Rafa: Sir Alex scared of Liverpool challenge

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has reignited the war of words between himself and Manchester United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson. The Spaniard revealed how relations with the Scot had soured over the last few months, saying: “I had a very good relationship with Ferguson, we went to coaches meetings together in Switzerland.

"He wrote to me after Istanbul, saying 'well done' and I wrote to him after they won in Moscow. But then something changed."

And Benitez believes the pair's frosty relationship is a result of Liverpool’s improvements on the pitch, remaining firmly on the Red Devils' heels in the Premier League title race.

“I don’t think it’s mind games," he said. "I just think he’s a little bit scared. I think he is now worried about us and the challenge Liverpool can make."

Liverpool’s quest for a sixth European crown continues on Wednesday evening, with Chelsea visiting Anfield in the first leg of their quarter-final.

However, Rafa remains narked at old Blues nemesis Jose Mourinho, who repeatedly criticised the Spaniard during his time at the Stamford Bridge helm.

“I respect the club but maybe I didn’t like the style of Mourinho,” he said.

“If people say things against Liverpool I’ll speak out. I don’t like the style of management that criticises other teams, I prefer to show respect.”

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