Liverpool striker Neil Mellor has had to come back to Melwood in an attempt to sort out his latest injury setback. Mellor had to have double knee surgery last year and spent a long time trying to get back to fitness. He was loaned to Wigan during the January transfer window, with Rafa Benitez wanting the player to get some games in before the summer. Unfortunately a new problem with his knee flared up and he’s hardly played for the ‘Latics. He scored on his début for Paul Jewell’s side and looked set to be a great asset to the new Premiership side, but injury has brought those hopes to a standstill.
Liverpool’s medical staff will look after him for a week hoping that they can give him some treatment to get him back on the pitch again at Wigan.
Another Reds player out on loan is goalkeeper Scott Carson. With Jerzy Dudek staying on at Anfield the England under-21 star became the Reds third-choice keeper, and so once Liverpool had been eliminated from the Champions League Rafa Benitez accepted he could leave on loan. Sheffield Wednesday were the club that got to use his services but only for a month. Now they want to try and extend that deal for the rest of this term. Their manager, Paul Sturrock, says the keeper is ideal for the Owls: “We had to wait a long time for Scott. I was after him for three months with Liverpool’s European commitments, but now we know he’s the type of player we need to have at Sheffield Wednesday. He’s on the dreaded 24-hour recall, so I’m hoping Liverpool have no injury problems and their keepers stay fit.” Carson is certainly having better fortune than another Reds goalkeeper who’s out on loan – Chris Kirkland looks set to be out for the rest of the season after breaking a bone in his finger during a training session with West Brom.
Reds striker Fernando Morientes has made it clear that despite some impatience from some Reds fans he wants to stay on at Anfield and show the supporters just what sort of player he really is. Nando has scored 11 goals in 53 appearances since his £6.3m move 14 months ago which is not as many as he’d like. With all the rumours of him being unhappy and unsettled, it is inevitable that interest has come from various places, be says: “I’m not thinking about leaving. People have yet to see the true Morientes. I’m not thinking about leaving,” said Morientes. “I’ve heard the rumours about Turkey but they don’t interest me. People here have yet to see the true Fernando Morientes.”
Two sides to one story involving Bolton’s Stelios Giannakopolous. First of all in reports coming out of Greece he was reported as saying he wanted to leave Bolton and become a Red during the summer. Stelios turned down a chance to join the Reds last summer and signed a new three-year deal, so it’s unlikely Rafael Benitez would be interested again now. The only outside chance would be if Bolton were to take a surplus Liverpool player rather than cash. In the Greek reports Stelios said: “I would give everything to go to Liverpool. I have become more stubborn since last season when I didn’t go to Liverpool, although their official proposal gave me moral satisfaction. That’s my dream. Not only to go to Liverpool, but in general, to go to a bigger team. I am working every week to make Liverpool, or any big team, chase my signature.”
Whether the quotes were real, made up or taken out of context remains unclear, but the player put out a different statement entirely on the Bolton official website, where he said: “I have aspirations of playing in Europe again with Bolton Wanderers and I am fully committed in helping them to qualify this season.”
The Reds chief executive Rick Parry says that Liverpool don’t want to sign Tottenham’s Jermain Defoe. There has been an attempt ongoing in the media, seemingly from Spurs, to unsettle Djibril Cisse by constantly linking the North London team with the French striker. On deadline day there was reportedly a bid at the last minute from Spurs to sign the striker, one which was refused by the Reds. Rafael Benitez spoke in a press conference about how tiresome he was finding the Spurs tactics, and Spurs officials complained to the press about Rafa’s words. They wrote to the Premier League but seemingly stopped short of raising a formal complaint. Parry says Liverpool are, “in dialogue with Spurs, and it is an episode we want to put behind us and move on. I am sure we will do that. They are making the point they are not interested in our player, and we not interested in their player – so I think we’ll resolve that one.”
Why Spurs didn’t raise a formal complaint is open to speculation, but for Rafa to make such an outburst does suggest he has evidence to back up his claims that Spurs are trying to make a move for Cisse through the press. Premier League spokesman Dan Johnson said explained that although they had been notified of the situation from the Spurs perspective they wouldn’t be acting without a formal complaint: “We have been made aware of the situation and we are monitoring it. We cannot launch an official inquiry until we receive a complaint.”