We were kicked all over – Benitez

Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace came as a great disappointment to Reds fans as they saw the last chance for Champions League qualification slip away. The manner of the game upset Rafa Benitez, who criticised the type of game Palace played. The Spaniard, praised by Palace boss Iain Dowie before the game, said, "I am very disappointed with the result, but we tried to play and sometimes this isn’t possible."

Liverpool’s striker crisis – after showing signs of recovery – came back again in time for the Champions League semi-final on Wednesday. Morientes is cup-tied for that game, and Milan Baros, only recently back from suspension, was battered for 37 minutes of the game before having to leave injured. Benitez was particularly unhappy about that: "We knew they would be very physical, but ask Milan Baros about how physical they were. He has problems all over his body. Watch the TV and you will see what I mean." Baros is now considered doubtful for Wednesday’s game.

Benitez will be disappointed too that despite conceding a goal his team weren’t able to fight back and get an equaliser. Starting the game with three centre backs seemed a strange decision again, and reverting to 4-4-2 saw Liverpool create more. Benitez thought the earlier formation had done OK though: "I thought we controlled the first half, but conceding the goal when we did made the difference."

Although it’s now highly unlikely Everton will slip up as much as Liverpool need them to – they only need to win twice – Benitez won’t stop fighting. He said, "Now we have three games left in the league and two in the Champions League and we must focus for these games. We will probably have to win our last three games though to have a chance of finishing 4th."

Liverpool are hopeful of having the injured Spaniards Xabi Alonso and Luis Garcia back for Wednesday.