Speaking at last night’s pre-match press conference, Liverpool boss Rafael Benítez explained how the Reds need to fix a few things from Saturday’s defeat at the hands of Everton before they play in tonight’s opening Champions League fixture. Liverpool play PSV Eindhoven away.
From what Rafa says and what we’ve seen of him, he finds things he wants to fix after every game, regardless of result: “Always as a manager you think you can improve and we were talking about this,” he said. “I think you will see a lot of good things tomorrow.”
He’s not blaming the international fixture list completely for the weekend defeat; he wants improvement from his squad: “The team needs to improve. You say after international games it’s difficult to play an important game two days later. We need to improve, we know we need to improve – but we have confidence because we have very good players.”
The best way to forget about Saturday would be to go out tonight and win, and this is how Rafa sees it too. A win tonight would lift the doom and gloom: “The timing is perfect because if we can do a good game it will be a boost for the next games. Always if you want to change things you need to play a game and to win. It’s as simple as that. If you can win everyone will say ‘oh – fantastic in Europe!’ Now we need to see this in the Premier, but it will be good for us if we can hear these things.”
Rafa’s expecting a tough match tonight – but he’s expecting his own players will have the confidence to come out as victors: “Always you know in Europe it’s difficult to win, and against a team like PSV with experience in the Champions League it’s not easy. But we’ll see – I think as a team we have confidence, because we have good players, with quality, and if we can work hard as a team we will see a very good team.”
Not that Liverpool will be the only side with quality players tonight: “It’s not easy to play a game against so many players of quality. Normally they play offensive, but we will see now if in the Champions League against Liverpool they can play as offensively as in the league; but, for sure, they have enough quality up front and we have to be careful.”
Rafa wouldn’t give too much away at all about tactics for tonight, despite being pressed about it: “Sometime it depends on the other team also – if they put pressure on us and go forward we will need to play counter-attack. Maybe if they go high, press high, we will play attack. You never know, you never know.”
Also in Champions League action elsewhere tonight are Chelsea, Liverpool’s next league opponents, and Rafa was asked if he would be thinking of that game when making his team selection: “I know how important the Champions League is – we need to be focussed on this game then we will have time to prepare for the other game”