Rafa hails pacey new signings

Rafael Benitez says that he expects his side to play faster attacking football this season following the signings of Mark Gonzalez and Craig Bellamy.

The Liverpool manager believes that until now, the only pace Liverpool had up front was from Djibril Cisse. But he now believes that he has the right balance in the team between intelligence and pace.

He said, “It was difficult at times last season because, in terms of pace, our only option up front was Djibril Cisse. Now we have so many different aspects to our game. We have the intelligence of Peter Crouch and Robbie Fowler and also the pace of Mark Gonzalez and Craig Bellamy.

“Pace isn’t everything. The most important quality is football ability. But in modern football, it is a fact that it is more difficult to succeed if you don’t have that real speed in your team.

“What you need is a balance of good pace and good movement, and also players who can make the most of those qualities. Craig and Mark can’t do it on their own, but what we’ve already got is the great passing ability of players like Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso. It is important for any team with ambitions to have these different options.”

Liverpool kick-off their 2006/07 campaign with a Champions League qualifier against Israeli’s Maccabi Haifa on Wednesday night at Anfield.

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