Liverpool face non-league Havant and Waterlooville on Saturday in a match which typically would have provided a platform for youngsters like Jack Hobbs to get a first team start – but that won’t be happening now after the young centre back has been loaned to Championship strugglers Scunthorpe for the rest of the season.
The 19 year old has fallen down the pecking order since the arrival of Slovakian Martin Skrtel – who is almost certain to make his full debut on Saturday. Also ruled out are Alvaro Arbeloa and Andriy Voronin who have slight injuries; Arbeloa faces three weeks on the sidelines.
Meanwhile, Momo Sissoko‘s departure to Italian giants Juventus looks about to be completed; with Gazetto Dello Sport claiming the deal will be completed this weekend, and the Liverpool Echo this evening reporting talks are at an advanced stage. The fee is said to be in the region of â‚¬13m (Â£9m). A tidy profit on the Â£5.5m Rafa Benitez spent when signing the Mali midfielder from Valencia in 2005.
Sissoko’s departure will more than cover for Skrtel’s Â£6m fee and again is further evidence of Hicks and Gillett’s unwillingness to put money into the club.
Talking of which, the Echo report the latest tonight;
Doubts persist about Tom Hicks’ ability to deliver on his pledge to complete a Â£350m refinancing deal with the Royal Bank of Scotland and Wachovia.
Sources close to the deal insist it will be difficult to tie up all the loose ends today and it could be tomorrow or even Monday before it is finally concluded.
DIC remain interested in buying the club from Hicks and co-owner George Gillett and are waiting in the wings should there be any last minute hitches with refinancing.
Elsewhere, there could be another departure on the cards with Argentinian side River Plate interested in signing Sebastien Leto who has struggled to break into the first team since arriving from Lanus in the summer.
And finally, support for Rafa Benitez has come from two more sources today – one very surprising one, with Alex Ferguson admitting his backing for Benitez;
“At big clubs, it’s absolutely paramount that the board show their class. Arsene Wenger has had great support at Arsenal and I’ve had great support, too, ever since I came here. So there’s a certain type of unity there.”
“What happened with [Klinsmann] was a bad piece of business on Liverpool‘s part, there’s no doubt about that. That sort of thing can be very upsetting for a manager. You should allow a manager to get on with his job.”
And the LMA’s (League Managers Association) Richard Bevan told Five Live; “Yes, we have been in touch with Rafael Benitez. We have provided advice, support and encouragement. But obviously we are unable to say any more.”
Other rumours today: