Reds capture youngster from Real

bruna.jpgAnother youngster has joined Liverpool’s growing band of teenage talent, and this one is being compared to Leonel Messi.

Sixteen-year-old Gerardo Bruna, born in Argentina but brought up in Spain, has now signed for Liverpool from Real Madrid. Madrid were powerless when Liverpool approached him to sign for them. Under UEFA rules a 16-year-old can sign for any club, regardless of which club might have been developing him throughout his teenage years. Real will get some compensation for the player, but are understandably devastated to lose a player with so much potential.

Reds boss Rafa Benítez has been determined to see the club go out and buy for the future, and to do this they are offering lucrative deals to youngsters. Compared to buying proven talent the amount is spent is relatively small, but enough to outbid clubs like Real.

Reaction: Wigan 0 Reds 1

Liverpool beat Wigan 1-0 at the JJB Stadium this afternoon thanks to a goal from substitute Yossi Benayoun, but that goal took 75 minutes to come as Liverpool struggled to put away chances. Manager Rafa Benítez was asked what he thought of his side’s display: “I think it was not bad: You cannot say that the performance was really, really good, but especially the first half we had control of everything and we had some chances and we couldn’t score.

“In the second half, we needed to change things and we used Benayoun and after Voronin to try to keep the ball, and Benayoun, between the lines with good movement, was a key player for us. The difference between one or two years ago is that now you have more players with quality and they can change games.” Continue reading Reaction: Wigan 0 Reds 1

Prem result: Wigan 0 Liverpool 1

Barclays Premier League, September 29th 2007

Wigan 0 Liverpool 1

Liverpool left it late to win this one, substitute Yossi Benayoun coming to the rescue with his 75th minute goal, his second goal in two games. Liverpool went into third place as a result, although Manchester United were to play their fixture later in the evening. Continue reading Prem result: Wigan 0 Liverpool 1

Wigan v Reds: Torres starts

Liverpool fans will be delighted that Fernando Torres has been handed another start today. After scoring a brilliant hat-trick in midweek there will be a lot of hope that Torres can score more against one of the Premier League’s lower teams. Liverpool beat Wigan 4-0 at the JJB Stadium last season, but Wigan have changed manager since then as well as making many signings.

Alongside Torres up front is Dirk Kuyt, with Gerrard and Mascherano behind them in central midfield. Jermaine Pennant starts on the right wing with Rafa likely to use Riise on the left-hand-side of midfield, with Aurelio at left-back, although the two can interchange.

Steven Finnan gets a rest this weekend with ever-present Arbeloa taking over the right-back role. Hyypia and Carragher are the centre-backs and of course Pepe Reina, still unbeaten in open play this season, is in goal.

Peter Crouch doesn’t make the 16.

Wigan: 1 Kirkland, 25 Melchiot, 17 Boyce, 19 Bramble, 8 Kilbane, 18 Scharner, 24 Skoko, 11 Brown, 10 Koumas, 15 Aghahowa, 23 Bent
Subs: 12 Pollitt, 2 Taylor, 4 Granqvist, 5 Hall, 20 Olembe

Liverpool: 25 Reina, 17 Arbeloa, 4 Hyypia, 23 Carragher, 12 Aurelio, 16 Pennant, 8 Gerrard, 20 Mascherano, 6 Riise, 9 Torres, 18 Kuyt
Subs: 30 Itandje, 3 Finnan, 10 Voronin, 11 Benayoun, 22 Sissoko

Referee: Mark Clattenburg

Kick-off: 3.00pm BST

Bill Shankly, the man who brought us so much

shanks2.jpgToday is the 26th anniversary of the death of the greatest man in Liverpool Football Club’s illustrious history. Bill Shankly died on September 29th 1981, aged 68. In those 68 years he brought unprecedented success to a side that were far from being the giants they are today, and laid the foundations for the glories that continue to this day.

When he joined the Reds in 1959 Liverpool were in the bottom of the old second division, in what is known misleadingly as The Championship these days. He set up his backroom staff which included Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan, and tried to improve the facilities at the then-overgrown Melwood training ground. He introduced new training methods, and started to instil the pass-and-move mentality into his players. He made changes large and small to improve the side. One of those changes was that the players would be asked to all arrive at Anfield for training, from where they would be taken by bus as one group to Melwood. After training the bus would take them back to Anfield where they’d get changed out of their training gear and eat a meal together. Shanks felt this would improve team spirit and help the players bond much better. Continue reading Bill Shankly, the man who brought us so much

Carling Cup draw – Fowler to come home

Robbie Fowler is set to be given a chance to play again at Anfield after Liverpool were drawn at home to Cardiff City in the fourth round of the Carling Cup.

Fowler joined the South Wales side in the summer after his final two years at Anfield had come to an end, and will of course relish the chance to play at the ground where he made his name and earned his legendary status.

Rafa tries again to explain rotation

Rafa Benítez knew as soon as the microphones were switched on just what he’d be getting asked about. Whether speaking at the official press conferences or to the interviewer from the official club website, the topic of rotation was sure to be brought up.

Rafa is the manager of a team unbeaten so far this season, which until Tuesday (with the second-choice keeper between the sticks) had yet to concede a goal in open play. But dropped points caused concern for some fans who may yet prove to be correct, but perhaps should wait a little before getting too worried. Supporters want to see the best eleven players line up for every game, they want that game they are watching there and then to end 6-0 to the Reds, and so does Rafa. Except Rafa worries that playing the best eleven players for one game means they won’t be able to play the next game. Furthermore, Rafa’s definition of “best eleven” means the best players for that game, based on fitness and (less so) form as well as ability, not to mention conserving players for forthcoming games.

His view of the season so far is that it’s going well, but he still isn’t happy with the way Liverpool’s fixtures have fallen: “I think that in general it has been good, the only thing that has disappointed me has been the timing of fixtures. After the international break we had to play an early kick-off away to Portsmouth and ended up with a draw. It wasn’t the best result but in the circumstances it isn’t a bad one either.” Continue reading Rafa tries again to explain rotation

Ref switch for Wigan match

There has been a late change of referee for Liverpool’s game against Wigan tomorrow. The original plan was for Steven Bennett to take charge, but with Wigan waiting for the conclusion of disciplinary procedures against them from incidents involving Bennett it was decided a switch was necessary.

Wigan actually had to point the situation out to the Premier League. The action relates to their match against Newcastle, for which they have already pleaded guilty for failing to control their players. However in their view part of the reason for the indiscipline was the poor performance of Bennett and so they are awaiting the league’s decision. Bennett sent off Kevin Kilbane and reported two other Wigan players for contesting his decision. Mark Clattenburg is to step in.

Wigan boss Chris Hutchings said: “It was nothing to do with me but obviously it’s common sense. It would have put everyone under pressure – the referee, ourselves, the players – as it is only four weeks since Steve last refereed us. But had he still been in charge tomorrow, we would have accepted that decision and got on with the job.”

Liverpool haven’t been fans of Bennett’s approach to games in the past, in particular when playing Arsenal. It was no surprise that he officiated poorly in the FA Cup match at Anfield last season, after his performance the season before in the league when he actually sent Xabi Alonso off for an incident he didn’t see, and without consulting his assistants. Xabi had slipped, and got a second yellow as a result, yet Bennett was unsighted as replays clearly showed. No apology was ever made.

El Nino enjoyed hat-trick

Fernando Torres says he was pleased to score his hat-trick against Reading last night, describing it as “special”. Speaking to his own official website – – Torres said his favourite goal of the three was the one set up by John Arne Riise, his second, which he blasted into the top corner.

Torres said: “I am really happy and I hope that there will be plenty more goals to come. My aim is to help my team to do well in all competitions. What I achieved against Reading was special, but it was a team effort and the most important thing is that we are now in the next round of the Cup. We all realise that we have let slip some points in our last two games and that we cannot continue to do this if we want to be in the fight for the title”. Continue reading El Nino enjoyed hat-trick

Team-mates full of praise for Torres

Liverpool’s £18m striker Fernando Torres has been getting some glowing praise from team-mates at Anfield, especially after his hat-trick last night against Reading.

Torres scored the three goals in Liverpool’s 4-2 Carling Cup win after starting the last two league games on the bench and afterwards captain Steven Gerrard and vice-captain Jamie Carragher were quick with their plaudits.

Gerrard compared him to another Liverpool number 9, the legendary Ian Rush: “I know Ian Rush was a great striker and as captain I don’t want to put too much pressure on him (Torres) in terms of goals, but Rushie got a lot of credit for working hard for the team, tracking back and not giving defenders a minute on the ball and that’s what Fernando does.” Continue reading Team-mates full of praise for Torres