Rafa wary of danger posed by City

The Argentina international, who Liverpool tried to sign in the

summer, is currently in his homeland on compassionate leave after

his wife gave birth prematurely. And while he will not feature in a

clash which could have a major bearing on who finishes fourth in

the Premier League, Benitez is aware there are many other players

who can hurt his side. “Clearly he is a good player who is doing

well,” said the Spaniard of the 19-goal striker. “But they have

other good strikers, so I think they have enough quality in the

squad and can replace Tevez with another good player. “If Tevez is

not there and they miss him we will be pleased, but I will say

again, they have quality.” Tevez’s international team-mate Javier

Mascherano knows exactly what the striker offers but expects City

to be able to cope without him. “He is a really good player but

Manchester City have a lot of really good players so if he doesn’t

play, they will use a player who will try to do the same as him,”

said the Argentina captain. “They are a top side with some really

good players. I think it will be a really important game and will

be a good game to watch.” Benitez has tried to play down the

significance of the match, with City currently occupying the final

Champions League spot one point ahead of Liverpool and with a match

in hand. He believes there is plenty of time remaining in the

season for things to change significantly – especially with

Tottenham and Aston Villa also challenging. “It will be an

important game for both teams and we will try to win,” he said. “If

you cannot, it is better not to lose, but the main thing for us is

to try to win. “We will try to attack and we know we will have to

score goals if we want to win. “They are an attacking team and we

will have to attack too, so I think it will be open.” Mascherano

also believes that one match will not decide the Champions League

fate of either side. “We are one point behind them and some teams

are very close to us so it’s important to get the three points,”

said the midfielder. “I think it’s an important game but if any

team lost, nothing will happen. “There are still a lot of games to

play so it will be an important game but it will decide nothing.”

The side will have been lifted by last night’s 1-0 victory over

Unirea Urziceni, having seen their seven-match unbeaten Barclays

Premier League run ended by Arsenal last week. Vice-captain Jamie

Carragher singled out the impact of substitutes Ryan Babel and

Daniel Pacheco, with the former crossing for his team-mate to head

across goal for David Ngog to score with nine minutes to go. “Ryan

and Dani did very well when they came on and made a big

contribution for the goal,” said the defender. “They gave us a bit

of a lift and more energy and that’s what we needed. They made the

difference. “It would have been nice to get a few more but

hopefully we can get an away goal and finish the game off next

week.” Highly-rated reserve team striker Pacheco was making only

his third appearance for the senior side, but the young Spaniard

hopes to be able to play a bigger part in the remainder of the

season. “I was very happy to get involved with the game and help

the team out and I think everyone was quite happy at the end,” said

the 19-year-old. “It is always a good thing when the manager is

talking about you but I know I have to keep working, keep listening

and doing my best for the reserves. “I’ve got to keep my feet on

the floor. I hope I will get more chances in the future and do the

same again. “We can now think about Manchester City. If I get a

chance again, I hope I will take it but we will see what happens.”