Benitez says local derby is perfectly timed for Liverpool

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LIVERPOOL, England, Oct 18 (Reuters) Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez says playing Everton in a local derby on Saturday is the perfect way to help his side regain their form.

Benitez's team have won only once in six Premier League and European games and now face Everton and leaders Arsenal over the next 10 days. Sandwiched inbetween is a trip to Turkey to face Besiktas in the Champions League.

''We are not playing well and we have not played well in the past two or three games,' the Spaniard told reporters today.

''This is the kind of game that can change everything. It is a derby and we can play well and win and everything will be different.' Benitez invested heavily on players at the start of the season including paying 42.93 million dollars for Spain striker Fernando Torres.

The season started well with Liverpool topping the table for the first time in five years following a 6-0 thrashing of Derby County.

But draws with Portsmouth, Birmingham City and Tottenham Hotspur have dropped them six points behind Arsenal.

Last season's runners-up Liverpool are also third in their Champions League group and in danger of failing to reach the knockout stage.

''In football everything happens too fast and it is important to see the bigger picture and analyse everything,' said Benitez.

''I have a lot of confidence in my team. It is important to stay calm.'' Liverpool supporters will be desperate for a win at Goodison Park in order to hold bragging rights in a city divided by footballing loyalties.

''If you can beat your rivals people will be happy for one week at least,' said Benitez.

Reuters BJR RN2044

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