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Benitez: I can't believe no-one has come in for Robbie Fowler

Jul 5 2007

by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo

Robbie Fowler

RAFA BENITEZ welcomed his new number nine to Anfield yesterday – then immediately paid tribute to the man whose shirt he has taken.

Robbie Fowler, known as ‘God’ to Reds fans, was released by Liverpool at the end of last season, and revealed this week he has had no new offers.

And the Reds boss admitted today he was baffled by that news.

“Robbie’s attitude and his professionalism while he was here were outstanding.

“He worked very hard, both in training and in matches and everyone knows about his quality in front of goal. He still has a lot to offer. We had already signed Voronin and knew we were trying to bring another new striker in, which is why we let him go.

“I’m very surprised to hear nobody has made him an offer.”

Fernando Torres will wear the number nine shirt vacated by Fowler, after completing his £20m transfer from Atletico Madrid.

And boss Benitez declared his summer spending hasn’t stopped there.

"I am looking for wingers now and though we have to sell I hope that doesn't have to happen first,” he said.

"We are getting close with some of the players we are looking at and I believe we can bring a winger in straight away, regardless of outgoing deals.”

Porto winger Quaresma will not be that winger, despite reports this morning suggesting a £13.5 bid by the Reds had been rejected.

“Nonsense,” said chief executive Rick Parry.

Benitez has also cooled on Roma’s extravagantly gifted Brazilian-born winger, Alessandro Mancini.

Torres, meanwhile, has returned to Spain following yesterday’s unveiling at Anfield and will not return to Merseyside until July 11.

His capture has taken the Reds’ summer spending to almost £30m, following the arrivals of Andriy Voronin, Lucas Leiva and Sebastian Leto.

He is likely to make his first appearance for his new club during the pre-season trip to Switzerland which leaves on July 17.

Warrington Wolves' Halliwell Jones Stadium, meanwhile, has replaced Wrexham as the stage for Liverpool’s reserve team matches next season.

The Rugby League venue staged matches in the Uefa Women's European championship in 2005, and Warrington commercial development director Dave Hutchinson explained: "We said from the day we came that we could stage football as well as rugby. We sampled it in 2005 - now we've gone a stage further."

Reds’ reserves captain, Jack Hobbs, said: "It will feel like a real home atmosphere."


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