Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez believes his side now have the momemntum in the Premier League title race after watching his side move to within a oint of leaders Manchester United with a comprehensive 5-0 dismantling of Aston Villa.
A hat-trick from captain Steven Gerrard as well as goals from Albert Riera and Dirk Kuyt, in tandem with last week’s 4-1 win over United at Old Trafford, allowed the Spaniard’s side to complete a remarkable turnaround after they were written off as title contenders a fortnight ago.
Benitez said: “As far as the title chase is concerned, we just have to keep doing our job, we must not be concerned about United’s results and how they are playing.
“If United do make mistakes, we must be ready, and that means carrying on doing what we are doing and winning points.
“We are playing well and they will see that we are playing well and trying to win every game. We have eight games left and every one must be won and be treated as a cup final.
“Certainly we must maintain this momentum and, when we are playing well, it just increases confidence.
“We now have an international break so the players must come back from that, re-group and start playing again just as we are at the moment.”
Gerrard, whose hat-trick was his first in the league for Liverpool, agreed: “I think it is important not to get carried away. They [Manchester United] are capable of winning all their remaining games.
“It is important we focus on what we’re doing and keep winning, keep on their shoulders, keep piling that pressure on them and whilst they are going into games knowing we are ready to pounce on any mistakes that they make it will be more difficult for them.”
Benitez did not appear to be completely happy with a mere five goals against Villa.
He said: “There were times after the fifth goal when we should have gone on and scored more. We should have kept going, scored more and made sure that our goal difference was better when we were playing against 10 men.
“You never know what we will need, how many more goals we could have scored during that period.
“Don’t get me wrong. I was happy with the performance and the result, but we should have gone on and scored more.”