Now there is disquiet among some Liverpool supporters that the Spaniard did not pull his weight last season, and they urgently want some action from him. Rafael Benitez, though, is preaching patience, while admitting that Morientes has not yet made the impact that he had hoped for when he splashed out £6.3 million on him in January.
As he looked ahead to their next Champions' League tie, against CSKA Sofia, the Liverpool manager said: "I believe Morientes will improve. Sometimes he has done OK when he has played and other times he might have done better, but he will get better. We know Morientes is a good player and we know what he can bring to our team. We should see that very soon."
Benitez needs to. He is trying to ship out Milan Baros, but the club appear to be struggling to find someone willing to meet their £7m valuation of the Czech international. But even if Baros is still on the books, Benitez is not inclined to select him, particularly for European games. He will be relying on Peter Crouch, who has a hamstring injury that may put him out of the first leg against CSKA, to prove that his impressive burst of form last season reflected a coming of age and not just a passing purple patch. In Liverpool's early European action this season, Steven Gerrard has dom-inated the goalscoring, with Djibril Cissé chipping in.
Total Network Solutions and FK Kaunas are hardly big-name rivals, and CSKA Sofia will present much tougher opposition. The Bulgarian side lost only once in winning their domestic title last season.
In their final pre-season friendly before the Premiership season starts, Tottenham sent on their new signing, Edgar Davids, after 60 minutes of their 2-0 victory over Porto. Jermain Defoe scored both goals. Manchester City beat Olympiakos 3-1, but that success could not disguise their mounting injury problems. Sylvain Distin looks likely to miss the start of the season, along with Richard Dunne and Robbie Fowler.Reuse content