Liverpool boss Benitez calls for changes to international week

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has slammed international week.

Benitez, like many of his fellow bosses, faces a rush this weekend as he prepares his side to face Portsmouth.

Many of the Spaniards' key players have been on duty with their countries in crucial Euro 2008 qualifiers and far-flung international friendlies and he believes the limited period of time they have to recover for domestic action is restrictive.

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Liverpool's visit to Fratton Park on Saturday, a 12.45pm kick-off, is the first top-flight match of the weekend and Benitez has called for a change of policy.

He told leaguemanagers.com: "I am really disappointed with the fixtures that we have because it is more difficult here in England. You play early kick-offs on the Saturday (after internationals) and it is impossible to prepare the team properly.

"The players arrive back on Thursday evening and the only thing you can do with some of them is just to run a little bit and send them home.

"Friday morning you will have a light training session and you will travel to Portsmouth in this case and you cannot prepare the team."

He added: "Normally the players that are going away are internationals because they are good players and you need these players for winning every game.

"For me it's impossible to prepare the team properly, you can prepare small details but to prepare the team physically and mentally for the game will be difficult."

Benitez went on to question the treatment of sides who compete in midweek in Europe and said the vagaries of the fixture list could cost teams a shot at the title.

"One of the things for me that is important now is to change the schedule for the top sides," he said.

"We had the same problem with the Champions League games; we were playing on the Wednesday, then kick off on the Saturday and normally away. I think it's not fair and in the end you have more problems winning these games.

"When you play for the title, if you lose two or three games away against 'normal' teams, after that you know maybe you can lose against the top sides and maybe your possibilities will be more difficult."

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