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Benitez: Derby win could turn round our season

UNDER-FIRE Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez says yesterday&rsquo;s Merseyside derby victory over Everton could help turn around his side&rsquo;s ailing season.<br /><br />A first-half own goal from Joseph Yobo and a late strike from Dirk Kuyt saw the Reds register back-to-back wins for the first time since September and move back up to fifth in the Premier League table.<br /><br />&ldquo;I think it was really important for us,&rdquo; a relieved Benitez said. &ldquo;We won against Debrecen in the Champions League on Tuesday and we knew we had to keep winning.<br /><br />&ldquo;A derby is always very difficult and also very important so a win today could set us up for the rest of the season.<br /><br />&ldquo;We are higher in table now, everyone is happy, so we will see if we can keep winning some games.&rdquo;<br /><br />Despite the result, the Reds still looked unconvincing against their neighbours, but proved more clinical in front of goal.&nbsp; <br /><br />Indeed, the Reds took the lead in the 12th minute when Javier Mascherano&rsquo;s 25-yard shot went in off the unfortunate Yobo.<br /><br />This unlucky theme continued for Everton as Russian winger Diniyar Bilyaletdinov missed two glorious chances, while lone striker Jo had two first half goals ruled out for offside as the Toffees matched their visitors stride for stride.<br /><br />Reds keeper Jose Reina then denied them futher with a superb double save from Tim Cahill and Maruoane Fellaini before Kuyt all but ended it as a contest with an 80th-minute close range strike.<br /><br />Benitez&rsquo;s sentiment was echoed by defender Jamie Carragher who believes his side can capitalise on their derby success to improve on their recent form: <br /><br />&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve not performed as well as we&rsquo;d have liked this season but we&rsquo;re the ones who can change that, with a couple of wins hopefully we can do that but we still have a long way to go.&rdquo;<br /><br />Meanwhile, Lee Bowyer&rsquo;s second minute goal was enough to stretch Birmingham City&rsquo;s unbeaten run to five games, while compounding the misery for midlands rivals Wolves.<br /><br />Birmingham are now unbeaten in five, but, in contrast, Wolves boss Mick McCarthy was scathing of his side&rsquo;s lack of effort. &ldquo;I picked a team I thought would go out there and compete, but it didn&rsquo;t happen,&rdquo; he said.