Monday, November 5, 2007

Benitez relaxed over Reds future

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez says his job is safe despite the Reds battling to stay in the Champions League and a slow start to their domestic season.
Liverpool are bottom of their Champions League group, having picked up just one point in three games, and seventh in the Premier League.
Benitez insisted Liverpool's owners are remaining "very, very positive".
"I felt they are really focused and supporting so I think the future is great," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
If the Reds lose at home to Besiktas on Tuesday, the 2005 European champions will almost certainly be out of the competition.
Defeat would also leave them in danger of missing out on the Uefa Cup spot available to sides who finish third in their Champions League groups.
Despite the cloud hanging over Liverpool's current form, Benitez pointed to the club's European exploits in recent years.
"Tell me how teams can be in two finals in the Champions League in three years?" he said, insisting co-owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks share his vision for the club's future.
"They must be pleased with the way the team and the club is going because we are changing a lot of things and I think we are progressing."
And Benitez dismissed suggestions that an early exit from the Champions League this year would cost the club between £17m and £20m.
"That is the money only the finalists get and only two clubs can do that," he said.
"The financial implications in losing are not as big as people suggest.
"But we must think about football first and not to be bothered by other things - that will be taken care of later.
"I have talked to the owners, but not about money, just our ideas for the future."
Defender Jamie Carragher has revealed he feels "it is not a disaster" if Liverpool do not reach the next stage of the competition.
"We can't win all the time," he said. "We have a good record in the Champions League and will look to keep that going.
"We do still want to be in the Champions League. But if it doesn't happen we just have to get on with it."

Gerrard Issues War Cry
Faced with the prospect of an early exit from the Champions League as Liverpool take on Besiktas at Anfield tonight, Steven Gerrard has issued a rallying call, urging his teammates to go for the jugular.
Liverpool are four points off second place as they head into tonight's clash, and must win in order to have any realistic hope of progressing to the knock-out stages.
Defeats to Marseille and Besiktas along with a draw against Porto mean that the Reds need a series of magical European nights, and skipper Steven Gerrard has urged his team to go on a rampage.
"We know we need a night like [against] Juventus, like Chelsea and like Olympiakos.
"That was probably the last time we found ourselves in a similar position.
"Our backs were against the wall and unfortunately that’s where we are again — but we know we can do it.
"We have to give the fans something to get excited about and that’s the aim when the referee blows his whistle."
"Tonight is hugely important and we have to make a fast start to rock Besiktas early," he continued. "I said two weeks ago we face three cup finals and I haven’t changed my position.
"I don’t think we have anything to fear from Besiktas. And it would be nice if we could send out a message to the rest of the teams in our group with a really strong result.
"When we get it right there are very few teams, if any, that can live with us and we have to get it right tonight.”
"We’ve left ourselves absolutely no margin for error. We didn't make the most of our chances in Turkey and we won't make the same mistake at Anfield.
"We know one more slip will end our interest in the tournament and so we want to go for the jugular from the first whistle."

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