RAFAEL BENITEZ is convinced Liverpool are building a momentum that can carry them back to the Champions League – as his worst fears over Martin Skrtel were realised.

Scans yesterday confirmed Skrtel suffered a broken metatarsal in his right foot after a challenge with Unirea Urziceni substitute Antonio Semedo in Thursday’s 3-1 Europa League win in Bucharest.

Liverpool will only discover next week the length of the defender’s absence, but it is almost certain Skrtel will miss the remainder of the season and face a race against time to be fit for Slovakia in this summer’s World Cup.

“We were really disappointed after the game because it was a good result but then we had the bad news about Martin,” said Benitez. “He’s had X-rays and they confirmed he has a broken metatarsal.

Skrtel’s injury was a major negative on an otherwise positive evening for Liverpool, who netted three goals in one game for the first time since September’s 6-1 thrashing of Hull City.

They fought from going an early goal down against Unirea in difficult playing conditions to seal progress to the last 16 of the Europa League.

And Benitez reckons the self-belief is starting to again course through Liverpool’s veins at precisely the right time.

“I am delighted with the character we showed on Thursday because I think it was important going into the final stages of the season,” said the Anfield manager.

“We knew we had a bad situation when we conceded the early goal, especially against a very well organised side like Unirea. They were in the Champions League, we know they’re a good team at home so that makes it a very good performance.

“The confidence was maybe a problem earlier in the season, but we have that back again now and that will be very important for us to handle situations at a very important stage. It will certainly help us overcome things if we have to.

“We have worked on that, we have spoken about what to do when things are not going well and we are conceding goals, and you can see that in our play now.

“We have shown the character and I am delighted about that. The team is doing its job well right to the end, and that is crucial too.”

Read the article on Liverpool Daily Post

Rafa Benitez – Liverpool FC have Champions League momentum now

RAFAEL BENITEZ is convinced Liverpool are building a momentum that can carry them back to the Champions League – as his worst fears over Martin Skrtel were realised.

Scans yesterday confirmed Skrtel suffered a broken metatarsal in his right foot after a challenge with Unirea Urziceni substitute Antonio Semedo in Thursday’s 3-1 Europa League win in Bucharest.

Liverpool will only discover next week the length of the defender’s absence, but it is almost certain Skrtel will miss the remainder of the season and face a race against time to be fit for Slovakia in this summer’s World Cup.

“We were really disappointed after the game because it was a good result but then we had the bad news about Martin,” said Benitez. “He’s had X-rays and they confirmed he has a broken metatarsal.

Skrtel’s injury was a major negative on an otherwise positive evening for Liverpool, who netted three goals in one game for the first time since September’s 6-1 thrashing of Hull City.

They fought from going an early goal down against Unirea in difficult playing conditions to seal progress to the last 16 of the Europa League.

And Benitez reckons the self-belief is starting to again course through Liverpool’s veins at precisely the right time.

“I am delighted with the character we showed on Thursday because I think it was important going into the final stages of the season,” said the Anfield manager.

“We knew we had a bad situation when we conceded the early goal, especially against a very well organised side like Unirea. They were in the Champions League, we know they’re a good team at home so that makes it a very good performance.

“The confidence was maybe a problem earlier in the season, but we have that back again now and that will be very important for us to handle situations at a very important stage. It will certainly help us overcome things if we have to.

“We have worked on that, we have spoken about what to do when things are not going well and we are conceding goals, and you can see that in our play now.

“We have shown the character and I am delighted about that. The team is doing its job well right to the end, and that is crucial too.”

Read the article on Liverpool Daily Post

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