Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Gerrard Asks Fans To Trust Him

With Liverpool's season having gone off the boil and the team seemingly stuck in second gear, captain Steven Gerrard has urged the club's fans to trust him and the rest of the squad.

On Sunday the Reds dropped two more points at Anfield in a 2-2 draw with Tottenham - and it would have been much worse if Fernando Torres had not produced a last-gasp, injury-time equaliser.

The close shave followed an abject performance and disappointing result against Marseille in the Champions League, when the struggling French Lugue 1 side won 1-0 at Anfield.

But Gerrard said: “I ask the fans to trust me when I say there’s no crisis here.

“We’re not performing to the standard we should. We’re going through a dip in form, which all top teams do, and we’ll play our way through it.

“We have fantastic players and a world-class manager.

“We will get things right, there’s no doubt about that.”

Rafa: It's Time To Be Positive

Rafael Benitez has urged Liverpool fans to remain positive in the wake of the Reds' frustrating 2-2 draw with Tottenham.

The Liverpool manager admits confidence has taken a hit following a number of below par displays - but he insists hard work is the only answer to getting the club's season back onto the winning track.

"This isn't a time for being negative, it's a time for being positive," said Benitez.

"We're still unbeaten, qualification for the Champions League depends on us and we're still in the Carling Cup.

"We are in a better position than last year. In the Premier League we have five more points than at this stage last season, we're closer to the top of the table and with one game in hand.

"We just have to get our confidence back because we have lost it at the moment.

"At the start of the season we were playing well, with confidence and scoring goals. Now we just need to keep working hard. It's difficult with so many players away but we have spoken to the ones who are here and tried to analyse what has been going wrong.

"The Tottenham game was a couple of days ago now so I'm still extremely disappointed with the result. We know why we didn't win and that's because we didn't take our chances and then conceded two goals.

"It's difficult with the players being away but we just have to manage. We have no control over what they do for the next couple of weeks. I just hope they don't come back with any injury problems."

Benitez also confirmed Dirk Kuyt will miss Holland's game this weekend with a slight hamstring strain.

Reds Star Suffers Hamstring Injury

Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt has been ruled out of Holland's Euro 2008 qualifying double-header against Romania and Slovenia because of injury.

Kuyt picked up a hamstring injury during Liverpool's 2-2 draw with Tottenham last weekend and he has been forced to withdraw from the Holland squad for this week's games.

Holland boss Marco van Basten has called up PSV Eindhoven striker Danny Koevermans as a replacement for Kuyt.

Holland take on Group G leaders Romania on Saturday before taking on Slovenia on 17th October.

Liverpool will be hoping Kuyt's injury is not too serious and that he will be fit for the Merseyside derby on 20th October when the Premier League resumes after the international break.

Xabi Alonso & Daniel Agger Eyeing Derby Return

Xabi Alonso and Daniel Agger could be poised to hand beleaguered Rafael Benitez a derby boost.

The Liverpool duo are in line to make a swift return from their respective broken metatarsals in time to be considered for the Premier League visit to Everton on Saturday week.

Both Alonso and Agger have been sidelined since scans revealed the injuries following the 1-1 Champions League draw in Porto three weeks ago.

Neither player required an operation to repair the damage and were given an initial estimate of four to six weeks on the sidelines.

Benitez revealed last week that the pair were recovering well and “two to three weeks” away from a return to the first-team squad.

Of the two, Alonso is the more likely to be available for the trip across Stanley Park to face neighbours Everton at Goodison on October 20.

It would be a major tonic for Benitez, who has become increasingly under fire for his team’s underwhelming performances in recent weeks.

Liverpool needed a last-minute goal from Fernando Torres against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday to snatch a 2-2 draw and maintain their unbeaten league run.

But the continued unimpressive form is a concern with Benitez’s side facing a sequence of important games later this month, the Everton game followed by a crucial Champions League trip to Istanbul to play Besiktas and then the visit of leaders Arsenal.

And Steve Finnan believes it is imperative Liverpool now rediscover the verve that rocketed them to the top of the Premier League earlier this season.

“It’s half a dozen games now where we’ve produced poor performances, but we’ve got some big games coming up and we’ve got to get back to the form we were showing earlier in the season,” said Finnan.

“There’s a feeling of overall disappointment because we didn’t play well again and conceding two goals either side of half-time made it difficult for us. But it’s still early days and we’re still unbeaten in the league.

“It’s nice to be unbeaten in the league and the fact that we are still unbeaten and still getting results, even though we’re not playing well – apart from Wednesday night obviously – will help our confidence.”

Finnan joins the Republic of Ireland party today for the forthcoming Euro 2008 qualifiers against Germany and Cyprus, one of many Liverpool players on international duty for the next fortnight.

And the right-back added: “I don’t know whether the international break has come at a good time or not.

“Sometimes it’s good to get away and play a couple of international matches, but we’ll have to wait and see.”