Euro2008 over for devastated Babel.

Ryan BabelLiverpool’s Dutch forward Ryan Babel has been ruled out of Euro 2008 after tearing ankle ligaments in training this morning.

Scans showed the extent of the injury and Babel was given the devastating news that he would be out of action for weeks.

Dutch coach Marco van Basten will be entitled to call up a replacement on the condition Babel’s injury is confirmed by a UEFA medic. Continue reading Euro2008 over for devastated Babel.

Barry wants more talks

Liverpool target Gareth Barry told Aston Villa fans he thought they were “fantastic”, but said his future needed sorting, and “the sooner the better”.

Barry said it was now up to his club to decide if they were going to accept a bid from Liverpool for his services, and he hoped to have a meeting with his manager and his club’s owner as soon as he gets back from international duty. He’s expected to be named the latest one-off England captain for the weekend clash with Trinidad and Tobago. End of season, Gareth Barry says goodbye to Villa fansAlso in the squad for Sunday’s match were Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard and Reds striker -for now at least – Peter Crouch. Former Reds full-back Stephen Warnock has also travelled.

Barry was speaking to the Birmingham Mail, who had sent out a message asking fans to try and persuade Barry to stay, hoping to rally support for the campaign with arguments like this: “Such has been the club’s transformation under O’Neill, he could soon realise that ambition (Champions League Football) with Villa anyway – he is already getting another taste of Europe in the Inter Toto Cup next season, which could lead to UEFA Cup glory.”

And there lies the problem for Villa fans. Comparing the Inter Toto with the Champions League is hardly likely to persuade Barry to stay, but he was grateful for the messages from supporters: “It means the world. I have always had a great relationship with the fans. They have been fantastic to me and I have noticed they have said some great things about me. I’ve seen quite a few of those messages. And I say it again. It means the world to me because it is all about appreciating the fans because they appreciate the Villa players.”

No doubt Barry will be sad to say his goodbyes, but so was Fernando Torres a year ago when he left boyhood club Atlético Madrid. Continue reading Barry wants more talks

Torres and Alsonso hopeful for Spanish success

LTorres in training with Spainiverpool forward Fernando Torres says he’s hopeful his Spanish team-mates can go all the way and win a major tournament for only the second time in their history.

Despite going into most tournaments amongst the favourites, they have never achieved anything higher than fourth place in World Cup and have won just one European Championship, 44 years ago. They’ve started preparations slowly compared to other sides too, building up their training regime gradually and only starting their pre-tournament friendlies on Saturday with the visit of Peru.

But Torres still feels they can go far: “We are the last to start but I hope we will be standing at the last.”

Torres got 24 league goals for Liverpool in his first season, a record for an overseas player in a debut season, and hopes to take that form into the tournament. His popularity amongst Liverpool supporters is massive; the speed with which he’s become so popular is probably close to a record too.

Continue reading Torres and Alsonso hopeful for Spanish success

In memory – May 29th 1985

On May 29th 1985 39 people died at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels before the Juventus-Liverpool European Cup Final. 38 Italians and 1 Belgian.

In Memoria e Amicizia – in Memory and Friendship.

Rocco Acerra

Bruno Balli

Alfons Bos

Giancarlo Bruschera

Andrea Casula

Giovanni Casula

Nino Cerullo

Willy Chielens

Giuseppina Conti

Dirk Daenecky

Dionisio Fabbro

Jacques François

Eugenio Gagliano

Francesco Galli

Giancarlo Gonnelli

Alberto Guarini

Giovacchino Landini

Roberto Lorentini

Barbara Lusci

Franco Martelli

Loris Messore

Gianni Mastrolaco

Sergio Bastino Mazzino

Luciano Rocco Papaluca

Luigi Pidone

Bento Pistolato

Patrick Radcliffe

Domenico Ragazzi

Antonio Ragnanese

Claude Robert

Mario Ronchi

Domenico Russo

Tarcisio Salvi

Gianfranco Sarto

Giuseppe Spalaore

Mario Spanu

Tarcisio Venturin

Jean Michel Walla

Claudio Zavaroni

Continue reading In memory – May 29th 1985

Reds called up for Euro 2008.

Today saw the final deadline for Euro 2008 entrants to submit their final 23-man squads for this summer’s tournament, and Liverpool are set to have seven representatives on duty.

New signing Philipp Degan made the Swiss squad despite having been injured recently, and has been handed a squad number that he won’t be wearing at Anfield, number 23. Degan will officially become a Liverpool player later in the summer, when his current Borussia Dortmund contract ends

Kuyt scores for HollandAttacking duo Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel deservedly made the Dutch squad, having ended the season on good form for their club. Dirk wears 18 and Ryan 21.

There are four Liverpool players in the Spanish squad. As for their club, Fernando Torres will be Spain’s number nine and Xabi Alonso will wear 14. Álvaro Arbeloa was handed the number 18, with Pepe Reina wearing 23. Long time Liverpool target David Villa will wear number 7.

Whether Xabi Alonso will still be a Liverpool player by the time the tournament kicks off remains to be seen, with Juve stepping up their efforts to prise him from Anfield.

Continue reading Reds called up for Euro 2008.

Chelsea warned: Torres not for sale

Rafa Benítez, Tom Hicks and the player himself have all said today that Liverpool striker Fernando Torres is not for sale, despite the latest set of claims that Chelsea were planning to break the world record to sign him.

Reds manager Rafa told the Liverpool Echo: “The situation is very simple. We do not want to sell Fernando Torres. If a player does a good job for his team, like Fernando has for us, then it is sometimes easy for people to speculate that he might be wanted by other clubs.”

According to Rafa, Chelsea haven’t made any offer yet, but even if they did the answer would be firm rejection: “I am not aware of any offer being made by Chelsea but even if there was my answer would be the same. He is not for sale.”

Continue reading Chelsea warned: Torres not for sale

Torres Chelsea story began in Spanish tabloid

Another summer transfer window and another Chelsea attempt to poach a top Liverpool player? Or just another summer transfer and another reporter clutching at straws and using the slightest hint of information to come up with a story?

Torres scores against MarseilleUnable to keep their own striker happy, Chelsea have been reported as on the verge of making a £50m bid for Liverpool’s striker Fernando Torres.

The latest fuss began yesterday when the Daily Mail newspaper decided to revisit a story that first surfaced a couple of weeks ago in Spain, when Madrid-based tabloid Marca, claimed Chelsea had made a €50m (£40m) bid for Torres, but were turned down.

As part of the weight for its claims, the Marca story referenced an earlier Times report which had claimed Torres would have to be sold, along with Ryan Babel, if the club couldn’t find £31.5m in little over a year. At the same time as taking out the £350m finance package in January, the Times claimed, the club’s owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks had borrowed a further £31.5m to pay for the transfers of Torres and Ryan Babel. This was on top of the £350m, it said, and would have to be repaid in full, with 9% interest added, by summer 2009.

Although £31.5m does sound feasible as a total transfer cost for the pair – £20m for Torres and £11.5m for Babel – it also works out at exactly the same figure as 12 months’ 9% interest on £350m. One way or other, it seemed there had been some mix-ups on information supplied to the paper somewhere along the line.

The 9% claim for interest is believed to be much higher than the true interest rate agreed for the £350m finance, but whether that is the case or not, Rick Parry wasn’t messing about when he responded to the story via the official Liverpool FC website the next day: “The story in Friday’s Times newspaper was garbage,” said Parry. “I want to make it clear in the simplest and most straightforward terms that the purchases of Fernando and Ryan were funded in the same way as every other transfer. The scope for any other interpretation is nil.” Continue reading Torres Chelsea story began in Spanish tabloid

Dossena wants to join, Xabi wants to stay

Reports that a Juventus representative held talks with Liverpool boss Rafa Benítez have seen renewed speculation that Xabi Alonso is on his way out of the club, but once again the Spanish midfielder has denied any knowledge of being on his way out.

Juventus director Jean-Claude Blanc did meet Rafa, but the clear signal coming from Melwood is that Rafa would not even consider for a second anything less than a “massive” offer for Xabi, according to the Echo. Italian paper Gazzetta dello Sport said on Monday that Juve had offered £12 million and had expected to finalise the transfer next week, but it won’t be done at that price, if at all. And reports from Liverpool said no formal offer had been made.

Xabi and Rafa talk tacticsAlonso himself was asked by the press back home about the latest claims but said nothing had changed since the last time he said he wanted to stay at the club. Speaking to the Catalonian paper Mundo Deportivo he said: “This is nothing new, there is always speculation about me. I know perfectly well what my situation is.”

He says the speculation wasn’t down to him, and there were no signs of Liverpool actively seeking to sell: “This has nothing to do with me. If the club wanted to sell me, I would know about it. If the club want to cash in on me and buy other players, I would accept it and look for another club, but they haven’t said anything to me. For that reason I think my future is still with Liverpool.”

In an earlier interview he said he would expect Rafa to be honest with him if was looking to sell him: “He has never said that he wants me to leave. If he thought that way I would prefer him to be honest and say ‘Xabi, we are thinking about other players and you are not going to play that much,’ then I would look for a different option. But he still thinks I can play an important role.” Continue reading Dossena wants to join, Xabi wants to stay

LFC fans’ charity night for Zoe’s Place

UPDATED: Change of venue!

Please note that the function will now take place at The Clarence Hotel, Utting Avenue, Anfield, L4 8SX.

Zoes PlaceLiverpool FC fans’ website and forum,, have arranged a charity night at The Sandon next month, with proceeds going to Zoe’s Place Children’s Hospice.

The Sandon is of course part of Liverpool’s history, from the earliest days including the run-up to the actual formation of the Club by its original board members, to a well-publicised if a little overplayed visit by one of the Club’s current board members earlier this year.

Zöe’s Place Liverpool was the first baby hospice in the UK, until a second Zöe’s place opened in Middlesbrough in 2004. Another Zöe’s place is due to open soon in Coventry, such has been the success. They provide 24-hour one-to-one respite and palliative nursing care for children from birth to five-year-old who are suffering from life-threatening or life-limiting conditions.

The Liverpool hospice, in West Derby, can accommodate up to six infants at a time, although they have far more children on their books than that – 45 at the last count according to the Zoe’s Place website.

The charity night itself will be an opportunity for Reds to meet up and have a drink, and there’s a buffet too to help soak some of that drink up. There’ll also be a disco, so you can either dance or protest strongly that you don’t dance. A bit like going to a family wedding do, without having to put up with the bit of the family you aren’t keen on. And as an extra bonus there’s even going to be a live act so it should be a great night.

On top of that there are some excellent raffle prizes on offer, including a Steven Gerrard signed Liverpool shirt, a Michael Owen signed England shirt, a trip around Anfield for 4 people (not just a wander around the outside of the stadium of course) , some Liverpool FC DVDs, and “much more”. Continue reading LFC fans’ charity night for Zoe’s Place

“We’re gonna bounce in a minute!”

Summer’s here (whisper it), and although it brings with it the downsides of cricket on the back pages and flies in your beer, it’s always a good time of year for a footy song. It’s just a pity that more often than not the footy songs in question aren’t actually any good.

This summer might be different. First of all there aren’t any of the home nations, or Ireland, in the European Championships this summer, so we’ve less chance of being bombarded with singers in Russ Abbot style “Jimmy” hat-and-wig combos telling us how good Scotland are. No real fears of an England song featuring John Terry slipping and missing a note. And as always, no Welsh or Northern Ireland song celebrating their appearance in a major summer championships.

Paul Hammond - We\'re gonna bounce in a minuteInstead we’ve got a Liverpool song to listen to. It’s not in celebration of any silverware, unfortunately, but with the player who is the subject of the song in our side we surely can’t have long to wait until we add another line on that long honours list we have.

Before you click “back”, one thing that may attract your attention is that the song is available for free.

It’s called “We’re Gonna Bounce In A Minute” and that probably tells you immediately who it’s dedicated to. Fernando Torres of course, Liverpool’s number nine, whose song to the tune of “Johnny Comes Marching Home” is preceded by that chant warning under-fire stewards of the impending bouncing.

Musician, producer, and lifelong Red Paul Hammond, is responsible for this recording of the song, which features the Kop singing as well as Paul’s own additions to the song, including some new lyrics. Continue reading “We’re gonna bounce in a minute!”