O'Neill and Benitez Reactions
Martin O'Neill said after the 2-1 loss to Liverpool:
'It's very, very disappointing. Once we got the equalising goal, with six or seven minutes to go, I felt we might go on to win it against a very fine side. But then we conceded the free-kick from which they scored and it was pretty disappointing. They're a fine bunch of players, they just need a wee bit more self-belief. I think I've got more belief in them than they have just at this moment. But that will be fine. They're a very young side who are grouping well together. There's a good spirit there and this disappointment today will not knock them.'
Adding on the official site: 'I'm pleased with the effort that the side put in, I'm pleased with the application. Obviously against a quality side like Liverpool there were moments in the game, possibly prolonged moments when we were on the back foot, but we'll address that. The atmosphere was absolutely terrific. The crowd got right behind us from start to finish. I thought they played a part in getting us back into the game and I thought that was very encouraging.'
Rafa 'Tom Jones' Benitez (seriously man, get a proper shave!) told their official site, Liverpoolfc.tv:
'We deserved to win the game and it was a special goal from Gerrard. We showed great character after Villa were given a penalty and we kept going forward and got the goal. It was important for us to win the first game. I know we created a lot of chances but you have to say the Villa goalkeeper was really good and he was the man of the match. I thought Torres did well and worked hard and his understanding with Kuyt was really good.'