Friday, September 04, 2009

Ex-Liverpool Star John Barnes Says Reds Shouldn't Be Written Off In Title Race

Despite the club's inability to give themselves a strong launching pad at the start of the season, Liverpool legend John Barnes has pointed to Manchester United's early campaign blips in past years as evidence of how Rafael Benitez's Reds needn't be written off so soon.

Liverpool lost to Tottenham Hotspur and also to Aston Villa, but beat Stoke City emphatically, and also showed good character to overturn a losing position against Bolton Wanderers and win 3-2.

"It's ridiculous to write off Liverpool," Barnes informed the club's official website. "Look at the start Manchester United had last season and they went on to win it. Both the Liverpool players and fans should have a belief that they can be competitive and can go all the way.

"They went very close last season, and although that doesn't mean they're going to do it this year, it will give them belief that they can win it - regardless of the start they've had."

Barnes continued, "I think maybe two years ago a start like this would have knocked Liverpool, but they now have real belief. If they stick together, have the right spirit, desire and discipline - as they do - and a togetherness, then they'll be there or thereabouts come the end of the season."

Daniel Ayala Determined To Earn More First-Team Chances With Liverpool

Liverpool starlet Daniel Ayala has spoken of his delight at breaking into the Reds’ first-team squad and is eager to get more playing time as soon as possible.

The 18-year-old Spaniard took full advantage of injuries to Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger and came on as a substitute in the opening game of the season against Tottenham Hotspur before starting at Anfield as Rafael Benitez’s men comfortably beat Stoke City 4-0.

Since then, Skrtel has returned and experienced Greece defender Sotiris Kyrgiakos was drafted in from AEK Athens for around £2 million, which means the former Sevilla youngster’s chances of further action in the short-term could be limited.

However, Ayala says he loved being a part of the first-team so much that he wants to keep up the pressure on his more established team-mates and is targetting another chance in the Carling Cup against Leeds United.

“I need to keep working hard and prove myself,” he told the Liverpool Daily Post.

“If I keep training well and playing well for the reserve team then maybe I might get another chance in the Carling Cup later this month.”

Ayala added, “It was a fantastic experience to play in front of such a big crowd against Tottenham and I was very excited.

“Then he [Benitez] told me on the Tuesday that I was going to start the next night against Stoke. I was more nervous than I was at Tottenham because it was to be my first senior start at Anfield.

“I was excited to be playing in front of the Kop and when we came out the noise was incredible.

“It was a very special experience to play my first full first-team game at Anfield, and to keep a clean sheet made me very proud.

“The manager told me well done at the end of the game, and to keep working hard.”

Liverpool Youngster Dani Pacheco Expresses Desire To Play At Anfield

Liverpool youngster Dani Pacheco has declared that the club's pre-season in Bangkok and Singapore left him wanting to make an appearance at Anfield.

"The best thing has been signing for Liverpool and since then the two pre-seasons I have spent with the first team - especially the one just gone," he told the club's official website.

"Playing with all the star names and going to Singapore and Bangkok with all those fanatical people. I knew it would be good, but I didn't expect there to be so many fans."

The 18-year-old striker hopes that he will break into the first-team and make an appearance at Anfield. He also wishes to play at the Santiago Bernabeu, the home ground of Spanish heavyweights Real Madrid.

"I'd like to play at Anfield in the Premier League or Champions League, but apart from that it's the Bernabeu," he said buoyantly.

"When I was a kid I supported Real Madrid.

"I think it's the best stadium in Spain and maybe one of the best in the world. I lived so far away in Malaga and Barcelona so I never went to games, but I've been a few times now."

Pacheco is one of the rising young stars of the Merseyside club, and has represented Spain in the Under-17 category.

The Jury: Liverpool FC Fans On The Club's Lack Of Activity On Transfer Deadline Day


Should anyone out there still actually be backing our American owners surely the moment the transfer window slammed shut on Tuesday was the final insult and enough to make them lower their star-spangled banner.

The most deceptive statistic of the season so far shows that Liverpool were the second biggest spenders in the league. However, the fact is outgoings have been more than recouped in sales.

Benitez has been forced to bring in a bargain bucket centre-half, whilst teams with far less recent success and income are awarded an open cheque book.

After finishing second we should have been in a position to strengthen and add the final piece to the title winning jigsaw, as it is, any hope of glory hangs around the shoulders of a very thin squad.


Following yet another below-par performance against a Bolton side that will clearly be relegation candidates, there are still a lot of questions to be asked regardless of the fact we managed to pick up maximum points.

It was a win at all costs game for a Liverpool side that at present, look completely out of sorts and the feeling of sheer relief coming away from the Reebok was one that no fan expected to be living so early into the season.

Despite the character shown like so often during Rafa's reign, the reality was that before Bolton were reduced to 10 men we looked anything but a side destined for three points. Reality indicated early, following yet more false promises from the two Americans, that there would always be a lack of activity in the transfer market but this is virtually the same side that towards the back end of last season, looked almost unplayable on occasions and the bar needs to be quickly raised once again.


The break has come at a good time. It’s a chance to look at our start and get ready for what’s ahead.

Our biggest weakness last season has definitely carried over. We are terrible at defending set pieces. When we concede one, why do Pellegrino and his clipboard start gesticulating towards the defence? He needs to have a good look, because the start of this problem coincides with his appointment as defensive coach.

I don’t think the problem is zonal marking. We’d still be suffering if we were going man to man. We are not being strong enough, and our heads have gone. Little Insua is doing well, but he went to bits for Bolton’s opener and Kyrgiakos didn’t know what was going on. We look vulnerable every time.

There are however 15 players in this squad who when fit, can put results together. The whole club must stick together to fight for every single point.


The win against Bolton was far from pretty, however the most important thing was getting the three points. One thing I took out of the game and hope Rafa did was around the winning goal. If we ever needed any further proof that Steven Gerrard should not take a corner, this should be it.

When Gerrard takes a corner we are effectively taking one of our best attacking options out of the game. He is both good in the air and can obviously hit a shot – so please let someone else take it. Talking of corners, why are so many teams (us included) not leaving an attacker on the halfway when defending one? Leave a man up and you effectively defend better, knowing two or three players will hang back to cover. Don’t even start me on not covering the goalposts!

As for zonal or man-marking, regardless of what method, if you don’t attack the ball you will be punished. Right now our goals against column has to improve sharpish.

Liverpool FC Fans React To Ryan Babel's Outburst Against Rafa Benitez

Liverpool’s Ryan Babel has thrown his Anfield future into question by claiming Reds boss Rafa Benitez has broken promises made to the Dutchman about increased first-team involvement.

Babel has not started a match since a poor performance in the opening day defeat at Spurs and his most recent comments indicate his hope for a loan move back to his previous club Ajax in January as well as his belief he has been let down by Benitez, saying "There have been a lot of things promised, but they haven’t been followed up.”

“I would get to play for more minutes and have more chances, but after the first defeat, I only lost my place.”

Sympathy is in short supply for Babel on our forums however with many fans believing he has had more than enough chances to prove his worth at Anfield.

Woody wrote, "Broken Babel" is quite an accurate headline.

"He, Lucas and Voronin are the weak link in our squad and have been for 2 seasons now.

"Until Rafa does what every Red who plays Fantasy Football, Pro Evo or Fifa (xbox/ps3) did in getting them out, our hopes of a title pin only on others making mistakes worse than our own.

Rednumber9 said, "He should have been shipped out in the summer.

"The most infuriating player to wear the red shirt since Harry Kewell!!

"How many chances do these players want to prove themselves!!

Liverpooldiehard wrote, "I'm sorry Ryan you should be ASHAMED OF YOURSELF if these comments are true, you have performed really bad in a Liverpool shirt after your first year at the club, it seems you are letting the rap life get to you instead of trying to be a star at LFC.

"How many times will Rafa give you games only for you to do NOTHING IN THOSE GAMES TO JUSTIFY GIVING YOU A GAME IN THE NEXT MATCH?

Aljeano's view was, "Liverpool should have sold Babel before the window closed.

"He knows he has had the chances and proved nothing.

"He needs a massive inprovement to even get on the bench.

"Liverpool should not be seen to back down to his demands.

"If is not happy why does he not put in a transfer request.

"He is not good enough at this moment to go to the World Cup - get your game sorted and try 100% harder instead of moaning."

Liverpool FC Reserves 3 - 1 Bolton Wanderers Reserves

Liverpool Reserves enjoyed a winning start to life at Prenton Park as Bolton were swept aside in the Barclays Premier Reserve League North.

Gerardo Bruna, Jordy Brouwer and Alex Kacaniklic were on target as the Reds bounced back from their defeat at Blackburn.

They took the lead after 15 minutes when Nikola Saric was tripped on the edge of the box and Bruna stepped up to slam in the free-kick.

Bolton rarely threatened but on the stroke of half-time Reds keeper Peter Gulacsi produced a stunning save to deny Javlon Campbell.

Liverpool doubled their advantage 10 minutes into the second half in bizarre fashion. Brouwer replaced Saric and within seconds of coming on he charged down Bogdan's attempted clearance and it flew in.

Bolton scored on the hour through Adam Blakeman but the Reds responded and Kacaniklic sealed the points with 10 minutes to go.

Liverpool Reserves: Gulacsi, Darby, Irwin, Ayala (Mendy 85), Mavinga, Palsson, Saric (Brouwer 54), Amoo (Kacaniklic 68), Eccleston, Pacheco, Bruna.

Unused subs: Chamberlain, Buchtmann.

Liverpool To Benefit As Tom Hicks Lines Up Buyers

The financial concerns that have dogged English soccer club Liverpool could be a thing of the past if the club's co-owner, Tom Hicks, completes the US$600 million sale of the Texas Rangers, and focuses his interests on the Premier League.

Hicks, who dissolved Hicks Sports Marketing Group earlier this summer, was reportedly forced to depend on US$15 million from Major League Baseball to help pay wages at the franchise in August.

Despite that, he appeared to rethink his decision to sell, announcing, "There is a way [to keep the team], and I'm working on that. So we'll see."

However, sources close to Hicks now insist he will sell. According to Sports Business Journal, the Texas Rangers have received letters from six prospective buyers.

That is good news for Liverpool, where there has been widespread dissatisfaction with Hicks and his co-owner, George Gillett, since their takeover in 2007.

Now, with both men consolidating their interests, it appears that Liverpool will have an increased amount of attention - and financial support - from the two Americans.

"The process is moving forward and we're encouraged by what's happening there," said Bob DuPuy, MLB's president and chief operating officer, to SBJ.