It was the perfect end to a week that saw the Reds trounce Real Madrid to book their place in the Champions League quarter-finals, where they will meet Guus Hiddink's Blues, but the Anfield boss - who penned a new five-year deal in midweek - knows that his side cannot afford to drop any more points in the run home.
Benitez said, “Realistically, we have to win all of our games. But part of winning the war is winning football matches. We have more belief and more confidence now. It will be difficult but we can do it.”
This weekend, the Mersey men come up against a flailing Aston Villa side determined to rediscover their best form - and a team against which they could only manage a 0-0 draw back in September. Clearly, they must manage a better return this time around.
While the Reds were the Premier League frontrunners at the turn of the year, so were Villa the dark horse to challenge for the title. However, since storming into a seemingly sealed top-four position, things have taken a nasty turn for the West Midlands club.
Suddenly, after a run of just one win in their last six league games, Martin O'Neill's men find themselves in fifth spot, shunted out of the Champions League places by a resurgent Arsenal. They have scored just five times during that stretch, and much of the blame has fallen on the misfiring Gabriel Agbonlahor - although the young striker expects to find his scoring touch again sooner rather than later.
“If you look at last season, I went through a similar run and ended up in double figures. The goals will come. They always do. I am not worried at all,” Agbonlahor said.
Nevertheless, the England hopeful and his fellow attackers could be hard pressed against a Liverpool defence that conceded just once against Real Madrid and Man United over the course of three games. But it just may be that they have to gain some sort of result on Merseyside if they wish to keep their CL dreams alive.
Mar 14 Manchester United 1-4 Liverpool (Premier League)
Mar 10 Liverpool 4-0 Real Madrid (Champions League)
Mar 03 Liverpool 2-0 Sunderland (Premier League)
Feb 28 Middlesbrough 2-0 Liverpool (Premier League)
Feb 25 Real Madrid 0-1 Liverpool (Champions League)
Mar 15 Aston Villa 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur (Premier League)
Mar 04 Manchester City 2-0 Aston Villa (Premier League)
Mar 01 Aston Villa 2-2 Stoke City (Premier League)
Feb 26 CSKA Moscow 2-0 Aston Villa (UEFA Cup)
Feb 21 Aston Villa 0-1 Chelsea (Premier League)
Only good news for Benitez, as Alvaro Arbeloa (hamstring) and Xabi Alonso (ankle) - both of whom missed the 4-1 win at Old Trafford - are in with a real chance of starting this weekend. Yossi Benayoun, another hamstring victim, has also returned to training and could be available. Daniel Agger, too, is back in the fold.
Liverpool squad: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Hyypia, Skrtel, Dossena, Aurelio, Babel, Benayoun, Mascherano, Riera, Gerrard, Alonso, Torres, Kuyt, Agger, Cavalieri, Lucas, Ngog.
Possible XI: Reina - Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel, Aurelio - Alonso, Mascherano - Kuyt, Gerrard, Riera - Torres
A selection dilemma for O'Neill, as John Carew is nearing full fitness after a back injury and may force either Agbonlahor or Emile Heskey to the bench. Steve Sidwell is also in contention, while long-term absentee Wilfred Bouma - who hasn't played since having his ankle broken in pre-season - has been included on the roster.
Aston Villa squad: Friedel, Guzan, Reo-Coker, L. Young, Knight, Cuellar, Davies, Shorey, Bouma, Milner, Gardner, Petrov, Barry, Sidwell, Salifou, A. Young, Agbonlahor, Carew, Heskey, Delfouneso, Harewood.
Possible XI: Friedel - Reo-Coker, Davies, Knight, L. Young - Milner, Barry, Petrov, A. Young - Carew, Agbonlahor
PLAYERS TO WATCH
The Villa Park faithful didn't see the best of Fernando Torres earlier in the season, as he limped off with a hamstring strain in the first half of that stalemate. The Spaniard has scored in each of his last two outings - against Real Madrid and Man United, no less - and should cause the Villans' rearguard all manner of problems.
If there is one player in the Birmingham club's squad who is capable of flummoxing the Reds' rearguard, it is Ashley Young. His last visit to Merseyside saw him almost single-handedly lead his side to a thrilling victory over Everton (with a little help from Phil Jagielka), and he may fancy himself against either an ageing Jamie Carragher or a not-quite-right Arbeloa on the flank.