Benayoun predicts a fight to the wire

BY foxsports • February 22, 2010

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."