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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 January, 2005, 07:45 GMT
Benitez defiant after Cup shock

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has defended his decision to field a weakened team in the FA Cup after their shock 1-0 defeat at Burnley.

Benitez said: "We do the same in the Carling Cup and win.

"If you are in four competitions you need to use your squad - maybe we don't have the squad for four competitions.

"When you lose it's always bad news but the boys tried until the end. We have three competitions left and the only thing we can do is work harder."

Liverpool were without regulars such as skipper Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Luis Garcia, as well as new signing Fernando Morientes.

Instead Benitez gave fringe players at Liverpool an opportunity to impress, with David Raven, Zak Whitbread, Darren Potter and John Welsh all starting.

And Benitez continued: "I was satisfied with my team selection. I say that perhaps we do not have a squad good enough for four competitions at the top level.

"They tried and worked hard, I cannot ask for more from them. "I used the players I felt we needed, if we had used more senior players then maybe we would have more problems next week and then in the Champions League.

We need to learn from these things
Rafael Benitez

"I cannot say that my players did not try. Burnley played well and worked very hard. But I repeat, we cannot play four competitions with the same players.

"We have a lot of injuries and we have to give people time to recover and be ready for the Premier League, the Champions League and next week in the Carling Cup semi-final."

A clumsy piece of defending from Djimi Traore cost Liverpool dearly but Benitez refused to blame the defender.

"We conceded the goal from a big mistake, in the six yard box you need to clear the ball," he added.

"But we need to learn from these things. It's important to have experience and in the future we need to do the right things."


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Interview: Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez






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