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Liverpool’s added quality poses welcome dilemma

Liverpool’s added quality poses welcome dilemma

Aug 14 2007

by Chris Bascombe, Liverpool Echo

Rafa Benitez

RAFA BENITEZ today admitted the luxury of having “too many good players” at Anfield is giving him the perfect selection headache at the start of a new season.

The Liverpool boss says it is becoming increasingly difficult to decide his line-up given the quality now at his disposal.

But he has praised the players he left out of the squad at Villa Park on Saturday for their professional response to the disappointment.

Peter Crouch, Yossi Benayoun and Javier Mascherano didn’t even travel to the Midlands, but can all expect to play some part in Toulouse tomorrow.

Liverpool head to France for the money-spinning Champions League qualifier today, with Benitez sure to ring the changes.

“We can feel the team spirit is really good, and the only problem we have now is too many players, which is the situation we wanted,” said Benitez. “I need to check how the team is before I decide for tomorrow, but now we have the quality we need.

“It’s never easy to decide which players to change.

“But it’s good for the club and for me because I can see players working so hard in training and telling me: ‘Don’t forget. I’m here’.

“Each week, it may only be a small detail which determines who starts the game because a player might show be their quality in a training session or a practice match. This is the competition we’ve wanted.

“Yesterday I spoke to one player about the situation and I was really pleased with his response.

“He said he would be ready when he was needed and accepted the position like a professional. That’s the mentality we need.

“I say to all the players ‘be ready’ because they will all be needed.”

While Liverpool head into Europe in buoyant mood following their start to the Premier League season, Benitez is typically cautious.

“I like to go in the opposite direction,” he said. “We have played just one game. While I’m happy and pleased for everyone, if we had lost I would have said it’s not the end of the world, and winning is not the end of the league.

“It was almost a perfect start, but winning as we did could be even better. It will have a good impact on our mentality and confidence.

“You can get this at the beginning of a season, whereas at the end or middle of last season, people might have said ‘here we go again’ when Aston Villa equalised.”

Harry Kewell will be out for another ten days after a slight tear in his thigh.

Jermaine Pennant has not travelled to France with the rest of the squad.

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