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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 21 October, 2014

Rafa Benitez thinks Liverpool will qualify for the Champions League ahead of United

The club’s former coach also says Steven Gerrard’s role in their excellent season is being underappreciated.

Rafa Benitez has been impressed by his former side this season.
Rafa Benitez has been impressed by his former side this season.

FORMER LIVERPOOL MANAGER Rafa Benitez believes the Anfield club will qualify for the Champions League at the expense of rivals Manchester United.

In his column for the Independent, Benitez said that Brendan Rodgers’ side have one major advantage over their rivals.

“They don’t have to play in Europe in the months ahead and that is a big advantage when the others are distracted by those commitments.”

Meanwhile, though acknowledging the prowess of their strikers, Benitez believes the role of others, including Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard, is often underestimated.

He believes Gerrard, in particular, is often underappreciated.

“It is his anticipation, ability to pass long and short with incredible accuracy and also dictate the tempo. Not many players can do that.

“Gerrard’s return is very important. He is one of the best players I have worked with; an analyser who can play anywhere and still cause trouble in the box. He has always played with a lot of patience and commitment but now it is easier for him because he has more experience, has worked with different managers and has different visions of how teams can play.”

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