Football

Benitez: We're in the groove

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Rafael Benitez insisted Liverpool have the "winning mentality" after watching substitute Yossi Benayoun come off the bench to score the winning goal two minutes into injury-time against Fulham to take his side to the top of the Barclays Premier League.

The 1-0 triumph at Craven Cottage put Liverpool in pole position, two points ahead at least for 24 hours until Manchester United play Aston Villa on Sunday.

"I haven't seen myself yet but it was a very, very important goal at a crucial time," said Benitez. "There was relief. You cannot say you will score in the last minute but we always play to the end."

He added: "We have the winning mentality. It is better not to say things but to do things and the players always believe they can score in the last minute."

Benitez had started Benayoun on the bench because he was suffering from a slight hamstring problem and the chances are he will fulfil the same role on Wednesday in the Champions League quarter-final first leg at Anfield against Chelsea.

"We had to protect him, he is not 100% fit," said Benitez, who otherwise played a virtually full strength side and saw them hit the woodwork four times in a dramatic first half, twice through Andrea Dossena and once each through Xabi Alonso and Fernando Torres.

It looked as if the Craven Cottage curse which has seen Arsenal and Manchester United lose and Chelsea draw at Fulham this season was to claim another high-profile victim.

But then came Benayoun's late, late, right-foot winner from 10 yards.

And Benitez was delighted to have sent Liverpool's fans home with renewed hope of a first league title since 1990, saying; "Hopefully we can keep them happy to the end. I was really pleased. We have a lot of confidence, but as a manager you have to be calm."

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Topics:
Arsenal
European News
Fulham
Yossi Benayoun
Football
Chelsea
Premier League
Xabi Alonso
Fernando Torres
UEFA Champions League
Manchester United
Aston Villa
Liverpool

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