Rafa demands improvements
Rafa Benitez has told Liverpool that they must demonstrate their true ability against Lille.
Last Updated: 10/03/10 11:49am
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has told his players that they must demonstrate their true ability when they travel to Lille in the Europa League.
The Reds visit France on Thursday for the first leg of their last-16 tie on the back of a terrible 1-0 defeat at Wigan in the Premier League on Monday night.
Benitez was uncharacteristically critical of his players in the wake of the loss at the DW Stadium and questioned their attitude.
The Spaniard now wants to see the 'real Liverpool' when taking on Ligue 1 title-contenders Lille and is demanding the correct attitude from kick-off.
"It was a surprise the other day, but hopefully it was just a blip and we will see the real Liverpool on Thursday," Benitez told his club's official website.
He added: "The players know we have to improve in some specific areas. Sometimes how you play depends on the other teams, on quality, match fitness and things like this.
"But you cannot afford not to fight from the first minute until the last because it is really important for the club and all of us."
Benitez is also aware that his side are now facing an uphill task in their battle to finish fourth in the Premier League and has reiterated his determination to eradicate errors.
On the subject of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League, he said: "It was really difficult before and will be more difficult now, so we know we cannot make too many mistakes.
"We have to carry on and try to get three points in the next league game against Portsmouth. But first we have the Europa League.
"It is very clear this is an opportunity for us to do things right, try to get a good result and be ready for the next game.
"In football sometimes you prefer to have some time to rest, but now I think it is better to play games quickly."
Midfielder Yossi Benayoun will undergo a fitness test on Wednesday after the Israeli sustained an ankle problem at Wigan.