'Spirit of Istanbul' can aid title charge
Jul 30 2005
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
LIVERPOOL chairman David Moores believes his club can use the 'spirit of Istanbul' to cope with the vast wealth of Chelsea.
As Liverpool were handed a Champions League third qualifying round tie with either CSKA Sofia or Tirana in yesterday's draw in Nyon for the right to take their place in the group stages, Moores was looking ahead to the battle for the Barclays Premiership title and the defence of their European crown.
Moores claims he appointed Rafael Benitez last summer because "he talked like Bill Shankly with a different accent," knows now the pressure is on Liverpool to step up a level and challenge Chelsea on all fronts.
He said: "After what happened last season you can only be positive and I think Rafael is more than capable of being one of our greatest ever managers.
"I would ask our fans to be patient though. I know it's hard after winning the Champions League but we shouldn't get too carried away.
"Our next aim now is to improve in the Premier League and hopefully, in the not too distant future, go on and win it."
To do that Liverpool must find some way of matching Chelsea's financial muscle. But Moores believes that the spirit fostered by Benitez to land the European Cup for the fifth time, as the blueprint for the future.
He said: "Obviously it's not easy because the money Roman Abramovich is putting into his club seems to be never ending.
"On the other hand you can have all these players but you have to get them playing as a team and as a unit and I think in that respect Rafael can compete with anyone.
"He's got extra players this year, he's got the play-ers he wants and I'm confident we will not be far away this season.
"I don't want to say we'll win it and build the fans' expectations up, but I'm sure at the end of next season we'll be able to look back on a much-improved campaign in the Premier-ship. There's a real buzz about the coming season. It stems from the supporters through the team and into the boardroom. What we achieved last season was tremendous and long may it continue.
"I am a fan, I want the best for this club and I know that in Rafael Benitez we have the best manager to help us achieve our dreams."
Moores and Liverpool have already stopped Chelsea claiming the Anfield skipper Steven Gerrard as another addition to their vast squad.
And the Liverpool supremo is still celebrating that achievement. He said: "That was the other big plus in the summer because we did go through a tough spell and there were some crossed wires. But I never doubted Stevie. "He came to my house on the morning after he announced he was staying and we had a good chat. He had been confused and there had been a lot of things going on behind the scenes.
"He loves the club, he wants the best for the club and it was a magic moment when we found out he was staying. Hopefully Stevie will stay with us for the rest of his career now.
"We're all sharing the same ideas about what we want in the future and that is the continued success of this club. We're all pulling in the same direction."