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Monday, February 09, 2009

Liverpool's Stars Were Too Tired To Start At Portsmouth And Torres Uprise

Fernando Torres Sees Liverpool Positives

With the upcoming Champions League game against Real Madrid, Torres tries to take the positives from Liverpool's recent form...

Fernando Torres Sees Liverpool Positives
Liverpool striker Fernando Torres has signalled his intent for the upcoming game against Real Madrid by stating that the Reds play better football against the bigger teams.

The Spanish striker moved from Madrid rivals Atletico Madrid to Liverpool two years ago and would love nothing more than to get one over on his old enemy.

The 24-year-old striker never beat Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu and he has stated that he hoped Liverpool can produce something special for the Reds' fans.

Speaking to Spanish daily sports AS, Torres said, "We began very well and at the moment we're going through a period which isn't the best. But we're not bad, maybe it's just that we're stifled by lesser teams who are happy with a draw.

"We are better against the big teams and we have to show that against Real Madrid.

"We're getting back players that have been absent with injury like me.

"It all depends on how you look at things.

"You can be pessimistic and think that we have been knocked out of the Cup and that it was tough for us to win, or you can think positively, which is what I do, and see that we are fighting for the league, that we're in the last 16 of the Champions League, that on the whole we are better than previous years.

"That's what I think."

The match with Madrid pits two of the most successful teams in the competition against each other, and Torres is certain that it is the biggest tie of the round.

"It is the most attractive tie of the Champions League. One of the teams with the best history in Europe against one with the greatest in England and only one can remain in the competition.

"For me it's not just another game and that's not just for my Atletico past: it is an extra motivation for anyone to face Madrid in Europe.

"I have never won in the Bernabeu and with all the respect that I deserve and they have for us, I really want go and look like equals against Real.

"There is no favourite, apart from maybe each team at home. That the second leg is at our place might be an advantage...but that doesn't always prove true.

"I am well aware that they will be very dangerous in the Champions League. They always have been.

"But in cup games, and the other day is the exception that proves the rule, we are like a fish in water.

"The league is harder because there are clubs who have more money and you can tell that."

Liverpool may be without influential skipper Steven Gerrard for the tie and manager Rafael Benitez will be hoping he can recover from a hamstring injury in time.

Fernando Torres: I Played Too Many Games Last Season

Fernando Torres is counting the count of a successful first season in English football.

Fernando Torres: I Played Too Many Games Last Season
Liverpool striker Fernando Torres has put his recent injury problems down to playing too many games last season.

The Spaniard was an instant hit in his first season at Anfield, scoring 24 Premier League goals after signing from Atletico Madrid.

This season, however, the striker has struggled with a series of injuries and has only recently returned to action.

According to, Torres has revealed his belief that the demands of English football could be to blame for his injury problems.

“I hadn’t played a season like that before and maybe it is one reason I’ve had problems,” he said.

“I’d never played the amount of games I played last season.

“When I was at Atletico Madrid I would only play La Liga and cup matches. I would play maybe 20 games a season less than I played here.”

Torres’ season was also extended, due to the European Championships in Austria and Switzerland where the Liverpool striker helped Spain to victory, and he admitted he was now counting the cost of his exploits.

“As well as getting used to The Premier League we went all the way to the Champions League semi-final," he explained.

"On the back of that, I played at the Euros too and Spain went all the way to the final.

“It was fantastic for me with no major problems but this season has been harder simply because of my injuries.

"Starting my second season this way is disappointing – it’s frustrating when you can’t help your team.”

The striker appears to be back to form and fitness having scored three goals in his last two club appearances but he freely admits he still feels tired.

“I’ve been a little bit tired because I haven’t played full games for some time,” said the striker.

“But with so many games at weekends and in midweek, I’ll only be better with each game and be back to 100 percent soon.

"My only target now is to play as many games as I can and score goals.”

Liverpool's Stars Were Too Tired To Start At Portsmouth - Rafa Benitez

Red Rafa has further defended his decision to rest a host of key players in last night's thriller at Fratton Park...

Liverpool's Stars Were Too Tired To Start At Portsmouth - Rafa Benitez
The pundits, the punters and quite probably the players themselves were utterly befuddled upon reading the Liverpool team-sheet for their clash with Portsmouth.

As if it wasn't strange enough that Rafael Benitez used what looked like a 3-6-1 formation, he also opted leave Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso, Albert Riera and Dirk Kuyt out of the starting XI.

That, combined with Steven Gerrard's absence through injury and the recent sale of Robbie Keane, left Reds fans fuming as their side twice conceded the lead to relegation-threatened Pompey.

It was the introduction of goalscorers Kuyt and Torres that sparked the Merseysiders' late comeback, but Benitez has stood by his decision to rest his key men after the draining FA Cup tie against Everton in midweek.

"Torres, Kuyt and Alonso were really tired," he said on Liverpool's official website. "We had to play extra-time with ten men in a Cup replay, and then come here two days later. They were so tired. I talked with the medical and technical staff and made the decision.

"It is not a gamble when you know they are tired. If you ask the players, all of them will say they are fit, but you have to decide based on all the information."

Despite scraping to a 3-2 win in Hampshire thanks to Torres' extra-time header, Liverpool were the better side for much of the game, particularly in the opening half-hour.

Benitez continued, "From the first minute we were playing really well, passing the ball and controlling the game.

"It was really disappointing to make a mistake to concede the goal, and after that another mistake. But we deserved to win because we worked hard and played well."

Mike Maguire,

Liverpool owner accuse Benitez
More board room rant after attack on Sir Alex


Daily Star on Sunday reports that Liverpool owner George Gillett claims Rafael Benitez's rant against Sir Alex Ferguson is to blame for Liverpool's Premier League blunt.

Benitez managed to grab all three points yesterday, but things never looked certain and the manager might have to take critisism for the way he compose his team.

With Gerrard out, you would expect that the rest of the stars would play, but players such as Alonso and Torres were put on the bench.

Liverpool fans are not shure about their team and there are a lot of unsettlement around a team that should really be flying and on top of the world. They are just two points behind in the race for the Premier League title and still competing in the Champions League.

The fact that not one single player moved to Liverpool during the January transfer window shows lack of financial backing. Fans of other clubs believe that Liverpool are strong, their own fans has not been able to say that they feel they can win the Premier League this year.

Benitez and his players could show the strength and there is always important to stay behind those you've got instead of talking of players that are not there today.

Rumours are that Liverpool could be sold if anyone comes up with a bit in the region of £180 million, that is probably what it takes to get the ownership of the club.

I’ll Give Away My Medal If Liverpool Win Premier League - Robbie Keane

Despite being in a relegation battle at Tottenham, Robbie Keane could end the season with a Premier League winners' medal.

I’ll Give Away My Medal If Liverpool Win Premier League - Robbie Keane
Robbie Keane has admitted that, should Liverpool win the Premier League this season, he would give away his medal.

The striker, who rejoined Tottenham Hotspur this week after a miserable six months at Anfield, will be eligible for a league winners’ medal should they claim the title this season.

However, the Republic of Ireland international has insisted that he was not interested in picking up a medal, having failed to establish himself during an ill-fated spell on Merseyside.

“Winning the Premier League would mean nothing at all to me now,” he told The Sun. “My brother is a Liverpool fan, so I’d probably give it to him. The way I look at it is that a medal means something when you are a part of the squad and involved in winning a trophy.”

Keane also insisted that he next month’s League Cup final against Manchester United means more to him, even though he is cup-tied for the final after appearing for three minutes as a substitute against Crewe Alexandra in the third round.

The Tottenham striker added, “Next month’s Carling Cup final means more to me because I’m a Tottenham player now, even though I can’t play.”

The former Liverpool man is set to make his second Spurs debut against Arsenal tomorrow in the north London derby.

Yet, he also revealed he still has no idea why Rafael Benitez had seen fit to drop him in recent weeks, and also why the Spaniard had decided to sell him, only six months after signing him.

“He never explained to me why he left me out of the team and he never told me he was selling me,” said Keane. “I did everything in my power to make things work but sometimes a manager just doesn’t fancy you as a player, simple as that.”

Gill Clark,

Peter Crouch To Robbie Keane: Rafa Benitez Killed My Liverpool Career As Well

The anti-Rafa brigade is now officially fronted by a big-man-small-man combo...

Peter Crouch To Robbie Keane: Rafa Benitez Killed My Liverpool Career As Well
Peter Crouch and Robbie Keane may not look like brothers, but they are twins in their contempt for Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez.

Keane's short-lived Liverpool career came to an unceremonious end this week after Benitez sent him back to Tottenham with his bags in tow, and now Crouch has let 'Robbie' know that he feels his pain.

"There are a few similarities between what has happened with Robbie and my own situation. I feel sorry for him," Crouch told The Sun.

“We all know what a great player Robbie is but he didn’t get a fair crack of the whip at Liverpool.

“But that is the way Rafa operates and it can be very frustrating because, when I was there, he never really explained why I was not playing.

“There were times when I thought he didn’t fancy me but then he’d start me for two or three games on the spin.

“It got to the stage where I gave up second guessing which games I would be playing and which ones I wouldn’t," he added.

“The biggest letdown for me was the Champions League final against AC Milan, when Rafa went with one up front and played Dirk Kuyt, as I was desperate to show what I could do on the big stage.

“The Liverpool fans won’t care about what Rafa is like as long as they keep winning and you cannot argue with his record but, at the same time, it can be very frustrating.

Crouch will be desperate to show Benitez what he is missing out on when he takes on his ex team at Fratton Park this weekend. though he insists that he does not have an axe to grind.

“When I left to rejoin Portsmouth Rafa told me he rated me and wished me all the best so I do not feel I have a point to prove.

“But, at the same time, there is always an extra incentive when you are playing against your former club so I would love to score.”

Derek Wanner,

Ryan Babel: I can become new Liverpool hero now Robbie Keane has gone

Ryan babel (Getty)

Ryan Babel believes the departure of Robbie Keane can finally make him a striking star with Liverpool.

Holland international Babel said: "I've had a really good talk with manager Rafa Benitez. I told him I am really happy at Liverpool.

"This is the place where I want to become a top-class player. Robbie has gone to Tottenham and that increases my chances so much more.

"I'm ready for more playing time. Meeting the manager, and having a talk about the future, was really important."

Babel joined Liverpool from Ajax in an £11million deal in the summer of 2007 but has been a fringe player since.

There have been increasing calls around Anfield for the Dutchman to take some of the pressure off Fernando Torres's shoulders.

Babel - who missed a sitter at Portsmouth last night - added: "I understand Liverpool is a massive club. When you play here, you know you are going to face so many matches every season.

"We play in all competitions and not a single player can play all of those matches.

Agger: The Ball Is In Liverpool's Court

The Reds' Danish defender remains clueless over his contract situation, and has admitted he could move on...

Agger: The Ball Is In Liverpool's Court

Daniel Agger's long-term future at Liverpool has been under a cloud for quite some time.

Firstly, the emergence of Martin Skrtel has brought immense competition in central defence, combined with the apparent indestructibility of veteran stoppers Jamie Carragher and Sami Hyypia.

But the main source of the 24-year-old's unrest at Anfield is the confusion surrounding his contract, which expires in the summer of 2010.

Agger entered discussions with the Reds last year, but no progress has been made in nearly three months and a move to AC Milan is looking likelier by the day.

"The ball is in Liverpool's court. I've not heard from them about this since the beginning of November," the Danish star told members of the press last night.

"There is no reason to have high expectations and to be honest, I have no idea if they want to sign a new deal."

Agger isn't the only one upset by this, as manager Rafael Benitez recently expressed his frustration at Liverpool's delay in offering a contract extension to the talented centre-half.

Mike Maguire,