Friday, October 23, 2009

Rafa sure of getting back to old good days against United

Rafa Benitez today backed his players to haul themselves back into the title race by beating Manchester United on Sunday.

The Reds can reduce their arrears to four points when Alex Ferguson's league leaders travel to Anfield.

espite a dip in form which has seen Liverpool lose four on the spin, Benitez has plenty of reasons to be confident ahead of the 2pm kick off.

His side completed the double over United last term, including a 2-1 home victory without either Fernando Torres or Steven Gerrard in the starting line-up.

Benitez will make a late fitness call on his influential duo as well as Glen Johnson, but if they are not fit he is confident the rest of his squad can step up to the plate.

"I am sure our squad is much better than people think. If you have three, four or five players who normally start out injured, then you can't talk about the squad not being strong enough," the Spaniard told his pre-match press conference.

"I am sure if you take four or five players from United, Chelsea or Arsenal, it would be very difficult for them to win some games.

"Beating United last season is something positive we can use. Without Gerrard and Torres, the team was really good and the fans enjoyed the day - especially because we were without two very important players.

"So, if we have to do the same in this situation now, we can do it."

Asked if a victory on Sunday was the only way Liverpool could get back in the title hunt, Benitez added: "It's the best way - but it's not the only one. We think we can win and we'll talk about four points at the next press conference."

The boss was also quizzed on whether he was feeling the pressure following recent results.

He said: "I am really relaxed in terms on my position because I know how we are working on the pitch every day. In the past we were doing really good things and we haven't changed too much.

"It's a question of confidence. We know we have to improve but it's about winning the first game now.

"As a manager you know you will have good moments and bad moments. At this moment we know we have to improve, we have to win and it's a question of time - I'm sure once we win the first game everything will change.

"This game against United could be the right opportunity for us because it's a massive game against our rivals and the fans will be behind the team from the first minute until the last. We can change everything.

"We just need to keep working hard and perhaps need a bit of luck on the pitch. The other day against Lyon we were winning 1-0 and then had two or three chances but couldn't score the second goal. Then we lost in the last minute.

"Sometimes you need to play a little bit better, that's clear - but you also need to keep working hard and that little bit of luck."

Reporters asked Benitez if he felt United were weaker this season having lost Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid.

"They are a good team with a lot of good players - not just one player," he said. "It will be a tough test for us but it's always like this."

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