Liverpool F.C News



Rafa Benitez is targeting two wins out of two from Liverpool’s remaining Barclays Premier League fixtures, regardless of the outcome of the title race.

Manchester United could clinch the trophy if they pick up a point against Arsenal at Old Trafford on Saturday, with the Reds not in action until Sunday when they take on West Bromwich Albion.

“It’s always important to have some targets,” Benitez told his weekly press conference at Melwood.
“We always have to think positive. We need to get three points in our game and if we can still fight for the title, then we will still fight, but if not, then we will fight for second.
“For us, 80 points is really good – 82 is our best ever total in the Premier League. It would be fantastic to match that, although to finish with 86 points would be much better.
“I am pleased because we have been more consistent. It’s very positive and good for the future.
“We will try to do our job in our remaining games and see what happens.”
If United claim the title, they will equal Liverpool’s record haul of 18.
Asked if trying to stop Alex Ferguson’s men reaching that number had served as extra motivation this season, Benitez replied: “I was not thinking about them, I was thinking about us.
“To win the title is always the motivation. It doesn’t matter how many – you cannot think about history all the time. You have to think about the present.
“Still we are fighting and if we cannot win it, then we will fight for second position and be ready for next season.
“It would be a fantastic achievement for us to win the title, but the priority is to think about ourselves winning it – not to prevent them.”
Benitez believes Arsenal are capable of upsetting United and feels the Gunners will have a point to prove after they were eliminated from the Champions League by the Old Trafford club earlier this month.
He said: “Arsenal are a good team. They have players with quality and I think because of their defeats in their last two games they will want to prove something.
“Arsene is a winner and he will try to win this game and also the players will too. You cannot lose in the way they have lost in their last two games and not try to do your best.”
The title race could be over by the time the Reds take to the field against West Brom at the Hawthorns, although the Baggies are still desperately fighting against relegation.
Benitez is anticipating a tough encounter, but has praised Tony Mowbray’s men for sticking to their brand of open, attacking football throughout the season.
“It will be difficult because when you play against a team who are battling against relegation it is hard, but it is always tough in the Premier League,” said the Anfield boss.
“They are a team who like to play football. It’s a pity they are a team at the bottom of the table because they have always tried to play good football.”
Benitez confirmed Xabi Alonso will return to the Reds squad for the trip to The Hawthorns.
He added: “Alonso is fit and he has been training. All of the squad are fit for this game.”
Meanwhile, Benitez paid tribute to Steven Gerrard after the Reds skipper was named as the Football Writers’ Association’s Footballer of the Year earlier this week.
“I’m really pleased for him,” said Benitez. “The award means he is in a team fighting for the title and it’s a fantastic achievement when you consider the other players on the shortlist.
“Also, I am pleased he thanked the staff and his teammates. This shows he has the right mentality and also the quality.
“He has scored more than 20 goals in the last three years. For a midfielder, this is very important. He is a very good example to the younger players in the squad.”


~ by awbroady on May 16, 2009.

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