Football

Benitez: League is fans' priority

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Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez accepts the club's fans want the Premier League title this season more than they want European glory.

It is always a tough choice for the Anfield faithful, so proud are they of the five European Cups the club have achieved in their history. But as Liverpool prepare to face Hungarian champions Debrecen tonight in their Champions League Group E opener, those fans would probably settle for a decent European run and their first league crown for 20 years.

Benitez said: "The Premier League is the priority for the fans. But the Champions League is massive, and we will not forget the domestic cups because this club are expected to do well in everything."

He added: "It is always important to approach every competition to win it. But in a top side like Liverpool, the priority for the fans has to be the Premier League.

"Then the Champions League, the FA Cup and the Carling Cup. If you wanted an order, that is probably it. But I am greedy, I want to win the Premier League and the Champions League."

Benitez will have midfielder Javier Mascherano back in his squad after the Argentina captain's recovery from a pelvic problem.

But it is certain that Benitez will stick with Brazilian midfielder Lucas after the 22 year-old's impressive start to the season.

Of Wednesday's match, Lucas said: "It is important that we start the competition well, everybody always thinks Liverpool will get close to the final, so it is really important for the players to match that expectation.

"Debrecen are a good side, we know they have won five games in a row, but we have the responsibility to win in front of our own fans.

"The key is to start well, win the first and second game and that makes the challenge easier to handle."

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Topics:
European News
Football
League Cup
Lucas
Premier League
UEFA Champions League
FA Cup
Liverpool

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