Squad desire lifts Rafael Benitez: Liverpool FC latest
Rafa Benitez IT was the morning after the frustrating night before and the mood at Melwood was predictably flat. Having conceded a late goal in France which had put their Champions League hopes in great jeopardy, it was hardly surprising that Liverpool's player were quiet, subdued and sore as they began to go through their paces once more. As the training session began to unfold, though, Rafa Benitez surveyed the scene in front of him, saw the intensity and enthusiasm building and quickly came to the conclusion that the barren run of result the Reds have experienced will soon be over. While many of his trusted lieutenants have spent more time working in the gymnasium and sat on the treatment table during what has been a turbulent month, the session straight after the galling 1-1 draw in Lyon confirmed things are starting to change. When he looked one way, he could see Fabio Aurelio and Nabil El Zhar pushing themselves; turning in another direction let him see Glen Johnson, Albert Riera and Martin Skrtel preparing to increase their workload. Whether all five men will figure against Birmingham City this evening is open to debate but Benitez at least can take heart it won't be long before a squad that has been so fragile of late has a more robust look to it once more. Add in the fact his senior professionals are desperate to put things right again, it is easy to see why Benitez feels Liverpool's prospects are bright going into a game they dare not lose at Anfield - and for the rest of the season. 'I'm sure if we can win a couple of games in a row, it will be much easier for everyone,' said Benitez. 'Pepe Reina, for one, has a very positive mentality and I have the same idea. We are not stupid and we know we can improve. 'But we had a training session the other day where I saw Fabio (Aurelio), (Albert) Riera, (Glen) Johnson and Nabil (El Zhar) all working hard and making a difference. You can see they want to help us right now.' Though talk of challenging for the title will not be resurrected should Birmingham be dismissed, three points will at least give Liverpool the opportunity to get back into the mix of clubs who are pushing for a place in the top four. Manchester City might have drawn on Saturday but Aston Villa and Tottenham both won comprehensively to give their supporters encouragement that they will be able to usurp the Reds from the places in the table that matter. Benitez, however, remains unruffled and he has confidence a sequence of positive results will provide the springboard for Liverpool to leave their malaise behind and return to more familiar territory. 'We are making mistakes but we are analysing them and we are trying to change,' he said. 'I have a lot of confidence in the team, the squad and our staff and especially our supporters. 'We have had some bad games and bad results but there have also been some very good moments. If you take two of the best players from any of the top sides in Europe, I'm sure you will see them suffer.
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