Liverpool Vs Portsmouth, Mon 15 Mar 2010

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Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez accepts it is "win at all costs" for the remainder of their season but he is not placing any special significance on the week ahead.

The Reds have just nine matches remaining in the Barclays Premier League - the first of which is on Monday at home to Portsmouth - and they cannot afford any more slip-ups.

Yossi Benayoun will face a late fitness test on an ankle injury sustained in the loss to Wigan while fellow midfielder Maxi Rodriguez returns having been ineligible for Europe.

Liverpool are four points adrift of fourth place having played more matches than any of the rest of the contenders.

There is also a tricky Europa League last-16 second leg to negotiate against Lille at Anfield, where a 1-0 deficit has to be overcome, before they head to Old Trafford on Sunday to play arch-rivals Manchester United.

"It is important to win - if you can play well it will be easier - but the main thing is to win," said the Reds boss, whose long-term future at the club is again the subject of more speculation with suggestions he will quit or be sacked this summer.

"Every week is important for a top side. Now we are in a position where we have to think about the Europa League or to be in the top four.

"If we are in a better position (by the end of next Sunday) it will be an important week, if we are in a worse position it will still be an important week anyway."

Despite Monday night matches - of which this is the second in succession, meaning Liverpool are always playing catch-up on their other top-four rivals - Benitez claims he and his squad do not pay much attention to the league table.

"The players know every week things can change. It is not helpful to our cause. It is important to concentrate on our next game," said the Spaniard.

"Normally we don't see the table too much so we try to concentrate just on the next game."

Liverpool will be keen for revenge on Pompey after their 2-0 defeat at Fratton Park in mid-December in which midfielder Javier Mascherano was sent off.

However, Benitez said that even if lessons could be learned from that performance it was not significant to go over it in detail with his squad.

"If we can use a defeat to help us then we can do it," he added.

"But it does not matter for the players which game it is - especially this match; there was a bad decision of the referee to send off Mascherano and after that we conceded a second goal.

"I think maybe we can see another good reaction from the players.

"But Portsmouth have good players, a good manager and at this moment they have nothing to lose so they will be dangerous."

And midfielder Marc Wilson believes the crisis club are more than capable of ending their woeful run against Liverpool at Anfield.

Pompey - who were on Sunday reported to be on the brink of securing their fifth owner of the season - have not beaten the Reds on Merseyside since 1951 in the old First Division, a run of 15 matches.

And despite being rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table with just five wins all season - two of them coming away from home - Wilson is optimistic about their chances.

The south-coast club welcome back defender Ricardo Rocha from a two-game ban while right-back Anthony Vanden Borre (hamstring) is back in training and Aaron Mokoena is also available after a knee problem.

But Hassan Yebda and Kevin-Prince Boateng are away receiving treatment on knee and ankle injuries respectively, while John Utaka is doubtful with a sore groin.

Wilson said: "I don't think the lads mind where they go at the minute. Liverpool are definitely beatable, I have seen Portsmouth beat them in the past as well.

"I never played that day (in December) but I was on the bench watching the lads. Hopefully we can replicate it.

"What is most important is we've got to go there and put pressure on them from the word go.

"We've got to be on top of our game, give 100% and go from there."

He added: "Liverpool are having a bit of a hard time. I watched them play against Wigan and I don't think they are playing the best football, but on their day they are as good as anyone.

"Maybe they are thinking `it's Portsmouth, they are bottom of the league so it's going to be an easy win'. Maybe we can get on them.

"I think the longer the game goes on the harder it will be for them."

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