Rafa - No plans for Ronaldo

Benitez calls for Torres protection

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez says he has no special plans to combat Cristiano Ronaldo in this weekend's clash with Manchester United.

The Reds travel to Old Trafford on Sunday in the first instalment of Grand Slam Sunday as the top four all lock horns.

Ronaldo is likely to be United's biggest threat on Sunday with the Portuguese ace bringing his season tally to 33 goals, via his brace in the midweek win over Bolton.

Benitez insists Liverpool will not solely focus on keeping Ronaldo quiet, as he is aware of the other threats in United's side.

"I think they have a lot of good players so if you are just thinking about Ronaldo it will be difficult. We need to think about all of them," said Benitez.

"In these kind of games the small details will be the difference."

The game is sure to see comparisons made between Ronaldo and Liverpool's in-form striker Fernando Torres.

Benitez has been impressed by Torres' impact in his debut season and he has backed Sir Alex Ferguson's call for referees to give more protection to attacking players like Ronaldo and Torres.

"I think he's [Ronaldo] in form but Torres is too. The other day Ferguson was talking about referees having to protect Ronaldo," added Benitez.

"I think it's important to protect players like Torres, Ronaldo and all players with quality."

Benitez paid tribute to Torres' achievement of becoming the first Liverpool player in 12 years to score over 20 league goals, but believes there is still a lot to come from the former Atletico Madrid hit-man.

"I think he's a very good striker. He's also very young - 24 today. He can improve but is playing very well, so we're really pleased with him," noted Benitez.

"It's always a fantastic achievement [to score 20 league goals] whether it's in the first, second or third season, but to do it in the first is really good for him because he's a new player who's had to settle down. I think he can continue improving and working hard, and that will be really good for the club.

"Everyone is talking about a lot of players but I think it is too soon. In football you need to wait some years, then you can say someone is a star. Now he is a very good player, a good prospect and he can get much better in the future."