Benitez grateful for fans' support

BY foxsports • January 17, 2010

Rafa Benitez has told Liverpool's fans he "will be fighting until the end" after a 1-1 draw at Stoke which means he remains under pressure.

Benitez had to dismiss claims that captain Steven Gerrard had been involved in a dressing-room row with his assistant Mauricio Pellegrino at half-time during last Wednesday's FA Cup humiliation at the hands of Reading.

He said: "There was nothing there, nothing."

But he is still being confronted with claims that Gerrard wants out, that Fernando Torres will follow and that he is only in a job because joint owners Tom Hicks - his main supporter - and George Gillett cannot agree on the way forward.

Benitez privately believes he is safe this season and is planning for a summer transfer spree. By then new money should be in the club.

All the Liverpool manager can do until then is hope his players continue to fight and the majority of fans still give him their backing. And he had those crumbs of comfort at Stoke.

Benitez saw another last-gasp goal - this time from Robert Huth - rob him of a victory Sotirios Kyrgiakos' first goal for the club appeared to have given Liverpool in a grimly-fought, turgid match.

He said: "We were very good in terms of character, and effort. That is what I wanted to see from them.

"I am also pleased for the fans because we had to give them something.

"I can see some light at the end of the tunnel. I was pleased to see the players showing the reaction you expect from them.

"We are missing five top players, so I was really pleased with the way the other players reacted on the pitch."

He added: "It was special for me to hear the fans singing my name in such circumstances. I decide to stay here (last season) because of the fans, they know I will be fighting until the end.

"It is a difficult time, but everyone has to show character, the manager, the staff, everyone. The fans show the same, they are behind the team and that is the main thing for us.

"The players worked very hard, and they showed their disappointment after the game after having two penalties denied them. I have to be pleased with their response.

"Their positive reaction is something we have to maintain for the future.

"We knew it would be a difficult game with the ball in the air a lot. Every throw-in, free-kick and corner meant that Stoke would put the ball into our box.

"You have to be very strong in defence to cope with that, and we were."

Liverpool face Spurs at Anfield on Wednesday in what will be another night of nerves and intrigue. Benitez said: "We have important games coming up now, but if we work like we did at Stoke then I know we can improve our results. With that character we can beat anyone.

"The players beforehand were talking of taking more responsibility, they wanted to show that we are united as a team so that is why they introduced the huddle again before the match. It is not something we normally do.

"We showed that we can stick together, everyone could see that. I was pleased with the team effort, and pleased with the performance."

Utility man Fabio Aurelio underlined the squad's feelings, saying: "I thought the attitude of everyone was really good after the bad moment the team is having. We have to fight in every game.

"We can take confidence from this performance. We don't have our stars but we have to go with what we have. We all have to take responsibility and work hard.

"We need to put on a good performance for our fans on Wednesday. They were fantastic again for us at Stoke and got behind us from the beginning to the end."

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