Benayoun predicts a fight to the wire

Liverpool winger Yossi Benayoun is expecting a fight to the wire in

the race for a top-four position after making his return from

injury.

The Reds have let go of their grip on fourth position after

defeat at Arsenal was followed by Sunday’s 0-0 draw with rivals

Manchester City.

Tottenham, who won at Wigan at the weekend, currently occupy

the desired fourth place while Aston Villa played themselves back

into contention with a 5-2 win over Burnley.

That leaves Liverpool languishing in sixth place, with just

one point between the four sides, but Benayoun believes the point

at Eastlands was not necessarily a bad result.

“I think City have a lot of quality players,” the Israeli

told the club’s official website. “We wanted to win but you have to

remember that we were playing against a good team away from home.

“One point was not good enough but it wasn’t bad either. We

are still in the race for fourth place and that is the most

important thing.”

With city rivals Everton beating reigning champions

Manchester United on Saturday, the Toffees are just seven points

shy of Liverpool with a game in hand, but Benayoun is unconcerned.

He said of the battle for a Champions League spot: “I think

the race will go to the end between us, Man City, Tottenham and

Villa.”

Rafa Benitez’s men have only scored four goals in their last

six outings but have conceded just once in that time. However, they

have not scored more than two in a match since their 6-1 thrashing

of Hull last September.

“We know where we need to improve,” said Benayoun of

Liverpool’s frontline. “We need to create more and do more up

front.

“Hopefully the defence will keep playing well. We have got

the best defence in the league. Now we need to create more and then

the goals will come.”

Perhaps the biggest boost for Benitez from Sunday’s encounter

was the double return of Benayoun and star striker Fernando Torres,

who each made second-half substitute appearances.

The pair had not featured since the club’s FA Cup exit to

Reading in January but the Reds can take confidence from the duo’s

involvement at Eastlands.

Benayoun added: “For any player the worst thing that can

happen to you is to be injured. So I’m just happy to be back after

being out for a few weeks.

“It was difficult but hopefully now I can keep working hard

in training, try to improve and try to help the team.”