August - 2004

2908: Reds courting Cortes
2908: Kirkland to be replaced?
2308: Benitez eyes Ghana star Kuffour
2308: Moyes tracking Liverpool pair
2208: Everton launch Liverpool transfer bid
2008: Liverpool keen on keeper
2008: Joey next Benitez target
1908: Report: Reds agree deal for Garcia
1908: Reds up Garcia offer
1808: Reds to enter Kuffour fight
1808: Benitez keen to buy Barton
1708: Viola enter Diouf race
1708: Spurs on Finnan alert
1508: Reds closing in on Xabi Alonso
1508: Mista the 7m man is wanted by Benitez
1408: Liverpool track Wiltord
1208: Reds to sign Barca man
1208: Alonso on way to Anfield
1108: Rafa eyes up Alonso
1108: Finnan linked with Spurs switch
0908: Murphy set for Charlton switch
0908: West Ham's Carrick close to Liverpool move
0908: Wright-Philips to replace Murphy?
0908: Owen in Real talks
0908: Liverpool want 10m Alonso
0808: Liverpool hoping to include defender in...
0808: Rovers in Finnan talks
0508: Liverpool 'eye Gravesen'
0408: Reds eye Spanish star
0308: Liverpool make goalkeeper enquiry
0208: Liverpool after Duff?
0208: Benitez weighs up new Spanish raid
RUMOURS ARCHIVE              
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Reds courting Cortes

By Francisco Acedo - Sky Sports

Liverpool are reported to be ready to add their Spanish contingent by signing Mallorca defender David Cortes.

The Reds are thought to have been in talks with the talented full back for the last week with reports suggesting a deal could be tied up on Monday ahead of the close of the transfer window.

The right-sided full back has been linked with a move to Atletico Madrid, but it appears he could be on his way to Anfield.

A Liverpool director was thought to be in attendance at Mallorca's game with Real Madrid to watch the player in action and to finalise the deal.

Liverpool are thought to have agreed a deal in the region of 3 million for Cortes with the player being offered a four-year deal.

Reds boss Rafa Benitez has been keen to bolster his defence and Cortes' possible arrival will raise further question marks over the future of Steve Finnan with Everton believed to be tracking the Republic of Ireland international.

Should Cortes arrive at Anfield he will become Liverpool's fifth Spaniard signing since Benitez took charge in the summer.

Kirkland to be replaced?

By Adam Bryant - LFC Online

The Mail On Sunday are reporting that Chris Kirkland could well be on his way out of Anfield.

According to the newspaper, Rafael Benitez could offload the English international to Arsenal for 6million.

Valencia's Santiago Canizares would then replace Kirkland as first choice keeper at Anfield, with Jerzy Dudek dropping to reserve keeper.

Benitez eyes Ghana star Kuffour


Premiership big guns Liverpool want to sign Bayern Munich's Ghanaian defender Sammy Kuffour according to reports in the local German media.

Spanish coach Rafael Benitez wants to bolster his backline for the new season and has reportedly lodged a four million pound (7.2 million dollar) bid for African stopper Kuffour.

The 27-year-old Kuffour, who has been at Bayern since 1993, is no longer a permanent fixture in the first team after the 12 million euro arrival of Brazilian World Cup winner Lucio in the close season.

Kuffour is keen on a move away from the Olympic Stadium and Munich are willing to sell the former African Player of the Year as his contract expires in June 2005 when they risk losing him for nothing.

Kuffour has made over 150 Bundesliga appearances for Bayern winning five German titles and the holy grail of the Champions League in 2001.

Moyes tracking Liverpool pair


David Moyes has made an enquiry with neighbours Liverpool about the possible signing of Anfield duo Djimi Traore and Steve Finnan.

The Everton manager is looking to rebuild his defence and Reds boss Rafael Benitez is willing to sell the pair across Stanley Park.

Traore, 24, is currently recuperating from a torn thigh muscle suffered on the pre-season tour of America.

But the 500,000 signing from Laval, linked with moves to West Brom and Bolton earlier in the summer, could make a loan move to Goodison Park with a view to a permanent deal if Everton meet Liverpool's 1m asking price.

Traore has made 75 appearances for Liverpool but is down the pecking order at Anfield and would accept the chance to revive his Premiership career at Goodison Park.

Moyes, meanwhile, is also interested in Republic of Ireland defender Finnan who has also been made available by Benitez.

Everton launch Liverpool transfer bid

Kop Talk

Reports today claim that Everton have made a 1.2million bid for Liverpool defender Djimi Traore in an attempt to sign him later this week.

The French defender has failed to make a decent impact at Anfield and manager Rafael Benitez is keen to get shot of him as soon as possible so if the reports are true, the club will take what they can for him.

Blackburn Rovers had a 4million bid rejected a couple of seasons back.

Liverpool keen on keeper

Kop Talk

Liverpool are interested in signing Luton Town goalkeeper Dean Brill after scouts watched him in action last Saturday for Town's Under 18's.

The Reds sent a representation to watch the 18-year-old play against Cambridge United and he certainly impressed them.

Brill has represented Luton at Under 17, Under 19 and reserve levels and is tipped to challenge for the first team 'keepers jersey this season. He made his Under 19 debut when he was just 15-years of age.

Luton will be very reluctant to release him.

Joey next Benitez target

By Chris Bascombe - Liverpool Echo

Rafael Benitez will sign two more Spaniards today - and then turn his attention to the capture of Manchester City midfielder Joey Barton.

Xabi Alonso and Luis Garcia are both awaiting the results of medicals before penning deals with a combined value of 16.7m.

Neither player will be registered in time to face Manchester City at Anfield tomorrow.

Having returned to Spain to make his third and fourth major signings of the summer, Benitez is looking closer to home for his next purchase.

Liverpool have a definite interest in bringing youngster Barton to the club. Barton was close to signing last season when Gerard Houllier was manager.

The deal was shelved, but Rafael Benitez's scouts have watched the 21-year-old closely and the Huyton-born central midfielder is seen as a bargain with a bright future.

If the Reds squad is trimmed further, with the likes of Steve Finnan and Salif Diao seen as potential departures, Liverpool will move quickly to snap up Barton for a reasonable fee, possibly as low as 1m.

An alternative option is to wait until next January. Barton has just 11 months left on his current contract and could sign a pre-contract agreement with Liverpool on January 1.

City would rather cash in now than lose Barton on a free Bosman transfer and the player is also anxious to join the Reds as soon as possible.

Until more players depart Anfield, the youngster - who is part of the City squad travelling to Anfield tomorrow - will have to be patient.

Report: Reds agree deal for Garcia

Sporting Life

Barcelona have reached an agreement over the transfer of midfielder Luis Garcia to Liverpool, according to reports in the Spanish media.

Sports dailies Marca and Sport claim that the deal has already been agreed, although Barcelona are yet to make an official announcement.

If the reports are correct, Luis Garcia would be the third Spanish player to join Rafael Benitez's Liverpool side this summer following the transfers of Josemi and Antonio Nunez.

Real Sociedad midfielder Xabi Alonso is also close to sealing a deal with the Merseyside club.

Reds up Garcia offer

By Peter O'Rourke - Sky Sports

Liverpool have made an improved bid to try and lure Barcelona winger Luis Garcia to Anfield.

The Reds have so far been rebuffed in their attempts to bring the Spanish international to England.

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez is keen to bring the midfielder to Anfield as he finalises his rebuilding plans.

Benitez is a big fan of Garcia having had him while he was in charge of Tenerife and he also tried to sign him at former club Valencia.

Garcia has admitted he is flattered at Liverpool's interest, but that he is happy to stay and fight for his place at Camp Nou.

Benitez is refusing to concede defeat in his battle for Garcia and has offered him an improved deal to take him to Liverpool.

Garcia is now seriously thinking over the offer with his family and he is expected to make a decision on his future this weekend.

Barca are willing to sell Garcia after a busy summer in the transfer market and with his first team chances looking limited he could be tempted into leaving for Liverpool.

Reds to enter Kuffour fight

By Thomas Zeh - Sky Sports

Rafa Benitez's Liverpool could be set to enter the race for Bayern Munich's wantaway defender Sammy Kuffour, according to reports in the German media.

The Ghana international has just a year left on his current contract at The Olympic Stadium and has already been made available for transfer by new Bayern coach Felix Magath.

Interest from Juventus, Olympiakos and Hamburg has so far failed to result in a bid, but Liverpool could now be ready to swoop.

Kuffour, who has dropped behind Lucio, Thomas Linke, Martin Demichelis and Andreas Gorlitz in the pecking order, is desperate to find a new club and he could find salvation in the shape of Liverpool.

Benitez is looking to bolster his defensive options, even though he has already added Spaniard Josemi this summer.

Sami Hyypia and Stephane Henchoz are the only recognised centre backs in the first team squad at present, although Jamie Carragher, Igor Biscan and Josemi can all fill in if needed.

The 27-year-old Kuffour could now represent the perfect addition for Liverpool who have been linked with moves for the likes of Fabricio Coloccini, Michael Dawson and Roberto Ayala over the past few weeks.

Bayern would want around 6 million (4 million) for Kuffour, who came through the youth ranks at the club.

Benitez keen to buy Barton


Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is weighing up a cut-price move for Manchester City midfielder Joey Barton.

Merseysider Barton, who is in the final year of his City contract, was linked with a move to Anfield under Gerard Houllier last season.

And despite the managerial change, Liverpool's interest in the England Under-21 international remains strong with the 21-year-old discussed at boardroom level.

Barton, who shares the same agent as close friend Steven Gerrard, would relish a move to Liverpool but Reds officials are reluctant to meet City's 3m valuation.

However, despite the expected arrival of Xabi Alonso, the signing of Antonio Nunez and the possible capture of Luis Garcia, Benitez - who has received scouting reports and videos of the midfielder - is considering a move if the price lowers.

Viola enter Diouf race

By James Pearson - Sky Sports

Bolton could miss out on the signing of El Hadji Diouf as, according to reports in Italy, Fiorentina have joined the hunt for his signature.

The Trotters have already agreed a deal for the Senegal international with Liverpool, however the Viola are believed to tried to hijack their move.

The 23-year-old reportedly underwent a medical with The Reebok outfit on Tuesday, but as yet the deal has no been concluded.

Either way, Diouf is certain to exit Anfield in the near future with the big-money Lens arrival surplus to requirements under new coach Rafa Benitez.

Fiorentina, who returned to Serie A this summer following a stunning demise, are keen to bolster their squad and have been busy in the transfer marker.

The Florence side have brought in Real Madrid marksman Javier Portillo on a season-long loan, while Ancona's Milan Rapaic has been linked with a move.

Spurs on Finnan alert


Steve Finnan looks set to be the next departure out of Liverpool with Tottenham leading the chase for the full-back's signature.

The defender was signed for Fulham for 3.6m only last summer but his Anfield future was put in doubt by new boss Rafael Benitez's first signing as Liverpool manager, 2m full-back Josemi.

Michael Owen, Danny Murphy and El Hadji Diouf have all left the Reds in the past week as Rafael Benitez looks to finance moves for 10.7m Xabi Alonso and 6m-rated Luis Garcia.

And Finnan could now also be on his way after new Tottenham coach Jacques Santini registered an interest in the 28-year-old.

And with Antonio Nunez arriving at Anfield this week as part of the Michael Owen deal with Real Madrid, plus Benitez's desire to land another player for the right flank, Finnan's days as a makeshift midfielder - which saw him start the Champions League qualifier against Grazer AK and Saturday's Premiership opener at Spurs - are shortlived.

Liverpool will listen to offers for the former Fulham favourite but are only interested in straight cash deals of around 2m.

Blackburn Rovers enquired about Finnan last month but were only interested in a season-long loan deal and having offloaded Bruno Cheyrou and Diouf on a temporary basis, to Marseille and Bolton respectively, Liverpool now want permanent exits.

New Spurs coach Santini is desperate for a new right-back having lost Stephen Carr to Newcastle and his understudy Stephen Kelly to a long-term injury.

Reds closing in on Xabi Alonso

LFC Number 1

Xabi Alonso is still set to sign for Liverpool according to new reports in Spain, despite more recent interest from Real Madrid.

Real Madrid have been long term admirers of the player, and after having a bid turned down in June, Madrid were tipped to make a fresh approach to sign Alonso following the collapse of the Patrick Vieira transfer.

But Real have yet to improve on their initial bid of 8million, and now seem unlikely to improve their offer for the 22-year-old, allowing Liverpool to make Alonso their next Spanish arrival.

Real Sociedad and Liverpool have already agreed a fee of around 10.75million, and contract negotiations between representatives of Alonso and Liverpool are reported to have taken place in London yesterday, with both clubs hoping to finalise the transfer in the next few days.

Alonso has been included in the Spanish squad to face Venezuela on Wednesday, but should a move to Liverpool be completed this week, he could be available to make his debut against Man City at Anfield on Saturday.

Mista the 7m man is wanted by Benitez

By Alan Nixon - The People

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez wants his old Valencia goal machine Miguel Angel Mista to fill Michael Owen's boots.

Benitez is poised to raid his former club for the 25-year-old hit man who bagged a sensational 19 goals in the march to the title last season.

Mista has just one year of his contract at the Mestalla left and could be available for around 7million, although talks would be tough.

Valencia are bitter with Benitez over his departure for the Kop and legal battles are still in the air between the pair.

But - like Liverpool - Valencia know that star man Mista could go for nothing in a year and might head for Anfield then.

Benitez knows Mista inside out on the field and off it. They even share an agent in Manuel Garcia Quilon, so the boss has a head start in the chase.

Straight-talking Benitez has shown he is a tough customer with his handling of Owen and he would take the criticism of signing a Spaniard if he comes.

Benitez also had good news yesterday when Real Madrid said they would NOT move for Xabi Alonso, the midfielder he wants to buy.

Real Sociedad have turned down 12million so far but their hopes of an auction have now been hit as Real target Argentinian Javier Mascharenas.

Benitez's only problem will be finding the cash to buy both Mista and Alonso, but he is giving it a go.

Liverpool track Wiltord

By Kevin Smith - LFC Online

Liverpool are reportedly keen on signing Sylvain Wiltord, following Michael Owen's transfer to Real Madrid.

Owen's shock departure leaves Rafael Benitez short of strikers, and he could snap up the former Arsenal man, who is currently training with Rennes after being released in the summer.

Reds to sign Barca man

Kewell Talk

Reports in Spain are claiming that Liverpool have signed Barcelona winger Luis Garcia.

With the likes of Deco and Guily in the team the 26 year old won't get so many first team chances so Benitez, who has long admired the player, has seen the opportunity to pouce for the Spanish International.

The player is left footed but is known to play as a right winger. The fee is believed to be around 6m.

Alonso on way to Anfield

By Francisco Acedo - Sky Sports

LiverpoolLiverpool are understood to have agreed a deal in principle with Real Sociedad for the transfer of highly-rated Xabi Alonso.

The classy playmaker has been one of Rafa Benitez's chief targets since taking charge at Anfield and the possible exit of Michael Owen for a sizeable fee, plus the sale of Danny Murphy to Charlton Athletic, has facilitated a move for the Spain international.

Although Real Madrid are long-term admirers of the midfielder, who has been included in Spain's squad for their friendly with Venezuela, Sociedad were reluctant to do business with another club from La Liga.

It is believed that the Basque outfit have accepted a bid of 16 million from Liverpool, with a further 2 million to follow depending upon the success of the Merseysiders over the length of his contract.

Benitez watched Alonso in action during a friendly against Everton recently but the player was left out of his side's latest warm-up game against Osasuna.

Spanish reports claim part of the fee will be used from money still owed by Sociedad for keeper Sander Westerveld, who moved to Spain some time ago.

Benitez is understandably keen to wrap up a deal swiftly in order to field his new boy against Tottenham in The Premiership's opening game on Saturday and also avoid any late complications in terms of rival bids emerging, particularly from Madrid.

Rafa eyes up Alonso

By Chris Bascombe in Austria - Liverpool Echo

Rafael Benitez will kick-start his Liverpool rebuilding programme with the signing of Xabi Alonso as Michael Owen heads out of Anfield.

Owen's likely departure will give Benitez some much needed flexibility in the transfer market, and it seems the Real Sociedad midfielder is the primary target.

Liverpool's now certain qualification for the Champions League, following last night's 2-0 win over AK Graz in Austria, is worth a minimum 10m, although that cash has already been earmarked to finance the Djibril Cisse deal.

The fact Owen didn't play last night will be worth another 10m in transfer money.

And Liverpool also picked up 2.5m - which will increase to 3m - when Danny Murphy's move to Charlton was completed yesterday.

Alonso is expected to join the Reds in a deal worth 10m before this weekend's Premier-ship opener with Tottenham.

The Basque club revealed negotiations with Liverpool are now at an advanced stage.

A statement last night said: "Liverpool representatives have been in San Sebsastian where they met Real Sociedad executives."

Liverpool's intention with regards Owen is now clear after he was left out of last night's Champions League victory over AK Graz.

Owen has been given permission to speak to clubs about a transfer out of Merseyside and Real Madrid will move quickly to complete his signing.

Barcelona have also made a move for Owen, but Madrid would be his first choice.

In what promises to be a busy week in the transfer market, Liverpool are also believed to be close to further new signings to parade alongside Alonso.

Barcelona's Luis Garcia is a target for Benitez. It's also thought Shaun Wright-Phillips is on list of potential recruits.

Finnan linked with Spurs switch


Tottenham are the latest club to be linked with Liverpool's out of favour right-back Steve Finnan.

Just twelve months into his Anfield career, the Irish international has been usurped in the reds starting line up by new Spanish signing Josemi, and a proposed 2m move to Blackburn has yet to be finalised.

Finnan has also been linked with a move to former club Fulham, but with Spurs now looking to replace Finnan's Republic of Ireland team mate, Stephen Carr, who has just left for Newcastle, a move to White Hart Lane is likely to hold greater appeal for the 28-year-old from Limerick.

Santini had been hoping to hold onto Carr, but Newcastle's dogged persistence of the full-back has finally paid off and leaves Spurs with 20-year-old Stephen Kelly as their only recognised right-back - although Mauricio Taricco is likely to start the season in that position.

Republic of Ireland Under-21 captain Kelly impressed when filling in for Carr last season, but Santini wants to bring in a more experienced replacement for Carr before the transfer window closes.

Murphy set for Charlton switch

By James Carroll - Shankly Gates

Danny Murphy is set to turn his back on a potential move to Tottenham Hotspur by signing for Charlton Athletic in a deal believed to be worth around 3m.

Liverpool confirmed yesterday that they had an offer from Spurs, thought to be in the region of 3m, for Murphy after he had been told by manager Rafael Benitez that he would not be a regular starter in the first team.

Charlton and rivals Everton were also mentioned, but it seemed as though the England international was destined for White Hart Lane, and would line-up against Liverpool in the season-opener on Saturday.

However, those reports were wide of the mark and Murphy is now set for a move to The Valley in a deal that could be completed in the next few days.

West Ham's Carrick close to Liverpool move

Danny Murphy's imminent switch to Tottenham Hotspur will see in-demand West Ham midfielder Michael Carrick join Liverpool by the end of the week.

Murphy's departure will mark the arrival of another England international at Anfield, in the form of West Ham's 22-year-old creative midfielder Michael Carrick.

The Anfield club accepted a bid believed to be in the region of 3million from Spurs for Murphy.

Liverpool's Head of Press, Ian Cotton, revealed at the weekend: "I can confirm that Liverpool have accepted an offer from Tottenham Hotspur for Danny Murphy."

Carrick's availability has seen a scramble for his signature, with Arsenal, Charlton, Spurs, Crystal Palace and Everton all mooted to be interested after Portsmouth's club record 2.5m bid was rejected.

Reports on Merseyside had suggested Carrick was moving closer to an Everton move, although now it emerges that Liverpool could be the midfielder's destination.

Carrick alerted a number of top-flight clubs since refusing to sign a new contract with the Hammers because of his desire to play Premiership football and further his international experience.

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez sees Carrick as an ideal midfield partner for Steven Gerrard who has committed his long-term future to the Reds, whilst Carrick is dreaming of an Anfield move. He has realised that his chances of regular first-team football at Arsenal are limited.

West Ham - reluctant to see their star man go - are willing to listen to offers for Carrick in the region of 4m, but insist that all derisory bids will be rejected.

Wright-Phillips to replace Murphy?

By Adam Bryant - LFC Online

Shaun Wright-Phillips is being lined-up to replace Danny Murphy according to press reports.

After accepting a 3m offer for Murphy from Tottenham, Rafael Benitez is believed to be preparing a 7m bid for the Manchester City winger should the deal go through.

Spurs have already had a 5m offer for Wright-Phillips rejected, but an increased offer from Liverpool would be enough to see the 22-year-old move across the East Lancs to Anfield.

Owen in Real talks


Michael Owen met officials from Real Madrid over the weekend.

Word has reached us that Michael Owen will NOT play tomorrow night in our Champions League qualifier game against Grazer AK. This would go a long way to confirming that he may well be looking to ply his trade in Spain next season, as appearing on the pitch tomorrow night would cup-tie him for the rest of the season.

Further, we have also been told that Michael and his advisers spent much of this weekend speaking with representatives of Real Madrid and that matters will certainly be concluded this week one way or the other.

What we don't know is if he his leaving Liverpool or not. But for the player to meet officials from another club with only 12 months left on his contract must mean that something is in the pipeline.

Liverpool want 10m Alonso

Sporting Life

Rafael Benitez is hoping to fund a 10million raid for Real Sociedad playmaker Xabi Alonso after sanctioning the shock sale of Danny Murphy.

Liverpool on Sunday agreed a 2.5million fee with Tottenham for the 27-year-old England international after telling Benitez he had to raise funds before he could spend again.

And the new manager has moved swiftly to land his top target Alonso, devastating Murphy with the news he was no longer wanted on Friday and meeting officials from the Spanish club at Goodison Park on Saturday.

Benitez watched the central midfielder produce a stylish first-half display in Sociedad's 2-2 draw with Everton and hopes to make the Spanish international his showpiece summer signing before the end of the week.

Liverpool had lined up the 22-year-old as Steven Gerrard's replacement when the Anfield skipper seemed set to depart for Chelsea.

But now Benitez has made several midfield sacrifices to raise the funds for them to play alongside each other and hopes Sociedad will relent on a 12million asking price for their prized asset.

Liverpool hoping to include
defender in player-exchange deal

Kop Talk

Liverpool are keen on signing Malaga defender Alexis according to reports originating from Spain late this evening.

It is claimed that Rafael Benitez is trying to land the player on a season-long loan as part of the proposed El-Hadji Diouf loan deal.

Since taking over from Gerard Houllier, Rafa has also been linked with Malaga's Miguel Angel, Juan Calatayud, Javier Dopico and Pedro Perico.

Rovers in Finnan talks

Kewell Talk

Reports today claim that Liverpool's Steve Finnan is in negotiations with Blackburn Rovers after Liverpool accepted a 2m bid for the full-back.

The player has only been at the club 1 season and has struggled with injuries and form. If Finnan does leave it is yet ANOTHER of Houllier's signings to leave and will leave the Reds squad very thin which must signal signings are on the way.

Time will tell...

Liverpool 'eye Gravesen'

BBC Sport Online

Liverpool are interested in signing unsettled Everton midfielder Thomas Gravesen, according to reports.

Cash-strapped Everton are understood to want 3.5m for the 28-year-old, who has one year left to run on his contract.

"We've heard the rumours about Gravesen but the manager is keen to keep him," insisted an Everton spokesperson.

And Gravesen's agent John Sivebaek told BBC Sport he had not been contacted by Liverpool: "I've haven't heard anything yet but it might come later."

Gravesen might welcome a move to Anfield as he has become frustrated with Everton's failure to bring in new players.

Everton boss David Moyes, who faces a new Premiership campaign with a depleted squad, wants to hold onto Gravesen.

But Sivebaek revealed other clubs were looking at the Danish international.

"He's a good player and a lot of clubs are very interested in him," said Sivebaek.

"But he's got a year to go and if Everton don't want to sell him you can't do anything.

"It's a difficult situation with all these stories but he is happy at Everton."

Reds eye Spanish star

By Peter ORourke - Planet Football

BarcelonaLiverpool boss Rafa Benitez could be ready to return to Spain to make his second signing of the summer with Barcelona winger Luis Garcia reported to be on his wanted list.

Benitez is keen to bolster his midfield options having lost Vladimir Smicer to long-term injury and is exploring transfer targets.

Liverpool are reported to have made enquiries for Garcia about a possible loan signing for the season.

Garcia's first team chances seem limited following the arrival of Deco and Ludovic Giuly at Camp Nou.

Benitez is a big fan of the 26-year-old and tried to sign him when he was in charge of Valencia.

Garcia, who is predominantly a left-sided midfielder, can play in a variety of positions and would add options to Benitez's team.

Liverpool make goalkeeper enquiry

Kop Talk

Newspaper reports today claim that Liverpool have made an enquiry for Derby County's reserve goalkeeper Andy Oakes.

The 27-year-old is available on a free transfer and if the reports are true, Rafael Benitez wants to sign him to strengthen his options in reserve.

Derby boss George Burley is keen to offload Oakes especially as he's one of Derby's top earners.

Liverpool after Duff?

By Al Campbell - LFC Online

With Vladimir Smicer out injured for six months Liverpool are rumoured to be interested in signing Damien Duff from Chelsea.

Rafael Benitez has admitted he is looking for a wide midfielder after Smicer's injury and Damien Duff is his first choice. Duff's place at Chelsea is under threat after the signing of Arjen Robben.

If Liverpool are unable to sign Duff Benitez may turn his attention to Barcelona's Luis Garcia.

Benitez weighs up new Spanish raid

By Andy Hunter - Daily Post

Rafael Benitez may go back into the Spanish transfer market after Vladimir Smicer's injury setback intensified his right-midfield dilemma.

The Czech international's season - and his Liverpool career - is in the balance after he was ruled out of action for six months following surgery on a cartilage problem on Friday.

And Benitez may attempt to ease his midfield worries by testing Barcelona's resolve to hang on to rising star Luis Garcia, (pictured).

Garcia, 23, is one of several options open to the Liverpool manager as he works to a careful budget before the Champions League qualifiers against Graz AK.

Benitez was a confirmed admirer of the right-winger last season when he was sent out on loan to Atletico Madrid and won their player-of-the-season accolade.

Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard is reluctant to sanction a permanent exit for Garcia even though major summer signings will again limit his options at the Nou Camp this term.

The Catalans, who failed in an attempt to take Djibril Cisse on loan this season, have landed Deco from European champions Porto, Ludovic Giuly from runners-up Monaco, Brazilian wingback Juliano Belletti, striker Henrik Larsson from Celtic and Brazilian international Edmilson this pre-season.

And they may listen to offers for another 12-month loan deal for Garcia, if Benitez steps up his interest.

Thor Zakariassen