Football Talk - Benitez defends Liverpool - 20/10/09
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has defended his side against accusations that they lack the necessary quality and depth to challenge for major trophies this season. Speaking ahead of Liverpool's crucial Champions League tie against Lyon, the Spaniard is confident his side will recover from a poor run of form.
Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Sunderland means that the Reds have now lost three games in succession in all competitions. If that run was to continue when Lyon visit Anfield on Tuesday, Liverpool's prospects of reaching the knockout stages of this season's Champions League, would receive a huge setback. But Benitez insists that he has the necessary quality to revive Liverpool's season:
"We have been criticised, but I am happy with the squad," Benitez said. "The vast majority of them were here last season when we won 86 points, very little has changed. People say we cannot play without Gerrard and Torres. I was not worried at the weekend even though we lost at Sunderland when we were without both of them, so now with one back it is even less of a problem.
"The trouble is not that we lack depth and quality. We must manage with the situation we have, which is made more difficult with several players out injured. We worked hard in the summer to keep the players we wanted, and to add to that. But the troubles have arisen because of the amount of injuries to key players.
"I have some experience in difficult situations, all managers do, but at this time we have lost four league games and people are talking about the quality, the depth of the squad. But again, like last year, the main thing is to be calm, work hard and find solutions to the problem. That is the only way in football. If you lose and don't play, you think about it for a week, ten days, but this week we have an opportunity to change everything. It can change everything for the positive.
"Last year we were talking about draws and then we got 86 points. My obligation is to be positive because I think we have more quality than we are showing now. As soon as we play well twice, hopefully this week, people will start saying maybe I am right. If we win on Sunday, we will be four points behind [United, who are top of the table] and that is not bad."