Rafa: Bola and Gonzalez to go

It's been well-documented that Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has been given the green light to go after new players this summer, and today came some information from the horse's mouth about who'll actually be leaving.

Bolo Zenden got a starting role on the left-wing last night, a position that has been difficult to fill for Rafa for various reasons since he joined. Fabio Aurelio took a little time to settle in, but as soon as he did he got an injury. Harry Kewell missed all but the last two games of the season through injury, even then only able to come on as a substitute. John Arne Riise has been used there, but Rafa prefers to see him further back. Bolo is an excellent professional but is getting towards the end of his career, and it seems that in the new squad Rafa has planned he has no room for Zenden. His contract is up this summer anyway, and Rafa has told him he should look elsewhere: "I was talking with him before and I said he could talk with other teams. He knows the situation."
Rafa doesn't have to sell before he can buy this summer, a situation he's never been in since he joined the club in the summer of 2004. Although he's been given funds, he's not previously been given enough to buy who he wants, and has generally had to try and scrape up odd millions by letting some players leave.

It doesn't mean that he won't be selling players however, and it's another of those left-wingers that will be going first. Rafa said: "It's clear some players will leave. We almost have an agreement with Real Betis for Mark Gonzalez." The Chilean international didn't fulfill his promise, despite some excellent performances on loan in Spain during the year Liverpool waited for his work permit. Going back to Spain seems to be the best option for the player, who knows he can do well in that country.
Gonzalez knew he was likely to move on, saying recently: "This is football and if I have to go somewhere else then I will have to deal with that. I would like to stay at Liverpool. But it has not been the best year for me and I know I can do more."

Despite having a lot of faith in Harry Kewell, Rafa knows that his bad luck with injuries prevents him from being a player to rely on for a full season. With that in mind expect a new left-winger to be unveiled in the coming weeks.

Robbie Fowler played his last game for Liverpool when he captained the side in the last league game of the season, and his fellow striker Craig Bellamy is all but certain to leave too, as Rafa looks to improve the side's cutting edge. Jerzy Dudek's bench appearance last night was his last one for the club too.