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Liverpool boss Benitez hails "world class" Gerrard

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez was delighted with Steven Gerrard's performance in Wednesday night's 1-1 draw at Arsenal in their Champions League first-leg clash.

"When you have top class players, they make the difference. Sometimes it is Torres, this time it was Gerrard," Benitez said. "He is a player who can change a game on his own. And he certainly did that with his run into the box to create our goal.

"He changed the game. That goal we scored was the real difference for us, that one piece of quality, world class, that changed everything.

"Stevie can do such things. It was a run they could not stop. It could change the whole tie."

Now Benitez expects another famous Anfield night on Tuesday for the second leg, that can propel Liverpool into their third Champions League semi-final in three seasons.

He said: "When you play against Arsenal it is always difficult, they are a team with quality and can always score goals against you.

"But for us to score an away goal and then to have the prospect of them having to play against our fans at Anfield next, is extremely important for us.

"Anfield will be the massive difference. We will have energy, but also there will be great energy from our supporters, they will be on top of Arsenal.

"Between us we will have the strength to win, Arsenal will be playing our fans too.

"But we respect Arsenal. We know they are very capable of scoring away goals, they are such a good team. So we will need a massive effort from everyone to get through to the semi-finals.

"Arsene knows he has a good team and that they can be very effective on the counter-attack, but he knows that Anfield will be a very difficult place to play."

Benitez continued: "We know, though, that we need to score at Anfield because Arsenal are very capable of doing so.

"At 0-0 we would be happy, but Arsenal are a very, very offensive team and we know that if we are to beat them, we must score.

"The Emirates game was one of the hardest European games we have played. We knew that was going to be the case, you only have to look at the statistics to see that they had plenty of possession.

"But the idea is the create chances. We had one and we took our chance. They had two or three and they could not take them."

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Tribal Football Staff

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