Football

Liverpool boss targeting final success

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Rafael Benitez feels Liverpool's season is still very much alive - on two fronts - following their stunning defeat of Benfica.

Liverpool produced an outstanding attacking performance at Anfield on Thursday night to overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit and power into the Europa League semi-finals with a 4-1 victory over the Portuguese league leaders. Dirk Kuyt and the often-maligned Lucas, both superb throughout, set up the victory with first-half goals before top scorer Fernando Torres struck twice either side of an Oscar Cardozo reply.

With hopes of finishing fourth looking increasingly forlorn, the Europa League is now Liverpool's best hope of salvaging a disappointing campaign, although Benitez is not giving up on Champions League qualification. Benitez said: "Hopefully we can play well, score goals, get closer to the top four and get to the final."

He added: "We will try to win every game. We will try to do it against Fulham on Sunday and try to get close to the top four.

"If we can get to the final and win the final we will be very pleased. We have two targets now and we will try to do both."

The performance of Lucas was particularly pleasing given the low regard with which the fans hold the Brazilian.

Lucas nonchalantly swerved around goalkeeper Julio Cesar for his first goal for 11 months and had a huge hand in Torres' second after winning the ball in midfield.

Benitez said: "Lucas was involved in two goals and that is always important for the fans and people watching the game.

"I am really pleased with him in terms of effort in every game.

"Between the lines we knew Benfica were very dangerous, so (Javier) Mascherano and Lucas were key players away and at home."

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Topics:
Europa League
Football
Premier League
Liverpool

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