Hazardous ground as Liverpool fail away goal challenge

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Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez was left to rue missed opportunities in the 1-0 Europa League last 16 defeat in Lille but has backed his side to turn things around in next week's second leg.

Having weathered the early storm from the hosts both Ryan Babel and Fernando Torres had good chances to put their side ahead before half-time.

The Reds were made to pay when winger Eden Hazard curled an 85th-minute free-kick over the Liverpool defence, past a static Jose Reina and inside the far post.

"When you play away you have to score when you have chances," said Benitez.

"We had two or three good chances and, particularly in this competition, you have to score away because it is an advantage."

He added: "But there is still 90 minutes to play and we will have to play well at Anfield and do our job.

"I am confident we can beat anyone at Anfield on our day with the fans behind us."

Benitez apportioned no blame to Reina for the goal as Hazard's inswinging effort could easily have been headed in by Lille player or taken a deflection off a defender.

"It was a good delivery and very difficult for the keeper," said the Spaniard, who admitted he was pleased to see a much-improved performance after the disastrous defeat at Wigan on Monday.

Benitez added: "The players' reaction has been very positive.

"I am disappointed with the result but really pleased with the effort of the players. They were fantastic."

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