Benitez bullish over title chances

23 March 2009 04:00
Rafael Benitez says Liverpool's players have the belief they can win the Premier League title - and he reckons the rest of the country know it.Benitez has seen Liverpool produce three sensational victories in 12 days, scoring four each against Real Madrid and Manchester United plus five on Sunday against Aston Villa.It puts Liverpool one point behind United at the top - although the champions still have a game in hand.But a goal difference margin of 11 a few weeks ago, considered then to be worth another point, has been wiped out and over-taken by Liverpool's goal blitz.And the Reds could be top before United play their next game if they win at Fulham on April 4, 24 hours before the Red Devils face Villa at Old Trafford in their next match.Benitez said: "There is a sense of real belief now. When you are playing well and scoring a lot of goals against top sides you will have the belief that you can beat anyone."But we must be calm, win the next game, get the points and keep going until the end. Otherwise everything will be wasted."Clearly we have confidence and the team is playing well. But we must just wait to see what happens next to United, while we must keep going and keep the team playing at this level."Skipper Steven Gerrard struck a set-piece hat-trick against Villa - taking his season total to 21 in 38 games - and he said: "We were always conscious of the goal difference and wiping out Manchester United's lead."Now we must keep winning, keep on their shoulder and keep piling on the pressure. We must show we are ready to pounce on any mistakes they make."Full-back Alvaro Arbeloa believes that Liverpool's blistering start to matches is now becoming decisive.He said: "We had a really good start to the Villa game, and that kind of first-half display is the key to improving our home form."If we can start really well at Anfield it can be important because an early goal can open up a tight match. You saw what it was like against Real Madrid in the Champions League and they could not cope with us, so I think we have to do the same in all of our home matches."He added: "We are closer to the top but it is best to just focus on how well we are playing. We have a lot of confidence now and I think we are performing at our best level."We have to keep going, build on the momentum of the past week or so and make sure we fight right up until the end of the season."And the Spain international was quick to praise Gerrard's contribution, saying: "He was excellent and he deserves all the credit he gets because he is a key player for us and performs like a true captain."He is having an amazing season, and he deserves to be considered the best there is."Liverpool must now wait for a fortnight to continue their pursuit of United, with an international break to be negotiated first.Benitez said: "We need to wait now for United to make mistakes. We are closer but they are in a very good position. We must keep going and keep pushing them."They will see we are working hard for every game, so my message is to keep doing our job."When you are playing well, the players have more confidence. Sometimes you do not need to change things, we have more or less the same players and system."But it is now one game a week. Torres is fit, Gerrard is fit, Aurelio is fit so it is easier to keep the same players on the pitch."We may have (injury) problems caused by the international break, but we have Agger back from injury and Yossi Benayoun almost fit. That gives us more choice but we will need all of our players now."You cannot keep thinking if United will make two

Source: Eurosport