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Luck? Rafa insists hard work is behind Liverpool's late heroics
Published : 05 Apr 2009 16:16:59
Rafael Benitez is falling in love with the idea of winning the Barclays Premier League. It has taken five years. It has meant jettisoning the notion that Europe is the priority. It has meant ditching his rotation policy. But anyone who witnessed Benitez leap in the air as Yossi Benayoun's winner rippled the Fulham net deep into added time on Saturday night saw a man who at last gets what winning the league after 19 years would mean to those who wear Liverpool red. Whether it was a defining moment in the destination of this year's title remains to be seen but suffice to say it had the same air about it as a certain Steve Bruce header in stoppage time for Manchester United against Sheffield Wednesday, another late winner which had Sir Alex Ferguson dancing on the Old Trafford pitch on the way to the first of his 10 Premier League trophies back in April 1993. Liverpool lucky? Benitez was having none of it. 'The luck is reserved for the people who work hard,' said Benitez. 'We work hard so hopefully we will have more luck.' The truth is that after beating Aston Villa 5-0 and Manchester United 4-1, with a four-goal drubbing of Real Madrid thrown in, Liverpool should have had another hatful against Fulham. They hit the woodwork four times, twice through Andrea Dossena and once each by Fernando Torres and Xabi Alonso in a first half which was as one-sided as a football match could be.