LIVERPOOL boss Rafa Benitez has warned outspoken duo Ryan Babel and Albert Riera to knuckle down and fight for their place.
Both players have recently hit out at their lack of first team action so far this season.
Babel, who was dropped after the opening weekend defeat at Tottenham, accused Benitez of breaking promises about him getting more playing time and said he wants to rejoin Ajax on loan in January.
Riera, whose only start was in the 3-2 win at Bolton, revealed he had strong words with the manager after he was overlooked for the trip to White Hart Lane.
Benitez admits he will ask Babel to explain his comments when he returns to Melwood after international duty on Thursday.
“I read what was in the press but I prefer to wait and talk with the player,” Benitez said. “I want to check with him what he was talking about.
“Ryan knows he cannot go now. He has to impress. He’s a very good player who we kept because we know he has talent.
“We will talk with him and see how he progresses over the next few months.”
Benitez insists both Babel and Riera, who are battling with Yossi Benayoun for the left wing role, have the chance to stake a claim for a regular starting spot.
But he wants them to let their boots do the talking from now on.
“I was talking with Albert and the message was clear – on the pitch all the players have to prove something,” he said.