RAFA BENITEZ today challenged Yossi Benayoun to inspire Liverpool's return to winning ways - as he prepared Alberto Aquilani for his Anfield debut.
Benayoun has been in terrific form during 2009 and with Steven Gerrard unlikely to be involved against Birmingham City this evening, the Israeli will have a key role to play.
His through ball to Fernando Torres set the Reds on their way against Manchester United and Benayoun also scored a hat-trick against Burnley at Anfield earlier this season.
Now Benitez wants to see more of the same from Benayoun, as Liverpool aim to go into the latest international break on a high.
'Yossi is a key player for us,' said Benitez. 'There was a time before when people had some doubts about him but we knew he always had quality.
'We knew he could have an influence and change a game. He is intelligent and players don't know what he is going to do the next time he gets the ball.
'That's a big difference and when you don't have Steven on the pitch, it's important we have Yossi and we hope he will keep doing that in this game.'
With Liverpool's injury list improving, Benitez - who will be without the suspended Jamie Carragher - should be able to name a team not too far from his strongest line-up.
The bench will also include summer signing Aquilani, who is ready to get some game time after recovering from a virus.