Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Benitez warns Capello to rest Gerrard

SoccerNews in English Premier League 8 Nov 2009

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Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has warned England coach Fabio Capello that playing Steven Gerrard in Saturday’s friendly against Brazil is an unnecessary risk.

Gerrard, who could feature in the Reds’ clash against Birmingham on Monday, has been sidelined with a groin injury which he aggravated while playing for England against Ukraine last month.

Benitez is privately frustrated that England didn’t send Gerrard home immediately after he suffered the problem and he hopes Capello will use common sense and leave the midfielder out of his squad for the meaningless game in Doha because he is still not 100 percent fit.

“I don’t see the point of taking a player who has not trained with the team for 15 days,” Benitez said in the News of the World.

“If he plays on Monday it will be because we have pushed and pushed him, but you cannot tell me when he has not trained with us for 15 days that he is fit.

“He can be available maybe if everything is okay but he is not match fit. So to play friendlies with him when England have already qualified, I would be really surprised.

“I will be really surprised to see my players playing friendlies when they are not fit for my team.

“There has been no agreement but is just common sense. Common sense is just something you have to use.

“I am sure that they understand. I hope common sense will prevail. Our doctor is in contact with England doctors so they know the situation.”

Meanwhile, Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks insists no star players will be allowed to leave Anfield even if the team fails to qualify for the lucrative Champions League knockout stages.

The Reds are on the brink of an early exit from the Champions League and need to win their last two matches against Debrecen and Fiorentina – and hope other results go their way – to qualify.

Failure to reach the last 16 would be a severe financial blow but Hicks is adamant the likes of Fernando Torres or Gerrard will not be forced to leave Anfield because of cash pressures.

He told the Sunday Mirror: “None of our star players will be sold, regardless of results.

“The club is doing very well due to rapidly growing commercial revenues.

“We have significant investor interest and want to make sure that we pick high-quality partners.

“We are happy with the way things are going financially but we hoped things would be better on the pitch.”

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