15 February 2008


By Mark Staniforth, PA Sport

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez will draw on the memory of his side's shocking start against minnows Havant & Waterlooville to warn against complacency in Saturday's FA Cup fifth round clash with Barnsley.
The non-league side twice went ahead at Anfield in the previous round before Benitez's men belatedly clicked into gear and ended up avoiding any further embarrassment with a 5-2 victory.
But Benitez is adamant his side's experience underlines the fact that his Barclays Premier League stars can afford to take nothing for granted against lower division outfits with nothing to lose.
Benitez said: "We have some experience of how difficult these games can be. Everybody says we will beat Barnsley but we must be careful and do the right things.
"Against Havant & Waterlooville we were thinking about scoring goals and we conceded. If you concede first goal against whoever you are playing, you will start to get anxious.
"We knew of the dangers before that game but it still happened. Clearly this is a cup final for them, so we must be careful and give them a lot of respect. If we score first everything will be okay."
Benitez has admitted he has one eye on next week's Champions League clash with Inter Milan, and must decide whether to risk any of the returning Fernando Torres, Fabio Aurelio, Alvaro Arbeloa and Sami Hyypia.
A deeper defensive crisis, with calf injury victim Martin Skrtel joining Daniel Agger on the sidelines, means Benitez's hand could be forced, although it would be a surprise to see Spaniard Torres in the starting line-up.
"You need to make sure you have the right team and the right player for both games. Playing some players might be a risk, so we have analyse each one and decide because of the Inter game.
"We are thinking about both games but we are talking about just one. We are very positive and we want to make the most of both these opportunities, but first it is important to think about Barnsley.
"The passion of this competition is fantastic and for some teams it is the most important game of their lives. Sometimes you see smaller teams whose players have more passion and commitment, and that is what creates upsets."
Despite his side's virtual elimination from the Barclays Premier League title race, Benitez will head into the tie in buoyant mood following a gutsy goalless draw at Chelsea last week.
He added: "I think the Chelsea match will prove very, very positive for us in the future. We almost won and we showed how well we can play. It gave us new confidence going into these two cup competitions

No comments:



The GOLDEN Team of Kenny Daglish

The GOLDEN Team of Kenny Daglish
If we have them now, say farewell to Arsenal, Man.U and Chelsea... if...