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Friday, Dec 13, 2019

Gerrard will not be tempted: Benitez

Gerrard claimed that not even a Champions League win in four years would make up for Liverpool's miserable failure in the Premiership.

sports Updated: Mar 01, 2008 20:25 IST

AFP
Hindustantimes
         

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has denied any suggestion that Steven Gerrard is not happy with life at Anfield as he prepares to take his side to Bolton on Sunday.

Gerrard claimed this week that not even a second Champions League win in four years would make up for Liverpool's miserable failure in the Premiership.

The England international claimed that battling for fourth place is not good enough for a club of the stature of Liverpool, who have not won the title since 1990 and are 17 points off leaders Arsenal.

There had been speculation that Gerrard's comments had given some of Europe's top clubs encouragement that the midfielder, 27, might be tempted away from Anfield.

But Benitez is adamant that his captain is going nowhere.

He said: "Steven's commitment to this club is 100 per cent. He was trying to show he was disappointed with our position in the league.

"I was talking with him before our last training session and he's really pleased with our position in the Champions League.

"I was talking with him and for Steven to play in this competition is amazing and the most important trophy that he has won is the Champions League in Istanbul."

Liverpool go into the Bolton clash three points adrift of Everton in the battle for fourth place and the final Champions League qualifying slot, but with the advantage of a game in hand.

A win for Liverpool will increase the pressure on their Merseyside rivals, who entertain Portsmouth later on Sunday.

Australian star Harry Kewell is not expected to be involved at Bolton having but Benitez revealed that the winger has been putting in extra training in an attempt to force his way into the first team.

Kewell has not been involved in the Reds' last two matches and is out of contract in the summer.

A big question mark remains over whether Benitez will offer him an extension but the Spaniard added: "It is true that Harry came to see me and that it was his idea to do extra training with the reserves to build up his fitness.

"He has a professional mentality and his approach is very positive.

"He must carry on working hard and making sure he is ready for any opportunity, but I have no problem with him at all."

Benitez will be aiming for a first win at the Reebok at the fourth attempt.

"We know their style of football," Benitez said. "They play direct and are a physical team so we know it will be tough and playing at the Reebok Stadium in the past has been difficult for us.

"It will be tough but we have confidence because we are training well."

Bolton captain Kevin Nolan hopes that Benitez will once again be complaining about his team's playing style after the game.

The boyhood Liverpool fan said: "When managers go away moaning that is the way we want it.

"When they are going away moaning that means most of the time they have gone away with no points at all and hopefully that will be the case on Sunday.

"Sunday's game is a massive game and whether you are playing the top eight or the bottom eight, every game is tough."