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Benitez admits Liverpool weakness ahead of Benfica clash

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Football News

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has admitted weaknesses in his squad have cost the club dearly this season, but he believes his side has the strength to defeat any team.

Injuries - primarily to star striker Fernando Torres - have played their part in a disappointing campaign which has seen early exits from the title race, Champions League and FA Cup, but the Reds boss remains confident.

"We have to have confidence that we can win but my idea is to take it one game at a time," said Benitez, whose side face Benfica in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final first leg on Thursday.

"We have a very difficult tie, but you never know - we are in form now too so hopefully we can do well, be in the final and win. If we can keep this spirit and mentality we can beat anyone."

And while the 3-0 victory over Sunderland on Sunday showed what a fully-fit, firing full-strength side can do there have been too many occasions when Benitez has had to call on fringe players.

As if Torres' absences were not enough - he struggled with a hernia problem before Christmas and then had knee surgery in January which kept him out for five weeks - right-back Glen Johnson missed nearly two months with a knee problem while Steven Gerrard and Yossi Benayoun also have had issues.

Defenders Fabio Aurelio (thigh) and Martin Skrtel (foot) were joined on the sidelines on Wednesday by £17million summer signing Alberto Aquilani and teenage right-back Martin Kelly (knee).

Some of Benitez's less-celebrated signings - the likes of Albert Riera, Ryan Babel, Philipp Degen and David Ngog - have failed to fully fill the void and that has cost the team valuable points.

"Everyone knows we have a good 11. You can see some good players on the bench but also others with less experience," said Benitez.

"When you talk about the league the depth in your squad is very important and we have had problems with injuries."

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