Benitez defends City money men

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Football News

Rafael Benitez has refused to condemn Manchester City for their lavish spending and considers the Eastlands side genuinely dangerous opponents in Sunday's clash at Anfield.

It is the start of a 10-day spell that sees Liverpool play four matches which the Reds manager believes will make or break their campaign. First up are an erratic City, who have spent over £100million since the beginning of the season.

Benitez said: "I do not believe their money is changing the face of football, there are other teams who have spent big, big money this season too. There is not a massive difference."

He added: "They will be dangerous opponents. It is not just the money, it is the fact that they have high-quality players.

"This is a crucial time for us with games in quick succession that can make a massive difference to whether we will be fighting for trophies at the end of the season.

"At this stage, you can only think of taking three points and then seeing how your rivals do. We cannot influence what happens to other teams so we must concentrate on our own job and see whether someone else loses a match or two.

"And Manchester City are dangerous opponents. Robinho, (Stephen) Ireland and (Craig) Bellamy are fine players. They can change games and we must not underestimate them.

"We had Craig with us last season and he has great pace and can be a match-winner. We know what he is capable of."

Steven Gerrard will miss the City game with his hamstring injury, and a judgement will be made on Monday as to whether he can travel to Spain for Wednesday's Champions League tie with Real Madrid.

Liverpool then have vital Barclays Premier League games at Middlesbrough next Saturday and at home to Sunderland on March 3 to be negotiated.

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