Football

Benitez left to rue Reds' mistakes

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Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez condemned his players for making "too many mistakes" as they slumped to their second Barclays Premier League defeat in nine days.

Beaten at Tottenham on the opening weekend, they recovered to over-power Stoke in midweek, only to slump to a disheartening 3-1 home defeat at the hands of a vibrant Aston Villa at Anfield.

"In the first 20 minutes we created plenty of chances and played well. Then we conceded the own goal and started to make more mistakes," said Benitez.

"We have lost and we know we have to improve. I felt we had a chance when Fernando Torres scored, but the penalty finished it. It was a clear penalty."

It was Villa's first win of the season, and ended Liverpool's 31-match unbeaten league run dating back to December 2007.

And the reverse already puts in doubt Liverpool's title aspirations. They only lost two league games last season, now they have equalled that tally in the opening days of the new campaign.

Villa were two-up at the break through a Lucas own goal and a header from Curtis Davies. Torres pulled one back in the second-half, but Steven Gerrard's lunge at Nigel Reo-Coker conceded a spot-kick that Ashley Young confidently drove home.

Benitez added: "We now know that we have to go to Bolton on Saturday and win. Everything could change if we do that, our confidence will improve.

"We were not playing well, and we were up against a team who are excellent on the counter-attack.

"This squad is virtually the same as last season, so I believe it is good enough to mount a title challenge. But we must do more, we must win at Bolton. We will have to sit down and analyse every player now, and make sure we do the right things in our next match. But our senior players must take more responsibility."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
Tottenham Hotspur
Stoke City
Football
Nigel Reo-Coker
Bolton Wanderers
Lucas
Premier League
Fernando Torres
Ashley Young
Curtis Davies
Steven Gerrard
Aston Villa
Liverpool
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