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Feb 20, 2007

Benitez fines fifteen players

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez prepared for Wednesday night's Champions League clash with Barcelona by fining 15 of his players for their part in the squad's headline-grabbing, boozy end to their trip to Portugal last week.

The Liverpool manager is incensed that preparations for their tie with the European champions have been overshadowed by reports of drunken brawls and has already fined striker Craig Bellamy two weeks' wages for attacking John Arne Riise.

The Daily Mirror claims that another 14 players from the 22-man squad will also be hit in the pocket and The Sun reports that fines will total a club record £150,000 once all participants are dealt with.

Although Benitez won't identify those involved in the post karaoke shenanigans at the exclusive Monty's restaurant and bar in Vale Do Lobo Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek has spoken of the incident on his official website.

The Poland international confirmed he and others had felt the manager's wrath, but played down the exaggerated and 'unreal' stories published in the media.

'Most of the press printed strange, unreal stories concerning our going out for supper to the nearest restaurant, while we were in Portugal,' Dudek said.

'Among others, I have read, that I wanted to beat up the policeman, was handcuffed and detained by the police. Nothing of that kind happened.

'I admit that we behaved inappropriately for the situation. We have betrayed our coach's trust, because we returned to the hotel around several dozen minutes after the 'zero hour', as well as other hotel guests, because we disturbed their peace and night time.

'The next day we felt stupid. Our coach talked to us and punished those who deserved it the most. I was one of them.

'We have to draw a conclusion from this incident, so as to avoid such a situation in future.'

Despite Bellamy allegedly attacking team-mate Riise with a golf club the fiery Welshman is expected to start against Barca at the Nou Camp.

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