Rafa gets some early jabs in before the Man Utd game…

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Liverpool gaffer Rafa Benitez has had a sly swipe at his opposite number S’Alex Ferguson mere days before the two rivals butt heads as one half of Grand Slam Sunday. In response to the Lord of the Ferg’s comments that Ronaldo needs protection from referees, Rafa said:

“Ferguson is clever, that is clear,” said Benítez. “After a difficult game [Portsmouth] he was talking about referees and before an important game [Liverpool] he is talking about protecting Ronaldo. The referees, though, have experience and they will know Ferguson. Sunday’s referee has experience and he is strong enough.

“Ferguson has a lot of experience. If you need to protect Ronaldo, then you also need to protect Torres and Gerrard and all the skilful players in the league. This kind of treatment must be the same for all the teams and all the players. I wasn’t surprised last week to hear what he was saying. I just want to go into the game with the same situation as the other team.”

So after Fergie Ferg’s opening salvo, Rafa has responded by claiming that Ferg is trying to influence refs – poor Steve Bennett better be on the top of his game come Sunday!

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