Thursday, May 10, 2007

Liverpool fury over tickets for CL final

Liverpool recently lodged a complaint to UEFA regarding their ticket allocation for the Champions League final but was informed later that the given number of seats will remain the same.

Earlier on, the Premiership club has been awarded 17,000 seats for the clash with AC Milan at the 63,000-capacity Olympic Stadium in Athens on May 23.

As a result, a huge black market for tickets has been emerging with prices in excess of £1,000 being exhibited on some agency websites.

In addition, Liverpool has been receiving continuous criticism from their own fans for their methods of distribution, as most have made early travel arrangements only to be informed they will not qualify for a ticket.

Nevertheless, Liverpool Football Club understands and shares the disappointment of their fans in what is a very uncomfortable condition.

This season, Liverpool has been operating sort of a fancard policy whereby supporters have the opportunity to earn a point for each European game attended this season - or more accurately, ticket bought.

Specifically, those with over seven points qualified while those with less will be entered into a ballot.

Liverpool previously was allocated approximately 20,000 tickets for the final in Istanbul two years ago but it is estimated about 40,000 fans gained access.

Voronin eager to start off with a 'bang'

Upcoming Liverpool player Andriy Voronin is optimistic that he can follow the example of Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo and make an impact in the Premiership next season.

The Ukraine World Cup striker will begin a four-year contract at Anfield in the summer after agreeing a free transfer from German Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen.

The 27-year-old has spent most of his professional career in Germany since moving to Borussia Moenchengladbach from hometown club Chornomorets Odessa as an 18-year-old.

After that, Voronin was transferred to Mainz and Cologne before donning the Leverkusen jersey in 2004, where he has scored 11 goals in 27 starts this season.

In addition, the forward believes his experience in the Bundesliga and the Continental influence to Liverpool’s style of football will help him get used to life in the hustle and bustle of the Premiership.

Meanwhile, young Liverpool defender Danny O’Donnell is poised to leave the club once the transfer market reopens in the summer.

The 21-year-old spent the season on loan at Crewe Alexandra, and Liverpool have given the Coca-Cola League One team permission to speak to the player over a permanent move to Gresty Road.

However, Liverpool appears to have missed out on signing potential hotshot James McCarthy after his agent stated that the 16-year-old midfielder will remain at Hamilton Academical.

Liverpool set for place in the sun

Rafael Benitez will take his Liverpool squad to a Spanish training camp ahead of their Champions League final to get them acclimatised.

Liverpool will fly out on Tuesday afternoon, straight after they have taken part in a media open day at Anfield.

Although full details are not certain yet, they are expected to be in Benitez's homeland for five days, returning the next weekend before they then fly to Athens on the following Monday morning ahead of the May 23 clash with AC Milan.

And it is possible that both Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher will have signed new contracts before the training trip.

There have been more negotiations this week and it seems that only minor details now need to be ironed out.

Benitez said: "I hope it may be done this week, but we are talking and we are sure it will be done soon."

And Benitez brushed aside fears of potential problems from another training camp, following the incidents that occurred when he took his squad to Portugal ahead of the Champions League victory in Barcelona back in February.

Then Craig Bellamy and John Arne Riise were involved in the alleged 'golf club incident' that ended with several players being fined by the club for breaking curfew.

Benitez said: "We still have to finalise the details, but it is likely we will go away for five days to prepare after we play Charlton.

"When we did this before the Barcelona game it had a positive impact, although I know people talked about other things in the end.

"The most positive thing is we can work together in a climate and in conditions which will be more like those we will face in the final."

He added: "I know people will mention that (the Portugal incident) again, but it is not an issue. We are thinking only about doing the right things to prepare the players for the final."

Both goalkeeper Jose Reina and midfielder Mohamed Sissoko are likely to be left out of the final-day clash with relegated Charlton.

Reina has not trained since injuring his shoulder against Fulham last weekend, although a scan has shown there is no serious damage.

But Benitez is unlikely to risk the Spanish international in what is now a meaningless game, although Reina will be fit for the European final.

Jerzy Dudek could be in goal for what will be his final farewell to Anfield before his contract runs out in the summer.

Sissoko has a knee problem from the same game at Craven Cottage and is more of a problem, but he is also expected to recover to be in the squad against Milan.