Rafa upbeat going into 2009

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has returned to Melwood following his recent absence recovering from a kidney operation, and this morning issued his New Year message to Reds fans across the world.

With 18 games of the Premier League season to go, Liverpool sit three points clear at the top of the table but Benitez knows they could have done better and is looking to build on the impressive form his side have shown this campaign.

He says, ‘œTo be going into a new year at the top of the Barclays Premier League table is a just reward for all the hard work the players and staff have put in this season.

‘œWe have had a good first half to the season, but that’s all it is. If we can do the same over the rest of the campaign then we will have a chance, but there are still lots of games to play and lots of points up for grabs before we can start talking about what the end of the season may bring.

‘œWe have had a few disappointing setbacks this season, particularly at Anfield, but we have also shown we can compete with and beat the best in the country, so there’s every reason to be confident as we look forward to 2009.

‘œThe quality in our squad is better than it was twelve months ago, the new players who have arrived have all made a contribution and that is why I am confident we are continuing to make progress and are moving in the right direction as a club.’

And from everyone here at This Is Anfield, Happy New Year!