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Monday 18 December 2017

Rafa: mind not on job

Boss questions attitude as Reds' grip slips again

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez vowed to carry on fighting in the club's battle for Champions League football despite suffering a significant blow in the 1-0 defeat at Wigan last night.

Hugo Rodallega's eighth Premier League goal of the season in the 35th minute -- after Dirk Kuyt had given the ball away near his own penalty area -- proved decisive.

And there is a possibility captain Steven Gerrard could well face 'trial by television' after it was suggested last night he flashed a v-sign at referee Andre Marriner after his late booking.

Benitez said he did not see any incident as "it was too far away" while Liverpool officials have denied any wrongdoing on Gerrard's part.

Liverpool were terrible against the Latics in the first half and only marginally better after the break.

But even after passing up the chance to move back into fourth Benitez said his sixth-placed side would continue to claw back lost ground on the likes of Tottenham and Manchester City.

"We have to keep going. We have an important game on Thursday (against Lille in the Europa League) and then we have to keep going and keep winning games if we can," he said.

"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."

Benitez was clearly angry after the game and although he never criticises his players in public this was about as close as it got.

"The first half was very poor. We didn't show character or attitude, nothing," he added.

"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.

"We had some chances but we didn't play well. If you approach the game in this kind of way you cannot win this kind of game or maybe any game.

"Everyone is very low.

"There are too many things we cannot understand."

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