Benitez defends Sissoko

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Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has defended under-fire midfielder Mohamed Sissoko's disciplinary record.

The 21-year-old has been booked in three of The Reds' four Premiership games at the start of the campaign, following on from last season's 11 yellow cards and one red.

Referee Mike Riley resisted temptations to dismiss Sissoko during Sunday's defeat to Chelsea, much to the annoyance of Blues boss Jose Mourinho.

The former Valencia man clearly tripped Frank Lampard and was lucky to remain on the pitch, having already been booked earlier in the contest.

Sissoko is beginning to build up an unwanted disciplinary reputation after just one full season in The Premiership but Benitez suggests his player is unfairly treated by referees.

"It is easy to show a yellow card to a young player who is not a big name," said Benitez.

"You watch other games and see big names who do not get yellow cards at all and their tackles are maybe even worse.

"He just needs more experience. Sunday was a big game and people were talking about him.

"But he has a high work-rate and never goes into a tackle with a bad intention. Other players do much worse and receive nothing."