Benitez Praises Striker Duo

Rafa Benitez has praised his speedy new strike partnership of Craig Bellamy and Dirk Kuyt after Liverpool’s 0-0 draw at PSV Eindhoven in their opening Champions League match.

The double act struck up an instant understanding in the Philips Stadium – giving Benitez plenty of encouragement for the future.

He said: ‘They are both quick, intelligent players – and I was very pleased that they struck up an understanding so quickly.

‘We have worked on things in training. I felt they may well achieve an immediate understanding, and that is what happened.

‘Their movement was good, they knew where each other was all of the time, and they are quick and clever. I was delighted with them.’

Rafa also went on to explain why he left Steven Gerrard on the bench in last nights game.

Benitez explained: ‘Steven was on the bench, as were several other senior players – Xabi Alonso, Peter Crouch, Sami Hyypia – but people only mention Gerrard.

‘We must accept that nobody can play at 100% for every match.’

‘If you’re not 100% fit and ready then you’ll be rested like that.’

‘He (Gerrard) came on at the right time, we had needed to cover and work to stop their penetrating passes and that is why Momo Sissoko started.

‘He has fantastic stamina, better than Alonso or Gerrard can reach.

‘Now we have more options and we can use players in this way.’

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