Friday, February 22, 2008


Rafael Benitez is keen for Liverpool to secure fourth place before they travel to the San Siro for the second leg of the Champions League clash with Internazionale.

At the end of a week of turmoil and ecstasy, Liverpool face Middlesbrough at Anfield in the first of four crucial Barclays Premier League matches before the second instalment of a their last-16 clash with Inter on March 11.

And if Liverpool do beat Gareth Southgate's side, they will reclaim fourth place from city rivals Everton - who play on Monday - on goal difference.

This week has seen Liverpool humiliated by Barnsley in the FA Cup before their 2-0 victory over the Italian champions.

And Benitez - who has taken a 'well done' call from co-owner Tom Hicks this week - admitted that consistency is now the only thing that will salvage Liverpool's battered league campaign.

He said: "We have clear targets. We must progress in the Champions League and we must finish in the top four, now we have as our priority the four league games we play before we go to the San Siro.

"We must be in the top four before we face Inter Milan. That will be a tough game but we will go there with more confidence if we are in the top four.

"The players know that we must take care of the Premier League now. Four games, all very important, are next. If we can go to Milan with four league wins under our belts, things will be much, much better.

"After this next four games I will be able to say whether we are favourites for fourth place. Clearly we have enough quality and confidence, but we know we must do the job properly with so many clubs chasing the same thing.

"We could have made it easier for ourselves, so we have to start winning as soon as possible."

After the clash with Middlesbrough they visit Bolton and then face West Ham and Newcastle at Anfield ahead of the trip to Milan.

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