Rafa - Gunners the blueprint

Liverpool boss keen to follow style of trend-setting Wenger

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez admits he is keen to follow the blueprint of Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

The pair lock horns in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday in a match which can be seen live on Sky Sports 2.

And ahead of the tie, Benitez - who also faces Wenger in the Premier League on Saturday - admits he is desperate to be given time in charge at Anfield in a similar style to the Gunners boss, who has been in the Arsenal hot-seat since 1996.

Benitez's future has been cast into doubt over the present campaign following a much publicised bust-up with club owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks, but the Spaniard is keen to build a long-term legacy on Merseyside.


"It's always very important to have that support and backing," Benitez - who took over the Liverpool hot-seat in 2004 - told The Sun. "The long-term mission is the key if you want a style and a winning team.

"Wenger knows about the style and ideas he wants to put there and I think it's good. We are going in the same direction, but maybe we're a bit slower because we have to adjust more things.

"I don't know if he works under less pressure. But as a manager you must analyse things with calm. You cannot control what people are saying about trophies or things like this.

"You must try and say 'listen, this is our idea to go forward in the right direction' and try to keep doing the right things."

Victim of success

And Benitez believes he has been a victim of his own success at Anfield after delivering the Champions League and FA Cup in his first two seasons.

"When I first arrived, we'd gone two years without winning anything and had problems finishing in the top four and getting through the Champions League group stages," Benitez added.

"Nobody was expecting us to win anything and we won the Champions League. Then everyone was talking about us doing more and the second year we won the FA Cup.

"But because we won trophies, they thought we'd be contenders and expectations were high - and the reason we have had more pressure on us."