Benitez: I want us to score more goals

Manager Rafael Benitez has revealed a sense of frustration at Liverpool’s goals shortage despite his side moving level on points with second-placed Manchester United.

Liverpool are well behind United on goal difference and so stay third in the Premiership, but they are now eight points clear of fourth-placed Tottenham.

In terms of Champions League qualification, they also stand 11 points ahead of Blackburn in fifth.

Today’s 1-0 win over Manchester City was Liverpool’s third such league scoreline on the trot, and Benitez said: “I am not happy with the final scoreline, it was another 1-0 win and another very important three points but I would like to see us score more goals.”

City were reduced to 10 men in the second half after Joey Barton’s red card, but Liverpool were unable to ram home the advantage handed them by Harry Kewell’s earlier strike.

“We certainly need to be able to finish games off when we do go ahead. At the moment when it is only one goal you put yourselves under too much pressure,” said Benitez.

“And when teams go down to 10 men against us it is always difficult, because they defend in a different way.

“We became nervous and they had chances, we were controlling the game better with 11 men than with 10.”

Benitez added: “We just couldn’t score a second. (Peter) Crouch, (Fernando) Morientes, (Steven) Gerrard, (John Arne) Riise, (Jan) Kromkamp all should have taken chances to finish the game.

“We reduced City to a few chances only, but we must start making life easier for ourselves in such situations.”

Benitez declared that both Xabi Alonso (blurred vision) and Steven Gerrard (ankle) had not suffered serious problems during the match and would this week both join up with their international squads, Spain and England.

City chief Stuart Pearce refused to be critical of referee Dermot Gallagher, who sent off Barton for two bookable offences, his only fouls of the day.

Pearce said: “I am a great believer in the fact that if a referee says something is a foul, that’s it. If he says it’s a booking you have to live with it.

“Dermot Gallagher is an honest man and gives the decisions as he sees them. Maybe Joey needs to be a bit cuter, a bit more clever with his tackles.

“We gave Liverpool too much respect early on even though we did keep them quiet. They are not a free-scoring side but once they are in front they are a very hard team to break down.”

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