Nunez enjoyed his short stay with the Reds

Liverpool’s Spanish Antonio Nunez looks set to finalise a move back to Spain this week. After just one season at Anfield he’s about to sign for Celta Vigo but he says he wasn’t a failure in English football.

Nunez scored a goal in Liverpool’s Carling Cup final defeat in Cardiff last season, and has a European Cup Winners medal after being in the squad for the Istanbul final. His Anfield career came about when he joined the Reds as part of the deal sending Michael Owen over to Real Madrid, but he was injured in training before he made an appearance for the Reds. His appearances were limited after that and he is looking forward to getting more games in back in Spain.

Speaking about the move, he said, "It’s good news because my only objective is to play. At Liverpool I had few opportunities and that isn’t good for a footballer.  Rafa was clear with me and explained I wasn’t going to be in his plans for this coming season.  In spite of my injuries I learned a lot at Liverpool and it’s an experience that will stay with me for ever. I don’t consider that I failed in the Premier League."

The departure of Nunez coincides with Rafa Benitez talking about his desire to bring a right-winger to the club by the end of the week. Who that right-winger is remains to be seen, but one of those targets, Luis Figo, will probably make his decision this week.

Continue reading Nunez enjoyed his short stay with the Reds

Owen wants to come home – but who to?

Just about all of the Sunday papers seem to be running a story about Michael Owen’s desperation to get out of Real Madrid and move back to England. Desperation is the operative word, as if the reports are to be believed the England striker is actually considering a move to Manchester United of all clubs.

If Owen were to move to Liverpool’s biggest rivals then he would see his popularity in Liverpool dip substantially. In addition to this he would not be popular with all the fans at Old Trafford, and would soon be suffering jeers from his own fans if he had a run of games without scoring.

The News of the World say Owen is "praying" to be brought back to England by the Reds or the red devils – even on loan if necessary.

The Sunday Mirror says Owen is off to Old Trafford if Alex Ferguson gets his way. They reckon he’s told the new owners of United that he wants them to sort a deal out for Owen.

The Daily Star Sunday says that Liverpool, United, Arsenal and Newcastle are "on alert" to sign Owen now that Real have signed Robinho for £20million.

The People have decided instead to link Stelios with a move from Bolton to Anfield for £1million.

In the Sunday Express though it’s back to Owen again – they say Ferguson is about to bid £11million for the former Reds striker, and that this will, "trigger the Premiership’s biggest transfer scramble for years."

The Mail on Sunday quotes the same figure for Owen – £11million – but says that Ferguson is still trying to raise that money before he can make a bid. The sales of Phil Neville, Kleberson and Saha will be necessary before he approaches the Spaniards for the player.

The Sunday Times claim that a "senior club official" from Real has said that they won’t stand in Owen’s way if he wants to leave.

The Observer also believes that Owen is off to Old Trafford. It claims that United are "clear favourites" to get the player’s signature, "after a series of developments" made his departure from Real a certainty. It says there have been no talks yet, but that informally both United and Real believe a deal is in the interests of both clubs.

We’ve already been made aware that Owen’s "people" have made it clear that Michael wants to move back to Anfield. This is a move fancied by chairman David Moores and chief executive Rick Parry but Rafa Benitez is not as keen. The lack of enthusiasm from Benitez is only over the potential fee – he’d rather spend that money in other ways. A loan move would be a definite possibility, but Real would be reluctant to do this.

Certainly the amount of coverage in the press on the issue makes it look like Owen is about to leave Real – his agents are SFX, who seem to like helping the press with their stories.

Continue reading Owen wants to come home – but who to?

Justice for the 96 – bid for a signed shirt

Signed ShirtFancy a signed Liverpool shirt? Well you’ll have to be quick. The HJC have managed to get hold of a shirt signed by a large part of Liverpool’s Champions League squad from last season and it is up for auction now on Ebay. All proceeds go towards helping the HJC’s fight for justice, but the auction ends today.

The names that have been identified on the shirt, in no particular order, are:

Darren Potter, Jerzy Dudek, Harry Kewell, Steven Gerrard, Luis Garcia, Mark Smyth, Paul Harrison, Josemi, David Raven, Neil Mellor, Robbie Foy, John Welsh, Zak Whitbread, David Raven, Salif Diao, Didi Hamman, John Arne Riise.

To get more information and to make a bid go to:

For more information on the HJC, visit our Justice page.

Continue reading Justice for the 96 – bid for a signed shirt

Schalke claim Baros terms agreed

Liverpool striker Milan Baros has reportedly agreed personal terms with Schalke 04, as Rafa Benitez reveals he expects to have signed two more new players by the end of next week.

Czech Republic internation Baros, 23, has two years left on his Anfield contract, but after numerous complaints in the press about the tactics of Rafa Benitez leaving him off the field more than he liked, it seems his days in the Red shirt are numbered.

Baros has been left out of Liverpool’s three Champions League qualifiers so far. Schalke’s coach, Ralf Rangnick, spoke to German sports news agency SID, saying that talks between the Germans and the player went really well: "We’ve agreed things with Baros and his agent. He wants to come to us. We’ll make a move towards agreeing a transfer with Liverpool next week."

Liverpool want £7million for the player, which seems beyond the reach of Schalke. The German outfit believe they can talk Liverpool’s price down: "We have time and don’t need to acceed to Liverpool’s demands straight away."

Baros is also wanted by Aston Villa and West Ham. Two moves have already fallen through for the player. Valencia changed their management and their minds about signing him. Lyon wanted the player, but he refused to play under Gerard Houllier again.

Regardless of what happens to Baros, Liverpool’s manager Benitez says he wants to add two more players to the squad – a centre-half and a right-winger. He said: "I am very happy with the squad, with the way they are working in training and in matches and I am happy with the new players. But I am still looking for a centre back and a right winger and we need to bring these players in during the next seven days."
Benitez would not answer either way whether Luis Figo was the right-winger he was looking for. Figo is out in Asia at the moment with Real Madrid, and his future will be settled on his return to Europe. Rafa said: "I always say that a player is not yours until he has actually been signed. We have alternatives to these players and my idea is to always be looking at all your options."
It isn’t clear whether any money from the sale of Baros would allow Benitez to sign a third player by the end of next week.

Liverpool pre-season diet of training, friendlies and Champions League qualifiers has gone well so far for Liverpool. They’ve won every game they’ve played, scoring 3 or 4 goals in each match. Rafa is confident about an improvement this coming league season, but is taking each game as it comes: "I am realistic. I always think about winning the next game and nothing else. I know it will be difficult but it you start the season winning games then it helps your confidence and your performance. We have a better squad than last season and we have a lot of hungry players who want to win. If the players continue working as hard in training as they have been doing then I can dream of the possibilities."
Jamie Carragher scored his first goal in six years during the week, which is something Rafa has been looking for from his back players: "We have forwards who bring different qualities and different possibilities to the team and it is good when they score goals. But it is also important that we get goals from the midfield and even from the defenders, and this has been happening."
Rafa’s mission to bring a new central defender into the squad is more to strengthen the depth of the squad than due to feeling his defence isn’t good enough: "We are scoring a lot of goals so I am not too worried about goals we have conceded. When you look at the goals we have conceded some have come at the start of games but most have come at the end of matches which we have been two or three goals ahead and our players have been looking for more goals. That comes down to concentration and this will improve as the players fitness improves and they are more ready for matches."
Rafa Benitez is a hero at Anfield now, and his modesty is all part of what makes him such a popular figure amongst the fans. An arrogant boss would not have gone down well at Anfield, but Benitez is far from being like that. After chairman David Moores came out and praised the Spaniard, Rafa admitted: "I am flattered by what the chairman has said but I prefer only to look at my next challenge and not to look too far ahead. But I am really happy at the moment."

The 350 Liverpool fans that followed the Reds to Kaunas in midweek impressed the manager. Prior to his arrival at Anfield this level of support was something he had never experienced. "When I was manager of other teams and we played pre-season games away from Spain we would sometimes have 10 or 20 fans with us. But at Liverpool it is different. There are usually hundreds of fans wherever and whenever we play. This is something that is very special and something that the players and myself really appreciate. It is one of the reasons why I always say we have the best supporters in the world."

The best supporters in the world are now looking forward to seeing the final signings of this summer and are confident that this squad will perform extremely well in the new season.

Continue reading Schalke claim Baros terms agreed

Reds’ World Championship opponents announced

Liverpool are currently busy with the defence of their title of European Champions, but were today given news of their opposition for another tournament they have been entered into.

The Fifa Club World Championship is being played in December, and Liverpool will play either Australia’s Sydney FC or Costa Rica’s Deportivo Saprissa in the semi-finals.

As European champions Liverpool were seeded – as were defending champions Sao Paulo. The games will be played in Japan in December.

Sydney’s director of football Andy Harper says he’d be delighted to play against the Reds, assuming his side can overcome the Costa Ricans and get to the semis. He said: "Australia is still a colony in a lot of ways so playing against the motherland will be like the Ashes. We are under no illusions. It will be difficult to get to the semi-finals. But Liverpool are a massive club and we would love a crack at them. It will definitely be a step up for us."

Sydney’s coached is Pierre Littbarski, a former German international, and earlier this season they signed former Manchester United and Blackburn forward Dwight Yorke.

The tournament runs from December 11th to 18th and will earn the winners £2.5m in prize money. In addition to the prize money is the exposure the games will bring, and this will help make up for the disappointment Liverpool’s far-eastern fans felt when the Reds had to cancel their pre-season games in the area due to the Champions League qualifiers.
Continue reading Reds’ World Championship opponents announced

Third-round qualifier drawn

Everton’s manager David Moyes will have been delighted to have avoided the chance of a clash with Liverpool in the Champions League 3rd qualifying round. Moyes was moaning about the chance of having to play the Reds in the competition and got his wish when the draw pitted them against Villareal of Spain. No doubt now the blues will be hoping that they can build some bridges with officials at Anfield in order to get some advice on the countrymen of Rafa Benitez, Luis Garcia, Jose Reina et al. Villareal finished third behind Real Madrid and Barcelona in last season’s Spanish league. Perhaps they would have preferred to play Liverpool after all.

Liverpool have been given a draw against either Tirana or CSKA Sofia – as long as they complete the job against Kaunas. Liverpool are 3-1 up from the first leg, so with the away goals rule would need to concede three without reply to be eliminated. Reds Chief Executive Rick Parry was pleased not to be drawn against the blues, saying: "The main thing was avoiding Everton so that’s fine. Clearly when we were not given country protection conspiracy theorists thought it was going to happen. Neither side would have relished it."

Parry says the Reds will concentrate on the current tie first though: "We’ve still got a job to do against Kaunas and we’ll start thinking about the third round after Tuesday. We will gather information and we are taking each game as it comes, we are professional – we are used to it. We treat everyone with respect but not fear."

The draw in full for the Champions League third qualifying round:

Basle 1893 v Werder Bremen
Celtic or Artmedia Bratislava v Partizan Belgrade or FC Sheriff
Shakhtar Donetsk v Inter Milan
Steaua Bucharest or Shelbourne v Rosenborg
Manchester United v Hajduk Split or Debrecen
Malmo or Maccabi Haifa v Dynamo Kiev or FC Thun
Everton v Villarreal
Liverpool or Kaunas v CSKA Sofia or Tirana
Sporting Lisbon v Udinese
Valerenga or FC Haka v Club Brugges
Rapid Vienna or F91 Dudelange v Lokomotiv Moscow or Rabotnicki Kometal
Anderlecht or Neftchi v Slavia Prague
Trabzonspor or Anorthosis Famagusta v Rangers
Brondby or Dynamo Tbilisi v Ajax
Real Betis v Monaco
Wisla Krakow v Panathinaikos 
Continue reading Third-round qualifier drawn

Sankey signs confession admitting attack.

Freedom for wrongfully-imprisoned Michael Shields moved one tiny step closer today when the real offender signed a confession at long last.

According to a statement in the Liverpool Echo, Graham Sankey, aged 20, has signed a document admitting he was to blame for the attack on a 25-year-old waiter. The confession has been faxed over to the courts in Bulgaria.

According to the statement in the Liverpool newspaper, Sankey finally signed the confession after talking the matter through with his family. The statement from David Kirwan. senior partner of Kirwans Solicitors, reads: "I have today faxed a signed confession from Graham Sankey to the Bulgarian courts.  Graham’s decision to provide such a statement follows the worst days of his life and that of his family.  This has culminated in the past 48 hours with death threats being made against him.
"Graham had hoped that by admitting responsibility for the attack on Saturday that the Bulgarian courts would immediately free Michael Shields.  Instead, the Bulgarian judge dismissed all rational pleas for an adjournment and sentenced an innocent man to 15 years in prison.  Like everyone on Merseyside and elsewhere, Graham was left shattered and totally bewildered by these turn of events.
"He wishes he could turn back the clock for both his own sake and that of Michael’s. He wishes he had never set foot in Bulgaria.  He has spent the past days talking to his family, who have provided him with all the support a son could expect.  This has now resulted in him deciding to sign the confession.
"No matter what the rights and wrongs of the case, this has been a traumatic decision for Graham to make but a decision he knows is the right one for Michael Shields and his family.  Graham’s life and that of his family can never return to what it was before the terrible night of May 29.
"His only request is that they are left in peace to handle whatever repercussions may lie ahead in the days and weeks to come."

It remains to be seen whether the Bulgarian authorities will accept this lates document, but it certainly gives more hope to Michael and his family. It also gives more ammunition to those who are wondering why our own government are showing a complete lack of interest in the situation.

Continue reading Sankey signs confession admitting attack.

Support for Shields grows – Blair and Straw urged to act

The support for the release Liverpool fan Michael Shields from jail in Bulgaria is growing rapidly. He was sent to prison for 15 years on Tuesday, even though another man confessed to the crime.

While 18-year-old Michael was facing life in a Bulgarian prison – where sometimes 20 prisoners are crammed into one cell – the real offender was fleeing from Merseyside. 20-year-old Graham Sankey and his family had allegedly received death-threats in the wake of his confession.

Graham Sankey’s attack on the Bulgarian waiter was vicious – he threw a paving slab at the head of the waiter – so Bulgarian authorities wanted to ensure someone was punished. It was the wrong person though.

The main clamour now is for Prime Minister Tony Blair, or Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to get involved in the campaign. Their colleague in the Labour party, Liverpool Riverside MP Louise Ellman has written to Tony Blair to urge him to at least break his silence on the case. She wrote: "This is a grave miscarriage of justice and I urge you to make strong representations to the Bulgarian authorities to ensure that justice will be done. It cannot be right for Michael to languish in jail for 15 years when someone else has confessed to the crime."

Michael’s father, also named Michael says that pressure on Blair and Straw is the way most likely to bring success: "We need to pile the pressure on Tony Blair and Jack Straw because Michael is a British citizen who has had a terrible injustice carried out on him. I’ve spent the morning in London and everyone is talking about Michael’s case here."

The British government is busy with terrorist issues at the moment, the main headlines are all about the bombings and attempted bombings in London. Of course it is right for these issues to receive so much publicity, but Michael’s plight should not be allowed to drift into the background. Mr Shields said: "The Government can’t hope that this just dies down and they can sweep it under the carpet. They need to intervene directly and get Michael’s appeal sorted out."

The paving slab that was supposedly thrown by Michael, but really thrown by Graham Sankey, was never tested for DNA evidence. There is no evidence that Michael was out at the time of the attack on the waiter, Martin Georgiev, 25. He said he was sleeping, and the evidence came from identity parades. He even had to borrow some clothing – a white T-shirt – as the description of the attacker included that he’d been wearing a white T-shirt. Michael did not have a white T-shirt with him, let alone was he wearing one.

Mr Georgiev was left with a three-inch hole in his skull, and with part of his brain exposed. Sankey, 20, admitted the attack but refused to sign a statement, knowing he was in serious trouble if he did. This electrician is walking free after committing such a savage attack, yet nobody in authority seems to be concerned.

Without a signature, the Bulgarian judge decided that the confession was not admissible. Despite this evidence – signed or not – casting doubt on the conviction of Michael, the judge chose to continue. An adjournement would probably have taken place had this happened in Britain, whilst further investigations were carried out.

Sankey is not willing to face the music for what he did that night. As well as ruining the life of father-of-two Mr Georgiev and his family, he’s also ruined the life of an innocent 18-year-old student, and his family. Sankey’s solicitor said that Sankey would not travel to Bulgaria – he’d expected that his confession would free Michael without him having to be sent to Bulgaria. The solicitor said: "Graham firmly believed that by coming forward the case would be thrown out or adjourned. He is devastated that the judge decided to carry on regardless. In coming forward, he and his family have been through hell. The Sankey family have received a series of very serious threats which have been reported to police. As a consequence, they have been forced to leave their home. What little faith he or anyone else had left in Bulgarian justice has been totally shattered by the events of the past couple of days."

Michael and his family have now got 15 days to lodge an appeal. It was also announced today that lawyers representing Michael have made a bail application  with the Bulgarian courts.

If you want to show some more support for Michael you can sign an appeal – online – demanding action from the government on his behalf. Visit where you’ll be asked for your name and your email address. This becomes your signature on the petition. At the time of writing there were just short of 6000 signatures. 

Jamie Carragher added his voice to the campaign yesterday, dedicating his goal on Tuesday night to Michael. He was speaking to the Liverpool Echo and said: "I don’t know how the justice system works in Bulgaria but hopefully something can be done. I think someone high up in the government, possibly even Tony Blair himself, should step in and fight Michael’s corner."

Jamie says the Reds players were thinking of Michael as they prepared for the game against FC Kaunas on Tuesday. He said: "We got a phone call with the news yesterday but we’ve been aware of what’s been going on throughout the whole trial. There was a banner about Michael at the TNS game in the last round and what’s happened with the verdict was on our minds last night."

Jamie said of his goal, his first for six years, "If I’d known I was going to score I would’ve worn a T-shirt under my shirt with Michael’s name on it. I want to dedicate my goal to Michael Shields and all his family.

Jamie also talked about how felt such despair over Michael’s fate:  "When we got the news that not only had he been found guilty of a crime he didn’t commit but he’d also been sentenced to 15 years, our hearts sank. For myself, Steven and the other local lads in the team it really hit us. He’s one of us, a young lad who went to a game to watch Liverpool and ended up being thrown in prison in a foreign country. He must be absolutely distraught at what’s happened just as everyone in Liverpool is."

Carra continued: "He should’ve been here in Lithuania cheering us on but instead he’s locked up. Me and Stevie are heartbroken for the lad because obviously it’s an injustice."

Carra wants the government to intervene after the cowardly admission from Sankey: "There is a lad in Liverpool who has owned up to the crime and admitted it was him and not Michael."
Continue reading Support for Shields grows – Blair and Straw urged to act

Moaning Moyes wants to avoid Reds

Liverpool’s defence of their European title is already underway, with the Reds half-way through their second qualifying round. Tomorrow sees the draw for the third qualifying round, and assuming Liverpool complete the job in the second leg next week, they could be drawn against local rivals Everton.

Everton’s boss David Moyes is not keen on the idea of playing the European Champions. Liverpool are seeded in the draw, Everton are not. Everton have no recent European history so do not have enough "points" to be seeded. Liverpool have been classed as a countryless team though, meaning that they can be drawn against any other English team. Any other unseeded English team that is. With Arsenal and Chelsea already qualified, and Manchester United seeded, this leaves only Everton as the possible English opponents for the Reds.

Many cynics feel that UEFA will ensure that the draw is fixed to pit Everton against Liverpool in the next round, and thus ensure that the Group stages still only have four English teams in. UEFA will not be fixing the draw, but the chances of the two teams drawing each other is certainly a big possibility.

A football managerMoyes made no secret that the draw worries him, saying: "I’m concerned about the draw, definitely. I’ve got clear concerns about what might happen. Of course the decision as to who is seeded or not is nothing to do with us. We can’t influence who is seeded and who is not, but I do think that it’s wrong that two clubs from the same country – the same city even – could be drawn against each other in European competition at this stage."

The controversy over who should get into Europe will not end easily. UEFA rules were intended to be taken in such a way that Everton would have been dropped into the UEFA in place of European Champions Liverpool. The wording was such that the English FA had the final say on which of the two should be allowed to qualify, so UEFA made a one-off change for this season, to allow both teams in. From now on if the same situation arises the team in Liverpool’s position would qualify, the team in Everton’s position would be in the UEFA Cup. More to the point, the team in Liverpool’s position would actually go straight into the group stages rather than the qualifying rounds, so the combined decsions of both UEFA and the FA have left Liverpool with six games more than they should have had.

Like Liverpool, Everton haven’t yet qualified for the Champions League. Both teams have qualified for the chance to qualify. Everton’s boss is having a good moan though anyway: "You qualify for the Champions League in order to play teams from another country, not your local rivals. You don’t usually expect to get one from your own country, let alone your own city, but there is only one club which is exposed to the fact that Liverpool have not been granted country protection, and that’s Everton. That’s a fact."

As we say, Everton would not be in the qualifiers had UEFA’s new rules been in place, or had the FA taken the rules in the spirit they were written originally (and interpreted by the Spanish FA). Most neutrals would probably admit that the rules were a mess, and that both teams have as much right as each other to expect to be in the competition. UEFA’s compromise means that both Merseyside clubs could face each other, but surely this is better than one of the teams being excluded already.

In many ways it could be argued that Everton’s best chance of qualifying would be if they were to face Liverpool. Liverpool may have overcome the likes of Juventus, AC Milan and Chelsea in last seasons run to victory in the competition, but playing Everton is a different prospect altogether. It’s a cliché, but the formbook goes out of the window in a local derby. Everton’s alternative opponents include Inter, Glasgow Rangers, Panathanaikos, Sporting Lisbon, Monaco, and Ajax. If Celtic manage to overcome their 5-0 drubbing last night in the second leg they could be an opponent of Everton’s. Liverpool are certainly beatable by Everton, although European referees would perhaps not give as much leeway for the crunching tackles often seen in those games.

Liverpool would probably prefer to face the likes of Slavia Prague, Real Betis, Udinese or Wisla Krakow in the next round – it means travelling, but Liverpool’s performances against European opposition last season were by far their best.

If UEFA were in the business of fixing the draw, they might choose a match-up between Liverpool and Slavia Prague. The Czechs are upset at losing their seeding at the expense of Liverpool. Their general manager, Vladimir Leska complained: "We repeat again that we have nothing against the inclusion of Liverpool into the Champions League. The only thing we want is that Slavia is not harmed by this."  If Liverpool and Slavia are drawn together then the issue of seeding is irrelevant.

Liverpool’s captain isn’t so bothered about Liverpool drawing Everton. Rather than being bitter about things (Moyes is still fuming about missing out on Liverpool’s new midfielder Momo Sissoko) Stevie Gerrard thinks a European derby match would be exciting: "I’m sure it’d be a great occasion if we did draw Everton in the next round but I’m sure if you asked both sides, we’d prefer to avoid each other at this stage. It’d be brilliant to see both clubs in the group stages but it’d be sod’s law to draw each other on Friday and if it does happen, they’d be two fantastic games to look forward to. As a player, you want to play in big games and they wouldn’t come much bigger than Liverpool and Everton playing off for a place in the Champions League group stages."

Luis Figo seems to be ready to dismiss his chances of a move to Anfield. Liverpool won’t increase their offer, Real won’t increase their offer of a pay-off, and Figo looks happy to stay in Spain until the end of his contract. He was widely quoted as saying about the move to the European Champions: "I don’t think there’s any chance. Things have stopped, so there is nothing more to say about that. It’s nice to hear that big clubs are interested in me, but all I want is to play football and to play for Real Madrid. If I don’t have a chance to do that, I will have to move, but I don’t want to play for another club, just for Real Madrid.”

Rick Parry is certain to be in attendance at the Champions League draw tomorrow in Nyon, and will no doubt be asked about Liverpool’s moves for Figo and a central defender.
Continue reading Moaning Moyes wants to avoid Reds

Figo weighs up options

Reports plastered throughout the press in Europe say that Luis Figo will move to Italian side Inter Milan rather than to Anfield.

Figo was released by Real Madrid at the end of last season and so negotiated a deal to join Liverpool. Real then went back on their decision and so demanded a trasfer fee, which Liverpool refused to pay.

Liverpool have made their offer to Figo for what they believe he is worth. There is no doubt that the player is extremely talented, but at 32 years of age he is coming towards the end of his professional career. Liverpool’s offer was final, save for perhaps some minor changes. Figo accepted the offer on the understanding that Real would be paying him a substantial part of what he was already owed for the final year of his contract in Spain. This figure is believed to be £2million, the same amount that Real demanded as a transfer fee.

Liverpool have said that there has been no progress in the move for Figo, and that with him being in Asia they don’t expect too much to happen. Inter meanwhile are claiming they have almost signed Figo – and his team-mate Walter Samuel. Inter’s owner, Massimo Moratti, spoke to his club’s website and said: "There are two separate negotiations. If we already knew how they would finish there wouldn’t be any negotiations. They could be done by this evening but they could continue."

It does seem that Figo has now got three choices available. He could stay with Real and earn the full amount of money he’s entitled to under his contract next season – but in return he’d get very little playing time which would have an impact on his hopes of a return to the World Cup with Portugal next summer. If he moves to Anfield he will earn less money but will get much more football, and will play in a league he’s often wished to play in. He’ll also be playing for a "dream" club, if his recent comments are to be believed.  The move to Inter seems to be a compromise move. Inter are prepared to come to an arrangement with both Real and the player to ensure he picks up an amount closer to what he desires next season. Inter are not seen as a club on the way up in the way Liverpool are though, and the challenge may not be what he wants. He’d also be playing in a league that many flair players consider boring.

Liverpool fans can be glad of one thing though. The Reds management have made a decision on how much Figo is worth to them. If he joins then it shows he’s willing to play for the European Champions without being too hung up on the financial aspects of the deal. If he decides to go to Italy, then his motives for the move perhaps need to be questioned, and mercenary players are no longer welcome at Anfield as most fans will tell you.

Another player that Liverpool have been linked with all summer has no made it clear he won’t be arriving at Anfield. Gabriel Milito had been quoted earlier in the summer as being desperate for a move to Anfield, but has now signed a new five-year contract with his current club, Primera Liga side Real Zaragoza. The Argentine central defender was offered the same money by his current club as Liverpool were set to offer, and so decided to stay in Spain. The player appeared in the Confederation Cup last month and had two years left on his original contract. Liverpool’s bids had been turned down by Zaragoza who were determined not to lost the 24-year-old, who joined them from Independiente in 2003.

Liverpool are now being linked to a move for Deportivo La Coruna’s Portuguese defender Jorge Andrade, but Coruna deny that they’ve received a bid for the 27-year-old. Their spokesman Rafael Carpacho said: "At the moment there has not been any offer from Liverpool. All we know is what has appeared in the papers."

Liverpool are going to be looking at strengthening their defence due to the potentially high number of games they could be playing this season. A former defender of Liverpool that was a big part of Liverpool’s temporary resurgence under Gerard Houllier found a new club yesterday. Stephane Henchoz signed for Liverpool’s newest local rivals Wigan after he passed his medical. He had been on a trial with Latics last week after Celtic had released him, and manager Paul Jewell liked what he saw. Wigan are strengthening their squad in preparation for their first Premiership season and Jewell likes Henchoz’s experience. He said: "He’s still fairly young at 30, but the main thing is he has a lot of experience and that can help us."

Henchoz fell out of favour with new Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez and was on his way to Celtic as soon as the January transfer window had opened. He joined Blackburn from Hamburg in 1997 before moving to Liverpool two years later for £3.5million as the Lancashire club were relegated.

Continue reading Figo weighs up options