Thursday, October 18, 2007

Benitez: Lay off Gerrard

Rafael Benitez believes Steven Gerrard is being unfairly criticised for Liverpool's recent slump in form.
The Reds go into Saturday's Merseyside derby against Everton on the back a run of poor results.
Liverpool have won only one of their last four Premier League fixtures and Benitez is well aware that form cannot continue if his side are to mount a realistic title challenge.
Benitez admits Liverpool's recent displays - which also include a shock home UEFA Champions League defeat to Marseille - have not been good enough, but the Spaniard does not believe Gerrard's personal performances are to blame.
"I am really worried about the team over the past few games, because we are not playing at our level," Benitez told the Liverpool Echo.
"You can talk about Steven Gerrard, because he is the captain, but you can talk about the other players also.
"I was disappointed when people were talking about (Mohamed) Sissoko and (Sebastian) Leto after the Marseille game.
"So I say the team is not playing well and you cannot pick out one player. It is the same situation with Steve.
"The team is working hard so we need to improve tactically and we need to improve our confidence."

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