Benitez identifies the 'key factor' for Liverpool v Chelsea

Giant Anfield Flag

Former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez believes Anfield and the Liverpool fans can be a key factor in the top-of-the table clash against Chelsea later today.

Liverpool are within a hair’s breadth of winning their first top flight title in 24 years, as the Reds head into today’s crunch clash against Chelsea leading the table, five points out in front of the second place Blues.

A Liverpool victory would also mean only Manchester City would have a small chance of snatching the Premier League crown.

Today's crucial contest against Chelsea comes just 2 weeks after Liverpool saw off Manchester City at Anfield, and ex-Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has spoken about what he feels is Liverpool’s greatest asset going into the Chelsea game - home advantage and support.

Benitez, the current Napoli coach, told Goal.com: 'Anfield will be a key factor. We have seen it against Manchester City - the intensity and the tempo of the game.

'Liverpool are playing one game a week and that is a big advantage because physically, maybe, they are a little bit fresher than the others.

'Chelsea have spent another £100m this year, so it’s a very good team, but Anfield can maybe make the difference'.

And Liverpool’s home ground has made the difference to date. The Reds have dropped only five points at Anfield all season - winning 15 of 17 league matches there.

The atmosphere at Anfield has been one of feverish excitement in the title run-in this season, and Benitez isn’t the first to point to the fans as playing a huge part in Liverpool’s title challenge.

The Spaniard spent six years as manager at Liverpool, and also admitted that he still harbours affection for the club he took to FA Cup and Champions League glory.

'I have a lot of friends there', Benitez said, 'So I am really pleased for them because they are really close to the title.

“I think it is a very good moment for them and hopefully they can win because you can see the passion in the city'.

Benitez thrilled by Liverpool charge

 

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for CHELSEA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch