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Behind the Goateed Curtain with Rafa Benitez...

Hit the jump for a bit of postemptive(?) disclosure via the official site:

Rafa on the situation he finds himself in...

When I decided to stay here I knew it could be a difficult season because I knew a lot of things could happen. I was a Real Madrid fan. You know Agustin, Garcia Cortes, Garcia Navajas, Sabido, Del Bosque, Angel, Camacho, Stielike, Juanito, Santillana, Cunningham - that's the team that played in the European Cup final against Liverpool in 1981. Why am I telling you this? I was a Real Madrid fan and player at the time but I have decided to stay at Liverpool because I like the city, the life here and the passion of the fans. When I signed a new contract it was because I wanted to stay and fight for this club. Sometimes you have good moments, sometimes bad, but still I want to fight. We will play in the Europa League and that will be our target, we will play against Everton and that will be our target. Every single week we will fight to win.

Rafa on offers from elsewhere...

When I signed my contract I had offers for more money and more money available for players, but I decided to stay because we have a very good team. I signed, I was really pleased and I have no regrets. I've had a lot of offers but I say 'No, no' because I want to stay here. The last offer was massive money but I decided to stay. We were talking about the number of years and I said five - it was very easy, very simple. I gave my word to the staff, I gave my word to the players. I love this city, I love this club and I love the fans.

Rafa on fan frustration...

You cannot be a fan and be happy if your team is not winning. You have to be disappointed. The only thing you can do is try to understand. I will not make excuses because we know we have to improve - but we know we can improve. That's the positive thing, for me. Everyone close to Liverpool has to be disappointed but as a manager you have to keep going and working hard.

Rafa on the length of our disappointing spell...

For a club like us not to win for three or four games is not easy. But sometimes these things happen in football. The manager of Real Madrid in 1981 had a very famous saying - football is football. It's not very clever but it says everything. Football is different to the other sports.

Rafa on the burden of success...

I have had the same problem for the last four or five years because we won the Champions League and FA Cup, and before that with Valencia the Spanish league and UEFA Cup.

Rafa on the press Liverpool gets...

We have seen for years that Liverpool is a top side, a very successful club - so it's easy for people to say we have to win. When I first arrived it was a case of improving - just improving was good. But then we won the Champions League for the first time in 21 years - that's longer than the wait for the league. So now people talk about the Premier League. That's a situation you have to accept at a top side but maybe Liverpool is different still because last year we couldn't win the Premier League - Arsenal have won it, Chelsea have won it, United have won it. So Liverpool are the only one. The rest of the teams in the Premier League don't have to same expectations. But it's a long race and we will improve as the season goes along. It doesn't matter what a lot of people who are talking say. Maybe they want to take advantage of the situation. But we will improve, we'll win games, and everything will change.

Rafa on Everton...

These games are similar every year. A lot of passion in the stands and also on the pitch. You have to play a physical game ad you have to play well. It'll be a high tempo with direct play and needing to win second balls. Hopefully it'll be good for our fans - especially our fans. It's an important game for everyone in the city but at the end of the day it's three points in a crucial time for everyone.

Rafa on the fight he sees in his players...

I have seen the press and I'm really pleased with the reaction of Gerrard, Torres and Pepe Reina. All the players know we have to push hard and improve, starting right now. I was talking to some of them about belief and trust. They know we are together working hard. That's the main thing for me. The players want to prove we are good enough, and not just in the derby. They want to prove we can be in the top four, at least. If we can win one or two games you will see a massive difference.

Rafa on getting the backing of Christian Purslow...

It's really important, but I already knew because we have conversations every day about everything. To go and say he was supporting me is positive because the last two months a lot of people have been talking too much. People at the top, the players, the kit man - everyone is sticking together.

Rafa on contact with the owners...

Not this week. I had some contact last week. They have Christian Purslow in charge. Christian was in Hungary and we've been talking this week, yesterday and this morning. We know what's going on and we're moving forward.

Rafa on what it takes to win a derby...

These games are similar every year. A lot of passion in the stands and also on the pitch. You have to play a physical game and you have to play well. It'll be a high tempo with direct play and needing to win second balls. Hopefully it'll be good for the fans - especially our fans. It's an important game for everyone in the city but at the end of the day it's three points in a crucial time for everyone.

Rafa on tempering emotions of his players...

Yes, I will try! Sometimes you cannot but I will try to get the right messages across. Sometimes with our staff - Sammy Lee has a lot of spirit and passion but we'll try to manage. We need this passion but we also need to do the right things.

Rafa on winning the derby...

If we can win against Everton it will be a sunny Monday.

Rafa on the Liverpool Offside...

Clearly Ed is a blogger with quality, no? He has the right mindset, clever responses to matches, and the type of passion we want to see. I am pleased with his progress. Sometimes he doesn't get the posts up quickly enough, but these things happen in blogging. This is important to remember.