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Page last updated at 17:03 GMT, Wednesday, 7 April 2010 18:03 UK

Rafael Benitez admits to making mistakes at Liverpool

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez
Benitez joined Liverpool from Valencia in June 2004

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has admitted making "regrettable mistakes" during his six-year tenure at Anfield.

The Spaniard has come under pressure this season as the Reds struggle to finish in the Premier League's top four and secure a Champions League place.

When asked if he had made mistakes, without specifying, he replied: "Every manager makes mistakes," before adding he had "sometimes" made "big mistakes".

The Reds trail Benfica 2-1 going into Thursday's Europa League quarter-final.

At the start of the year Benitez had promised to deliver Champions League football, despite the Merseysiders finding themselves adrift of Manchester City and Tottenham in the race for fourth place in the Premier League.

With his side struggling to reach the highs of last year when they lost only two games as they finished runners-up to champions Manchester United, Benitez has found his decisions in games and in the transfer market questioned.

"The manager plays every game," he reflected.

"You lose, you win or you draw every game and some players play, some don't, but the manager is always there."

The former Valencia boss was most recently criticised for his decision to substitute Fernando Torres in the 1-1 draw with Birmingham last Saturday.

The draw left Liverpool in sixth place, four points behind fourth-place Manchester City having played one game more than both Roberto Mancini's men and Tottenham, who are three points clear in fifth place.

Meanwhile this season, the Reds failed to reach the Champions League's lucrative group stages for the first time in Benitez's reign and suffered a shock 2-1 FA Cup third-round replay defeat to Reading at Anfield.

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The sale of midfielder Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid for £30m has also been widely criticised as Liverpool's difficult campaign has unfolded, with his £20m replacement Alberto Aquilani struggling for fitness all season to the frustration of Benitez.

Spain defender Alvaro Arbeloa also moved to the Bernabeu, while the experienced Sami Hyypia was allowed to join German side Bayer Leverkusen.

"If you can manage as a club with the mistakes you are ok," said Benitez, before admitting: "We signed one player that has had a problem for the whole season and we cannot manage."



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see also
Liverpool 4-1 Benfica (agg 5-3)
08 Apr 10 |  Europe
Benitez defends replacing Torres
04 Apr 10 |  Liverpool
Liverpool need six wins - Torres
29 Mar 10 |  Liverpool
Liverpool 1-2 Reading (aet)
13 Jan 10 |  FA Cup
Reds say Benitez will not be axed
25 Nov 09 |  Liverpool
Arbeloa on brink of move to Real
29 Jul 09 |  Liverpool
Alonso completes 30m Real move
05 Aug 09 |  Liverpool


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