Boss avoids pressure talk and will “continue to work hard”

Defiant Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez claims he is used to speculation surrounding his future as their abysmal season continues.

Out of the UEFA Champions League and way off the pace in the Premier League, the Reds’ season plunged to a new low after Wednesday night’s FA Cup exit to Championship side Reading at Anfield.

The Royals dumped Benitez’s side out of the third-round replay with a 2-1 win after extra time, having held them first time around in the Madejski Stadium.

Benitez expressed his regret at the dreadful performance his side put in after fans had made their way to the ground amid poor weather.

“At this moment in time, we are really disappointed for the fans,” Benitez told Sky Sports News.

“They came here today and supported the team and we couldn’t win. (We’re) really disappointed,” he added.

Future

The defeat leaves Liverpool with just one realistic trophy target in the Europa League, having already been eliminated from the Carling Cup.

However, Benitez’s main priority will be securing Champions League football for next season, but the club’s alarming form has prompted many to question the Spaniard’s position in charge.

“People have been talking about me for three months, I am used to it,” he added.

“All we can do is continue to work hard, to think only of raising spirits for our next match. Everyone is very disappointed, it was a massive competition that we wanted to do well in.

“As for me, I will continue to do my best all the time, we have to carry on, we have to improve.

“This has not been our best season. There have been good situations and bad situations. The only way to improve is to be confident and to continue to work hard.”

Benitez also cited injuries to key players as a defence of their latest defeat, with key duo Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard both being substituted by half-time and the club are awaiting the extent of their injuries.

“Both players will have a scan tomorrow (Thursday) and we have to wait for the doctor,” he told the club’s official website.

“Not only do we have injuries now to Torres and Gerrard again, but Yossi Benayoun has a chest injury too,” he confirmed.

“Gerrard has a problem with his hamstring and Torres twisted his knee.

“Yossi Benayoun also has some problems with his ribs so again we will have to wait.”

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