Liverpool boss Benitez: Chance to silence critics

Benitez has come under-fire this term for his rotation policy as Liverpool have struggled in the Premier League and crashed out of the FA Cup to Barnsley.

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However, Liverpool now face an important stage of their campaign as they prepare to travel to league leaders Manchester United on Sunday and then face Everton the following week.

The Reds are also preparing for their Premier League and UEFA Champions League trilogy against Arsenal in April and Benitez, who has seen his side win seven consecutive games since the defeat to Barnsley in February, is looking forward.

"How near we finish to the top now will be interesting," said Benitez. "We have been criticised this season, but let us see where we are in three or four weeks.

"We have important games and if we win them we will be a lot closer. If we can beat Manchester United we will be closer to the top, and that will give us more confidence.

"If we beat Everton after that then we will be closer still. Maybe, maybe we can be closer if we do not talk too much about it.

"Do we have a point to prove? Maybe, but only if we can keep winning three points."

"We now have a very tough spell," added Benitez. "Now we have really difficult games and we needed these seven wins beforehand.

"Now we have five very hard games, three with Arsenal plus Everton and Manchester United away next week. We will only think of each one as it arrives, you cannot start to worry about what is ahead.

"The first one is the most important. If we can keep our momentum then it will be easier going into the second one. We must not waste our time thinking too far ahead."

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