Benitez and Kuyt hoping Reds shine

Rafael Benitez believes a strong finish to the season is vital to Liverpool’s future, while Dirk Kuyt is confident of Europa League progress.

The Reds boss admits the club need major investment to force their way back amongst the Premier League title contenders after a disappointing campaign.

The poor state of Liverpool’s finances – and the consequent lack of transfer funds – has been a recurring issue over the past two years.

Benitez hopes winning the Europa League and qualifying for next season’s Champions League will draw in potential new investors.

He said: "We have to invest. If we want to move forward we need money, we need investors, because the market is very expensive.

"The players are working very hard, you cannot ask for more from them, but we have to stick together now, try to progress in the Europa League and try to finish fourth in the Premier League.

"Working hard at the moment is the only way we can show that we want to progress.

"It is clear if we are winning trophies it is easier for anyone.

"We have been in the Champions League for six years in a row. Thanks to this the club still has the big name it has had in the past.

"We are bringing in a lot of money playing in Europe. We want to be there and then it will be easier for investors to see the club has an opportunity."

Liverpool’s chances of finishing fourth in the Premier League are looking increasingly slim.

They are sixth in the table, four points adrift of that crucial Champions League-qualifying position, having played a game more.

That leaves the Europa League as their best hope of salvaging something from the season, but they still face a tough task to turn around their quarter-final against Benfica.

Liverpool go into the second leg at Anfield trailing 2-1 after defeat in Lisbon last week.

Kuyt said: "I think we have a really good chance to get through. It will be a big European night.

"The players are looking forward to a big chance to win a trophy this season.

"We will just try to finish the season successfully. If we win the Europa League and our five Premier League games – that is our target – we will see what happens.

"The most important thing at this moment in time is just to qualify tonight."

Star striker Fernando Torres is fit to lead the line after his controversial substitution in Sunday’s draw at Birmingham.

Benitez was criticised for removing his top scorer but the Spain international was later seen with an ice pack on his knee.

The manager again defended his decision to remove Torres with the score 1-1 when asked again.

He said: "If a big club like Liverpool depends on one substitution, I think something is wrong.

"Fans know which was the situation. Everyone can make mistakes but still the big picture is the big picture.

"The future of the club is more than one substitution and the future of the club is to win a game against Benfica."