Result and reaction: Spurs 0 Liverpool 1

Barclays Premiership Result

Saturday December 30th 2006

Tottenham 0 Liverpool 1

Half-time: 0-1
Tottenham: 1 Robinson, 2 Chimbonda, 20 Dawson, 27 Davenport, 3 Lee, 14 Ghaly, 22 Huddlestone, 4 Zokora (13 Murphy, 56), 15 Malbranque, 18 Defoe, 11 Mido (9 Berbatov, 59)
Unused subs: 12 Cerny, 16 Ziegler, 30 Gardner
Bookings: None

Liverpool: 25 Reina, 3 Finnan, 23 Carragher, 5 Agger, 6 Riise, 10 Luis Garcia, 14 Alonso, 8 Gerrard, 12 Aurelio (11 Gonzalez, 79), 17 Bellamy (16 Pennant, 49), 18 Kuyt (15 Crouch, 66)
Unused subs: 40 Martin, 29 Paletta
Bookings: None
Goals: Luis Garcia, 45

Referee: M Halsey
Attendance: 36170


Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez: "I thought it was a fantastic team performance, a fantastic effort against a difficult team. I felt we controlled a lot of the play, soaking up pressure and trying to hit them on the counter attack. When you lose a game like we did at Blackburn then you want to see character from your players and we had that today. We played well in the first half and scored at a very good time, just before the break. In the second period Tottenham played more long balls and put us under pressure, in fact the way they played should prepare us quite well for the Bolton game on Monday. We held on and the win's the most important thing.

"The work rate of the side was first class. The defenders dug in, Xabi played well in front of them, the midfielders tackled and fought and Kuyt and Bellamy worked for every minute they were playing. We knew before the game that the result would be important because Tottenham were close to us in the table and we wanted to stay ahead of them. We have lost many away games this season despite having more attempts than our opponents. Maybe today was the game where we didn't quite have as many opportunities but still managed to win the match.

"I'm not sure yet if Craig Bellamy will play on Monday, he felt his hamstring and I took him off as a precaution."

Tottenham manager Martin Jol: "We feel gutted. Neither side played particularly well but it was an even game and we conceded such a soft goal. "But it was us that took the initiative in the second half and deserved so much more from the game. Berbatov, Ghaly, Defoe all had chances, and that's not including us hitting the bar.

"If you look at the second half, the worse the weather was, the better we played. I thought we deserved a point out of it but we couldn't score. If we had kept a clean sheet in the first half people might have said we deserved to win, but two minutes before half-time we gave away a cheap goal and they punished us. That's always deadly, conceding a goal just before the break against a team like Liverpool, they know how to defend and hit you on the break.

"Having said that, I can only recall them having one chance in the second half and especially after the substitutions, we did better and better. That makes the defeat all the more gutting. We created enough to get something out of the game.

"Dimitar Berbatov was ill and had nearly a 40 degrees temperature. Mido couldn't play yesterday (Friday) but I said to him he would have to play and he's a good lad, he did a final test before the game and was 80, 90 per cent fit. I spoke to Berbatov this morning and asked if he felt better and could sit on the bench, he said yes and maybe he could play for 10 minutes but in the end it was a bit more and I felt he did unbelievably well, on Friday he was in bed with a fever. As for Ledley King, he has bruising on his foot – it's a minor injury. He won't play on Monday but it's nothing major and nothing to do with a previous knee injury."

*Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Jerzy Dudek – Dudek was kept out of yesterday's squad because he'd been with his wife as she'd been giving birth the night before.

Continue reading Result and reaction: Spurs 0 Liverpool 1

Reds team to face Spurs – three changes

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has made three changes to his side for today's visit to White Hart Lane to face Spurs.

Fabio Aurelio gets a run-out in place of Mark Gonzalez and Dirk Kuyt returns to the side in place of Crouch. Luis Garcia also gets to start – Sami Hyypia not even getting into the 16 for the day.

Interestingly enough Jerzy Dudek hasn't been given his usual place on the bench, whether that's for medical reasons or because he's gone off somewhere to discuss a transfer remains to be seen. David Martin takes his place.

Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Agger, Carragher, Riise, Garcia, Alonso, Gerrard, Aurelio, Kuyt, Bellamy
Subs: Martin, Gonzalez, Crouch, Pennant, Paletta

Continue reading Reds team to face Spurs – three changes

New Anfield to open in 2009 says leaked document

According to today's Liverpool Echo, the Reds new stadium will be open in two-and-a-half years. The paper claims to have seen "a secret document" revealing Dubai International Capital (DIC) hope to have completed the takeover of the club by February. As soon as the takeover is complete, the new stadium would start to be built, with "less than 28 months set aside for construction."

The report, under the headline "Red's new stadium open by July '09", says the DIC document refers to the club having already spent £10m on the stadium project and also having budgeted to spend a further £10m by March. One important point mentioned in the story is that naming rights on the stadium are being considered, with a figure of £4m per year being reported.

The document is said to include estimates that "at the current bid of £156.7m for 90% of the club's shares, DIC could increase profits, excluding tax and interest, by 25% a year".

The document is said to name Laing O'Rourke as becoming the "likely contractor" for the building work, and that although the deadline of July 2009 is tight, it must be met in order for DIC's investment calculations to work out. To further protect their investment the building contract would be on a fixed price basis, with the contractors facing penalties of £950,000 per week if they overrun the deadline. LFC are "poised" to place orders for materials such as steel and roof cables to meet the "tight schedule". There is a 15-20% contingency built into the estimates for the costs of building the replacement ground.

Part of the costs of building the new ground, £28.5m, would come from grants.

The document reportedly talks of stadium plans being agreed by the end of January, and that trial events should start to take place in July 2009. Trial events are an issue that will be familiar to anyone who followed the long drawn out (and still ongoing) Wembley stadium rebuild, because big events can't be staged until "trial events" have been successfully staged.

The overall takeover costs are broken down as £156.7m for 90% of the shares, £10m in fees for lawyers and £45m to "refinance existing debts". The Echo says the costs will total £221.7m but doesn't mention where the other £10m is being spent.

DIC are planning to raise "£300m through bonds to fund the construction of the new ground which will account for the repayment of £120m of existing debts to fund the stadium, a further £105.8m to complete construction and £5m of professional fees."

According to the report, DIC have approached Bank of Ireland, Royal Bank of Scotland and Bank of America to help fund the project, with Bank of America appearing "to be favourites".

The report also quotes the following lines about the club from the secret document: "Recent performance has been strong and the club appears to be on its way to achieving consistent results both on and off the pitch. Opportunities exist to boost returns by unlocking 'hidden' value, mainly through developing property and leisure projects on the current Anfield site."

The word "brand" is unfortunately used when talking of how the deal will reflect well on the Middle East's link to a "strong brand with an equally strong international fan base".

There's also a mention of existing deals worth £8m with Adidas for the club's shirt deal, and the £21.6m deal with Carlsberg as shirt sponsor. It also talks of the £2.5m Liverpool have set aside for possible legal costs relating to the dispute with Reebok, the previous shirt sponsors who failed to deliver stock on time (Liverpool were said to be having to buy kit from JJB boss Dave Whelan at one stage for sale in the club shop). LFC feel that Reebok don't have a case.

Another revelation from the secret document is that in 2004 Liverpool were subject of three failed takeover attempts, all offering different valuations. The document also claims that George Gillet has been told that DIC are the preferred bidder. It says that David Moores has made the decision to sell because the club needs a capital injection to advance to "the next level and he is unable to provide this himself".

Interesting also is the mention that the document "sets a seven to eight-year period to re-evaluate its investment in the club and includes several option to realise a profit, such as selling the stadium" – which could be where the author of two Manchester United books who wrote a doom and gloom article earlier in the week (Mihir Bose) drew his ridiculous conclusions from. As the Echo says, "such a timetable is normal in takeover deals of this kind. A business plan will include a fixed period to assess the success of the investment, and the Echo understands that DIC intends to retain its holding in Liverpool for the long term".

It seems this whole article is DIC's indirect response to Mihir Bose's article from earlier in the week, and it pours scorn on his claim that DIC won't be providing cash to Rafa Benitez for new signings. It says, "fears that DIC will not provide transfer funds for the manager appear unfounded as the business plan includes a pledge to 'infuse funding for the club to achieve its business plan objectives and drive a virtuous circle of success'".

Another point to take from this story is that when you read the transfer rumours for this transfer window you don't need to pay attention to any that talk of deals depending on the takeover going through. This document shows the takeover won't be completed until after the window has closed.

Continue reading New Anfield to open in 2009 says leaked document

Preview: Spurs v Reds

Liverpool travel to White Hart Lane today to take on a Tottenham side just below them in the league. Liverpool's defeat at Blackburn saw them drop from third to sixth and Rafael Benitez is desperate to ensure that the defeat doesn't signal a return to the awful away run the Reds started the season with. If Spurs win today the two sides would be level on points.

Possible changes for Liverpool include returns for Dirk Kuyt, Jermaine Pennant and Luis Garcia. For Tottenham there will be late checks on Aaron Lennon and Mido who missed their win over Aston Villa on Boxing day, but Robbie Keane and Jermaine Jenas are both out of this game.

Liverpool have to beat a Tottenham side who have won all of their last League and Cup games at White Hart Lane – 12 wins, including 7 league wins. Spurs last lost at home in August, 2-0 against Everton. Liverpool don't get what they want at White Hart Lane in general – winning only one of the last nine league games they've played there. On the other hand Spurs have not won any of the last five league games they've played against the Reds, including the 3-0 Liverpool victory earlier this season at Anfield.

Spurs haven't been able to keep a clean sheet – they've gone 10 games without doing so. Liverpool finally conceded on on Boxing Day, but that's the only one they've let in during 730 minutes in the league.

Ex-Red Danny Murphy is now a Spurs player of course and will be hoping to start against his old team.

Rafa Benitez says beating Spurs won't be easy: "They are playing well and scoring goals but we are a good, strong team as well. We have had a lot of clean sheets and we know we can do it down there. We have confidence as well. We know we need to score more goals but we have been creating 16-20 chances away from home in games this season and usually you must win after that kind of performance." He was also asked about Jermaine Defoe, the Spurs top scorer. Liverpool have been linked with him on numerous occasions but any talk during this transfer window would be nothing more than idle speculation. Rafa won't discuss him in case it starts tongues wagging: "I prefer not to talk about him because people might say we want to buy the player. He is a good player, along with Berbatov, Mido and Robbie Keane. They have spent big money on good players and that is why they have a good team. It will be a hard game for us but we can win."

Another milestone to watch out for today is the likelihood of the 15,000th Premier League being scored at a game today. The total is currently standing at 14,993 and with a full programme of games on today it's almost certain that someone will get the milestone this afternoon. Whoever bags it will earn a charity related to his club £15,000 courtesy of Barclays. A competition for the fans has also been announced by Barclays. According to the official Premier League website the winner will get six VIP tickets to a match of their choice, and an opportunity to present a special award to the player who scores the goal. "To stand a chance of winning, fans simply need to text the full name of the player they think will score the 15,000th goal to 61066. One randomly selected fan who predicts correctly will be the winner." See the official Premier League site for the terms and conditions of this competition, which has nothing at all to do with us!

Continue reading Preview: Spurs v Reds

Gerrard’s MBE dedicated to all at the club.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard spoke yesterday of his delight at being awared an MBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours list.

Gerrard's award was for his contribution to football, which most recently includes him winning the FA Cup in May, but perhaps relates more to his contribution to helping bring home Liverpool's fifth European Cup a year earlier.

Gerrard himself wanted to share the award with all of those who've played a part in his career at all levels, for club and country, since he was very much a youngster: "I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to receive this recognition for playing a game I’ve loved all my life. I’d like to accept this on behalf of all those people who have been so supportive to me throughout my career, all my team-mates over the years, everyone at Liverpool Football Club, everyone at Team England, all my family and friends and all those coaches who have helped me since I was eight."

His boss at Anfield, Rafael Benitez, also felt the award was a shared one for all those involved at Anfield, including the fans. He did congratulate Steven, but hoped that those people behind the scenes wouldn't be forgotten: "This is a good reward for Steve because he's a nice boy, a good professional and the captain of this club. Everyone must be very proud of him, but I would also say this is an award for the club, the supporters, his team-mates and his coaches."
He continued: "In football you can never recognise just one player. Steven has been at this club for years and has worked with many coaches at the Academy and Melwood and all through that time he has had the supporters behind him. You cannot play at your level all the time if you don't have people backing you."

The next award Liverpool fans would like to see is a posthumous knighthood for "Sir" Bob Paisley, the most successful manager in English football history, the man who won three of Liverpool's five European Cups.

Continue reading Gerrard’s MBE dedicated to all at the club.

Rafa says Crouch is staying, Hughes doesn’t want to lose Neill.

Attempts by Newcastle – or so it seems – to unsettle Peter Crouch have been hit by some firm denials from Rafa Benitez that Liverpool are looking to sell him.

The transfer window silly season is now well under way and stories were being printed about Crouch having to be sold so that Liverpool could buy David Villa from Spain. As we reported yesterday, these stories seemed to be way too far-fetched to be true. Why would Liverpool risk being left short of striker cover by selling Crouch before they'd bought his replacement? If the deal depended on the DIC deal being finalised, why would they have to seel Crouch first anyway?

Rafa said yesterday: "I have seen the stories in the press saying that we need to sell Crouch to raise the money to sign Villa. I can tell you now we are not interested in Villa.  I think he is a fantastic player but at this moment we are not thinking about signing him and that means we are not thinking about selling Crouch."

Maybe it isn't Newcastle stirring up this trouble – but somebody is. Their boss Glenn Roeder tried to distance himself from it all, saying: "It's pure speculation and I would be surprised if he ended up becoming a Newcastle player. Someone knows more than I do, as far as I am concerned, there has not been a deal even spoken about."

A month after talking about Peter Crouch to the media, at a time when links between Crouch and Newcastle first surfaced, Roeder said: "I really hate managers talking about other managers' players. Peter Crouch is a Liverpool player and I do not think Rafael Benitez would appreciate me talking about Peter Crouch when he is not a Newcastle player. I said a month ago when I was asked, he is very talented and certainly deserves his place in the England team, in my opinion. But anything outside that would be unfair to Liverpool and the manager there."

Meanwhile one link which is for real is the one which has Liverpool interested in Lucas Neill. The Reds tried to sign the Australian international from Blackburn in the summer but refused to pay as high a price as Blackburn wanted for a player with just one year on his contract. Now with just six months left the Reds will be trying again to sign him, but still won't pay over the odds for a player who would be free in the summer anyway.

Blackburn still don't want to lose him, and despite acknowledging Liverpool's interest in public their boss Mark Hughes is trying hard to show his player that he should stay with the team that beat the Reds over Christmas instead of joining a club who could offer him Champions League football. Hughes has been pleased with Neill's commitment in the first half of the season: "Since we knocked back the Liverpool bid, he got his head down and continued to play well even though some people have tried to drum up some anti-Lucas feelings in recent weeks. It is important the fans understand that. We don't want to put Lucas in a position where his form is likely to be affected because that would make him a lesser player for us. We showed a real commitment to him, possibly more than Liverpool did at that point."

Hughes says he's been speaking to Neill all season trying to get him to sign a new deal but admits that he'll let the player go if a suitable offer comes in. All the signs are that Neill wants to join the Reds, sooner rather than later, and interest from Barcelona is almost certainly something which has been reported in order to persuade Liverpool to bid a little more. After having to sell Craig Bellamy at a cut price in the summer, Hughes is fighting to avoid losing another player to the club he grew to hate as a Manchester United and Everton player: "I have had many conversations with Lucas about the situation. He wanted to keep his options open and was quite happy to review the position week by week. He may go if we can do a deal that will allow Blackburn to remain strong. If it is not right for us, he will stay, but things change very quickly in football and who's to say Lucas won't still be here in the summer. I will be doing my best to convince him to stay."

Continue reading Rafa says Crouch is staying, Hughes doesn’t want to lose Neill.

Steven Gerrard gets MBE.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has been awarded an MBE in the latest New Years' Honours List.

The list is officially only available for public release from one minute past midnight on 30th January (Saturday) but as ever the details were leaked early.

Gerrard was expected to receive the award a year ago, along with other Liverpool players, for their roles in the historic 5th European Cup win for the club, further increasing the British record for most wins in the competition. Liverpool's comeback from 3-0 down has been described as the best-ever final by many, but the expected recognition wasn't forthcoming.

Stories surfaced later that Liverpool's awards had been taken away in favour of the England cricket team who had finally won the Ashes. This added further to the belief certainly amongst Reds that the honours system was not as honourable as it used to be. Liverpool fans are still astounded that Bob Paisley, England's most successful manager, was never knighted. The snub to LFC a year ago didn't surprise anyone.

Rick Parry commented at the time that the snub was "frustrating to say the least". He compared the Reds' achievement to that of the cricketers (since disgraced in Australia with some very poor performances), saying: "The decision to overlook key Liverpool players from the honours list, despite our magnificent achievement in winning the most prestigious club tournament in the world, was frustrating to say the least. It raises a simple question – just what do you have to do in a football sense to be recognised by the powers that be? I don't want to take anything away from the England cricketers but the fact that the inspirational efforts of the likes of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher in helping us win the Champions' League were effectively dismissed is little short of staggering."

Parry also highlighted the fact that the knighthoods to Alex Ferguson and Matt Busby were granted for far less than what Bob Paisley achieved: "We have been here before. The achievements of Bob Paisley, the most successful English club manager of all time and a three-times European Cup winner, were never truly recognised. Alex Ferguson was knighted in 1999 after Manchester United won the treble of the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Champions' League, but that European Cup triumph remains Alex's sole success in this tournament. Matt Busby was knighted after United's 1968 European Cup success. Both honours were richly deserved but Liverpudlians continue to write to the club expressing bemusement about the oversight on Bob. My own bemusement now comes full circle to encompass the failure to recognise the achievements of the Anfield boys of 2005."

Jamie Carragher continues to be snubbed by this system.

Whilst unhappy at the way politicians have devalued this system, we are still delighted for Steven Gerrard to finally get this recognition. Let's hope the politicians redress the balance a little more – and soon.

Congratulations Stevie.

Continue reading Steven Gerrard gets MBE.

Crouch Warnock out? Villa Mascherano in? Silly season starts.

Silly season is kicking in again ahead of the re-opening of the transfer window on Monday, and thanks to the investment moves from DIC Liverpool are set to be victims of the silliest rumours.

The Times decided to produce a handy little table of their transfer guesses. They say we need a "a world-class striker and a right back" after pointing out that we also "want" the takeover to go through so that Rafa gets a big transfer "war chest". Their guesses for players coming in are Lucas Neill (hardly a secret) and the Livorno 'keeper Marco Amelia. They do point out that Rafa's not – in their opinion – going to be given more than £5million because the takeover is unlikely to be complete in time, but also say "Peter Crouch has attracted interest from Newcastle United while Stephen Warnock could join Blackburn". No fees were mentioned.

The Independent's Jason Burt guesses slightly differently. He says Crouch is being offered to Newcastle for £12million, but that Newcastle want to only pay half of that amount. There's no doubting Newcastle want Crouch, and there's no doubting that clubs do a lot of transfer dealing through the press, but it does seem that Mr Burt has got these figures all by himself. As for whether Liverpool are prepared to sell Crouch in January, leaving themselves with two performing strikers and a Robbie Fowler who's been struggling to get into the team for various reasons, well that's pushing things a little. Mr Burt's thought of that though – he says Liverpool are going to spend £25million on David Villa. Quite where Rafa is going to get that sort of money from remains to be seen. Valencia are still in the Champions League anyway, and aren't going to be in much of a hurry to sell Villa – who would be cup-tied for the Reds in Europe too. The Independent's story smacks of wishful thinking from the Newcastle side of things.

Crouch is Liverpool's top scorer, but those who criticised him at the start of his career at the club but went quiet as he started to produce are back out and complaining again. Rafa Benitez's words are twisted as ever, his complaints about missed chances by Crouch weren't actually complaints that Crouch isn't good enough. The media enjoy finding a player who's not getting as many games as he'd like, and despite being obsessed with Rafa's rotation policy for most of this season they conveniently forget about rotation if they can make a big deal of a player not playing in every game. That's not to say Rafa might be looking to replace Crouch, just that the media are making too many assumptions.

Liverpool haven't got the money to buy David Villa before selling Peter Crouch, and Rafa isn't likely to gamble on being able to sell Crouch and then buy Villa in the space of a few weeks. Love him or hate him, Crouch isn't likely to leave in January. It seems that Newcastle are driving this story, although of course we'll never know this for sure. As for David Villa –  quotes attributed to him in the past saying he didn't want to play in England were fake. He's never said he doesn't want to play in England, or for Liverpool. That doesn't mean to say he will be arriving next week, just that those quotes shouldn't be used to assume he won't ever arrive.

When looking at Liverpool's squad lists to help come up with transfer stories Stephen Warnock's name stands out. Blackburn wanted to take him in part exchange for Lucas Neill in the summer but Liverpool laughed at their suggestion. Unfortunately for Warnock he's suffered a few injuries this season and has rarely played. The minor detail of him not being fit enough to play gets glossed over though, and so we're left thinking Warnock's fed up and looking to move. The Guardian say that Newcastle are interested in the 25-year-old, and they say £1.5million would secure his services. Elsewhere the stories seem to be that Liverpool are going to offer the player to Blackburn in part exchange for Lucas Neill.

Warnock may well be starting to feel unhappy at the club, but considering he was happy to stay when interviewed shortly after the closure of the summer window, and considering he's not been fit to appear much this season, it does seem to be that conclusions are being drawn incorrectly. John Arne Riise has had a poor season in the eyes of many people, but with Aurelio and Warnock unavailable for much of the time he's been able to keep his place – he's had no competition for his place. Lucas Neill is being pursued as cover mainly for the right-back berth, so Warnock's departure would seem to leave Liverpool still too short of cover.

Meanwhile the Mirror have decided to link Liverpool with West Ham's Argentine misfit Javier Mascherano. Under their silly-season headline "EXCLUSIVE FOOTBALL SPY" the Mirror's Darren Lewis claims Liverpool are "shock contenders" to sign the midfielder for £6million. The 22-year-old's representatives have been talking to Juventus according to the article but now Liverpool have stepped in showing an interest. The writer does remember that FIFA regulations mean he can't play for another club this season, having also appeared for Corinthians, but "Mirror Sport understands his representatives MSI are 'totally unconcerned' by the ruling". According to the Mirror the player's new club would apply for "special dispensation". The article's credibility falls down in the last sentence: "The Kop deal depends on the sale of the club to a Dubai-based consortium". In other words, we've got a great get-out clause if this fails to happen. We can say it's because Liverpool didn't have enough money (if the takeover fails) or blame it on DIC's money making Rafa change his targets. Easy.

Earlier this week the Mirror were talking of Xabi Alonso's imminent departure to Atletico Madrid for £14million if the Spanish side got their way. Xabi Alonso is worth far more than £14million to Liverpool right now, and unless the player himself was begging to be allowed to leave for home-sickness reasons there's no way Rafa would even consider an offer for him. Liverpool don't sell players just to try and make a profit, unless the player is clearly trying to run down his contract or has made it clear he wants to leave.

There will be many more stories to come over the next few weeks. "Le Gems", Florent Sinama Pongolle and Anthony le Tallec are both out on loan and unlikely to come back to Anfield again, Liverpool would accept any decent offer for either of those. Salif Diao's loan move to Stoke officially expires in the January window – Stoke fans have (surprisingly) taken to him and would love him to stay, but has he done enough to earn a permanent move somewhere? Gabriel Paletta was linked by the Liverpool Echo as possibly joining Diao on loan in Spain for the second half of the season, the club in question being bottom-of-the-table Gimnastic.

Watch out for Djibril Cisse's loan move being made permanent too in the transfer window – if it is then Rafa Benitez is likely to be given a small amount of extra money if he needs it.

Continue reading Crouch Warnock out? Villa Mascherano in? Silly season starts.

DIC source laughs off takeover doom story

Once again there was a story in the papers this week predicting doom and gloom for Liverpool FC on the investment front. The journalist in question has a reputation for getting investment stories completely wrong – either he's making them all up or he's far too trusting of sources who make it all up for him. So bad has his reputation become that most Reds dismissed his story immediately. It's a miracle his editor is yet to spot this, because it's not like he writes for one of the Sunday tabloids that fill their sports pages with fiction every week. I just hope this journalist never gets offered some old diaries from a wartime German leader called Adolf.

PA Sport decided to speak to their source at DIC about the report, and they said straight away that the story was nonsense. DIC haven't even bought the club yet, haven't even worked out how much they'll pay if they do, never mind work out what they'll do with the club in seven years' time.

The source said: "What DIC is doing is planning to make sure that, if a deal is done, Liverpool has the best possible funding in place going forward under DIC stewardship. This is particularly important as we would need to get on with the stadium early in 2007 and it takes time to sort out the necessary financing. This is also important in terms of making sure cash is available for the ongoing strengthening of the playing squad. Should DIC acquire the club, Liverpool will be well run, both on and off the pitch, and we are currently laying the groundwork to ensure that will be the case."

The article on Sunday claimed there'd been a document leaked from DIC, but the source said no such document could even exist at this stage: "DIC has not yet formally made an offer, never mind completed a deal. Certainly there are no plans to exit an acquisition we have not even bought yet. It is a very serious investor with considerable resources at its disposal and the ability to take a long-term view. Equally, we believe that we understand the responsibilities that come with owning Liverpool Football Club."

The final point, if true, is also more reassuring for Reds fans: "DIC has made it clear that, should a deal be concluded, it would not interfere in the day-to-day running of the club."

Continue reading DIC source laughs off takeover doom story

Result and reaction: Blackburn 1 Liverpool 0

Barclays Premiership Result

Blackburn 1 Liverpool 0

Half-time: 0-0

Blackburn: Friedel, Emerton, Todd, Ooijer, Neill, Bentley (Mokoena, 87), Savage, Kerimoglu (Henchoz, 90), Pedersen, Nonda (Derbyshire, 78), McCarthy.
Unused subs: Brown, Gray.
Booked: Nonda, Pedersen, Emerton.
McCarthy 49.

Liverpool: Reina, Hyypia, Carragher, Agger, Finnan, Gerrard, Alonso, Riise, Bellamy (Luis Garcia, 76), Crouch (Kuyt, 56), Gonzalez (Aurelio, 64).
Unused subs: Dudek, Pennant.
Booked: Agger, Alonso.

Attendance: 29,342

Referee: Rob Styles (Hampshire).


Reds boss Rafa Benitez: "Crouch had three clear chances in the first half, but maybe it was down to bad luck and good goalkeeping that we didn't score. When you are in front of goal and you have three clear headers it is not lack of confidence. I think it is good luck that maybe the keeper was in the right position.

"We had many attempts and we couldn't score. You must be disappointed but when you have created so many chances you can't do anything else.We have seen this many times this season when we have created a lot of clear chances, but haven't scored. Their goalkeeper was fantastic, but I have to be disappointed that we have got nothing from a game where we created so many clear chances.
"We made a mistake for the goal Blackburn scored and we now must look to the next game against Tottenham and take our chances there."

Blackburn boss Mark Hughes: "Brad Friedel was magnificent – he made some crucial saves, commanded the box and was an inspiration to everyone in front of him. I think everybody grew because of his presence on the field. I thought everybody was magnificent and there were some huge performances. It was a huge win for us and important we got back to winning ways."

Continue reading Result and reaction: Blackburn 1 Liverpool 0