25/08/2010 – Wednesday Transfer Talk

25 08 2010

Liverpool’s 3-0 drubbing by Manchester City on Monday has prompted manager Roy Hodgson to make a shock move for West Ham striker Carlton Cole, with the Reds prepared to offer £6m up front for the 26-year-old.

Hodgson is desperate to sort out the future of Javier Mascherano, who wants to move for family reasons, and has told Barcelona they will need to pay £18m in cash by the end of the weekend to secure the Argentine midfielder.

Barcelona may offer midfielder Alexander Hleb and defender Martin Caceres in part exchange as they look at ways to tempt Liverpool to sell Mascherano.

Reports in Spain believe Liverpool are in talks with Real Madrid over the transfer of Mahamadou Diarra (left).

If Liverpool do finally offload Mascherano, they may attempt to secure Marseille’s £7m-rated midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa.

Sky Sports believe that Liverpool are close to completing a £3.5million deal for Paul Konchesky.

West Brom have made a £3m bid for Getafe midfielder Derek Boateng. The Ghanaian was voted the Spanish club’s player of the season for the 2009-2010 campaign and was named in his country’s World Cup squad.

West Ham manager Avram Grant is intent on signing both a striker and right-back before the close of the transfer window next Tuesday.

Everton have been put off Tottenham striker Peter Crouch after being quoted what they consider to be an exorbitant fee of £10m.

Coventry are set to sign striker Marlon King, who was released from prison in July, on a three-year contract. Sky Blues boss Aidy Boothroyd wants to snap up King on a Bosman transfer for a weekly salary of £10,000, plus bonuses.

Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar looks likely to remain at Goodison Park for one more season and see out the final year of his contract, despite Tottenham’s ongoing interest in the South African.

Chelsea could be set to make a shock bid for Inter Milan defender Nicolas Burdisso, with the Blues needing cover for Ricardo Carvalho, who recently moved to Real Madrid.

Deal-broker Keith Harris, who has assisted in the sales of West Ham, Aston Villa and Manchester City, says he is representing a mystery overseas buyer for Liverpool, with an offer of up to £500m set to be tabled to take over from the current American owners.

England manager Fabio Capello has come under fire from Real Madrid’s new manager. Jose Mourinho said: “He has a one-track relationship with players. You cannot go around just shouting at players. They need to feel special. Capello will not work for England. He does not know the players. They are frightened of him and they can’t play for him.”

For full stories, head over to the BBC website.

24/08/2010 – Tuesday Transfer Talk

24 08 2010

Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho rules out moves for Chelsea striker Didier Drogba and Manchester City’s Emmanuel Adebayor. Asked about Drogba, he said: “Again, no chance.”

Liverpool have told Barcelona that they want £24.5m in cash for Javier Mascherano (left) after rejecting an offer of £18.8m, plus Alexander Hleb for the 26-year-old Argentine.

Chelsea have been linked with a move for Inter Milan defender Nicolas Burdisso after concluding that Benfica’s Brazil defender David Luiz, rated at £27m, is likely to prove too expensive.

Sunderland are interested in West Ham striker Carlton Cole after being rebuffed in their efforts to sign Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan from Rennes.

Brazilian forward Robinho is set to meet officials from Fenerbahce in Manchester on Tuesday in an attempt to seal a move from Manchester City before the 31 August transfer deadline.

Everton manager David Moyes is leading the chase for Peter Crouch – and will let Tottenham have contract rebel Steven Pienaar in exchange for the England striker.

Ian Holloway is set for a swoop on Newcastle’s Leon Best and Swansea’s Stephen Dobbie after conceding that Blackpool need six more signings for a chance of Premier League survival.

Striker Alessandro Diamanti looks set to quit West Ham for Brescia after holding talks about a return to Italy.

West Ham have made an £8m bid for Lorient striker Kevin Gameiro (right), who bagged 17 league goals in the French league last season and caught the eye of several major European clubs.

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp wants to sign another former Arsenal player – Real Madrid midfielder Lassana Diarra.

Manchester United will pay £60,000 in fines for manager Alex Ferguson as he carries on his ban of speaking to the BBC.

Arsenal’s French manager Arsene Wenger believes England deserve to host the World Cup in 2018. “Nowhere else in the world can you travel into the centre of a town or city and find the football stadium squeezed between the streets where people live their lives,” he said.

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has been tuning in to BBC Radio 2 – listening to DJs such as Chris Evans, Ken Bruce and Steve Wright – to avoid the abuse he gets on football phone-ins from fans.

West Ham manager Avram Grant is set to miss out on a bargain loan deal for Manchester City youngster Felipe Caicedo because of an administration error.

For full stories, head over to the BBC website.

14/08/2010 – Saturday Transfer Talk

14 08 2010

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp wants former Arsenal defender William Gallas at White Hart Lane. Redknapp feels Tottenham could win the Premier League with three new signings – but the chances of landing all three are “quite slim”.

But Tottenham striker Roman Pavlyuchenko could be on his way out of White Hart Lane with Marseille keen on the Russia star.

However, Croatia’s Stipe Pletikosa is on the verge of sealing a loan move to Tottenham with the 31-year-old Spartak Moscow keeper on trial with the north London club.

Werder Bremen have rejected a bid from Real Madrid for Germany international midfielder Mesut Ozil, describing the Spanish club’s offer as “unacceptable”.

New Fulham boss Mark Hughes believes he can bring the best out of striker Craig Bellamy, whose future at Manchester City appears to doomed after criticising manager Robert Mancini’s approach.

Meanwhile, Hughes is closing in on a £1.5m deal for Algeria World Cup defender Rafik Halliche from Benfica.

Manchester City keeper Shay Given (left) could be joining Arsenal after being told Joe Hart will be the club’s number one.

But Arsenal face competition from Celtic in the pursuit of Republic of Ireland international keeper Given, with Manchester City preferring to sell the 34-year-old to the Scottish club rather than a Premier League rival.

Fulham are also keen to land Given as a replacement for Mark Schwarzer, who has been attracting the interest of the Gunners.

Schwarzer has handed in transfer request to Fulham as he tries to force through a move to Arsenal.

Chelsea are weighing up a move for Real Madrid’s France striker Karim Benzema.

But Chelsea have been warned off trying to sign Stoke’s Bosnia international goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.

Manchester United are set to make a last-ditch bid for Bayer Leverkusen’s German international keeper Rene Adler.

Wigan are close to securing a season-long loan for Chelsea’s Argentine striker Franco di Santo, who spent last season on loan at Blackburn.

Wigan are also keen on Orebro SK’s Finland striker Roni Porokara.

Blackburn Rovers are still in race for Fenerbahce’s £5m-rated Spanish striker Dani Guiza.

Birmingham City are nearing a £2m move for Sunderland defender George McCartney and are to hold talks about taking striker Matt Derbyshire on loan from Olympiakos.

Newcastle have edged closer to sealing the signing of Marseille winger Hatem Ben Arfa after he was left out of the French club’s weekend squad.

Liverpool are preparing an offer for Manchester City’s Paraguay striker Roque Santa Cruz.

The Reds have also made enquiries about Anderlecht’s 17-year-old Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku.

Toulouse striker Andre-Pierre Gignac could also be on his way to Liverpool, according to French reports.

Liverpool have agreed a fee of £12.3m plus midfielder Alexander Hleb with Barcelona in return for Reds star Javier Mascherano (right).

Chelsea’s stars are at ‘war’ with owner Roman Abramovich who has infuriated his Double winners by scrapping and slashing the squad’s bonuses.

Steven Gerrard says he would love to play alongside Mikel Arteta in an England midfield. The Everton star has not been capped for Spain and qualifies to play for England through the residency rule.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has launched an attack on the Premier League’s new “home-grown” rule, describing the introduction as “ridiculous”.

Chelsea have secured first refusal on future Fluminese stars as part of the deal that took midfielder Deco to the Brazilian side.

Blackburn Rovers have moved a step closer to a £300m takeover by Western Gulf Advisory, a Bahrain-Swiss-based investment company who are owned by Ahsan Ali Syed.

Portsmouth will be bought for £16m by the man who put them into administration six months ago – Hong Kong-based Balram Chainrai.

The US Soccer Federation has dismissed reports that coach Bob Bradley has resigned, quashing rumours that the American could be on the verge of becoming Aston Villa’s new manager.

For full stories head over to the  BBC website.

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31/07/2010 – Weekend Transfer Talk

31 07 2010

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson is considering a £10m bid for Standard Liege’s Belgium international midfielder Steven Defour, who the former Fulham boss sees as a natural replacement for want-away Argentine star Javier Mascherano.

Juventus director Giuseppe Marotta has confirmed that Liverpool are interested in Christian Poulsen.

And Mascherano is set to be the subject of a £20m bid from Italy’s European champions Inter Milan, who are managed by former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez.

Manchester City are still struggling to agree a fee with Aston Villa to buy their midfielder James Milner. Villa want £30m for the 24-year-old, but City are only prepared to pay £24m.

West Ham have snubbed Stoke’s £9m bid for 26-year-old striker Carlton Cole.

New Fulham manager Mark Hughes is close to persuading 31-year-old striker Craig Bellamy to join him at Craven Cottage, rather than leave Manchester City for Tottenham.

Birmingham are lining up an improved £10m offer for Wigan winger Charles N’Zogbia after seeing their initial £8m bid turned down by the Latics.

Manchester United and Arsenal target Mesut Ozil has hinted that a move to Spanish side Real Madrid could be on the cards. The 21-year-old German midfielder has one year left on his contract with Werder Bremen who are ready to listen to offers.

Barcelona’s former Arsenal midfielder Aleksandr Hleb could be on his way out of the Nou Camp. The 29-year-old Belarusian is attracting interest from Tottenham, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Sunderland and West Ham.

Blackburn have invited Roma midfielder Ricardo Faty for a trial with a view to a £1m deal for the 23-year-old, who has spent the last two seasons on loan – first, at Bayer Leverkusen and, later, at Nantes.

Arsenal youngsters Emmanuel Frimpong and Mark Randall, who both play in midfield, are loan targets for Southampton and Hull respectively.

Ipswich striker Jon Stead’s proposed £250,000 move to Blackpool has fallen through after the former England Under-21 international failed to agree personal terms at Bloomfield Road.

Nottingham Forest have placed their 30-year-old reserve goalkeeper, Paul Smith, on the transfer list.

Mido is so angry that Middlesbrough are holding out for a £1m fee over his proposed move to Ajax that the striker is threatening to sit out the last year of his contract in protest.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insists that midfielder Cesc Fabregas will stay with the club for another five years, despite on-going interest from Spanish side Barcelona, and will be captain for this coming season.

Blackpool’s promotion heroes are still waiting to be paid the bonuses owed to them since their play-off victory at Wembley two months ago, leaving owner Karl Oyston facing a damaging row two weeks before their Premier League debut at Wigan.

France striker Nicolas Anelka is taking sports newspaper L’Equipe to court for libel after it printed details of his expletive-ridden World Cup rant at former coach Raymond Domenech.

North Korea’s football ‘flops’ have been given a six-hour verbal roasting in front of hundreds of government officials for not winning the World Cup. Coach Kim Jong-Hun, 53, was made to work on a building site and expelled from the Workers’ Party of Korea.

Manchester United’s new signing Javier Hernandez scored against his new club after playing the first half for his previous team Chivas Guadalajara in a pre-season friendly. He switched to United’s side in the second half, but could not prevent Sir Alex Ferguson’s side from losing 3-2.

For full stories head over to the

29/07/2010 – Transfer Talk

29 07 2010

David Beckham has promised to give West Ham a decision soon on whether he will end his career at Upton Park. The 35-year-old former England captain, who plays for Los Angeles Galaxy in the United States, was born in east London.

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson wants Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov, 30, to replace Javier Mascherano at Anfield and is ready to offer £7m for the Bulgarian. It was revealed earlier this week that Mascherano wants to leave the Reds.

Luke Young’s £2.5m move to Liverpool is in doubt as the 31-year-old defender wants a pay-off from Aston Villa as he would have to take a drop in wages.

Hodgson is keeping an eye on Porto and Uruguay full-back Jorge Fucile should the deal for Young fall through.

Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay says manager Carlo Ancelotti will be given money to rebuild the side and that striker Didier Drogba will not be leaving.

The Stamford Bridge outfit want to wrap up the £17m signing of Benfica midfielder Ramires in time for their pre-season tour of Germany, which starts on Saturday.

Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho wants to take 32-year-old Chelsea centre-back Ricardo Carvalho to Spain. Mourinho signed the Portuguese defender in 2004 during his spell as manager of the Blues.

Meanwhile, Mourinho has ruled Real Madrid out of the running to sign Benfica defender David Luiz, making Manchester City favourites to sign the 23-year-old Brazilian.

Italian club Lazio are on the verge of signing Manchester City’s 25-year-old left-back Javier Garrido for £2.5m.

Arsenal are close to signing Italian goalkeeper Federico Marchetti from Cagliari. The 27-year-old, who played at the World Cup in South Africa, is valued at around £5m.

Wigan are preparing a club record £7m bid for Chile’s World Cup striker Humberto Suazo. Birmingham and Sunderland are also eyeing a swoop for the 29-year-old, who plays for Monterrey.

Blackburn are ready to sell Australian midfielder Vince Grella to Turkish giants Galatasaray at the second attempt, with the clubs seeking to negotiate a deal of about £2m.

Mark Hughes wants to make Manchester City striker Craig Bellamy his first signing with the £15m transfer kitty he will be handed when he is officially named Fulham manager.

Tottenham are looking to tempt Manchester City with a £4m bid for Bellamy.

Danish goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard, who plays for Norwegian side Aalesunds, is being lined up by Manchester United as Edwin van der Sar’s successor.

Manchester United are leading the chase for Ghana midfielder Anthony Annan. Chelsea and Arsenal are also interested in the 24-year-old, who plays for Rosenborg.

Besiktas are looking at Aston Villa striker John Carew to add firepower to their Turkish title assault.

Wolves boss Mick McCarthy has ruled out a permanent move for Chelsea’s Michael Mancienne, who was on loan at Molineux last season.

West Ham have offered midfielder Scott Parker £20m to stay but he wants to leave to play European football.

Avram Grant wants free agent Laurent Bonnart to become his latest West Ham recruit. The defender had been at Marseille.

Premier League new boys Blackpool are in talks with transfer-listed Ipswich striker Jon Stead, 27, who has rejected a move to Bristol City.

Bristol City manager Steve Coppell has made an audacious bid to lure England goalkeeper David James, 39, to Ashton Gate. James has been offered a 12-month contract with the Championship club.

Former Manchester City boss Mark Hughes is set to be confirmed as the new Fulham boss this week.

Portsmouth face the prospect of paying out more than £500,000 in wages at the end of the week to players no longer at the club. David James will pick up about £140,000 – if he does not sign for anyone else before Saturday night.

Tottenham’s teenage midfielder John Bostock believes his progress is being damaged by foreign players in the English game. The 18-year-old, who was on loan at Brentford last season, wants another loan move as he has only made three substitute appearances for Spurs in two years.

For full stories head over to the

27/07/2010 – Transfer Talk

27 07 2010

Argentina captain Javier Mascherano has been told he can leave Liverpool, having held talks with the club’s hierarchy.

Inter Milan are thought to be lining up a £25m bid for the Argentine international.

Inter striker Mario Balotelli has rejected a bigger pay packet at Manchester United to join former boss Roberto Mancini at rivals Manchester City.

Italy international Balotelli’s £25m arrival at Eastlands will spark a transfer merry-go-round, with Emmanuel Adebayor joining Juventus on loan and Mascherano, Liverpool team-mate Dirk Kuyt and Uruguay and Atletico Madrid star Diego Forlan moving to Inter Milan.

Meanwhile, Manchester City are offering England winger Shaun Wright-Phillips as part of the deal to sign James Milner from Aston Villa.

The Premier League are keeping close tabs on Chelsea’s £20m pursuit of Benfica’s Brazilian midfielder Ramires. The Brazilian is involved in a third-party ownership deal with agent Kia Joorabchian.

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson will step up his pursuit for Mexico international Carlos Salcido. Dutch club PSV Eindhoven are likely to demand in the region of £3m for the defender.

Hodgson is also lining up Ipswich’s self-confessed Liverpool fan Connor Wickham.

Manchester United are monitoring the progress of Belgium international Steven Defour, with the club weighing up a £13m bid for the influential Standard Liege midfielder.

Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia is wanted by his first club Osasuna, a transfer that could rekindle the Gunners’ move for Fulham stopper Mark Schwarzer.

Ajax boss Martin Jol wants to sign Middlesbrough striker Mido.

Fulham, Sunderland and Bolton are chasing Portsmouth striker John Utaka. The Nigeria international is also interesting German sides Cologne and Bayer Leverkusen.

Hull striker Kamel Ghilas is a loan target for French club Arles-Avignon.

Roma are stepping up their efforts to sign midfielder Valon Behrami from West Ham and could offer goalkeeper Doni or striker Stefano Okaka in exchange for the Swiss star.

Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes says he regrets not coming out of international retirement to play for England at the World Cup in South Africa.

Scholes said he had only two hours to consider whether to join England boss Fabio Capello’s squad in South Africa.

Injured Tottenham defender Jonathan Woodgate has five weeks to save his career before new Premier League rules consign him to the sidelines.

Manchester United have similar worries over Owen Hargreaves and Anderson as the Premier League introduces new regulations that state clubs must name a 25-man squad by 31 August.

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe said England’s build-up to the World Cup was disrupted by too much travelling and being overworked in training sessions.

Holland international Royston Drenthe claims he is on the verge of joining Liverpool. He announced it on his Facebook page and said: “I will soon be joining Liverpool FC. I hope I will have a good season.”

For full stories head over to the

Inter-est Cooled in Mascherano

25 06 2010

According to Sky Sports, Internazionale president Massimo Moratti has gone on record saying that his side are no longer chasing Javier Mascherano and they have turned their attentions to Brazil star Felipe Melo. The stumbling block appears to be Liverpool’s valuation of the Argentina captain which is believed to be around £25million.

“Mascherano is a strong player, but it is unlikely that he will arrive. He simply costs too much and it is not certain that Liverpool will sell, explained Moratti. “Melo is an intriguing idea and one that we are working on.”

Melo was a big money signing for Juventus last summer but Inter believe they can tempt the Old Lady into selling.

Mark Jepson

Click here for the Sky Sports story

Benfica 2-1 Liverpool – Match Report

3 04 2010

Benfica 2-1 Liverpool. It is a score-line I am sure many Liverpool fans will consider to be a decent result; myself included. That all important away goal courtesy of Daniel Agger gives us something to go back to Anfield with in the hope of another famous European night with the 12th man that is the Kop firmly behind us. The circumstances concerning the way we were leading but still lost makes the result a bit harder to deal with.

Daniel Agger’s clever finish from a Steven Gerrard free kick in the ninth minute got us off to the perfect start and drew comparisons to the goal that he scored against Chelsea in the Champions League in 2007. It was a goal that seemed long overdue for Agger who had threatened to get on the score sheet in the previous match against Sunderland. After this however, Benfica showed their class with Paraguayan striker Oscar Cardozo coming close on a couple of occasions and we rode our luck a little when he spooned an effort over from inside the six yard box. His next chance was with his head after an excellent delivery from in-demand Argentine winger Angel Di Maria, yet the outcome and the score-line remained the same. Further headed chances were spurned by newly capped Brazilian international Ramires before Cardozo missed another. It was Di Maria to threaten next for the home side when his fierce strike flashed narrowly over Jose Reina in the Liverpool goal. On another night we could have easily been three or four goals down.

Great Dane: Daniel Agger gives Liverpool the lead in the 9th minute.

For me, it was disappointing how vulnerable we looked defensively, especially aerially, and I recall mentioning at the time via Twitter how it was the sort of game Sami Hyypia would have relished. This is why I believe Sotirios Kyrgiakos will come into the side to partner Jamie Carragher in the heart of defence for the second leg with Daniel Agger shifting to left back to deputise for the suspended Emiliano Insua and the injured Fabio Aurelio. What was also disappointing was the amount of criticism aimed at Insua by Liverpool ‘fans’. It is important to remember that he is still just 21 years old and has been thrust into the side due to Aurelio’s constant injury problems and Andrea Dossena and John Arne Riise have both moved to Serie A with Napoli and AS Roma respectively. It is the same situation with Lucas Leiva. He receives more criticism than he is due and fans normally state how he cannot pass or tackle. He is currently the fifth most successful tackler in the Premier League with a success rate of 69% and before last weekend he was in the top five passers in the league. Not bad for a player who cannot pass or tackle.

The suspension of Insua has resulted in talk of ‘three at the back’ but for me this would not be the best option as Benfica like to make the most of their wide men; in particular Di Maria. A five man midfield would probably need wing backs and then we are back with the problem of who plays at left wing back. Where would Glen Johnson feature if we had to play with three at the back without wing-backs? It would seem foolish to leave him out of a game that requires us to attack from the off. My final point on three at the back would be that it has been a long time since we have played with this system. I believe that it takes time for players to adapt to a different formation and now is not the time to change in what could be a season defining game. I will leave the team selection to Rafa.

Back to the game and after chances aplenty from Benfica came the big talking point of the match. Brazilian defender Luisao’s wild tackle from behind on Fernando Torres resulted in Ryan Babel receiving a straight red card for touching Luisao in the face. It could be argued that Luisao should have received a straight red card for the tackle itself yet Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson deemed that a yellow card would suffice. The tackle was of a reckless nature which then saw Babel remonstrate with Luisao before touching, and note not hitting out at, the Benfica captain in the face. It is a silly thing to do in the modern game even though it seems petulant, Fifa laws state that if a player raises or puts his hand in another player’s face then it is red card. If contact is made from a player to another player’s chest or below then it is a yellow card. Take note Ryan to push Luisao in the chest next time! Down to ten men with the whole of the second half and part of the first still to play ensured that it was going to be difficult to contain an attacking Benfica side.

Fracas: Ryan Babel receives his marching orders.

The second half saw us start brightly but things got worse on the hour mark as Insua felled fellow Argentine Pablo Aimar in the penalty area. This stemmed from us failing to deal with Oscar Cardozo’s powerful free kick which had moments before rattled the post. It was Cardozo who stepped up and powerfully tucked his spot-kick into the corner of the net. Either side of the equaliser saw further incidents; however, this time they were in the shape and form of missiles from the Benfica fans behind Jose Reina in the Liverpool goal. The second of the two missiles left its mark on the pitch and resulted in the referee consulting his fourth, fifth and six officials after the Additional Assistant closest to the missile was left nursing a sore ear. Lets hope we can show the Benfica fans how to behave properly in the return leg without the need of missiles to intimidate officials.

With ten minutes to go, Angel Di Maria skipped to the byline and his cross struck Jamie Carragher on his outstretched hand and a second penalty was awarded. You could tell after witnessing two penalties and a red card that this was not to be our night and a seventeenth defeat in a disappointing season loomed. Paraguay international Cardozo stepped up again to coolly slot his penalty into the same side of the net after waiting for Reina to dive the other way. This took his tally to thirty this season which will inevitably link him with a big money move to Manchester City among others in the summer. I do not normally like to blame referees for the outcome of games but he appeared to favour the home side with innocuous tackles from us being given as fouls whilst Ryan Babel got kicked in the head in the first half without a free kick being given. Jose Reina also got booked for time-wasting with a goal kick yet he only had the ball for a mere six seconds. I have not even accounted for the number of fouls and kicks Fernando Torres received.

Paraguayan striker Oscar Cardozo

With this considered, we did have a few chances of our own. Fernando Torres had the best of the chances after being released by Dirk Kuyt in the latter stages of the second half but he uncharacteristically and agonizingly spurned the opportunity by dragging his one-on-one chance wide of the post. Torres was later left with a chance to run at David Luiz but the Brazilian defender matched him for pace and strength and thwarted the attack.

We managed to see out the last ten minutes without further scare and the away goal provided by Agger could prove vital in the return leg as they so often do. Two further positives are that Javier Mascherano and Fernando Torres did not pick up a yellow card in the match which would have resulted in them being ruled out of the return leg through suspension. Providing and praying that we do not pick up any injuries against Birmingham City on Sunday, Rafa Benitez has a more or less full squad to choose from.

It will be tough in the second but a famous European night at Anfield always fills me with optimism and I would not be surprised to see us win 1-0.

Mark Jepson


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