Featured Matches
Previous
St Patricks
Legia Warsaw
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
San Jose
Chicago
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
FC Zürich
FC Thun
5:45 PM GMT
Game Details
San Lorenzo
Bolívar
10:45 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Arsenal de Sarandí
Instituto de Córdoba
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Washington Spirit
Portland Thorns FC
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Aktobe Lento
Dinamo Tbilisi
3:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
FK Ventspils
Malmo FF
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
HJK Helsinki
Rabotnicki Kometal
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Steaua Bucuresti
Stromsgodset
5:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
NK Maribor
Zrinjski Mostar
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
St Patricks
Legia Warsaw
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
FC Aarau
FC Sion Sitten
5:45 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Zürich
FC Thun
5:45 PM GMT
Game Details
San Jose
Chicago
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
San Antonio Scorpions
Carolina RailHawks
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
San Lorenzo
Bolívar
10:45 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Arsenal de Sarandí
Instituto de Córdoba
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Godoy Cruz de Mendoza
Defensa y Justicia
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Ceará
Chapecoense AF
10:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Avaí
Palmeiras
10:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
ABC
Novo Hamburgo
10:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Santa Cruz FC
Botafogo da Paraiba
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
AA Ponte Preta
CR Vasco da Gama
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Corinthians
Bahia
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Alianza Lima
Sport Huancayo
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
U. Católica
Mushuc Runa
Postp
Game Details
Emelec
Deportivo Quito
Postp
Game Details
Independiente del Valle
Club Deportivo Cuenca
Postp
Game Details
Olmedo
El Nacional
Postp
Game Details
Liga de Loja
LDU Quito
Postp
Game Details
Manta F.C.
Barcelona
Postp
Game Details
Albirex Niigata
FC Tokyo
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Gamba Osaka
Shimizu S-Pulse
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Kashima Antlers
Omiya Ardija
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Sagan Tosu
Kawasaki Frontale
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Kashiwa Reysol
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Tokushima Vortis
Urawa Red Diamonds
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Vantforet Kofu
Cerezo Osaka
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Vegalta Sendai
Nagoya Grampus Eight
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Yokohama F. Marinos
Vissel Kobe
10:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Washington Spirit
Portland Thorns FC
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Next
Jan 10, 2009

Benitez insists Fergie rant didn't impact on players

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez insisted his outburst against Sir Alex Ferguson had no impact on his players as they stumbled to a potentially costly draw at Stoke.

The Barclays Premier League leaders missed an opportunity to go six points clear at the top ahead of tomorrow's Old Trafford clash between fellow title hopefuls Manchester United and Chelsea.

Benitez had launched a surprising tirade against United boss Ferguson during yesterday's pre-match press conference, hitting out at what he saw as Ferguson's complete ignorance of the Football Association's 'Respect' campaign towards officials, and the Scot's complaints about the Premier League fixture list.

But after the goalless Britannia Stadium clash, Benitez stressed the game had not been affected by his widely-publicised words.

"I don't think so,'' the Spaniard said when asked if the comments had been a distraction, repeating the answer when pressed on whether it might have had any effect.

He added on Setanta Sports 1: "When you are top you want to win, it doesn't matter which game it is. Today we needed to win, with or without the press conference.

"After 22 years with Ferguson in charge it could have been any moment (to bring it up) so why not the other day? I think it was the right moment to say, 'That's it, now we will talk about everything'.

"I was thinking about defending my team. I thought 'enough is enough' and that's it.''

Liverpool stretched their lead to four points with the draw, but nearest rivals Chelsea could trim that to one point at Old Trafford.

United, meanwhile, go into tomorrow's match eight points behind their north-west rivals but armed with three games in hand.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard hit the crossbar and the left post in the closing stages as the visitors pushed without success for a winning goal.

Stoke had chances themselves though, and Rory Delap hit the underside of the Liverpool crossbar inside the first quarter of an hour, with Richard Cresswell unable to convert from the rebound.

Benitez explained: "We're not happy but it was a difficult game. We could have won at the end. It's better than losing. Stoke is a very difficult team to play against so every throw-in, free-kick and corner is a problem.''

Although Liverpool missed out on two additional points, Benitez was not too worried by the result.

"I think we are at the top of the table so we are still in a very good position,'' he said. While United could gain nine points from their games in hand, Benitez was quick to stress: "They have to win.''

Stoke manager Tony Pulis also steered his team to a goalless draw at Anfield earlier in the season, and was quick to offer an appreciation of today's display.

He told Setanta: "I'm very, very pleased with the players. The effort and commitment was first class, and we created quite a few good chances as well.''

Pulis has little doubt Liverpool will have a huge part to play in the title race, despite his team's unbeaten record against the Reds this season.

"Liverpool are a great side, they've got some great players and it's a great football club,'' he said. "They're in the best position they possibly could be. I'm sure Rafa will be pleased to push on from here.''

The point lifted Stoke out of the bottom three, although with just five points separating the teams from 11th to 20th in the top flight Pulis knows there is plenty of work ahead. He said: "We're very pleased that so many clubs are involved. It makes it really exciting for everybody else.''

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.