Benitez: Derby perfect timing for Liverpool
"We are really disappointed but the best thing for us is to play a derby because it will mean everyone is really focused on a fantastic game.
"They will know it is important for everyone. When you face any other team it is important, but for games like this you know this is different.
"Everyone in the street will tell us that, so we know that this is the right sort of game for us now.
"We have the Champions League coming up, and we must also qualify, so it is crucial that we go into these games in the right frame of mind to be really, really focused on this game."
He added: "The derby is really important for both clubs, with a position in the top four at stake. It may have more passion than before, if that is possible."