Monday, October 22, 2007

Reds Linked With Kjaer Swoop

Liverpool are reported to have joined the race to sign highly-rated Danish teenager Simon Kjaer.

The 18-year-old defender, currently with FC Midtyjlland, has been linked with Middlesbrough and a number of clubs across Europe.

Reds boss Rafael Benitez is now believed to have sent his scouts to Denmark and is said to have been impressed by their reports.

Kjaer's agent, former Middlesbrough striker Mikkel Beck, insists that the Denmark Under-19 international has the talent to be rated alongside some of the game's greats.

Beck told The Sunday Sun: "You realise how special this kid is when Liverpool watch him and tell you he's good enough to play in their first team.

"Messi, Rooney, Dos Santos - he is special like them.

"Lille and Monaco were the first to show an interest, then Real made a much better offer and it was turned down. He is worth a lot more."

Gerrard 'Hurt' To Be Subbed

Steven Gerrard was 'hurt and disappointed' to be substituted in the Merseyside derby on Saturday.

Gerrard was taken off with 20 minutes to go of Liverpool's 2-1 win at Goodison Park, and was clearly baffled at Rafa Benitez's decision.

However, Benitez explained that he took Gerrard off because he wanted more control in midfield: "In this game, sometimes you need to play with the brain and we were playing with heart. We needed to keep the ball and pass the ball."

Gerrard told The Liverpool Echo: "I'm a local lad so the derby is really important to me and I would have liked nothing better than to play the full game and to be on the pitch when we got the winner.

"But as it turned out I was taken off and Lucas Leiva who replaced me played a crucial role in us getting the winning goal.

"I was hurt and disappointed at being taken off because, like I said, I'm a local lad and the derby means everything to me."

The Liverpool skipper went on to say that he will ask Benitez to explain his decision, but isn't getting too worked up about it:

"I'll be speaking to the manager about it just to find out why I was substituted, but I won't be banging on his door or anything like that.

"We'll just have a chat and whatever is said will remain between us. But I've been in the game long enough to know that no-one is going to play every minute of every game and there will be times when I'm taken off like everyone else."

Gerrard went on to admit that he has been in poor form in recent weeks, but promised to work his way back with the help of the club's fans:

"I know I haven't been at my best lately but I'm doing everything I can to get back there and having that kind of backing really does make a difference.

"I'm working back towards my best and knowing the fans are behind me will definitely help me get there much quicker."