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England came from behind to see off Egypt 3-1 at Wembley and are now into BestPrice 6/1 to lift the World Cup in South Africa this summer.

Rafael Benitez was critical of his players after watching them slide to a 1-0 defeat by Wigan.

The Spaniard accused his his team of lacking attitude and character, following a defeat that could prove costly to their aspirations of snatching the final Champions League qualifying place.

“I’m really disappointed,” he BBC Sport.

“In the first half we didn’t do anything and didn’t show the attitude required. It’s difficult to explain.

“At half-time we talked about the things we weren’t doing well – the attitude and the character. We made too many mistakes and played too quickly.”

A ninth Premier League defeat in 29 matches leaves Liverpool with an uphill struggle to qualify for the Champions League, with Benitez’s side a point behind fourth-placed Tottenham, who have a game in hand.

Just ahead of Liverpool are Manchester City, who have the same number of points as Spurs, but have played one fewer game, while Aston Villa are in seventh, with 45 points from 26 games.

“We didn’t deserve anything in the first half,” conceded Benitez.

“In the second half we worked harder but Wigan defended really well.”

“We have to win games. We cannot approach an important game like this and then play in this way. You have some good games, bad games, but at this time in a crucial moment I think we could do better.

“Sometimes you play badly but it is not a question of remembering too many games, it is a question of analysing why we didn’t show the character. The first half was very poor. We didn’t show character or attitude, nothing.

“There were too many mistakes. We gave the ball away, we didn’t win any first or second ball, and that is difficult to explain. I think it was a question of attitude in the first half; sometimes we played too quickly, we were in too much of a hurry. It was a poor half. In the second half there was a much better attitude but it was not enough.

Late in the game, television pictures seemed to show captain Steven Gerrard giving what looked like a V-sign at referee Andre Marriner after the midfielder was booked but both Benitez and club officials have played it down.

“I don’t know, I was too far away,” was the Liverpool manager’s response.

England came from behind to see off Egypt 3-1 at Wembley and are now into BestPrice 6/1 to lift the World Cup in South Africa this summer.

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