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Rafael Benítez described David Ngog as a "good player [who] has a very good mentality" as the 20-year-old once again prepares to deputise for Fernando Torres in Liverpool FC's Group E denouement against ACF Fiorentina.
Ngog has been Benítez's stand-in of choice as Torres struggles to shake off the groin injury which has ruled out the Spanish forward since the 1-1 draw at Olympique Lyonnais on Matchday 4. Torres is likely to return to the bench for the meeting with the Viola at Anfield, leaving his French understudy to spearhead the hosts' attack. "I think he's improving," Benítez said of Ngog, who was denied by the crossbar in the closing minutes of Liverpool's goalless draw at Blackburn Rovers FC on Saturday. "If he'd scored against Blackburn everyone would have been talking about how fantastic he was."
The former Paris Saint-Germain FC youngster has scored five goals this season, including the only goal against Debreceni VSC on Matchday 5. The role of understudy to one of Europe's premier strikers is not one that overwhelms him. "We're at a big club, we're professionals and we're used to playing with pressure. I just play like I usually play, I'm enjoying my football and I'm really happy here. When the [coaching] staff give me a chance I really try to do my best. I'm still young but I'm improving here at Liverpool and I'm really enjoying working with my team-mates."
Fiorentina and Lyon may already be assured of qualification from the section, but Ngog is adamant Wednesday's game is no dead rubber. "This is a Champions League game at Anfield, in front of our fans, so we'll be giving 100 per cent to win. We know we have the quality to do good things and we've confidence in our own quality – we'll show this between now and the end of the season," concluded Ngog. Benítez was left to offer one final vote of confidence to the youngster, if needed: "When he first arrived he needed to learn about English football but now he knows the language, knows his team-mates and though he's still young, you can see the quality he has."
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