Benitez calls for 'realism' at Liverpool

Rafael Benitez has for the first time played down Liverpool's title dreams and asked for "realism" as the club fight to end a run of disastrous results.

Liverpool are 11 points behind leaders Chelsea following last night's 2-2 home draw with Birmingham.

Benitez's side have won only one of their last nine matches in all competitions, and just one of their last five in the Barclays Premier League.

It has left them with a mountain to climb if they believe they can catch Chelsea, when the more realistic target now is surely to retain their place in the top four and achieve Champions League qualification for next season.

Benitez said after the draw with the midlanders: "We have to be realistic and think what our target is now. For me it is just the next game, the next point to see whether we can climb a little higher in the table.

"Then you never know what can happen. We did win six games in a row, if we did that again everything would be different.

"The main thing now is to get players fit, and see who we have available for the next game after the international break.

"We will then wait for some months to pass and see whether we can win some games in succession. That is all I am looking at now."

Benitez has always talked of the big clubs losing more matches this season, which would allow Liverpool to keep in contact despite their nightmare form.

The Spaniard added: "People keep discussing our bad run, but previously we won six on the trot and we have beaten Manchester United.

"It is a question of keeping going. I would be really worried if we were not playing well and not winning. But I can see that we are beginning to play better, it is a question of luck now.

"Maybe people think that I am angry about all this. But when I see the players working so hard, trying to change our situation, there is nothing more to say to them, they are doing all they can.

"This is the only way to change our situation. To keep working hard and play well, and I believe we did play well against Birmingham."

Benitez has more injury problems involving Yossi Benayoun, Daniel Agger and Albert Riera, while Fernando Torres could be out for a further three weeks, which would rule him out against Manchester City and Everton in the league and the Champions League tie away to Debrecen.

He continued: "We are talking of two or three weeks out now for Fernando. The hamstrings for Riera and Benayoun could be the same and Agger has more problems with his back.

"He has worked hard in training, and we felt he would be okay for the match. But you could see that he was not right.

"The plus points are that Glen Johnson was back and playing well, while Alberto Aquilani finally got a chance to play at Anfield.

"Steven Gerrard looked okay after his groin problems, physically he was fine. We will have to see how the injury reacts but he brought us quality and passion, and I hope that we can now manage his problems better."

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish had sympathy for Benitez if not David Ngog's part in the controversial penalty equaliser, the French under-21 striker being accused of diving.

McLeish said: "Liverpool are missing key players, world-class people like Torres and Gerrard. Any team is affected when they lose their best players.

"There is not a lot of understanding in the game when you lose people like that, it is the football life managers are in and you have to accept that.

"But you must rise above the storm, I have been through the same and you have to bounce back.

"Benitez is a top manager with plenty of medals to his name. I am sure he will also bounce back."

On Ngog's plunge in the box, McLeish said: "I know it wasn't a penalty, the guy dived and got his team a penalty. He saw Lee Carsley coming in and instead of hurdling the challenge he has just gone down.

"Should it be a penalty if you don't touch somebody and make the guy fall? I don't really know, but the game will go down hill fast if we give penalties for that."

News
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
news

As anti-Semitic attacks rise, Grant Feller re-evaluates his identity

Arts and Entertainment
Adam Levine plays a butcher who obsessively stalks a woman in Maroon 5's 'Animals' music video
music'Animals' video 'promotes sexual violence against women'
News
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

News
The moon observed in visible light, topography and the GRAIL gravity gradients
science

...and it wasn't caused by an asteroid crash, as first thought

News
people
Life and Style
food and drink

Savoury patisserie is a thing now

News
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
News
news

Meet the primary school where every day is National Poetry Day

News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?