Rafa joy at 'needed' victory

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez admits his side 'needed' to win against Internazionale in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening.

Benitez's side were under pressure to perform against the Serie A champions and leaders after their shock FA Cup exit to Barnsley.

The Spaniard made five changes to the starting XI for the encounter against Inter as The Reds ran out 2-0 winners.

Late goals from Dirk Kuyt and Steve Gerrard handed Liverpool the first leg victory, and Benitez has hailed the display while warning his players of the task they face in the second leg at the San Siro.

"This result is good for the confidence of the team, the supporters and the club," he said.

"I always had confidence in my players, they played well with passion and they passed the ball excellently. It is an excellent win, made better by a clean sheet.


"It was clearly much better than the last match - and even though Inter Milan had 10 men for a long spell, they were still formidable opponents who were organised, defended well and were always capable of scoring on the break.

"I accept that we needed this win as a team - we needed to progress in the competition. As a manager, you are always pleased with a win like this - and

this is now the time to be happy.

"I know people will say they cannot understand how we can lose to Barnsley and then beat Inter Milan. But on Saturday we changed the team, we had 10 internationals on the pitch and missed a lot of chances.

"This time we were better - we had far less chances but we scored two good goals. It gives us a great chance in the second leg, but we must be careful because Inter are a very good side and they will make it very difficult for us at the San Siro.''

Red card

Inter were harshly reduced to 10 men on 30 minutes, with Marco Materazzi receiving two yellow cards after two debatable fouls on Fernando Torres.

But Benitez is positive that referee Frank de Bleeckere was right to dismiss the Italian and felt Liverpool should have had a penalty when Patrick Vieira handled.

"The red card was clear. It was for two yellow cards, and the referee was right. As for the penalty, everyone could see the Inter player handling the ball," he continued.

"But you cannot change things now."