Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: This Is All You Have, Benitez Tells Arsenal; 'Not Easy to Face Our Fans'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: This Is All You Have, Benitez Tells Arsenal; 'Not Easy to Face Our Fans'

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Walker

RAFAEL Benitez has insisted the Champions League is Arsenal's only chance of a trophy this season.

The Liverpool boss engineered a 1-1 Premier League draw at the Emirates on Saturday that all but finished the north Londoners' title challenge.

Being out of the title race is a situation Benitez and Liverpool have accepted weeks ago, but the Spaniard now believes that Arsenal and manager Arsene Wenger are in the same boat.

That makes tonight's Champions League quarter-final second leg a winner-takes-all showdown for the two English giants. The outcome of the tie will dictate the success or failure of both clubs and their managers this season.

Benitez, with a priceless away goal from last week's engrossing 1-1 draw in the first leg, said: "If they want to win a trophy then it must be this game because it will be very difficult to win the Premier League.

"Before the game on Saturday they knew they had to win to stay in the title race. Wenger changed five players, but had to bring back his big players trying to win the game."

Benitez added: "We are confident. We have been playing well in recent games and have been getting the results. The performances have been good. That is what we have been looking for at this stage of the season.

"But we are not favourites, not with the quality players they have. But this will be different from the first leg, because playing at Anfield is a massive difference. And they need to win. It could well be an attacking game. It is important for the club and for me to progress. We have been working hard to get to this point all season, so it is important for all of us.

"Maybe they cannot win the title now, but with Manchester United drawing on Sunday there is still a slight chance. But I do not expect Arsenal to be thinking about the title now, just the Champions League. The Champions League is massive for them, that is what they will be thinking about.

"But we are in good form, our players are doing well and we have fresh legs. And for us, we need to score. Arsenal can always score away so we cannot think of a 0-0."

But although Benitez believes Arsenal are experienced despite the suggestions they have too many youngsters in the side, he predicts that they could suffer just as Chelsea did in the famous 2005 semi-final at Anfield. …

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