Rafa defends Gerrard role
By Peter ORourke
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Rafa Benitez has defended his decision to play Steven Gerrard wide on the right.
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has defended his decision to persist with playing Steven Gerrard wide on the right.
Benitez has come in for criticism for not playing the Liverpool skipper in his preferred position of central midfield.
Gerrard has struggled to show his best form this season and many believe the England international is unhappy at being played out of position.
However, Benitez insists he is not restricting Gerrard by playing him out on the right side of midfield.
"Stevie was on the right, but he was going inside a lot. In the end we put him in the middle," said Benitez.
"Last season he played really well on the right, he had freedom and he could go inside when he wanted.
"I do not feel we are using him as a winger, he is not being asked to get to the line to make crosses.
"He has a freedom to come inside and find space to attack. If he'd played in the centre all the time then Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick would have been there to pressure him.
"He can cause teams problems coming inside from a wider position. We had Luis Garcia working `between the lines', and it did cause them problems.
"But we couldn't keep the ball properly for creating more space and chances. Luis Garcia and Gerrard did cause them problems."
Meanwhile, Benitez believes Reds midfielder Mohamed Sissoko is being unfairly treated by referees.
The tough-tackling midfielder picked up his fourth booking of the season in Sunday's defeat at Manchester United and Sissoko is just one caution away from a suspension.
"There is also a problem with how Momo Sissoko is treated," fumed Benitez. "He was booked very early again by the same referee who booked him very early against Everton.
"It is easier, it seems, to show a yellow card to Momo rather than Rio Ferdinand or Steven Gerrard.
"I am very disappointed with this situation, and I realise that when it happens he cannot challenge in the same way because he has one card.
"But I do not want to use excuses, I would rather find solutions from our own players."