professional career at
Anfield and made his 600th appearance for the club earlier
He remains happy with the Reds and the most loyal of
servants, but there will only be one year remaining on his
present deal when the current campaign finishes.
Negotiations have yet to begin about a renewal, although
that could change in the summer as Liverpool are keen to let
Carragher focus on playing before looking at his future.
But the 32-year-old has previously admitted that the time
might come when he drops out of the starting XI and would
have to start considering his options.
And Carragher insists he would not hesitate to join another
club if Liverpool decide they no longer want him.
"The club will give me a new contract if they want to," he
told the Sunday Times.
"If not it doesn't matter, I'll still play my best and if I
have to move then I'll move, no problem. It wouldn't bother
Carragher has a history of making bold decisions, having
retired from international football after growing frustrated
with his lack of opportunities.
He continued: "I made the England decision quickly and
didn't dwell on it, and I'm not scared of making big
"It's a club thing. It's down to them. I'll keep playing and
see where it takes me."
Benitez admits Carragher
contract talks stalled
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez admits new contract talks with
After initial talks between Carragher and Liverpool about
extending his 14-year career at the club, the 32-year-old is
keen to discover first whether he can retain his place in
Benitez’s line-up next season.
Benitez said: “There is no news about Carragher. We have
spoken to him and he was very clear that at this moment he
just wants to concentrate on doing his job.
“When you are considering contracts for players who are over
30 it is not the same as when you are talking to players who
are 25. With Carra we have to see. He is fit and he is doing
well and we will see. We don’t have a club rule about
players over 30, but it does depend on the individual.
“I think Jamie prefers the situation as it is. The
information I have is that he is comfortable with how things
are and that he wants to wait.”