Benitez calls for realism

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Rafael Benitez has for the first time played down Liverpool's title dreams and asked for "realism" as the club fight to end a run of disastrous results.

Liverpool are 11 points behind leaders Chelsea following Monday night's 2-2 home draw with Birmingham. Benitez's side have won only one of their last nine matches in all competitions, and just one of their last five in the Barclays Premier League.

"We have to be realistic and think what our target is now. For me it is just the next game, the next point to see whether we can climb a little higher in the table," said Benitez.

"Then you never know what can happen. We did win six games in a row, if we did that again everything would be different.

"The main thing now is to get players fit, and see who we have available for the next game after the international break. We will then wait for some months to pass and see whether we can win some games in succession. That is all I am looking at now."

Benitez has always talked of the big clubs losing more matches this season, which would allow Liverpool to keep in contact despite their nightmare form.

The Spaniard added: "People keep discussing our bad run, but previously we won six on the trot and we have beaten Manchester United.

"It is a question of keeping going. I would be really worried if we were not playing well and not winning. But I can see that we are beginning to play better, it is a question of luck now.

"Maybe people think that I am angry about all this. But when I see the players working so hard, trying to change our situation, there is nothing more to say to them, they are doing all they can.

"This is the only way to change our situation. To keep working hard and play well, and I believe we did play well against Birmingham."

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