Benayoun feeling positive about Liverpool start

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The Independent Online

Yossi Benayoun believes Liverpool's season is now up and running after their first weekend disaster at Tottenham.

Liverpool bounced back in emphatic style with a 4-0 hammering of Stoke on Wednesday at Anfield, with Benayoun restored to the team and producing a key performance.

The Israel captain had only been a second-half substitute at White Hart Lane, but his display against the Potters won praise from both managers.

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez said: "Yossi gave us a different option with his pace and ability to attack players."

Stoke counterpart Tony Pulis concurred, adding: "The performance of Benayoun was always a problem for us, his ability to come inside off the left touchline created problems."

Now Benayoun will hope to continue that form on Monday when Aston Villa are next to face Liverpool at Anfield.

Benayoun said: "It was very important for us to win our first game at home, especially after what happened at Tottenham last weekend.

"We never expected to lose that game and so it was very important for us to recover quickly and get that win against Stoke. We want to start our season now.

"We were lucky that we had our next game quickly to recover from the Tottenham defeat, we did many things better especially in the second half and we well deserved the win.

"We wanted it more against Stoke, I think. We ran more, we pressed more and we worked harder. In the first half at Tottenham they had the ball, and the possession for large parts of the game.

"Against Stoke it was different. We moved the ball and we had good movement without the ball and this was the difference for us.

"We know we have quality players and when we keep the ball we create a lot of chances and after getting four against Stoke we will have the confidence to play better and better."

Liverpool may well have Martin Skrtel back in defence against Villa, after a jaw injury ruled him out against Stoke. That meant teenager Daniel Ayala had to step in for his full debut, and he is standing by again for Monday's match.

Benayoun had praise for the young Spaniard saying: "He did very well. It is very difficult for a young player to come in, especially at home on the first home match of the season. The first few games are never easy but he did a great job in defence.

"He was first to every ball in the air and he can only get better. With time I am sure he will get better and better."

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