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Page last updated at 23:48 GMT, Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Benitez lauds attacking display

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Benitez delighted with team performance

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez says Tuesday's 4-0 Champions League win over Real Madrid proves the Anfield outfit can play attacking football.

The Reds won 5-0 on aggregate to reach the quarter-finals and Benitez said: "I know people in Spain think my teams do not attack.

"But look at this result and the 119 goals we scored last season.

"We're ranked number one in Europe and a result like this against a great club like Real Madrid is very pleasing."

Fernando Torres opened the scoring for Liverpool in the second leg before Steven Gerrard's double, which included a penalty for what was judged to be a Gabriel Heinze handball, and a late Andrea Dossena effort completed an impressive victory over the Spanish team.

Benitez was able to substitute Torres, Gerrard and Xabi Alonso as he switched his thoughts to Saturday's trip to Manchester United in the Premier League.

The Reds have to beat United to maintain their slim title hopes and Benitez believes the win over Real Madrid is the ideal confidence booster ahead of the game.

"We have an important game next but we have played well, scored four goals and are very confident. That is the best way to prepare for such a game," he stated.

"It was important for us to play that well but we are now facing a very good team and we must win to close the gap at the top.

"We have a few days to enjoy this result and make sure we are positive and prepared properly for the game at Old Trafford."

Liverpool's record in the past five seasons has put them top of the European rankings and they blew Real Madrid away with a storming start.

PHIL MCNULTY BLOG

"We played really well from beginning to the end and I am really pleased for the fans," added Benitez.

"Why are we so good in Europe? I can only say that we approach European games with confidence and in the right way.

"Torres and Gerrard played very well but I do not like to talk about one or two players, everyone was very good, from the first to the last on the pitch.

"They were expecting us to play deep and play on the counter-attack but we were on top of them right from the start and they never really recovered from that opening spell.

"The last five years this team has been very good in Europe, we have shown that continually. Our fans appreciate that and understand what we have achieved."

Deflated Real Madrid coach Juande Ramos had his doubts about Liverpool's opening two goals but conceded the Reds were deserved winners.

Liverpool were excellent and deserved to go through

Real Madrid coach Juande Ramos

"We are very disappointed and it is sad that we are out and we are obviously not happy with the result," said the former Tottenham boss.

"We conceded two early goals and I had my doubts about both. There looked to be a foul for the first and the penalty was not clear at all.

"But Liverpool were excellent and deserved to go through. They were too good on the night and there is no point in denying that, they deserved to go through.

"We tried all we could but the way the goals came so early, it made the game complicated as soon as we went two behind."



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see also
Real Madrid 0-1 Liverpool
25 Feb 09 |  Europe
Champions League as it happened
10 Mar 09 |  Football
Champions League photos
10 Mar 09 |  Football
Votes on bbc.co.uk/sport
10 Jun 08 |  Sport Homepage


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