Benitez Hasn't Given Up on Champions League After Liverpool Beats West Ham
Liverpool will keep fighting for a Champions League soccer berth next season after a 3-0 win over West Ham took the Reds into sixth place in the Premier League, manager Rafael Benitez said.
Goals by Yossi Benayoun and David Ngog gave Liverpool a 2-0 halftime lead at Anfield last night before Sotiros Kyrgiakos’s second-half header came back off a post and went in off the leg of Hammers goalkeeper Robert Green.
“We have to do our job and be in the position in case the sides above us make a mistake,” Benitez said in comments on his team’s Web site.
The victory lifted Liverpool to 59 points, five fewer than Tottenham, which occupies the fourth and final qualifying spot for Europe’s elite club competition. Manchester City has 62 points in fifth place with the Reds having played a game more than their nearest rivals.
Liverpool, which last week appointed British Airways Plc Chairman Martin Broughton to find a buyer for the 18-time English champion, visits Burnley on April 25 before hosting league leader Chelsea on May 2 and closing the season away to Hull seven days later.
Fourth place “hasn’t gone,” Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher told ESPN.
“We know it’s going to be difficult,” he said. “Tottenham have done really well but they have a tough game against Manchester United so hopefully they will slip up.”
Before facing Burnley, Liverpool travels to Spain for the opening game of its Europa League semifinal against Atletico Madrid in two days. The squad’s preparations are being disrupted by the ash cloud from the volcanic eruption in Iceland that has closed European airspace.
Liverpool will set off today by train for Paris, where the team is scheduled to stop overnight before completing its 2,600- mile (4,183 kilometer) journey tomorrow. There is an option to switch to a plane in London should U.K. airspace be reopened.
“We have people working very hard for us and they have a plan A and B,” Benitez said. “They are hoping we can fly, which would be easier, but first we have to go by train to London and then we will see.”
Last night’s victory, which extended Liverpool’s unbeaten league run at Anfield to 10 games, left West Ham in 17th place with 31 points, three above the relegation zone.
To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Baynes in Sydney at email@example.com