Liverpool v Atletico – Teams

Europa League. Semi-final, second leg. Kick-off 8:05pm.

Liverpool v Atletico Madrid

Rafa’s starting eleven is sure to cause some confusion in terms of how it will actually line up, with the injuries that have littered the season still not showing any sign of abating.

Not only have there been injuries all through the season, but having made a £17m profit on transfers last season there was never any spare cash to strengthen the squad to provide sufficient cover for injuries.

Thankfully for Liverpool Pepe Reina starts in goal, and he’ll a have back-four of Johnson, Carragher, Agger and Mascherano in front of him. Glen Johnson is set to switch to left-back, Mascherano to fill in at right back, Rafa keeping youngster Daniel Ayala and free-signing Philip Degen as back-up on the bench.

With Mascherano dropping back to defence Alberto Aquilani gets to start a game, almost certainly partnering Lucas Leiva in midfield. Steven Gerrard is expected to start behind a lone striker, although it’s always possible that he will start in midfield with Aquilani in the more advanced role.

That leaves Babel, Kuyt and Benayoun as the other starters, one of them likely to be the main striker and the other two playing wider roles. It’s anyone’s guess which one gets to play which role, although Kuyt is likely to be the furthest forward with Babel on the left and Benayoun on the right.

Bill Shankly, UEFA CupBenitez wants to get his side into that Europa League final, he wants the home fans to help him, and he wants to do that to send a message to a certain member of senior management who seems happy to talk transfers behind the manager’s back as well as gossiping about the manager’s future. If Liverpool do make it all the way, and go on to lift the trophy, there’s a sense that the senior management figure will expect Gerrard to step aside and let him hold the cup aloft.

First things first though, this will not be an easy task but it’s certainly not beyond Liverpool, who don’t just have to score but have to be wary of allowing Atletico a chance at an away goal. But this is Anfield, a European night, the last one of the season and even if it’s not in the European Cup, it’s well worth fighting for.

Liverpool: 25 Reina, 20 Mascherano, 23 Carragher, 5 Agger, 2 Johnson, 21 Lucas, 4 Aquilani, 15 Benayoun, 8 Gerrard, 19 Babel, 18 Kuyt
Subs: 1 Cavalieri, 16 Kyrgiakos, 27 Degen, 40 Ayala, 24 Ngog, 31 El Zhar, 47 Pacheco

Atletico Madrid: 43 De Gea, 3 Antonio Lopez, 18 Dominguez, 21 Perea, 2 Valera, 8 Raul Garcia, 12 Paulo Assuncao, 20 Simao, 7 Forlan, 10 Aguero, 19 Reyes
Subs: 1 Sergio Asenjo, 16 Juanito, 17 Ujfalusi, 24 Leandro Cabrera, 6 Camacho, 9 Jurado, 14 Eduardo Salvio

Owners own, managers manage – what about the MD?

By Tom Wilson

Purslow - crossing lines that shouldn't be crossed?
“At a football club, there’s a holy trinity – the players, the manager and the supporters. Directors don’t come into it. They are only there to sign the cheques”

Having failed in his mandate to deliver investment to Liverpool Football Club, a nonfulfillment that resulted in him having his remit reduced and lead to the appointment of Martin Broughton and Barclays Capital, it appears that Christian Purslow is filling the gaps in his increasingly sparse schedule by meddling in areas that don’t concern him.

Despite being a lifelong supporter and long time season ticket holder, the Liverpool managing director has, on occasion, paid scant regard to Shankly’s famous “Holy Trinity” mantra.

To all intents and purposes, it appears that the Liverpool MD, when not desperately seeking the approval of certain senior members of the first team squad, is trying to desperately compensate for his demotion of sorts by both securing his position, satisfying his ego by painting himself as some kind of “Mr Liverpool” figure, whilst at the same time undermining the manager at every turn in a childish, narcissistic fit of pique.

Not happy with just having an unhealthy influence over big hitter and Daily Telegraph football correspondent Henry Winter, Christian is reputedly bending the collective ears of anyone with an outlet who’ll listen to his propaganda.

Propaganda which resulted in this piece by Sam Wallace and Mark Fleming in The Independent.

As if the seemingly deliberate timing of the article wasn’t bad enough – on the eve of Liverpool’s biggest game of the season – it also illustrates perfectly the delusions of grandeur of the former middle market equity boss, who it is believed was the source of the story. Continue reading Owners own, managers manage – what about the MD?

Teams: Liverpool v West Ham

Fernando Torres is out for the rest of the season so David Ngog starts up front for the Reds tonight in a game that Liverpool need to win if they want to finish in one of the European spots. Mascherano is on the bench so Gerrard will be in midfield with Lucas, meaning Kuyt, Maxi or Benayoun will be candidates for Gerrard’s usual advanced role tonight.

Agger is at left-back again, Johnson at right back, with Carragher and Kyrgiakos both starting.

Pepe Reina is in goal.

Aquilani is on the bench again, with Ryan Babel and El Zhar the main options if the Reds are struggling for a goal.

Liverpool also face an arduous journey by land to Spain for Thursday’s Europa Cup semi-final against Atletico, thanks to the volcano ash that’s grounded all flights out of England. If the airspace clears up maybe the new chairman will be able to get them a flight, but that’s still quite unlikely.

West Ham’s manager Zola will no doubt enjoy a chat after the game with Rafa, the topic almost certainly be how to deal with troublesome owners.

Liverpool: 25 Reina, 2 Johnson, 16 Kyrgiakos, 23 Carragher, 5 Agger, 21 Lucas, 8 Gerrard, 18 Kuyt, 17 Maxi, 15 Benayoun, 24 Ngog
Subs: 1 Cavalieri, 27 Degen, 40 Ayala, 4 Aquilani, 20 Mascherano, 19 Babel, 31 El Zhar

West Ham: 1 Green, 15 Upson, 18 Spector, 20 Faubert, 22 Da Costa, 14 Kovac, 16 Noble, 21 Behrami, 46 Stanislas, 9 Ilan, 12 Cole
Subs: 28 Kurucz, 4 Gabbidon, 33 Daprela, 32 Alessandro Diamanti, 10 Franco, 11 Mido, 17 McCarthy

How was Broughton brought in?

By Tom Wilson

Liverpool have a new chairman, Martin Broughton, a highly-respected businessman with a reputation that suggests he’s not going to make a mess of his new role at Anfield. Which begs the question – how did Liverpool’s current owners – Tom Hicks and George Gillett – persuade him to take the job?

It’s just a matter of weeks since Spirit of Shankly posters went up around Liverpool describing Hicks and Gillett as cowboys, around the same time as meeting notes were being released that suggested Christian Purslow and Royal Bank of Scotland shared similar views of the much-despised duo. Although Purslow wouldn’t approve the original version of the minutes, he never denied anything attributed to him in that version.

And in that version was the claim that RBS were tired of Hicks and Gillett, tired of how they’d run the club since they arrived in 2007.

They were demanding an investment of at least £100m to reduce the debt the club and its owners had got into, and although details were never really released as to what would happen if the investment wasn’t forthcoming, the suggestion was that it wouldn’t be nice for the owners.

The only serious offer reported was from the Rhone Group, a bid of little over £100m for a larger percentage of the club than either owner wanted to give them. But with the messages being sent out by RBS, through Purslow, it didn’t seem like the owners had much choice really.

But the Rhone offer was allowed to expire, and an Easter deadline from RBS became a summer deadline.

And then the whole situation changed.

The owners found help in the shape of a very highly-respected name from Wall Street. Michael Klein, former vice-chairman of Citi Group and advisor to Barclays Capital on their takeover of Lehman Brothers. Michael Klein, formerly of Citi GroupThe Rhone Group offer was knocked back, the owners were no longer worried about the banks. Not in terms of their Liverpool FC interests anyway. And Purslow went very quiet indeed; has he had his wings clipped?

Suggestions were made that Barclays had refinanced the LFC debts, giving the owners a package worth £300m to replace the £237m already in place. Later on came suggestions that RBS had offered to extend the finance on terms the owners were very happy with because of the risk they’d lose that business to Barclays.

As it was the Barclays’ involvement was officially announced on Friday – their investment arm Barclays Capital were to find the club new owners, with Martin Broughton appointed chairman to oversee that process, and the existing bankers providing finance on terms that would ensure that sale process wouldn’t be hindered.

Klein had introduced Hicks and Gillett to Broughton. The owners were extremely impressed with what they saw, and Broughton was very much willing to do the job he’d been offered. He feels sure he’ll find a buyer for the club, and although he won’t confirm the price publicly it’s believed to be in the region of £300m (excluding debt), a significant rise on the purchase price paid of £175m (excluding the club’s debt at that time). This does seem to contradict comments by Hicks published earlier today where he suggested he’d get four times his investment back. Perhaps the issue is just how big his investment actually was.

But what about the new stadium? The whole reason the club was sold in the first place was so that Anfield could be replaced by something far larger that would bring in far larger revenues from each match.

Is it possible that Klein has agreed £300m worth of finance for the club with Barclays after all? Not in the sense of a straight loan for £300m, but as part of a deal to sell the naming rights for the new stadium.

The two largest deals ever struck in the US for stadium naming rights featured companies linked to Klein.

His former bosses Citi Group paid $400m to sponsor the new home of the MLB’s New York Mets. Now known as “Citi Field”, the stadium opened last year.

And Barclays paid a reported $400m to become the named sponsors of the new stadium in Brooklyn for the New Jersey Nets basketball outfit. To be called the Barclays Center, construction is still under way. The first shovels were in the ground last month.

The Liverpool announcement on Friday made it clear that efforts were to be made to get the stadium project back underway. Is that going to come about through finance made available independently of any sale?

As always with the soap-opera surrounding the governance of Liverpool, nothing should ever be taken at face value.

New Liverpool chairman asks for patience

It’s still far too early to work out whether today’s announcement is good or bad news for Liverpool fans. Perhaps it’s safest to say this news is a mixture of both.

If it was all good news would Martin Broughton restrict his interviews the way he has? No press conference to announce his arrival suggests he knows he might be asked some very difficult questions. He’s not – so far – agreed to talk to the types of reporter that might drill down into his answers to see what the truth might really be.

When George Gillett and Tom Hicks arrived at the club they sat in front of a mass of journalists and answered questions about how good they were going to be and how glad they were to be here. Either that was supreme confidence that they could wing it or they genuinely thought they’d be able to sort out the finances and get the vital new stadium built.

Along came the credit crunch and a massive disagreement between the two partners. There were no press conferences when their finance was finally renewed in January 2008. There were no press conferences when they exercised an option to extend that finance by six-months a year later. Hicks spoke – on the whole – to reporters he knew would hold back on the difficult questions. Gillett didn’t speak for ages, and then restricted it to one particular radio presenter. They only seemed to speak to attack their partner or defend themselves against comments made by their partner.

When the finance was extended again in the summer of 2009 it wasn’t even announced. The press just got told off the record that it had been extended. No details were released.

Christian Purslow was working for the club, or at the club, or with the club, back in March of last year if we are to believe one of his own comments: “The most important aspect of the football club I was involved in in my first week in the job was securing Rafa for another five years.” Benítez signed his new deal on March 18th and Purslow was spotted sitting with the owners in the director’s box shortly after.

But the announcement of his appointment as MD wasn’t made until three months later on June 22nd.

Another three months on and he’d seemingly forgotten that first three months at the club. It was now mid-September, six months after his work on “securing Rafa”, and he told the Echo: “The job satisfaction I have felt in my first three months every day to go home from work, where unlike most normal jobs, satisfaction comes from maybe doing a good job.” He said it twice: “I feel a huge responsibility to all of our fans because until three months ago that’s all I was – just a fan.”

Why the secrecy for the first three months? It’s just one aspect that raises suspicions about his appointment and the true reasons behind it. It’s just one contradiction that comes up when comparing various statements and comments attributed to Purslow.

But secrecy isn’t new under the current ownership. Ian Ayre and Philip Nash were appointed to the board in December 2009 – but the announcement wasn’t made until January, and only then because an ill-advised email from Tom Hicks Junior saw him resign from the board. The appointment of Casey Coffman was made at the same time as the two appointments that had actually been made some weeks before.

Today’s announcement was less secretive, and although Martin Broughton was likely to know he’d not get any difficult questions from those speaking to him today, it does suggest that maybe there will be some good news in there somewhere.

In an interview on the official club website he was asked about the future of manager Rafael Benítez. He said: “Rafa is a good manager, we want him to stay, he’s contracted to stay, so I’m assuming he’s staying.” But the follow-on question to that would surely be: “What about the transfer budget?”

Something needs to be done to make up for having less to spend than came in from sales last year. And whatever happens there needs to be some honesty – we don’t want to be told that £20m net was spent on players when it was quite clearly nothing of the sort.

Speaking in an interview televised by Sky Sports, Broughton spoke about why this time the sale of the club might actually take place: “There have been lots of expressions of interest in the past but this is first time really the whole club has been available for sale on a structured basis.

“So there’s been ad-hoc interest, it’s been for sort of partial pieces and things like that.

“So as far as we’re concerned some of those who have expressed interest in the past may well be reinvigorated by this process, the whole of the club is available. We think there are others out there who will now be interested.”

“There’s been interest, but it’s been ad-hoc, this is now going to be structured I think there’ll be lots of interest.

Asked if he expected to find a buyer before the end of the year he appeared confident: “Oh yes absolutely. Oh yes. Months, a matter of months.”

In another interview, with the Liverpool Echo, he made it clear that he wasn’t going to be at the club full time and that Christian Purslow would continue “running” the club: “I am not an executive chairman – Christian Purslow, Ian Ayre and Philip Nash are the key players.

“It is a great team running the club and they will continue to run the club. I’m coming in as chairman with the principal responsibility to oversee a sale.”

Last summer there is little doubt that the transfer budget was cut as the summer went on. Benitez had spoken after the signing of Johnson of being able to bring another player in without having to sell anyone. Yet the transfers that went through after that saw him bring in at least £15m more than went out. Not only did he not get that £15m to spend, Purslow told the press that Rafa had been given an additional £20m on top of sales to spend on players.  Even if you allow Purslow to redefine transfer spending by adding in pay-rises for players getting new contracts, it doesn’t explain that £35m discrepancy.

To this day he’s not explained that discrepancy, and it seems he won’t have to: “Christian will be running the club and it is his field to deal with the issues there,” said Broughton. “All I would say is that for the players as well as the fans, this is a fresh start.”

Although the new chairman won’t be based as far away as the previous co-chairmen, he still doesn’t intend to be in Liverpool too often, “maybe” one day a week: “I’ll be involved as much as I need to be. Involved a couple of days a week and physically at Anfield maybe one day a week. But the sale process is more likely to be based in London.

He made it clear he wouldn’t make any official statements about how the sale of the club is moving forward, he said he wouldn’t be naming any bidders: “Over the next few months I’m going to make no statements about who and how anything is progressing. I’m sure there will be lots of press coverage as the media try to find out, but there will be no statements from me.”

No statements – but will there be any leaks?

As for his status as a Chelsea season ticket holder: “I am a lifelong Chelsea fan, but most of all I’m a sports fan and a football fan. Liverpool FC is a wonderful football institution and the Premier League is a wonderful institution. My role is to make sure Liverpool is successful in the future.”

Of course Broughton won’t reveal where his priorities lie, but he must know he will have to make decisions that upset at least one party who has an interest in Liverpool’s future. The current owners still want their profit, the banks still want to make money out of the club, and the fans want the club to go back to being a successful side on the pitch. Can Broughton keep all of those people happy and still attract a buyer, who will of course want to make their own money out of this deal.

And for that reason there really can’t be any reassurance from the following statement: “It is now very important that we find the right owner – not just a new owner.” Right for who?

The whole reason David Moores sold “the family silver” was so that Liverpool FC could get a new stadium, a stadium that would bring in extra money to invest in the club and in the team and keep the club competitive. Despite Gillett’s infamous talk of shovels in ground within 60 days that stadium has still not happened. Broughton suggested that any new owners would have to make that stadium a reality if they were to be able to make their takeover a success: “I think taking the stadium plan forward has to be in everyone’s interests. I think when you look at the financial logic, it has to happen. It’s inescapable that any new owner would not go ahead with the new project.”

Broughton had a message for supporters: “I ask for patience from the fans. They want to get what I want to get – not just the highest bidder but the best bidder in the long term.”

He confirmed that the club would almost certainly have debt to service following a takeover, but suggested it should be at an appropriate level: “It has to be the right owners and also the right financial structure – no more than a reasonable amount of debt that you would expect in any organisation of this size.”

“My message to the fans is this: have a little bit of patience and in a little bit of time I’ll deliver.”

We’d have far more patience with him if he was willing to talk to someone who might ask the more difficult questions.

Official: LFC appoint Broughton, club up for sale

The following announcement was made this morning by Liverpool Football Club on the official LFC website:

Liverpool Football Club (the “Club”), today announced that Martin Broughton has been appointed as Chairman with immediate effect.

The new Chairman will oversee a formal sale process launched by current owners, Thomas Hicks and George Gillett Jr.

Following numerous expressions of interest from third parties, the Club has engaged Barclays Capital to advise on the sale process. The Club has the full support of its existing bankers for this process and has financing in place which will fully support the Club’s operations.

Mr. Broughton, currently Chairman of British Airways PLC and deputy president of the Confederation of British Industry, will work alongside the club’s existing management team of Managing Director Christian Purslow, Commercial Director Ian Ayre and Financial Director Philip Nash. The day-to-day running of the club remains in the hands of this team, who have overseen a significant improvement in the financial performance of the Club since 2007. During that time:

* The Club’s revenues have increased by 55%;

* Commercial revenues have increased by 83%;

* Operating profit (before player trading and exceptionals) has increased by 60%.

The Club will continue to progress the well-advanced plans for a new, larger, and state-of-the-art stadium which will form an exciting part of the club’s future development.

Thomas Hicks and George Gillett said: “Owning Liverpool Football Club over these past three years has been a rewarding and exciting experience for us and our families. Having grown the Club this far we have now decided together to look to sell the Club to owners committed to take the Club through its next level of growth and development.

“We are delighted that Martin Broughton has agreed to take the position of Chairman, working alongside the club’s excellent senior management team. Martin is a distinguished business leader of excellent judgment and with a great reputation. He is a genuine football supporter and will seek to oversee the sales process in the best interests of the Club and its supporters.”

Martin Broughton said: “I am excited and honoured to be taking up this position. Liverpool is a great club with a fantastic history. I will run this sale process in the right way, for the benefit of the Club and its fans. Liverpool is one of the world’s greatest clubs and my aim is to try and ensure that we find new owners who are able to build on the Club’s recent improved financial performance in order to help deliver sporting success.”

Benitez: “Memorial service is very, very emotional”

Anfield will host the Hillsborough Memorial Service again this afternoon, as the Kop fills with people who want to pay their respects to the ninety-six victims on the 21st anniversary of that day.

Last season’s service fell during school holidays meaning far more people than usual were able to attend, catching the club by surprise when something like 30,000 people turned up. This year the service will be all-ticket. There is no charge for the tickets, but it allows the club to prepare appropriately for the number of people wishing to attend. It’s estimated there will be around 10,000 in attendance today.

As well as supporters of Liverpool there is always a large presence from fans of other sides, many of whom travel long distances, not to mention those who have no football connection but felt touched by the tragedy. At the front of the Kop, as always, will be the families – joined as ever by the players, staff and officials of the club.

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez spoke about what it means to him and how important he knows the service is: “Since I’ve been here it’s always been very, very emotional. All the players and all the staff are always there trying to support the families because it is a very important day for the club.

“The first time I went to the Memorial Service I was so impressed by what happens at this club. You can see the people and all the feelings. It’s a poignant occasion to keep everyone remembering.”

The service starts at 2.45pm as always, with a minute’s silence at 3.06pm. That time is chosen because it was that time on April 15th 1989 that the referee stopped the game between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, having been alerted to the awful events unfolding on the Leppings Lane terracing. Ninety-six supporters who had gone to that FA Cup semi-final never went home again, their lives ended brutally in the crush that ensued when police were ordered by their commander to open a gate. A tragedy that could so easily have been avoided, yet to this day many of the details remain covered up.

If you are unable to attend the stadium you can see coverage of the service live on the club’s TV channel, LFC TV, which is on Sky channel 434. It will also be broadcast free of charge on the club’s website, www.liverpoolfc.tv. Coverage starts at 2.30pm.

If you are unable to attend or view the coverage of the service online or on TV, perhaps find somewhere quiet for a minute or two at 3.06pm and remember the 96.

In memory of our 96.

Twenty-one years and still no justice.

The pain of fHillsborough
April 15th, 1989, Liverpool face Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium.

24,000 Liverpool fans went to see if their heroes could get to another Wembley final, potentially against local rivals Everton again.

By six minutes past three the game was over. Six minutes gone, and people were dying. Dying in horrific circumstances. Those that lived would never live the same lives again, not after what they’d been through.

Ninety six fans would never come home again.

All they did was go to a football match.

We’ll never forget them. Ever.

And they will have their justice.

Rest in peace.

John Alfred Anderson (62)
Colin Mark Ashcroft (19)
James Gary Aspinall (18)
Kester Roger Marcus Ball (16)
Gerard Bernard Patrick Baron (67)
Simon Bell (17)
Barry Sidney Bennett (26)
David John Benson (22)
David William Birtle (22)
Tony Bland (22)
Paul David Brady (21)
Andrew Mark Brookes (26)
Carl Brown (18)
David Steven Brown (25)
Henry Thomas Burke (47)
Peter Andrew Burkett (24)
Paul William Carlile (19)
Raymond Thomas Chapman (50)
Gary Christopher Church (19)
Joseph Clark (29)
Paul Clark (18)
Gary Collins (22)
Stephen Paul Copoc (20)
Tracey Elizabeth Cox (23)
James Philip Delaney (19)
Christopher Barry Devonside (18)
Christopher Edwards (29)
Vincent Michael Fitzsimmons (34)
Thomas Steven Fox (21)
Jon-Paul Gilhooley (10)
Barry Glover (27)
Ian Thomas Glover (20)
Derrick George Godwin (24)
Roy Harry Hamilton (34)
Philip Hammond (14)
Eric Hankin (33)
Gary Harrison (27)
Stephen Francis Harrison (31)
Peter Andrew Harrison (15)
David Hawley (39)
James Robert Hennessy (29)
Paul Anthony Hewitson (26)
Carl Darren Hewitt (17)
Nicholas Michael Hewitt (16)
Sarah Louise Hicks (19)
Victoria Jane Hicks (15)
Gordon Rodney Horn (20)
Arthur Horrocks (41)
Thomas Howard (39)
Thomas Anthony Howard (14)
Eric George Hughes (42)
Alan Johnston (29)
Christine Anne Jones (27)
Gary Philip Jones (18)
Richard Jones (25)
Nicholas Peter Joynes (27)
Anthony Peter Kelly (29)
Michael David Kelly (38)
Carl David Lewis (18)
David William Mather (19)
Brian Christopher Mathews (38)
Francis Joseph McAllister (27)
John McBrien (18)
Marion Hazel McCabe (21)
Joseph Daniel McCarthy (21)
Peter McDonnell (21)
Alan McGlone (28)
Keith McGrath (17)
Paul Brian Murray (14)
Lee Nicol (14)
Stephen Francis O’Neill (17)
Jonathon Owens (18)
William Roy Pemberton (23)
Carl William Rimmer (21)
David George Rimmer (38)
Graham John Roberts (24)
Steven Joseph Robinson (17)
Henry Charles Rogers (17)
Colin Andrew Hugh William Sefton (23)
Inger Shah (38)
Paula Ann Smith (26)
Adam Edward Spearritt (14)
Philip John Steele (15)
David Leonard Thomas (23)
Patrik John Thompson (35)
Peter Reuben Thompson (30)
Stuart Paul William Thompson (17)
Peter Francis Tootle (21)
Christopher James Traynor (26)
Martin Kevin Traynor (16)
Kevin Tyrrell (15)
Colin Wafer (19)
Ian David Whelan (19)
Martin Kenneth Wild (29)
Kevin Daniel Williams (15)
Graham John Wright (17)

You’ll Never Walk Alone.

Liverpool v Fulham: Torres injured, Kuyt on bench

Liverpool play fellow Europa Cup semi-finalists Fulham at home today, needing a win to keep the pressure on Manchester City and Spurs in the fight for fourth place. All Liverpool can do is win their own games and hope the others slip up, but they’ll have to do it today without Fernando Torres.

The Spanish striker strained a knee helping Liverpool on their way to victory over Benfica so his place is taken today by David Ngog.

Also missing is Emiliano Insua, but unlike on Thursday when he was suspended he’s out with an injury today. Daniel Agger will fill in again, meaning Kyrgiakos and Carragher take the centre-back roles with Glen Johnson at right-back.

Also out of the starting line-up are Dirk Kuyt, Lucas Leiva and Yossi Benayoun, who all drop to the bench alongside Cavalieri, Degen, Pacheco and Ayala.

Alberto Aquilani starts, presumably in central midfield ahead of Javier Mascherano, with Ryan Babel, Steven Gerrard and Maxi Rodriguez supporting David Ngog.

Former Red Danny Murphy starts for Fulham.

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Kyrgiakos, Agger, Mascherano, Aquilani, Babel, Maxi, Gerrard, Ngog.
Subs: Cavalieri, Kuyt, Benayoun, Lucas, Degen, Pacheco, Ayala.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Konchesky, Hangeland, Baird, Hughes, Murphy, Duff, Etuhu, Greening, Nevland, Zamora
Subs: Zuberbuhler, Kelly, Shorey, Smalling, Riise, Dikgacoi, Okaka Chuka

The Justice Trophy

The Justice Trophy – Five-a-side football tournament.

Date: Saturday 22nd May 2010
Kick-off: 1pm
Registration: 12pm.

Venue: PlayFootball, Drummond Road, Crosby, L23 9YP

Entry fee: £80 per squad. Squads of up to 8 players maximum, to include rolling subs.

http://playfootball.net/liverpool-north/tournaments.asp

About the Justice Trophy

The Justice Trophy has been created due to this year’s HJC Cup being cancelled. TJT is not affiliated with the Hillsborough Justice Campaign but all proceeds from the tournament will be going directly to the group as a donation.

Entry is open to all and if you can’t register a team but still want to play, get in touch and we will find a team for you to play in.

Team captains must collect entry money and register their teams.

A specially-commissioned Justice Cup will be presented to the winners of the tournament.

How To Enter:

All teams must register either by PM’ing the following users lfceurochamps05 on RAOTL, Walton Breck Road on RAWK or by emailing thejusticetrophy2010@googlemail.com.

Please include your team name and contact details. Your registration will then be confirmed by return email.

Payments:

PayPal can be made to thejusticetrophy2010@googlemail.com with “Justice[Team Name/Team Captain]” stated clearly in the reference box.

Cash or cheque etc is also optional, just ask about this option and we will get back to you on what to do.

Format:

Group Stages
Quarter-Finals (or knockout round depending on number of teams)
Semi Finals
3rd/4th place play off
Final

As with the HJC, teams should try to co-ordinate their kits. Bibs will be provided.

Presentation

The Justice Trophy will be presented to the winning team immediately after the final has been played.

There won’t be an evening do but the bar will be open throughout the day so feel free to come along and support your team.