Benitez: Reds can play better despite 5-0 win

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez urged his team to keep their feet on the ground and told them they could do even better despite crushing Aston Villa 5-0 on Sunday to underline their title challenge to Manchester United. Benitez, who finally signed a new contract on Wednesday that keeps him at Anfield until 2014, saw his men race to a 3-0 lead at halftime and wrap up the points with their biggest win of the season as they closed the gap on Premier League leaders United to one point. "I felt in the first half we gave the ball away sometimes when we could have played better on the counter-attack. The team was doing well but we could have done better," Benitez told Sky Sports. "We are improving, we have confidence and there are still a lot of games to play. We have to keep our feet on the ground and carry on working hard." Skipper Steven Gerrard, who scored his first Premier League hat-trick with two of his three goals coming from penalties, echoed his manager's words. "I think it's important not to carried away," he told Sky Sports. "Manchester United are capable of winning all their remaining games. It's important we keep winning and focus on what we have to do, to keep on their shoulders and keep piling pressure on them whilst they are going into games knowing we are ready to pounce on any mistakes they make. "Chelsea are there as well even though they got beaten yesterday, we are still aware of Chelsea as well. "Everyone knows we are in a rich vein of form and confidence is high here. My first Premier League hat-trick means a lot but the win and three points is more important." Liverpool's other goals were scored by Dirk Kuyt and Albert Riera, while Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Friedel was sent off after 64 minutes for bringing down Fernando Torres. "Was there an argument for a penalty, sure. Was there an argument for a booking sure, but I think a sending off was very harsh especially as there was a defender alongside him," Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina told Sky Sports.