Reaction: Everton v Liverpool

Liverpool were beaten 3-0 in the Goodison derby this afternoon and now Liverpool fans will spend the next few months listening to Everton fans go on and on and on about their win. The rematch is back at Anfield but not until next February.

Liverpool’s season isn’t over though. Shake the hands of the bluenoses you get the stick from in the next few days and tell them: “well done, you deserved it” – that will leave them so confused they’ll not know what to say back to you, allowing you to divert the conversation to something not related to sport.

Liverpool lost, end of story. It would be nice if Rafa’s words before the game were actually listened to by the Premier League. He pointed out how stupid it was to play a game when he only has one full day with his players before the fixture is played. It’s not something that can be used as an excuse for today, but it needs to be dealt with. There are other incidents that can be analysed throughout the game, including a referee who still hasn’t recovered from his momentous errors in the World Cup finals, but overall it’s best to forget about those issues. Liverpool needed to score – and they couldn’t.
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Carra starts, Bellamy out of squad

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has name his team for today’s derby against Everton at Goodison Park, and perhaps the most welcome sign is that Jamie Carragher is back in the starting line up after his recent injury. He lines up alongside Sami Hyypia in the centre of defence, with Fabio Aurelio and Steve Finnan either side.

Rumours of a bust-up between Craig Bellamy and Rafael Benitez are a little exaggerated, Bellamy was disapointed to be left out of the squad but that’s as far as it goes. Rafa picked Robbie Fowler up front because of his derby experience and Peter Crouch alongside him because if his recent run of form in scoring. That left Dirk Kuyt on the bench and Rafa didn’t feel he had room for Bellamy too.

In midfield Rafa has chosen Alonso and Sissoko, with Gerrard and Garcia either side.

Team: Reina, Finnan, Aurelio, Hyypia, Carragher, Alonso, Sissoko, Gerrard, Garcia, Crouch, Fowler. Subs – Dudek, Agger, Riise, Pennant, Kuyt.

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ENGLAND man of the moment Peter Crouch could be brought down to … –

ENGLAND man of the moment Peter Crouch could be brought down to, UK – 9 Sep 2006
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez revealed yesterday he is agonising over whether to confine the highflying centre-forward to the bench for the showdown at Everton.

Continue reading ENGLAND man of the moment Peter Crouch could be brought down to … –

New Anfield another step further on

Liverpool's bid to move into new stadium on Stanley Park moved another step closer today when the club were handed the lease for land they need on the park.

Under the terms of the plan the club will move the few hundred yards to Stanley Park and the land where Anfield is now will be handed over for use by the public. The lease is a 999-year-lease and was approved by council leaders today.

Leader of the council, Warren Bradley, said after the lease had been granted: "It's all systems go. All we need now is the club to confirm the funding. If Liverpool have the funding in place, they can start on the site from January."

Despite the gloom reported by some, there's little chance of Liverpool being unable to secure the funding for the project. The only issue is exactly how that funding is raised. Finding an investor who has the club's best interests at heart may prove impossible, meaning that the club may instead seek to borrow money.

According to the BBC the club have until the end of September to prove they can come up with the money, the Liverpool Echo meanwhile has taken a more aggressive approach to the story, saying LFC have a week to inform the council whether or not the money is there.

The BBC say the estimated cost of the project will be £215m, with Liverpool expected to find £180m of that. The first figure includes the costs of building new facilities for the community, which will be funded by grants.

Unfortunately for Liverpool, the whole project has faced political barriers since it was first announced, with jealous Everton fans opposed to Liverpool getting a third of the park, and jealous politicians using the stadium issue as a way of doing what politicians do best – fighting each other!

The idea of giving Liverpool until the end of next week rather than until the end of the month comes from councillors who have been stirring up trouble in recent weeks with regards Objective One funding. An image is trying to be put out that Liverpool's board are sitting around daydreaming about getting the money together, when clearly this is not going to be the case. The club have spent a fortune already in investigations, planning, legal consultations and financial consultations. They aren't going to throw that away.

One of those who seems fond of making Liverpool sound complacent and disinterested is Councillor Flo Clucas. Of course her job is to ensure that the city of Liverpool don't lose out on the money from Objective One and she's probably desperate that it starts being spent soon before someone takes it away again. She seems to be always willing to give a quote to the press attacking Liverpool, the latest came today in the Echo: "The stadium is regarded by our European colleagues as absolutely vital. Without it, there will be no European funding. That has been said loudly and clearly to the club."

Confirming what she's told us time and again, her frustration is that LFC are not dropping everything to get ball rolling on the project: "If the club does not come forward with its funding, this regeneration project does not exist. We are waiting for them to say what they will do, because everything else is in place. They will need to come forward with their funding in the next week so reports can be ready for the committee. If they do that, we will be in a position to proceed."

So the money doesn't need to be in place by the end of next week at all then. Ms Lucas just wants it to be there by then so she and her colleagues can get the paperwork and presentations done.

Another body with cash handouts waiting to be put to good use by LFC is the North West Development Agency (NWDA). Their chief executive is Steven Broomhead, who had this to say: "Any decision on our potential investment remains dependent on Liverpool securing the necessary funding to take this scheme forward. We need to be certain that all the money is in place and that the stadium is going ahead before we can formally approve any funding for the scheme."

Nothing different there then.

There were even some protestors outside the town hall today, complaining about the potential loss of green space. They want to see the Anfield area left pretty derelict with some green space on the park, rather than have the whole area regenerated and alternative open space provided where the famous stadium is now.

The current target for completion is for the start of the 2009 season, just three years away.

Continue reading New Anfield another step further on

Rafa: New boys understand derby

Lunchtime tomorrow sees the real football get back underway again and the matches don’t come much more fired up than the Merseyside derby. Tomorrow’s clash is at Goodison, with hosts Everton fired up for what is arguably their biggest game of the season. I say arguably because Evertonians always have something to argue about when it comes to derbies.

Rafael Benítez says that although his new signings haven’t played in a Merseyside derby before, they’ve enough experience of playing in big games at other clubs to have at least an idea of what to expect. He said: “The players may not have played in this game before, but they have enough experience and know what it will be like. Fabio Aurelio and Mark Gonzalez have played in the Nou Camp and the Bernabau Stadium, so they’re well aware what it’s like to play in an intense atmosphere.”

He continued: “Valencia versus Villarreal is also a big deal in Spain, and Fabio has played in many of those games. Gonzalez will tell you the crowd in Chile is as loud as anywhere in the world. The passion in South American football is very similar to England, so it’s not going to be a new experience for him.”

Pointing out three other new signing and their big-game experience, Rafa says it’s not an issue: “Dirk Kuyt has played many big games in Holland, and Jermaine Pennant and Craig Bellamy are used to playing derby games at other clubs. So the fact we have many players new to the derby won’t be important.”

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