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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 May 2007, 08:24 GMT 09:24 UK
Benitez sets sights on title push
Rafael Benitez
Benitez gets his point across during Liverpool's win at Anfield
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is hoping to follow reaching the Champions League final with a concerted push for the Premiership title next season.

After Liverpool defeated Chelsea in their semi-final tie on Tuesday, Benitez said: "This is really important for our club and for the future.

"We will try to have a bigger impact on the Premiership next season.

"But the league is so hard, when you see Man Utd and Chelsea winning every game, you have to be almost perfect."

Benitez met with new Liverpool owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks in April to discuss the club's transfer strategy.

And after the meeting Gillett said: "We hope to build a winning tradition - that means building something for the long term so we can be successful."

Meanwhile, Benitez insisted countless hours on the training ground were behind their penalty shoot-out win over Chelsea in the Champions League. The Reds trailed 1-0 after the first leg of the semi-final but forced extra-time and scored every one of their spot-kicks to reach the final.


He said after the 4-1 shoot-out win: "We had confidence because our players practice in every training session.

"Pepe Reina is a player who is always good with penalties."

Benitez also hailed the impact of the Anfield crowd: "Every player and every supporter deserves the win - the atmosphere was amazing."

Skipper Steven Gerrard was overjoyed after guiding his side to their second Champions League final in three years.

The manager's tactics, everything was spot on

Steven Gerrard

"The first time round was special but to do it again after being a goal down to a magnificent team like Chelsea is unbelievable," he said. "Together we achieved it.

"The atmosphere helped, the manager's tactics, everything was spot on. But we crossed the line and we stuck together.

"We have the best goalkeeper in the world. But all credit to Chelsea."

Kuyt, who scored the crucial penalty, added: "It was very special for me - it will be my first final in my first year at Liverpool.

"We just believed in it. Pepe Reina was fabulous."

Anfield of dreams
06 Feb 07 |  Liverpool
Benitez plan wins Gillett backing
04 Apr 07 |  Liverpool
Graham Taylor's Euro verdict
01 May 07 |  Europe
Champions League photos
01 May 07 |  Football
Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool
25 Apr 07 |  Europe


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