Friday, February 20, 2009

Benitez - United not Untouchables

Rafael Benítez has rejected Arsène Wenger's theory that Manchester United are "untouchable" this season and believes Liverpool will have a genuine chance of winning the Premier League should they arrive at Old Trafford next month still in touch with the reigning champions.

A United victory over Blackburn Rovers tonight would leave Liverpool eight points behind Sir Alex Ferguson's team going into their home game with Manchester City tomorrow, when Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso will be absent through injury and suspension respectively. Having twice broken Barcelona's and Real Madrid's dominance of the Spanish league title with Valencia, the first time after trailing Real by seven points in January, Benítez unsurprisingly discounts the idea that United are a certainty for a third successive league crown. But he admits it is imperative Liverpool keep their rivals under severe pressure until they meet at Old Trafford on 14 March.

"I don't think they are untouchable," said the Spaniard, who is yet to accept the offer of a new contract from Liverpool's owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, three weeks after meeting his employers individually on Merseyside. "We know they are a good team and we will have to play really well if we want to beat them, but we have beaten them once this ­season already. In football now every game is so difficult that anything can happen. They will win more games than the other teams because clearly they are a good side. But to say you cannot beat them, I don't think so."

The Liverpool manager added: "We need to win every game. Clearly it is a big gap, but we can reduce it by winning some games in a row. From when I arrived here there is a massive difference in the gap between us. We are in a very good position because we have reduced the gap so we want to reduce it even more. We know it will be difficult, but if we are in the same position going into the game at Old Trafford, maybe it will be important this season. We have to go to Old Trafford and try and win. We cannot think in any other way."

Liverpool will be without Gerrard for the visit of City as the captain continues his recovery from a hamstring tear. The midfielder remains on schedule to complete his three-week lay-off and return to face Real Madrid in the Champions League next Wednesday, although Benítez insists a final decision on Gerrard's fitness will be taken after training on Monday.

No comments :

Post a Comment