Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Gerrard hits out at unstable Reds

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard says speculation over the club's ownership and the future of manager Rafa Benitez is affecting the players on the pitch.
Liverpool lie fifth in the Premier League after a 2-2 draw at home to Aston Villa and are 14 points adrift of Manchester United and Arsenal.
Gerrard said: "It's not just this week, it's been going on for some time and it's certainly not helping the players.
"I've got to be careful what I say, but it's certainly not helping the team."
Liverpool have come under intense media scrutiny in recent weeks after prolonged speculation over Benitez's future and the management direction of American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
Last week, Hicks revealed he had poken to Jurgen Klinsmann in November about the possibility of taking over from Benitez, before the German agreed to become Bayern Munich's new coach at the start of next season.
The revelation followed a very public spat between Benitez and the Americans over the Spaniard's transfer policy.
BBC Sport understands Dubai Investment Capital is preparing a bid to buy the club from the American duo, who took charge less than a year ago.
Supporters at Anfield on Monday chanted and held up banners in support of Benitez, while also asking for Hicks and Gillett to sell the club to DIC.
Gerrard added: "We know what's going on, but as players you've got a job to do on the pitch and you try to put what's going on off the pitch to the back of your mind.
"But sometimes it's impossible, when it is every day."
Manager Benitez has refused to be drawn on speculation over his future since the Klinsmann revelation came to light earlier in January.
The Spaniard said: "If you win and you play well then obviously everyone is a lot happier and things are a lot easier.
"But I really don't have too much information, I just keep preparing for games and try to win every game.
"I am trying not to think about this."
The 2-2 draw with Villa was the sixth time Liverpool have been held at Anfield in the Premier League.
Apart from Portsmouth, no other team has drawn so many home games as Liverpool.
Liverpool fanzine editor John Mackin told BBC Sport the fans are united in wanting Hicks and Gillett to leave.
"The Americans have to go," said Mackin. "They've let everybody down associated with the club.
"They've let the manager down by not backing him publicly, they've gone behind his back and undermined his position and in doing so, they've embarrassed the supporters. "They've dragged the name of the club through the mud and made us a laughing stock."

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