Liverpool swept Alan Shearer’s Newcastle United aside 3-0 at Anfield today, thanks to strikes from Yossi Benayoun, Dirk Kuyt and Lucas Leiva, but manager Rafa Benitez felt that they could have netted more.
“I think it was a good game, but could have been better as we had plenty of possession and a lot of chances,” Benitez told his post-match press conference.
“We had opportunities to score more goals. To hit the crossbar three times in one match is enough! But in winning 3-0 and keeping a clean sheet, we have a lot of positives.”
“We knew that mentally they could have some problems if we scored first.
“That was the key, but you could see at 2-0 they were still working very hard so scoring the third goal was important for us to finish the game.”
Liverpool are now three points behind United, and Benitez wants his men to collect maximum points from their three remaining fixtures in order to keep the pressure levels intense right until the very end.
“We know they [Manchester United] are a good team with good players,” he added.
“They have to make two big mistakes, but we have to be ready. We have to try and get three points in each match and see if they feel under pressure and make mistakes.
“We have to win our games. It is the only solution for us – keep winning games and put them under pressure.”
There were some injuries to the Reds too, with Xabi Alonso being forced out of the action thanks to a Joey Barton tackle, for which the Toon man received a red card, and Javier Mascherano also picked up a knock. Spanish superstar Fernando Torres was not risked from the start, but could be in line for a return soon.
“Mascherano twisted his ankle and Xabi picked up a knock,” Benitez explained.
“He [Alonso] has some bruising, but I think he will be okay in a few days.
“Fernando had a problem with his hamstring and it would have been a risk to play him today. In the end we decided to leave him out of the squad, which I think was the right decision.
“I think he will be back next week. He was very close today, but to start with him could have been dangerous.
“To keep him on the bench, maybe without a proper warm-up, could have also put him at risk, but I think he will be ready for next week.”
Zack Wilson, Goal.com