Benitez fails to dismiss Juve link

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Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez declined to comment after the frustrating goalless draw at Wolves on reports linking him with a move to Italian giants Juventus.

Benitez saw his side miss out on the chance to put pressure on the Barclays Premier League top four after drawing a blank at Molineux. There has been speculation that Juve are about to sack coach Ciro Ferrara and approach Benitez to become his replacement.

But Benitez insisted: "I prefer to talk about the game. Is the speculation a distraction? I was really focused on trying to do the right things and to try and win this game. Is being linked with Juventus flattering? I prefer to concentrate on the game."

The Reds produced a shot-shy performance in which they seldom tested Wolves keeper Marcus Hahnemann throughout the 90 minutes.

They have climbed into fifth spot on goal difference but Manchester City have two games in hand.

Benitez admitted: "If you analyse the game, it was a fair result. In the first half, we were in control, although we didn't create chances. The final pass in the final third was the difference.

"In the second half, they pushed harder. We still had some good counter-attacks but again the final pass was the difference. It was a fair result."

Skipper Steven Gerrard returned for Liverpool after missing two games with a hamstring problem and he completed the 90 minutes.

He is seen by Benitez as being crucial to Liverpool's hopes of salvaging their season and breaking back into the Champions League positions.

Benitez said: "It was not a risk to bring him back. We know Steven is a key player for us. He has to improve his match fitness. But, if he is fit and can train properly in the week and play games, he can make the difference for us."

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