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Rafa Benitez: Yossi Benayoun has ability to change games

Rafa Benitez: Yossi Benayoun has ability to change games

Oct 1 2007

by Nick Smith, Liverpool Daily Post

RAFAEL BENITEZ hailed the match-winning qualities of Yossi Benayoun after his second goal of the week brought victory at Wigan.

The Israeli produced a fine winner in the 75th minute after coming on as a substitute early in the second half. It was his first league goal for Liverpool following his goal in the 4-2 Carling Cup win at Reading on Tuesday.

And Liverpool manager Benitez admitted he needed to introduce a player who could make a difference to a side being constantly frustrated in their attempts to break the home team down.

“We knew it could easily have been a draw if we didn’t take our chances,” said Benitez.

“But we have quality players now who can change games and Yossi is one of those.

“I had confidence in him because he has been playing well and scored a great goal against Reading.

“He can be impressive and he can be a match winner for us.”

The impact Benayoun made after replacing Fabio Aurelio hinted at why Benitez brought him from West Ham in the summer.

And the manager acknowledged that last season, when victory at the JJB in December was Liverpool’s first away from home in the Premier League, he might not have had the quality to call on to convert one point into three.

Benitez added: “It was a game that last season we could have drawn or lost. If you have some chances, then sometimes you can score two or three goals and today Fernando Torres had three chances.

“You never know what could have happened last season but now we have better players and a better squad which means we could change the game.

“Because of the quality we now have I was calm in the second half. I knew that we were controlling the game and that I could change players and that if we kept going we could score.”

But in true Benitez fashion, Benayoun’s winning goal takes him no nearer to being guaranteed a starting spot in future games.

“All players in a top side must be patient and keep working because they cannot play every game and Yossi has done that,” said Benitez.

“It is always difficult to leave players out of the squad but as I have explained 100 times in this country I have only got 16 places and it is not easy to have the balance on the bench.

“I have a lot of confidence in Kuyt, Voronin, Torres and also Crouch. You can’t go away with all four strikers. You must leave one behind.

“To go away with three strikers when we have Benayoun who can play as a second striker, is hard.

“All the players need to understand that I am looking for fresh legs and the best qualities of the players for each game. If some players play well, I feel they must keep playing. That is not a problem.”


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