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Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Morientes content at Anfield

Liverpool striker Fernando Morientes appears to have has distanced himself from a possible move to Espanyol by insisting he is settled in England and prefers the Barclays Premiership to La Liga.

Sources in Spain suggested 29-year-old could become a surprise target for the Barcelona club if his friend and former Real Madrid and Spain boss Jose Antonio Camacho is appointed sports director there next month.

That appointment would depend on whether Claudio Biern wins the club's presidential elections in February. Biern is fronting a group called `Nou Espanyol' and is trying to take control of the club.

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez would be unlikely to even consider such a move as he considers the former Real striker pivotal to his future plans for the club.

Morientes told Liverpool's official website: 'I want to stay at Liverpool for a long time because the fans are yet to see the best of me.

'They really are unbelievable and very different to those in Spain. They sing all the time and really get behind you from the first whistle.

'Their support means so much to me and I want to repay them for the faith they have shown in me.'

Morientes admits he struggled in his early months on Merseyside, having signed from Real in last year's January transfer window.

But he added: 'I am really enjoying it at Liverpool now. For me to be here is a very good thing. The first three months were difficult as my English was very bad and I was struggling for fitness having not played much for Real prior to my move.

'Now it's improving and my life in Liverpool is good. My family is very happy here too and my children speak English no problem.

'After playing for so long in La Liga it was a struggle adapting to life in the Premiership at first. The style is very different. It's a lot stronger over here but now I prefer the Premiership to La Liga.'

Morientes also sees the incentive of trying to claim a fourth European Cup winners' medal - he already has three from his time with Real Madrid - as Liverpool continue the defence of the crown they won in Istanbul last May.

Morientes was cup-tied from that run and had to watch from the sidelines as Liverpool marched to the final and then beat AC Milan.

He added: 'To miss out last season's Champions League triumph was a source of great frustration.

'The team did ever so well and I was extremely happy for all of my team-mates but I'd have loved to be part of it.

'I was always well aware of the situation though so I can't complain and I'll still never forget that night in Istanbul. It was an unbelievable night. I was doing co-commentary for a Spanish television station but once the game was over I made my way straight down onto the pitch where I celebrated with the lads as if I'd played in the game itself.

'That night meant so much to everyone at the club. This season is different, I can play, I'm enjoying it and I'll be doing all I can to try and help Liverpool win a sixth European Cup.'

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