Benitez tells Liverpool to show some fighting spirit
The only thing that can salvage Liverpool’s dismal season is winning the Europa League
It has been a miserable week for Liverpool fans who had to endure the sight of their own side limply surrendering to relegation-threatened Wigan on Monday and then watch as their former rivals Arsenal and Manchester United romped into the Champions League quarter finals.
The more miserabilist faction of the Anfield faithful will feel even more gloomy as the Reds travel to the unglamorous surroundings of Lille in northern France to fight for a quarter final spot in the unfashionable Europa League on a Thursday night.
Manager Rafa Benitez who was less than pleased by Liverpool's attitude against Wigan has demanded that his players show some fighting spirit against the French side.
"The players realise they have to perform with desire. They know they have to improve. I've had conversations with them," said the Spaniard, who now knows that the only thing he can salvage from the wreckage of the season is the Europa League trophy.
The loss to Wigan on Monday means that Liverpool's chances of finishing in the top four of the Premier League are remote at best - the teams around them all now have games in hand. And during the abject display there were signs that all is not well in the squad.
Referring to a row between Pepe Reina and his defence during the match, Benitez said: "If you are showing your disappointment with that sort of body language it is sending out the wrong message. It is not positive and I don't want to see this sort of reaction.
"I have told them I want an improvement and that if an error is made the person responsible must be kept on board."
Lille will present Liverpool with a stern test, though. They have lost at home only once since the opening day of the season and their last European defeat came three seasons ago when Manchester United won at the Metropole stadium.
The good news for Liverpool is that Glen Johnson is fit after making his long awaited comeback as a substitute on Monday. The bad news for the pessimistic Liverpool fan is that the Reds fielded all their star names in that game and still failed to get a result.
Benitez definitely needs a reaction tonight or he could find his position under threat once again. ·
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