Rafa Benitez loses patience with Liverpool's failing stars
Fuming Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has warned his players they must show more desire, determination and self-belief if they are to stand a chance of securing Champions League football.
A first defeat to Wigan on Monday was their ninth of the season and left the side in danger of failing to make the top four in the Premier League.
The Reds remain sixth, a point behind fourth-placed Tottenham but having played more matches than any of their rivals.
Benitez insists Liverpool can still qualify for the Champions League but it is going to take an impressive run of results — they have to play Manchester United away and Chelsea at home in their remaining nine matches — to change their fortunes.
“It depends on us. If we don't show we can beat teams then at the end it will be the same [as the Wigan result],” he said.
“When you lose you have to be disappointed but the way you lose is sometimes more important and in the first half we were just not good enough. I was surprised. I don't know, really I don't. I cannot understand it. We couldn't afford a performance like that before and we cannot now.”
Liverpool went downhill from the moment striker Fernando Torres volleyed against the outside of the post in the eighth minute.
But even despite their difficulties the Spain international still had a further four decent chances and a player of his quality would have expected to have taken one of them. Benitez, however, did not lay all the blame at the club record signing's feet.
“If we don't change what we did in the first half we will have problems but in terms of the ideas and the quality I think we have enough offensive players on the pitch,” added Benitez.