Liverpool 2 – 0 West Bromwich

Rafa Benitez spoke of his pride after Liverpool overcame their title heartache to secure the club’s highest ever Premier League points tally with a 2-0 victory over relegated West Brom.

Benitez at sky

The gaffer pointed to a clash between Jamie Carragher and Alvaro Arbeloa late on as evidence of the ‘winning mentality’ which could serve the Reds so well next term. Benitez said: “You could see Carragher and Arbeloa because we wanted a clean sheet and they were a little bit nervous.
Arbeloa was going forward and then we had some problems in defence. We wanted to protect Pepe Reina because now I think he has 20 clean sheets – van der Sar has 21.
“It’s a positive message in terms of the mentality of the team. We wanted to show character and a winning mentality.
“We were looking for some targets: 83 points, a club record in the Premier League; 13 victories away – also a record. We also wanted to score goals and keep a clean sheet and for us I think this guarantees second position. We also wanted to stay as close as possible to United.”

Liverpool have now tallied 83 points this term, one more than in 2005-06. Asked why this hasn’t been enough to secure the title, Benitez responded: “Small details, little things. “We have talked about the draws. Against Stoke we scored in the first minute and it was disallowed. It could have been different with the form we’ve been in at the end of the season.
“United have quality – especially on the bench. Against us they had Scholes, Giggs and Berbatov on the bench. You can change two or three players easily. We have less of these kind of players, though I am really pleased with my squad and really proud of what we’ve done this season.
“I will say congratulations to Manchester United – it’s a good club, a big club.” Despite the disappointment, 2008-09 will go down as Liverpool’s finest league campaign since the title was last brought to Anfield 19 years ago.

Benitez added: “It has been very positive in terms of the performance of the team during the whole season. We had some problems for maybe one month but, especially at the end of the season, and often without Torres and Gerrard, it has been very positive. “If you analyse things properly you see that 83 points is massive. United is a very strong team with a big squad. They’ve won a lot of games 1-0, games which could have been different.  “But over nine months you usually finish where you deserve.”


~ by awbroady on May 17, 2009.

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