Benitez wants established Liverpool players to step up to the plate

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez expects his "big names" to show leadership and drive the club on to Champions League qualification.
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Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez expects his "big names" to show leadership and drive the club on to Champions League qualification.

The Reds have now fallen behind both Tottenham and Manchester City in the race for fourth place while should Aston Villa win their two matches in hand they too will overtake the Anfield club.

Liverpool have seven matches to save their season and Benitez believes his experienced players have to lead the way.

"Sometimes when you talk about big names, top-class players, you are expecting something from them when the team is not doing well," said Benitez.

"You expect them to say: 'It's okay, follow me'.

"We have had this conversation with Fernando and the rest of the team.

"It was something we were expecting from Torres and he was really good the other day (scoring two apiece against Portsmouth and Lille)."

Benitez was not overly concerned by Torres' display of petulance against Manchester United.

But he has told the Spain striker to concentrate on causing problems for opponents and not allow himself to be distracted by their spoiling tactics.

"Fernando knows he has to focus a little bit more," said the Reds boss.

"We were talking about this at half-time (against United) so that is something that will be better for him and better for the team.

"He can score more goals by concentrating on football.

"All strikers, especially top-class strikers, they are marked a little bit more closely than others and that is normal.

"It is not easy every game. People don't understand when you are a player on the pitch and you are fighting and sometimes you cannot understand these things."

 
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