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WhoScored: Zabaleta-Sterling a key battle

Tactics And Analysis 12 hours ago
Read
 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 28, 2007

Mis-firing Liverpool do not worry Benitez

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez was unconcerned by Liverpool's profligacy in front of goal after they lost out to Portsmouth on penalties in the final of the Asia Trophy.

The Reds drew a blank over 90 minutes at the Hong Kong Stadium due to a combination of poor finishing and inspired goalkeeping from David James as both Dirk Kuyt and Fernando Torres squandered goalscoring opportunities.

Benitez invested heavily in revamping his strikeforce over the summer in a bid to solve his side's inability to convert superiority into points at times last season.

But the Spaniard preferred to focus on the fact the Merseysiders had Portsmouth on the back foot for the majority of the game.

'It's the same situation - physical of the fitness of the team. We know the accuracy of the players will improve through the training sessions and through the pre-season,' he said.

'But at least we're creating chances. The most important thing was that we were creating chances.'

Despite finishing runners-up in the pre-season tournament, Liverpool did enough to please Benitez.

'We dominated the game. We had more possession, more chances - and in football you need to take your chances,' he added.

'We need to improve, but I think that we are in a good moment.

'We played very well; we created chances; we had plenty of possession and also good ideas - and we are a team that also knows that we will need to be fitter.

'I would be worried if you were to say to me the team was fantastic now - because we are still in pre-season.'

Benitez is confident there is a lot more to come from new signings Ryan Babel - who took part in the European Under-21s Championships with Holland this summer - and Torres.

'With this tournament, it's difficult to analyse the physical condition of the players because it is too warm. But I think they were okay,' he said..

'I did see positives. They were trying to do things, which is a positive thing, but also their understanding with their team-mates will improve.

'Torres will have time, and also the conditions will be different to what they were here. They are a little below on fitness - but not too much.

'It's clear that Babel was playing more than anyone else at the end of the season

'He's been playing continuously; he's only 20 years old and he will need time to settle down and to get used to his team-mates in training. He will also need time.'