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Saturday, December 08, 2007

"Liverpool will not win the league under Rafa Benitez"

This was the view of some of the callers on tonight’s phone in on five live.

I am so disappointed that on the eve of our biggest week of the season Rafa chooses to experiment with 4-3-3. This was a strange formation, given that we have been playing with 4-4-2 so successfully recently.

4-3-3 only works if you have athletic strikers who can work the channels and slot into midfield, when required. Crouch and Voronin are not athletic strikers, anyone intelligent can see that.

I was completely baffled with Rafa’s team selection and formation. Rafa keeps going on about the league being a priority but time and time again he prioritises European football over the league.

I don’t understand why he changes the team so much. Even if we beat Marseille, it will not compensate for Rafa’s tactical blunder today. If we go out of the Champion’s league and lose to Man U, Rafa will not get my sympathy should the owner’s decide to part company with him.

Rafa can experiment in the Worthington cup, but to do it in the league beggars belief.

Rafa got away with taking Stevie G off against Everton, but he did not get away with it this time.

I am astounded by Rafa’s decision making.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gerrard got injured. Get your facts straight before you bash Benitez. If we could play 4-4-3 in every match, we would, but the ref doesn't allow 12 players on the pitch.

12/08/2007 8:17 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reds had enough chances to win the was just not meant to be. and belive me its a blessing in disguise that the reds lost today. iT WLL GIVE THEM A NICE KICK UP THE BUTT FOR MARSEILLE AND MAN UNITED. the boys didnt have the rub of the green. i agree with you that the position voronin played in was a bad selecion.

12/08/2007 8:20 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

4-4-3 ??????????????????
Wrong sport mate. Only ten outfield players in football. And you question Rafa. Do yourself a favour.

12/08/2007 8:20 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rafa the tinker man strikes again.

12/08/2007 8:35 pm

Anonymous Ynwared786 said...

We had the chances but it wasnt happening. Hit the wood work twice, dodgy penalty and one we didnt get. Rafa right to take stevie g off, he would,ve got himself booked or injured. it was Reading,s day. Head up Reds it far from over yet!

12/08/2007 8:37 pm

Anonymous ST said...

OK- enough with the wise-guy comments about the error in the article.

Good to read an article from the heart - and I think it is right. The selection of Crouch and Voronin on the wings is really questionable - especially when you have the likes of Babel and Kewell on the bench. Benitez should admit - if not in public than to himself - that he got it wrong.

I bet we don't see that same line-up and formation again.

12/08/2007 8:40 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

21 goals in the previous 5 wins. Then one poor game and all the tossers start again! tinker tinker.. did he not fucking tinker and produce those last few series of fantastic results? Too many cocks who know nothing about football! here we go again.. sack him next? kill all the players? or... fuck off and support Man u and eat your prawn sandwiches!!!!!

12/08/2007 8:42 pm

Anonymous jj said...

why cant he leave a winning team alone !!!

Any team with riise, sissoko and voronin in it isnt going to do much

IMO rafa had three minimum requirements this season
#1 top four finish
#2 get to the knockout stages of the champions league
#3 put in a serious challenge for the league

one of those could go on tuesday and we could be 13 points behind arsenal by the time we play utd on sunday, so another of those could be gone by sunday evening. Playing for a top four finish only would make for an uncomfortable meeting with the yanks on the 17th of Dec......

12/08/2007 8:49 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The worrying thing is that aswell as we have been playing we were always one defeat from a disaster. I truly dont believe rafa will win the title becuae we all know that every now and then he will throw in a team selection like that one today but I still dont want him sacked midway through a season,it wouldnt solve a thing. Im not too worried about marsielle as I think we will have them but whats more worrying is the now must win importance if the manc game. Its always must win against them but if we lose next week and arsenal also win we can pretty much say goodnight for a title challenge. We are soooo due a win over those manc twats and I really do believe we will do it a after the last two jammy wins they have had at anfield. Lets not be too despondent as we would all have taken december 8th as our first defeat at the start of the season. We are still in there with a game in hand. If we lose next week then we can all be gutted but if we win then its game on again.

12/08/2007 9:15 pm

Blogger SKG said...

I fear that jj's comment above could well be spot on come next Sunday. I hope not!

Liverpool had one week to prepare for the Reading game. The fact is they probably didn't even spend one minute preparing for Reading - I am certain Rafa has spent the time preparing for the Marseille game only (Rafa will then use 4 days to prepare for Man Utd).

This was clear from the team selection against Reading and became crystal clear when Rafa substituted Torres when Liverpool were 2-1 down and substituted Gerrard when 3-1 down. Only Rafa can explain his decision to play 4-3-3.

If Liverpool don't qualify for the Champions League knock out stage, then it might be a blessing in disguise because at least the Premier League will then be Rafa's priority (I just hope Rafa doesn't put the UEFA Cup top of his list!)

12/08/2007 10:28 pm

Anonymous Dickie said...

You seem to have produced some rather vicious responses, but I think there is some merit in the essence of what you say. I think if we widen the focus of your argument (i.e. what was Rafa thinking) then there may be some valid questions to raise.

Portsmouth away - Rafa fielded a suspiciously weak side against a team who should have been given more respect.

Brum at Anfield - people were amazed that Torres was benched.

Some disasterous Euro form and by the time of the Spurs match, the team's momentum had petered to such an extent that even a strong team on paper failed to get a win.

I don't think that on today's line-up alone Rafa should be crucified, but I think he has made choices that leave him open to more criticism that you would expect of a man unbeaten until 8th December.

Utd have lost twice, but had 10 wins to their name from their first 15 League games. I think that if any of the the three games I mention above had been wins (particularly the home ones - both of them would have been even better) then people wouldn't be so critical now. Trouble is, the undefeated tag has been covering up the rather thin tightrope that the team have been walking.

As mentioned above there's a possibility of being 13 points off the pace by Sunday. That will really put to the test Rafa's claim that his rotation is saving the team for the latter stages of the season. If the gap's that big it won't matter cos in Utd's last ten games that mattered last season (I think it was the Man City win that confirmed them Champions) they took
25 points from 30. The other teams just aren't going to slip up enough to claw back those kind of margins.

12/08/2007 11:53 pm

Blogger Skipper said...

Dickie, you are absolutely spot on, this is not the first time Rafa has pulled a silly stunt. His team selection is constantly being questioned by majority of the football commentators. Yesterday, he astounded many not only with the team selection but his ridiculous team formation. Any manger who thinks that it is appropriate for Crouch and Vornin to play upfront down the channels must ask serious questions about their decision making.

Ryan Babel and Kewell, have hardly played much football. For me, it made sense to put them on the flanks and have Stevie in the middle with Javier.

Momo Sissiko – when we bought him, I did not know much about this player. He was being talked about as the next Viera. What an insult to Viera, Mo is only good for giving away free kicks and picking up yellow cards. How a professional footballer cannot make an accurate pass with the ball, or control a football is beyond me.

12/09/2007 12:39 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

I felt this would come, certainly felt before the game that Reading would not be an easy game, but a testing one yet one we would pull a win from. 4-3-3 could not cover for a referee's error, and it was adequate to cover for a header to clear the ball that led to their second goal. Questionable about the defence as it opened up for Harper to speed through.

Did Rafa really not plan for Reading in order to prepare better for Marseille? Do we not want to go through to the knockout stages of the CL? Taking off Gerrard and Torres and Carragher was not the -be-all-and-end-all, we have a squad of players to choose from for any position and the standard is they can cover adequately.

"We had the chances but it wasnt happening. Hit the wood work twice, dodgy penalty and one we didnt get. Rafa right to take stevie g off, he would,ve got himself booked or injured. it was Reading,s day. Head up Reds it far from over yet!"

This sums things up for me. A defeat, perhaps some time coming, but we learn from it and move on. a lot is made of Rafa's decisions by the media and that sends others into different directions of complaint. But another comment also mentioned that Rafa rotated for other games and we reaped the results, had Gerrard in superb form particularly, but as soon as it goes wrong it is the sole reason for blame from those who know little to nothing of its analysis.

Why Liverpool lost to Reading is because Reading were more keen for the game than us. I agree that Sissoko is questionable right now, he has lost form, did give away too many fouls for bookings but he had the potential of being a superb player in the same mold as Vieira. But Sissoko did not have the following like Vieira when Wenger brought him over. sissoko will have to earn and change into Sissoko, not Vieira.

My concern is Torres and Gerrard for Marseille. Dirk Kuyt could fit in with Crouch in a 4-4-2, Leiva and Mascherano in the middle, Babel and another on the wings but not Kewell, I think he is better coming off the bench if at all. And Carragher and Hyypia to form an experienced partnership at the back, with Finnan and Riise the full-backs. I have confidence in Rafa, if he doesnt make well the title this season, I think he can do it the next.

There seem to be some animosity recently coinciding with Liverpool's form. I think the reason is we are getting better and better and nearer to strengthening our team for seasons now and others dont like it. We may not play like the other three but results count. Important two games now, let's get through them.



12/09/2007 1:48 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

"The reds had enough chances to win the was just not meant to be. and belive me its a blessing in disguise that the reds lost today. iT WLL GIVE THEM A NICE KICK UP THE BUTT FOR MARSEILLE AND MAN UNITED."

I agree. Wholeheartedly.


12/09/2007 1:50 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whats wrong with you lot? One defeat and its all over?? wah wah wah wah mummy! We are better under big Rafa, challenging for the top and we are going to get there. Rafa may have made mistakes from the game but he will look at it and work out what happened and do something else. But he will get us the title because he bloody well wants it like we do so get off his back and support him like a true fan. If you think you are. We are good for it and anything else just wait and see.

12/09/2007 9:25 pm

Blogger Abdul said...

Skipper, I agree that Benitez has heaped a lot of unnecessary pressure on himself with some of his team selections this season and indeed throughout his tenure at Anfield. The Marseille game has become even more important now as Benitez' needs to justify his squad rotation so far this season and he cannot do that if Liverpool fail to qualify for the latter stages of the CL.

12/10/2007 6:09 pm


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