Benitez hoping rivals make mistakes

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Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez remains confident his side can secure Champions League qualification but accepts he is relying on their rivals making mistakes.

Sunday's 2-1 defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford - their 10th in the league this season - saw the Reds drop to sixth, four points behind fourth-placed Tottenham. With Manchester City, in fifth, and seventh-placed Aston Villa both having two matches in hand Liverpool's task is becoming increasingly difficult.

"We knew the game against United would be very tough. The question is now about the other teams," said Benitez. "Tottenham won at the weekend but we have to keep going. We know they have to make mistakes and we have to keep winning games to reduce the gap and be there."

They have seven matches to save their season and Benitez knows they realistically have to win them all.

If they were to do that they would finish the season with 72 points, which was more than enough for Arsenal to clinch fourth last season as they finished nine points clear of Everton.

Of those remaining games, Birmingham away and Chelsea at home present the most difficult challenges.

Tottenham, by contrast, have to play Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United in successive matches with a trip to Manchester City on the penultimate weekend of the season.

City also have to face United and Arsenal in successive weeks, while Villa - currently a point behind Liverpool - have Chelsea, City, Everton and a derby against Birmingham among their fixtures.

He added: "There are still a lot of points to be played for so we have to keep going. If we can win our games we will be there at the end.

"As a manager you have to believe. It will be more difficult but we have to keep pushing and I think we can do it. This year is a difficult year with too many things against but still we have to keep fighting and I am confident the team will be ready for the next game against Sunderland (on Sunday)."

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