Benitez believes Reds can still go fourth

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The Independent Football

Rafael Benitez insists his Liverpool side have the strength of character to overhaul Everton and take the final Champions' League place.

Earlier this month, Liverpool lost at Newcastle the day before Everton went down at home to Blackburn, and, this week, the Reds have been held to a draw by Blackburn when a win would have cut Everton's lead to five points. Now they must win the 201st Merseyside derby to get within striking distance of the Toffees.

Benitez, who will have Sami Hyypia back from a stomach bug, said: "I am positive - I think the team can do it. We talked after Blackburn about what we needed to do: we must get into the box more, cross more, shoot more."

Benitez believes the race can go to the wire. He said: "There are eight more games after this, but we are not thinking about losing, only reducing the gap. "

Also returning for Liverpool will be John Arne Riise, having been partially rested - until his half-time appearance as substitute - against Blackburn.

Both Djimi Traoré and Harry Kewell, who is not expected back for three weeks, are out.

For Everton, James Beattie has completed a month out following his suspension after a red card against Chelsea. The Everton manager David Moyes has injury worries over Mikel Arteta (ankle) and James McFadden (hamstring). Steve Watson, who made a reserve comeback this week, could be used on the bench.