‘˜Title Challenge Still On’ – Rafa

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Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez says he and the players are disappointed with conceding late and only taking a point from last night’s Merseyside Derby at Anfield, but remains defiant that the club are still well and truly in the title race.

Bad defending allowed Everton‘s Tim Cahill to sneak in and head in an 86th minute free-kick cross after Steven Gerrard had given the hosts the lead 20 minutes earlier.

The result keeps the Reds in second place in the Premier League table, level on points with leaders Manchester United who have a game in hand. It was Liverpool’s second consecutive league draw.

But Benitez says his team will bounce back and are still pressuring the reigning Champions with 16 games of the season to go.

He told reporters after the game, “The players believe they can challenge for the title.

“We will improve as we get more of our injured players back. We’re still level with United and we can play better.

“You are not suffering from pressure after leading until three minutes from time. It is not pressure to be level on points with Manchester United in January.

“We are disappointed with how we defended against that late free-kick, and disappointed with giving a free-kick away at that stage so close to our box.

“It could have been avoided. I will have to look at that incident again, but we had talked about not conceding free-kicks in that sort of area because Everton‘s set-plays are good.

“They played direct football, we could have defended better, but it’s January, we’re level on points with United so we have to be positive and keep going.”