31 July 2008

15 minutes too late?

Published: Today
The Sun Uk

THE amazing Gareth Barry transfer saga took a bizarre turn last night when Liverpool caved in to Aston Villa’s demands — 15 minutes too late.
Two days of intense talks took place with Villa holding out for £18m cash.
A 5pm deadline was set by Villa but when Liverpool failed to meet it, Villa immediately released a statement saying that the England star was staying.
It read: “Aston Villa can announce that Gareth Barry will be staying with the club.
“A final deadline to conclude this episode was set that all parties agreed to. This deadline has passed so Gareth will remain with Villa.”
The speed in which Villa closed the debate stunned Liverpool and Barry, 27, but the Kop remain determined to get the midfielder.
They had agreed to pay £18m but there was haggling over the methods of payment and Liverpool asked for a small deadline extension.
Villa chief Randy Lerner refused and, even though Liverpool had everything in place by 5.15pm, Villa would not negotiate further.
Barry is determined to play Champions League football and Arsenal could now renew their interest with a player-exchange deal.

utusanLFC :

and look at the report below in another paper : The Daily Sport and I guess the only official news would be from http://www.liverpoolfc.tv/

Liverpool and Villa finally agree £19m deal for Gareth Barry as England star secures his Anfield move in part swap with Finnan

By Neil Moxley and Simon Jones
Last updated at 3:23 AM on 31st July 2008

Gareth Barry's transfer to Liverpool finally looks like going through after the Anfield club came up with the money to secure his move from Aston Villa.
The longest-running saga of the summer has reached a confusing climax after an earlier statement that he was staying at Villa Park.
Sportsmail understands that the mix-up was due to a deadline being missed by 20 minutes, and the transfer will finally be concluded on Thursday.
Villa will receive a £17.5million fee plus right back Steve Finnan in exchange for a midfielder who will fulfil his wish to play in the Champions League this season after all.
To find the money, Liverpool needed to provide the bank with a guarantee that funds to cover the move will be raised during the remainder of the close season.
The transfer has dragged on since May when Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez made it clear that Barry was his top priority.

Villa manager Martin O'Neill was angry with him for making details of his interest public, and a war of words raged between them for much of the early summer.
Liverpool made four separate bids to sign Barry but none of them matched O'Neill's valuation of the player.
Barry's outburst against O'Neill in a Sunday newspaper then appeared to signal the end of any chance of him remaining at Villa.
He accused the manager of finding time to be a pundit at Euro 2008 but not to speak to him about his future and was disciplined and told to stay away from the club's training ground.
Then Barry was booed by Villa fans at a pre-season friendly at Walsall last week, but that mood had mellowed when he appeared as a substitute in Saturday's InterToto Cup tie with Odense.

Matters finally reached a head on Monday when O'Neill tried to force the Merseysiders into a corner by setting a deadline. That was passed at 5pm on Wednesday when Villa had still not received confirmation from Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry that funds were in place.
Villa then put out a statement on their website confirming that Barry would be staying. It read: 'This evening, Aston Villa can announce that Gareth Barry will be staying with the club following the interest from Liverpool over recent months.
'During discussions in the past few days, a final deadline to conclude this episode was set that all parties were aware of and agreed to. This deadline has now passed and so Gareth will remain with Villa.'
However, it soon transpired that the two clubs were still talking over the move. Barry had been due to play in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Notts County on Thursday - but his name was subsequently withdrawn.
And it also appears that the England midfielder has already committed himself to renting a house in Cheshire.
The transfer has dragged on but now Benitez has to act quickly by offloading players to keep Liverpool's part of the bargain with financiers.
Those destined for the exit door include Andriy Voronin, Alvaro Arbeloa, Xabi Alonso and Jermaine Pennant.
Following David Bentley's defection to Spurs, Pennant will probably be the first to leave as Blackburn manager Paul Ince spends some of the transfer money he has received.
Robbie Keane kicked off his Liverpool career against Villarreal in Spain, two days after completing his £19m move from Tottenham. The Republic of Ireland captain started up front alongside 19-year-old David Ngog, who cost £1.5m from Paris Saint-Germain.

30 July 2008

Manchester City set to outbid Hammers for Liverpool's Israel midfielder Benayoun

By Sportsmail Reporter
Last updated at 8:15 AM on 30th July 2008

Manchester City have made a £6m offer for Yossi Benayoun, all but ending West Ham's hopes of re-signing the Israel midfielder.
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez must sell before making another bid for Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry, and the opportunity of a £1m profit on Benayoun could be too good to reject.
Benitez said: 'We're still trying to sign players, and if we have to sell someone we will do so.'
Hammers boss Alan Curbishley asked about Benayoun but is unlikely to match City's bid.

utusanLFC :

well... Benayoun surely played well for West Ham, in particular during the epic FA Final in Cardiff 2006. May be because that team is small and he' s role there seems to be magnified. But in Liverpool, there are many many big players and he is dwarf... I can't help but feeling sorry for him. Benayoun is good. He gives the team an option in attacks as he loves to go forward and never hesitate to penetrate any defence. Unfortunately, when Rafa experimenting with Kuyt on the right, that slot which was once owned by Gerrard, seems to be owned by Kuyt for good. I don't know. I have a mixed feeling about this. If LFC retain his service, it is still good. And if not, I won't cry baby over it. hmmm....

29 July 2008



ROBBIE KEANE ANALYSIS: Is Keano the last piece in Benitez's jigsaw or just a waste of money who doesn't score enough?

By David Maddock
29/07/2008 Daily Mirror

Nice man! Keane has shown he didn't hesitate to speak up to Vidic. There will be plenty of those now that you're with LFC. Because LFC hates Man.U....

Ian Rush says Keane can be like Kenny Dalglish. Lawro says he is not the goal-scorer Liverpool need. Rafa Benitez has signalled his title intent with the audacious capture of Robbie Keane.
But many critics believe the Liverpool manager has taken what amounts to a £40million gamble on his own Anfield future by spending so much money on a 28-year-old.
Keane will complete his move to Merseyside today in a switch from Tottenham that will cost around £18m, with an extra £2m in add-ons, dependent on success.
The striker has signed a five-year deal worth around £80,000 a week, which would net him a staggering £20m over the course of the contract, and effectively double Liverpool's outlay.
Benitez brokered exactly the same sort of deal to bring Fernando Torres to the Premier League last season, but that was hardly a gamble given the player's tender years and reputation as the most exciting young striker in Europe.
Had Torres failed at Anfield the Liverpool boss would at least have recouped much of his outlay by selling him back to Spain, with the very real chance of getting his money back.

No such prospect exists with Keane, which is why Spurs were so eager to sell at such an inflated price. If he fails over the next two years, then the Irishman will be 30 - and would command only a fraction of the fee Liverpool have paid.
So why has Benitez gambled by spending so much money on a player who is looking at his last big move in football?
The simple answer must be that he believes Keane is the last piece in his title-winning jigsaw.
To spend such a massive fee on a relatively old player demands success. Nothing less in fact, than delivering the Merseyside club's first title in 19 years.
What is so remarkable about the Keane deal is that it is such a departure from the Spanish coach's usual policy. Since arriving at Anfield in 2004, he has brought in more than 50 players. And yet more than half of those are youngsters between the ages of 15 and 20.
Even his big-money buys have been with the future in mind. The four players who have cost more than £10million - Torres, Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano and Ryan Babel - were all 23 or under, and all have improved their sell on value.
Keane is such a radical departure from that policy that it is clear the manager sees him as a vital ingredient.
He was offered support in that assessment yesterday by Anfield legend Ian Rush, who can see similarities between the Irish striker and his former Liverpool partner Kenny Dalglish.
"Keane is a creator, just like Kenny was. He scores goals, but he creates a lot of goals too, and that will be good for Liverpool," Rush explained.
"I really loved playing with Kenny Dalglish because he always knew when to feed the ball to me. Keane can play that role for Liverpool because he has good vision and a good sense of the space around him - and that will suit Torres down to the ground.
"I'm a big admirer. He gets goals but I think for the Liverpool team, it's his ability with the hold-up play that is the key because he can bring Torres even more into the game." But others are not so certain. Only Chelsea of the big four clubs spend big money on older players, and they have enjoyed only indifferent results from such a policy.
Even Manchester United, with their millions, are reluctant to spend huge money on players past their resale date, with manager Sir Alex Ferguson always reserving his greatest outlays on players under the age of 25.
Yet Benitez seems to have abandoned that policy completely, given his pursuit of Gareth Barry, who is also 28 and likely to cost £18m.
The Mirror's own columnist Mark Lawrenson remains distinctly unconvinced by the capture of Keane, not least because he is worried about the striker's record in front of goal when it really matters.

Lawro believes that - with all the financial problems at Anfield - Benitez should be reserving his funds for a genuine world class striker to support Torres, and he wonders if Keane fits that particular bill.
"Personally, I don't think Liverpool have the players that can score the goals to give them the title," he explained.
"Obviously, Fernando Torres got 33 last year, but that wasn't enough to even sustain a title challenge, never mind win it.
"That was because they drew too many games where they didn't have the firepower to win them. My point is, who is going to make sure that if Liverpool go all out to win games that they will score the goals to ensure it happens?
"And what if Torres falls over at Sunderland on the opening day of the season and is out for months?
"Keane is a good player, but quality though he is, he's more of a streaky scorer. He'll go on a run and get 10 in 10 but then that's half his average season's tally gone in one go.
"He can't guarantee the kind of regular goalscoring Torres was making a habit of last season, and I think Liverpool need a top class scorer to support him."
Whichever way it is viewed, £40m on a player who will be worth nothing in a couple of years is a massive gamble, but one that Benitez is unafraid to take.
Former Liverpool and Ireland defender Phil Babb, who was once a team-mate of Keane's, believes that the striker will offer the club the magic to win the title.
"Robbie is such a skilful player; quick and with the ability to get the fans on their feet," he explained.
"I would go as far as to say that he would be the closest thing Liverpool have had to Robbie Fowler in his heyday.
"Robbie had that ability to get in behind defenders; he could score tap-ins or from long range - Keane can do that too."
But if Keane flops at Anfield, it is Benitez's head on the block.


The amount, in cumulative transfer fees, that has been spent on Robbie Keane over the course of his career.
It is the largest amount lavished on any British or Irish player, ahead of the likes of Rio Ferdinand (£47.1 million) and David Beckham (£23.3 million).
However, Keane is still not in the top five all-time most expensive players. Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka leads that list on £84.8 million.
Robbie Keane £58m
Jonathan Woodgate £37.4m
Wayne Rooney £27m
Michael Owen £24m
Emile Heskey £22.7m
Rio Ferdinand £47.1m
Craig Bellamy £31m
Peter Crouch £26.5m
David Beckham £23.3m
David Platt £22.1m
Keane's Transfers
Tottenham to Liverpool - £20m.
Leeds to Tottenham - £7m.
Inter Milan to Leeds - £12m.
Coventry to Inter Milan - £13m.
Wolves to Coventry - £6m. Total - £58m
Keane has reached double figures in terms of goals in each of the last six league seasons with Spurs, the longest current run in the Premier League


Rafa... can you also get that fella behind Keane?

Robbie Keane has put pen to paper on a four-year deal at Liverpool Football Club.
Fourteen years after turning down the club he grew up supporting in favour of Wolves, the Republic of Ireland captain finally completed a dream move following a medical at Melwood. Keane is the fifth summer addition to Rafa Benitez's first-team squad after the arrival of David Ngog, Diego Cavalieri, Philipp Degen and Andrea Dossena.
The transfer is the sixth major move of a career which began with South Dublin side Crumlin United before the prodigious teenager burst onto the scene at Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1997. A big-money move to top flight Coventry followed before Marcelo Lippi, manager of Italian giants Inter Milan, offered £13million for his services in 2000. Keane would team up with Ronaldo and Christian Vieri in Serie A, though the move was to turn sour when Lippi was sacked. A loan to Leeds United was arranged in December 2000, a deal made permanent six month later. Unfortunately, Keane's arrival at Elland Road coincided with a growing financial crisis, and he was to join the exodus of stars in 2002 with a £7million transfer to Tottenham Hotspur. Over the next few years the frontman, famed for his cartwheel goal celebration, finally settled, tallying an impressive 107 goals in 253 appearances and becoming a firm fans' favourite. So good was his form in February 2006 that Inter president Massimo Moratti admitted his regret at letting Keane go. Three months before departing for Merseyside he won his first senior honour as a player after helping Spurs beat Chelsea in the League Cup final. The 28-year-old has also carved out a name for himself on the international stage having made up part of the so-called Golden Generation which emerged in the late 1990s. The striker was part of the Irish side which triumphed in the 1998 European U18 Championships just months after making his senior bow against the Czech Republic. His first international goal came against Malta in October 1998 and he is now the Republic's all-time record scorer ahead of Niall Quinn. Keane famously scored a last-minute equaliser against Germany in the 2002 World Cup, one of three in the tournament. Few were surprised when former Reds defender Steve Staunton handed him the captain's armband upon taking the Irish reins in 2006.
Only this 5th signing of Rafa managed to make me smile. The other 4 are a bit strange for me. But we shall see if they can deliver.... Though Keane is an established striker. A player who have scored against Liverpool is worth a buy. It proves that he has that magic to penetrate the wall of Carra, Agger and Hyppia... and now he is one of us. WELL DONE KEANE! WELCOME TO LFC!

28 July 2008

waaa Chelsea is in town ( Kuala Lumpur!)

Yesterday Chelsea arrived in Kuala Lumpur. Lotsa excitement it seems. One thing for sure, I won't be bothered a bit. The only part of discussion that I could think of is that, when such a team came for a visit... it does bring a lot of positive sides for the fan base. The just created fan club of Chelsea would be happy and so does the one that just got to know of them... because the likes of Shevchenko, Ballack does creates a lot of fanfare. Well, Sir Lampard is not in the entourage, apparently.

So if the Liverpool team come, I think the after-effect of it would be the same. That is the fan base would be stronger and greater. The existing fans (like yours truly, of course) won't hesitate to take a holiday on the exhibition game day and perhaps, spend a few hundred ringgit for the memorabilia. And the most important part is that, if Liverpool does come here, the new ones will be there also.

hmmm.... I just came back from Singapore. That small island country is experiencing some samba fever. Well, the Brazilian team are there. Included also is our own player, Lucas. I saw his picture on the front page with Ronaldinho.

Again, still no emotion on my part. hahaha...

23 July 2008

Top teams face tough qualifiers

Lets hope this stupid green colour might bring us better luck in the Euro campaign next season....

Past Champions League winners FC Barcelona, Juventus and Liverpool will find out next week who they must beat in a qualifying round to reach this year's group stage.
Uefa will hold an August 1 draw for the third and final qualifying round that will decide which 16 teams join the 16 elite clubs already entered into the lucrative competition.
Five-time champion Liverpool and 2006 finalist Arsenal join the draw knowing that each of the four English clubs in the group stage last season earned at least £16- million in appearance money and a share of television rights deals.
Additional prize money is given for winning and drawing matches. Juventus return to the competition after a two-year absence because of a bribery scandal.

STILL IN SINGAPORE... 2 more days!

Unlike KL may be waiting eagerly for the Chelsea team to visit, over here in Singapore the Brazilian team are making the headlines. I believed these are the same team that will compete in the Beijing Olympic Games. I notice that there is some sort of a trouble with Real Madrid refusing to let a certain Robinho to participate, the Singaporean newspapers are using his `aura' to sell the tickets. I might be tempted to watch the Brazilian as opposed to Chelsea but I'm leaving home on Friday... and I shall join my buddies in a late night futsal game close to our residences. Wow I have been here since Thursday and my flight home is on Friday. 2 more days... and the boredom is setting on me. A colleague quip that I look tired. I said it's not the body but more like mentally exhausted working here. Covering a meeting like this for a long period is not good for any ones health. Away from the family, away from the buddies, away from my truck...

The plus points up til now is that I managed to grab 3 LFC items i.e a jacket, a shirt and a beg. hehehe....

21 July 2008


yeah while I made myself busy doing this... the tv is showing the Iron Maiden doing their jamming... and the sound is so refreshing... and mesmerizing and forced me to rekindle, revisit my adolescents years... hallowed be thy name!!!!!!!!!...... Seriously... I have a massive collection of Metallica... I even got Aerosmith... Scorpion... and the next project for me is to get the collection of the Iron Maiden.
Anyway, I am in Singapore for a week on a business trip. Yeah... I am covering the 41st Asean Ministerial Meeting... nothing to do with any church (if you're from the states...) but more like all the South East Asian Foreign Ministers... life is boring. Away from the family, not much buddies (the Malaysian contingent are mostly ladies and two male rookies... so I'm quite alone). so after ensuring the story has been cleared by my colleagues in Kuala Lumpur, I walk to the nearest McD. Easy though I'm getting tired of eating the burgers... since Thursday! I gonna be here til Friday. I supposed the lack of rice might lessen my weight for a week. Though a bit doubt since my routine diet has been McChicken, Double Cheese and chicken wingsssssss.....
So today, after finishing my work at 5pm, I decided to have a stroll along Orchard Road. I was alone. My other colleague were not to be seen. Well, its fine with me. I prefer to walk on my own, with my own pace and focus. So I found one pleasant shop at one Lucky Plaza (the name is oh so right!) that sell all the soccer merchandise. The shopkeeper seems to profess that he, like me, is a RED. I don't know if he is telling the truth or simply wanting to boohooo me. What ever. So... I found this jacket... for a good $60 which translates to RM143.76, against the retail price in KL of more than RM200. And for good reason, I took a polo shirt of LFC costs $39.90 (RM95.76). So I spend about $98.90 today or about RM237.36 today. That is part of my winning money... remember? I won quite a huge number during the Euro tournament when I bet on Spain? hahaha...

This new jacket of mine cost S$59.90 (RM143.76) in Singapore, whereas in KL it's over RM200

This one is S$39.90 (RM95.76) and I know it's about RM139 in KL. WHAT A BARGAIN!

20 July 2008


End of this month, Chelsea is visiting Malaysia. No Drogba it seems. Of course, the Blues is bringing its newly bought Deco of Barcelona. I wish and how I wish... Liverpool is coming to town, instead.
p/s A Happy Birthday wish to Miss Sarah on your birthday 19 July. Your sweet smile always in my heart.

13 July 2008

You've got to breathe it to play it, says NST

My bright Sunday morning was captivated briefly by this article written by a lady reporter of The New Straits Times (Malaysia) , SONIA RAMACHANDRAN, who is no football fan, finds out why Malaysian football is no longer appealing... so she claimed.

I was more interested to read the motoring pages (my 3rd passion in life... 1st is LFC, 2nd is Mafia) but somehow this article is focusing directly to my subject of obsession... football. But mind you, football to me must have a connection with LFC. I don't mind learning about the Swiss team since we have the new guy in Dossena or even Israel, simply because we have a really good Jew in Benayoun (I am not anti-semitic...). It is true that LFC, like every other teams in the English Premier League ... is no more purely English entity. LFC last season was lucky to have Gerrard and Carra in the 1st 11. So to be familiar with the cosmopolitan or global-look of LFC, me and you must do some study and learn about these new players. It's simple. Just google.

Coming back to the core issue of the article written by Ms Sonia, she is examining on the performances of Malaysian national football team and the clubs playing in the Liga Perdana. Mind you, the national team will be facing Chelsea on July 29th... part of Chelsea's Far East exhibition programme. (I still contemplating to go or not, and if I were to go, I'll wear my red colours.... hahahaa)

My home state is Sarawak though I have been living, working and building my family here in the capital (Kuala Lumpur) for almost 16 years now. It was during my teens when my state team under the battle-cry of NGAP SAYOT stoled the scene. It was riot. It was fun back then. The stadium in Petra Jaya is roughly about 20 miles from where my parents stay and where my friends actually hang-out. I think it was the only avalaible location that the government can think of to built one, no matter how remote the area could be for most of Kuching city's dwellers and the rest of Sarawakian supporters. (This is also a point that I can empathy to the issue of building a new stadium at Stanley Park...)

The game is usually played at 8.45pm on Saturday. This is to accomodate the live telecast. But for teens like us... sometimes accompanied by a carton of Indonesian-made cigarretes (a pack of Djarum 10 sticks cost 80 sen) and may be a can or two of Heineken (I have ceased all my love towards booze since 1997)... we would arrive at the stadium as early as 4pm. This is simply to get the feel of the game. To hang out. Friends from every corner of the city would converged and usually we have our own corner... behind the left goal-post (the exit is straight to our car park). Those were the time when our pocket-money is so deprived. RM20 was considered a luxury. The ticket would cost about RM5. So you have RM15. Spend on fags and booze, plus 2 burgers, you'll still have at least RM3 when you reach home.

Speaking of which, everytime we're stuck in the traffic jam... (the agony of having to park close to the entrance of the stadium is to get stuck afterwards!) the never-missed song of the night is by Joan Jett - `I hate myself for loving you'. I guess it is simply because the deejay loves the song so much that he just didn't bother to play other albums. It's a catchy rock number and if any of you who are not familiar with that song... I say may you rest in peace and go to hell! This is a cult song. A must know song. Same category with Smoke on The Water by Deep Purple. Well... it is for me at least though I never bought the album. I prefer Metallica. It personifies our hate-love relationship with the state team. The singing would be louder from our car if the team loses the game. We hate the fact that we have to endure the heartbroken but at the same time seems to never failed to get into all the action. No football games on Saturday afternoon and the pitch near our places would be played by small kids as the big boys like us, got the licence to drive to the stadium on our own. This was the fun 1980's for me.

Then... there was a huge scandal. The nation's football league was rocked by arrests and prosecution by the law for match-fixing and bribery. I can't really remember the actuall date. It could be sometimes in 1993 or what ever. Roughly 127 players and team management were caught and some of them were detained under Restricted Residents (the law we inherited from our former colonial master... yes you... the English...). The whole case make all of my enthusiams and memories now a total mockery and disgust.

So Miss Sonia... I really don't care to read your article... I did read the boxes... that I just learn our national team has move three spaces and for me, it doesn't matter at all because I won't be rooting for any of them. The national team must prove to me, to all the Malaysian fan that the team are the strongest in the ASEAN region. They must beat Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore often and convincingly before they can pull enough string to attract my attention to taste again the agony of going to the stadium. Until then, supporting Liverpool Football Team is much fun and taught me a lot about self-esteem. We're not the League leader but we're the most feared team in Europe. That shows how great the team is.

But I'm still a loyal citizen of Malaysia with my heart goes to LFC.

Yours truly

11 July 2008

August is way too long to wait (THE START OF A NEW SEASON)

Euro 2008 last month must be the best football tournament for me, both spiritualy and financially! My mind, my body, my live was bouncing everyday for the whole month of June with the games almost every night. Though I refuse to watch teams that were unknown to me (and most of us, actually) such as Austria, Swiss ... In terms of financial, my money from day 1 is on Spain. The reason as I have stated before, is solely because of Fernando Torres (my decision would be a bit fuzzy if England were one of the team but... hahaha).By 1 July, I collected a good RM2k. Big money in Malaysian Ringgit. Roughly 285 pounds sterling. Well, I finished 1k in a week. Now I have about RM500. hahaha... I bought all the knock-off Liverpool memorabilia that I can find (mostly made in China & Thailand...).

and I spend another RM300 to buy the whole 6 seasons of THE SOPRANOS!.......

At the moment, I'm at Forth Season. Some of you might familiar with the story so... I'm not gonna discuss about it.

But let me tell you the truth... only the truth. In fact a sadly funny truth.
Though The Sopranos was first aired in the States in 1999... we here in Malaysia just got to watch it on our satellite tv a few months back. A decade!

This is simply because the government censorship is too obnoxious and may be they have difficulty to edit all the X-Rated language and scenes. On the satellite tv, the sex and nude scenes are cut but the deragotory remarks remain. So I decided to find myself the whole sets of DVD. When I visited the States in 2003, I remember that the show was on a rerun. But such was my schedule (a month's trip), I didn't really have sufficient time to indulge myself with the tv show, except in Washington but then I was engrossed with the NAKED NEWS Channel. hahaha... (it was just boomed then, so I got to see it hahaahaa)....

But no matter. Better late than never, capish?
Of course, I got the opportunity to purchase the whole set of DVD... thanks to the winning SPAIN. Viva le Spain!
Let's hope that Villa will join his striking partner, Torres next August.
David Villa... you're welcome in Anfield. Come my man!


I wish to thank our fellow friend who advertise this blog's address at rizalhashim.blogspot.com
which is also a dear friend of mine. He is a sportwriter. Me? I'm a bit business news, bit automotives and bit politics. Current affairs more approriately. Please go visit Rizal's blog. I'm not sure if he is a Liverpool supporter. Though I suspect he is a Man.U fan.

from your dearest : utusanlfc.blogspot.com

Rafa Benitez adds a new defensive dimension

Jul 11 2008 by Tony Barrett, Liverpool Echo

LONG before last season had come to a trophy-less end, Rafa Benitez had identified the two positions he wanted improving most urgently.
Despite having a defence which again kept the most Premiership clean sheets for the third successive season, the Reds boss was keen to bring in a new right back and a new left back.
The duo he wanted were Philipp Degen, a free transfer from Borussia Dortmund, and Andrea Dossena, a £6m acquisition from Udinese, and yesterday the fruits of Benitez’s labour in the transfer market were displayed at a Melwood press conference where both players were formally unveiled.
As far as the Spaniard is concerned, Degen and Dossena personify the next phase of his Anfield revolution as he looks to bring more attacking flair to a team which has built much of its success on defensive solidity.
If Euro 2008 showed anything, it was that attacking full backs are no longer just desirable, they are an absolute necessity and Benitez has moved swiftly to add a new dimension to his squad in keeping with that philosophy.
Degen and Dossena will both be given licence to get forward and the early indications from pre-season training are that the Swiss in particular does not need any second invitation to bomb on.
His Italian counterpart, meanwhile, arrives with a reputation of being a left back who loves to attack, but Benitez has already informed him that this must not be to the detriment of the balance of the team.
“The talks I have had with Benitez have mostly been about tactics,” he said. “He has explained that he wants a four-man defence but that the most important thing is that the balance on the pitch is never broken. There must be balance between the left and right-backs.”
There is certainly a ying and yang balance to Degen and Dossena in terms of personality, if early impressions are anything to go by.
While Degen is chatty, light hearted and effusive, Dossena is more taciturn and steely with a stare which will no doubt frighten any lily livered wingers who cross his path.
Liverpool’s scouting reports on both players were glowing but, as ever, the only test that matters will be how well they adapt to the unique rigours of English football.
Both are in no doubt they have what it takes, with Dossena even going as far as arguing that he is a “half Italian, half English” kind of player.
He said: “Even from training I realise English football is different. It's all about possession and the ball seems to move quicker.
“There is also a great determination among the players in training, but these are all qualities that are characteristic of me too. In this way, I feel half English, half Italian.”
Benitez is clearly delighted to have captured a pair of players for the two positions he believed needed so urgently and he firmly believes Degen and Dossena will add a new dimension to his team for the new season.
“I think everyone was thinking the same as us, that we needed to improve in the wide areas,” he said. “We have the spine of the team with Torres, Gerrard, Mascherano and all these players that we know.
“In the wide areas maybe we needed something different so we were looking for full-backs with an offensive mentality.
“Dossena likes to play football, and Degen is the same, he goes forward with quality.
“So we now have two players who can go forward and they will compete for their positions and hopefully it will be good for the team.
“Sometimes it is not about how much money you spend but getting the players you need.
“We needed full-backs with different qualities and these two players could be good for us.
“Afterwards maybe you can sign big names and maybe people will be happy, but the priority is to sign the players that you want and need – in this case two full-backs who can give something more to the team.”
“I think all foreign players need time to adjust and it depends on the mentality,” he continued. “Both players are very good professionals and that was one of the things we were looking for – a strong mentality and they can compete as well, so I think they will be okay.”

Rafa Benitez asks Liverpool fans to 'trust him'

Jul 11 2008

Rafael Benitez has called for Liverpool fans to "trust him" as he works in the transfer market to improve the Anfield squad.
Liverpool are also toiling to conclude the frustrating, summer-long transfer saga over Gareth Barry's arrival at the club but there is now no chance that the midfielder will be signed in time for the club's first pre-season friendly.
And Benitez said: "We know the situation regarding what we can spend, and we are trying to find solutions if we do not have enough money. The fans must trust us, we are working hard during the summer with a lot of people in different countries working for us."
He added: "And we will still try to sign players that will make us better. But if you do not have too much money, and that is clear, we will have to have a little bit of imagination to progress in the market."
Liverpool face Tranmere in front of a 15,000 sell-out crowd at Prenton Park on Saturday before heading off to their Swiss training camp and three more friendlies while they are there.
Benitez's fear now is that Barry - banned from Aston Villa's training ground - could miss as much as two weeks of vital pre-season training.
That situation could even cause them to doubt further the size of the transfer fee for the England midfielder, and that would underline further Benitez's cash-flow problems.
He said: "Everyone knows what our ideas are and what players we want. We are working hard with different names now.
"We know we will have to sell some players if we want some cash. So we have to do that. Our aim is to bring through young players and that can save us money, money that we can spend on big names.
"We have a fantastic group of young players, in the future they will save us money. At the moment we have to still by big names and the only way to do that is to sell players."

Kop new boy warns Reina

Published: Today
The Sun UK

DIEGO CAVALIERI vowed to challenge Pepe Reina for Liverpool's No1 shirt after completing his £3million move.
The Brazilian keeper, who holds an Italian passport, arrives from Palmeiras and will start as understudy to Reina.
But Cavalieri, 25, insists he hopes to soon become the Reds' first-choice stopper.
He said: "I know it won't be easy to get into the team.
"I watched some Liverpool games in both the Premier League and Champions League last year and I know Pepe is a very good goalkeeper.
"But everyone has to fight for their place and I'm sure we will have a healthy rivalry.
"I know I will have to be patient and work very hard to achieve my aims – but it is always like that when you come from another country.
"You have to adapt inside and outside of the pitch and get used to the way things work. But with hard work you get there.
"My confidence has got me where I am today and maybe people are aware of what I did at Palmeiras in Brazil.
"I am sure that one day I can get the No1 position but that will only come with hard work."
Cavalieri has agreed a four-year deal at Anfield.

10 July 2008

Rafa chasing Silva-ware!

Published: Today
The Sun UK

RAFA BENITEZ is ready to splash out a pot of gold to bring a dash of Silva to Anfield.
The Liverpool chief is eyeing Spain wideman David Silva after being priced out of a move for his Valencia team-mate David Villa.
The La Liga club want £32million for Spain’s four-goal Euro 2008 marksman Villa and at that price any transfer is dead in the water.
But Silva, 22, is available at around half that price and Benitez is keen to tie up a deal.
The Kop chief, who had three years in charge at the Mestalla, knows his old club need to sell because of the spiralling costs of building a new stadium.
But he is also aware that Valencia are determined to keep hold of Villa to appease fans who are already kicking up a storm at the prospect of losing their prize asset.
Former Valencia president Juan Soler, still the majority shareholder, is keen to sell the club and has placed a £65m price tag on it.
Yet Soler is also aware that losing the club’s crown jewels makes it a less attractive proposition for potential buyers.
And with Benitez also committing a huge chunk of his summer budget to land Aston Villa’s Gareth Barry, hitman Villa’s price almost certainly takes him beyond Liverpool’s reach.
New Valencia manager Unai Emery, at 36 the youngest boss in La Liga, has admitted the decision is out of his hands, but is desperate not to lose Villa, 26.
Villa also has an agreement which will see his wages rise to £75,000 a week — yet Silva is on less than half that figure, bringing him well within Liverpool’s pay structure.
And for all Benitez’ public claims of the Reds’ interest, he is one of the most guarded bosses in the game when it comes to revealing his targets and releasing Villa’s name is generally accepted as little more than a smokescreen.
He also has an ace up his sleeve in the shape of Liverpool chief scout Eduardo Macia, a close friend of Silva from his days working for Valencia.
Macia set the winger on the road to glory by arranging a loan move to Eibar when he was struggling to break into the first team.
That led to a subsequent spell with Celta Vigo, and on his return to Valencia he quickly established himself as a regular.
Despite Benitez’ apparent urgency to sign an out-and-out attacker following Peter Crouch’s departure to Portsmouth, he does have other options already on the books.
Dutch rookie Ryan Babel was used largely on the flanks in his debut season at Anfield but arrived on Merseyside as one of Europe’s hottest young striking talents after playing down the middle for Ajax and Holland.
Andrei Voronin is another alternative, while using Steven Gerrard just off front man Fernando Torres proved a hugely successful pairing last term.

09 July 2008


Jimmy Rice 09 July 2008

Rafa Benitez has spoken of his pride at the progress Peter Crouch has made under his management at Liverpool – and admitted he would be sad to lose the striker to Portsmouth.
Benitez knows he cannot offer Crouch what he wants more than anything – first-team football week in, week out. With this in mind, he has not stood in the way of the big man's proposed move to Portsmouth, despite anything written in the press. However, Benitez knows the popular forward, who only has to agree personal terms for the move south to be completed, will be missed at Anfield as well as Melwood. The boss told Liverpoolfc.tv: "I am proud of the progress he has made. When we brought him here people were talking – especially because he didn't score for 14 games or something like that. "But he showed his quality; showed he was a good player and a fantastic professional. He is a nice person. We know we will miss him but you can't stop a player who wants to play every week. "He understands that with Torres here and Gerrard as a second striker, like he was at the end of last season, it will be difficult for him. "Everything is friendly. I've talked to him and the agents. If he can agree with Portsmouth it will be perfect for everyone. "People need to understand that we have supported Peter from the day he signed and we offered him a new contract (before the summer). But I can understand that he wants to play every week, wants to start every game. "As a manager you have to understand these situations. Also, a few people in the press were talking about £7million – so then I talked about £15million because I wanted to protect the club. But I know you need to respect the players. "So, we have now more or less agreed a transfer fee and now it's just the player talking to Portsmouth and finding a solution." Liverpool are now preparing for life after Crouch, which Benitez revealed is likely to include a new striker. Asked whether Valencia's David Villa was an option, he added: "We have Fernando Torres, Andriy Voronin, Dirk Kuyt, Ryan Babel and Steven Gerrard, who can play as a second striker.
"But we will try to bring in another option. Villa is a player we know all about and he is on our list. But maybe it will be difficult."

utusanLFC :
I deliberately enlarge the above sentences... Rafa could be simply joking or teasing all of us... but who knows?... Villa could be well be in our team next August... and yabedabeduuuuuuuu........!!!!

Summer of frustration for cash-strapped Rafa

By Norman Hubbard
Updated: July 8, 2008, 11:19 AM UK

A left-footed footballer and a long-term target finally became a Liverpool player on Friday. It was not Gareth Barry, however, but the Udinese full-back Andrea Dossena. In a summer where frustration appears the underlying emotion for Rafa Benitez, nothing is completed quickly. If the choice of the replacement for the Roma-bound John Arne Riise appeared made some time ago - and in May, Dossena expressed his willingness to move to Merseyside - the move was only completed in July.
Meanwhile, the offers for Barry are increased incrementally; to judge by Aston Villa's response, they go up by about 25p a time and according to Liverpool, by around £1 million. Four bids have been rejected and while the England midfielder appears to have reached the point of no return at Villa Park, it is unlikely he will become a Liverpool player until the valuation of £18 million is met.
Besides the interminable delay, it is all the more galling for Liverpool as they had hoped to acquire Barry comparatively cheaply, presuming a small cash outlay plus some combination of Peter Crouch, Scott Carson and Steve Finnan would have sufficed. Instead, the whole of the proceeds of Xabi Alonso's probable move to Juventus still won't finance Barry's arrival; those who watched the Spaniard's superlative display against Greece in Euro 2008 may wonder if, accomplished passer and steadying influence as Barry is, Liverpool will actually acquire a superior player.
But when Martin O'Neill referred to 'a mish-mash' of players offered in part-exchange for Barry, he inadvertently revealed the major factor undermining Liverpool's transfer dealings: a shortage of actual cash. Tom Hicks and George Gillett may insist their relationship has been at least partially repaired, and the global credit crunch may be responsible, but Liverpool's finances have taken a turn for the worse.
Last summer's £50 million outlay will not be repeated unless the vast majority of it is recouped in player sales. Hence the sight of Liverpool, their historic grandeur notwithstanding, resembling second-hand car salesmen, forever negotiating a part-exchange. Hence the excessive values placed on their own players, such as the suggestion that Crouch, with one year left on his contract, should command a fee of £15 million, in the hope of boosting Benitez's transfer fund; now Portsmouth's more realistic bid of £10 million looks enough to result in his departure. Hence suggestions of a deal for James Milner, even though the Newcastle winger was far from the Spaniard's top target: Liverpool merely believed they could use makeweights to affect a swap.
And consequently the hope that friendship with Benitez's players - Steven Gerrard in Barry's case - can convince them to come to Anfield, or that being a lifelong Liverpool fan, as Robbie Keane is, will prove decisive. Once again, the prospect of a part-exchange, again with Crouch, seems to have prompted Liverpool's interest. In the process, they may recruit their best striker since Michael Owen, with the exception of a certain Spaniard.
Yet that also risks disrupting a successful formula, removing Gerrard from his role as Fernando Torres' support act and prompter and granting him a return to his unfavoured terrain of the right flank. In turn, it also reduces the logic of signing Barry, whose understanding with the Liverpool captain has been apparent in a central role for England.
But then Liverpool's transfer policy is not being dictated by normal criteria. The requirement to raise money can distort priorities and deflect from targets. Despite a requirement for greater invention on the flanks, talk of wingers such as David Bentley has dissipated, bar the odd mention of Stuart Downing or James Milner.
Instead, the low esteem in which Jermaine Pennant is held by Benitez's peers - there are no takers for the right winger, even as a makeweight in a deal - suggests he will be at Anfield again. But it also means that Yossi Benayoun may represent the only credible alternative to Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel, either of whom may have to be pressed into service in attack if Crouch goes and Torres is injured.
At least Philipp Degen represented that rarity for Liverpool, a simple signing conducted without an inflated fee. That the Borussia Dortmund right-back, recruited on a Bosman, was on the bench in Euro 2008 may not bode well. Nor does the failure of Liverpool's last free arrival from Germany, Andriy Voronin.
But while Benitez's record in the transfer market remains mixed, the spectacular success of Torres has quietened some of his critics. Moreover, the manager merits sympathy now. Expectations are a fact of life at Liverpool; talk of the title abounds every season, regardless of the context.
Next season will be no different, even if Benitez is reduced to offering Joan the tea lady in part-exchange in attempt to facilitate another arrival. And while he was allowed funds to recruit Javier Mascherano and Martin Skrtel earlier in the year, it will be instructive to analyse the Premier League's net spending when the transfer window shuts.
Chelsea seem certain to have paid most; Manchester United's outlay rather depends on the Cristiano Ronaldo situation; Tottenham and Manchester City have already shown a fondness for the costliest players; Newcastle may yet do likewise. In the spending league, Liverpool may only rank a place in mid-table.
Not for the first time, Liverpool's manager and supporters may be regretting the change of ownership that was supposed to propel them into the rich list and a 21st-century stadium. But if Andrea Dossena finds himself granted a rapturous reception at Anfield, it might be because, Torres' exploits in Euro 2008 aside, Liverpool have had little else to cheer so far this summer.

08 July 2008

Barry’s spin machine could get the worst from Rafa’s rotation

Jul 7 2008 By Pat Murphy
Birmingham Post

If Gareth Barry finally gets his move to Liverpool, he’ll soon have an opportunity for gratitude to his new manager’s fondness for a rotation policy that frustrates so many of his players.
Liverpool will play at Villa Park just a frtnight into the new Premier League season on on August 30.
Can you really imagine Barry turning out for the Reds that day after burning his boats with Villa in this past week?
I can’t see the Holte End extending a warm welcome to a player who has been deservedly respected this past decade, yet has chosen to vent publicly his frustration at his stalled move.
Throughout his unfashionably long stint at Villa Park, Barry has been the model professional. Careful in his public comments, yet always accessible to the media, gracious to the supporters and fully committed on the field.
When his career stalled, Barry kept his head down and eventually found in Martin O’Neill a manager who believed in him and played him in his best position in central midfield.
Otherwise, he’d have gone to Tottenham Hotspur or Portsmouth in August 2006 and would he have become an England regular after that?Villa and Barry have been good for each other and Barry may find that the Anfield grass isn’t that greener as he comes to terms with the Benitez rotation policy, rather than getting better and better by being an automatic choice for O’Neill.
And if Liverpool bomb out early from the Champions’ League will Barry have learned so much more as a player than if he’d stayed at a club that is clearly on the rise?
Barry was ill-advised to go public while on holiday in Florida last weekend. He should have continued trotting out the cliché about leaving the matter to both clubs, emphasised his respect for Villa’s supporters and let his agent and Benitez take the flak.
It was disrespectful to suggest that O’Neill was more bothered about working at Euro 2008 for the BBC rather than sorting out the impasse. Clearly, Barry doesn’t understand that many managers and agents were out at Euro 2008, setting out deals, establishing relevant contacts and watching potential purchases in the flesh.
I don’t hear any Arsenal player bleating about Arsene Wenger’s continual presence at the tournament.
Managers are entitled to be wherever they wish for three weeks in June if they think that’s what is best for their club. And it’s not as if O’Neill wasn’t back here on several occasions in between matches.
He’s been in the business long enough to be trusted in his judgment and aims. He has until the end of August to strengthen the squad and once Barry had made it clear he wanted to go at the start of June, there was no point in further dialogue. It was then up to the two clubs to negotiate and Liverpool have tried to get Barry on the cheap.
He’s ahead of Owen Hargreaves and Michael Carrick in the England pecking order, yet both fetched a good deal more in the past two years than Liverpool are offering Villa.
And until recently, Benitez was valuing Peter Crouch at £15 million, with one year left on his contract compared to Barry’s two. There is no comparison between those two in terms of value. and it now looks as though the former Villa man is off to Portsmouth for an iniial £8m with £3m in add-ons.
Liverpool’s boardroom wrangles and Benitez’s uncertainty about his own position aren’t any concern of Villa’s but Barry won’t be joining a club enjoying the stability and promise of European dominance of the Shankly and Paisley years.
And Villa don’t need the money, thanks to Randy Lerner’s largesse. He is totally on O’Neill’s side. They can afford to tough this one out, aware that Barry has burned his bridges at Villa Park.
Some might say this is just damage limitation by Villa, being bloody-minded for the sake of it. But O’Neill should be commended for fighting his corner at a time when top players and their agents have too much power.
utusanLFC :
what a bias reporting... what a condemnation by a Midland regional newspaper... hihihi... Of course Barry know fully well of Rafa's rotation policy. That's the main attraction! If he's the 1st choice at Villa, he knows he never know his real potential because there is no real competition at that level. But at LFC, the competition is so great that only good player do get playing time under Rafa. Go figure!

10 things about new Portsmouth signing Peter Crouch

By Dan Silver 7/07/2008
Daily Mirror

Portsmouth are expected to tie up the £10m signing of Liverpool and England striker Peter Crouch this afternoon. Here’s what you need to know about the man they call ‘Two-metre Peter’:
1) Peter James Crouch was born in Macclesfield on January 30, 1981. His most obvious feature is his staggering height: at 6’7” (or 2.01m), he’s the tallest person ever to play for Liverpool or represent England.
2) His family moved frequently during his childhood, meaning Peter had spells in London and Singapore. Despite being taken to see Chelsea by his dad, Peter grew up supporting their West London rivals QPR.
3) He signed his first professional contract with Spurs in July 1998, but never got a first team run out. Instead he was loaned out to non-leaguers Dulwich Hamlet and Swedish side IFK Hassleholm.
4) In the summer of 2000, he joined boyhood team QPR for £60k. Despite notching 10 league goals in his first season there, the team were relegated to the third tier of English football and Crouch was sold – for £1.25m – to Portsmouth.
5) His first spell at Fratton Park brought 18 goals from 37 starts, and lead to a £5m move to Aston Villa in March 2002. Crouch scored on his debut – against Newcastle in the Premier League – but failed to hold down a regular first team place and was loaned out to Norwich at the start of the 2002/03 season. Despite only scoring four goals in his three-month spell at Norwich, the club gave Peter a championship medal when they won the First Division that year.
6) He signed for Southampton in July 2004 for £2m, but his 16 goals in 33 appearances couldn’t prevent the Saints’ relegation that season. Once again, Peter was moved on – this time to Liverpool, for an impressive £7m.
7) He failed to score in his first 19 games for Liverpool – a drought that lasted for four months and over 24 hours of playing time– before eventually netting twice against Wigan in December 2005.
8) He went on to score 40 times in 132 appearances for the Reds, and won the Community Shield and FA Cup (both in 2006). He also came on as a sub in the 2007 Champions League Final defeat to AC Milan.
9) He represented England at U-20 and U-21 level before making his senior debut against Columbia in May 2005. He’s since earned 28 caps and scored 14 goals, including one in a 2006 World Cup warm-up match against Hungary that he celebrated in this now-infamous fashion.
10) He’s enjoyed a tempestuous relationship with uber-WAG Abigail Clancy, although Peter is at least sanguine about his role in life. When asked by a newspaper what he would be if he wasn’t a footballer, Crouchie once replied: a virgin…
utusanLFC :
Crouch has been a good servant to LFC. It is sad that his time is up. But the memories remain. Thank you Crouchy!

07 July 2008

The Euro trophy still warm, Torres back in Liverpool

By Rob Hughes

Life's no beach for the modern sporting professional. One week after the Euro 2008 final in Vienna, half a week after being feted in Madrid as the scorer of the goal that won Spain's first major soccer trophy in 44 years, Fernando Torres is focused again on improving himself in England.
It will be hard to top his first season at Liverpool, where he scored 33 times, a record for a foreign player entering the most physically demanding league of them all. Yet there is a manager waiting for him - as it happens, he is a Spaniard, Rafael Benitez - and Torres on Saturday told the club's Web site: "There are days when you think, my God, this guy doesn't let you breathe. After you score 20, Benitez is at it during the next training sessions, and stays on top of you all day, all week."
He added: "He tells you to go off and do new exercises. I want progress in life, not to relax, not be complacent, and sometimes you need someone telling you to keep at it. You don't always fancy someone that close but in the long term everybody will thank him for it."
So, the Spanish fiesta was as short as it was sweet. Luis Aragonés, the coach who orchestrated it, has flown, at 70 years of age, to start a fresh challenge in charge of Fenerbahce in Istanbul. The Barcelona trio of Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta and Carles Puyol, their brief summer of unification with the Madrid players done and dusted, are headed back to a new setup, a new coach, a different, post-Ronaldinho approach to winning and not just entertaining.
He is one player who never got near the beaches this summer, one of the envied millionaires who, even at the Champagne moments in Vienna and Madrid, was reminded that his priority is to his club. Liverpool expects its team first and foremost to try to win the English title, and that hasn't happened in almost two decades.
Torres and Steven Gerrard are the fulcrum players, and their preseason starts with a friendly game at nearby Tranmere on Saturday, followed by warm-up matches on tour at Lucerne, Krakow, Berlin and Glasgow Rangers.
It could be more demanding. Some of Liverpool's rivals will tour Asia, America or Africa, mixing preseason training with selling the club's brands in different time zones, cultures and climates.
However, there will be no let up from the coach or from the demanding Liverpool captain, Gerrard.
"I really admire him, Steve," Torres said. "I know the pressure he is under every day. Everybody is talking about him all day long, in the changing room, in the pubs, in the stadium."
He added: "People look at you from a distance and challenge you with their eyes. Everyone looks at Steve to show leadership, and having been in a similar position with Atletico Madrid, I think it's incredible the way he carries himself regardless of what is going on. He has shown me how to be a great leader."

Copyright © 2008 the International Herald Tribune All rights reserved


Paul Eaton 07 July 2008

Peter Crouch could be on the verge of bringing his Liverpool career to an end after the Reds gave him permission to open transfer talks with Portsmouth.
A Liverpool spokesman confirmed: "We have reached a verbal agreement with Portsmouth and have given them permission to speak with Peter." Crouch joined the Reds in the summer of 2005 and has netted 42 goals in 135 games for the club.

Former Leeds star Kewell defends his shock move to Turkish giants Galatasaray

By Sportsmail Reporter Last updated at 10:14 PM on 06th July 2008

Former Leeds United winger Kewell joined the Turkish champions even though two Leeds fans were stabbed to death prior to a European tie against the Yorkshire side in Istanbul eight years ago.
Kewell, 29, signed a two-year contract and said Europe's most notorious set of supporters had helped convince him to join.
'I've never known anything like the reception at Istanbul Airport,' he said.
'There were thousands mobbing me and chanting my name. I always knew they were passionate about their team but that was something I've never experienced before.'
Portsmouth, Blackburn and Fulham were the three Barclays Premier League sides competing to sign Kewell following his release by Liverpool.
A source close to the Australia winger said: 'There were approaches from clubs all over Europe but some wanted to impose ridiculous conditions to guard against injuries. We got the impression some people were taking the mickey.'
Scott Carson looks to be heading to Stoke City. The Liverpool goalkeeper is waiting tohear whether his club will again allow him to go out on loan.
Peter Crouch will finally become a Portsmouth player today. Liverpool will receive £8million up front with £3million to follow in add-ons.
Gareth Barry is close to ending the saga over his future after Steve Finnan was added as a makeweight in Liverpool’s cash offer for the Villa midfielder.
utusanLFC :
When his name was confirmed to be bought 5 years ago, I follow the story closely. Every hour I refresh my internet. The saga was almost similar to what we have with Barry entry to our club. CONTROVERSIAL. Contrary to Barry, when LFC wanted to buy Kewell, the excitement were there. We remember how Kewell assisted Viduka in inflicting 4-0 against the likes of Emile Heskey and Owen when they played in Anfield. That show the talent of Aussies and Leeds... then. That's why Kewell was so welcomed when the club persuing him. But all in all... not much can be remembered about Keweel time's in Anfield, aside than the beautiful goal against Everton. The team just lost Gerrard (2 yellow cards) but ended up winning 3-1. That goal of his was memorable. But that's it. The rest are grouses. The way he limped out of Istanbul in the final really pissed me off. So now... he's leaving, I guess it is for a mutual benefit. Kewell himself and us LFC. I'm sure we will crossed path with Galatasarray soon. However, we must Thank You Kewell for all the good memories. Thank you!

Rafael Benitez considers Steve Finnan as makeweight to secure Gareth Barry transfer

By Steve Wilson
Last Updated: 7:46am BST 07/07/2008

Steve Finnan has emerged as the unlikely answer to the nagging question hanging over Gareth Barry's protracted move to Anfield.
With Liverpool having their opening £12 million offer turned down by Aston Villa, and receiving a similar response to their latest bid of £15 million plus add-ons that could see the fee rise to £17 million, manager Rafael Benitez may now include Finnan in the package to meet Villa's asking price. The Irish full-back is valued at around £2 million and Martin O'Neill is an admirer of the player.
That will be important in convincing Finnan to leave for a club not playing in Europe as O'Neill would guarantee him a starting place.
Benitez is also close to completing a deal for Palmeiras goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri. Cavalieri's agent claimed that his client has been in England over the weekend to finalise the move.
This could see Scott Carson leave the club but Benitez's valuation of £10 million has dissuaded prospective bids from Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion.
utusanLFC :
This is what happened always to the unsung hero. hmmm....

05 July 2008

Barry saga leaving a sour taste

Phil McNulty BBC Sports
4 Jul 08, 12:34pm

It would not be summer without a transfer saga - and with Cristiano Ronaldo taking a few days off from telling people what they want to hear depending whether they are Spanish or English - Gareth Barry has kindly stepped into the breach.
Barry will leave Villa and end up at Liverpool. Liverpool know that. Aston Villa know that.
But what is taking place in between is an undignified mess that has done no favours for Liverpool, their manager Rafael Benitez and Barry.
Benitez is not flavour of the month at Villa Park, and to understand why we might go back to words that came from his own mouth in early May when one of his players was attracting a little attention.
He said: "A £15m price tag for Crouch would not be unreasonable."
A price of £15m is apparently not unreasonable for a player he studiously ignored for much of last season and who is not a regular in the England side - according to Benitez logic.
The logic, however, looks twisted when set against his opening offer for a player who is now a fixture in Fabio Capello's England side and who was a regular for Villa last season, delivering a string of outstanding performances.
O'Neill said Benitez can "come up and talk about a £10m offer which includes some money and some unnamed players which would make Gareth worth about £2m."
Villa's manager was not only furious that the bid became public. He was furious with the bid itself.
And since then relations between the clubs have gone downhill fast. Offers increased and rejected. Barry criticising O'Neill in print. O'Neill responding by banning Barry from Villa's premises. Villa firing off invective in Liverpool's direction.
I reckon Villa's price tag is ridiculous, but so was Benitez's arithmetic - especially when he reportedly wants £16m for Xabi Alonso, the man he intends to replace with Barry.
O'Neill has seen Manchester United pay around £17m and £18m for Owen Hargreaves and Michael Carrick - an England duo ousted by Barry at international level - and wants a piece of that action himself.
Throw in the acrimony between the clubs and you can see why O'Neill is digging his heels in the face of Benitez's original tactics.
Liverpool will simply edge closer to the £18m price tag and hope Villa blink first - but pride is involved now and when that comes through the door common sense goes out of the window.
The Anfield hierarchy has hurdles to negotiate before Barry is standing underneath the "This Is Anfield" sign - and O'Neill's hostility towards Benitez has made the obstacles even more difficult to negotiate.
Liverpool's board, perfectly understandably, do not want to end up with both Alonso and Barry, especially as plenty of their fans do not actually regard one as massively better than the other.
They will be within their rights to tell Benitez he can have one but not both. And will want to use money from Alonso's sale to buy Barry.
I must confess I have never shared in the adoration of Alonso, indeed I've even been heard to whisper the words "vastly over-rated" when I thought no-one was listening.
And in Villa owner Randy Lerner, Liverpool are dealing with a man who would like an extra £18m in his club's bank account but is not actually desperate for it - making it much easier to back his manager's stance and make a very public point of principle.
Barry will make a point, with some justification, that he has given Villa 10 years of very solid service and should be allowed to leave and fulfil his wish to play Champions League football.
Sadly, even he will know that sentiment is an out of date currency in football.
Liverpool will get Barry, but they may have to end up a lot closer to Villa's asking price than they would like thanks to a few bold words from their manager and his unusual grasp of how players might be valued.
Benitez will then hope Barry is worth the trouble he has put his board through to get his main summer transfer target - he certainly needs him to forge a partnership with Steven Gerrard and push Liverpool a lot closer to the title than they were last season.
And once that is done, we will move on to the next saga. Maybe even back to Ronaldo.
Still, where would we be without a spot of handbags between clubs and managers before a deal reaches its inevitable conclusion?
We may shake our heads and question the sanity of football - but let's be honest we love it really.
Do you think Benitez has used the right tactics in doing this deal? Is Barry over-priced? Are Villa being too hard-nosed?
utusanlFC :
Since Barry's name propped up as the likely target for Rafa new reinforcement... I have stated it clearly about my doubts if Barry is the type of player we really need. At first, I'm not excited at all. I've seen him play against LFC over the years, he didn't excell to breakthru our solid defence. What could he possibly do to penetrate the other BIG THREE teams? Of course he play with brilliant players of ours i.e Masch, Gerrard... anybody would excell too (including me!). hmmm... I hope my opinion would be altered when Barry really become our player and prove how good he is to be in LFC. That is if ever he become one.

Crouch on his way as Pompey's £10m bid wins the day and dashes Spurs' hopes

Last updated at 10:49 PM on 04th July 2008

Peter Crouch finally landed his move to Portsmouth yesterday after the south coast club relented over his valuation and had a £10million bid accepted by Liverpool.
Throughout months of uncertainty over his future, the striker has insisted he would consider quitting Anfield only for Fratton Park, despite Tottenham offering £9m for him less than a fortnight ago.
His wish was granted when the two clubs struck an agreement last night over a deal that will be confirmed when the Football Association offices open on Monday morning.
Crouch was in jubilant mood after learning that Portsmouth had succeeded in a pursuit that was first revealed in Sportsmail earlier this year.
He made it clear he was prepared to run down the final year of his Liverpool contract rather than be forced into joining any other club, such was his determination to link up with Harry Redknapp and boost the ranks of England players at Fratton Park.
Portsmouth already have a quartet of England squad members in David James, Jermain Defoe, Glen Johnson and David Nugent. Crouch has long felt that more frequent starts under Redknapp would reinforce his standing at international level.
Liverpool will receive £8m up front and will waste little time putting it to good use.
They are close to sorting out the fine detail of Gareth Barry's protracted move from Aston Villa and are still exploring ways of prising £20m rated striker Robbie Keane away from Tottenham.
With Juventus expected to meet the £15m price tag on Xabi Alonso, they could soon have the funds needed to launch another bid for Keane.
Yossi Benayoun has turned down the chance of a move to Ajax and told boss Rafa Benitez he wants to fight for his place at Liverpool.
Ajax chiefs were given permission to speak with Benayoun's representatives after registering their interest with Liverpool, as revealed in Sportsmail.
But despite the prospect of linking up again with one of his former coaches, Danny Blind, and interest from Tottenham and Portsmouth, the Israel midfielder has made it clear he intends staying at Anfield.
utusanLFC :
It's okay. It's for the mutual benefit of LFC and Crouchy himself. We fully understand the frustration of Crouchy to be left on the bench when Torres did tremendously on the pitch. It's okay...

03 July 2008


My great appreciation toward Mdm Angie who has been so kind to me. When I first called her yesterday, she was at a supermarket doing her shopping. By 2.30pm she text me telling me that I can come now. I was like ``hovering'' around Shah Alam with a friend of mine. When I reach the condominium, Mdm Angie was just coming out of her car. Sorry Mdm Angie! Didn't mean to be like that. I know the office only open Thursday to weekend but my holiday ends yesterday and I brought some money! Yeah that money is to renew my membership for another year and to purchase a rugby LFC shirt RM169.90. I got 15 % discount as a member. For the joy my friend brought and willingly tag along with me, I even sponsor his membership. That's another RM76. All in all I spend RM300 at LSCM. No regrets. After all... I got the money from Fernando Torres. How? I bet since the beginning of Euro tournament on Spain. And yiiiihaaaa.... by 30th July, my winning amounted to RM2k. I did win RM150 on Germany when they beat Portugal. Not that I have any affection with the Germans but I simply despised that guy from Manure.

I was informed by Mdm Angie that the Walk On magazine will be no longer produce in print. Instead it will be send online through our e-mail. I personally sad & glad of this new development. I'm sad because the magazine could be my only evidence of my membership and affiliation toward a certain organisation (aside from my neighbourhood's Residential Association) and somemore, I never yet join any of the LSCM gatherings. May be I'm more comfortable watching the game from my own living room. Glad... because LSCM's action is in line with the IT revolution. You got to go online. You got to be virtual. Paperless is indeed rules the day! I think as long as Mdm Angie still tolerate my unschedule visit to purchase the old stock merchandise at LSCM outlet... I guess it will be okay for me.

Please visit http://www.lscm.com.my/

01 July 2008


Stevie G and Carra is the bedrock of the team. It'd definitely a mystery if any of the duo didn't play in any particular game. So together with 5 other best foreign players in the team, of my choice as shown below :

Reina. Playing with Adebayor. Not a save hand indeed but a funny dribble and a lob away.

This man is running on a diesel engine, powerful and works very hard for the team. Getting right wing as his permanent position... hey, you're well appreciated, Kuyt! by us the fans.

Everytime he shine in a game, the joke goes like this : what did really happened while he was in West Ham? Masherano is a gem. Don't ever let him go.

Babel is young and not many young players attract my interest or confindence. But with his blistering run from the left and never hesitate to shoot a powerful drive, makes me a Babel believer.

haaa... this fella needs no caption at all actually. As this blog has showcase almost all his 33 goals last season, plus the additional 2 goals in the Euro. The players above are proven quality buy for Liverpool Football Club. And this is what the article below all about :

Graham Shaw
Sporting Life

Eighteen years, and the wait goes on. The title drought on Merseyside shows no sign of ending just yet.
We're already hearing the annual 'this is our year' proclamations from Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and co.
But surely even those two must be scratching their heads when they read who Rafa Benitez is reportedly out to buy this summer.
Gareth Barry and James Milner appear to be high on the shopping list, with Stewart Downing also mentioned.
But the eight-figure sums mentioned in some quarters must have knowledgeable Koppites coughing up cornflakes all over their red tops around the breakfast table. More 'ow' factor than 'wow'.
Liverpool did make strides last season in terms of closing the gap on Manchester United and Chelsea, but for one reason only. They bought big.
The acquisition of Fernando Torres used up a hefty portion of Benitez's kitty in the summer of 2007, but it was worth every penny.
El Nino lit up the Premier League with some phenomenal goalscoring displays, and made Liverpool a real threat to most teams. Without him though they looked pretty average.
Benitez already has a sizeable squad to work with, so I'd humbly submit that he should be looking for quality and not quantity this summer.
If Barry is really a massively better option than Xabi Alonso I'd be very surprised - he's top-six, not Champions League for me. Good not great, lacking the pace and ability for the very highest level.
And with Javier Mascherano already in the Anfield engine room, shouldn't they be looking for something just a little different?
Milner and Downing, meanwhile, are hardly likely to terrorise opposing defences and set pulses racing on Merseyside (are they really better than Ryan Babel?). Personally I'd prefer the chances of Yossi Benayoun (who looks surplus to requirements) winning a game with a moment of magic.
When Liverpool were in their pomp they bought the best, only going for players who could improve them. That's why the likes of Dalglish, Souness, Barnes and Beardsley ended up in a red shirt.
Our man Rafa, though, appears to spend most of his time snapping up players who MIGHT be the next big thing. A bit like getting a cheap telly without a big brand name in the hope that it's quite good. Except you generally end up ditching it and upgrading because the picture's not great.
As long as Torres can stay fit Liverpool might well be only one player short of being genuine title contenders. Just not the ones they're currently being linked with.
Liverpool's form late last season was top-class. And for a fair part of the season they matched the top three. Their one big failing - they couldn't beat Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea. To do that you need quality throughout the team.
Barry, Milner and Downing might not even be definite starters next season if they do end up moving to Merseyside. Squad players aren't what Benitez needs - he can only play 11 after all.
The message is simple: buy the best or fail the test. Rafa, you have been warned.
utusanLFC :

I like this article. I hope Rafa read it too. In fact I am a bit puzzled when I read how Rafa vigoriously persuing Gareth Barry and now Robbie Keane. I agree if Barry were to replace Xabi Alonso, I don't think the comparison will float. Alonso is an established Spain international squad, albeit he was mostly a sub in the last Euro (due to his long term injury) as to Barry who need Liverpool to get establish. I assume there must be something that badly hurt the relationship between Rafa and Alonso that forced this issue. Is Alonso too sloppy now? Too old? Damned it is not. But why he is going to be offloaded? Lets say... if Alonso to be shipped out and the replacement would be the like of Xabi Hernandez... wow, nobody would question Rafa. But Barry? eerrrr... and as for Keane, well... I got not much complaining about him. I remember his glory days in Leeds with once-glorious winger by the name of Harry Kewell... But he didn't managed to help Hotspur to a better position last season. Not even with one of the most interesting player along side him... Berbatov. Well again... I like the article.



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