Friday, March 14, 2008


Rafael Benitez reflected on the Champions League quarter-final pairing with Arsenal and admitted he was happy that the second leg of the tie would be at Anfield.
The first leg will take place at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday April 2, with the return at Anfield the following week on Tuesday April 8.

The Reds boss expects the tie to be a close affair but is hoping his team can get a good result from the first leg to take into the deciding game at Anfield.

"We were expecting to play against a top side so we knew Arsenal could be one of the options but we will approach the game with confidence because we are playing well," Benitez told

"Playing the second game at home could be very positive for us because always when we play at Anfield it is an inspiration to us. When you play against a good team the small details can make the difference.

"They are a very good side. They have good players, they are playing well and are top of the league. We know it will be a tough tie.

"We have a lot of confidence now. We are scoring goals, winning games and keeping clean sheets so that is a lot of positive things for us."

Including the Premier League clash at the Emirates on April 5, the Reds will meet the Gunners three times in the space of a week, and in terms of team selection that could mean Benitez may have to make full use of his squad.

"It will be a strange situation to play against them three times in a week but we will see what happens," added the boss. "Normally it's difficult to play three games like this and compete at the maximum level without changing players. It will all depend on the players and whether they will be fit for each game."

The last time the two sides met was at Anfield in a league encounter at Anfield in October when the game ended in a 1-1 draw. It was a match that saw Fernando Torres and Xabi Alonso both forced to leave the field with injuries.

"I remember we had some problems in that game when we lost Torres and Xabi," said Benitez. "Hopefully we will have more players available this time."

by Steve Hunter 14 March 2008



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