Liverpool's Benitez Defends Decision To Bench Robbie Keane

Following his decision to leave his Irish striker on the bench for the entirety of yesterday's game with Hull City, the Liverpool manager today explained his reasoning.

Despite failing to find a decisive third goal against Hull City yesterday, Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez refused to bring on his prize summer signing Robbie Keane, who was left on the bench for the whole match.

The Kop were left in disarray after their team's third successive home draw came after The Reds had had to overcome a two goal deficit against the high-flying Tigers.

Liverpool have now drawn at home to Hull, Fulham and West Ham United, and back in September were held to a 0-0 draw by newly promoted Stoke City.

Having clawed their way back to 2-2 yesterday against Hull, Liverpool needed an extra goal that never came, but might have done had Keane been introduced. Benitez has subsequently been criticised for his failure to bring on the £20 million man.

The Liverpool manager instead preferred to bring on Nabil El Zhar, Ryan Babel and Lucas as his three substitutes, leaving Republic of Ireland international Keane on the bench.

However, the Spaniard has defended his decision by telling The Irish Times, "We wanted wingers with pace and ability. Babel and (Nabil) El Zhar were both very good.

"We wanted to get to the line and pulled the ball back, we do not want to play long balls, we are not that sort of team."

Liverpool were saved by their captain yesterday, as Steven Gerrard scored both goals to bring The Reds back into the match after Paul McShane and a Jamie Carragher own goal put the away side 2-0 to the good.

However, Benitez has rubbished claims that without the Liverpool captain, Liverpool would struggle, saying, "Today it was Gerrard who scored the goals, in the last game it was (David) Ngog, (Ryan) Babel and (Albert) Riera. The previous game it was (Yossi) Benayoun, we have players who can also score goals.

"The captain is a player with quality, and when he plays offensively he has to score goals."

However, The Liverpool manager did concede that he needs more of his players to take responsibility.

He added: "Gerrard is always a threat playing in that attacking midfield role, but we need more people to score goals. We need to see more, especially the players up front, to score more goals."

Nick Turner, Goal.com