Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Arbeloa: I Look Up To Finnan

Liverpool full-back Alvaro Arbeloa says he considers fellow defender Steve Finnan a friend and role model rather than a right-back rival.

Alvaro Arbeloa moved to Liverpool from Spanish side Deportivo in January last year.

Speaking 12 months into his Anfield career, the defender highlighted just how much he's learned from fellow Reds full-back Steve Finnan.

The Spaniard has become a regular fixture in Liverpool's starting XI, largely because of his versatility.

But while he's happy to fill in at left-back or centre-back for Rafa Benítez' side, he stressed that the right side of defence will always be his preferred option.

Nonetheless, when you're competing against an experienced professional like Steve Finnan you have to take games as and when you can.

"Finnan is unbelievable," the 24-year-old Arbeloa told LFC Magazine. "He never plays badly. He is a good player who always plays really well. He is a great example for someone like me. I am learning a lot about the game from him.

"Not only is he a fantastic player but I also count him as a good mate," Arbeloa continued. "It is a challenge for me to play on the right side of the defence because Finn is such a good player. Just watching and working with him in training every day can only improve my game in the long run.

"Finn still has some good years left in him," added the Spaniard. "At 24-years-old it is a good opportunity for me to be able to learn from someone like him and who knows what will happen in the future? It would be great if I can stay here for another eight years or so, though.

"It would be nice to have my own position one day," commented Arbeloa when asked if he could make the right-back spot his own. "But if you can play in three or four positions it is better for the team, the boss and for me. Sometimes players get injured or the boss has another idea for a certain game. I can play on the right or the left, but the most important thing is that I play well when or whenever I am in the team."

Liverpool Poised For New Cash Injection

A millionaire Liverpool fan looks set to help the club out of its current cash crisis.

Northern Irishman John Miskelly, a lifelong Liverpool fan, is reported to have held talks concerning a fresh cash injection into the Anfield side.

Miskelly has amassed a vast fortune from his dealings in property and even launched a £250m takeover for Liverpool last year, only to be beaten to the prize by American duo Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

However, neither of the Reds owners have yet succeeded in putting together a £300m refinancing package on the original loan used to buy the club.

The current global credit crunch and the spiralling interest repayments have put plans for a new luxury stadium at Stanley Park very much on hold.

With banks refusing to bail out the American pair, they have turned to alternative sources of investment, which The Mirror claims is Miskelly. It is not yet known exactly what or how much money any deal with the Ulsterman would involve.

Sissoko: Juve Transfer Close To Completion

Juventus are close to completing the signing of Liverpool midfielder Momo Sissoko, the player himself has admitted.

It has been no secret that the main objective of the Bianconeri’s January transfer campaign has been to find a new centre-midfielder.

This led to links with a host of top names, including Rafael Van der Vaart, Diego and Javier Mascherano.

However it now seems virtually certain that it will be Mascherano’s Liverpool team-mate Momo Sissoko who will be moving to the Stadio Olimpico in Turin.

“The negotiations with Juve are close to conclusion,” Sissoko told RMC.

“I am waiting for news in the coming days and while nothing has been signed yet, I can confirm that there are advanced negotiations between the Bianconeri and my agents.

“Certainly I would be excited to go to Turin. It is a prestigious club, it would be a new challenge and I could demonstrate my quality.”

The cost of the transfer is believed to be around €15m, which will leave Juve €5m remaining of their €20m January transfer budget.

Benítez Begs For More Time As Owners Discuss The Future

Rafael Benítez has made an impassioned plea to Liverpool's American owners to allow him to continue as manager, despite their reservations about the team's progress. George Gillett and Tom Hicks were having talks last night with the chief executive Rick Parry amid growing speculation that Benítez does not figure in their plans beyond the end of the season, but the man who brought the European Cup back to Anfield insists he wants to stay.

"I don't know how many times I have to say this before certain people believe me," said an exasperated Benítez. "But I will say it again because it is really important that everyone understands this - I love the club, I love the fans, I love the city and I am very, very happy here. I do not see my future at Real Madrid or Inter Milan or anywhere else. I see my future at Liverpool and this is where I want to stay."

Benítez could hardly have been more unequivocal as he waited to hear the outcome of Parry's discussions with Gillett and Hicks in the United States. The official line from Anfield was that Benítez's future was not on the agenda, but the Spaniard is entitled to be worried given his precarious relationship with the Americans and reports that Jürgen Klinsmann is to be sounded out about replacing him.

It has not helped Benítez that an off-the-record conversation with a number of Sunday newspaper journalists led to reports at the weekend that he feared he could be sacked. "I was shocked when I was told about the stories in the Sunday papers," he said. "To see my name linked with other clubs in such a manner really disappoints me. And the fact that the newspapers said that the stories had come from 'a source close to me' is what disappoints me most.

"All I can say is, no such quotes came from me and I know my friends well enough to know that they did not come from them. So I can only assume that the conversation I had with the journalists from the Sunday newspapers meant something different to them than me."

Benítez has completed the £6.5m signing of the centre-back Martin Skrtel from Zenit St Petersburg and turned down an inquiry from Fulham for Sami Hyypia, "The squad is the best it has been since I first came here and we have many young players who are going to get only better," he said, "so I have no wish to be at any other club. I want to be here this summer and many other summers after that."

Aurelio Hit By Injury Blow

Liverpool fullback Fabio Aurelio has been hit with another injury setback just when he was coming into a purple patch of form for the Reds.

Aurelio has shown some of the best form of his short Liverpool career in recent games but, much like last season, injury has struck to break his rhythm.

The Brazilian was ruled out of the weekend's FA Cup draw with Luton and has admitted he will not be available for the next league match away to Middlesbrough.

"It's a pity I've had to stop again because I was feeling good," he told the club's website.

"It's normal after a long injury to pick up little problems when you come back but hopefully I will only miss the one league game and be back for the Aston Villa match next week.

"I've spent a lot of time out and it's very difficult to explain how frustrating it has been. My wife probably knows better than me because she has seen what I've been like.

"I've not been capable of training or doing my job. It's been a difficult time but you just have to keep working. It's a dream for me to play without problems."

Although Aurelio will be missing for the trip to Teeside, he has acknowledged that three points are vital if the Reds are to keep their title chances alive.

"I think we've been frustrated with the last couple of league games because we were better than Man City and we should have beaten Wigan," he added.

"If we want to fight for the title then we have to be winning games."