Mascherano deal close but not yet done
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Mascherano deal close but not yet done
Moyes confident the Toffees will stick in fourth
He added “But in the same breath, Aston Villa are a strong team this year, Manchester City have done exceptionally well and Portsmouth, Blackburn and West Ham can do it. If we can make fourth it would be outstanding, but I don’t think there’s any point in me talking about that until a month to go in the season if we are still there." While neighbours Liverpool are weighed down by the millstone of expectation (and so they should given their resources compared to the teams around them) Moyes is happy to keep working quietly away, as Everton have steadily climbed the table.
Wise reports to me says Keegan but doubts persist
Yet more ammo for the Texan's gun as Liverpool take a Hammer blow
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Spurs to swoop again and go for Rangers Hutton
David Moyes backs Everton to finish fourth in the Premier League
Sissoko a past master as the 'Old Lady beckons
Posted by TheAvaGo Group at 9:59 AM
Americans Back Benitez with funds for Mascherano
Friday, January 18, 2008
McFadden Birmingham deal not done, as second club enters race
James McFadden left St Andrews last night, after being unable to agree terms wih Birmingham City. Reports also surfaced of an unnamed second club entering the chase for the Scottish international. The event will disappoint Alex McLeish who has been a long admirer of McFadden's talents from his days as Scotland boss.
Keegan to hit the ground running with a bid for Daniel Jarque
Kevin Keegan is hoping to make a swift move in the transfer market, on his return to Newcastle with a bid for Daniel Jarque of Espanyol. The Espanyol defender has been the subject of speculation that Tottenham Hotspur boss Juande Ramos would make a move. However Keegan, is set to mark his return to Newcastle United with an 8 milllion pound bid for the Espanyol defender.
Newcastle tell Keegan skys the limit in his return to the Toon
Kevin Keegan has been promised substantial funds to drag Newcastle to the Premier League summit by the chairman Chris Mort and club owner Mike Ashley. As the city, lifted by the news of Keegan's appointment, waited for the next news in the rolling saga of Keegans return, negotiations went on over the terms of his 3 and a half year deal.
We at Footy Focus, initially thought this was a crazy decision, but having thought about it, it might just work. Keegans sheer charisma, enthusiasm and Newcastles tremendous support, might just combine to make it a roller coaster ride back to the big-time for the Toon army!
DIC still keen as Hicks and Gillett get closer to refinancing
Whether Hicks will be willing to sell remains to be seen. He and Gillett fought long and hard to acquire Liverpool, and both are still of the firm view that it is an asset that will deliver a sizeable return in the long term.
Footy Focus suspects Liverpool fans will be praying for DIC to enter the fray, and remove at least one of the Americans out of the equation, in what has rapidly turned into a disasterous foray into the Premier League for Hicks and Gillett. Rafa Benitez too, wont be upset that at least one of the Americans maybe going, as it clearly represents his best hope of remaining in charge.
The next few days and weeks are going to very interesting as it all plays out. Sources close to Gillett insist he is undecided over whether to agree to the refinancing deal being mooted, or pursue the partnership with DIC, in an attempt to buy out Hick's share.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Bianchi Premier League nightmare coming to an end
Bianchi cost the Blues £8.8m from Reggina in the summer, but has scored just four Premier League goals and is no longer an automatic first team pick.
Bianchi's representatives are discussing his future with Sven Goran Eriksson and anticipate the go ahead to negotiate a move back to Italy to end his City nightmare.
Lazio are also believed to be closely monitoring the situation and could step in if Torino fail to close the deal.
McLeish nabs McFadden
Drogba wishing for a Barcelona move
As Jamie Carragher reflected on his milestone of 500 games for Liverpool against Luton Town, he reflected on the recent unprecedented instability affecting his beloved Livepool.
Havant seal a trip to be Liverpool's Waterloo
Liverpool watch out - it might just become Rafa's Waterloo!
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Tyneside erupts as Newcastle bring back Keegan
Footy Focus gut feel on this move - it'll end in tears yet again!
Tiago to Juve', Fred to Tottenham, Liverpool watching Bridge
Deschamps now the name, as Houllier rules himself out
Earlier the Tyneside rumour mill was saying that former Liverpool, Lyon and France manager Gérard Houllier had had discussions about taking over at Newcastle, with a partnership with Alan Shearer being mooted. However, Houllier now looks to be ruled out of the race, after FFF president Jean-Pierre Escalettes said Houllier had told him he wouldn't be going to Tyneside.
Shearer was asked about the Newcastle job when he arrived back on Tyneside from his holiday "Am I wanting it?" he replied. "One day, hopefully." Questioned further about the possibility of him linking up with Keegan, he said: "I haven't spoken to Kevin for a long time. We will have to see." (The Guardian)
Football Focus thinks Shearer has no chance of getting it now, as Ashley maybe a football romantic, having bought his own club, but he's also a hard-nosed businessman, who won't be risking it all on someone with no track record. It's Deschamps or Hughes we think.
Benitez lifted as Liverpool cruise past Luton
Ryan Babel opened the scoring in the 45th minute, after previously hitting the post. Gerrard doubled the lead, via a simple header from a Peter Crouch knockdown. Sami Hypia headed home from a Gerrard corner and Liverpool were on their way. Gerrard again, passed the ball into the bottom corner for the fourth and, rounded off the scoring with a spectacular swerving 30-yard shot beyond Luton keeper Brill.
Rafael Benitez will be lifted by this result, and will be hoping his team can now carry it on, and turn it into much needed Premier League victories, starting with the home game against Aston Villa. Asked about the Klinsmann saga afterwards, Benitez played a straight bat, deflecting any real comment. He knows only one thing can really put this story to bed - results.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Mark Hughes now the favourite, as Houllier, Mourinho and McLaren linked
Benitez position looking untenable as owners admit Klinsmann contact
Rafael Benitez's position at Anfield was looking ever more untenable last night, as Liverpool's American owners admitted to meeting Jurgen Klinsmann, with a view to him taking over at Anfield.
Trying to portray it as an act of insurance, in case Benitez left, this latest revelation further undermines Liverpool's beleaguered manager. Benitez has no intention of resigning at Liverpool, however his only hope of surviving beyond the summer would appear to be if the Americans quit first and sell up to the now circling DIC group.
It all must be so frustrating for Liverpool fans as a season that started so brightly, has unravelled so quickly and is in danger of ending in farce. Despite only being beaten twice, Liverpool are way off the pace in the Premier League and all the uncertainty surrounding the manager is clearly affecting performances and results.
It's hard to see this being resolved without a parting of the ways, the only question being who goes first! Footy Focus thinks the Americans might just be the first to go!
Latest Premier League transfer news & speculation
Portsmouth are denying they are to sign Lassana Diarra from Arsenal for £5.5 million.
When will Middlesbrough learn? Fred the Lyon striker has been unable to agree personal terms with Paris Saint-Germain, or Tottenham, so guess what his next mooted destination is? Yes thats right, the home of the overpaid, non-scoring, foreign big-time charlie, Middlesbrough! Footy Focus reckons 80 grand a week and eight goals a season (3 of which will be against Halifax in the Carling Cup) is coming right up.
Talking of eight goal a season strikers, Tottenham Hotspur are willing to offers of around £12.5 million for Darren Bent. Bent has scored three goals in 14 appearances, half made from the substitutes' bench, since he moved for an initial £15.5 million from Charlton Athletic in the summer. To be fair to Bent, he hasn't really been given a chance at Tottenham and would certainly represent better value than Fred.
Elsewhere, Atlético Madrid have entered the race to sign Momo Sissoko, the Liverpool midfield player, who is also wanted by Juventus
Latest Premier League Transfer window news & speculation
Sunderland manager Roy Keane, will finally get Stephen Hunt with an improved bid of £5m bid. So says the Mirror.
Blackburn Rovers are trying to sign Amdy Faye, the Senegalese midfielder currently on loan to Rangers from Charlton Athletic as a replacement for Robbie Savage. They are also tracking Wigan's Jason Koumas. This again from the Daily Mirror.
The Sun is saying Portsmouth are set to spend for them what is big money, and sign Tiago, the Portuguese midfielder, from Juventus for £8m. Also The Mirror is reporting Harry Redknapp is interested in Jermain Defoe and is trying to offload Matt Taylor to fund the deal.
Stoke City have spent some Premiership small change, and broken their transfer record to sign Leon Cort's on a permanent deal from Crystal Palace for a £1.2m fee.
Middlesbrough, continuing their penchant for ridiculously expensive foreign big-time charlies, have hit a snag in their attempt to sign Afonso Alves. The £12 move from Heerenveen, of Holland is being held up as he is struggling to get a work permit due to his lack of international caps. (Daily Mirror)
Birmingham City have stunned the football world by bidding £3 million for James McFadden, the rejecting of which by Everton, has further nonplussed us at Footy Focus. We would have bit their hand off. Alex McLeish is also after Gary Cahill, the Aston Villa defender, submitting a 4m bid.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Sissoko's next club not clear as three clubs jostle to seal a deal
Footy Focus thinks it's all part of the normal speculation and that Sissoko will move, with Mascherano secured to Liverpool.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Manchester United pile on Newcastles misery, Chelsea squeeze past Tottenham and Arsenal stumble
Dubai International Capital are according to reports, back in the frame for a takeover at Liverpool. Also the Americans have, due to the global credit crunch, struggled to refinance the loan they took out to purchase the club, which is due for repayment at the end of February. Contrary to their original stated intentions, the duo have been attempting to transfer the liability for the debt onto the club itself. City sources say this will be extremely difficult to do, and their attempt to do so has caused tensions amongst the Anfield board.
The other members of the board are thought to be horrified that George Gillett and Tom Hicks have not brought long-term stability to the club, and reports have it that Parry and Moores are open to another takeover.
Redknapp turns down Newcastle as the counter-swipes begin
Clearly performances like this are simply not good enough to keep Rafa in his job and he knows it.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
More turmoil for Rafa as Bayern claim to have pipped Liverpool to Klinsmann
Friday, January 11, 2008
Events gather pace as bets are off on Harry's move
Last chance saloon for the incredible sulk
Manchester United vs Newcastle
Middlesbrough vs Liverpool
Everton vs Manchester City
Arsenal vs Birmingham City
Saachi underwhelmed by Sissoko, Klinsmann to Bayern and Ronaldo staying
Over at neighbours Manchester City, Didi Hamann is to be rewarded for his excellent for with a contract extension for another year. Footy Focus could never understand why he didn't get a game under Stuart Pearce. Our Didi is the master at sitting in front of the defence, breaking up play, and holding the team together. His legs maybe creaking a bit but theirs life in the old dog yet!
Tottenham Hotspur seem set to offload Pascal Chimbonda. There's more speculation linking him with a move to Aston Villa and his agent is in the papers saying he would welcome a move. We think Martin O'Neill is quietly weaving his magic at Villa, and slowly building a team that will soon begin to get some great results.
Harry's wheels not turning as the deal to Newcastle stalls, Man U lead the profits league
Over at Anfield the news is that the Momo Sissoko supposed Juventus move is becoming a bit of a yawn. The player says its all go and he expects agreement soon, while the club through it's mouthpiece, the local rag, The Liverpool Echo, says its recieved no contact from Juventus. Footy Focus thinks its a done deal and as Reds' fans will be sorry to see him go. You may well regret this Rafa!
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Redknapp the favourite for Newcastle as Anelka has a strop
Wanderlust Nicolas Anelka has done what he is best at.....sulking. Reports have it he has demanded to leave Bolton for Chelsea, while Bolton won't shift from their 15 million pound fee. A final bid of 12.5 million will apparently stop Nicolas's bottom lip from quivering.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Allardyce out as Newcastle pull the trigger yet again
Sam Allardyce has parted company with Newcastle via the age old 'mutual consent' route. Seems Newcastle have in their time honoured tradition bowed to the pressure from fans and local media and pulled the trigger in double quick time. That makes it 6 managers in the 11 years since Kevin Keegan left. Stability and continuity bring success and Newcastle have left themselves in turmoil yet again.
One of these years, they will get a chairman who is prepared to ride it out, believe in his manager and give him time to get it right. There are those who believe they have done it now in the hope of getting their man before Liverpool pull the plug on Rafael Benitez in the summer.
Harry Redknapp has emerged as an early favourite.
Allardyce begins to swing the axe on Newcastles dead wood
Sam Allardyce is reportedly ready to listen to offers for the fringe players in his squad. Most notable likely departees include Emre and Shola Ameobi. Emre has been linked with moves to Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen, while Ameobi is wanted by Norwich City and former Magpies boss Glenn Roeder.
Newcastle themselves are chasing Arsenal midfielder Lassana Diarra and made an offer for Manchester Uniteds Wes Brown
Posted by TheAvaGo Group at 11:39 AM
Allardyce begins to swing the axe on Newcastles dead wood
Sissoko seduced by the Old Lady, as City chase Niang and Nasri
Wright-Phillips the little-big man as Chelsea steal it
Footy Focus prediction - Chelsea to advance to the final and break Everton hearts.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Benitez trys to save his skin
Given the Echo is widely held to be both the voice of the club and manager, it seems Benitez is trying to back track from ]off the record' comments made to journalists and the owners are making it very clear that he is still likely to be replaced. I can only see this leading to one thing - Benitez is on his way, either in a mid-season dust-up as the speculation makes his position untenable a la' Mourinho at Chelsea, or more likely in the time honoured Liverpool fashion of keeping things as stable as possible, with a summer exit.
It all depends on the whether the speculation makes the latter impossible but Footy Focus believes the decision has already been made.
Latest news and transfer speculation
Over at the Gallowgate, Big Sam has completed the signing of 17 year old Swindon defender Ben Tozer for an undisclosed fee. May well be a good signing, but hardly what Newcastle fans are looking for as they continue their Premier League free-fall.
Other news has Derby's Paul Jewell paying for me what is a lot of money, for a 34 year old Robbie Savage, with him moving to Derby for a reported 2 million. He can certainly do a job for them, as a midfield terrier, but the fee seems excessive to me. Suppose it will be money well if they stay up and keep the Premier League millions!
Rafa continues his dead man walking tactic.
Benitez allowed to dip into the market
The Liverpool Echo is reporting that the Zenit St Petersburg star arrived on Merseyside for a medical and to complete a deal over the next couple of days.
Skrtel is rated as a major emerging talent in European football and Liverpool have had to fend off some of the continent's top clubs to seal the deal.
If I was Rafa I'd be keeping Momo Sissoko to the end of the season, given they are looking more and more unlikely to be buying Mascherano.
Monday, January 7, 2008
Rafa's problems mount as spirited Luton hold listless Liverpool
Rafael Benitez's problems continued to mount as a disjointed, listless Liverpool were held 1-1 in this third round FA Cup tie.
After a bright start Liverpool degenerated into what they have so often this season - lots of possession but absolutely punchless upfront. When they did create chances their two forwards showed what 7 to 9 million buys you. Kuyt and Crouch simply should have done better, both missing respectable chances to give Liverpool a lead from which to go on and win the game.
Luton were spirited throughout, belying their lowly status they took the game to Liverpool at every opportunity. Talbot in particular was a stand-out performer for the battlers from Kenilworth Road.
Against the run of play, Liverpool took the lead in the 73rd minute, Crouch sliding home after a series of defensive errors from Luton. However just three minutes later Luton were level. Talbot again was the tormentor, with Riise knocking the ball into his own arm, and it then cannoned into the net.
For Luton another windfall waits as they limp along, hoping to stay in existence, though when you're losing 400k a week it must be doubtful. For Liverpool, a season that is threatening to completely unravel in a storm of over-expectation from owners and fans, political in-fighting and a punchless attack, limps onto into the next frenzied scrutiny of their manager. It's rapidly becoming death by a thousand cuts for Rafael Benitez.
You can't help feeling though, that Rafa Benitez has made two fundamental errors. He attacked the owners thinking he was in a stronger position than he was, and this has been undermined further by poor results. Secondly he has not bought invention to ally with Torres' ability. Kuyt and Voronin are workmanlike and thats it. Both (Kuyt particularly) and Voronin have no pace and are not penalty box predators. Two years ago he often used Luis Garcia with Crouch upfront - a classic target man and nippy front man partnership. Oh how Liverpool need a front man with his invention now to go with Torres. Also what has Crouch to do to get a game - how can he be on the bench with what Kuyt and Voronin offer? Moreover and more worringly for Liverpool fans is that of the midfield two years ago, you would Mascherano for Sissoko apart, play that same quartet again (Kewell, Alonso, Mascherano for Sissoko and Gerrard). This despite spending 32 million on Gonzalez, Benayoun, Pennant and Babel. Its all getting the feel of those last dark days of Houlliers regime.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Berbatov a step closer as Spurs linked with Cisse
You have to hand it to Rafa though. He's either very brave, or completely mad, as for this must win tie at Luton he's preparing to usher in his latest round of rotations and rest key players. Gerrard, Mascherano, and Torres are all to be rested or are out injured. In addition, Arbeloa and Aurelio are definite absentees having picked up knocks in the home draw against Wigan.
Its' looking more and more likely that someone else will be Liverpool manager come the summer, and Benitez appears to know it. Coming out against Liverpool owners was always only the thing to do from a position of strength - eight Premier League games later and only three wins, the title challenge over and Rafa's looking done for.
The Toffees crash out to their lower league near neighbours
Saturday, January 5, 2008
Benitez risking it all for rotation, as Moyes fears an upset
Elsewhere Everton's David Moyes has voiced his fears of an upset, as he prepares his team for the visit of Oldham. Given he's got a Tuesday Carling Cup semi-final clash with Chelsea he would like to rest some senior players, but is dreading a repeat of Everton going out of the FA Cup to Shrewsbury. Goodison Park should be a full house, for a traditional FA Cup ding-dong battle. Footy Focus prediction: Everton win.
Villa and Man United meet again in the FA Cup
Friday, January 4, 2008
Barton out, Lampard staying, and Ronaldo on his way?
Frank Lampard has told the London Evening Standard he would like to stay at Chelsea for the rest of his career. He has 18 months to go on his contract and would like to sign another one to keep him at Stamford Bridge, despite talks being put on hold until the end of the season.
Sunderland have failed with a bid for Blackburns Robbie Savage. Mark Hughes has said a bid has been received but does not match the clubs valuation of the player. Savage has been left out by Hughes in recent weeks and Blackburn are prepared to let him go.
Bolton manager Gary Megson has denied they are in talks with Chelsea over a move for Nicolas Anelka. Anelka was quoted in the French paper L'Equipe as saying talks were underway. Megson dismissed it as pure speculation.
New Tottenham manager Juande Ramos has said only a British record fee of over 30 million will prise Berbatov away from White Hart Lane. Chelsea are rumoured to be preparing a 26 million pound bid. Describing him as the only great player not in the Champions League, Ramos said he expects him to stay at Spurs.
Ronaldo to Real Madrid rumours abound again. This time its a 45 million pound bid from President Calderon and speculation has it that he's made up his mind to go!
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Blackburn have ended all interest in striker Jason Roberts by asking for £4m, hoping that no-one in their right mind would pay that for him. Unfortunately David Moyes is not of sane disposition and refuses to be deterred. Mark Hughes is taking a different tack with David Bentley - he's offering him a big fat pay rise to persuade him to stay.
Aston Villa are to start their much talked about spending spree by signing......wait for it.............25-year-old Porto defender Jose Bosingwa. The Telegraph for that one. Meanwhile the mighty Rangers are after Aston Villa striker Luke Moore, so says the Sun.
The wheeler of all dealers, Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp is going to grease his....err no... Rafa's palm with a wadful of cash for Peter Crouch. That slur from the Telegraph.
That other alledged fan of brown envelopes, Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce maintains he has recieved no brown coloured mail for the sick-note that is Michael Owen. The Telegraph again on that.
To end with Sunderland manager Roy Keane, the beacon of true football values in the Premier League, is hoping to secure Chelsea midfielder Steve Sidwell on a loan deal, says the Mirror.
Benitez gives Yanks loaded gun as Reds fire blanks again
The pressure mounted further on Rafael Benitez as his stuttering Liverpool side stumbled to a draw at home to Wigan. Hopes of a Premier League title seem laughable for Liverpool, and a more realistic proposition is the struggle for fourth place, as Manchester City continue a great season under Sven-Goran Eriksson.
Liverpool started brightly enough, but again didn't quite convince, as they struggled to breakdown a newly resolute Wigan. Steve Bruce's team seemed to be winning every vital tackle and interception as Liverpool tried to prise a way through. Michael Brown in particular was a thorn in the side of Liverpool, as he continually broke up attacks and very nearly opened the scoring with the best effort of the first half.
Gerrard cleared poorly from inside his own penalty area, the ball cannoned off Mascherano to Bramble, who belied his comic status to finish superbly from the edge of the box.
Rafael Benitez was as animated as he's ever been on the Liverpool touchline and soon threw on Crouch and Kuyt in a desperate attempt to force a winner, however it was not to be. The result really leaves Liverpool's outside hope of a Premier League title looking dead and buried, and will greatly increase the pressure on Rafael Benitez and his relationship with the club's American owners.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Lots of noise around Dimitar Berbatov with both Manchester United and Chelsea being mooted as spending big on the 28 year old Bulgarian. All seems the prelude to the inevitable, which must be depressing for Tottenham fans.
Transfer speculation has it that Chelsea are reported to be about to launch a 26 million pound bid, while various sources say he is set to move to Premier League title holders Manchester United. Hopefully he'll go to neither and his big ego will have to honour the deal he signed only 18 months ago!
Javier Mascherano warns time is limited for a deal to be struck to keep him at Liverpool
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
The wanderlust Nicholas Anelka now seems certain to move to Chelsea for a fee in the region of 10 million. Good move for Chelsea but I'm not so sure he'll get the games he wants when Drogba is back fit.
Other speculation and rumour sees Xabi Alonso going to Real Madrid in exchange for Julio Baptista and Gabriel Heinze. Bit of a wild one this - Rafa Benitez is far too canny to sell Alonso, though I can see him going for Heinze again.
Steven Taylor, the talented Newcastle centre-half is again the subject of much rumour about his future. This time West Ham are apparently watching his contract situation. This together with the reported interest from Arsenal and Liverpool would suggest a move is likely sometime soon.
First up is the depressing news for Spurs fans of Dimitar Berbatov angling for a move to a 'bigger club'. This seems to be bearing all the hallmarks of a done deal - denial by the club, player agent saying player deserves a bigger stage, leaked stories to the media etc. Seems to me the age old pattern of softening up the fans for the inevitable. One day a club will hold a player to his contract, come what may. Berbatov obviously signed his with the intention of doing one as soon as someone better showed the slightest bit of interest.
Other speculation has Liverpool and Arsenal after Michael Owen for 8 million. Would be a great buy, providing he comes with a doctors note.
Elsewhere rumour has it that Martin Jol is to take over from Sam Allardyce, West Ham are to offer 12 million for Tottenham's Darren Bent, Pascal Chimbonda of Tottenham is wanted by Newcastle and Manchester City, and AC Milan want show-pony Andriy Shevchenko back at the San Siro.
Same old, same old in the New Year race for the Premier League
Arsenal regained top spot with a great 4-1 win at Everton, though it has to be said the scoreline didn't really reflect the game itself. You just get the feeling that Arsenal are beginning to feel the strain a bit, and may soon run into problems. Their injury list is mounting and they will lose players to the Africans cup. Premier League placing prediction? An agonising 2nd spot.
Manchester United go into 2008 really looking as the team everyone else will have to beat. Their form has been outstanding after a relatively slow start, and they have stormed back into contention. With few major injury worries, no players at the African nations cup, and the team in great form, they are looking in a great position to grab a commanding lead at the top. Premier League placing prediction? Champions again.
It's hard to characterise the football Chelsea are playing under Avram Grant. They were very pragmatic under Mourinho, but sometimes lacked a 'plan b' when things didn't go to plan. Under Grant they are playing better but not particularly flamboyant football. They've got some major injury worries, which combined with losing players to the Africans Cup will cause them some major problems. The loss of Terry and Drogba in particular is a huge blow. Premier League placing prediction? Squeezed out of it to fourth spot.
rivals and Rafael Benitez's penchant for weird and wonderful team selections in the name of rotation. You just get the sense with Liverpool that they haven't quite got enough to propel themselves into that top two and really challenge. Defensively they are fine, but offensivelyLiverpool, despite appearing to have one of their strongest squads for years have not yet quite clicked into gear. Two things are conspiring against them - their inability to take points off their, Torres and Gerrard apart they haven't got that extra bit of quality that world class players give. As Rafa is always saying, it's small details! Premier League placing prediction? An improved points total but stuck in third.