Benitez desperate to avoid FA Cup shock

January 25, 2008

Liverpool face non-league opposition in the FA Cup for the first time in 27 years when Blue Square South side Havant & Waterlooville arrive at Anfield on Saturday.

And it is a measure of the growing despair at Anfield that manager Rafael Benitez wants his side to bag some goals to boost their confidence after a disappointing 2-2 home draw with Aston Villa on Monday.

Benitez said: 'Now we have a cup tie with a non-league team it will be a great occasion for everyone but maybe we can score some goals to give us confidence.'

Steve Finnan, Charles Itandje, Lucas Leiva, Peter Crouch, Xabi Alonso and Ryan Babel could all be involved but full-back Alvaro Arbeloa (abdominal injury) and striker Andriy Voronin (ankle) are both out.

Havant & Waterlooville manager Shaun Gale believes the exploits of his FA Cup minnows have brought some of the magic back to this season's competition.

'If there was any doubting the FA Cup then we have kicked that into touch this season, we've re-ignited it,' said Gale, whose side beat Notts County and Swansea to earn their fairytale fourth round clash.

'For the non-league circuit it's just fantastic. It shows how important the FA Cup is for non-league clubs because these sorts of things can happen.'