Straight after Liverpool won their second trophy in three months and their first of the season – five still to go – Rafa Benitez was approached by ITV1’s reporter Gabriel Clark. Waiting to be congratulated on the success and to give his thoughts on how they won, Rafa looked annoyed when Clark asked questions that could wait. Liverpool fans were chanting Owen’s name at one point during the match, so Clark asked Rafa if Owen was coming back to Anfield. Rafa’s answer: "We want trophies and we want good players." Over and over again Clark asked about Owen, and also about Cisse, as Rafa tried to say that this was the time to celebrate the victory, not speculate about players. Clark wouldn’t give in, and ITV’s studio team seemed to find it funny. Some managers would refuse to do interviews with the attitude shown tonight. When he did have chance to talks about tonight’s game, he said that Liverpool played well but nearly lost because of one error midway through the first half: "I think it was a difficult game. We did one mistake and we’re losing."
Cisse himself was asked next what he thought about Michael Owen’s possible arrival. The Frenchman had just won the match – and the man of the match award – with his substitute appearance. Cisse is happy in England, living in Cheshire with his new wife. He’s happy at Liverpool too, hoping to pay back the medical staff and the fans for everything that happened last season during his injury. Newspapers being newspapers have decided that Cisse is on his way out. Rafa completely avoided answering questions about Cisse’s future, which won’t reassure the player much, but Cisse says he wants to remain a Red: "I’ve had a lot of speculation about me the last few weeks but now I’m very happy for me and my wife and the team. My future is at Liverpool for the moment. I feel good here so I don’t know why I have to move. It’s difficult but I have to be strong."
Liverpool paid £14million for Cisse, and unless another club has come in with a bid at that level (including part-exchange bids for other players) then it’s unlikely Liverpool would sell him. Rafa has had all summer to start trying to sell the player, like he did with Baros, and he certainly would not have cup-tied him had he been planning to sell him. We’ve heard nothing that leads us to believe Cisse is on the way out, and it’s only if a late and high bid has come in that Cisse is likely to be on his way
A great night tonight for Jamie Carragher. Carra was skipper tonight with Steven Gerrard out injured, and Liverpool’s most influential player got the chance to lift a trophy – a dream come true. Carra acts like a captain even without the armband, and tonight he was seen dishing out more rollockings than ever. Only in the noisiest of atmospheres is Carra’s voice not heard, a quality he’s had throughout his career. He said that Cisse had a great attitude tonight: "He wanted to prove a point but he’s reacted in the right way by winning us the cup so all credit to him. It’s only one game but the whole of Europe is watching and it’s always nice to win a trophy. We’re involved in six this year and this is the first."
Cisse did another dance around the trophy sitting on its podium, like he did in Istanbul in May, and looked delighted to be collecting another winners medal. Whatever happens to Cisse in the next few days, his performance tonight has earned him a place not only in Anfield’s record books, but also in the history of the club.
And sooner or later maybe TV reporters will realise that Liverpool are keeping things under their hats until they themselves are ready to reveal their plans.