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Saturday, January 10, 2009

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Benitez: Outburst not to blame

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez insisted his outburst against Sir Alex Ferguson had no impact on his players as they stumbled to a draw at Stoke.The Premier League leaders missed an opportunity to go six points clear at the top ahead of Sunday's Old Trafford clash between fellow title hopefuls Manchester United and Chelsea.

Benitez had launched a surprising tirade against United boss Ferguson during Friday's pre-match press conference, hitting out at what he saw as Ferguson's complete ignorance of the Football Association's 'Respect' campaign towards officials, and the Scot's complaints about the Premier League fixture list.

But, after the goalless Britannia Stadium clash, Benitez stressed the game had not been affected by his widely-publicised words.

"I don't think so," the Spaniard said when asked if the comments had been a distraction, repeating the answer when pressed on whether it might have had any effect.

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