Reds trio back Benitez
Javier Mascherano, Alvaro Arbeloa and Albert Riera have added their voices to calls for Rafa Benitez to stay at Liverpool.
Last Updated: 26/02/09 6:39pm
Liverpool trio Javier Mascherano, Alvaro Arbeloa and Albert Riera have added their voices to calls for boss Rafa Benitez to stay at the club.
There is on-going speculation concerning the Spaniard's future at Anfield as his contract talks have floundered.
But he again showed what the Reds would be missing if he does go when masterminding Liverpool's 1-0 victory at Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.
In total, 15 of the 18-man squad on show in the Bernabeu were signed by the Spaniard, with Mascherano, Arbeloa and Riera among those players.
The trio started against Real and are in no doubt of Benitez's importance to both them and the club.
Mascherano said: "The manager brought me to Anfield, he has done a very good job here.
"We can get to the quarter-finals again and he has shown that against the top sides like in Barcelona, at Inter Milan last season and now at Real Madrid that he is a very good coach for us.
"We are always a team who works very hard and every Liverpool supporter has to be very happy with this. Every player gives everything for the club.
"He is important for me. When I came to Liverpool I did not have any confidence after being at West Ham.
"The manager gave me that confidence. The only thing I can say to Rafa is thank you, he helped me during a bad moment in my career and now I try to do everything for my team and for him.
"I cannot say what is going to happen, but with him Liverpool is doing a great job. If we want to keep going in the Champions League and Premier League it is important to have him with us."
Riera also backed Benitez, saying: "As for the situation regarding the manager, we are aware of the dispute over his contract. But it is not something we were talking about in the dressing room, the match took up all our thoughts.
"Of course we want Rafa to stay. I wanted to play for Liverpool and he was a very important person in achieving that for me.
"Not only for me but for the other players too, we all want Rafa to be with us. If you asked everyone, 100 per cent they would say they want Rafa to stay with us."
Arbeloa also backs the Liverpool boss but knows that, in football, you can never say never.
He said: "As for the manager and all the talk about him, I do not really know what the problem is but people must know how important he is for us.
"I hope he will continue with us for many years, but in these things you never know."