Monday, July 16, 2007


DIRK KUYT has warned that Rafa Benitez’s summer spending spree will go to waste unless Liverpool make a strong start to the season.
Kuyt has been impressed by the fact Benitez has spent £40million, which has brought Fernando Torres, Ryan Babel, Yossi Benayoun and Andriy Voronin to Anfield. But the Dutch striker fears it will all be in vain if Liverpool make the same mistakes as last season.Despite another impressive European campaign, Liverpool’s hopes of winning the Premiership were effectively over by the end of October. By then they had won just four of their first 10 league matches while Manchester United recorded eight wins from the same number of games en route to the title. Kuyt, speaking after helping his side warm up with a comfortable 3-0 win at Crewe, said: “You can’t win the title in the first few weeks of the season but you can certainly lose it.

You can lose the title in the first few weeks.

Dirk Kuyt
“We had a slow start last season but this time it’s important we show we can do it from the start.“It was a good thing to bring a few new players in. We certainly have to play much better than last year. “I’m not worried about my place. It’s important to get players to make the team better and the competition at Liverpool is now stronger than ever.” Kuyt was one of 22 players used by Benitez at Gresty Road, with the manager introducing a full change at half-time.England striker Peter Crouch marked his first pre-season appearance with a goal while Lee Peltier and Ray Putterill, a member of last season’s triumphant FA Youth Cup-winning side, also scored before Liverpool headed off to Switzerland for a training camp.
Voronin, a free signing from Bayer Leverkusen, looked useful going forward.Torres, the club record signing from Atletico Madrid, was not risked as he is recovering from a minor ankle knock.Babel and Benayoun are expected to make their first appearances against either Werder Bremen tomorrow or Auxerre on Friday. Benitez hopes to be joined in Switzerland by Lucas Leiva, the 20-year-old Brazilian midfielder who agreed to move to Anfield in May from Gremio in a £5m deal. But the transfer is dependent on Leiva acquiring the necessary documents and Liverpool reserve the right to cancel the move if they cannot secure the player’s eligibility. Benitez said: “He is the captain of the Brazil Under-20 side and won the Golden Boot in his country last year so we know he has quality.“We also believe he has the mentality and the character you need to do well in England.”Fabio Aurelio is unlikely to be fit in time for the start of the season. The 27-year-old Brazilian left-back ruptured his Achilles tendon during Liverpool’s Champions League tie against PSV Eindhoven in April. Benitez said: “Fabio isn’t fit. It could be another month before he recovers. We knew it would be a long time when he got injured.“He is improving, but it is not easy when you have this kind of injury.”

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