News Round-Up: Rafa happy at Reds

Speculation over the weekend linked Rafa Benitez with Bayern Munich, the German giants said to be interested in having our gaffer as their new boss.

Speaking on Monday though Benitez responded to that speculation with a positive message for Liverpool fans.

‘œIt is always flattering to be linked with other big clubs because it must mean you are doing something right,’ Benitez said. ‘œBut even if I was approached, I would tell whichever club it was that I am really happy with my club, my squad, my supporters and my city. There are still many things I want to do here, so I am planning on being here for a long time.’

Benitez also quashed rumours the Reds are interested in Athletic Bilboa youngster Javi Martinez. The 19 year old Spanish attacking midfielder had been linked in the Sunday newspapers and reportedly has an £18million buy-out clause.

Rafa said “He is a young player who we know about because Bilbao paid good money for him. But we are not watching the player and are not thinking about signing him.”

With the international weekend there were plenty of Liverpool players in action – Peter Crouch scored on Friday night in England’s pointless friendly in Austria and he looks set to start up front on his own in Wednesday’s ‘crunch’ match with Croatia.

Harry Kewell completed the Aussies 1-0 win over Nigeria at Craven Cottage on Saturday. Steve Finnan played in Republic of Ireland’s 2-2 draw with Wales. Also in action were Ryan Babel & Dirk Kuyt (both as subs for Holland), Andriy Voronin, John Arne Riise, Sami Hyypia, Javier Mascherano and Mo Sissoko.

Meanwhile, ex-boss Gerard Houllier has been linked with the vacant Republic of Ireland managers job.

And finally, Jamie Carragher kicked off the Christmas celebrations by helping turn on the lights in the city centre on Sunday night.