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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Rafa relieved after "Positive" meeting at Anfield

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez believes he has cleared up any misunderstanding with the club's co-owners. Benitez said talks with American duo George Gillett and Tom Hicks following the 1-0 defeat by Manchester United at Anfield had been 'very positive'.
The meeting was planned some time ago to discuss the club's plans when the transfer market reopens in January - but Benitez's media rants about the late timing of the meeting caused a rift.

Benitez was hurt by suggestions that perhaps he should stick to training and coaching and leave money matters to others. He told the club's official website: 'We needed to clarify the situation and it was a very positive meeting. 'The conversation was very fluid because we were face to face, whereas it's more difficult over the phone or by email. 'My English isn't always the best but having the chance to talk to them slowly and with time allowed us to analyse small problems. Now we can move forward.'

Carling Cup interview

Meanwhile, Benitez believes Liverpool can bounce back after two successive defeats and progress to the semi-finals of the Carling Cup tomorrow. The Anfield boss is not concerned that title rivals Chelsea are all but invincible at Stamford Bridge. He claims his team have enough about them to banish the memory of losing to Manchester United and Reading, following a long unbeaten run. Benitez insists that confidence has not been damaged despite that home defeat by Sir Alex Ferguson's side at the weekend. He told the club's official website: 'If you analyse Chelsea's home form you can see they haven't lost for a long time.

'So it's normal not to get too many good results there. They are really good in front of their own fans but we will try to change the situation. 'We have played a lot of games against Chelsea over the last three or four years. We know they are a top side. 'These games are very special and we seem to have a good record against them in cup competitions especially. We know if we play well then we can beat anyone. 'We are here to win trophies and so we want to get into the semi-final. We will fight until the last minute to get there.'

Benitez could be tempted to shuffle his pack with Xabi Alonso set for a run out after a ten-week absence with a metatarsal injury. Steve Finnan remains doubtful because of a calf problem while Daniel Agger remains sidelined with a foot injury. Benitez said: 'The key is to find the balance between the squad and the big names. It is not possible for players to play every game.

'Xabi is training normally and should be available for the match at Chelsea. We are going into a busy period with lots of games so it is important to have our best players available.
'I think Chelsea will rest some players because that's normal. But it will still be a good side.'