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Page last updated at 23:07 GMT, Thursday, 8 April 2010 00:07 UK

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez targets dual Euro prize

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez
Benitez was delighted with his side's display against Benfica

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is still hopeful of securing a top-four Premier League finish as well as continuing his side's progress in the Europa League.

The Reds thumped Benfica 4-1 at Anfield to reach the semi-finals of the Europa League with a 5-3 aggregate win.

Domestically, they are four points off fourth place with five games left.

Benitez said: "We have two targets now and we will try to do both. We will try to win every game, starting by trying to beat Fulham on Sunday."

Benitez was delighted with the manner of his side's victory on Thursday, but played down suggestions it was their most impressive display of the season.

"It was a good game and because the other team was very good you can say four goals was a fantastic performance, but I think we have played better this season," he said.

"Any win is important, especially at this stage of a competition. If we can get to the final and win the final we will be very pleased.

"Hopefully we can play well, score goals, get closer to the top four and get to the final."

The victory set up an enthralling semi-final encounter against Spanish giants Atletico Madrid, the former club of star striker Fernando Torres.

The 26-year-old scored twice in the second half against Benfica, his fourth-successive two-goal performance in front of his home crowd.

Atletico, who beat rivals Valencia on the away-goals rule following a 2-2 draw over two legs, are sixth in La Liga following a resurgence under new manager Quique Sánchez Flores, who took over from the sacked Abel Resino in October last year.

And Benitez is aware of the team's attacking prowess up front with South American strikers Diego Forlan and Sergio Aguero.

"If we have any doubts we will have a talk with Fernando, he will tell us everything," said Benitez.

"The new manager is improving the team, they had some problems at the beginning and now they are playing well.


"They have two strikers, very dangerous, who can score goals."

Three defeats in the Champions League saw the Reds finish in third place in Group E, missing out on a place in the last 16 and instead earning a place in the Europa League.

But Benitez admitted the standard of football has risen as Liverpool has progressed through the competition.

"At the beginning, you could say the teams were not the best," added Benitez.

"But at this stage, when you play quarter-finals, semi-finals, all the teams are good.

"It's a very good competition. There are a lot of teams who are really pleased to be here."

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see also
Liverpool 4-1 Benfica (agg 5-3)
08 Apr 10 |  Europe
Thursday football as it happened
08 Apr 10 |  Football
Hamburg and Atletico reach semis
08 Apr 10 |  Europe
Europa League photos
08 Apr 10 |  Football
Benitez admits Liverpool mistakes
07 Apr 10 |  Liverpool
Benfica 2-1 Liverpool
01 Apr 10 |  Europe

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