Benitez willing to let four depart

Liverpool appear to be ready to release as many as four players in January, with Ryan Babel, Andrea Dossena, Andrei Voronin and Philipp Degen among those who may leave as part of the club's attempts to lower the wage bill.

Rafael Benitez's injury-ravaged squad was skeletal for the 1-1 draw in Lyons, which leaves the club's Champions League campaign hanging by a thread when they play Debrecen of Hungary in Budapest next week. But Benitez appears resigned to players leaving, with money tight and the prospect of the club losing another £10m by failing to progress from the group stage now a real one.

Babel, who seemed to have scored a winner in Lyons before Lissandro Lopez equalised, indicated in pre-season that he needed first-team football to force his way into the Netherlands' World Cup plans and would contemplate a loan move to Ajax, the club that developed him. He has started only two Premier League games this season and is not developing in the way Benitez hoped when he signed him in 2007. "To be a supersub is mentally hard," Babel said this week. "It is clear I have enough qualities to be in the starting XI of Liverpool."

Andrei Voronin, a player Benitez only kept in the summer because he knew the money raised would not be reinvested in transfers, is also dispensible. Though Hertha Berlin, for whom he flourished on loan last season, could not afford him this summer, most Bundesliga clubs would probably relish his proven ability at German league level. A loan move to Italy appears to be most likely for Dossena while Degen's defensive qualities have not matched his ambition as a right wing-back.

Benitez, meanwhile, is confident of having Steven Gerrard, Glen Johnson and Daniel Agger fit to face Manchester City on Saturday. Fernando Torres, undergoing three weeks rest, will not be available however. Yossi Benayoun and Albert Riera, initially ruled out until early December with hamstring injuries, may be back sooner.

The Liverpool manager conceded for the first time in an interview published last night that failure to win the Premier League would represent failure. "Anyone who knows me knows that I want to win every trophy, every game," he said. "But if you ask me what I prefer, I will say the Premier League. If I do not win the title, I'm sure I'd be so disappointed maybe I would have this feeling [that I have failed]."

Istanbul film unlikely to impress United fans

Fans of Manchester United were never likely to be much edified by Fifteen Minutes that Shook the World, the movie short which centred around Rafael Benitez's half-time team talk during the Champions League final against Milan at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul in 2005. But writer Dave Kirby's portrayal of the old enemy in the 45-minute film can only have contributed to the antipathy felt between the supporters. A parody of Sir Alex Ferguson sees him drinking scotch in an Old Trafford office while apparently contemplating suicide, while a Gary Neville lookalike by the name of "Rat Boy" also makes an appearance.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence