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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 February 2007, 08:40 GMT
Benitez hails fracas duo's effort
Craig Bellamy celebrates his equaliser against Barcelona
Bellamy celebrates his equaliser against Barcelona
Rafael Benitez was delighted John Arne Riise and Craig Bellamy made headlines for the right reasons by scoring in Liverpool's 2-1 win in Barcelona.

Reports of a clash between the players had dominated the build-up to the Champions League last-16 first-leg tie.

"I am really pleased for Bellamy and Riise," said Liverpool manager Benitez.

"The atmosphere in the team is very good. The training camp in Portugal was helpful. The players' commitment was good before and after the problems."

Bellamy celebrated his first-half goal by playing an imaginary golf shot, a blatant reference to last week's incident where he allegedly tried to strike team-mate Riise with a golf club.

His goal levelled the score and Riise's winner enabled Liverpool to beat the European Cup holders at the Nou Camp to put themselves firmly in the driving seat ahead of the return game at Anfield.

606: DEBATE
NV

But Benitez remains cautious about the Reds' hopes of reaching the quarter-finals.

"The job is not done yet. It's clear we have a good chance now but we must be careful," he said.

"Barcelona have got some very good attacking players and we need to do our best at Anfield. We have to be prudent, nothing is decided yet."

Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard knows his side face an uphill struggle in the second leg at Anfield in March.

"We must always be positive, but we have to be realistic. It will be difficult to make a comeback," Rijkaard said.

"Liverpool did a great job but we still have one game to go. The situation is complicated for us because they are very strong on their own ground.

"There are still 90 minutes left, but Liverpool can go out knowing they just have to keep the ball.

"We have to keep on going and wait for our chances. We have to be confident and have trust in ourselves."

SEE ALSO
Barcelona 1-2 Liverpool
21 Feb 07 |  Europe
Wednesday's football photos
21 Feb 07 |  Football
Benitez accepts players' apology
21 Feb 07 |  Liverpool


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