Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez wants his players to start taking
responsibility for their own actions instead of looking to blame
The Spaniard said he saw signs of finger-pointing in Monday’s
woeful 1-0 defeat at Wigan and has told the squad it must not be
allowed to continue.
With a even more difficult task ahead of them against Lille
in the Europa League last-16 first leg in France, Benitez has
called for a show of strength and unity.
“I don’t think is it right to suggest there is any lack of
trust between the players,” he said. “You can look at last season
as an example of that when these same players were doing well,
playing with confidence and winning games and there was not a
“But against Wigan the keeper (Jose Reina) was blaming the
defenders for something that was wrong and the defenders were
blaming the keeper.
“It happens in games but I don’t like it. If you are showing
your disappointment with that sort of body language it is sending
out the wrong message.
“It is not positive and I don’t want to see this sort of
“I accept that each player is different but it is important
to show leadership qualities and the right approach to your
“I have told them I want an improvement and that if an error
is made the person responsible must be kept on board.”
If Wigan on a newly-laid pitch was a problem for Liverpool,
Lille’s formidable home record and a patchy playing surface at
their Metropole ground – where they have lost just once in Ligue 1
since the opening day of the season – provides an altogether
In their last nine home league matches the French side have
scored 25 goals, while their European record has seen them lose
just one of the last 16 fixtures at home – to Manchester United in
the 2006/7 Champions League.
Liverpool defender Glen Johnson, who is in line for his first
start since the end of December having come on as a substitute at
Wigan, said the players had been well briefed on what to expect.
“We know they are going to have some players with pace in
certain areas, are well-organised and will work hard and we know
they are playing very well at home,” said the England
international, who is yet not fully fit after a knee injury.
“I’ve been out for a while but I feel really good, although
I’m just getting my match fitness back.”