Liverpool ran out of time for Champions comeback

Updated: 26 May 2007 16:40 IST

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez was confident of overturning another Champions League final deficit against AC Milan.

Liverpool ran out of time for Champions comeback

Athens, Greece:

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez was confident of overturning another Champions League final deficit against AC Milan.

There just wasn't enough time.

"There was three minutes injury time and the game stopped in 2 minutes, 45 seconds," said Benitez, who watched his team lose to AC Milan 2-1 Wednesday in the Champions League final. "But I don't want to use that as an excuse. You have to score in the 90 minutes."

The 47-year-old Spaniard said he felt five-time champion Liverpool had a shot at repeating its stunning turnaround in Istanbul two years ago, when the team came back from a 3-0 halftime deficit to beat Milan on penalties.

This year, Dirk Kuyt scored to pull Liverpool within a goal in the 89th minute, after Filippo Inzaghi had scored twice for the Italian team.

"I had confidence (we could pull off a comeback), but we didn't have enough time," Benitez said.

Benitez led Valencia to the UEFA Cup title in 2004 before winning the Champions League with Liverpool the following year.

On Wednesday, he conceded Liverpool had given Milan's strikers too much room to counterattack.

"We needed to control and attack with balance," Benitez said. "You give a team like AC Milan an opportunity and they will kill you."

Crouch's substitution

Peter Crouch's late substitution for Javier Mascherano was a gamble that ultimately cost Liverpool the game, Benitez added.

"We were controlling nearly everything, but we didn't keep our fresh legs in the second half," he said. "We needed to do something, so we changed Crouch for Mascherano. We lost control of the middle and that caused the second goal."

Benitez hinted that lineup changes were needed to take on Manchester United and Chelsea in the Premier League next season. Liverpool finished a distant third behind the two this season.

"When you win, you are really pleased and happy. When you lose, you think about why ... you think about the future," Benitez said. "If you want to go against Manchester United or Chelsea or go for the Champions League, then we might have to take two steps at a time, and not one."



Topics : Football Liverpool
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