Benayoun: I’m going nowhere

By Danny Caro, November 20, 2008
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Playmaker: Benayoun in action for Israel against Ivory Coast

Playmaker: Benayoun in action for Israel against Ivory Coast

Israel captain Yossi Benayoun has distanced himself from reports that he wants to leave Liverpool.

Speaking to Israeli reporters in the build-up to Israel's international friendly against the Ivory Coast, Benayoun, 28, claimed that English newspapers had twisted his comments.

"In recent games I haven't been playing," he said. "There is a winning team and I'll have to wait for my next opportunity. The fact that I am involved and have come on as a substitute in almost every game shows something and I hope that in the near future things will change."

Benayoun has scored 11 goals in 63 games for the Merseysiders but has not been given a run of consecutive starts since moving to Anfield from West Ham last year.

"At the moment I have no thoughts of moving," he said. "I want to stay and prove myself. At present I am part of the rotation.

"Everybody wants to play and its no fun to sit on the bench or just play for a few minutes. But you have to understand where I am. This is one of the greatest clubs there is. There are very talented players that sometimes don't even get to put on their shirts. At least I'm in the squad for every match but sitting on the bench is part of the game."

The Reds turned down sizeable offers from Roma and Spartak Moscow for the midfielder but, ahead of the January transfer window, he made a statement of intent.

"I didn't just come to here to be able to say I've played for Liverpool," Benayoun said. "I could have played in every game for other teams. I came here to prove myself and I think I did so in my first season with 11 goals and 10 assists - I didn't expect so many.

"It has been more competitive this season and there are more talented players in the squad. Of course if I don't play in the coming months, even though it's Liverpool, I won't want to stay. But at the moment I am enjoying every moment in England."

The recent Carling Cup defeat ended one chance of silverware, but Liverpool are joint-top of the Premier League with Chelsea and well-placed in their Champions League qualifying group.

However, manager Rafa Benitez prefers to use him as an impact player from the bench, a role that Benayoun did not foresee. "My ambition is to remain at this level," he said. "It's an amazing experience. My dream is to win a title with Liverpool. That would be the greatest thing. How I wish we can win the championship this season."

"My greatest dream is to lead Israel to a major tournament. I'll soon be 29 so there will not be many more opportunities. I will be satisfied if I could retire after having played in the World Cup finals."

Goals from Elyaniv Barda and Omer Golan, both set up by Benayoun, put Israel two up within 24 minutes of Wednesday night's international friendly against the Ivory Coast. The match finished 2-2.

Ben Sahar will leave Portsmouth in January. Executive chairman Peter Storrie said: "Ben will go back to Chelsea. It is a mutual decision. He's not been involved and we feel sorry for the boy but the coaches feel he's not at that level, that he will be better in the Championship.

"I can understand why the boy thinks he should be in the Premier League - after all he plays internationally."

    Last updated: 1:29pm, November 20 2008