Don't get stuck at Inter change

By Dan Kay on Feb 25, 08 03:14 PM in Columnists

THE best way Liverpool could celebrate their victory over Inter Milan on Tuesday night would be to forget about the Champions League altogether until the two sides meet again in the second leg.

Before then Liverpool have got four Premiership games from which they must look to take a minimum of 10 points if they are to secure fourth place.

In effect, they are now involved in a mini-league with Everton, Man City and Aston Villa and the prize for the winners is absolutely huge.

Liverpool have three home games coming up, starting with today's against Middlesbrough and that's followed by matches against West Ham and Newcastle at Anfield, with a trip to Bolton in between.

There is no reason why they can't win all four of these games and put a bit of a cushion between themselves and the other challengers for fourth but they will only be able to do that if they are fully concentrated on the Premiership and not distracted by the Champions League.

And if Liverpool can build up a good run of form ahead of the second leg in Milan it will actually help them against the Italians as confidence is really important in massive fixtures like that one.

So Benitez has to look to pick his strongest team with the likes of Pepe Reina, Jamie Carragher, Javier Mascherano, Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Peter Crouch and Fernando Torres playing as often as possible.

If he does that then it will improve continuity and the whole team will function better.

There is nothing to stop Liverpool from finishing fourth except themselves and the time for them to grasp the nettle has come.

A maximum points haul from their next four league games would do just that and what better start could they get off to than winning today's home game?

Three points is an absolute must today. Let's get on a run that could put us in next season's Champions League and forget about this season's competition for the time being.

Let's hear it for the boys at every game!

THE Anfield crowd was my man of the match against Inter Milan; the atmosphere it produced was nothing short of incredible.

The noise the fans created was absolutely spine tingling and you could tell it really lifted the players.

The Liverpool fans never fail to deliver on a European night but in most homeof theleague games this season the atmosphere is nowhere near as good.

If the noise that they create on European nights was replicated during league games I'm surein no doubtthat it would lift the players. I actually think the team would be higher up the league table than now. it is n

I know it's a big ask and the players also have to take responsibility for their own performances and not rely on the crowd, but

If Anfield was turned into a cauldron for league games as well it really would make one hell of a difference.

I've seen it from both sides - as a player and as a fan - and believe me when I stepped onto the pitch at Anfield and the crowd was up for it I felt about ten feet tall.

You start to believe that no one can beat you because you've got the support of the magnificent Red Army behind you.

This kind of support made a massive difference on Tuesday night and I know it can't be repeated at every home game but if the atmosphere was improved even slightly it would make a difference on the pitch.

Mascherano is so outstanding

LIKE the fans, Javier Mascherano was outstanding against Inter Milan.

He bossed the game in the middle of the park and showed once again just why the fans have taken to him like they have.

From the first minute to the very last he never stopped working, making tackles and chasing here, there and everywhere for the good of the team.

Anyone who doubts whether Liverpool should pay the asking price for Mascherano should be handed a video of Tuesday night's game because it would convince him that he is a bargain.

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