Liverpool Signs Ukraine Ace

LIVERPOOL, England -- Ukraine star Andriy Voronin has signed for English Premier League giant Liverpool on a four-year contract, the club announced overnight.

Andriy Voronin (R)

The 27 year old, capped 40 times as an international strike partner of Chelsea's Andriy Shevchenko, will cost nothing when he leaves German side Bayer Leverkusen at the end of the season as he will be a free agent.

Voronin, who has scored five goals for his country, has spent most of his career in Germany playing for Cologne, Mainz and Borussia Monchengladbach.

The signing of Voronin, who was part of the Ukraine team that reached the World Cup qurter-finals last year, puts pressure on former England international Robbie Fowler retaining his place in the squad despite scoring twice on Saturday in the victory over Sheffield United.

But with Dirk Kuyt, Craig Bellamy and Peter Crouch also vying for places up front, Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez refused to discuss a new deal for the 31-year-old Fowler.

"He's a really good finisher, still the best we have, and I sometimes think that if we could have Bellamy running at defenders and carrying the ball 20 yards, then turning into Fowler with the goal in sight, it would be perfect,'' the Spaniard said.

"If you create chances for him, you know you can rely on his finishing and that is a very important quality to have.

"We have four very good strikers, all with different skills. You can make the most of Peter Crouch's aerial ability, Dirk Kuyt works hard between the lines and Bellamy runs behind defences.

"We can talk about Robbie's future at a later date but, if he scores every time he plays over the next few months, you never know.''

Voronin's transfer is the first under the new regime of American tycoons George Gillett and Tom Hicks, who agreed a takeover of Liverpool earlier this month.

Source: The North Queensland Newspaper