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Rafa Benitez: We’ve set benchmark for the season

Rafa Benitez: We’ve set benchmark for the season

Aug 20 2007

by Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post

RAFAEL BENITEZ believes his Liverpool players have set the benchmark they must now follow for the remainder of the season.

Only a controversial 62nd-minute penalty, converted by Frank Lampard, denied the Spaniard’s side victory over Chelsea at Anfield yesterday.

Fernando Torres had given Liverpool the lead on 16 minutes with his first goal since his £18million signing from Atletico Madrid.

The Anfield outfit enjoyed the better of the game and could have earned all three points during the closing stages.

And Benitez said: “We had chances to win the game and we have lost two points today, but we have to look at the positives.

“It is too early, but at least we have shown that we can compete with Chelsea. Now we have to show the same tempo and performance against all the teams over nine months.

“The Premier League is difficult when you have the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and United in there, and it’s too soon to talk about the title.

“We just have to try and win our games and see where we are after the next two months.

“We can take positives from the game because we showed character and quality and had chances against a good team. That shows we are close over one game. We now need to show we can do this over nine months.”

Benitez was pleased to see Torres break his competitive goalscoring duck for Liverpool on his home debut, the Anfield side’s 6,999th league goal.

“Torres showed the quality that he has, with good pace and great finish,” said the Anfield manager. “It was a pity what happened after that, but it’s a positive for him to score on his home debut.”

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, who selected a surprisingly attacking line-up, believes the 1-1 draw was the correct result.

“We tried to win the game and so did Liverpool,” he said. “Liverpool were the better team in the first half and we were the better team in the second half, so a draw was a fair result.

“But we can’t read too much into things yet. It’s too early. Manchester United only have two points, but even if they had zero points they would still be a big threat.

“We only played for a draw during the final five minutes when they brought their giant on (Peter Crouch) and we brought our giant on (Alex).”


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