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Yossi Benayoun: I’m prepared to play the cameo roles

Yossi Benayoun: I’m prepared to play the cameo roles

Oct 1 2007

by Nick Smith, Liverpool Daily Post

YOSSI BENAYOUN has revealed he is happy to continue playing cameo roles as long as they help contribute to Liverpool victories.

Benayoun’s first Premier League goal for Liverpool brought them victory at Wigan on Saturday after he came on as a substitute in the 56th minute.

The former West Ham midfielder was appearing in the league for only the third time in a Liverpool shirt and the 0-0 draw at Portsmouth two weeks ago remains the only time he has been in the starting line-up.

But after taking his chance in the side with a goal against Reading in the 4-2 Carling Cup win in midweek, Benayoun was delighted just to play a part in Liverpool extending their unbeaten start to the campaign.

Benayoun, who sat out the previous week’s goalless draw with Birmingham because of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, said: “I will take this every game – coming on with 20 minutes to go and scoring, as long as we keep winning.

“I’m really happy to score but that doesn’t matter so long as we get the results.

“The most important thing, even if I’m only on for 10 minutes or so, is to prove I am good enough and contribute like that.

“If the manager says I can make a difference then I believe him but I’m here for a reason and that’s to provide moments like that.

“You have to be ready for everything here and I am. We have a great squad, full of talented players, and I would not tell anyone I should be playing – but I am ready if needed.”

The Israeli’s strike 15 minutes from time enabled Liverpool to match the scoreline Arsenal achieved at West Ham, and kept them within four points of Arsene Wenger’s leaders.

Julius Aghahowa missed a last-gasp sitter to save a point for Wigan but the margin of victory could already have been greater as Fernando Torres spurned several chances to add to his six-goal tally.

The Spaniard was restored to that starting line-up after being benched for the previous two Premier League games but Benayoun defended both Torres’s performance and his manager Rafael Benitez’s rotation policy.

“Fernando missed some chances but I think he played really well,” said Benayoun. “I think everyone realises what a big player he is for us. He has real quality but we are a team, and you have to respect every decision the manager makes.

“People put pressure on because Torres didn’t play against Birmingham but no-one here makes promises that we’d have won even if he had been on from the start.

“We have a lot who can win a game in one moment – Voronin, Torres, Stevie, Babel – we have a much stronger squad even when things go against us.”

Benayoun also acknowledged the importance of the timing of his goal, which averted a third successive goalless draw in the league for Liverpool.

He added: “It was an important goal today because if we’d have drawn there would have been a lot of pressure on us. It is a good win because Wigan are a good side and will take a lot of points off teams here. They deserve a lot of credit.

“It was very frustrating seeing what was happening, because we’d missed three or four chances and you do wonder if it is going to be a day when they don’t go in.

“But one thing we have is a lot of confidence that we could win, because at least we were creating a lot. We’ve got the quality in the side to do that.”

Benitez’s side suffered no fresh injury concerns ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League group game at home to Marseille, although Jermaine Pennant will miss the game through suspension.


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