Benitez expects immediate response from Liverpool

Liverpool:  Rafael Benitez is confident Liverpool will bounce back from their Champions League flop against Fiorentina when they face title rivals Chelsea on Sunday.

Benitez was furious with his players after a 2-0 defeat in Italy that he described as the worst performance of his five-year reign.

The Reds manager is determined to ensure there is no hangover from that result in this weekend's crunch clash and he has told his squad he expects an immediate reaction at Stamford Bridge.

"The reaction of the team has been positive and we have looked at all aspects of what went wrong," Benitez said on Friday.

"We have worked in training to try to correct those mistakes. The staff have analysed everything, we looked at everyone.

"We know we can win at Stamford Bridge and I will want the side to produce the sort of positive things they did after the interval in Florence.

"I expect a reaction from my players after what happened in Florence. They know we were not very good.

"But we were better in the second half and I want to see that form at Stamford Bridge."

Benitez is boosted by the return of Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano from a hamstring injury, while Danish defender Daniel Agger is fit following a back problem.

The Spanish coach admitted that no Liverpool player emerged with any credit from the defeat in Florence, but he was especially disappointed with the lack of discipline in defence.

"We had too many players not doing well (against Fiorentina). It was not just one or two players but everyone," he said.

"We cannot go into the Chelsea game playing like that. If you look at both sides, normally we each have around 25 chances a game. But if we allow Chelsea to have that many, we will lose.

"We must improve in defence, and we must play to our strengths and keep attacking and creating chances.

"The comparison between the two halves in Florence was that in the first period we had one chance and they had nine, but after the break we had 13 and they had just one.

"This could be a chance to change things. The players must not go into a game believing everything will be okay.

"The attitude of the players, their approach, has to be spot on. Top sides always think they will win and are confident. Chelsea will be like that so we must match that with the right mentality.

"If we have to change something, we will. So I expect even top players to work very hard.

"This game is important. If we win then people will be saying we can win the league. If we don't they will say we have no chance."

Benitez will pit his wits against Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti for the first time since the 2007 Champions League final.

Ancelotti, then in charge of AC Milan, won that encounter 2-1 to gain revenge for Liverpool's Champions League triumph in Istanbul two years earlier.

"I am looking forward to seeing him again, it will be an interesting meeting," Benitez said.

"We have competed together at two Champions League finals and now for the first time in the league. He is a great manager, and hopefully we will meet again in another European final.

"He knows how to manage a top side, he had great experience at AC Milan and he is already doing a good job at Chelsea.

"He has not changed too much here, maybe the shape of the team a little but the style of football is similar and the people there are happy because he is winning games."

NDTV Beeps - your daily newsletter

................................ Advertisement ................................

................................ Advertisement ................................

................................ Advertisement ................................