Gerrard is at the peak of his powers, says Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez
11 September 2009 01:14
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Rafa Benitez joined in the acclaim for England's World Cup qualification yesterday and predicted a sharp upturn in Liverpool's fortunes as a result.
Two goals from Steven Gerrard and another dazzling display of attacking full-back play from Glen Johnson helped England book their place in next summer's finals with a 5-1 win over Croatia.
It could prove just as beneficial to Liverpool, according to Benitez.
Gerrard has struggled as much as anyone in a misfiring Liverpool side, but Benitez detected an extra spring in his step when he returned to Melwood, ahead of Saturday's home game with Burnley.
'It means so much to Stevie to be winning things for his club and country and he came back from international duty on a real high,' said the Liverpool manager.
'We need him to be at his best and it is going to be very positive for his confidence to score two goals and play so well.
'We have had some difficulties so far this season, with the level of expectations and players reporting back at different times for the build-up to the campaign and Stevie has suffered from that, just like any other player.
'But England have qualified, so that is one less thing for him to worry about. Thepressure is off. I feel sure that is going to be a positive thing for him and us.'
Benitez believes Fabio Capello has an aura about him that can take England all the way next summer.
'I remember spending some time with him when he was manager of AC
Milan,' hesaid. 'I watched his methods, and it struck me he had a presence.'