Benitez: We must focus on Premier League

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Rafael Benitez will put all thoughts of the Europa League on hold in a bid to reignite Liverpool's stuttering Premier League form.

The Merseysiders completed a miserable Champions League campaign with a 2-1 defeat at home to Fiorentina on Wednesday night. A third-placed finish means the club will compete in the Europa League in the new year but Benitez's main priority is to ensure the club return to Champions League action next season via a top-four finish in England's top flight.

He said: "We will take it (the Europa League) seriously, but for us the main thing is to progress in the Premier League. To be in the top four."

The former Valencia manager added: "We do not play in the Europa League until February, so we will have plenty of time to concentrate on the Premier League. Another European competition is later.

"What has happened to us in the Champions League, the misfortunes, will be an experience the players will remember and it will give them strength and more determination to improve over the rest of the season."

Liverpool currently lie seventh, three points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, and have the chance to close the gap on another European rival when they host Arsenal on Sunday.

Benitez added: "I hope that a new beginning, a new season, starts for us from this point. Now we must concentrate on Arsenal and try to do well on Sunday.

"This has been a very disappointing Champions League campaign. Two late goals in matches against Lyon changed everything, and now it has happened again against Fiorentina.

"We knew we could not progress before the game, but to lose another late goal was very disappointing for the team, for everyone.

"I would expect a different approach on Sunday against Arsenal. It is always difficult approaching a game like Fiorentina knowing that whatever you do you cannot change the situation, we were already out."

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