Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Manchester United can still crack: Benitez

9th: Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez on  £11 million
9th: Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez on £11 million

Rafael Benitez is clinging on to Liverpool's title dream hoping rivals Manchester United crumble under the pressure of four crucial games in 12 days.

But the Anfield chief doubts that the champions will struggle under the physical demands of facing a Champions League semi-final second leg at Arsenal tonight ahead of three crucial Barclays Premier League matches in seven days next week.

But having seen his own team demolish Newcastle 3-0 on Sunday to keep themselves in the hunt for the league crown, Benitez is more interested in seeing whether United can handle the mental pressures.

He accepts that is something Sir Alex Ferguson's men have done well in the past, but not with Liverpool breathing down their necks before.

Benitez said: "We have to see whether we can keep them under pressure, and then see whether they make mistakes.

"We are in a position that if we keep winning then we can see whether they make mistakes with us close behind. I believe that will happen, you cannot lose your belief."

Liverpool cut United's lead to three points on Sunday with their seventh victory in an eight-match unbeaten league run which has seen them score 26 times.

It is a run of defiance and belief that has probably surprised Manchester United.

Now, in contrast to United's hectic schedule, Liverpool have three games to finish their season comfortably spread over three weeks.

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