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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

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Benitez denies ''better than United'' jibe

Rafael Benitez had denied reports claiming he thinks Liverpool are better than Manchester United, saying the quotes had been ''twisted a little bit.''

• Fergie happy for Benitez to carry on

Benitez was quoted on Friday insisting the Reds were a better team than United and he was the only one willing to stand up to Sir Alex Ferguson. Those comments sparked a reaction from United boss Ferguson in his press conference, but Benitez has since refuted such reports.

"It is not true," Benitez told Sky Sports News. "I did not say this. It was a normal conversation with a good journalist and then has been twisted a little bit.

Benitez, whose side travel to Hull on Saturday without injured captain Steven Gerrard, did offer his view on the state of play in the Premier League which sees the Merseyside outfit trailing the Red Devils by three points having played a game more.

The Spaniard said: "I think United are in the driving seat - that is clear. It depends on them so we have to keep going, keep doing our job, try to win, score four goals don't concede - things like this and see what happens."

Benitez, whose side dropped points in the 4-4 draw with Arsenal in midweek, believes the Gunners can lend a helping hand to the Reds in their title quest.

He added: "I think they will have difficult games and they have to play a lot of games so we have to keep the confidence, the belief that we can do it."

  • Fergie happy for Benitez to carry on

    Sir Alex Ferguson is happy for Rafael Benitez to keep aiming his verbal volleys at Manchester United because he trusts his players to avoid them.

    Indeed, Ferguson has no wish to silence Benitez and said he prefers to let his team do the talking.

    "He is definitely saying a lot," said Ferguson of Benitez's jibes. ''But I am happy for him to carry on with it. I have to trust my players. I know they are good enough.

    "I have trusted them for years now. That is why I have picked them. They are a good bunch of lads and we will just carry on the way we always have."

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