Liverpool skipper Gerrard defends Benitez over Fergie rant

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard says Rafa Benitez did nothing to spark the attack last week from Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and Blackburn's Sam Allardyce.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard says Rafa Benitez did nothing to spark the attack last week from Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and Blackburn's Sam Allardyce.

"I was sitting right behind Rafa and I can guarantee that it was in no way trying to disrespect their bench," Gerrard said.

"We had the set-pieces up on the board before the game and he'd told Xabi Alonso to do a certain free-kick. Xabi did the opposite but we managed to score from it, so he was basically saying 'don't listen to me, do your own thing'."

The midfielder added: "You can understand why Sam's upset but what I didn't understand was why he didn't speak to Rafa and Sammy Lee about it to clear it up after the game. It wouldn't have been an issue."

However the different parties choose to interpret Benitez's arm waving, Gerrard insists it will have no bearing on Liverpool's attempt to claim the title from United.

"I don't think it affects the team or the way you play individually - you take not much notice of it and make sure you do your own job properly," he told Sky Sports.

"Rafa's the type of manager to focus on his team. He's not the type who'd get involved with another manager while the game's going on, or disrespect anyone, he's just so focussed on making sure the team plays well."