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Liverpool boss Benitez fires Xabi warning

Benitez told the Daily Post: "Xabi needs to step it up. When you are not 100% fit, you want to play every game because you need to play more games to build up your fitness.

"But if Gerrard, Mascherano or Lucas are playing well, it means there is competition for places which is good for the team.

"Xabi knows he needs to work harder if we wants to have a place in the team.

"Mascherano was back from suspension and he gives us balance in the middle and Gerrard can be more free going forward.

"Lucas was playing really well the other day so we had three midfielders, and we needed to have wingers or strikers on the bench. That's why Alonso was not in the squad on Saturday."

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