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Football: Don't write off Rafa's boys; PREMIERSHIP ROUND-UP.

RAFA BENITEZ has warned Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson that Liverpool could yet come up on the rails and steal the title from under their noses.

TheReds boss steered Valencia to La Liga success in Spain in similar circumstances and after Liverpool's 3-0 win at Charlton, Benitez insisted his side could yet be an outside bet for a dramatic league success.

He said: "I remember at Valencia when we were seven points behind Real Madrid at Christmas and I said to two or three of my players that we would still win the league. They told me

afterwards they were laughing when they heard that but we did win the league by seven points or something like that.

"Maybe it will not be the case this time because there are two teams above us. The only thing you can do is keep playing well, keep the same mentality, keep scoring goals and maybe we will look at the table then."

Xabi Alonso netted Liverpool's opener from the spot within two minutes following Djimi Traore's kamikaze lunge at Jermaine Pennant's head with his boot.

Craig Bellamy hooked home a second in 82 minutes and Steven Gerrard curled in the third two minutes from time.

Arsenal fought back from two behind to force a 2-2 draw at home to Portsmouth.

Noe Pamarot gave Pompey a shock lead just before the break and Matt Taylor added No. 2 with a long-range volley in 47 minutes.

Emmanuel Ad ebayor hit back for the Gunners in 58 minutes before Gilberto blasted them back on terms on the hour.

Gary Speed fired the only goal from the spot as Bolton earned a first win at Villa Park in eight years.

The veteran made no mistake after Stilian Petrov fouled Nicolas Anelka box 15 minutes from time.

Rob Hulse got the only goal in Sheffield United's away win over Wigan.

A double by Ob afemi Martins cancelled out Hameur Bouazza's strike in Newcastle's 2-1 home defeat of Watford.

David Bentley was the hero as Blackburn b eat Reading 2-1, blasting the winner with six minutes left after Benni McCarthy had equalised James Harper's o pener.

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RED ALERT: Rafa Benitez insists Liverpool can still put pressure on the front two
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 18, 2006
Words:375
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