Based in London and writing for a global audience our aim is to produce EliteFootballTalk. Enjoy the site and feel welcome to join in our discussion on the beautiful game.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Trouble looms for Rafa Benitez and Liverpool

It seems extraordinary that when Liverpool finally seem to be finding some kind of consistency in their form, the manger and the co-owners should engage in such public dispute.

Liverpool's co-Chairmen George Gillett and Tom Hicks have today released the following statement.

"Despite speculation in today's newspapers, there is nothing new to say. "We had a good win yesterday and have got some very important games coming up starting with Porto on Wednesday, followed by Bolton and Reading, before Marseille and Manchester United in a few weeks. "Both of us, together with Chief Executive Rick Parry, plan to meet with Rafa when we come over mid December to make decisions on the team's requirements at that time."

Make of the above what you will, but following Rafa’s post match interview yesterday and his public declaration that the co-owners don’t understand the European transfer market, it is clear to me that neither party is willing to back down.

I don’t believe any dispute should be fought so publically, especially with so many important games coming up. I think, it is time that both parties resolved their differences and let the team and manger focus on football.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm bloody scared!
I don't want Rafa to go at all :|
The Americans can fuck off! :@

11/25/2007 9:01 pm

Blogger SKG said...

welcome back skipper! its great to hear you from you again.

its unusual for liverpool to be airing their problems in public and i agree with you skipper that there is trouble looming.

the americans have a valid point that rafa should be concentrating on the matches ahead. on the other hand rafa talks from experience in saying that the wheels need to be set in motion long before the transfer window reopens.

if this becomes war, then there is only one winner - the americans. rafa can huff anf puff but he can't blow the house down . . . the americans certainly can and rafa needs to be careful how far he wants to push the point.

at the end of the day us fans want to see the team keep winning, which thankfully they are at the moment.

11/25/2007 9:05 pm

Blogger rowan said...

If Rafa leaves, all the good work will be memories. His legacy is in progress and need's more time.
The yanks will be hated.
Hicks better sort his head out.
fuck i wish we'd sold to the arabs. moores must be going green. he would never question rafa.

11/25/2007 9:05 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...


TOM HICKS............


11/25/2007 9:08 pm

Anonymous The Red Horseman said...

TOM hick which is what you really are if you destroy this great club and sack Rafa. My advice to you is do not ever come to Anfield again if you want to keep on living. The fans will rip every vital organ out of your body and then they will go to work on you

11/25/2007 9:25 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Thanks, Skipper.

This is not the correct manner in discussing board issues and potential signings. One out of Rafa, Hicks and Gillett should be mature and not mention anything in public. Perhaps this is a first to learn from. But I am not entertaining the possibility that there is an inevitable dismissal for Rafa. Lunacy.

Rafa is more powerful than the owners. If a spate is to erupt, I sense someone will come in and put heads together and sort it properly before it actually spills. Mind you, the media can overhype it all and it could just be a case of the two parties getting together to thoroughly discuss without the 'dismissal' word even entering minds, much less talks.

We are onto a good thing right now, the feeling is there, both sides want the best for the club, the owners financially, Rafa successfully. If the subject on Rafa's mind is solely the acquisition of Mascherano, I think the owners will honour it. Otherwise, I also think Rafa should work with what he currently has and cement our progress in Europe.

To the comments with the profanity, I appreciate the passion and concern but please keep out the swearing otherwise we will have to remove your comments. Thanks.


11/25/2007 11:02 pm

Blogger gary said...

While I see this as a big avoidable disaster i think the silver lining may be that Benitez may have taken Liverpool as far as he knows how.
0bviously with unlimited funds he could go further.But is that realistic?

11/25/2007 11:46 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Notice the other haters say nothing about it? They are loving it, watch Liverpool crumble with loss of their most influential manager to go for the league. Rafa is going nowhere, all will be tidied up behind closed doors and we get on with business because, and listen real good now, because Rafael Benitez luvs Liverpool FC and we love him. When Fergie said he would retire, the Mancs were pissing themselves. Gunner's David Dein went, Wenger wouldn't sign, Gooner fans were worried. Now it's our turn, but it will be solved. Not like Chenski who boot out the top manager for years because Roman the Conquerer wants all himself.

11/26/2007 2:32 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, a row between Benitez and the owners, Benitez sacked? The owners would have call in the US army and invade Merseyside cos we wouldn't have it. Rafa the almighty.

11/26/2007 2:34 pm

Anonymous Alex Butterfield said...

If Rafa keeps upsetting the owners he will get sacked. All the talk of fans and Rafa being too powerful is nonsense. If Rafa is sacked, then there's no way the fans can overturn the decision - Rafa wouldn't even want to stay if the owners told him he was sacked.

But what surprises me is that this is even an issue. If Rafa is sacked it will cost 6m compensation. Plus if they want success after Rafa they'll have to appoint Mourinho, who will cost more than Rafa does now.

To keep Rafa, therefore, will save Liverpool probably about 10m over the rest of his contract. (That's speculation I know) but that's 10m that could be used on strengthening the squad however Rafa wants to - perhaps he knows this and is trying it on because he knows that it is good business to give him what he wants.

What really confuses me though is what is the problem with Gillet and Hicks? Why can't they discuss the transfers sooner than mid-december?

Surely Benitez has said in private the things he has said in public, ie. that the English transfer window is different from the US draft system etc. Which it clearly is. Don't G+H realise that they are gonna make us miss out on our targets?

I heard Rafa wants to sign a centre-back in January and secure two free transfers.

We need a centre-back, we have dropped points this season because Agger has been injured, we need backup there (Rafael Marquez is out of favour at Barca? Otherwise I struggle to think of top class available defenders).

Mascherano is excellent and should be signed permanently - he could be one of these Bosmans he's talking about, although it would still require a transfer fee.

I hope he stays, his record stands for itself, but on top of that the fans can see real progress in our league form... unbeaten and within a game-in-hand win of 2nd, 6 behind Arsenal who have yet to play their biggest games. We don't need this turmoil. This is the season where there are no excuses, no more putting things off, we challenge now. But if we change managers, that's all put back again.

11/26/2007 9:30 pm

Anonymous GunnerPete said...

First let me say as a Gunner that I am worried that this man Hicks bought Liverpool just to get his hands on Anfield ? Like my beloved Highbury the name would be a developers dream. Is he and his mates now causing a rift to get rid of Benitez so they have even more control on the spending?
I hope Im wrong, but my experience of life has been that no rich bloke who knows nothing about football buys a club without a motive!

Liverpool,like Arsenal are part of our English way of life and they will come out of this a stronger club but they need to settle this before the Press wind everyone up even more.

11/27/2007 10:17 am

Anonymous GunnerPete said...

Just a comment answering Alex B above. 6 points behind Arsenal and we still have our big games to go?

Our big games are usually Liverpool away, Spurs away, Manure Home & Away, and Chelski home & away. Well I think you will find that so far with a draw against the Pool away and 3 points against Spurs away and a draw with Manure so far we are not doing too bad...yes. I think you should also make a big note that last season this team actually took more points off all our big rivals than anyone else so they hold no fear for AFC.

11/27/2007 10:26 am

Blogger Skipper said...

Thank you everyone for your contribution. Let’s not let our passion and love for a club result in use of bad language and profanity.

My personal view is that, this will all die down if Liverpool qualify for the knockout phase of the champion’s league and don’t lose to United on 16 December. If post the United game, Liverpool are out of the Champion’s league and lose to United then Rafa will come under real pressure.

I don’t agree with the way this whole situation has been publicly aired . I think this is the owner’s way of putting pressure on the team and the manger that they must deliver.

11/27/2007 11:02 am

Blogger Abdul said...

Skipper, I agree with your last comment. If Pool qualify for the last 16 in the Champions League, then I can't see Rafa getting the sack. Tomorrow night is therefore going to be a massive, massive game for Rafa.

11/27/2007 2:09 pm

Blogger T said...

Nice work Skipper.

I didn't believe it at first but it seems there is some flesh behind this speculation and that for some reason Benitez has really lost the confidence of his new owners. This is something unbelievable - Liverpool are still unbeaten in the league and they spoke so well of Rafa when they first came to the club and then again after the Champs League final when they entrusted him with a big sum of spending money.

Redsman summed up my feelings in one word when I now think of the prospect of Benitez being fired in the next few weeks: lunacy.

I hope it doesn't happen.

11/27/2007 5:37 pm

Anonymous Alex Butterfield said...

Hi Pete:

The point I was making was really more about LFC's start to the season being good. Whereas somehow people/ the press keep playing that down to say he's under pressure.

I think a lot has been made of Rafa's rotation policy and people overlook the fact that we are still unbeaten in the league.

I know the stat that hes changed his team every game for the last 150 or whatever looks excessive. But I think it's misleading and not such a big deal, when you look at it, all he's doing is resting Torres for some games, and changing the wingers as appropriate.

I agree we've had awful performances in the CL and two bore draws at home to Portsmouth (which is not an awful result) and Birmingham (which is), but we've also had some emphatic results (Derby, Besiktas and Newcastle - which could have been double figures had Torres been on target).

We are only trailing because of too many draws.

One key point is that we have blown 2pts here and there by giving up leads, (whereas Arsenal have salvaged those same 2pts) This highlights for me the need for strengthening our defense. The fact that we have missed out on a centre-back (i read Khaladze this morning) just gets more frustrating.

But we are in a position to challenge for the title.

(I also have confidence that we'll progress in the CL)

I'm not surprised that the press are circling like vultures, not after the way this has all been made public by Rafa's comments, but it astounds me that some Liverpool fans are against Rafa.


Looking over the results of LFC and AFC, it looks like we've played about the same number of big games as each other. And we've both got a tough Christmas period coming up. This should be a really good title race.

11/27/2007 5:46 pm

Blogger SKG said...

Rafa and the owners will both be happy if Liverpool qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League. Also Liverpool's start to the Premiership has been good so I cannot see Rafa leaving unless Liverpool suffer an serious slump in form.

As far as transfers go, Rafa is spot on that deals need to be tied up sometimes way before the transfer window. The problem is that the Americans simply don't want to spend anymore.

I think Rafa will have to make do with the squad that he currently has at his disposal.

11/27/2007 6:21 pm

Anonymous Alex Butterfield said...

"I think Rafa will have to make do with the squad that he currently has at his disposal."

G+H said that transfers will not be discussed until they arrive in mid-december. While I understand the time difference (I'm English living in California) it's not that difficult to speak during normal working hours. (9am US is 5pm UK, at worst)

However mid-december is conveniently just after the last group stage game against Marseille (Dec 11th), where it will be confirmed whether LFC advance or not.

At no point have G+H said that there will be no more funds (not that I've heard or read) and that doesn't make much sense. If there weren't going to be funds, why wait till December to explain that?

It seems more likely that they are waiting to know whether LFC qualify for the knockouts before deciding whether to reward Rafa with a bit of extra cash.

I'm hoping that we tie down Mascherano before the summer. A centre-back would be nice too, but I think we have a squad capable of challenging for the title and the CL this season.

I just hope we do well enough to be in with a chance of signing David Villa in the Summer.

11/29/2007 7:15 pm

Blogger Skipper said...

Alex Butterfield,

You raise some interesting points. It's always nice to learn that we are attracting audience from abroad. I am all for the global debate on football.

I think you are spot on, if Liverpool don't make it to the next stage I don't think Rafa will get the funds.

David Villa - he will be too expensive.

11/30/2007 12:17 am

Anonymous Alex Butterfield said...

David Villa - too expensive.

Common sense tells me to agree.

But then, for years I wanted Torres without any serious hope we'd ever sign him.

but I believe that Liverpool has a misrepresentation in Europe:

We of course won the 2005 CL. Then finished runner up in 2007. We've also finished top four consistently for years (one 5th that didn't really matter).

Within England we all know how far behind Liverpool really have been in recent years, despite their high finishings. And that the CL achievements have really been over-achievements.

But from outside England, people see the end result only - and this has raised Liverpool's reputation to a point where (combined with new money) we could sign Torres. (which in turn has helped to raise our profile abroad)

On top of that there's the Spanish/Valencia connection with Benitez and the squad.

I think if we can get the money then we might have a chance - it's going to take some serious success this season, one of the big trophies, but I've been surprised before.

12/03/2007 5:17 pm


Post a Comment

<< Home


Locations of visitors to this page