Rafael Benitez has refused to concede the Barclays Premier League title to Manchester United and called on Arsenal to prove they are better than their recent results suggest.
The Liverpool boss is defiantly clinging onto the faint hope that leaders United will not take one point from their last two games to retain their crown.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s men are preparing for a title-winning party at Old Trafford today against the Gunners, with a trip to Hull on the last day if they need to wrap up the league title against the relegation-haunted Humbersiders.
And Benitez was certainly not prepared to heap praise on United just yet as they close in on equalling Liverpool’s 18 titles.
Benitez’s team must sit and wait for the outcome of the Old Trafford match before facing West Brom at The Hawthorns tomorrow, by which point they could be concerning themselves with getting the four points from two games to secure runners-up spot.
But Benitez said: "We have confidence that Arsenal will play a good game. They have lost their last two and this time you will see a totally different team intent on proving something. If they do that, hopefully it will give us our chance the following day.
"Whatever happens, I am really pleased that we are in this position at the end of the season. But I am certainly not giving up on the title, we must always be positive.”
Benitez also called for the league’s last two weekend schedules of the season to be played at the same time, rather than just the last day is it is now.
Benitez said: "This is a strange situation, having games so close to the end of the season on different days. It is something that should be improved in the future. For the last two weeks of the season, teams fighting for the title or to avoid relegation should have their matches all at the same time.”
Benitez went on to suggest that United’s position on top of the pile is mainly because of the money they spend.
He said: "When you talk about Manchester United you are talking about a top side spending big, big money on every single player. Every season.
"For me that is the main difference between the teams.”