Benitez rues Liverpool's failure to tame Tigers
Rafael Benitez has admitted that Liverpool have to start beating teams like Hull City at home to have a chance of winning the Premier League.sports Updated: Dec 14, 2008 12:56 IST
Rafael Benitez has admitted that Liverpool have to start beating teams like Hull City at home to have a chance of winning the Premier League.
The Reds were held to a 2-2 draw by Phil Brown's Tigers - their third straight Anfield stalemate after their encounters with Fulham and West Ham ended all square. They have also dropped points at home to stoke this season.
Liverpool, chasing their first English title since 1990, were still top of the table after this latest draw but will be knocked off the summit by Chelsea should the Blues win Sunday's London derby against West Ham.
"Clearly these are the kinds of games that you have to win and we have to be disappointed but we can't change things," said Benitez, whose side were again indebted to Steven Gerrard after the Liverpool captain scored twice after Hull went 2-0 up through Paul McShane and a Jamie Carragher own-goal.
"This was a little bit frenetic and you have to control these games. We made too many mistakes," the Liverpool manager added after Saturday's match.
"We started really well and if we'd scored first, that's a massive difference so to go two goals down, the reaction of the team was very good in the second half. But we just wanted to finish too quickly and we were giving the ball away in the last minutes."
Benitez's decision to once again leave Robbie Keane on the bench and bring on the likes of Nabil El Zhar, Ryan Babel and Lucas instead, will once again make headlines.
But the Spaniard was adamant he made the right decision to leave Kuyt on his own in attack despite having stumped up 20.3 million pounds (30.20 million dollars) to sign Keane from Tottenham Hotspur pre-season.
"We were thinking about using the wingers and they were good, two or three good runs from Nabil and also Babel and to put more people into the box is not a guarantee if they put defenders deep and you have to play very high.
"All of us have to be disappointed," Benitez added.
"Away from home we have more space and we can control the games more or less in the same way and we can play a little bit different.
"At home, when the other team works hard in defence and they're a little bit deep, it's always more difficult to find space.
"Everything was almost perfect...just the (absence of a) third goal."
Liverpool trailed by two goals midway through the opening period thanks to McShane's header and Carragher's own-goal.
Gerrard's double got Liverpool back on level terms, the England midfielder scoring in the 24th and 32nd minutes, but after that they were stifled.
Hull, now an impressive sixth in their first top-flight campaign, have lost just once on their travels all season - a 4-3 defeat at Old Trafford against champions Manchester United - and have won at the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle.
"I didn't expect us to do this well," said Hull boss Brown. "The team last year got promoted on team spirit. I was conscious of the fact that by bringing in 12 players that might be eroded but we've bought the right characters."
Brown has been delighted with the form of veteran Nick Barmby and insists the former Liverpool forward has a chance of extending his spell with hometown club Hull beyond the end of the season.
"He's brilliant. He's enigmatic and enthusiastic, he's a quality, classy player," said Brown.
"If you could make the pitch a little bit smaller, Nicky Barmby would still be an England player and the adrenaline carried him through for us.
"He's fighting for a contract and he's said that if he gets one he'll be worth it but if he doesn't get one then he won't be worth it, it's as simple as that. His character will probably earn one but two or three games doesn't get you one," Brown warned.