Rafa hails Gonzalez’s dream debut

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Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has praised Chilean midfielder Mark Gonzalez after the new signing came off the substitutes bench to rescue victory for the Reds in last night’s 2-1 victory over Maccabi Haifa at Anfield.

With just five minutes left Benitez took a gamble by replacing captain Steven Gerrard with Gonzalez, making his first competative appearance for the club. Gonazalez made an immediate impact, lighting up the left wing and whipping in dangerous crosses.

With just minutes left of the game he came up with the winner to complete a much-needed comeback in the first leg of the third round Champions League qualifier.

After the game Benitez told press, “It was a good situation for us to see Mark Gonzalez score and it was fantastic for him and the team.

“Mark is a player with a lot of quality. He can score goals as we saw tonight and he can also beat players.

“It was also important for Craig Bellamy to score on his debut and we must be pleased with the win. Gonzalez and Bellamy give us more possibilities to score goals.

“We knew this would be a difficult game as they have quality players and play a good counter attack. In the first half we didn’t create a lot of clear chances but in the second half we were much better as we regained more second balls and had more possibilities.

“I wouldn’t say we are now favourites to go through but I think we will be better in the second leg as they now have to come out and attack us so hopefully we will have more space. We have a little advantage and we will be a lot fitter.”

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