Posted on October 31, 2006
With Bordeaux at Anfield tonight in the Champions League, Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has warned his players against complacency against the bottom team in Group C.
Benitez has reminded them that in last season’s knockout stages they lost to Benfica after most pundits had predicted a Liverpool win.
“Last season we were facing Benfica, who everyone felt we should have beaten,” said Benitez.
“Every team in this competition has match-winners. It underlines that we must not expect to beat Bordeaux.”
Concentration and application are called for, but if Liverpool beat Bordeaux tonight they can book their place in this season’s knockout rounds.
Benitez added: “It is important for us to win this one and to qualify. We are really close and we want to be able to go into the last game against Galatasaray knowing we are through.”
However, with Bordeaux lying bottom of the group, Benitez is wary that the French side have nothing to lose and could go into the match focused but relaxed.
“Do not think that this is an easy game because they are bottom of the group,” he said.
“They have good players, every team in this competition has good players who can win games, so we must not think this is three points already.
“But now we face a team who are bottom of the group, knowing it is hard for them to qualify.
“They are playing without very much pressure but they will want to attack and to show what they can do.
“Always teams like this have quality and they can play better football from this position. We must be focused on the fact that if we win we can qualify.”
And the Spaniard justified his use of Steven Gerrard on the right side of midfield instead of a more central position.
“He is nominally starting on the right but he is mobile and can attack from various positions, left or right, and that worries teams because they do not know what to expect,” he added.
“Steven is a player who can produce his talents from all around the pitch and that is the essence of what he should be doing.
“If he is on his game and working like this he can be frightening for opponents, he has such drive and strength to get forward.”