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Apr 22, 2009

Benitez: Manchester United in driving seat

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has conceded that Tuesday night's 4-4 draw against Arsenal at Anfield puts Manchester United in the "driving seat" in the race for the Premier League title.

Russian forward Andrei Arshavin capitalised on some poor defending to score all four of the Gunners' goals in a remarkable match in which the Reds came from behind three times, the last goal coming in added time.

Although Benitez rues the two points dropped at Anfield he has refused to concede the title and believes there are still plenty of twists and turns left in the championship race.

With league leaders Liverpool now ahead of United, who have two games in hand, on goal difference only, Benitez said: "It could be a valuable point. It depends if United win [on Wednesday night]. They were in the driving seat before and now if they win against Portsmouth it will be even more difficult.

"You never know what will happen in football. When I was at Tenerife, we dropped points on one Saturday and then the two teams above us both lost the next day.

"The positive thing is we have scored four goals against Arsenal and the team was fighting and working hard. We know this has to be the way until the end of the season."

Manchester United play relegation threatened Pompey at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening and if Sir Alex Ferguson's team win they will go three points clear of Rafa's Reds.

"United are in the driving seat and we will see what happens," Benitez continued. "If they win it will be more difficult but the have to win and they also have to play against Arsenal so we will see.

"We have a point against a good team and we are top. We have to keep pushing until the last game. It's football, you never know."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had mixed feelings about the result at Anfield.

"We are half-happy because we scored four goals and half unhappy because we conceded four," he said.

"Also, 4-3 up with two minutes to go the team is disappointed (to draw) but I give credit to my team for a great performance tonight."

Arshavin put in the best performance by an Arsenal player at Anfield since Julio Baptista scored four in the 6-3 Carling Cup quarter-final victory in January 2007.

The Gunners boss paid tribute to his £15m January signing from Zenit St Petersburg, saying: "He can play everywhere, like all the great players.

"He scored four goals but he was at the end of some good combination play. He has a lot of tricks and a short backlift and that makes him very dangerous."

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