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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Liverpool and Benitez must now part company

Liverpool are in a terrible run of results - won 0 drawn 4 lost 1, and this is not taking into account their poor 1-1 draw with Luton in the FA Cup and embarrassingly conceding 2 goals against Havant & Waterlooville. 2008 has so far been nothing short of a disaster for Liverpool and the fact that the Americans have managed to refinance their borrowing (i.e. they are sticking around) just adds to the woes.

It is clear that Rafa Benitez has lost the confidence of his players. He cannot argue that these poor results are down to injuries not can he suggest that his players are fatigued. Rafa has simply lost it which is a great shame because I really did think he was the right man for the job.

Rafa is still, and he deserves to be, well respected for his Champions League success with Liverpool and for the results he achieved at Valencia. But the fact remains that he has never got Liverpool to challenge for the Premier League title in the 4 seasons that he has been their manager.

This is simply not good enough and the Americans must now start looking for Rafa's replacement to be installed in time for the start of next season.


Anonymous al said...

Rafa has been here 3 and a half years. This season has to be written off with all the off field troubles, which has obviously affected everyone at the club and he needs time to get the team playing well again. Taking us to 2 champion league finals in 3 years is more than anyone could have hoped for when he started at the club. Our youth team has won the last 2 fa Youth cups, so he is getting in youngsters that will be the future of the club. You can't win the premier league overnight unless you have the money of abramovich behind you. Rafa will turn it around, but he can't be judged on this season as far as Im concerned. I know tonights result is a kick in the teeth, but we now have to concentrate on the Sunderland game and get behind the Team.

1/30/2008 10:47 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I look at the regular players at Arsenal, and Toure is the longest serving - he arrived in 2002. The rest of the team have been there 4 seasons or fewer.

Why do I mention this? People talk about giving Rafa more time, but the Arsenal squad is effectively only one year "older" than his. Hence, I say the absolute maximum for Rafa is one more season. If we aren't challenging for the title this time next year, I don't think we ever will under Rafa.

Yes, we won the Champions' League with Benitez, but the only time we have looked to be at the races in the League was when we exited the CL early. We wanted a 20 goals a season striker and now we have him - so we are blaming something else now. The excuses have to end, and the results have to begin.

1/30/2008 11:33 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree keep Rafa play Kuyt as a lone striker even... As an Arsenal supporter these primitive tactics are giving me so much pleasure especially all the fun I can have taking the piss from my Liver'we used to be good' Pool mates!!!!!!!

1/30/2008 11:34 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What top 4 club has failed to win a trophy in the last 2 years? Liverpool? Nope, Arsenal. Wenger is worse than Benitez.

1/31/2008 12:01 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

no doubt I am going to get slated for this but one of the main problems I see at the moment is Gerrard. f you watch Arsenal or Utd attacking they get 4/5 players all moving up the pitch together. As soon as gerrard gets the ball he looks for a 40 or 50 yard pass to the strikers who end up chasing a lost cause with 4 defenders to deal with and no support. so its no wonder we've stopped scoring regularly in the league recently. the players havent got the technical ability of arsenal to play their way up the pitch quickly and attack as a team. major reshuffle needed in the summer me thinks.

1/31/2008 12:02 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

wenger worse?? that's why all arsenal supporters & media are calling for his sacking... get back under the rock u crawled out of you uneducated bin dipping idiot!!!!!! 20 years since an english title Liverpool. mmmmm with these archaic tactics gonna be 20 more.... LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!

1/31/2008 12:05 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

>> What top 4 club has failed to win a trophy in the last 2 years? Liverpool? Nope, Arsenal. Wenger is worse than Benitez.

Oh dear I do hope thats sarcasm. Wenger has built a team to challenge Man U for the EPL in the same time as Rafa with a fraction of the budget. Furthermore he's done it by playing fluent attacking football that is admired and enjoyed by most neutrals, and by myself, a life long Liverpool supporter.

I will always be grateful to Benitez for getting us to 2 CL finals, but I honestly believe that the win in Istanbul was more down to Gerrard and Dudek than Benitez's team selection and/or tactics. I don't doubt his achievement in getting us to the 2 finals but this was down to successful stifling tactics in big, one-off cup games against big clubs.

But this is not enough to get us even close to what most of us really want, the EPL. I think his defensive, safe style of play won't ever do it and I'm not convinced yet that he can build the type of confidently aggressive, swaggering, attacking team that is required.

My reasoning for this is partly the tactics and partly his buys in the attacking 3rd of the pitch. He has made some astute buys in defence and defensive midfield, e.g. Alonso, Reina, Maschareno and Agger.

But his purchases of attacking players have been patchy to say the least. If we can't even challenge for 3rd place after spending £20+ mil on Torres, 11 mil for Babel and 4 mill on Benayoun (that's almost 40 million this year on our front line), then we are in deep doo-doos. This is not even taking into account the money spent in previous years on Morientes (6 mill), Bellamy (6.5 mill), Kuyt (10 mill) and Crouch (7 mill). Other cheaper Benitez attacking buys/freebies: Gonzales, Leto and Voronin.

All in all that's about 70 million pounds worth of attacking talent of which the only successes are, in my opinion, Torres and Babel. Thats a lot of money to spend on a forward line that can only score 2 goals against West Ham, Middlesborough, Wigan (with Titus Bramble in defence ffs!) and Man City.

I would give him to the end of the season and for my confidence to be restored in him enough to give him another season, I would want to see a big improvement in the team's league performance, never mind the cups.

1/31/2008 1:14 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an ardent liverpool fan and i want to keep faith in Rafa...however the results now are disappointing and I am so sickened to the bones by on field and off field reports. Liverpool really is in need of a over haul just like my 2nd hand Ford. :(

1/31/2008 1:53 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The post about looking at Arsenal four years ago misses the difference between Arsenal and Liverpool. If you look back at Arsenal of four years ago, they were saying - wait until Fabragas and Clichy and van Persie mature, and we will be something very special.

Who is the Liverpool player that is ready to blossom? He does not exist, at least not like he did on Arsenal four years ago. Rafa does not have a team that can contend for the title, and there does not seem to be a route to get there. He cannot develop like Wenger or spend like Fergie or Roman. LFC are not on a road to greatness at the moment.

1/31/2008 4:02 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

get a new owner, sell all the bloody players except torres . Rotate the bloody coach for rotating the players ....and hopefully we will end up top two.

1/31/2008 4:32 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the only great thing about LFC is that they have great FANS. Thats about it. Everything else is shiiitee. nuff said.

1/31/2008 4:42 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

OK, it is very frustrating. We should have won last night because we are better than West Ham, we have players who can play good football but currently morale or confidence is hammered, for whatever reason. It has been ugly from the start where the two LFC personnel in question aired their views and the reverberations have hardly stopped since.

But in the side of the world with big economical value, football has generated into a money-hypened culture and where there is money there has to have been results. Wenger has spoken about the atmosphere at Anfield, Ferguson said players will not be attracted to Anfield, the two of them should have kept diplomatic or quiet.

But the biggest and best answer to provide to the public is not forthcoming, that of a regular winning pattern. And ultimately that task comes down to Rafa Benitez. We aimed for success and he has brought that briefly, now we aim for the title because we believe we are rebuilding the focus of the club in that direction. To keep with the top three is quite simply to keep winning, particularly when they dont.

I still believe we can win the title under Benitez but it's for him to change the core of his strategy, caution to the wind and play his best 11 regularly. It's what others have been saying for so long an dis the only thing he does not do regularly.

Also quality players need to come in, while others need to step up. Kuyt and Voronin have turned disappointing, more is required from Pennant and Riise, Carragher needs to shape up and avoid such contact at the risk of penalties which finally went against him last night, release the likes of Kewell, play Babel or Crouch regularly.

Mr Hicks has hit a very sad note like an idiot, confirming his talks with Klinsmann, and I do not understand the reason for such an admission other than to frighten Benitez but he didn't consider the reaction or devotion of the fans. Benitez is not far from a title challenging side, he is just far from understanding it from an English perspective.


1/31/2008 8:46 am

Blogger Skipper said...

Rafa is solely responsible for Liverpool's slump.

I believe he has a strong enough squad to be challenging this year. Sadly, his philosophy of resting players, tinkering with tactics so that they are strong at the end of the season has meant that we have had series of disappointing results. He plays players out of position, experiments with 4-3-3 with Crouch, Voronin and Kuyt up top, he plays Kuyt on the wing. I could go on. Poor Kuyt has probably not seen the net bulge in training either, Rafa has made him so busy running around like a headless chicken.

I can�t see Rafa at Liverpool beyond this season.

1/31/2008 11:25 am

Blogger Abdul said...

Liverpool's game in hand against West Ham will define their season in my opinion. If they win, I can see them putting a decent run together and finishing in fourth place above Everton.

However, if they lose or draw, it will become a right royal scrap with even West Ham becoming involved in the race for fourth place. Liverpool's league season may unravel at an even more alarming level.

1/31/2008 2:16 pm

Blogger SKG said...

17 points behind in 08 and counting
21 points behind the winners in 07
09 points behind the winners in 06
37 points behind the winners in 05
30 points behind the winners in 04
19 points behind the winners in 03
07 points behind the winners in 02
11 points behind the winners in 01
24 points behind the winners in 00

not good enough.

1/31/2008 9:14 pm

Anonymous Nturtle said...

Well..I'll not be betting that he is the next manager to go...BUT...if the club's execs had any sense, they'd see out the rest of the season. What manager is out there that is available and fixes ALL the problems that have been highlighted so far? If it is about players, well...transfer deadline has passed for January. He's got what he's got and whoever comes in will only have the same.

So...we are down to tactics, player use, and formation, things Rafa CAN change and I'm sure he's not stupid, else he would not be where he is now. Dont forget, there ARE a whole TEAM of coaching staff at Liverpool...what advice are THEY giving him? If a new manager came in...would they not get the SAME advice?

We are often critics of teams that don't do well, and laud teams that have been doing well, but it's April and the end of the season that we'll really see how teams have improved or fallen behind for the season - I think Liverpool have some quality, but right now...the mentality is crap, the play is not brave, the supporters are not supporting, so it's going to take more than Gerrard himself to sort things out. If they can figure out how to play as a team again, push forward and have the best players on regularly...they might just make the Champs league playoffs...

2/01/2008 1:45 am

Blogger alex butterfield said...

Yes we've stuttered to a woeful 4 from 15, but we are still in touch with 4th spot.

Although we've been caught by a whole host of pretenders to that Champions League berth, we are still favourites to take it.

The ownership wrangle is frustrating, wouldn't it be nice if G&H were more like Randy Lerner? and I'm sure it'll force Benitez out - but I don't think that Rafa has lost it. He's never played the formation or line-up people expect and he's no different now.

I guess that means he's still got it or he never had it, his record would suggest the former.

We need to replace mediocre players with quality, Mascherano in - Sissoko out is one good step, as was Bellamy out - Torres in. He's building a side and I hope he's given more time by whoever ends up in charge.

I've written an article on my blog at

I hope you guys find it interesting.

2/01/2008 10:23 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

Thanks, Alex, I'll take a peek.


2/01/2008 12:18 pm


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