29 May 2008

Last posting for May 2008

I'm going for a serious mountain biking, meaning I'll be away from all electronics gadget... except the phone. You can't leave the phone. If I got into trouble in the wilderness... the phone is what you need for S.O.S.
So farewell for now. I see you next week. You'll never cycle alone! LONG LIVE LIVERPOOL!

LUIS GARCIA...COULD BE ON HIS WAY BACK TO LFC

Garcia score the goal against Juve at Anfield in 2004/05 season.


Rumours currently abound that Garcia will rejoin Liverpool in the summer of 2008 after admitting that he keeps in touch with Rafa Benitez over his fitness levels, and his failure to secure a starting place at Atletico Madrid.
And I ask you... WHY NOT?

Liverpool to sign defender Degen


BBC Sports


Liverpool have made their first transfer move of the summer, swooping for Borussia Dortmund's Philipp Degen on a free transfer.
The Switzerland international defender will move to Anfield on 1 July when his current deal with the German club ends.
The 25-year-old former Basel player will compete with Alvaro Arbeloa and Steve Finnan for the right-back berth.
"His strength is going forward," Anfield manager Rafael Benitez told Liverpool's website.
"He is an offensive player with great energy and a winning mentality.
"He also played in the Champions League during his time with Basel and so is used to top-level football."
Degen - whose twin brother David plays for Basel - has made 26 appearances for Switzerland since making his international debut in 2005.
He spent three seasons at Dortmund, making 70 appearances before opting to move to Anfield.
"When I received the offer from Liverpool, there was no doubt I would accept it," said Degen.
"They are one of the biggest clubs in the world and I am looking forward to the challenge of establishing myself there and playing in the best league there is."

Liverpool and Arsenal fail in £5m Ramsey offers


Stuart James
The Guardian,
Thursday May 29 2008


Cardiff City have rejected offers from Arsenal and Liverpool for Aaron Ramsey, the 17-year-old midfielder who is also on Manchester United's radar. It is understood that the offers, both believed to be worth close to £5m, were turned down because Cardiff are seeking a more substantial sum up front, with the Championship club reluctant to agree a deal in which the bulk of the fee is linked closely to the teenager's development.
Arsenal and Liverpool are expected to return with improved offers but there is likely to be competition from a number of other Premier League clubs, including Everton, Portsmouth, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur.
United are also continuing to monitor the situation, although the lack of first-team opportunities at Old Trafford, and at Arsenal and Liverpool for that matter, is likely to be uppermost in Ramsey's mind when he makes a decision.
John Toshack, the Wales manager, voiced similar concerns this week when he spoke about the number of promising teenagers who have moved to Premier League clubs and struggled to fulfil their potential because of the quality of players in front of them. One solution would be for Ramsey to spend a season on loan at a Championship club, an agreement which could see him return to Ninian Park in August. There is certainly little chance of him starting next season as Cardiff's property, and the Welsh club are resigned to losing their biggest asset.
Ever since Ramsey made his debut in April last year interest in the Caerphilly-born midfielder has snowballed. Manchester United's manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, has spoken to his Cardiff counterpart, Dave Jones, about Ramsey, and Harry Redknapp was hugely impressed with the teenager's performance in the FA Cup semi-final against Barnsley last month. Ramsey then came on as a substitute in the Cup final against Redknapp's Portsmouth at Wembley this month.
Ramsey has two years remaining on his Cardiff contract but such is the sense of inevitability surrounding his departure that there has been no talk of extending his deal.
His progress at Ninian Park - he made 21 appearances for Cardiff last season - has been recognised at international level, with Toshack calling him into the Wales squad for this week's friendlies in Iceland and Holland.

IT'S RAFA WANTED TO SELL, NOT ALONSO WANTED TO LEAVE


by Tony Barrett, Liverpool Echo
Xabi Alonso has not given up on his Liverpool career despite his agent holding talks with Juventus who are keen to take the Reds midfielder to Italy.
Representatives of the Serie A giants have already met with Benitez but no fee has been agreed.
But Alonso’s agent, Inaki Ibanez, is now convinced that Liverpool are ready to sell at the right price and has held preliminary talks with Juventus officials to find out what they are willing to offer his player.
He said: “I have a clear idea, namely Liverpool would like to sell. But first we must speak with Rafa Benitez.
“We’ll decide after the European Championships.”
Alonso is settled in Liverpool with his wife and baby son and will only look to leave if it becomes clear that he has no future at the club.

REDS' RIERA BID REJECTED - REPORT

By Francisco Acedo

Espanyol have reportedly snubbed an offer from Liverpool for Spain international Albert Riera.
The Reds are believed to have tabled an offer of around 12million euros (£9.5million), but that falls considerably short of the Primera Liga club's valuation.
Riera enjoyed a uneventful loan spell at Manchester City in 2006, but has flourished since returning to his homeland.
He has missed out on Spain's squad for Euro 2008 but has impressed when given a chance with the national side, scoring a spectacular debut goal against Denmark in October 2007.
The winger has recently expressed his desire to secure a move to a bigger club but has been told in no uncertain terms that he will be going nowhere unless a substantially higher bid is received.
"We are very disappointed with the quotes made by the player last week," said Espanyol president Daniel Sanchez Libre.
"If a player wants to leave then they should speak with the club, not the press.
"If a club wants to sign Riera then the price will be 24million euros (£19million), and that figure will not change."
Riera has a contract at the Montjuic Stadium until 2011 and could now be punished for his outspoken comments.
Espanyol are contemplating fining the player, but as he is currently on holiday they are trying to resolve the situation with his agent.

Alonso on verge of sealing move from Liverpool to Juventus



Last updated at 1:42 PM on 28th May 2008

Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso's agent is set to meet Juventus officials to tie up a move to the Italian giants.
Juventus president Giovanni Cobolli Gigli is cautiously optimistic of doing a deal with the Spain international, but the two clubs are yet to agree a fee.
Liverpool are thought to be asking £16million for the Basque-born player, but Juventus hope to pay nearer £12m.
Alonso was one of Rafael Benitez's first signings when the Spanish boss took over at Anfield four years ago, arriving for £10.5m from Real Sociedad.
But the 26-year-old has found his first-team opportunities limited with the arrival of Javier Mascherano and with 21-year-old Brazil midfielder Lucas also making an impact.
And with Benitez still trying to tie up the move of England midfielder Gareth Barry to Anfield, the departure of Alonso would not be a surprise.
"It looks like his representative will arrive today," Gigli said. "We can't deny that we're interested, but there's always the problem of getting value for money.
"(Managing director Jean-Claude) Blanc is working on this and on other possibilities."
.
utusanLFC : he is hailed as one of the best signing by Rafa. He is known for his calmness, spot-on passes and accurate shots. Last season, he was injured and forced Rafa to use the others. But is it fair to just simply dismissed him now? errr... can't really understand. It's all about money, really?

28 May 2008

RAFA: TORRES IS NOT FOR SALE


Liverpoolfc.tv 27 May 2008

Rafa Benitez today gave short shrift to suggestions Fernando Torres could be allowed to leave the club.
The Anfield boss claimed there was no offer which would persuade the club to part company with its record signing and top scorer.
Benitez said: "The situation is very simple – we do not want to sell Fernando Torres.
"If a player does a good job for his team, like Fernando has for us, then it is sometimes easy for people to speculate that he might be wanted by other clubs.
"I am not aware of any offer being made by Chelsea but even if there was my answer would be the same – he is not for sale.
"We are trying to add to the spine of our team and that means keeping players like Fernando, Javier Mascherano, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher."
Earlier this morning, a club spokesman added: "The idea that Liverpool Football Club would consider selling Fernando Torres is absolute nonsense.
Everyone at the club is fully focused on improving the squad ahead of the new season."


CROUCH TO STAY & DO THE BOSMAN?





Daily Telegraph
Peter Crouch, who is thought to be one of the player Benitez is prepared to allow to leave Anfield this year as the manager seeks to raise funds for new players, has decided to see out the final year of his contract at Liverpool.
The England striker, who will be able to leave for free next year, has been shocked by the £15 million price-tag put on him.
The Star reports a source close to Crouch as saying: "Peter's been treated appallingly by Benitez.
"First there's been the lack of games, then Benitez claiming Peter had been offered a new contract.
"Now comes this £15 million price-tag, which is ridiculous. The best option is to see out his last year at Liverpool and then go for nothing."

27 May 2008

Torres snubs Chelsea bid


By PHIL THOMAS
Published: Today

FERNANDO TORRES shot down Chelsea’s hopes of a £50million raid and insisted: I want to become an Anfield legend.
The Liverpool striker fired 32 goals in his first year in England after a club record £21.5m move from Atletico Madrid.
It sparked claims Chelsea were preparing to test the nerve of Anfield’s power brokers with a world record swoop.
But the Spanish hitman, now preparing to lead his country’s bid for Euro 2008 glory, has no plans to pack his bags.
Torres, 24, said: “I feel very confident here. This is my team, my city and Anfield is my pitch. I feel very good.
“This was only my first season at Liverpool and I want to play better for many more yet. I’ve only had one good one and I’m very proud of the comparisons, but now is not the moment.
“It’s very important for me to make the fans happy. We play football to give them enjoyment. I think they love me and I love them.”
Torres has become a Kop cult hero — but the man himself thinks comparisons with greats like Kenny Dalglish, Robbie Fowler and Steven Gerrard are way too soon.
He added: “I was with Kenny Dalglish the other week and you could see on people’s faces how much of a hero he is. I want everyone to remember me in 20 years’ time.”

26 May 2008

Defence holds the key for Rafa Benitez


May 26 2008 by Nick Smith, Liverpool Daily Post


RAFAEL BENITEZ has revealed that improving his defence will be a key factor to Liverpool’s challenge next season.
Although the Anfield side only conceded 28 goals in the Premier League, that was still two more than runners-up Chelsea while Manchester United conceded just 22 on their way to the title.
Benitez has already made inroads in the pursuit of Udinese’s £8million left-back Andrea Dossena as he tries to strengthen up the flanks that are set to be vacated by the departures of Steven Finnan and John Arne Riise.
But addressing the lapses in concentration that cost Liverpool vital goals, especially from set-pieces, is one of Benitez’s priorities as he searches for ways to further close the gap on the top two.
“We have been really good in defence for three of four years, but I think we need to improve a little bit if we want to be at the top of the table,” said Benitez.
“We have analysed a lot of things this year. For example, we have conceded a lot of goals from set-pieces. We need to understand why because the season before we conceded six, now it’s 16, yet we’re doing more or less the same things.
“We talk about how to do things properly and yet we continue doing the same things sometimes. We can improve some things.
“We also need to keep the team scoring in open play while at the same time improving a little bit in defence.”
Liverpool also fell down in the number of wins they accumulated in the league last season as they failed to convert one point into three on 13 occasions.
The statistics back up the manager’s confidence that the spine of his team is in place but finding the extra touches to improve on those results will be the focus of his summer spending.
“We know our weaknesses and our strengths. We know where we need to improve, so we’ll try to build a new team looking at these things,” said Benitez. “We will try to do our best but the key for me is to not talk about the title.
“The key is to be near the top, to be contenders. If we stay close then I think we are capable of doing it.
“It’s always the same – during the season you must do your job with the players you have and afterwards, in the summer, you need to do your job with the staff.
“It’s really important to sign the right players with the right mentality – a winning mentality. You want players who are desperate to come here and win trophies.”
Udinese’s sporting director Pietro Leonardi has refused to back up his coach Pasquale Marino’s assertion that Dossena was set to complete his move to Anfield this week, but admits that negotiations are on-going.
“We have not got an agreement yet with the English side,” Leonardi said. “We are negotiating, but we will talk again next week. For the moment, nothing is done.”
And Dossena’s agent Federico Pastorello, seemingly in a move to engineer a higher price for his player, has hinted that he is interested in joining up with Fiorentina coach Cesare Prandelli, who he previously played under at Verona.
.
utusanLFC : it would be interesting if we accept Rafa's interview as some kind of a surmon. hihihi

Riise Headed for Spain?




Liverpool full back John Arne Riise could be on his way to Spain following news that Atletico Madrid and Villareal have both joined the chase to sign the Norwegian. Schalke and Newcastle are also circling...

Riise, 27, who signed for Liverpool from Monaco in 2001, has become surplus to requirements at Anfield and is widely expected to leave the club this summer.The Norwegian, who is one of the longest serving players at Anfield, has had a mixed season this year. The arrival of Fabio Aurelio has increased the competition for places in the side and Riise has not only lost his place in the starting line up but has also been forced to play out of position in midfield at times this season.Riise, who made a name for himself as a defender with a ferocious shot has also seen his goals dry up this season.Indeed the goal he will be most remembered for will be the last minute own goal he conceded against Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final which turned the tie in Chelsea’s favour.With manager Rafael Benitez keen to raise funds in order to embark on a summer spending spree it is thought that Riise is one of the players the Liverpool manager is more than willing to sell in order to free up some funds.This is something that the player himself has acknowledged recently as he has reportedly told the press he is aware he may have to leave Liverpool in order to find regular first team football.Other MovesRiise has reportedly already rejected a move to Newcastle and there have also been rumours that Juventus are interested in signing the Norwegian, although this seems unlikely.Far more credible are recent reports that the German side Schalke 04 are interested in the defender as well as Atletico Madrid and Villareal.Whilst it is unclear where he will end up what does seem apparent is that his days at Anfield are all but over.


Gill Clark

Chelsea poised for £50m swoop for Torres, one of sacked boss Grant's prime targets


By Matt Lawton Last updated at 11:58 PM on 25th May 2008

Chelsea will offer up to £50million in an audacious bid to sign Liverpool striker Fernando Torres.
Stamford Bridge owner Roman Abramovich is ready to smash the world transfer record to land the 24-year-old Spaniard.
Abramovich was prepared to pay that much for Thierry Henry when he first took over at Chelsea and he has given chief executive Peter Kenyon permission to offer the same amount for a brilliant marksman who scored 33 goals in his debut season at Anfield.
Avram Grant was sacked as Chelsea's manager on Saturday and the search now begins for his successor, with Guus Hiddink and Frank Rijkaard among the favourites to take over.
But it is understood the club will continue to pursue those players Grant identified prior to his dismissal - and Torres was top of his wish list, with the Barclays Premier League and Champions League runners-up happy to take advantage of the chaos at Liverpool.
Chelsea believe they have a chance of pulling off one of the most extraordinary transfer coups in football history which could beat the world record fee of £46m Real Madrid paid Juventus for France midfielder Zinedine Zidane in 2001.
"There is a desire among certain people at Liverpool to sell at the right price," said an insider last night. "It's just a case of whether they have the nerve to incur the wrath of the Liverpool fans."
Disruption reigns at Anfield, with the ownership of the club as well as the future of manager Rafa Benitez and chief executive Rick Parry uncertain.
Tom Hicks says he is desperate to raise funds to take sole control and the sale of Torres only a year after he arrived from Atletico Madrid for £23m could be good business.
Benitez will not think so and agreeing to sell could add more tension. The Liverpool manager claims a lack of resources means his side will again be fighting against the tide for the title next term.
He said: "It's more difficult because after two years of Chelsea winning the league and spending big money, United needed to do the same. They started spending big money, and Arsenal were also spending big money on young players.
"We're trying to do the same but it's more difficult to catch up. We'll do our best. The key is to not talk about the title."
But his objections regarding the sale of Torres may not hold sway and it would represent good business for Chelsea as well as Hicks because striker Didier Drogba is up for sale.
As well as Jose Bosingwa - who has agreed to join Chelsea for £16m - Grant identified AC Milan's Kaka and Real Madrid's Robinho.
Like Torres, Kaka is an ambitious target and someone Milan have said they are not prepared to sell. But Chelsea will attempt to lure the World Player of the Year by offering Drogba, Ricardo Carvalho and possibly even money in return.
Chelsea do not envisage the next manager objecting but they want to make an appointment quickly.
Rijkaard has long been considered the favourite and the football he produced at Barcelona to win the Champions League in 2006 impressed Abramovich.
But there are concerns about the strength of his leadership and Chelsea could turn to someone like the experienced Hiddink.
The return of Jose Mourinho has been dismissed but among other possible targets are Luiz Felipe Scolari, Marcello Lippi, Mark Hughes and Sven Goran Eriksson.
.
utusanLFC :
this stupid story first appeared in Italy and now The Daily Mail of UK printed it. What a bollock. Look at the way they spin here : "There is a desire among certain people at Liverpool to sell at the right price," said an insider last night. "It's just a case of whether they have the nerve to incur the wrath of the Liverpool fans."

25 May 2008

LIVERPOOL FACE DOSSENA FIGHT

By Nadia Carminati

Fiorentina could rival Liverpool for the signing of Andrea Dossena after Udinese confirmed a deal has not yet been agreed for the left-back.
Liverpool are in talks to sign the 26-year-old, with reports suggesting Udinese want £8million for Dossena.
The Serie A side have acknowledged discussions have taken place and are set to meet with the Reds again next week.
"We have not got an agreement yet with the English side," Udinese's sporting director Pietro Leonardi told the Italian media.
"We are negotiating, but we will talk again next week.
"For the moment, nothing is done."
However, Dossena's agent Federico Pastorello says the player has yet to decide his future, with Fiorentina also rumoured to be interested.
Dossena played under Fiorentina coach Cesare Prandelli at Verona earlier in his career and Pastorello hinted at interest from the Viola.
Pastorello told the Italian media: "The future of the player is still very uncertain. He will decide everything in the coming weeks.
"Prandelli knows Dossena very well, he is aware of his strengths and weaknesses."

23 May 2008

NICE ART

I found this in the net. I believed it was done by a lady. Perhaps, she'll come by and drop us a few lines here, and tell us of her creativity. I find it a well done art. But please don't condemn me for `stealing' it... Think it as a free advertisement!

MONOPOLY GAME!

don't ask me where to buy... seriously... I don't know

A good time to visit LSCM


Let me tell you something... if you want a good price for any of Liverpool memorabilia... now is the time to visit our Liverpool Supporters Club of Malaysia, located in Shah Alam. To get the proper map, click on the link to LSCM : http://www.lscm.com.my/

I know the place. I frequent that place everytime I won some bets. hahaha... And the club only open Thursday to Saturday.

Why is it now a good time to visit the club? Because off-season is where the club usually offer a nice price of everything that is sold there. Most of it are brought over by the members who are lucky enough (and rich enough too) to visit Anfield, in particular the store.

I have spend a good fortune in getting myself t-shirts, jacket, stickers etc etc... and if you're a member, wow... good lah compare to the prices sold in Adidas shop. In fact, I stopped buying from the Adidas boutique. I feel it is a waste. Adidas pull out its special discount for all LSCM card- carrying members (I was lucky enough and managed to buy a few items before they cancel it) ... So guys, go grab the merchandise in LSCM, while stock last, I supposed. And I don't think I breach any of the club's ruling by urging you guys to visit LSCM. I might risk myself being left without nothing when I visit the club soon. hahaha...

FRIENDLIES GAME & THE START OF NEW SEASON




Liverpool have confirmed a pre-season friendly with La Liga runners-up Villarreal, and they are also expected to soon confirm another warm-up game against Rangers at Ibrox.
So far the only date confirmed is the 30 July visit to Villarreal, a side Liverpool could end up facing in the Champions League next season. The match is part of the deal that took the Spain goalkeeper Jose Reina to Anfield in the summer of 2005. Liverpool are also almost certain to be facing a trip to Ibrox to face the Uefa Cup finalists. That date could be 26 July, but there has been no official confirmation. Liverpool will travel to Switzerland in early July for their usual pre-season training camp, where a couple of games against local opposition will be organised.
Liverpool also hope to have a friendly on the weekend prior to the start of the new Premier League season. There are no plans for a pre-season tour to the United States or the Far East, as Liverpool have staged in previous years.
Liverpool enter the Champions League at the third qualifying round stage next season, and the draw will be made on 3 August.
The Premier League starts on 9 August, with the third qualifying round first leg on 12 or 13 August with the second leg on 26 or 27 August, with a prospective group stage starting on 16 or 17 September.

20 May 2008

FERNANDO TORRES PROVES HE'S LIVERPOOL'S TOP PLAYER




That same run, that same rush, that same result... that's Torres!

May 19 2008


HE ended the season the way he began it – as a record breaker. And in between, Fernando Torres gave reason to believe Liverpool had found themselves a worthy successor to past Anfield striking greats.
Eyebrows were raised when Rafael Benitez made his fellow Spaniard the club’s most expensive signing by completing a £21million transfer from Atletico Madrid last summer.
Yet from the moment Torres clinically dispatched his first goal in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea back in August, it was evident this was money well spent.
And how. Torres ended the season with 33 goals, 24 of them coming in the league to shatter Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record for most Premier League goals in a debut campaign by a foreign player.
There was also the small matter of becoming the first Liverpool player since Robbie Fowler in 1996 to net 20 league goals in a season.
On top of that, Torres also equalled a 46-year-old record by netting in eight consecutive home league games, and became the first Anfield player to do so while in the top-flight of English football.
So it’s inevitable, and thoroughly deserved, that Torres should be named the Daily Post’s Liverpool player of the season.
The Spaniard was named man-of-the- match 11 times in Liverpool’s 59 games, holding off the challenge of skipper Steven Gerrard with 10 and midfielder Javier Mascherano with seven.
Indeed, ask any Liverpool supporter for their team’s three most influential players, that triumvirate would invariably trip straight off the tongue.
Such has been Torres’s impact, comparisons have already been made with the likes of Fowler and Kenny Dalglish although the Spaniard, in typically modest style, refuses to get carried away.
“I will try to do even better next season,” says Torres. “This is only my first season at Liverpool and I want to play better for many more seasons yet. So far I’ve had one good season but Kenny and Robbie have had six, seven, eight or 10 good seasons at Liverpool. It’s different.
“When I have finished my career then maybe that will be the moment to talk about these things but not now. It’s too early.
“It’s important to me that the fans think highly of me and if they’re saying these things then I would say ‘thank you, but not yet’.
I think they love me and I love them. It’s great when kids and their granddads come up to me in the street and say ‘you’re the best’.
“I was with Kenny Dalglish the other day and you could see in the faces of the people how much of a hero he is, 20 years after he finished his career. I want everyone to remember me in 20 years’ time.”
Surprisingly, Torres was named man of the match just once in Liverpool’s first 21 games – the Carling Cup win at Reading in which he scored a hat-trick – but the awards soon came regularly.
The final accolade, against Manchester City earlier this month, was enough to hold off the challenge of Gerrard, with whom Torres has formed such a telepathic understanding.
As with Torres, the majority of the skipper’s awards came between October and January at a time when Benitez’s side needed strong on-field leaders given the chaos that was unravelling behind the scenes.
This, too, was when the ever- dependable Jamie Carragher came to the fore, four of his five awards arriving in the same period.
But even the centre-back was ultimately outshone by the indomitable Mascherano, who underlined why Benitez was so keen to wrap up his £18million permanent transfer.
The Argentine proved the man for the big occasion, man of the match in the goalless league draw at Chelsea and taking the honours in both legs of the Champions League tie with Italian champions Inter Milan.
Liverpool’s other new arrivals also proved their worth. Yossi Benayoun earned four accolades – two on the strength of hat-tricks against Besiktas and Havant and Waterlooville – while Martin Skrtel was the pick in the home Champions League ties against Arsenal and Chelsea.
Free transfer Andrei Voronin, unfairly made a scapegoat by sections of the Liverpool support, helped ease the pressure on Torres early in the campaign with a clutch of impressive performances.
By contrast, Ryan Babel’s recurring inability to last a full 90 minutes and his chief role as an impact substitute meant that, despite his 10 goals, he is still waiting on his first man-of-the- match performance.
The absence of John Arne Riise, Steve Finnan and Xabi Alonso from the list indicated fading forces that could be on their way out of Anfield.
Jermaine Pennant is also likely to find himself elsewhere next season, but hinted at what might have been were it not for a mid-season absence with a stress fracture by claiming five awards, concentrated at the beginning and end of the campaign.
Dirk Kuyt and Sami Hyypia both had their dips in form over the year, but remained consistent enough to claim seven awards between them, Hyypia in particular responding to the arrival of Skrtrel while Kuyt often excelled in Europe.
Torres, though, will be the one aiming for a second player of the season award on the bounce next year.

16 May 2008

Liverpool eye Espanyol winger Albert Riera

Last updated at 22:56pm on 15th May 2008

Liverpool are interested in Espanyol winger Albert Riera and are willing to offer cash plus Sebastian Leto on loan.
Argentine Leto has been dogged by reports of passport trouble and manager Rafael Benitez wants to send him on loan while attempts are made to clear up the dispute.

errr.... how I wish it could be that guy on the right... the one with unicef on the chest...

Disheartened Crouch offered route back to Portsmouth


Gary Jacob and Nick Szczepanik

Portsmouth were holding talks with Liverpool last night about re-signing Peter Crouch, the forward, who left Fratton Park six years ago. Harry Redknapp, the Portsmouth manager, has asked the board for funds to bring in several players in a determined attempt to build on this season's eighth-place finish in the Barclays Premier League and their appearance in the FA Cup Final, in which they will play Cardiff City tomorrow.
Redknapp wants a target man to partner Jermain Defoe next season and believes that Liverpool will sell Crouch this summer as he enters the final year of his contract. Liverpool's £15million valuation has been a stumbling block, with Portsmouth willing to pay about half that. Redknapp has also considered Dean Ashton, the West Ham United forward.
Crouch has frequently expressed his frustration at the rotation policy and his lack of opportunities at Anfield. Liverpool rejected an inquiry for him from Manchester City this season. The England forward left Portsmouth for Aston Villa for £5million in March 2002, two days after Redknapp took charge at Fratton Park for the first time. He scored 18 goals in 37 appearances in the league for Portsmouth, since when he has also played for Norwich City and Southampton. At 27, Crouch has played for seven clubs and has accrued transfer fees of £15.5million in his career.
Redknapp has concerns about his attacking line-up for next season. Kanu, the Nigeria and former Arsenal striker, will turn 32 in August, John Utaka, also of Nigeria, has been a disappointment after an encouraging start, David Nugent remains available for transfer, and Milan Baros, the Czech Republic and former Liverpool forward, is on loan from Lyons, although Portsmouth have the option to buy him for £5million this summer.
Meanwhile, Peter Storrie, the Portsmouth chief executive, denied that Redknapp is considering stepping down. “It's an unbelievable load of rubbish; complete and utter makebelieve,” Storrie said. “I can assure the fans that Harry is going absolutely nowhere. Harry is furious about this - we all are.”
Kanu is expected to play up front in the Cup Final against Cardiff tomorrow, when Portsmouth's defence will be important. Cardiff will attempt to do what only one man, Chris Clark, of Plymouth Argyle, has achieved in 2008: score against Portsmouth in an FA Cup tie. The bad news? Before they can even get David James in their sights, they have to find a way past Sol Campbell and Sylvain Distin.
The formidable central-defensive pairing came together last summer when Distin arrived at Fratton Park on a free transfer from Manchester City. The appearance in the final vindicates his decision to move from City to what might be regarded as a smaller club.
“I played for Newcastle and I didn't win anything, I played for City and I didn't win anything, either,” Distin said. “At Portsmouth, I'm going to play in a Cup Final for the first time in my career, so for me that's the most important thing. I remember when I signed here, some people didn't say too much, but I could see in their eyes, ‘Why Portsmouth?' They have the answer today.”
Distin won the French League Cup in 2000, in an upset that he hopes will not be repeated tomorrow. “It was with Gueugnon, a second division club at the time, against Paris SaintGermain, who were a top-four club. A bit like Cardiff against Portsmouth or Manchester United,” he said. “We had a bit of luck, we had good footballers. We believed. For me, Cardiff are not a small side and it's going to be a tough game until the last second.”
Campbell has also made a point to those who thought that his days of collecting trophies ended when he left Arsenal in 2006. “I hope I get a lot of respect for that,” he said. “I'm a fighter and I'll always keep fighting. I've won the Cup [in 2002, when Arsenal beat Chelsea], played all the games and then been in the stand for the final, been suspended - I've had it all.”

15 May 2008

1st Cut is the Deepest : Rod Stewart (Fernando Torres sang in Spanish)


1st goal of the season as he mesmerized everyone, in particular Jose Morinho at Anfield. That day, he convienced the whole of Liverpool supporter all over the world what an interesting player he would be to us. The beauty of this photo is as 4 other players rushing to congratulate Torres... the actions of every each one of them tells a gigantum story in itself. Kuyt slided as he would confirmed that he is our most hard working player, Gerrard as if he is dancing, Risse and Alonso who leap in joy... this is a good photo, indeed.

If you want to believe the transfer rumour... Malouda

Liverpool set to snap up Malouda from Chelsea for £10m

Last updated at 10:23am
on 15th May 2008

Liverpool have made a shock move to sign Chelsea winger Florent Malouda for around £10million.
Preliminary talks with Malouda's people have been positive enough to convince Kop boss Rafa Benitez the player will leave.
The France international almost joined the Reds last summer before Chelsea outbid them and offered £60,000 a week wages.
But reports in The Sun suggest Benitez plans to move Ryan Babel to a more natural position on the right or behind Fernando Torres to free up the left attacking-midfield slot.
But the move is very much dependent on a takeover by DIC.
Meanwhile, Anfield flop Andriy Voronin is wanted by German side Stuttgart.
Voronin, 28, signed on a free last summer from Bayer Leverkusen and scored six goals.
The pony-tailed Ukraine striker is under contract until 2011 but Liverpool are prepared to let him leave on the cheap.
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utusanLFC :
Unfortunately I have learn to hate Malouda when he deserted Liverpool... so I dont want to believe the story. hahaha

14 May 2008

CHELSEA HAS THE GUTS TO BUY TORRES... hahaha


Spanish reports claim that Liverpool have rejected a huge bid from Chelsea for Fernando Torres.
Radio Marca report that Roman Abramovich lodged a cheeky 50million euros (£40million) offer for Torres - who has shone in his debut season in England.
Liverpool are believed to have rejected the offer out of hand and did not discuss any possible deal as they have no intention whatsoever of selling the Spanish striker.
It is also claimed that Avram Grant tried to use his friendship with Liverpool's Yossi Benayoun to make Chelsea's admiration known to Torres.
However, Torres - who is readying himself to play a pivotal role for Spain at Euro 2008 - is more than happy with life at Anfield and has no intentions of quitting less than 12 months into his Liverpool career.
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utusanLFC :
only 50 mil euros? It should be in the range of 80 mil to 100 mil.... hahaha

12 May 2008

Tottenham 0 - LFC 2 (THE LAST GAME)



err.... can any of you remember how many has Veronin scored by now? He was sidelined either by choice or injury. Either way, no one should complaint much about his contribution. After all, the true Liverpool fan doesn't beratting our own players. That's why we seem to be tolerating Toure and Salif Diao...




It ends with a win. Liverpool striker Fernando Torres wrapped up victory at Tottenham to set a record for goals scored by a foreigner in his first season in the Premier League.
Torres' goal was his 24th since arriving from Atletico Madrid, taking him past Ruud van Nistelrooy's total when he arrived at Manchester United.

11 May 2008

Bargain buys hard to find at Liverpool

Oliver Kay

Rafael Benítez remains in the dark about how much money Liverpool will have to spend this summer because of the lingering uncertainty over the club's ownership, but he hopes to generate more than £25million with an end-of-season clear-out. He is also prepared to listen to offers for Xabi Alonso to raise a further £16million to make up any shortfall in his spending plans.
Benítez made clear yesterday that Peter Crouch is available for transfer for £15 million and that John Arne Riise would also be allowed to leave Anfield for the right price, with both players having a little more than a year remaining on their contracts.
Scott Carson, who is on loan to Aston Villa, will also be sold - with Benítez eager to use him as a makeweight in a deal to sign Gareth Barry from the Midlands club - while Harry Kewell will be released when his contract expires on June 30, but there will be consternation among many Liverpool supporters at the idea of selling Alonso, particularly if such a deal is forced because of a lack of funding owing to the continuing tension between Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr, the club's American owners.
Liverpool spent heavily on new players last summer, notably on Fernando Torres and Ryan Babel, and, having since signed Martin Skrtel and completed the permanent acquisition of Javier Mascherano in an £18million deal, Benítez has been given only vague indications of the funds that will be made available to him this summer.
Hicks has promised that he will support the pursuit of Barry and has approved the signing of Philip Degen, the Switzerland full back, on a free transfer from Borussia Dortmund, but it has emerged that Barry may be the only “headline” signing of the summer, unless Benítez is prepared to raise additional funds .
One player who seems certain to be on his way out of Anfield is Crouch, the England forward, even though Benítez informed clubs such as Villa and Portsmouth yesterday that the asking price would be £15million for a player who has started only nine Premier League matches this season and will be available on a free transfer when his contract expires in June 2009.
“Peter wants to play every week and if we receive a very good offer - and by that I mean £15million - we will consider it,” the Liverpool manager said. “I'm reading about £8million, but if we only receive that I would rather keep the player. He is a good player, so it's not a problem me [to keep him for the final year of his contract]. He is also an English player, which is important when you think about the market.”
Riise is also available, having lost his place at left back, with Benítez likely to take another look at Emiliano Insua, the young Argentinian, away to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday. “He has one year left on his contract and we know there are some clubs interested in him. We will wait until the end of the season and try to do the best for him and the best for us,” Benítez said.
Benítez is confident of signing Barry and was dismissive yesterday of criticism from Martin O'Neill, the Villa manager. O'Neill called Liverpool's initial £10million bid “disrespectful” and “very disruptive”, but Benítez revealed that he has had a dialogue with O'Neill for almost three weeks.
Sammy Lee, the former Liverpool player and coach, could be in line to return to Anfield after his brief spell in charge of Bolton Wanderers. The 49-year-old is in regular contact with Benítez and is considered a prime candidate for a senior role on the coaching staff next season after Alex Miller, the first-team coach, announced that he was leaving Anfield with immediate effect to take over as coach of JEF United Cheba, the Japanese club.

Liverpool target Barcelona's Eric Abidal


By Charlie Caroe

Barcelona left-back Eric Abidal has emerged as a summer transfer target for Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez. Abidal, 28, who moved to the Catalan capital last summer after four seasons with French side Lyon, is likely to attract a bid of £8 million to take him to Merseyside.
Representatives of Liverpool were reported to be in attendance on Sunday to watch the player as Barcelona overpowered Valencia in a 6-0 win.
The French defender, who has won 32 caps for his country, is seen as a replacement for John Arne Riise who has been at Anfield since the summer of 2001.
The Norwegian has just twelve months left on his current contract, but looks to be on his way out of the club.
Riise, meanwhile, has revealed his anger at being kept in the dark after he learnt that he was offered to Aston Villa as part of Benitez's bid for England midfielder Gareth Barry.
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He told the Mirror: "I feel that I could have heard something since I've been here for seven years, won everything we have won and played all the time."
Another potential destination for Riise is Harry Redknapp's Portsmouth, who are also known to be interested in taking Riise's team-mate Peter Crouch back to Fratton Park.
The England striker is being lured by the prosect of a £75,000-per-week, four-year deal, as the FA Cup finalists are willing to pay £8 million for the player.
Crouch would be in his second spell at the club after spending the 2001-2002 season at Portsmouth when he scored 18 goals from 37 starts in Division One (now the Championship), before moving to Aston Villa.

The high cost of Harry Kewell at Liverpool


By Giles Mole

Harry Kewell will leave Liverpool this month having cost the club £157,554 per game.
Former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier signed Kewell from Leeds back in July 2003 for £5 million, on a contract worth £60,000 a week.
Since then the 29-year-old has made 139 appearances in five years, and just 18 over the last two, scoring a paltry 16 goals in the process.
Kewell shone for Leeds during his spell at Elland Road and seemed destined to become an Anfield favourite after moving to Liverpool.
However, a run of persistent injuries have restricted his appearances, frustrating his manager and the club's supporters.
Fans even booed the Australian international when he went off injured during the Champions League final against AC Milan three years ago.
Rafa Benitez will not stand in the way of Kewell's departure at the end of the season, with Fulham and Tottenham reportedly interested.
Kewell will be just one of a number of Liverpool players leaving this summer.
Peter Crouch is set to be the most high-profile departure, with Aston Villa his likely destination in a potential player-plus-cash deal for Gareth Barry.
John Arne Riise, Scott Carson and Jermain Pennant will also move on, with Carson, current on loan at Villa, signing a permanent deal under Martin O'Neill.

Seydou Keita : Alonso's replacement?


Alonso could be replaced at Anfield by £10m-rated Mail international Seydou Keita.
Keita, 28, has drawn the attention of Rafa Benitez after impressing in his first season at Sevilla, and a Liverpool insider said: "Rafa has Keita very high up on his list this summer and may well make a bid for him."

Juventus prepare £15million bid for Liverpool's Xabi Alonso


by Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post

JUVENTUS are considering a £15million bid to prise Xabi Alonso away from Liverpool – as Rafael Benitez slapped a similar price tag on Peter Crouch.
The Anfield manager, who has urged the club’s board to “work quickly” in the transfer market, anticipates a summer of change with a number of high-profile departures.
While Benitez has no immediate plans to include Alonso in that group, Liverpool’s interest in Aston Villa skipper Gareth Barry has cast doubt over the midfielder’s long-term future.
And Juventus, having already taken Momo Sissoko from Anfield this season, are preparing to test Liverpool’s resolve by launching an official bid for the Spain international.
Barcelona are also contemplating a move for Alonso, with new coach Josep Guardiola – who will replace the departing Frank Rijkaard in the summer – a boyhood idol of the 26-year-old.
Benitez, though, said yesterday: “Xabi is our player, he has a contract. Barry can play in three different positions, so I don’t think we need to worry about this.”
The Liverpool manager also responded to criticism from Martin O’Neill over the offer for Barry, claiming to have been in talks with his Villa counterpart for almost three weeks.
“I was surprised with part of his comments,” said Benitez. “I had a private conversation with him, he knew my idea and needed to talk with his owners. In the end, we needed to make an official movement. I don’t have any problem waiting, we must respect his decision, and then talk again with him. I was talking with him 20 days ago more or less, and he knew everything. He knew my idea and I knew his idea.”
Definitely leaving Anfield in the summer is Harry Kewell, while Crouch and John Arne Riise, who both have a year remaining on their current contracts, have been told they can speak with other clubs.
Crouch’s decision to not yet take up the offer of a new deal at Anfield has already prompted interest from potential suitors, with Portsmouth ready to offer £8m. But Benitez believes Crouch is worth almost twice that figure and claims to have no problem keeping the England international at Anfield next season – despite the striker able to leave for nothing in 12 months’ time.
“Peter is a different player now to the one we bought from Southampton,” said Benitez. “He is a big name, an international player and everybody talks really well about him.
“Peter said in December that he wanted to talk about a new contract, but then his representatives said they wanted to wait, so now we will see the situation.
“If we receive a very good offer, and by that I mean £15m, we will consider it. I’m reading about £8m, but if we only receive that then I’d rather keep the player. And don’t forget he is an English player, which is really important when you consider the market.
“Peter is a player with an agent who will be working to do the best for him, and we will be working to do the best for us.
“If that means I need to keep the player, I will keep the player. We’ve offered him a new contract, we like the player and we want him to stay. But we cannot offer him a guarantee he will start every game every week. We need to resolve this situation, and that won’t be with an £8m offer.”
Benitez also underlined the situation regarding Kewell and Riise, with the latter being tracked by a clutch of clubs including Newcastle United and Villa.
“Riise has one year left on his contract and we know there are some clubs interested in him, and we will wait until the end of the season and try and do the best for him and the best for us,” said Benitez.
“I was talking with Harry’s agent, we didn’t have any agreement and we decided to release him at the end of the season.
“Everyone knows Harry is a very good player. The question is whether we could do something with him, and in the end we couldn’t so we had to forget about it and think about the future.”
As he presses ahead with his transfer plans, Benitez has been reassured by an improvement in communication with the club’s owners.
But having been frustrated in the past by perceived hesitancy in the market, the Spaniard is eager to wrap up the majority of his summer dealings as soon as possible.
“I’ve been in contact with the owners and Rick Parry, so they know our idea and the things that we want to do” said Benitez. “Now we must wait to see if they approve or not. The situation now is much better than before, because I can talk with them. I want transfer business to be done as quickly as possible. If you sign a player at the end of July you do not have much time, it is better to sign players as quickly as possible.
“But the plan is not just to buy. It’s also to sell. But because we don’t have any concrete offer on the table for any player, we will just have to wait a little bit.”

Sammy Lee is the leading contender to be Rafael Benitez's assistant at Liverpool


Sammy Lee is now the firm favourite to be appointed as assistant to Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez.
Lee was instantly earmarked yesterday as a potential replacement for coach Alex Miller, who has left the club to take up a management position in Japan.
Initially Benitez would say only, "we have several names under consideration", but he pointedly refused to rule out Lee's return to Anfield.
But sources at the club claim that Lee is Benitez's first-choice for the post and co-owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks have been asked for their approval.
Benitez has not had an assistant since Pako Ayesteran left the club under a cloud earlier in the season - he is still on 'gardening leave'.
Miller was officially a coach rather than assistant, but Benitez now seems certain to appoint a replacement for the more senior role.
Lee's appointment would crucially give Benitez a club legend and Merseyside man at his side.
A criticism of the manager's backroom staff has always been that it has too many Spanish coaches without local knowledge.
Lee was sacked by Bolton earlier in the season after taking over from Sam Allardyce as manager, having previously worked as a coach under former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier at Anfield.
In an eight-year playing career for the Reds, Lee amassed a glittering array of honours that included three league titles, two European Cups and four League Cups.
Lee moved on to QPR, Osasuna, Southampton and Bolton as his playing career came to an end and returned to Anfield in 1993 as reserve coach under Graeme Souness. He was promoted to first-team coach by Houllier in 1999.
In July 2004 he left Anfield for a second time to become a full-time member of the England coaching set-up.
He was given his first full-time managerial job at Bolton in March 2007 but survived just 14 games and has been out of the game since then.

THE LAST GAME OF THE SEASON

Bad news : I have browsed the Astro tv scheduler. There is no live telecast on ESPN for the Liverpool match against Tottenham Hotspur tonight as it coincide with the other 2 blockbuster game. Like I care. If the whole season they can reschedule many games according to the whim of their tv station, I can't comprehend why is there won't be any such special arrangement for the last game of the season. Frustrating. I don't think I care to watch Man.U or Chelsea. I think I'll watch HBO tonight. More meaningful and entertaining than watching those teams.

So now we come to an end. Like I have written before, the only reward we could boast this season is Torres - who have scored, keeping us alive and more importantly, entertaining us with the brand new football we have longed for. Unlike last season, it was a bit beautiful because we did go to the Final of Champions Cup, albeit we were beaten by AC Milan. This time around, we won't have any funfare. The season ends in normal mode. We don't have fight for the number 4 slot as the challenges from teams below us, in particular Everton... simmers three games ago. What a bullock. That small team think they can overtake us... Dream on.

Regardless of no live telecast tonight, I do know Spurs would like to improve their standing and wants to beat Liverpool on their own turf in the last game. It would be massive. As for Liverpool, they surely want to end the season with a win and also with style. I hope Torres would clinch at least another 2 goals.

errr.. I hate it when ESPN failed us.

05 May 2008

Liverpool 1-0 Man City: Torres shows no sign of 'injury'

and who says Torres doesn't defend from the front?....


By David Maddock 5/05/2008

Another goal, another win, another record for Fernando Torres. You'd expect the man who bought him to be basking in the glow of such a holy trinity, right?
Well for Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez, the glow yesterday was slightly more red face than pride after the striker's 32nd goal of the season saw off lame Manchester City.
That Torres was even on the pitch was the source of embarrassment to the Anfield boss, never mind that he once again proved the match-winner in a season when he equalled Ruud Van Nistelrooy's record for most goals scored in a debut Premier League campaign.
It was Benitez who dragged the Spain international off in midweek when Liverpool needed a goal at Chelsea to reach the Champions League final, claiming he was suffering from a hamstring strain deep into extra time.
The murderous look on the face of Torres when he reached the bench suggested at the time he wasn't injured at all.
And yesterday's lively performance confirmed the suspicion that Benitez may well have cost his side European glory with such a bizarre substitution. No matter what sort of performance he produces, the Spaniard always possesses a true goalscorer's menace.
He proved that yesterday with a brilliant finish despite appearing anonymous for much of the match. Had he remained on the pitch at Stamford Bridge then who knows what the outcome of that awesome semi-final would have been.
Liverpool fans had to content themselves yesterday with rejoicing in the sheer brilliance of their front man. He has now scored in eight consecutive league games at Anfield, a mark only previously achieved by Roger Hunt in 1962.
"I knew before the game about the chance to equal Roger Hunt's record and I am very proud to go down in this great club's history," he said.
"It is hard in your first season but it has been made easier by the support I get and by the team-mates around me."
It was a great goal too, as the ball reached Torres after an unfortunate mistake by Michael Ball who hit his clearance against the tireless Dirk Kuyt.
The striker still had the imposing Richard Dunne to contend with but did so with ease as he raced round the outside and smashed a shot past Joe Hart.
It had to be some finish to beat the City goalkeeper who was again outstanding. One save in the first half from Steven Gerrard, when he somehow tipped away a curling shot, was world class. Surely it is time to put this young keeper in the England squad.
Hart was the only real plus from a City performance that rather underlines why the club's owner is looking for a new manager next season.
Liverpool won't be, but their lineup yesterday hinted that Benitez will certainly be searching for replacements in the summer.
Peter Crouch and John Arne Riise weren't even on the bench to suggest that both will be sold at the end of the season.
Xabi Alonso was only a substitute and given the performance of his replacement Lucas and Benitez's now public pursuit of Gareth Barry, he too may not be here for much longer.
Riise's stand-in, young Argentine left-back Emiliano Insua, was also impressive and he may solve a problem position next term.
This was a dull end of season contest but Liverpool created enough chances to have won several games, with Kuyt hitting a post and the equally impressive Ryan Babel twice coming agonisingly close and missing a sitter into the bargain.
City managed only one real attempt on goal when Elano's free-kick hit the outside of the post. For both sides then, much to ponder in the summer, but even after his midweek blunder it is Benitez and not Sven Goran Eriksson who will be the happier.

TORRES 32nd Goals (23 in Premier League in 1st Season)




We are not winning any trophy this season. our consolition is the emergence of a genuinely powerful and dangerous striker in Fernando Torres. I supposed... in the upcoming Euro, the only team I want to watch is Spain. There will be Torres, Alonso, Arbeloa and Reina (2nd keeper) and perhaps the Liverpool alumni such as Luis Garcia, Fernando Morientes... it would be like watching a virtual LFC team without English flavour. hahaha... I'm yet to say farewell to the season as there is one crunch game left in the calendar next week against Tottenham Hotspurs. They almost beat us by a margin of 2 goals before we managed to equalise. Next week should be a good time to put things straight. Berbatov should join Liverpool! hehehe


LFC 1 - Man.City 0

oh well... Gerrard was replaced at 76th minutes... as if he is researved for the next big game... why can't Rafa let him play til the end... may be Rafa wanted others to have some game. Luckily Man. City failed to take any opportunity from Gerrard's absence. We have an able midfielder in Masherano and Alonso to thwart Man. City attacks. but the game is lacking its urgency. everybody seems to play in a rather normal mode. Boring!

04 May 2008

Anfield’s six shooters put Liverpool's critics in firing line

by Tony Barrett, Liverpool Echo


HAVING derided them as a one-man team for much of the past decade, Liverpool's detractors have now got them down as little more than a Steven Gerrard-Fernando Torres double act.
Such has been the deadly duo's wondrous form this season it is easy to paint a picture of a team which owes its every victory to them.
But should Liverpool's critics be interested in allowing the facts to get in the way of a good story a glance at the goalscoring charts would be enough to disabuse them of this misleading notion.
For the first time since the double winning season of 1985/86, no fewer than six Liverpool players have hit double figures in all competitions – a figure which no other club in the country can boast.
Ryan Babel's late strike against Chelsea in midweek meant he joined Dirk Kuyt, Peter Crouch, Yossi Benayoun, Gerrard and Torres as one of Liverpool's six shooters.
Chelsea themselves can boast four players on 10 or more goals, with Manchester United, Everton and Arsenal having three each.
On top of that, with just two league games to go, Liverpool are English football's leading goalscorers, having struck 116 times at home and abroad.
Arsenal, whose legion of media friends would have the world believe are the greatest entertainers since entertainment was first invented, are next best, having scored five fewer goals.
For Rafa Benitez, such weighty statistical evidence backs up his often ignored opinion that the quality of his Liverpool squad is improving all the time.
"These statistics show that we are going in the right direction," he said.
"We have scored more goals than anyone else, kept more clean sheets than anyone else and we have six players who have scored ten or more goals.
"We are disappointed that we have not managed to win a trophy this season because that is what we always set out to do, but achievements like these are very positive."
The ongoing quest for improvement will continue tomorrow when Manchester City visit Anfield in what is a relatively meaningless fixture as far as the Premiership table is concerned.
But with precious little at stake the meeting with Sven Goran Eriksson' struggling side is likely to allow Benitez to give a couple of promising youngsters from Gary Ablett's reserve side their Anfield debuts as the Reds boss plans for next season.
Left back Emiliano Insua and midfielder Damien Plessis will both come into the reckoning for a place in the Liverpool starting line-up, having impressed away at Birmingham last week.
Plessis, in particular, is hugely excited at the prospect of making his bow in front of the Kop.
"It would be a dream come true to get a chance to play in front of the Kop in a kind of mythical, famous stadium known all over the world," he said.
"Since I first saw the stadium when I signed for the club, I've always had a desire to play in front of that crowd. It's something I'm preparing for.
"I'm hoping I get the chance. It would be great to play against City or the final match of the season away to Tottenham. But I've got to wait and see."
Having come off injured during Liverpool's Champions League exit at the hands of Chelsea in midweek, Fernando Torres and Martin Skrtel both returned to training at Melwood yesterday and are back in contention.
The Spaniard has told his players that he wants them to keep their focus until the end of the season, a message his Swedish counterpart at Eastlands has also delivered to his own squad.
Like just about everyone else in football, Eriksson has no idea what side Benitez will pick tomorrow, but the boyhood Liverpool fan is still expecting a tough test at Anfield.
"Having not reached the final maybe they will think the season's over because they are sure to finish in fourth.
"But, knowing Liverpool, they will be up for a fight against us whatever players they pick."
Having seen his own position as manager put under pressure by foreign owners earlier this season, Benitez has sympathy for Eriksson, who is believed to be on the verge of being sacked by controversial City owner Thaksin Shinawatra.
He said: "It's difficult because you don't know what is going on there, but what I can say is they were having a good season.
"They lost a couple of games which was disappointing for them because it meant they could not get into a European position but they were doing a fantastic job as far as I am concerned.
"Stability is the key to being successful and not just for one year, for many years in a row."
The chances of long term stability returning to Anfield in the near future appear slim.
But that hasn't stopped progress from being made in the last season, as Benitez's six shooters show.

03 May 2008

Rafa backs his record

The Sun
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RAFA BENITEZ looked back on the worst season of his four-year Liverpool reign — and insisted it has not been a failure.
The Reds will end this term empty-handed following their Champions League semi-final defeat at Chelsea on Wednesday.
They are also certain to finish fourth in the Premier League meaning their last two matches against Manchester City and Tottenham are dead games.
Boss Benitez said: “You always want to win silverware and we have not had a fantastic season.
"But clearly it has not been a bad one.
“If you analyse the season properly, to be in the top four in England and the top four in Europe is a massive achievement.
“To win the title here is more difficult than anywhere else because Chelsea and United are Europe’s two best teams.
“A lot of managers will have had more disappointing seasons than us.
“It could have been better for us but it has not been a really bad season.”
Liverpool are 11 points off leaders United and Benitez already knows where they can improve next season.
He added: “We need to beat the top sides.”
Benitez has sympathy for under-fire City boss Sven Goran Eriksson.
He said: “Sven has done a very good job and for winning trophies and creating a strong team you need time.”

Liverpool's European exit may force DIC move

Oliver Kay

The most turbulent season in Liverpool’s recent history is approaching a distinctly low-key conclusion, on the pitch at least, but the battle in the boardroom will continue to rage over the summer, with George Gillett Jr determined to defy Tom Hicks, his estranged co-chairman, and force through the sale of his 50 per cent stake in the club to Dubai International Capital (DIC), the Arab investment group.
DIC remains supremely confident that it will take possession of Gillett’s shares in the club in the coming weeks, but Hicks maintains that he will continue to exercise the power of veto he has — a claim that is disputed by Gillett and DIC — to prevent any such sale.
Hicks’s proposed veto is on the basis that he is still trying to find the funds or the backing that he would need to buy Liverpool outright. Hicks is under pressure to prove that he has the funds to take the club forward on his own, but sources in Texas have indicated that he is drawing up a business plan that would raise the £300 million needed for the construction of the club’s proposed new 71,000-capacity stadium in Stanley Park, which is due to open in 2011.
The end of Liverpool’s Champions League campaign, after their defeat by Chelsea in the second leg of their semi-final on Wednesday, was expected to accelerate the process, with DIC having kept its distance over the past four weeks, but now it must weigh up its next move, whether to wait or whether to exert more pressure on the owners to reach a solution. For now Rafael Benítez, the Liverpool manager, appears to be working on the assumption that Hicks will be calling the shots at Anfield for the foreseeable future.
Benítez suggested after his team’s defeat at Stamford Bridge that “just one signing could make a massive difference” to Liverpool, but once again a significant turnover of players is expected. He already has agreed a deal to sign Philipp Degen, the Switzerland right back, on a free transfer from Borussia Dortmund and has made moves to sign Fernando Amorebieta, the 23-year-old central defender, from Athletic Bilbao. Those would be relatively minor deals, but Benítez will pursue more ambitious targets, including Gareth Barry, the Aston Villa and England midfield player, and at least one winger and striker as well as the usual smattering of talented teenagers.
On the way out of the club are Harry Kewell, whose contract expires on June 30, and, if the right offer comes in, Scott Carson, John Arne Riise, Jermaine Pennant and Peter Crouch. Even Xabi Alonso, a player who has been one of the cornerstones of the Benítez regime, is likely to be sold if any of his previous suitors, such as Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid or Barcelona, meet his £15 million valuation, particularly if Barry arrives as his replacement in midfield.
Steven Gerrard, the captain, believes that reinforcements are needed if Liverpool are to challenge for the Barclays Premier League title next term, but, having been unhappy with the team’s progress earlier in the season, he been reassured by their performances in recent months.
“There is no point looking back or thinking what might have been,” the England player said. “We have to look forward because we have to go into next season looking to improve again. Hopefully, we will go into next season with a stronger squad because that could make a big difference. If we can bottle this disappointment, it could be a big motivation for us.”

Dirty business - This new Liverpool shows no respect, fumes O'Neill after £10m Barry bid

By NEIL MOXLEY

Martin O'Neill has launched a withering attack on Liverpool and accused them of deliberately unsettling Gareth Barry after receiving a "disrespectful" offer for his England midfielder.
The Aston Villa boss was fuming after receiving a faxed bid for Barry from the office of chief executive Rick Parry on Thursday afternoon and has hit back at the Merseysiders, insisting that Villa are not a feeder club.
In a barbed response, O'Neill questioned the prevailing ethics at Anfield, suggesting that the Liverpool of old would never have operated in a manner that was tantamount to a public tapping-up of 27-year-old Barry.
O'Neill was incensed that less than 24 hours after he received a letter from one of Parry's colleagues, a story was leaked in Liverpool suggesting that Rafael Benitez had made a £10million offer.
"To say I'm disappointed would be a massive understatement," he said. "I had a fax on Thursday afternoon. It was signed as a pp on behalf of the chief executive. I've not had time yet to answer it formally.
"There was no £10m cash offer. It was an offer of cash plus a mishmash of nameless players. I've disregarded it. However, there is the possibility of me faxing back and saying I'd consider a cash deal for Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard — although it might be the case that they don't want to leave Liverpool.
"You know, Aston Villa Football Club has ambitions. For us to break into the Champions League demands very good players.
"And letting our very best players go is not what we want to do. We don't want to be a feeder club. We don't want to let people go. Gareth Barry is one of our very, very best players.
"I've spoken to (Villa owner) Randy Lerner about it. He's disappointed. Actually, to say that he was disappointed would be an understatement, too.
"This is a deliberately unsettling tactic. Is it disrespectful? Absolutely, it's been very disruptive.
"I wanted to talk about our drive and determination tomorrow to win a game of football against Wigan Athletic. And instead I'm talking about this.
"I want to build a team. I watched Liverpool at Chelsea on Wednesday night. I have sampled some great Champions League nights with Celtic.
"That's where you want to be. Anyone worth their salt wants to be involved in that. And we have a better chance of achieving it with the likes of Gareth in the team.
"I shall be speaking to Liverpool about it. I'm disappointed in them. When I was younger they were the one club where you never got a thing out of them until it was done.
"It's not the way you want to be conducting business. It is not the way the Liverpool of old used to do business."
Liverpool boss Benitez refused to be drawn on his bid for Barry but admitted he was under greater pressure than ever to deliver players who could help mount a serious title challenge after years of under-achieving in the Barclays Premier League.
"I will not talk about a specific target," he said, after offering a choice of Jermaine Pennant, John Arne Riise and Scott Carson plus cash for Barry.
"There are so many names linked with Liverpool in the papers that it is best if I keep quiet. Otherwise people will start asking about my players and what will happen to them, just when I want them to be focused on our two remaining games.
"But when you look at all the money Manchester United and Chelsea have spent, and will continue to spend, it is clear our transfer dealings this summer will have to be virtually perfect, if we are to close the gap even more next season."
O'Neill allowed Barry to go public about his intentions two weeks ago before the derby against Birmingham.
The England international was already the subject of speculation that Benitez was primed to make a bid.
But he insisted he wanted to hear O'Neill's plans before deciding whether to take up his boss on the offer of a new contract.
He has two years left to run on his existing deal and can expect to nearly double his £2.1m-a-year salary if contract talks with Villa are successful.
O'Neill added: "We have two really important games left. And I thought Gareth had made it clear he was waiting until the end of the season.
"Come that time, I shall be sitting down with him. I would want him to stay. I've known him for two years and he doesn't strike me as the kind of man who would be breaking his contract.
"So, we have much to discuss. But I think it's maybe time to say that the chairman and I share the same ambitions.
"I know the fans do. First, we want European football. We are two games away. We have a great possibility of finishing in the top six. That would, to me, represent terrific progress.
"Then we will be in position to compete for the very best players. This is the whole idea. And Gareth Barry is one of them."
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utusanLFC :
hey if LFC didn't do this kind of a bold step... we might lost out Barry to other teams. who care's what you thing O'nile

Let's move on from this defeat







if only the beautiful goal shot by Babel came a bit earlier...



well... this is football. Someone losses, someone advances. This time, it's not gonna be ours. It's okay. The fact that the players fought valliantly is something we could hold on to. After all, who can beat a team valued at 700 million pounds of Chelsea? Perhaps Man.U.

errr... I'm not gonna ponder too long about it. I had enough. Lets enjoy tomorrow nights game against Man. City.

EVA MENDEZ IS A KOP?

EVA MENDEZ IS A KOP?

The GOLDEN Team of Kenny Daglish

The GOLDEN Team of Kenny Daglish
If we have them now, say farewell to Arsenal, Man.U and Chelsea... if...