Friday, July 25, 2008

Alan Hansen: Liverpool Must Look To Their Wings To Have A Prayer

Liverpool legend Alan Hansen has warned Rafael Benitez that signing wide players is more important than bringing Gareth Barry or Robbie Keane to Anfield.

Benitez has made no secret of his attempts to sign midfielder Barry and striker Keane - but neither would add much of the width Hansen feels Liverpool need if they are to challenge Manchester United or Chelsea for the Barclays Premier League title.

Hansen, speaking at the launch of The New Football Pools, said: "They are getting closer but still need three or four players. Gareth Barry would be a great acquisition but really they need wide players, a couple of full-backs and wingers.

"The movement of United’s frontline is phenomenal and they look like they can score goals from anywhere.

"Liverpool rely too heavily on the goals of Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard. Take them out of the equation and I don’t see too many goals coming from any other areas.

"If they go with the squad they already have, their 11 best players can compete. It’s when you go deeper. Modern-day Premier League football is not about one team, it’s about two. United and Chelsea can replace quality with quality but Liverpool can’t.

"We won the championship in the 70s and 80s sometimes with great teams, sometimes with average teams. You can no longer do it with an average team, you have to be great to win the championship."

Hansen believes United and Chelsea will be the Premier League’s top two next season, although he feels Cristiano Ronaldo could decide where the title goes depending on whether he stays at Old Trafford or not.

He added: "If Frank Lampard went from Chelsea they would get by. If Ronaldo went from United it might make the difference between winning the championship or not."

However, Hansen also insists Lampard would be irreplaceable if he were to leave Chelsea for Inter Milan.

"If he does go the money is irrelevant because Chelsea will be looking at the wider picture of how they are going to be successful," he said. "They have a much better chance of being successful with Lampard in there.

"He’s a great player, playing all the time and he’s English so he has that heart and team spirit that can set teams and players apart.

"How do you replace him and with whom? They would be struggling because they wouldn’t be able to get Gerrard."

Hansen believes Sir Alex Ferguson was testing Luiz Felipe Scolari’s reaction with his comments regarding the age of the new Chelsea manager’s squad.

He added: "You’ll never win anything with kids, now you’ll never win anything with the older generation, according to Sir Alex. It’s just mind games, he’s the master of mind games and he always has been.

"He’s probably just testing Scolari out. Chelsea will be his biggest rivals, there’s no doubt about that, and he’s just trying to get set for the start of the season."

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