Benitez wants win on Reds return to keep Chelsea third

Frank Dalleres
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CHELSEA boss Rafael Benitez admits he wants former club Liverpool to go on a winning streak until the end of the season, but only after his side visit Anfield on Sunday looking to tighten their grip on third place.

A David Luiz howitzer and two John Terry headers earned the Blues a derby victory over Fulham last night – their first win in five Premier League away games – and lifted them ahead of Arsenal in the race for Champions League qualification.

Next up is a homecoming of sorts for Benitez, who has been pilloried by some Chelsea fans for his links to Liverpool, where he hopes to increase the gap on the Blues’ nearest rivals.

“The main thing is to stay in the top three,” he said. “What I want is to win in Liverpool, and after I wish them all the best.

“If they can win all the rest of their games this season, fantastic, but, as a professional, I’m sure they will try to win and we’ll try to win.

“I said a long time ago that the race for the top four will be until the end of the season. I don’t think anyone is out. In one game it can change and you are closer.”

Cottagers boss Martin Jol voiced his frustration at missed early half-chances but praised defender Luiz’s “terrific” strike and tipped Chelsea to finish in the top four.

“They have a big squad with very good payers,” Jol said. “They’ve played more matches than any other team and still look strong.”

Chelsea took the lead in breathtaking fashion on the half-hour when Luiz ambled to within 35 yards of Mark Schwarzer’s net and let fly a rasping shot that dipped into the top left corner.

Blues goalkeeper Petr Cech saved low from Urby Emanuelson and Dimitar Berbatov flashed a shot wide as Fulham chased, but Terry headed the second and killed the contest moments before half-time.

Terry nodded his second 18 minutes from time, poaching on the line after Fernando Torres had glanced a Juan Mata corner goalwards.