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Sep 30, 2009

Benitez calls for "different" Reds against Chelsea

After a humbling 2-0 defeat by Fiorentina, Rafael Benitez has promised it will be a "very different" Liverpool side that faces Chelsea at the weekend before back-to-back Champions League clashes with Group E leaders Lyon determine their European hopes in coming weeks.

• Reds punished by Jovetic
• Rafa: Everything went wrong

Liverpool also face Manchester United in a seven-match spell which includes the Chelsea game, the Lyon double-header and Arsenal away in the Carling Cup.

Viola Teenager Stevan Jovetic scored twice in a blistering first-half performance that left Liverpool shattered in Florence but manager Benitez said: "We now have Chelsea away at the weekend in an important Premier League game. I believe you will see a different Liverpool in that match, a totally different performance with a different mentality.

"Then we have Lyon home and away in this group, they are the leaders and it means we have to now win them both. We certainly will not be as bad again. If you make too many mistakes against such sides, you will be punished. It is very simple.

"Mentally we will have better days than this. We did improve, but we needed to score early in the second-half. We had the chances but we failed to take them."

He added: "In that first half we did not play well, there were too many mistakes and problems. We did improve, but it was not enough. Our mentality in that opening period was just not right, we were bad all over the pitch and I cannot really recall a performance like that. They were on top of us all the time, we played badly and they were just better than us."

Liverpool went behind when Jovetic exploited the offside law which does not penalise players who are not deemed to be interfering with play. Adrian Mutu had been in a clear offside position when Jovetic scampered clear to score.

Benitez said: "It is the new law, and another mistake by us. If a player is in such a position he is offside, and it makes it difficult for defenders who are distracted by him. But the law says the other player coming from deep is fine, he can go through. Just another error by us."

Jovetic took advantage of poor defending on the near post to claim his second, and Benitez was also critical of the tackling and pressing from his team.

He said: "I was not only disappointed with the challenging in midfield but all over the pitch.

"But they did not produce anything we did not expect. We had watched them, we knew about Jovetic, there was nothing new out there that surprised us. But we still played badly."

Fiorentina coach Cesare Prandelli was delighted with his own team. The former Juventus player said: "We were fantastic, that is the best performance I have seen by a Fiorentina side in the four years I have been in charge. Liverpool did not play well, but that was because of the performance of my team. We were outstanding."

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