Benitez open to offers for Morientes
May 17 2006
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
FERNANDO MORIENTES yesterday admitted he is facing an Anfield exit.
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is willing to listen to offers for the striker, who has scored just 12 goals in 60 games following his £6.3million move from Real Madrid last January.
Although Morientes helped Liverpool to FA Cup glory against West Ham United at the weekend, his joy was tempered by the news he failed to make Spain's 23-man squad for next month's World Cup finals.
Benitez will shake up his striking options this summer and is happy to let both Morientes and Djibril Cisse depart as he looks to prepare Liverpool for a genuine championship challenge next season.
Spanish La Liga side Espanyol have been keeping tabs on Morientes, while Marseille and Lyon are tracking Cisse.
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Who on earth would be a ref these days? Much is down to their interpretation of the rules IN REAL TIME and then...
Morientes accepts he has suffered a "terrible" season and will seek talks with Benitez to clarify his situation.
"People are saying that Liverpool are going to sign forwards and Benitez does not count on me any more," said the striker.
"But if I don't play, I can't stay. I've been at Liverpool a year-and-a-half, and with injuries and other things I've never felt right.
"I will have to speak to the manager to see if he wants me.
But I cannot stay if I don't play, if I do not feel useful. That's the reason I left Madrid."
Of his omission from the World Cup, Morientes added: "If I'd have played more, if I'd have scored 15 or 20 more goals, I'd have been able to expect something better, but I haven't played well.
"My playing style was my guarantee, but the terrible year I've had has put pay to that."
Benitez has a number of possible striking transfer options, including Charlton Athletic's Darren Bent, Craig Bellamy of Blackburn Rovers and Tottenham Hotspur forward Jermain Defoe.
One striker who will definitely be staying at Anfield is Robbie Fowler, who yesterday put pen to paper on the new contract that ties him to the club for next season.
Benitez sufficiently to warrant a new one-year deal.
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And he said: "It's been a great season for the club and it finished off in the best way possible by winning the FA Cup in Cardiff.
"Obviously I was a bit disappointed to be cup-tied for the competition but to be honest being offered a new Liverpool contract was my cup final.
"I'm looking forward to next season already and can't wait to get started. I think it could be another great one for the club."
Benitez, meanwhile, has issued a thinly-veiled warning to Chelsea by claiming Liverpool did not need to make record-breaking transfers to seal trophy success.
"I hear some people say they never get the credit they deserve when they win trophies, but there are some achievements which are more valuable than others," said the Anfield manager.
"I congratulate teams like Wigan and West Ham who have done very well with no money to spend, and I think there is more value in our success in the last two years because we've done it without being able to go out and buy the most expensive players in the world. That's harder.
"It's important people understand how hard my staff and players have had to work for this success because it's not been easy for us."