Benitez - We are confident
Rafa Benitez insists Liverpool go into their trilogy of fixtures against Arsenal with confidence.
By Peter Fraser
Last Updated: 31/03/08 4:56pm
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez insists his side go into their trilogy of fixtures against Arsenal in a confident mood.
The Reds secured a 1-0 win over Everton in the Merseyside derby on Sunday as Fernando Torres' early strike erased memories of the previous week's defeat to Manchester United.
Liverpool now face three successive games against Arsenal as they travel to Emirates Stadium in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday before taking on the Gunners in the Premier League on Saturday ahead of the European second leg at Anfield on 8th April.
And Benitez is adamant that his side are ready for Arsenal as the likes of summer acquisition Ryan Babel and January signing Martin Skrtel settle into their first campaign in England.
"After the defeat against Manchester United, to beat our closest rivals means that we will go into the games with Arsenal with more confidence," said Benitez.
"There were a lot of positives, Jose Reina's 54th clean sheet and Fernando Torres' 28th goal, such quality is the key to the next few weeks.
"Steven Gerrard is also crucial in the role he plays, and the fact that we have Ryan Babel and Dirk Kuyt now giving us real balance in the side.
"Earlier in the season it was not as easy, but we have now started to transfer what we practice in training to matches. And the arrival of Martin Skrtel has given us better options at the back."
Benitez, though, has hinted that he will make changes to his side for the games against Arsenal as midfielder Javier Mascherano will return from suspension for the European encounter.
"We will have to see whether we are now able to field an unchanged side for the Champions League," added Benitez.
"We have players who are struggling with kicks and knocks, and some are tired after the internationals and now the Everton match.
"Torres, Lucas (Leiva), Xabi (Alonso) and Steven (Gerrard), Babel, they all have some problems but we will have to see how they are in a couple of days' time."