MANCHESTER - Even though Liverpool crushed Manchester United 4-1 on Saturday they must win their last nine matches to stand any chance of catching the Premier League leaders, manager Rafa Benitez said on Saturday. "To win games is part of the battle but you have to win the war," Benitez told reporters after second-placed Liverpool's resounding victory at Old Trafford pushed them within four points of United, who have a game in hand. "It depends on United because they have to lose some games and we have to win everything. We have more belief, more confidence and we have to get three points in every game and see what happens to them. "We're more optimistic than we were before the game but we're still realistic," added the Spaniard. "Clearly it will be difficult but we can do it." Liverpool's victory capped a perfect week for Benitez, who also saw his team overwhelm Real Madrid 4-0 in the Champions League in midweek. NO MISTAKES "We beat Real Madrid, we beat United so we can beat anyone," said Benitez. "But we need to be consistent, focused, concentrate in each game and not make mistakes." After Cristiano Ronaldo's penalty gave United the lead, Fernando Torres equalised and Steven Gerrard put Liverpool ahead from the spot. Second-half goals from Fabio Aurelio and Andrea Dossena completed the rout. To make matters worse for United they had defender Nemanja Vidic sent off in the 76th minute. "We were the better team but the score doesn't reflect that," said United manager Alex Ferguson. "If the league was starting today we would (happily) take a four-point lead, and we've also got a five-goal advantage on goal difference. "It's always the same at this club. When you lose a game (you must) respond and that's what we'll do."
14 March 2009
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