Rafa wants Reds to kill teams off

Liverpool’s manager Rafael Benítez once again saw his side come out victorious by the narrowest of margins for the third domestic game in succession. According to Benítez, these 1-0 wins are not something he finds too comfortable, because as long as the scoreline is so close the lead can be so easily caught up to.  The Reds win over Manchester City sees them catch up to Manchester United on points, but not goal difference. Behind the Reds is a gap of eight points now as Tottenham sit in fourth spot.

The 1-0 win came courtesy of a Harry Kewell goal in the first half, against a City team that played better when they went down to ten men early in the second half. Peter Crouch came close to scoring more than once, but Rafa just wants to see his side finish opponents off: “I am not happy with the final scoreline, it was another 1-0 win and another very important three points but I would like to see us score more goals. We certainly need to be able to finish games off when we do go ahead. At the moment when it is only one goal you put yourselves under too much pressure.”

Barton was sent off for two yellow cards and that seemed to spur City on, as Rafa acknowledged: “When teams go down to 10 men against us it is always difficult, because they defend in a different way. We became nervous and they had chances, we were controlling the game better with 11 men than with 10.”

Rafa listed some of the chances that didn’t end in goals: “We just
couldn’t score a second. Crouch, Morientes, Gerrard, Riise, Kromkamp –
all should have taken chances to finish the game. We reduced City to a
few chances only, but we must start making life easier for ourselves in
such situations.”

Manchester City’s manager Stuart Pearce was, as seems the norm for him,
extremely gracious in defeat. He would not complain about Barton’s
sending off, saying, “I am a great believer in the fact that if a
referee says something is a foul, that’s it. If he says it’s a booking
you have to live with it. Dermot Gallagher is an honest man and gives
the decisions as he sees them. Maybe Joey needs to be a bit cuter, a
bit more clever with his tackles.”

Pearce says City’s problems came from the way they played early on: “We
gave Liverpool too much respect early on even though we did keep them
quiet. They are not a free-scoring side but once they are in front they
are a very hard team to break down.”

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