Reds boss Rafael Benitez says that Jerzy Dudek won’t be leaving Anfield anytime soon. “We are happy with Jerzy and we want to keep him,” said Rafa today.
Reports have linked Dudek with a move to join Portuguese side Benfica in January as part of a deal that would see Simao Sabrosa finally move to Anfield. Liverpool are still after buying the Portugal international, but not with Dudek as a part of a deal.
Earlier in the week Dudek told Polish newspapers that his absence from the Reds first team could scupper his chances of going to Germany for the World Cup finals in the summer, something he wasn’t so keen on letting happen. Jerzy said: “I don’t want to be counting on an injury to a colleague and that places me in a tough situation. I played most of Poland’s matches in qualifying for the World Cup but if I don’t play for my club I could wind up not going to the World Cup finals. For me this would be a disaster.”
Rafael Benitez was inevitably asked by reporters why he had left Djibril Cisse back in the North West rather than taking him with the rest of the squad over to Sunderland for last nights Premiership match. With Cisse left behind, Peter Crouch, Luis Garcia and Fernando Morientes started the game, with Harry Kewell and Florent Sinama-Pongolle chosen as the two attacking options on the bench. Benitez says that this meant there was no need to include Cisse in the travelling party.
Cisse had made a public show of disapproval on Saturday after being brought off against Manchester City six minutes after the break. Rafa said that once he’d explained his reasons to the Frenchman he accepted the situation and had been training normally. Rafa said that the size of his squad meant he had an opportunity to give players recovery time between games: “We have a big squad and a lot of games – you need to use the players that you have.”
Cisse was probably fresher after Saturday’s game than anyone else who started, being that he only played 51 minutes, but Rafa denied there was any disciplinary reasoning behind the decision. When he was asked if Cisse was missing because of his complaints at the weekend he said: “No. Always I say the same – when a player is playing, then other players cannot play. He was not playing because Crouch and Morientes were playing. There is no problem, no reason, only a big squad and a lot of games.”