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Page last updated at 17:57 GMT, Saturday, 21 November 2009

Benitez sure of top-four finish


We showed character - Benitez

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez insisted his side will finish in the Champions League places following their 2-2 home draw with Manchester City.

The Reds have lost five and drawn two of their opening 13 Premier League matches and are now 13 points adrift of Premier League leaders Chelsea.

But a defiant Benitez said: "When we have all our players coming back I am confident we will start winning games.

"If we can improve and play at our level, we will finish in the top four."

Despite the draw against fellow Champions League-hopefuls City, Liverpool are still within two points of fourth-placed Aston Villa.

You cannot be happy with a home draw, but to lose three players is very difficult

Rafa Benitez

Injuries to Daniel Agger and Ryan Babbel during the game added to their ever-growing injury worries and Glen Johnson was ruled out before the game.

But Benitez, who is also without key striker Fernando Torres, expects a noticeable upturn in their fortunes when some of the sidelined stars return.

"We had a shocking day with injuries," said Liverpool's Spanish manager, whose side have managed just one win in 10 matches in all competitions.

"Glen was not happy with his calf and he had been limping a bit in training.

"Then we lose Agger and Babel. We had one problem after another. We had to use players who have not been training with the squad, but we still managed to score first.

"We felt we could hang on, then they scored twice and we had to show great character to hit back at them to get the equaliser.

"We then had a couple of great chances at the end and could have won the game.


"You cannot be happy with a home draw, but to lose three players is very difficult.

"And of course we had three players on the bench who have been for treatment in Belgrade and had not been training with the team.

"It is not easy to manage, but the reaction of the players was fantastic. You cannot ask for more from players in such a position."

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see also
Liverpool 2-2 Man City
21 Nov 09 |  Premier League
Reds keen to avoid Torres surgery
10 Nov 09 |  Liverpool
Saturday football as it happened
21 Nov 09 |  Football
Saturday's football photos
21 Nov 09 |  Football

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