Champions League

Benitez eyes fourth spot

2010-03-29 07:55
Rafael Benitez (File)

Liverpool - Rafael Benitez is convinced Liverpool can still finish fourth in the Premier League and qualify for the Champions League after Fernando Torres's double inspired a 3-0 win over Sunderland.

The Reds were simply unstoppable at Anfield on Sunday and produced one of their best performances of the season as they cruised past Steve Bruce's side.

The victory moved Liverpool above Manchester City into fifth place in the Premier League, four points behind fourth placed Tottenham.

Harry Redknapp's side have a game in hand on Liverpool but they have to play Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United in their next three fixtures and Benitez believes his side are in the mood to mount a strong finish to the season.

"I'm confident if we keep working hard and playing as well as we did here we will be there," Benitez said.

"The players have confidence, we played very well from the beginning and could have scored three or four goals in the first half.

"As a team we were stronger, and it was an ideal situation for us, now we need to keep pushing.

"It's good to see the fans happy and the players putting in this performance."

Torres set the standard for Liverpool's display as early as the third minute as he looked up on the edge of the box and curled home a stunning effort that left Sunderland goalkeeper Craig Gordon no chance.

The goal sparked Benitez's men into a dominant performance and it could easily have become an embarrassment for Sunderland if Liverpool had taken their first-half chances.

Torres missed one effort from six yards out and also hit the post while Steven Gerrard and Daniel Agger also squandered decent opportunities from close range.

However, the game was essentially sealed after 32 minutes when a Glen Johnson shot took a huge deflection off Michael Turner to make it 2-0.

After the break, Liverpool continued to pour forward and Torres scored his seventh goal in just four games when he clipped past Gordon on the hour.

If Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel had not also missed good chances, Liverpool would have won by at least five goals but by then it did not matter.

Benitez added: "We could have scored three of four in the first half.

"We had less tempo after the break but we still played well and had chances. We know that we have to keep going and that it will be difficult but we have to try.

"The players have confidence and if we can play at this level I'm sure we will win more games."

Bruce admitted Sunderland had been comprehensively outplayed and he praised Torres for his stylish display.

"Sometimes you just have to hold your hands up and say you were beaten by a far better team," he said.

"They got off to a wonderful start and when Torres and Gerrard are in that sort of mood it became very difficult for us.

"Sometimes you take a beating and say 'we were beaten by a good team.'

"We all know Torres is a class act when he plays like that. He looks as fresh as a daisy and he is a fantastic centre-forward, it was his day and he takes some stopping.

"Were we that bad or were they that good? At least we had the resilience to stay in the match otherwise it could have been an embarrassment so that is a positive for us."



Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk


6 life hacks you simply have to know

A few simple tricks can make your life so much easier!


For chic geeks...

Device lets disabled people talk through their nose
It’s THIS easy for someone to steal your ATM pin!
This is why you should install iOS 8
17 photo illusions that look so real
30 September 2014
CSKA Moscow v FC Bayern München, Arena Khimki 18:00
Shakhtar Donetsk v FC Porto, Arena Lviv 20:45
BATE Borisov v Athletic Club, Borisov Arena 20:45
Sporting Lisbon v Chelsea, Estadio José Alvalade 20:45
Manchester City v Roma, Etihad Stadium 20:45
APOEL Nicosia v Ajax, GSP Stadium 20:45
Paris Saint Germain v Barcelona, Parc des Princes 20:45
FC Schalke 04 v NK Maribor, VELTINS-Arena 20:45
01 October 2014
Zenit St Petersburg v Monaco, Petrovski Stadium 18:00
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Benfica, BayArena 20:45
RSC Anderlecht v Borussia Dortmund, Constant Vanden Stock 20:45
Arsenal v Galatasaray, Emirates Stadium 20:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v Real Madrid, Ludogorets Arena 20:45
FC Basel v Liverpool, St Jakob-Park 20:45
Malmö FF v Olympiakos, Swedbank Stadion 20:45
Atlético de Madrid v Juventus, Vicente Calderón 20:45
21 October 2014
CSKA Moscow v Manchester City, Arena Khimki 18:00
BATE Borisov v Shakhtar Donetsk, Borisov Arena 20:45
Barcelona v Ajax, Camp Nou 20:45
FC Porto v Athletic Club, Estadio do Dragao 20:45
APOEL Nicosia v Paris Saint Germain, GSP Stadium 20:45
Roma v FC Bayern München, Olimpico 20:45
Chelsea v NK Maribor, Stamford Bridge 20:45
FC Schalke 04 v Sporting Lisbon, VELTINS-Arena 20:45
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Which team will win the 2013/14 Champions League title?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.