Benitez: One mistake and missed chances cost us

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez spoke after Liverpool exit from the Champions League about missed chances. Once again Liverpool’s failure to put away any chances saw them lose a game. Things could have been so different had one of those chances gone in according to the manager: “We needed to score early and continue to go forward. The key was the first 20 minutes. I had confidence because we created chances and then we make a mistake and everything changes.” Some might say the mistake was allowing Benfica to keep Sabrosa Simao in the summer when they upped his price at the eleventh hour. Had he been wearing a red shirt tonight he at least wouldn’t have got the opener for Benfica.

In the second half Liverpool came out with the intentions of trying to get the three goals they now needed, but with every minutes the hopes faded, as did the volume of the fans. Benitez said: “If you don’t score early in the second half it makes it difficult. If you analyse the game you can see the chances we made. In the second half we tried to go forward and they played good counter-attacking football. We can beat teams but you need to score before them.”

On Sunday Liverpool return to league action against the only team from England left in the Champions League when they meet Arsenal. In the league Liverpool are aiming to try and get second place, they also have high hopes in the FA Cup. Rafa is determined not to let tonight’s disappointment undermine efforts on those fronts: “Now we have two competitions and we need to keep going.”

Opposing boss tonight, Benfica’s Ronald Koeman said that other than for
the opening half hour his side were the deserved victors: “In the first
30 minutes they played well and we didn’t play well. They had two or
three good chances to score but after that you saw less confidence and
after that we scored a fabulous goal. We played better in the second
half and they tried again but did not have the opportunities they had
in the first half.”

Liverpool were unlucky to come away from Portugal a goal down, but
according to Koeman Liverpool were no problem once they were 2-0 down
on aggregate: “In the second half it was easy. You need to be lucky. If
you are not you cannot beat a team like Liverpool. We can still cause
more surprises with big teams but maybe now the rest of the teams will
be a bit more attentive of Benfica.”