Angry Benitez claims negative Everton played for a draw

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The Independent Football

Rafael Benitez guaranteed that the FA Cup fourth-round replay between Liverpool and Everton on 4 February would have an even greater edge by claiming that Everton had been negative in their approach yesterday and played for a draw. David Moyes countered by claiming that it was his club that had "dignity".

Benitez, who left Robbie Keane out the squad yesterday, said that his side had performed much better than in the draw against Everton in the league last Monday, despite having to come from behind this time. "One team was trying to win and the other team was trying not to lose, there is a massive difference," Benitez said. "We were much better than in the first game.

"My team did well for the whole game. There was just one mistake [for Joleon Lescott's goal], other than that we dominated the game, we just had to score when we had a chance. They [Everton] were coming for a draw and we were trying to win." Benitez claimed that they were the kind of tactics he never used "not at Valencia, maybe at Extremedura".

Moyes, whose side conceded a second-half equaliser to Steven Gerarrd, was without Mikel Arteta, who has a rib injury, as well as the suspended Marouane Fellaini and the injured Louis Saha and Ayegbeni Yakubu. "We go about our business quietly," Moyes said. "Everton do things with dignity and style. This [Liverpool] is a great football club, they have a great chance of winning the Premier League.

Moyes said that Everton had not come to play for a draw, although "I would have taken a draw". He added that he thought Alvaro Arbeloa's tangle with Steven Pienaar in the first half at the Kop end should have been a penalty. Moyes said: "The question is, if that had been Liverpool at the Kop end, would they have got the penalty?"

The replay will mean a rejigging of Everton's fixtures. Their game against Manchester United will now be moved forward two days to 31 January. Benitez did not say whether Keane would be involved in that game, or Wednesday's game against Wigan.

Gerrard said: "For 90 minutes we dominated the game, but they've scored off a set piece and it's frustrating because we've worked on that."

The pursuit of Liverpool by the Kuwaiti consortium led by billionaire Nasser Al-Kharifi now looks to be over, with the Kuwaitis claiming that they were never interested in a controlling stake in the first place.

In relation to his charges of assault and affray, Gerrard added: "You're obviously happy when you score goals, but I'd like to be stood here having not scored but gone through. It's not about me, it's about the team. I'm focused on my football and will continue to show that."

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