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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 3, 2008

Players still confident of title bid - Benitez

Rafael Benitez denies his Liverpool side have lost confidence in their ability to win the title.

The Anfield boss is back under intense pressure after his side could only draw at home Wigan on Wednesday, seeing them slip out of the top four as Manchester City leapfrogged them in the Premier League table.

Two league wins in their last six and a shocking home record has seen Liverpool's season plunge into despair.

Benitez sees his side 12 points behind leaders Arsenal, still with a game in hand, but facing away games at the Emirates, Manchester United and Chelsea.

It is a daunting situation for the Spaniard, but he said: 'I do not think there is a lack of confidence, we need more luck and to score the chances we are creating.'

Liverpool led 1-0 through Fernando Torres' 16th goal of the season until 11 minutes from time when Titus Bramble grabbed a shock equaliser for Wigan.

Benitez added: 'We are creating chances but not taking them. One more would have killed the game.

'We deserved more than we got. Their keeper made some very good saves, but we still made enough chances to have won the game.

'The league table is looking difficult, we need to reduce that gap but we must not start to look at the table too much, just keep going and keep creating chances.

'We can reduce the gap, but it is best not to talk about it, just go out and score the goals we are missing.'

He added: 'It is difficult to explain why our home form is not good. We are controlling all the games, we are passing the ball well, controlling almost everything. But we paid for one mistake.

'There is no need to analyse the four holiday games, we deserved to beat Manchester City, we deserved to win against Wigan, while we beat Portsmouth and Derby, but we have lost four points in these games and it has meant the gap is bigger.

'There is no point being too critical of performances. We know we were much better than City and Wigan but we know we need to win, that is simple.'

Defender Steve Finnan, who helped create Torres' goal, was clear about Liverpool's task now.

He said: 'No disrespect to Wigan but if you want to challenge for the title then you need to be winning games like that.

'We had taken the lead and we thought we were going to go on and win the game. The goal we scored was a good one and it is obviously frustrating and really disappointing that we did not win.

'The first goal is always important, especially when a team sits back a lot because it can be hard to break them down.

'So when you get that goal you think you will go on from there but we didn't do that and they came back into the game.

'After Titus Bramble scored we had one or two chances but we didn't really look like we were going to score and overall it is disappointing.

'We have players who are capable of scoring goals but sometimes they just don't go in and it was the same against Manchester City but we definitely have the players to do it.'

And Finnan refused to rule Liverpool out of the title race, although he admits it will be difficult for them to overhaul Arsenal's 12-point lead.

He said: 'Hopefully we can still do it, but I suppose we say that all the time.

'We have slipped up at home and it is going to be really difficult but we have got to look to the 18 games left and try to do our best.'

Meanwhile, Liverpool have denied any interest in signing Chelsea full-back Wayne Bridge.