Reds ready to renew Leeds rivalry

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Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez will warn his players to be on their guard against a fallen giant who used to be one of their biggest rivals.

Benitez will send out a much-changed side on Tuesday at Elland Road against Leeds in the third round of the Carling Cup. But the Spanish coach is more than aware that the tie is being seen by Leeds and their fans as a rare chance to compete again against one of their biggest rivals from an illustrious past.

"I believe the game will be a sell-out, and it is a surprise to me that Leeds find themselves in League One these days. Leeds will be difficult, we know they are a big club and we respect their history," said Benitez.

The rivalry with Liverpool dates back to the 1960s when the Reds beat Leeds 2-1 in the '65 FA Cup final with goals from Ian St John and Roger Hunt.

For the next decade the two clubs were neck and neck for the country's top honours. Liverpool won the title in '66 with Don Revie's men runners-up, and the positions were reversed in '69, with Leeds again winning the title in '74 ahead of the Anfield side.

Things have changed dramatically with Leeds' sorry decline, but after 15 successive home league wins having helped them to the top of League One, the Yorkshire club's fans sense this may be the season they start their climb back to the top flight.

Benitez added: "I have been watching DVDs of their games and it is clear that their supporters are very important to them. They back their team all the time and make it tough for their opponents.

"Those fans are amazing, such loyalty and support, and that has been very apparent to me in watching tapes from last season.

"We know it will be tough. It is a massive club despite the division they are in."

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Roger Hunt
League One
League Cup
Premier League
FA Cup
Leeds United

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