Benitez: Every week is important

Rafael Benitez accepts it is "win at all costs" for the rest of Liverpool’s season but he is not placing any significance on the week ahead.

They have just nine matches remaining in the Premier League – the first of which is at home to Portsmouth on Monday night – and they cannot afford any more slip-ups.

Liverpool are four points adrift of fourth place having played more matches than any of the rest of the contenders.

There is also a tricky Europa League last-16 second leg to negotiate against Lille at Anfield, where a 1-0 deficit has to be overcome, before they head to Old Trafford on Sunday to play arch-rivals Manchester United.

Without positive results from those three fixtures Liverpool’s season could be in tatters.

Benitez feels there is no time to look at the finer points of his side’s performances – of which there have been few in the last month – as the accumulation of points is all that matters now.

"It is important to win – if you can play well it will be easier – but the main thing is to win," said the Reds boss, whose long-term future at the club is again the subject of more speculation today with suggestions he will quit or be sacked this summer.

"Every week is important for a top side. Now we are in a position where we have to think about the Europa League or to be in the top four.

"If we are in a better position [by the end of next Sunday] it will be an important week, if we are in a worse position it will still be an important week anyway."

Despite Monday night matches, of which this is the second in succession, meaning Liverpool are always playing catch-up on their other top-four rivals Benitez claims he and his squad do not pay much attention to the league table.

"The players know every week things can change. It is not helpful to our cause. It is important to concentrate on our next game," said the Spaniard.

"Normally we don’t see the table too much so we try to concentrate just on the next game."

Liverpool will be keen for revenge on Pompey after their 2-0 defeat at Fratton Park in mid-December in which midfielder Javier Mascherano was sent off.

However, Benitez said that even if lessons could be learned from that performance it was not significant to go over it in detail with his squad.

"If we can use a defeat to help us then we can do it," he added.

"But it does not matter for the players which game it is – especially this match; there was a bad decision of the referee to send off Mascherano and after that we conceded a second goal.

"I think maybe we can see another good reaction from the players.

"But Portsmouth have good players, a good manager and at this moment they have nothing to lose so they will be dangerous."

Asked if he had set a target for his players in their last nine league matches which he thought would get them into the top four Benitez said: "No. Just three points against Portsmouth."

Defender Jamie Carragher is wary of the threat Pompey could pose at Anfield despite them being rooted to the bottom of the table.

Administration, job losses among non-members of the playing staff and issues over payment of players’ wages, coupled with just five wins this season, have left the south-coast club deep in crisis with relegation virtually a certainty.

But the Liverpool vice-captain thinks that could work to Portsmouth’s advantage on the pitch.

"With administration it will probably bring them closer together and make them stronger. They’ve got nothing to lose," said Carragher.

Midfielder Yossi Benayoun will have a late fitness test after an ankle injury sustained in Monday’s defeat at Wigan meant he missed the Europa League trip to Lille in midweek.