Squad rotation to stop

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Wednesday’s News Round-up

Rafael Benitez has admitted that he expects to use less players as Liverpool close in on the end of the season, still fighting in the Premier League and going for their sixth European Cup in the Champions League.

Liverpool lie fifth in the league, some fourteen points behind leaders Arsenal with a game in hand. A 1-0 defeat at the San Siro against Inter Milan in two weeks will be enough to see them through to the Champions League quarter finals after the Reds went 2-0 up in the tie in the first leg at Anfield last week.

The Spaniard believes it is important to keep his top players playing every game now. “It will depend on the players in the end, but we can keep some players playing more games now.”

When asked about the race for fourth spot in the league, and Champions League qualification for next season, Benitez admitted it will be close. Everton victory at Manchester City on Monday saw them move three points ahead of the Reds.

Everton have a lot of confidence right now and it was a good win for them, but it’s a long race,” said Benitez.

“Portsmouth, Villa, Everton, City and us will all be there. I’m not sure if it will go to the final game but I think a lot will depend on these three games we have in a row.”

Meanwhile Liverpool Reserves boss Gary Ablett has praised the players which lead his team to a 2-0 victory over arch-rivals Manchester United Reserves last night, to continue their lead at the top of the Barclays Reserve Premier League.

Goals from Xabi Alonso and Harry Kewell gave the Reds a fantastic victory in a game that also saw the return of long-term absentee Daniel Agger, who has not played since picking up an injury in October.

Ablett said, “We are pleased with the performance. It was nice to see Daniel back and Martin as well who was solid as a rock.

“Xabi and Harry showed 100 per cent professionalism and they both did very well. Harry hasn’t played much of late but he scored a very good goal and that will benefit him.”