Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mascherano Says He Will Only Play For Liverpool

Javier Mascherano will quit English football if he fails to agree a permanent move to Liverpool, the Argentina midfielder said on Sunday.

"I only want to play for Liverpool," Mascherano told newspapers. "I hope the situation will be sorted in the next month.

"If I cannot play for Liverpool I will not play for another club in England. Not even Chelsea, Arsenal or Manchester United."

Mascherano signed an 18-month loan deal with the Anfield club when he left Premier League rivals West Ham United in January.

Sissoko Rotation Frustration

Mohamed Sissoko has revealed his frustration at Rafa Benitez's rotation policy at Liverpool.

The Mali born midfielder has started just six games this season after some disappointing performances.

He failed to feature again in Liverpool's 2-0 victory over Fulham on Saturday and he admits he finds it difficult to not play a part in the action.

"It can be frustrating," Sissoko told the Daily Star Sunday.

"I played a lot in my first season and then again at the start of last season before I got injured.

"I am more relaxed when I'm in the starting line-up. That's only natural."

Liverpool Fearing Split As Gillett And Hicks Tussle

A tussle between owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks is threatening to derail Liverpool's development plans.

According to the News of the World, the difference in opinion seems to have stemmed from plans for the club's new stadium.

Tom Hicks wants to go for a grander and bigger new stadium at Stanley Park, shelving the existing plan which has already been approved.

That, in turn, will burden the club with a debt in excess of £500m, which is where George Gillett is concerned, having promised fans that the takeover would not mirror that of the Glazers, who heaped a lot of debt on Manchester United to finance their buy-out.

The loan would be secured against the club's assets, and any failure on the pitch could leave the club at the mercy of the banks.

While Gillett - the realist - is concerned, Hicks - thinking big, literally - has gone ahead and started securing money from investors in the US.

Insiders at Liverpool are uncertain over how this will be resolved, and wary that a power struggle could cast a huge shadow over the club's development.

One option is to go ahead with the existing plans for the stadium, which would keep the debt at manageable levels.

However, there is more to the situation. There is also some resentment in the Gillett camp that Hicks has increasingly become the public face, leaving the former in the background, and is becoming autocratic in pulling the strings at Anfield.

A crisis looms at Anfield, unless the two top men can sort it out and present a unified vision.

Benitez Welcomes Torres Omission

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez admits he is grateful striker Fernando Torres has not been called up by Spain for their Euro 2008 qualifiers.

Instead the club's record buy will work on his fitness during the international break.
Torres marked his return to action after a groin injury by scoring in the victory against Fulham at the weekend.

However the striker is not required by Spain for the qualifiers against Sweden and Northern Ireland.

"I'm not surprised he isn't in the squad because he has been injured," Benitez told the club's website.

"I'm pleased with the decision because it means he can stay with us and train and be ready for the next game. After a month without playing it's important he can work with us."

Liverpool’s Benitez & Gerrard Hail Pepe Reina

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez and skipper Steven Gerrard have hailed goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

The 25-year-old, who is an understudy to first-choice Iker Casillas in Spain side, played an important role in the Reds’ first goal that came from Fernando Torres in the hard-fought 2-0 win over Fulham on Saturday.

Benitez said on the club’s official website: "Reina is a goalkeeper with real game intelligence. He can read the game and play the kind of balls he delivered to Torres. He can play these passes to strikers if strikers move for the ball.

"A modern goalkeeper needs to be able to read the game like this. That is the difference.

"You can save 100 balls, but if you don't do something more you will be a good goalkeeper – not a top class goalkeeper."

Gerrard added: "He doesn't just kick it upfield and give us 50-50 balls. He passes it out from the back. He's a quality goalie."