Rafa - Fourth place is priority

Image: Benitez: Planning for success

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez insists it is vital to secure fourth place in the Premier League.

Liverpool boss focuses on Fulham

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez insists it is vital to secure fourth place in the Premier League before his side's European showdown with Chelsea. The Reds are involved in a battle with Everton as the two Merseyside rivals attempt to secure fourth place in the table, which would also book the final qualifying spot for next season's UEFA Champions League. However, Liverpool are also due to face Chelsea in the semi-finals of this year's Champions League with the first leg at Anfield on 22nd April followed by the return meeting at Stamford Bridge the next week. And Benitez is keen to offer his squad the opportunity to fully focus on Chelsea by reinforcing their hold on fourth spot with three points against Fulham on Saturday.

Important

"It's really important," Benitez told Liverpool's official website when asked about the significance of securing fourth place in the table. "If we can guarantee the fourth position then it will be much better for us and we can focus on the Champions League. "If we cannot then, okay, we need to use the squad and try to be strong in both competitions." Liverpool are currently five points clear of Everton and a victory against Fulham would all but guarantee fourth place, if the Toffees lose to Chelsea on Thursday.
Rotation
And Benitez, who has been criticised for his tendency to rotate his players this season, admits he may be forced to use all members of his squad in order to achieve his aim. "We will analyse our team and see how the players are," added Benitez. "We will also analyse Fulham. "We will think about Chelsea but for us to be in the top four is really important and we will have enough energy to play against Chelsea on Tuesday."

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