Benitez finds right blend for Liverpool

LONDON: Rafael Benitez claimed Liverpool have finally found the right balance between shutting down opponents and attacking them after watching his side generate a hatful of chances in a 3-0 win over Charlton here on Saturday. 

“We made a lot of chances and we could have scored maybe two or three more goals,” Benitez said after a win that lifted Liverpool into the top four of the table. 

“In some games now we have the balance between defending properly and creating chances,” he said. 

Although Liverpool have little chance of getting back into the Premiership title race, Benitez was delighted to see his side extend their recent run of form with a sixth consecutive clean sheet. 

Xabi Alonso's early penalty put Liverpool in command of the encounter but it was not until the final eight minutes of the match that Charlton were killed off by goals from Craig Bellamy and Steven Gerrard. 

“We wasted a lot of chances and normally in this type of game you make a mistake and you pay for that,” Benitez added. 

Despite the missed chances, the Reds boss was happy with the way Dirk Kuyt and Craig Bellamy combined in attack. 

“Dirk leads the line well and Bellamy is a threat for the defenders, his runs create space for other players,” he said. 

“But we also have Peter Crouch and Robbie Fowler and other weeks we will have different combinations.” 

The defeat leaves Charlton second from bottom and their manager Les Reed acknowledged that a mounting injury crisis was undermining their attempt to get out of the relegation zone. 

“It's a bit like MASH in there at the moment. We've got bodies all over the place and we've got games coming in quick succession,” said Reed, whose side will play a League Cup quarter-final against fourth division side Wycombe in midweek. “Maybe that will be a bit of a distraction for us,” he added. 

Bellamy's well-taken goal was his 50th in the Premiership for Newcastle, Blackburn and his current club. 

“Obviously it is a great milestone for me, but it is just nice to get three points and keep the run going,” said the Welsh striker, who is enjoying his flourishing partnership with Kuyt and the more adventurous style Liverpool have adopted of late. 

“Dirk is an intelligent player and a good player. But there is also Peter Crouch and Robbie Fowler and we need to be on top of our game or they will take our place. 

“We have opened up a bit, we are playing decent football and creating chances and they are going in for us.” – AFP 

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