Paletta passes Reds medical

Gabriel Paletta has completed a medical after flying into the country last night. Paletta had agreed personal terms on a four-year deal already.

Paletta has flown straight back home to Argentina, where he’ll be celebrating his 20th birthday tomorrow before appearing for Banfield in the Argentine league at the weekend. He’ll not be able to officially join up with Liverpool until the summer and the re-opening of the transfer window.
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Prem Team News: Liverpool v Arsenal

FA Barclays Premiership

Liverpool v Arsenal

Liverpool: J Dudek, S Finnan, S Hyypia, J Carragher, J Riise, S Gerrard, M Sissoko, X Alonso, H Kewell, F Morientes, R Fowler
Subs: S Carson, D Cisse, S Luis Garcia, D Hamann, D Traore

Arsenal: J Lehmann, E Eboue, K Toure, P Senderos, M Flamini, F Ljungberg, F Fabregas, G Silva, R Pires, E Adebayor, T Henry
Subs: M Almunia, V Diaby, A Hleb, S Larsson, J Djourou

Referee: G Poll
Continue reading Prem Team News: Liverpool v Arsenal

Rafa’s first summer signing is done

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has got his first summer signing all sewn up – subject to a medical. Liverpool’s official website confirmed the news today that, “Gabriel Paletta will join the club this summer, subject to a medical. Atletico Banfield centre-back Paletta, who is 20 tomorrow, has agreed a four-year deal with the Reds.”

Paletta was originally due to fly to Liverpool at the weekend to talk personal terms and undergo a medical, according to statements put out by Banfield. When this didn’t happen Banfield then claimed that the deal was on but on hold until the summer. What has finally happened is that Paletta has agreed personal terms without the need for a trip to England, and his medical will of course be more valid once the player has completed the rest of the Argentine season.

Paletta is described by the official site as, “A star player in Argentina’s under-20 World Championship triumph in 2005, the highly-rated youngster is regarded as a strong, decisive and robust defender.”

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Dudek enjoying chance in side

The Anfield faithful will tonight finally get a chance to thank goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek for his unforgettable performance in Istanbul in May last year. Without Dudek’s saves, both in open play and during the penalty shoot-out, Liverpool would not be European Champions. Dudek was an important member of the team that brought that fifth European Cup home. However, with the arrival of Pepe Reina demoting Dudek to second-choice, the Polish star has yet to appear at home for the Reds this season.

Dudek is in goal tonight because Reina is serving the last of his three-match ban for giving Arjen Robben the chance to fool the referee at Stamford Bridge ten days ago. Everyone assumes this will be Jerzy’s final appearance for Liverpool, but according to the Pole he’d already been told he’d get some games in before Reina’s sending off happened. Jerzy said: “I spoke to Rafa Benitez before the game against Chelsea and he said ‘Jerzy, you have to be prepared because you never know’. He told me that there were a lot of games and said, ‘I promise you that you will be playing in some of them’. He said, ‘I understand you getting frustrated and angry sometimes at not playing, and are thinking of the future, but your future is here at Liverpool’. He told me that if I do well then it will be no problem at all being prepared for the World Cup. Three days after we had that chat, Reina got red-carded and I was in.”

Dudek was quoted in the press – quotes he denies – as being really unhappy with life at Anfield this season, but he now seems happy that he’ll get enough games in to be able to play for Poland in Germany this summer: “I feel fine, and it has been good to be back again, getting some games at the highest level. I have waited for a very long time. But I don’t want to say I am happy, because it is always difficult to do that if you’re coming in for someone who is injured or red carded.”

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Paletta move put on hold

It seems that Banfield president Carlos Portell was jumping the gun a little when he claimed that Liverpool would be meeting Gabriel Paletta in Liverpool at the weekend to discuss personal terms and also for the defender to undertake a medical.

Liverpool haven’t changed their minds about wanting to sign the player, but with them unable to sign him before the transfer window re-opens in the summer the move remains on hold. According to Portell, “Negotiations have reached an impasse until the end of the season. Gabriel wanted to play in the Clausura Championship with us.”

Talks will restart later in the year according to Portell: “They are likely to be completed but we will wait until the end of the season.”
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Rafa pleased with win as Reds enter crucial period

Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez was relieved that Liverpool brought a rough patch to end against Wigan yesterday, with a 1-0 win at the JJB stadium. According to Rafa the win was deserved and will increase confidence levels which had started to dip recently: “We worked really hard for the win and showed we have character. It was an important win for us because recent results have not been good. It’s also important in terms of our confidence and I think the players have today got their just desserts because they have worked very hard for it.”

There’s no dispute that Wigan’s pitch is in poor condition, at times causing players to slip and stumble, but Rafa agreed that both sides had to play on the same pitch, and says that the Wigan side was good: “It was a difficult game against a good team who played high tempo football. The pitch did not help and some of our players tired towards the end because of this. Sometimes it was a problem keeping the ball and passing it but it was the same for both sides. We were trying to play well and I think we were organised throughout. At the start of the second half Wigan pressed but we controlled most of the match. We showed character, our movement was good but at times our final pass let us down.”
 
Sami Hyypia got the Liverpool winner, and so the comments will continue about Liverpool strikers failing to get goals. Rafa wasn’t surprised it was the Finn that got the goal though: “Sami has been known to score goals before. I think the type of goal he scored was more of a surprise because he normally scores with his head. It is good to see defenders getting forward. It gives us more possibilities in attack. If the strikers can’t score then it’s important that we can rely on other areas of the team to provide goals.”

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Result: Wigan 0 Liverpool 1

Barclays Premiership Result

Wigan 0 Liverpool 1 (Hyypia, 30)

Wigan: M Pollitt, M Jackson, S Henchoz, A De Zeeuw, R Ziegler, G Teale, J Bullard, G Kavanagh, D Thompson, P Scharner, A Johansson (L Baines 84)
Unused subs: J Filan, A Mahon, D Francis, L Joyce
Booked: Thompson 25, Henchoz 28

Liverpool: J Dudek, S Finnan, J Carragher, S Hyypia, J Riise, S Gerrard, X Alonso, D Hamann, H Kewell, F Morientes (D Cisse 71), R Fowler (J Kromkamp 66)
Unused subs: S Carson, D Traore, M Sissoko

Referee: Rob Styles

Half-time: 0-1

Attendance: 25023 (JJB Stadium Record)

Saturday 11th February 2006, 12:45pm

Continue reading Result: Wigan 0 Liverpool 1

Half time: Wigan 0 Liverpool 1

Barclays Premiership – Half Time

Wigan 0 Liverpool 1 (Hyypia, 30)

Wigan: M Pollitt, M Jackson, S Henchoz, A De Zeeuw, R Ziegler, G Teale, J Bullard, G Kavanagh, D Thompson, P Scharner, A Johansson
Subs: J Filan, A Mahon, D Francis, L Baines, L Joyce
Booked: Thompson 25, Henchoz 28

Liverpool: J Dudek, S Finnan, J Carragher, S Hyypia, J Riise, S Gerrard, X Alonso, D Hamann, H Kewell, F Morientes, R Fowler
Subs: J Kromkamp, D Cisse, S Carson, D Traore, M Sissoko

Referee: Rob Styles

Saturday 11th February 2006, 12:45pm

Continue reading Half time: Wigan 0 Liverpool 1

Prem teams: Wigan v Liverpool

Rafa Benitez has chosen a strong side to take on Wigan at the JJB today – with Robbie Fowler handed his first start since his return to the club. Fowler will be partnered up front by Fernando Morientes. Djibril Cisse is on the bench, Crouch was unavailable due to injury.

Gerrard returns after injury to take up his place on the right side of midfield, with Didi Hamman making an appearance in the centre of midfield alongside Xabi Alonso. Harry Kewell will be hoping to provide some good service from the left.

No place in the matchday squad for Daniel Agger, with Hyypia and Carragher continuing in the centre-back roles.

Wigan: M Pollitt, M Jackson, S Henchoz, A De Zeeuw, R Ziegler, G Teale, J Bullard, G Kavanagh, D Thompson, P Scharner, A Johansson
Subs: J Filan, A Mahon, D Francis, L Baines, L Joyce

Liverpool: J Dudek, S Finnan, J Carragher, S Hyypia, J Riise, S Gerrard, X Alonso, D Hamann, H Kewell, F Morientes, R Fowler
Subs: J Kromkamp, D Cisse, S Carson, D Traore, M Sissoko

Referee: Rob Styles

Kick-off: 12:45pm

Continue reading Prem teams: Wigan v Liverpool

Gerrard back, Crouch out, Argentinian on the way

There was good news for Liverpool ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Wigan when Steven Gerrard was declared fit to take his place back in the team. Gerrard suffered a knee injury on Sunday at Stamford Bridge but Reds manager Rafael Benitez revealed the skipper was ready for tomorrow, although unfortunately for Liverpool they will be forced to do without the scorer of two of the goals Wigan conceded earlier in the season. Peter Crouch is suffering from a heel injury. Rafa said: “It’s good to have Steven back again because he is a very important player for us. Crouch will be missing though because he can’t run or train at the moment. It isn’t a serious problem and hopefully he will only be out for two or three days. I think he should be back for the Arsenal game on Tuesday night.”

Also missing will be Stephen Warnock and Luis Garcia with groin and knee injuries respectively.

With Crouch missing there’s a bigger chance of Robbie Fowler getting a start tomorrow as he returns to fitness. Wigan won’t be able to use Neil Mellor though under Premiership rules.
Continue reading Gerrard back, Crouch out, Argentinian on the way