Liverpool's Rafael Benitez Opposes Premier League's play-off proposal For Final Champions League Spot

Spaniard points to an already congested fixture list...
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has opposed the speculated proposals of the Premier League to revolutionise the division by including a Championship-style play-off in order to gain entry to the Champions League competition for the sides who finish between fourth and seventh.

The idea was allegedly thought out by FA chief executive Richard Scudamore, who opened discussion with league members. Most of the clubs welcomed the proposal, however, the teams at the head of the division (those that constitute the perceived 'Big Four' in particular) are in opposition to any play-off.

Benitez, though, has rejected it on grounds that it will add to a fixture list that is already congested with club competitions: Premier League; FA Cup; League Cup as well as the Champions League, and also international competitions such as the World Cup, Confederations Cup and the African Cup of Nations.

Liverpool host Unirea Urziceni in the Europa League's round of 32 on Thursday, and Benitez ridiculed the suggestion of a play-off at a pre-match conference.

"We can do the same thing for the relegation battle," he told a press conference on Wednesday.

"The team that finishes third [from bottom] can play maybe another play-off for the relegation. Maybe you can play 39 games, or play [throughout] the whole season.

"We can play the whole year," he said, facetiously. "What does it mean for the team finishing third who have 20 more points than the team finishing seventh? We can keep playing teams all the time."

He paused, before adding: "We have to be realistic. We have too many injuries because we play too many competitions. We play the World Cup, Confederations Cup, African Cup, [that is] too many games, and now we want to play more.

"If you have a fantastic season, you finish fourth, playing 20 points above Birmingham. I think it will be a mess [if fourth has to face seventh]."

When asked whether the proposal was "stupid", Benitez continued: "Someone has to carefully analyse what they say; it's good for the press! You have more things to talk about.

"We have a lot of injuries, we play too many games, and now you have a system where Tottenham could have a good season and finish fourth but end up playing Fulham in seventh. Or Aston Villa and Birmingham. What it means for the teams, you play three or four more games - you don't have time."

Understanding the reasoning behind the suggestion of a play-off, Benitez nodded: "They are trying to make the situation more exciting."