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Benitez demands Liverpool secure early Euro progress

Rafael Benitez wants his Liverpool team to qualify for the knock-out stages of the Champions League long before the end of the their group matches, reports the Daily Mail.

In recent seasons, Liverpool have frequently had to rely on last-day heroics to make sure that the club reaches the last 16.

That, insists Benitez, has to change if the club are to have any chance of managing their Premier League campaign successfully.

He said: "It is clear that the perfect situation is to get to the last game and already be qualified for the next stage. Last season we achieved that and by the time we went to Galatasaray for the last group match, we had already qualified.

"This is something we must achieve regularly. The way to do that is to win from the very first match in the group, if you do that it is easier to manage the rest of the Champions League games and to be able to concentrate on the Premier League as well."

With the Premier League title now the prize Benitez covets above all else, he does not need Champions League problems getting in the way of that vision.

"I feel we need 12 points to get through to the next stage. Some people say 10 is enough, but if we win our three home games and then achieve one away win, that should be enough.

"So it is important that we win early in the group, and not have to depend on the last match. It is best to have the points now, that is what you need and that is why we aim to win here in Porto.

"I know the group and the quality of the teams, it will be difficult but we know what we need to do.

"We have confidence and experience in Europe, we should be able to manage the situation."

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Tribal Football Staff

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