You're kidding! Title hopes still alive reckons Rafa despite seven point gap

23 February 2009 11:28
Rattled Rafa Benitez refused to concede the title to Manchester United

on Sunday night, but Liverpool's

bid appears to have collapsed after another dismal display.

A 1-1 draw with Manchester City

at Anfield leaves them seven points behind the champions.

However, while admitting the draw was 'a bad result', the Spaniard said his side can still finish top if they win at Old Trafford when the teams meet on March 14.

Defiant: Rafa Benitez insists Liverpool can still win the title despite the seven point gap between themselves and Manchester United

'It is not easy to envisage United slipping up, but we still have 12 games to go and you cannot say everything is finished.

'Clearly, if we want to close the gap, we are going to have to win our next two games against Middlesbrough

(away) and Sunderland

(home) then go to Old Trafford and beat United,' he admitted.

'That is going to be the pivotal game against United, but it is also important we take full points in the other two matches.

'We had control of the game today but it was the same problem we have had before at home.'

 Cannavaro: We're Real-ly high in confidence ahead of Liverpool clash

Liverpool 1 Manchester City 1: Merseysiders slip up to leave United with seven point lead

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez stalls signing a new contract

LIVERPOOL FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE WEB

MANCHESTER CITY FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE WEB



Dirk Kuyt forced a late equaliser against Mark Hughes' City side after Craig Bellamy scored against his old club, but Liverpool still appear to have blown their chance after drawing at Anfield for the second time in three games.

In all, Liverpool have drawn six league games at home this season.

'Five points was a big enough gap to have to claw back, so clearly it is going to be more difficult than ever for us now,' said Benitez.

'We have to score first in these games but they went ahead with a deflected goal and that changed everything.

'We had chances after equalising and could easily have won but this is a bad result.

Dirk Kuyt equalised for Liverpool in the draw against Manchester City

'I still have confidence we can get the right results against Middlesbrough and Sunderland, though, and that could put things in a different light.'

Benitez has still to reach agreement over a new contract and has hit a new snag with the club's American owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

After holding out for more control over transfers, the Liverpool manager now wants a clause inserted allowing him to walkaway if Hicks and Gillett sell up and he fails to develop a working relationship with their successors.

The Spaniard continued to evade questions about his future and whether he felt a new deal might be signed shortly, saying: 'I would rather concentrate on football matters.'

Under-pressure Hughes saluted his side after they bounced back from away defeats at Middlesbrough, Stoke

, West Bromwich

and Portsmouth

and made light of their UEFA Cup exertions in Copenhagen.

Craig Bellamy (right) put City ahead against his old club

'It was an excellent performance, full of drive and purpose and we were good value for at least a point,' he said.

'There are still games to go and time for Liverpool to come back in the title race, but you're looking to Manchester United to slip up now.

'Let's be fair, that doesn't happen often.

'For us to come here against a team going for the title and play like that is very encouraging, especially after the energy expended in Denmark.

'We were strong and resolute and even when the expected pressure came near the end we coped.

'That was the best we've seen of Nigel de Jong so far and Robinho again showed his qualities.

'Technically, he's so accomplished. The other players know they can give him the ball in the tightest of spots and be confident they'll get it back.'

Hughes played down reports of a disagreement between Robinho and Bellamy, saying: 'We seem to be the focus of so much attention at the moment, and I can tell you a lot is wide of the mark.

'It seems there are people out there who don't want us to succeed, but when I see a performance like that, I can't help feeling they might end up disappointed.

'We were strong and powerful and, if anything, I'm disappointed we didn't end up with all three points.'

 Cannavaro: We're Real-ly high in confidence ahead of Liverpool clash

Liverpool 1 Manchester City 1: Merseysiders slip up to leave United with seven point lead

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez stalls signing a new contract

LIVERPOOL FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE WEB

MANCHESTER CITY FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE WEB





 

Source: Daily_Mail