Red News


FEBRUARY            2010
13 14 15



Rafa: City game not decisive
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez claims the clash with Manchester City will not decide who finishes in the top four.
The Reds currently hold fourth spot, but City are level on points and have two games in hands on their Merseyside rivals.
Liverpool travel to Eastlands on Sunday and Benitez admits it is a massive game for his side, but the Spaniard is not looking too far forward.
"City have two games in hand, and that's important - but they have to win them," Benitez told the club's official website. "We just need to concentrate on the next game, which is against them and will be a massive game.
"Still I have the same idea - it will be a long race and we have to keep going.
"It's a very important game but even if we win we'll have to keep winning games."
Benitez added: "I was analysing (the fixture list) a little bit but not too much," he added. "With the experience we have we know to take one game at a time. You cannot waste too much time because you can't control other games.
"We have two or three very difficult games on paper but every game is tough in the Premier League.
"It's important to have all the squad available, not just because players like Torres and Yossi and Johnson are important - but also for the competition in each position."
(Sky Sports)

Premier League ponders
play-offs for Champions League

The Premier League is considering a proposal to introduce a play-off for the fourth Champions League place.
The top four currently enter the tournament but the new idea would mean the teams from fourth to seventh playing in a mini-knockout competition.
BBC sports news correspondent Gordon Farquhar said the Premier League has been presented with "a number of ideas for altering the competition's format".
But there will be no changes for three years as the next TV deal is in place.
Farquhar added: "Any changes would need the agreement of 14 of the 20 clubs. But the League says there are many options and nothing has been decided."
The move is widely thought to be seen as a way of increasing competition in the Premier League because Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal have filled the top four positions in five out of the past six seasons.
The proposal was raised at a meeting of all 20 clubs on 4 February and will be considered again when they next meet in April.
The top four in the Premier League is the same so far this season, although Manchester City, Tottenham and Aston Villa are putting concerted pressure on Liverpool, who are fourth.
(BBC Sport Online)

Benitez hails Mascherano's
inspirational qualities at Liverpool

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is delighted to have Javier Mascherano in his team, as he believes that the mdfielder is an inspirational presence in the dressing-room.
Benitez feels that the Argentine is a born leader who can exert massive influence during games, driving on those around him.
"He is someone who has a very good character, he is very positive and can inspire those around him," Benitez told his club's official website.
"He is setting an example to the rest of the team. I am really pleased with the way all of them are playing at the minute but Javier Mascherano is a player who is doing really well for us.
"Look at the [Merseyside] derby. He played in a different position (right-back) but he still managed to have a massive impact and everyone can see there is a big difference in what he is doing now.
"At the beginning of the season it was very difficult for him. But now things have settled down and he is working very hard for the team.
"He is back to the Javier Mascherano that we signed. His commitment to the club is 100 per cent."

Morgan: I could've cut Reds debt
Steve Morgan claims Liverpool would be debt-free if they accepted his investment offer before George Gillett and Tom Hicks took charge.
Wolves owner Morgan abandoned his bid for Liverpool in 2004 after "indecision" from the board, with Gillett and Hicks taking control three years later but having their reign heavily criticised by supporters for the debt taken on by
the Anfield club.
"I was going to put at the time up to £70million investment into the club," Morgan told Bloomberg. "It would have been cash into the club. It would have pretty much reduced the debt and got the debt down to nil."
Liverpool's debt has been estimated at £237million and chief executive Christian Purslow has been working on securing outside investment.
The club have to pay interest on their debt, but Morgan added: "If I'd have been there, there wouldn't have been that interest bill."

Juventus assure Liverpool
of no Benitez contact

Juventus have assured Liverpool they have not been in contact with
Rafa Benitez.
The News of the World says Juve have written to Liverpool to vehemently deny claims they tapped up Benitez.
The Anfield hierarchy threatened to report the Italians to FIFA if they'd made an illegal approach for the Kop boss.
But they've been given private assurances no discussions took place.
That isn't stopping speculation in Italy an offer is on the table for Benitez and four of his backroom team to make the move to Turin this summer.
LFC trio star for England U17s
Academy star Conor Coady captained England U17s to a 1-1 draw against France on Saturday.
Fellow scholars Jack Robinson and Andre Wisdom also played 90 minutes.
The trio were among the shining lights of this year's FA Youth Cup run, which ended in disappointment at the fifth round stage last week.
(LFC Official Website)

Spain want Torres rest

Spanish national team coach Vicente del Bosque has urged Fernando Torres to delay his return from injury with Liverpool.
Torres returned to training in midweek following a lay-off with a knee problem and is line to return for the clash with Wigan on March 8.
European Champions Spain are amongst the favourites to take the Word Cup crown in July and the 59-year-old says his country's chances are improved by Torres being kept out of action.
The comments could anger Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez, who has seen his talisman play just 21 times this season.
But del Bosque wants the 25-year-old to play less for the Merseysiders in an attempt to keep him in top condition for this summer's finals in South Africa.
He told the News of the World: "The fewer games Fernando plays for his club, the better it will be for us.
"We want him not to play too many games, to recover completely for the World Cup and have had some rest in between. We'd like him fresh for the tournament.
"That can only be good news for Spain. We hope Liverpool's loss will be our gain.
"Fernando Torres represents a crucial part of our squad."
(Football 365)
Pacheco close to start
Daniel Pacheco is close to making a first start for the first team.
The reserve team striker impressed in both his subsitute appearances for the first team and has been exceptional for John McMahon's reserves all season and is edging ever closer to earning his first start for Rafael Benitez's side.
"Dani is continuing to train with the first team," said the boss.
"When we let [Andriy] Voronin go [to Dynamo Moscow], we immediately brought Dani into the group and every day you can see that he is progressing. His training is good.
"Every day you are thinking about when you can play, he has been on the bench a lot and sometimes you are thinking when it might be right to put him on.
"But you also have to think about senior players and giving time to others who need it. The one thing we know, though, is Dani is a player with quality.
"He has game intelligence and we know that he can make a difference. He is still very young but we are pleased with him and he is doing well."
"Dani has no problems when he is in possession. He is clever and he always wants to try difficult things but that shows the quality that he has.
"The fact he is training with us shows what we think of him. He is with us all the time and that means he can play at any time.
"It depends on the game but, clearly, if he continues to keep working as he has been doing, he will definitely gets his chance."
(LFC Online)

Liverpool icon Aldridge yet
to be won over by Ngog

Liverpool icon John Aldridge admits he's yet to be won over by French striker David Ngog.
In his column for the Liverpool Echo, Aldridge wrote: "Rafa Benitez works with him every day, so he clearly sees things in him, but at the Emirates Stadium Ngog looked like a schoolboy playing in an adult’s match.
"One thing you cannot fault him for his effort; he never stopped running or trying his hardest to help the team and, for that, he should be commended.
"Unfortunately, though, in contests of great magnitude against the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United, effort alone is not good enough.
"You need to have a clear head and be ruthless when opportunity knocks but, when Steven Gerrard sent him skipping through, Ngog was neither and Liverpool suffered accordingly.
"Put it this way – had Fernando Torres been presented with the same chance, you would have invested your mortgage on him scoring; when Ngog was homing in on goal, he never convinced that he would score.
"In my opinion, Dirk Kuyt should have started up front at The Emirates because he is vastly experienced and has scored a few goals recently but Rafa likes playing him in that role on the right."

Benayoun boost for Benitez
Midfielder Yossi Benayoun has given Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez a welcome fitness boost by returning to training after a broken rib.
The Israel international has not played since sustaining the injury late on in the FA Cup fourth-round replay defeat at home to Reading on January 13.
At the time Benitez said he expected Benayoun to be sidelined for a month and so his recovery is on schedule.
However, the Reds boss has consistently stressed he will not rush back players - Fernando Torres and Glen Johnson are also out with knee injuries – and Benayoun will be no different.
“Yossi was training with the team,” Benitez told “Still we have to be careful with his rib but he was training.”
It is unlikely Benayoun will be involved in Thursday’s Europa League tie at home to Unirea Urziceni but there is a possibility he could be in the squad for their crucial Barclays Premier League clash at Manchester City, their main rivals for fourth place, a week on Sunday.
Having lost to Arsenal in midweek – ending a seven-match unbeaten run - Liverpool are above fifth-placed City only on goal difference having played two matches more and defeat at Eastlands would seriously damage their bid for Champions League qualification.
(Irish Examiner)

Liverpool FC can’t get sidetracked
by Europa League adventure

A grand day out in Hamburg or an untroubled passage through to the end of the season in the Premier League?
They are the choices with which you are faced and, it must be stressed, this is an either/or situation; you can’t have one and top it up with the other.
In normal circumstances, the vast majority would opt for the former; nothing beats the feeling of being involved in a showpiece final nor can the emotions of winning a trophy be bettered.
Were Liverpool to go all the way in the Europa League, skipping through the rounds en route to a glorious conclusion in northern Germany, not one supporter would be complaining on the morning of May 13 – or would they?
(Dominic King - Liverpool Echo)

Liverpool FC face
journey into Un-known

Among the eight clubs that joined the Europa League in December were some of European football's more famous names.
Juventus, Marseille, Atletico Madrid and, of course, Liverpool had all dropped out of the Champions League and were ones to look out for in the last 32 draw.
With all due respect, Unirea Urziceni weren't.
Sounding a little like something nasty that might take a course of antibiotics and a couple of weeks to clear up, success has suddenly become infectious for the Romanian minnows.
Their rise from relative obscurity has been rapid.
Urziceni only won promotion to the third division for the first time in 2003, with promotion to the top flight coming three years later.
Indeed, when Liverpool last won the UEFA Cup, Unirea were a semi-professional outfit, struggling to make ends meet in the lower reaches of Romanian football.
(By David Randles - Liverpool Echo)    

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