Benitez basks in Real win

2009-02-26 08:05

Madrid - Rafael Benitez emphasised he had no intention of resigning at Liverpool amid the growing rumours and saluted his side for their 1-0 victory at old club Real Madrid in the first leg of the last 16 Champions League tie at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.

Benitez has stalled on signing a new contract at Liverpool - where he has been manager since 2004 - and was peppered about questions over his future.

"I was clear before the game that I was not thinking of resigning," said Benitez.

"I plan to keep working and hope things go well in the future.

"We have plenty of time to talk over my contract. My lawyer can talk with advisers."

Benitez is said to have a frosty relationship with feuding American co-owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks but his rapport with the fans remains intact as they chanted his name throughout the match.

Yossi Benayoun's late header gave Liverpool a vital away goal to cling to and sealed a magnificent win which was achieved without injured captain Steve Gerrard, while star striker Fernando Torres struggled through most of the match with an injury before being taken off.

"We tried to play on the counter attack but it was difficult as we didn't expect Torres to be injured from the first minute after he twisted his ankle," explained Benitez.

"We didn't know about Gerrard (that he wouldn't be available) until the last minute."

Gerrard had been out since the beginning of February with a torn hamstring and the injury-prone Torres now faces some time on the sidelines.

"I was told by the doctor that Torres's ankle wasn't that bad and we could keep him on the pitch," added Benitez. "He was struggling in the second half so we took him off for fresh legs.

"Torres will probably now miss some games. We have a game in three days (against Middlesbrough) so it will be difficult for him to make that."

But it was job done for Benitez on his return to Real - where he coached the youth team - and Spain is proving a happy hunting ground for him.

Liverpool beat Barcelona at Camp Nou in the first knockout stage of the 2007 Champions League and have now won at another fortress in the Bernabeu.

An away goal means Liverpool can progress if they can shut Real out again at Anfield in the return leg on March 10 but Benitez warned it would not be easy.

"Real are a good counter-attacking side and we will have to watch out for them in the second leg if we want to progress," he added.

Liverpool now have the edge in the tie but Real coach Juande Ramos says Real are capable of turning things around at Anfield.

"We wanted to try and score a few goals for the second leg. They scored from a set-piece but it was meant to be a 0-0," said Ramos.

"One goal is not that big a lead and if we play well we can win at any ground including Anfield."

For Liverpool eating into Manchester United's seven-point lead in the Premier League title race is the next priority, starting with Saturday's match at Middlesbrough.

"My idea is to take one game at a time and the next game is against Middlesbrough," Benitez declared. "We just have to see our position in all competitions because all of them are difficult to win."


  • Ryan - 2009-02-26 09:18

    So much for our season "falling apart", and not being able to cope without Gerrard or Torres hey Man U?! Liverpool are resilient, they will not stop fighting! Benitez has made his mistakes in the Premier League, but he deserves credit for turning Liverpool into one of the most consistant sides in Europe. Title number 6 is not far away!

  • Shaheen - 2009-02-26 09:34

    What a scrap of a match. Real Madrid is clearly not the team they used to be with a bunch of misfit dutch players, and shocking defenders. Anyways, Liverpool 1-0 up in the tie, and that enough to take them through. Can't see such a pathetic Madrid team win at Anfield.

  • the kop - 2009-02-26 09:43

    Real who???? well done boys.....excellent defensive work. hats off to the back 4 and pepe.....bring them back to anfield and shut them out again.....

  • Selwyn - 2009-02-26 09:47

    Well done Liverpool, you deserve it, BUT Liverpool eating into MU 7 point lead??? Dream on Benitez dream on. By the way i did'nt think you would resign, i thinks you will be fired, we'll see. Glory, glory Man united....................................

  • SergĂ© - 2009-02-26 09:52

    I wonder where all the Man fans are today?

  • Shaheen - 2009-02-26 10:24

    Title number 6? After beating a shoddy Real Madrid? Still a long way to go buddy. I have to agree that Liverpool is a better "Cup side", in the sense that they have a strong record at home and can grind out results, but then again, that only seems to hold true in cup competitions, unlike the league where you need consistency. Good victory away from home though.

  • Anonymous User - 2009-02-26 11:29

    Please the Real Madrid team you played last night was shite i wouldnt bet on liverpool just yet they got a long way to go to beat united and in fact real madrid again they dont have the excitement or nerve they had last season

  • the kop - 2009-02-26 11:52

    oh and the man benders utd fans who said we cant win without stevie g!!!!! PUT THAT RUBBISH YOU UTTERED IN YOUR PIPE AND SMOKE IT....... i guess humble pie is on the menu for utd fans tonight........

  • lobo - 2009-02-26 12:25

    shite? real won their last nine league games in a row, how can you call them shite? liverpool just made them look shite. as for rafa getting sacked, that's not going to happen bru, not this season anyway.

  • Rodders - 2009-02-26 12:33

    @ Anonymous: Um, Real are 2nd in Spain and came off the back of a 6-1 away win at the weekend, so they're not THAT shoddy. BTW, only ONE team failed to win this week, namely your Man U. Therefore, at the halfway mark, the side least likely to progress is the one from Stretford! Here's to Arsenal beating Liverpool in the Champs League Final!!!!

  • Livapool 1 - 2009-02-26 13:13

    I am tired of Man U and Arsenal fans looking for fame on Liverpool spaces. This is not about you guys at all, we beat Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, has any of you managed that. Concentrate on your teams, we know you are scared of Liverpool anyway. Envy is a sin.Only a well oiled machine can make real Madrid look ordinary, by the way, there is no other Real Madrid for those of you trying to console yourselves and justify your fears.Give credit where it's due and leave it there.You're not fans, so the team does not have to impress you, but us it's fans. So long...

  • Anonymous User - 2009-02-26 15:07

    You see that just goes to show that all liverpool "fans" have on giant blinkers all you saw was Liverpool winning i saw Real Madrid playing bad only one night not always( learn to read ) I know Real Madrid is the better team and always will be and when you meet them next time at your precious Anfield "which could barely hold the wonderful man city" i doubt you will be able to do anything about Raul, Van Nistelrooi or van der waart, As for united please dont even start we came from 7 points behind to 5 points clear after Liverpools so called best season ever the pure and simple fact is right now were the best team in both england and europw aswell as having the best player as much as a i hate that spoilt portuguese brat tripping over his toenails all the time he can still run dizzy circles around everyone of your precious liverpool so leave it out when you win the treble we'll talk

  • Marc - 2009-02-26 15:17

    To Manure fans: you could'nt even beat an Inter side that we beat AWAY last year, so why dont you concentrate on what excuses you will use when Inter beat you at Old Toilet. Great victory for us, and the reverse tie should see 'Pool finishing them off

  • Ryan - 2009-02-26 15:31

    Shaheen, you have to be consistant to win cups too, cos if you mess up once you're gone. Its funny, before the game nobody would've called Madrid "shoddy"! Now suddenly they are?

  • Anonymous User - 2009-02-26 16:09

    Well done Liverpool!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the return game should be much easier for you!!!!! At least we manage to score away from home in Europe unlike some other team with the balerina girl!!!! Regarding the manager I feel that he should be fired eventhough hthe team has won on the nite he does not have what it takes to capture the League with his idiotic decisions to play that fool of a Brazilian LUCAN LEYVA - he dont deserve to be in the side he should be given a free transfer to MU - the league has not yet slipped away from us but could be decided if they lose their next match - MU has been lucky thus far with their 1 - 0 victories so far - we are waiting them to slip up!!!!!!!

  • Berthy - 2009-02-26 16:29

    Suddenly the Liverpool fans has found their voice. What has Man U got to do with it? Doesn't matter against whom Liverpool win, the comments always revert to Man U. Who will you blame - Man U? Enjoy your win and hold your grudges and comments for after the 2nd Leg. Remember - soon Liverpool will only play for a top 4 finish, like usual.

  • PRAVESH - 2009-02-27 07:13

    Hey there all u fans.I support LIVERPOOL.It was a great performance on Wednesday.But yes,there is still another leg to come,Real are a team that does not play defensively,they will attack at Anfield,but I believe that with Gerrard back in the team with or without Torres,we can snuff them out,or catch them on the break,its all for them to do now.At Anfield we not are beaten easily,so the confidence will be high,and thats what you need,a confident team that believe in each other.Yes,we are having our "best" season so far in the league,but we are behind,but at the same time the diference is almost everyone in the squad seems to be more confident then the last season.So good luck to LIVERPOOL for the rest of the season,winning the Champions League would be awesome,some daylight between us and those Mancs!! We all know Ferguson wants to overtake our records,to me especially in Europe,cos up until recently,United were not regarded as Europes elite!! Yes,the league record is close to been equalled,but ultimately,its the European record that eats away at all United supporters!! So good luck to all fans,its gonna be an awesome run-in to the end of the season.

  • Wes - 2009-02-27 07:50

    Well done to Rafa and the team. As for Man Utd, i still think they are the best team in the world at the moment. Fergie has had an opportunity to build his team in the 80's when there was much less pressure on football managers that there is today. He failed to win a trophy in his first SEVEN years at the club but the Board stuck with him and 20 years later he is the best Manager in the world. Rafa has proved that he is also a great Manager but if he had the money that Ferguson has at his disposal I am sure that we will be even more competitive than we are the moment. To all those Liverpool fans who are always 'attacking' UTD supporters, lets try to respect our opponents and not behave like immature idiots. YNWA

  • Anonymous User - 2009-02-27 10:09

    good win for Pool they deserved it but theres still one more leg and i dont think Real will go quietly into that one!!! good luck with the next stage gents its gonna be an awesome end to the season! i hope its a liverpool and united final that would be Perfect!!! GLORY GLORY MAN UNITED!!! FRED THE RED DEVIL!

  • Nazeem - 2009-02-27 15:34

    WHOA NELLIE!! Where the heck did all you Fool fans spring up from???!! You'd swear you okes won the cup already.... Typical, flappy lips despite a very lucky win having been outplayed throughout the game.... Watching Liverfool play is like playing the lotto.... Rarely win, when you do, its usually something small, with the BIG prize FAR off!! One thing for sure is that if FAFA gets kicked to the kerb by Fool management, he will always be employable as an Outsurance pointsman!! His skills using his arms puts any metro cop to shame... :-) First time I actually see him smile... WOW.... Pity he and all the other Fool players and fans alike are going to get the taste b*tch-slapped from their mouths at anusfield when Real (and the grim reaper) visits for revenge.... Good luck ladies... :-)

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