Football

Benitez counting on Gerrard

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Liverpool coach Rafa Benitez insists that midfield talisman Steven Gerrard will be fit enough for the title run-in after he missed their amazing 4-4 draw with Chelsea in the Champions League.

Benitez was immensely proud of his players after they almost achieved another sensational European fightback.

"He felt something, so he was unavailable," said Benitez. "We thought he could be okay but in the end he felt something. It was an easy decision because he could not play."

He continued: "To lose a key player is always important and especially a player like Gerrard but credit to the other players because they did a fantastic job.

"It is not serious and we felt he could be available but he wasn't. Hopefully it will be okay.

Trailing 3-1 from the first leg, the Reds raced into a two-goal half-time lead through Fabio Aurelio and Xabi Alonso (penalty).

But Chelsea scored three times thanks to Didier Drogba, a free-kick from Alex and a clinical finish from Frank Lampard.

It put the Blues 6-3 ahead on aggregate but astonishingly Liverpool hit back with two goals in as many minutes from Lucas and Dirk Kuyt before Lampard's second killed off their hopes of achieving the unthinkable.

Benitez added: "Maybe the result is a positive because we saw we can score four goals here and we can do the same in any stadium. We can win a lot of games with this mentality.

"We showed character, quality and we have to be really proud. The players have done a fantastic job and the fans will be very pleased with the team."

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Topics:
Didier Drogba
European News
Football
Lucas
Chelsea
Premier League
Xabi Alonso
Alex
UEFA Champions League
Dirk Kuyt
Fabio Aurelio
Steven Gerrard
Liverpool

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