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Liverpool manager waxes lyrical about team’s title chances: Everyone else predicts another false dawn

We all get carried away sometimes. After all, Cherie Blair has just claimed that her husband will be judged as ‘being up there with Churchill’, which is surely the result of one-too-many free glasses of champagne at whatever speaker event she has recently been paid to attend. Rafael Benitez has also been getting glassy-eyed ahead of his team’s match with PSV, drawing parallels between Liverpool’s start to the season and Valencia’s when he was manager of Los Che.

The Daily Mail report that the Spaniard is pleased with the start his team has made, despite the fact that they had a similar start to the campaign last term, before badly falling away in November, December and January. For some reason, this time is apparently going to be different, despite an over-reliance on Fernando Torres on goals once again. Can the Reds really sustain a title challenge?

‘At Valencia, I could see the team improving and the balance getting better each year. The mentality became stronger and confidence levels grew higher. The same thing is happening at Liverpool.

‘When I look at how things are developing here, I think maybe we won’t need to spend as much as in recent years. We have been signing maybe four, five or six players each year, and perhaps three or four have proved themselves good enough and have settled in.

‘We have a balance now and a squad with enough depth to allow me to make changes without fearing I may be sending out a team not good enough to win. There is still room for improvement, and we will keep striving for that, but we really do have good options and a feeling we can manage 60 games a year.’

Benitz has come under pressure during his time at Anfield, most notably last season when the team was faring poorly and the club’s American owners didn’t seem to approve of the Spaniard. He’s weathered that particular storm, although surely it’s a case of ‘we’ll believe it when we see it’ for Liverpool fans as far as challenging for the title is concerned? After all, there have been way too many false dawns in the past.

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