Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has launched a scathing attack on his players in the wake of the disappointing defeat at Birmingham.

Benitez’s side squandered a wonderful opportunity to close the gap on fourth-placed Everton when they capitulated to Birmingham at the weekend after seeing their neighbours lose 1-0 at home to Chelsea earlier in the day.

“I have come here to work hard and I expect everyone else to do the same,” he declared.

“We must accept the Birmingham game was bad and not the kind of performance we want in future,” he added in an interview with the Liverpool Echo.

“I don’t want to spend time here without trophies. It’s not enough for me to see my side play well in one or two games. I want consistency and that means everyone working harder.

“I told the players this week that when I decided to join this club I took it on as a challenge. I have not come to Liverpool to earn money.

“We all have to accept responsibility and do everything we possibly can to make a strong team, not only in the future but from now.

“After the Birmingham game I felt very disappointed and it was the same the day after. I watched the video of the match and analysed what happened.

“On Monday we spoke to the players and told them we must change our mentality. You can’t have a team which always plays good sometimes and bad others.

“What makes it worse is we went into the Birmingham game knowing Everton had lost earlier, so we had a chance to close the gap.”

“When the players go to their national teams, I think a lot of them lose their concentration.

“We have seen this before with the breaks. When they come back, we lose a game and I think it’s a dangerous time for us.

“It shouldn’t be like this. If you want to win trophies and play for a big club, you have to play important games all the time. Whether it’s for the national team or Champions League, you have to reach a level and stay at it.

“We have accepted it was bad last weekend and now we must try to be positive about the future.

“There are eleven games left, five of which are at home against teams around us and fighting for fourth and fifth.”

Liverpool lie in fifth spot in the Premier League, five points behind Everton who currently occupy the fourth Champions League spot.