CL team: Haifa v Liverpool

Rafa Benitez has decided to leave Steven Gerrard on the bench for tonight’s clash with Haifa in the Champions League. Gerrard has been suffering from a stomach upset so Rafa hopes he’ll not need to make use of him. Jan Kromkamp will sit alongside him, with Steve Finnan getting back to fitness and back to his right-back position. John Arne Riise and Jamie Carragher are out injured and so in come Steve Warnock and Daniel Agger.

Liverpool lead the tie 2-1 from the first leg.

Finnan, Hyypia, Agger, Warnock;
Pennant, Sissoko, Alonso, Gonzalez;
Dudek, Kromkamp, Gerrard, Fowler, Aurelio, Bellamy, Zenden.

Kick-off: 19:35 BST. Valeri Lobanovski Stadium, Kiev.

Continue reading CL team: Haifa v Liverpool

Le Tallec joins Sochaux on loan

Liverpool forward Anthony Le Tallec could now have played his last game for the Reds after he joined French side Sochaux on loan today.

The loan runs for twelve months, but Sochaux have an option to buy him at the end of the loan period.

As a teenager Le Tallec had been seen as showing all the signs of being a world class player, and Gerard Houllier was happy to see him hyped up as such. Under Houllier however the player spent a lot of time back out on loan.

The 21-year-old got off on the wrong foot with Rafael Benitez, practically demanding a first-team place as soon as the Spanish boss arrived on Merseyside. Rafa answered that by sending him out on loan. He did get to play in Liverpool’s successful Champions League campain in 2005, but was again loaned out last season, this time to Sunderland.

Clearly no longer part of any plans for Rafael Benitez, Le Tallec didn’t even get a squad number when the club announced the new numbers for this season.

Continue reading Le Tallec joins Sochaux on loan

Kuyt officially signs – Rafa predicts “a lot of goals”.

Dirk Kuyt is now a Liverpool player, having finally signed his four-year deal with the club. Manager Rafael Benítez has been tracking him for some time now – and was delighted with his latest recruit.

Speaking on Liverpool FC’s official website, Rafa said: “He’ll score a lot of goals for us. I am really happy. We were looking at Dirk for a long time and I’m pleased we have signed him because he will be a good player for us. He’s a player with good game intelligence. He knows what to do with the ball and without the ball and he’s also a very good worker.”

Rafa expects even more out of the Dutch international now that he’s improved the squad in other areas too: “His movement is good, his finishing is fantastic and I know he will score a lot of goals for us because we now have more possibilities in the wide areas and also between the lines.”

Rafa also had a message for those players who have left the club this close-season, including those who are out on loan deals: “I would like to say thank you to all of them. We have sold some players and others have left on loan but they have all given a lot of good things to the club over recent years and I’d like to wish them good luck with their new clubs. It was important for us to strengthen this season and I’m really pleased with the backing we’ve had from the board.”
Rafa concluded: “We’ve signed players who haven’t been really expensive but who are of good quality and who we know will do a good job for us.”
Kuyt has been handed the number 18 shirt and could even be included tomorrow against Sheffield United.
Continue reading Kuyt officially signs – Rafa predicts “a lot of goals”.

Parry: Just waiting on test results for Kuyt

Dirk Kuyt came through his medical with flying colours yesterday – although the results of some tests are still being waited on. According the the official LFC website, the personal terms seem to have been agreed and it’s only those test results that are holding things up: “Liverpool are hoping to complete the signing of Dirk Kuyt from Feyenoord this morning. The Dutch striker underwent a medical yesterday and will officially sign his new Anfield contract as soon as the test results have been approved.”

There’s also a statement from Rick Parry on the site, who says: “We hope the results will prove to be satisfactory. All being well it will go through this morning.”

The deal needs to be finalised by noon if Kuyt is to be considered for tomorrow’s season opener against Sheffield United.

Continue reading Parry: Just waiting on test results for Kuyt

Echo: Kuyt fee is £9m cash

More details of the move to bring Dirk Kuyt to Anfield have been revealed this morning as the player undergoes his medical. The official Liverpool FC website have confirmed a fee has been agreed and that personal terms are yet to be agreed. The Liverpool Echo’s Chris Bascombe has more access to what goes on than any other journalist, and a little more freedom than the official site to report what he knows.

The report in the Echo, currently on the website but no doubt to be covered extensively in the print version later today, says that the fee was £9m, all cash. Earlier attempts to include Jan Kromkamp in the deal came to nothing and he’s now being looked at by three clubs, one of whom is said to be PSV Eindhoven.

According to the Echo, the player should be signed by the end of the day, assuming there aren’t any unexpected problems, and would then be eligible to be included in the squad for Saturday’s Premiership opener against Sheffield United. The negotiations have clearly been ongoing for some time, but the report says that the final push came in Rotterdam yesterday where Rick Parry arrived to finalise the negotiations.

As Bascombe says in his report, the stories that Newcastle sent manager Glenn Roeder and chairman Freddy Shepherd to Dublin to watch Kuyt on international duty tell us of a journey wasted. Parry was getting the signatures on the pieces of paper to say Kuyt could come to Liverpool whilst Shepherd and Roeder were working out what to say to entice Kuyt to become the latest player to bought with borrowed money by the club that came close to relegation last season. The player has never had any interest in joining up with the Geordies, the made-up quotes found in the press earlier this week laughable.

There could be some movement out too this week. As is reported in various places, Florent Sinama-Pongolle could be moving back to France for £2m, with Lyon one of the clubs who are interested in him.

* Amidst all the fun and excitement of waiting for Kuyt to sign today, please don’t forget about Michael Shields. Our story on him might slip down the page, but don’t let his cause slip out of your minds. Help Bring Michael Shields Back Home .

Continue reading Echo: Kuyt fee is £9m cash

LFC: Kuyt having medical, fee agreed

Liverpool FC have announced this morning that they have finally, officially, agreed a transfer fee with Feyenoord for striker Dirk Kuyt.

The statement on the official site reads:

“Rafael Benitez is on the verge of landing Dutch striker Dirk Kuyt after Liverpool agreed a fee with Feyenoord for his transfer. The 26 year old, who played for Holland in their 4-0 victory over Republic of Ireland in Dublin last night, will undergo a medical on Merseyside but is yet to agree personal terms with the club.”

The amount of contact that is bound to have been made between Kuyt’s agent and Liverpool FC, alongside Kuyt’s informal talks with the club earlier this week, should mean personal terms are no more than a formality, and that barring any unexpected problems at the medical today he’ll be confirmed as a Red before the day is out.

Then we’ll have to try and work out how to pronounce his name!

Details of the fee haven’t yet been disclosed.

Continue reading LFC: Kuyt having medical, fee agreed

Help bring Michael Shields back home

I received this email tonight from the Free Michael Shields campaign. You’ll remember what happened to young Michael in the summer of 2005. Whilst the rest of us were celebrating the fifth Champions League win, poor Michael was starting on a nightmare that still shows no sign of coming to an end. There is a little bit of hope for him with an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. Another way of at least improving matters for Michael and his family is for him to be allowed to serve his sentence back home in England. Unfortunately this is going to cost a lot of money, but as you will see in this email there are ways of making this money happen.

Here’s the email:

Dear LFC Website Admin/Editor,

You will probably be aware of Michael Shields, the young Liverpool fan imprisoned in Bulgaria. Michael has exhausted all the routes open to him via the Bulgarian justice system and the only hope he has of overturning his conviction is via an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

In the meantime the priority is to get Michael back to England, to do this Michael’s family have to raise money to pay the largest fine in Bulgarian history. Obviously as an ordinary working class family they’re struggling to do this. To help them Councillor Joe Anderson has launched the ‘Bring him home’ appeal fund. The details are below:

Account no 02499003
sort code 309511

You can donate over the counter at Lloyds/TSB** or send a cheque to the campaign office:

Michael Shields Jr
3 Holland Place
L7 8TU
Phone: 0151 260 7165

LFC have kindly allowed Michael’s supporters to collect money from Liverpool fans at the West Ham game. We’d be grateful if you could let your members know this. We know that money may be scarce but if all our fans could donate just a pound we’d be well on the way to getting Michael back in the UK. Thanks for any help you can give.

Also, there’s a benefit night for Michael on the 25th August at the Devonshire Hotel on Edge Lane. There’ll be live music including Neville Skelly, raffles, prize draws, LFC memorabilia etc. It starts at 8pm

Phone: 0151 260 7165

Kind regards,

Matt on behalf of FreeMichaelShields campaign.

ps: This is from JonnyMack of RAOTL, you may already have had a copy in which case please ignore:

: from the Free Michael Shields Campaign.

The club have kindly agreed to let us INSIDE the ground to ask for donations, on the afternoon of the first home game.

Through one individual’s persistence and dogged determination to get things done, there was a meeting yesterday with Rick Parry and Ged Poynton.

The club are showing real support for Michael and his family, by allowing this to take place within the ground, so hats off to them.

We NEED at least 60 volunteers to make this happen. Hopefully, this will be run with near military style precision. The volunteers are needed to collect cash INSIDE Anfield on Sat. 26th (West Ham – 12:45pm kick off).

Please be aware that you’ll miss most of the first half (if not all of it) and you will have to be INSIDE the ground at around 11am/11.30am – so you won’t be on the ale.

Please e-mail me on  if you’d like to help out or post here:

Anyone kind enough to help will have 2 buckets, will stay at their turnstile until 10/15 mins. after KO, then take the buckets to be counted, ready for the Securicor pick up.

Also can anyone help in obtaining authentic charity buckets? We need at least 120, so any help would be much appreciated.

Please leave contact details if you’re willing to help.

Could those of you who go on other LFC independent sites copy this post please.

More info. to follow,


Please do what you can to help.

Why not arrange a bit of a collection from colleagues at work? Even if your colleagues aren’t Reds I’m sure you’d donate to them if one of their supporters was in this kind of situation and they asked for a quid or two. A lot of them would donate to you too. Add your collection to a donation of your own.

Why not start an empty coffee jar of loose change between now and the game? Every day when you come in from work, or in from the pub, throw your loose change into the jar. Coppers, 5, 10 or 20 p pieces – shrapnel.  Chuck it in the jar. Suggest the same idea to your mates. Take it to the match, or take it to the bank using the details above.

It sounds a lot of money, but it’s not out of reach. Little things really will make a difference to the funds collected. If you’ve any other ideas send them on to me or post them in the forums above and elsewhere. Without wanting to sound like some comedian with a Red nose on, every penny really will help.

For Liverpool Football Club to be allowing this collection to take place is a huge gesture. Please, make a gesture yourself.

I’m also now going to add a name to this story that will probably, hopefully, add some extra visitors who find the page through search engines. Dirk Kuyt. Rafael Benitez’s latest transfer target, who seems set to sign for the club before the end of the week. Reports this morning said the two clubs had got close enough to agreeing a fee that Feyenoord had therefore given Kuyt and Liverpool permission to speak to each other. Tonight the Liverpool Echo’s Chris Bascombe said the player will be a Red by the weekend if all goes well. Jan Kromkamp might be going in the opposite direction as part of the deal too, but it isn’t yet clear whether or not Feyenoord are willing to consider this. It’s been known that Kromkamp has been earmarked for a return to Holland since before the end of last season. His homesickness is the main reason for that.

But the homesickness that Kromkamp is feeling is nothing, not even a small part, of what Michael Shields is feeling. So please make sure you give as generously as you can to the appeal to get him home again.

Continue reading Help bring Michael Shields back home

Reports: Kuyt deal almost done

After spending what seems an eternity negotiating with Feyenoord for striker Dirk Kuyt, Liverpool look to have come about as close as they can to making the deal happen.

Despite some sites and some newspapers falling for some nonsense from a Newcastle website, Kuyt does not want to move to Newcastle, in fact he’d rather stay in Holland than sign for the team that was heading for relegation for a good part of last season.

Liverpool have been intending to make this week the last push for signing the player, and now reports say that Feyenoord have finally given them the permission to speak to the striker. Kuyt’s valuation from the point of view of the two parties differed by about £4m at one point, but now it seems they’ve finally agreed on a fee of close to £10m.  The only stumbling block now is how the payments might be made, but reports in Holland are saying that this is now a minor issue and should be resolved.

Kuyt is on international duty across the Irish sea in Dublin tonight for Holland’s friendly against Steve Staunton’s Irish side. He was in England at the weekend for a friendly with his club.

According to reports, Kuyt has spoken about personal terms with the club but has also been chatting informally with Rafael Benitez about how the manager sees him fitting into plans for the new season.

Continue reading Reports: Kuyt deal almost done

Carson goes out on loan

Another Liverpool goalkeeper has gone out on loan to a Premiership club – but this one is expected to return again afterwards.

Chris Kirkland agreed a loan move to Wigan Athletic earlier in the summer, and his loan includes and option for the loan to become permanent in January. Scott Carson has now joined Charlton Athletic on a loan until the end of the season.

Carson went to Germany with the full England squad as third-choice goalkeeper, but the 20-year-old is with the under-21s for this week’s internation fixtures. He signed a new contract at Anfield last month, taking him through to 2011. He signed for the Reds in January 2005.

The decision to let him go out on loan means Liverpool have now given up hope of securing a buyer for Jerzy Dudek who’ll now retain his spot as Liverpool’s second-choice keeper.

Carson will join up with his former Liverpool team-mate Djimi Traore, who signed for Charlton last week.

* UEFA have announcd that Liverpool’s second leg Champions League clash with Maccabi Haifa will be played in Kiev in the Ukraine. It is to be played on Tuesday August 22nd, at Dynamo Kiev’s Lobanovskiy stadium. Kick-off is at 7.35pm UK time.
Continue reading Carson goes out on loan

Liverpool 2 Chelsea 1 – Community Shield Reaction

FA Community Shield, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

Liverpool 2 Chelsea 1

Another win for Liverpool over Chelsea
and another piece of silverware won after beating them on the way.
Liverpool’s European Cup win in 2005 and FA Cup win in 2006 both came
after semi-final wins over Chelsea. Today it was the Community Shield
and despite what Chelsea might say, they wanted to win this.

A well-below capacity crowd saw the
Reds take the first prize of the new season, below capacity because
although Liverpool sold all their 25000 tickets, Chelsea sold only
around 13000 of their same allocation. When the attendance of 56,275
was announced, it was met with boos from the Liverpool supporters. By
the time the Chelsea players were walking up to collect their losers
medals the Chelsea fans had already left the stadium.

Rafa Benítez picked a team that
he said would win the game, despite it having quite a different look
to the team on Champions League duty on Wednesday. What Rafa has been
looking for since taking over at the club is quality in depth. The
squad now really does seem to have quality in every position, but
more than that – quality in depth in every position. This provides
cover from injury and time for rest between fixtures.

Jose Mourinho has the biggest budget
probably in football history, and there are still two-and-a-half
weeks of the transfer window left – but he’s complaining about
player shortages already. He had seen his cheapest signing (in terms
of transfer fee, not wages) limp off injured shortly after being
booked. Mourinho, who has admitted he didn’t plan pre-season very
well, told Sky Sports he didn’t have a clue if Ballack was badly
injured or not, he hadn’t checked, but said he hoped not: “Ballack
is injured, that is obvious. I’m not sure if he will miss the start
of the season. I hope it is nothing big because we have Joe Cole,
Claude Makelele and Petr Cech injured – we have to try to start the
season as best we can.”

Hearts all over the country were no
doubt going out to the outspoken coach on hearing of his current
plight. So how did the poorest of poor losers take defeat? “If I
look at the game as a pre-season game, I think it was fantastic for
us because we played against a team in much better condition than
us,” said the loser in the battle of minds as well as the battle on
the field. He played probably his strongest team for what he tried to
play down as an unimportant fixture. I used to get annoyed at things
Mourinho said, but listening to him this afternoon was amusing to say
the least. Still trying to make out it was a meaningless game, he
continued: “If I look at the game as a minor trophy of course you
don’t like to lose but if you don’t think about the difference of
condition of both teams they deserved to win because they were better
than us.”

Both sides have had as long as each
other to prepare for pre-season, Liverpool had to make changes to
allow for the fact they’d played a tough competitive fixture midweek.
Rafa might have got to bring some key players off early in that game,
but it was an extremely important fixture and Liverpool didn’t get in
front until 88 minutes had gone. Jose thought that was an advantage
for Liverpool going into this game. It’s hard to believe he really
thinks that, but if he does let’s hope he goes on thinking that way.

Not only is he a poor loser, but he’s
possibly the most arrogant of all managers in football. The arrogance
he shows is still evident this season, although there does seem to be
at least a little doubt in his voice. He wanted to win this one
badly, Liverpool are closer to his side than he’ll admit, and victory
today would have given him a huge psychological boost. Instead he
sounded quite downhearted: “Every team will try to improve to catch
us but I think we will be the best team.”

It was his opposite number who say his
players get the boost, as he reflected after the game: “At least it
gives to us confidence in ourselves. We know it was difficult to play
against one of the best teams in the world and we have done a very
good job and we have confidence for the rest of the season. I think
the team worked really hard. We know they have a lot of good

Rafa was pleased with how his improved
squad were able to perform so well so soon after that difficult
Champions League game: “This shows we have have a very good squad.
We tried to use players that are fitter than the others and then
bring on some of the bigger names. But I think in both halves we
played well. We can try to improve if it is possible but I am happy
with the squad, although you can improve a little bit.”

Liverpool’s winner was scored by Peter
Crouch, who’s now made sure he doesn’t start this season like last
when he took so long to open his account for the season. He’s been
advised by Rafa on which aspects of his game he needs to improve and
which ones he needs to keep at the same level, and he’s ready to take
the challenge on. Also speaking to Sky Sports, Crouch said: “The
manager wants his players to improve and I want to improve as a
player. I want to win things and this is a good start to the season.
We hope it is going to be a good season.”

As for the claims from Mourinho that
this game was meaningless, Crouch pointed something out quite
obvious, at least for Liverpool fans: “People say it’s not
important but you see the fans and the players and see it is

Crouch was partnered up-front for the
last part of the game by Craig Bellamy, who was playing in his
country’s national stadium for the first time in a club fixture. He
was asked about Rafa’s decision to make so many changes to the
midweek squad: “The gaffer had a meeting and said he would be
looking to rest people, and to do that throughout the season. They
are all good players. Good players come off and then players of high
quality come on.”

Liverpool’s opener was scored by John
Arne Riise, who scored a wonder from around 25 yards after running
the length of the field with the ball. He said he’d not seen anyone
to pass the ball to and decided a shot at goal was his best option,
but he didn’t really expect to score: “I looked around and just
decided to have a go. They backed off and I thought just go. I felt
the goalkeeper would save it. I went so far and looked around and
didn’t see anyone so it was down to me. Everyone worked hard today.
We beat the Premiership champions and now we have to move on.”

Liverpool: J Reina, S Finnan, D Agger, J Carragher, J
Riise, J Pennant (S Gerrard, 60), M Sissoko, B Zenden (X Alonso, 60),
M Gonzalez (F Aurelio, 56), P Crouch (F Sinama Pongolle, 89), Luis
Garcia (C Bellamy, 66)
Subs: J Dudek, S Hyypia, S
, F Aurelio, X Alonso,
C Bellamy, F Sinama Pongolle
Alonso 62
Riise 9, Crouch 80

C Cudicini, R Paulo Ferreira (J Mikel, 82), J Terry, A Ricardo
Carvalho, M Essien, N Geremi (W Bridge, 53), M Ballack (S Kalou, 26)
, F Lampard, A Shevchenko, D Drogba (S Wright-Phillips, 71), A Robben
(L Diarra, 62)
Subs: H Hilario, J Mikel, W
, L Diarra, S Kalou,
S Wright-Phillips, M Mancienne
Booked: Ballack
7, Lampard 17, Diarra 68
Goals: Shevchenko 43

M Atkinson

Attendance: 56,275

Official Man of the Match: Momo

BBC Photo Gallery

BBC Match Report

Sky Sports Match Report and Stats

Sporting Life / PA Sport Match Report

Continue reading Liverpool 2 Chelsea 1 – Community Shield Reaction