Saturday, January 09, 2010

Spurs' Harry Redknapp Happy With Liverpool's Request To Cancel Anfield Contest

Harry Redknapp has insisted that he understands Liverpool's decision to ask the Premier League to call off Sunday's game against Tottenham.

Liverpool had asked the authorities to give them permission to cancel the game as early as this morning.

“I've just heard it, so conditions up there must be bad,” said Redknapp. “We will have to wait and see. We want to play, the same as Liverpool, but it depends on conditions with the surrounding areas. If they can get it on I am sure they will.

“There's worse weather forecast for the weekend and if they say it's not playable then they won't play it.

“We are due to train at White Hart Lane in the morning then travel up tomorrow.

“We've got an indoor full size pitch at the training ground. It's not grass. It's been okay, but some of the players are not so happy on it as they are on grass. But the pitches have been too hard and too frozen all week.

“The pitches are not a problem, they're fine, it's getting people to the stadiums and the safety of the people at the games.”

Meanwhile, Redknapp denied reports linking Spurs with a swap deal with Robbie Keane switching with Aston Villa's John Carew.

“It's a very good idea someone has come up with, very clever,” quipped Redknapp. “No-one's told me about it, a new one of me, a ridiculous one.”

And Redknapp is hoping Keane will still be at Spurs in February, adding: “Please God, he'll still be here. Robbie's here. He is the captain and very important to us, unless someone comes up with £50m or something for him.

“I never made any enquiries at Aston Villa, If I did I would have spoken to Martin O'Neill who is a very good friend. You know what it's like, every day you pick up the papers and it's nonsense.”

Redknapp knows that Spurs could move seven points clear of Liverpool if it goes ahead and they win, for only the second time in 18 visits.

“It would be a nice position to be in. Liverpool are probably the favourites to finish in the top four. Chelsea and Man United are certain, Arsenal are strong, then ourselves, Liverpool, City and Villa all scrapping. It's so tight with seven looking to get into that top group, so Europe isn't guaranteed for all of them if only six qualify.

“I am sure Rafa still feels he can finish in the top four. If he doesn't believe it no one else will. He's put is head on the block. If Torres and Gerrard stay fit they are still the favourites to make the squad but it will be close because we're all playing well at the moment.

“We are playing well and go there with confidence, with a lot of players in good form at the moment. Were looking strong in midfield and we haven't conceded a goal for five games.”

Tottenham Game Called Off

Liverpool FC and the Premier League confirm that Sunday's fixture against Tottenham Hotspur has been postponed.

A club spokesman said: "Although the Anfield pitch is perfectly playable for the game, the problem we face is the icy condition of the approach roads and paths in the immediate vicinity of the stadium.

"The safety of our fans is paramount and an assessment of both the prevailing conditions and the weather forecast for the next 48 hours has been made in arriving at the decision to call off the match. Both local police and the City Council were fully involved in this assessment.

"All existing tickets will remain valid for the re-arranged game. We will also offer refunds and will publish a deadline date for refunds once the re-arranged fixture date is announced, such that we can re-sell any returned seats to other supporters."

Walsh: Duo Can Secure Fourth

Former Liverpool striker Paul Walsh is confident an injury-free run until the end of the season will see the Reds claim a top four finish.

With the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa and Manchester City all harboring genuine aspirations of securing Champions League football next term, many believe 2009-10 to be the toughest Barclays Premier League campaign in recent times.

However, Walsh is tipping Rafael Benitez's side to end the season in the top quartet for the fifth successive year.

"If Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard - Liverpool's two phenomenal players - are playing well and injury free, you have always got a chance," he said.

"It's been difficult for those two this season and people don't understand what it's like to play when you are not 100 per cent fit; some of the criticism Steven has had this season will have hurt because he's been trying to do his best in difficult circumstances.

"Once you get Javier Mascherano back, Alberto Aquilani alongside him, Gerrard and Torres playing well with Yossi Benayoun contributing, Liverpool have got a starting line up that is good enough to beat anything around them.

"When you compare it with Tottenham's best 11, you would say there is only one winner."

Tottenham travel to Anfield this weekend occupying fourth position in the table, four points ahead of Liverpool.

However, Walsh, who made 112 appearances for the Reds between 1984-88, doesn't believes the outcome of Sunday's clash will determine who will finish highest come May.

He said: "Tottenham aren't that much different from where they were two years ago, it's just that they have a manager who always gets the best out of his players; Michael Dawson has blossomed and (Benoit) Assou-Ekotto looks a different player.

"I wouldn't say everything comes down to Sunday; even if Tottenham won and opened up a bit of a gap, there would still be ample time for Liverpool to get back into it but there would then be the pressure to get that best 11 out week after week."

Despite representing both the Reds and Spurs during his playing career, Walsh is in no doubt where his allegiances will lie on Sunday.

"Liverpool every time," he stated.

"I didn't really have the greatest time with Tottenham when I played there and that was down to the fact I was so devastated to have left Liverpool but the affection you have for the club never goes."

Rafa Gives Injury Update

Rafael Benitez today confirmed Javier Mascherano has resumed training at Melwood - but the boss expects to be without Glen Johnson for at least another month.

Mascherano suffered a medial ligament strain to his left knee against Portsmouth in December, but the Argentina captain is now back in training with his teammates.

And Benitez has revealed his squad is close to boasting a clean bill of health, with Albert Riera also nearing a first-team return following injury.

"Riera and Mascherano are training, and that is good. More or less the majority of the team are available," the boss told reporters at Melwood.

Meanwhile, Benitez admitted he is pleased with the progress made by Johnson as the defender continues his recovery from a tear sustained to the medial ligament in his right knee during the recent 1-0 victory over Aston Villa.

The injury forced the 25-year-old out of the FA Cup tie with Reading and the manager expects to be without his services for at least a further month, while Nabil El Zhar remains on the treatment table as he recovers from a twisted ankle.

"Glen is doing well but it's too early," said Benitez. "It's a question of one month, maybe a little bit more.

"He will carry on resting and improving."

Maxi Rodriguez Move From Atletico Madrid To Liverpool To Be Completed In 24 Hours

Liverpool will conclude a £1.5 million deal for Atletico de Madrid winger Maxi Rodriguez in the next 24 hours, according to The Times.

A source from the club previously revealed exclusively to UK that the midfielder had been convinced by Argentina captain Javier Mascherano that first-team football would be in the offing, should he make the switch and join the Reds.

The 29-year-old has reportedly taken a pay cut in the hope of receiving regular time out on the pitch, after falling out of favour at the Vicente Calderon.

Rodriguez was believed to be earning around £85,000-a-week, but is said to be happy with the deal that the Merseyside club have offered. And the Argentine is consequently believed to be on the verge of signing an 18-month contract in the next 24 hours, following successful completion of a medical.

Rafael Benítez And Liverpool Rival Arsenal For Marouane Chamakh

Liverpool are prepared to rival Arsenal for the signature of the Bordeaux striker Marouane Chamakh. Rafael Benítez will attempt to capitalise on uncertainty surrounding the Moroccan's future with an offer of a pre-contract agreement at Anfield.

The 25-year-old has been linked with Arsenal since last summer although Arsène Wenger, who is awaiting news on Nicklas Bendtner's groin injury before deciding whether to sign another forward, is yet to make a firm offer for the Moroccan.

That has alerted several clubs. Chamakh is out of contract with Bordeaux at the end of the season and free to sign a pre-contract deal with a foreign club this month. Liverpool are understood to be the latest Premier League side to register an interest but any move would not take place until the summer.

Babel Future In The Balance

Ryan Babel's future at Liverpool remains in the balance after boss Rafa Benitez revealed he is an important part of his plans.

The 23-year-old Holland forward has repeatedly complained about a lack of first-team opportunities with the Reds in the run-up to a World Cup campaign and Birmingham had hoped this week to lure him to St Andrews with a £9million bid.

Benitez rejected that offer and wants Babel to remain at Anfield as he attempts to guide them back into the top four.

"I have not said that Ryan has to leave the club. We received an offer for the player and he said that he did not want to leave the club," Benitez said.

"Therefore we rejected the offer. He is a good player and he works hard, I want him in the squad."

Liverpool are under no pressure to get rid of Babel as they completed the £4.5million sale of Andrea Dossena to Napoli on Friday and are also close to offloading frontman Andriy Voronin to Dynamo Moscow in a £2million deal.

Rafael Benitez Reveals Andriy Voronin Set To Depart Liverpool For Dinamo Moscow

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has confirmed that Andriy Voronin will leave Anfield and will join Russian outfit Dinamo Moscow very soon.

Left-back Andrea Dossena moved back to Italy on Friday, signing a four-year deal at Napoli, and Voronin is set to follow him through the Anfield exit door.

"With Voronin we were talking with Dynamo Moscow and it's also very close. The player is talking with them and we're also just waiting for the paperwork," Benitez told The Liverpool Echo.

"The weather conditions have made it impossible to progress with these things but I think it could be done within a few hours."

Napoli Sign Andrea Dossena From Liverpool

Andrea Dossena has completed his long-awaited move to Napoli, the club has announced.

The former Liverpool stopper had been seeking an exit since the summer and he has been presented with the chance to begin a new adventure in Naples.

Dossena arrived in Italy from Merseyside on Thursday and successfully completed a medical.

Subsequently he has signed a four-year deal.

A statement on the club's official website reads:

"Andrea Dossena is a Napoli player. The winger has signed until 2014."

Dossena himself offered his view of the move, and is delighted.

"I am very happy to be wearing the Napoli shirt. I have chosen a big club with great prestige and an important project. I cannot wait to play at the San Paolo in front of an extraordinary public," the Italian said.

Liverpool: Rumours - Adam Federici?

We have a new entry into the rumours of interest from Liverpool today as Adam Federici is thrown into the hat.

The Reading goalkeeper is believed to have impressed Rafa during the recent FA Cup match at the Madejski Stadium with the Reds Boss ready to watch him again in the replay at Anfield next week.

The 24 year old Australian is most likely only being rumoured with a move to Merseyside because of that match and possible good word or two from Rafa so in my honest opinion I can't see rumours of a £2m move having any basis at.

You also have to ask do we have the need another goalkeeper anyway!