Benitez Has Four Reasons To Be Cheerful

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez was able to smile again after his side scored four goals against Reading in a thrilling Carling Cup tie at Anfield on Wednesday – even though their defensive frailties made it a nervy finish in a 4-3 win.

Liverpool had appeared to be cruising after opening up a three-goal lead with goals either side of half-time.

Then Andre Bikey gave the Royals a lifeline before Peter Crouch restored the three-goal advantage. But Leroy Lita and Shane Long pegged the Reds back and set up a nail-biting finale.

“At the end of the day it is a cup tie and we are in the next round,” Benitez said.

“There are a lot of positive things, we scored four goals and all of them were fantastic goals, there were young players playing at Anfield which is also very positive.

“We need to learn because we conceded three goals and need to manage the game in another way.

“To score four goals and to create good chances is really important.”

Robbie Fowler had been named captain and he opened the scoring in the 44th minute with a deft chip, prompting Benitez to say: “It was a fantastic goal.”

John Arne Riise doubled the lead with a volley from the edge of the area before Gabriel Paletta glanced in a header – his first goal for Liverpool.

Benitez was in effusive mod afterwards and said: “When you play against a team who works as hard as they worked, you are more elated, you enjoy it more.

“We were under pressure. After scoring the fourth goal we thought it was finished, but in the last minutes we were again under pressure.”