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Liverpool return is trip down memory lane for Rafael Benitez

Reuters
Apr 18, 2013 at 10:20pm IST

London: Chelsea's interim manager Rafael Benitez is looking forward to making a sentimental visit to his old stomping ground on Sunday when the European champions take on his former club Liverpool in the Premier League.

Benitez was in charge at Anfield from 2004-10. He twice reached the final of the Champions League and won Europe's elite club competition in unforgettable style in 2005 when his team came back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 with AC Milan and triumph on penalties.

"I will be going back home because Liverpool is where my family live now," the Spaniard told reporters after Chelsea's 3-0 league victory at west London neighbours Fulham on Wednesday.

Liverpool return is trip down memory lane for Benitez

Chelsea's interim manager Rafael Benitez is looking forward to making a sentimental visit to his old stomping ground on Sunday.

"I was there for six years, I have very good memories so I cannot hide that I will be really pleased to go back to see a lot of friends."

Benitez, however, said his attention would not be diverted from third-placed Chelsea's need to consolidate their Champions League qualifying position for next season.

"The main thing for us is to stay in the top three and to win at Liverpool - after that I wish them all the best," he added of his former team.

"If they can win all their games for the rest of the season, fantastic, but as a professional I am sure they will try to win and we will try to win."

Benitez will have a tricky selection dilemma over captain John Terry.

The central defender has been in-and-out of the team during Chelsea's gruelling run of six games in 16 days but Terry gave his manager something extra to think about with two goals in the win at Fulham.

"I prefer these problems," said Benitez. "I've told my players before that it's important they are all fit and ready.

"We have eight or nine games to play this season and they all have to be on their toes. We've been playing three games a week for four or five months so it's not easy to keep the players focused and concentrated.

"The idea is to use different players and keep them fresh. Everybody wants to play every game but they have to realise the most important thing is to have players physically 100 percent for the next game."

Liverpool are seventh in the table. Their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League are effectively over but they could still earn a place in next season's Europa League.

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