Benitez refuses to write off Liverpool's title challenge
05 October 2009 12:27
LONDON (AFP) - Rafael Benitez refused to write off Liverpool's chances of winning the Premier League this season despite watching his side fall six points behind leaders Chelsea after a 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge.
Goals from Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda condemned the Reds to their third defeat of the season and left them languishing in fifth place.
Three league losses is one more than Liverpool suffered over the whole of last season and Benitez's team looked anything but championship quality on Sunday as Chelsea overpowered them in the second half.
However, Benitez is staying upbeat about their title prospects.
"Our target now has to be the next game. Every game is important. We have to keep calm and working hard," he said.
"This year the top sides will lose games but you have to try to improve and we will try to win against Sunderland next.
"When the teams at the top of the table drop points and you win, it is better, but we have to keep winning games and stay as strong as possible and see what happens.
"It is my opinion you will see top sides losing more games this season. It is good for the Premier League and it means we have to keep calm.
"We drew a lot of games last season too, we will now try to win and if we have more wins than draws, we could end with the same amount of points."
French duo Anelka and Malouda were on target for Chelsea, who climbed back on top of the Premier League table following their shock 3-1 defeat at Wigan the previous week.
Carlo Ancelotti's side have now opened up a two-point gap over Manchester United, who drew with Sunderland on Saturday and lie in second place.
But perhaps more importantly, it restored the Blues to winning ways in emphatic fashion.
Ancelotti said: "It was an important win. It was a difficult match. I don't know if it was a better performance than in the Champions League against APOEL Nicosia. We did what we prepared before the game.
"After this game I think we have resolved the problem from the defeat at Wigan but it was not a big problem."
The Italian added: "Manchester United's result was a surprise for sure, but this season is about us because we are top of the league.
"We can prepare for the next games with concentration and determination as we know our season will depend on it."
Despite the defeat Benitez said he had few complaints about the performance of his players and admitted they could simply not find a way past the Chelsea defence.
He added: "The performance was not bad. We were playing a very good team in Chelsea.
"We had some chances and you have to take them if you want to change the situation.
"Our target now has to be the next game. Every game is important we have to keep calm and working hard.
"I cannot blame anyone because they were all working hard and I am pleased with the team effort but disappointed with the result.
"We are playing Chelsea, do you expect teams to have 20 attempts? I don't think so. We had attacks but could not score because they are good defenders.
"I was really pleased for 90 per cent of the time, but to win you have to have it almost perfect, but I was happy with the team effort."