Benitez says title would be pinnacle of his career

Rafael Benitez, the Liverpool manager, knows that winning the Premier League title would represent the greatest achievement of his career. The Anfield side have not won England's top division since 1990 as their arch-rivals Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea have dominated in the subsequent 18 years.

After a false dawn last season, in which the club's record signing Fernando Torres proved to be a spectacularly successful summer transfer, Benitez believes his team are edging closer to ending their drought. He considers that to be a success in the most competitive league in the world.

"Winning the title would be the biggest achievement of my career," said Benitez, who won the Champions League in 2005, his first season in English football. "It's more difficult than in Spain because teams here spend big money.

"But we will do our best. The key for me is not to talk about winning the title but to talk about doing a good job so we can be close, so we can be contenders. If we are close I think that we can win the title."

Having highlighted Torres as his key signing 12 months ago, Benitez has got his planning for next season well under way. He has already brought in the Swiss right-back Philipp Degen on a free transfer and is close to finalising a £7m deal to bring in the Udinese left-back Andrea Dossena.

The Spaniard is still hoping to bolster his midfield with the addition of the Aston Villa captain Gareth Barry plus a couple of other new faces. However, Benitez insists that the players he is targeting have to have the right attitude.

"You must do your job with your players after the season has ended and in the summertime you need to do your job with your staff," he said. "The key, though, is to sign the right players with the right mentality – a winning mentality – competitive players, players who are desperate to come here to win something.

"That is the key for me. We have been analysing a lot of things this summer. For example, we were conceding a lot of goals last season from set-pieces. We need to know why because the previous season we only conceded six, but this year it has been 16. We need to know why so we can improve in these areas, but keep the team scoring goals in open play."

Benitez added: "We have been really good in defence for three or four years but we need to improve a little bit if we want to be in contention."

The former Liverpool midfielder Steve Nicol, meanwhile, won the right to coach the MLS All-Stars against West Ham United on 24 July when Steve Ralston scored in each half to give his New England Revolution side a 2-1 win over Toronto on Saturday, maintaining the Revolution's lead in Major League Soccer. The honour of leading the All-Stars goes to the coach whose team collects most points up until the end of June.

Ralston fired in a rebound off Adam Cristman's header in the 12th minute. The veteran midfielder then followed up Kheli Dube's drive off the Toronto crossbar in the 59th minute. Toronto pulled a goal back in the 78th minute through a fine effort by midfielder Maurice Edu.

New England retained a four-point lead in the Eastern Conference, ahead of Columbus Crew, who beat Colorado Rapids 2-1.

The Crew's Argentine striker Guillermo Barros Schelotto converted a penalty in the 53rd minute before Nick LaBrocca replied for the Rapids just seven minutes later.

Columbus went ahead for a second and final time in the 70th minute when the Nigerian midfielder Emmanuel Ekpo struck a 25-yard shot for his first MLS goal.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen