Football

Benitez plays down zones of contention

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Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has no intention of changing the zonal marking system that many have blamed for their Champions League defeat to Chelsea last week.

The clubs meet again on Tuesday in a quarter-final second leg, with Chelsea seemingly in an unassailable position with a 3-1 lead.

Benitez said: "We feel we can handle Chelsea in the air. There was a lot of talk last week about our zonal marking system but all the top clubs have conceded about the same from set-pieces this season, it is not just the system that matters."

He added: "And we scored a fine goal from a set-piece on Saturday against Blackburn, and they use man marking. Then I watched Aston Villa play Everton on Sunday and there were six goals and both sides use man marking.

"We are happy with the way we defend, it is all about the quality of players in the end. Zonal marking has been good for us in the past, and it will be good for the future.

"It depends on the type of player you have. We have used it for five years here and we have not conceded any more than anyone else from set-pieces."

Benitez also refused to react to comments from the Danish referee for the first leg, Claus Bo Larsen, who implied that Chelsea had tried to influence his handling of their three players on yellow cards.

Larsen did book Chelsea skipper John Terry - who is out of Tuesday's game now and complained that some Liverpool players were trying to get him cautioned after a clash with goalkeeper Jose Reina.

But all Benitez would say was: "I felt the referee did a very good job in the first match.

"And the booking (for Terry) was very obvious and the correct decision."

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Topics:
European News
Football
John Terry
Blackburn Rovers
Jose Reina
Chelsea
Premier League
UEFA Champions League
Everton
Aston Villa
Liverpool

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