Benitez - Liverpool remain united

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Under-fire Rafael Benitez emerged from the 1-1 draw at Stoke believing his players had proved their commitment to Liverpool and their manager.

The Anfield chief has heard the whispers that he has lost the dressing room in the midst of the worst spell in his time at the club. Sotirios Kyrgiakos seemed to have eased the pressure by giving the Reds a second-half lead but Robert Huth grabbed an 89th minute equaliser for Stoke.

With many calling for Benitez to be axed, the Spaniard hit back, saying: "I was very pleased. It is something we can build on. Talk of problems in the dressing room are not true."

He added: "You could see the response from the players' point. Is someone saying there is a problem with Steven Gerrard? Not true. He was here supporting the team, that says everything."

Benitez highlighted two pivotal decisions by Lee Mason which robbed Liverpool of what they considered was a deserved win.

In the first half Lucas was booked for diving when he went down under a Danny Higginbotham tackle in the box, with replays showing the Brazilian midfielder had been clearly tripped.

And in the final seconds Benitez maintained that Lucas was hauled back in the box before Dirk Kuyt hit a post with a diving header.

Benitez said: "You can watch them a hundred times on replay and you would always say they were penalties, the decisions were wrong. The players were angry afterwards, everyone could see there were two penalties.

"But you have to keep going when things are not going your way. The main thing for me was that the players were positive from start to finish, they produced a real performance for the club."

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Stoke City
Sotirios Kyrgiakos
Danny Higginbotham
Robert Huth
Premier League
Dirk Kuyt
Steven Gerrard

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