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Benitez questions Everton tactics

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez felt his team should have won
Benitez saw his team held by Everton for the second time in six days

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez took a swipe at Everton's tactics after the two sides shared a 1-1 draw in the FA Cup fourth round at Anfield.

"One team was trying to win and the other team was trying not to lose," said Benitez, whose team have drawn five of their last eight games.

"It is hard against a team with 10 players," added the Spaniard.

"We know some teams will do the same thing and defend. We just have to learn to upset them and to attack."

Joleon Lescott had put Everton in front but Liverpool dominated after Steven Gerrard's second-half equaliser.

"We dominated the game, controlled everything but it was just one mistake and they have scored," said Benitez, following the second 1-1 draw between the two teams in the space of six days after last Monday's encounter in the Premier League.


As in the league game Everton scored with a set piece that involved Tim Cahill, with an unmarked Lescott diverting the Australian's header past Pepe Reina.

It is not the first time Everton's tactics have riled Benitez - two years ago after a 0-0 league draw at Anfield in a Merseyside derby the Spaniard said: "When you play against the smaller teams at Anfield you know the game will be narrow."

And Benitez took another subtle dig at Everton by suggesting that he has only ever deployed such tactics when he was Extremadura coach.

"I have never played like that here, and never did this while I was at Valencia, maybe at Extremadura a few times," he said.

I have never gone anywhere looking for a draw

David Moyes

The Liverpool manager was coach of Extremadura from 1997-99, a club he guided to the Primera Liga before they were relegated, while he was in charge of Valencia between 2001-04 before he left for Anfield.

Asked about Benitez's analysis of Everton's tactics, Toffees boss David Moyes said: "This is a great club, and we do things with dignity and style. But they have a great chance of winning the championship.

"We got a good point in the league and we have taken a good side to a replay in the Cup. From that point of view we are more than happy.

"It was a tough afternoon but I take great pride with how the players are performing at the moment - the resilience they are showing.

"We certainly were tired, we had to hang in and stay with it. We tried with what we had but I thought Liverpool kept the ball well and kept possession."

Phil McNulty blog

Moyes felt that his team were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when Steven Pienaar went down following contact with Alvaro Arbeloa.

"His heels were clipped," added Moyes. "It is difficult for referees but do you get many penalties in front of the Kop? I think had it been the other way round it would have been difficult for him not to give it."

The two sides will meet in the replay at Goodison Park on 4 February, with the winners to meet either Aston Villa or Doncaster.

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see also
Liverpool 1-1 Everton
25 Jan 09 |  FA Cup
Liverpool 1-1 Everton
19 Jan 09 |  Premier League
Carsley's fury at Benitez remark
05 Feb 07 |  Everton
FA Cup photos
25 Jan 09 |  FA Cup

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