League tougher than ever says Benayoun

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The Independent Online

Liverpool midfielder Yossi Benayoun believes the competition in the Barclays Premier League is shaping up to be tougher than ever.

While the Israel international is frustrated at his side losing two of their opening three games, he insists they can mount a challenge as the other top teams will drop points.

Liverpool are aiming to bounce back from the home defeat by Aston Villa when they face Bolton at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday.

It has always been an unpopular venue for manager Rafael Benitez but Benayoun is just focussing on the challenge in hand.

He said: "I feel the big four will lose more points than expected as other teams are now stronger and Villa have proved they can beat anyone.

"I am sure Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal will have tough games against the likes of Villa, Manchester City and Tottenham. Hopefully, at the end of the season we will still be there.

"We need to try and improve and quickly, starting on Saturday against Bolton. To lose two out of three is unusual for us.

"We lost only twice through the whole of the last Premier League season, and we have to show that we are still a strong team.

"We need to recover from this and look to work game by game, and work hard to play better.

"At a club like Liverpool, if you lose two or three games then people will ask if we are strong enough to win the league. But there is still a long way to go, everything can change.

"If we go on a long winning run then people will start talking differently about us."

Benitez was critical of his team in the wake of the Villa defeat and Benayoun says the players have to share responsibility for the poor display.

He added: "I don't think it's the senior players who need to come to the fore, it's everyone. We know what we need to do to improve.

"I'm sure we have enough quality. We still think we can win the title but maybe we cannot lose any more games until the end of the season."

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