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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Is Rafa ruining Liverpool?

Almost one year ago to the day I wrote an article called "Liverpool and Benitez must now part company". At that time Liverpool were in a terrible run of results - won 0 drawn 4 lost 1 and they ended the season without a trophy, and once again, they did not challenge for the league title.

I felt that Rafa Benitez had lost the confidence of his players by making silly decisions, hence I was amongst many people who thought he should leave.

At the start of 2009, things seemed to have changed. Liverpool were top of the league and the confidence was running high. Everyone thought this could be Liverpool's season.

Then all of a sudden things started going wrong - Gerrard was arrested, Rafa has a rant at Sir Alex, the Americans had not renewed Rafa's contract, the building of the new stadium was left in limbo, Keane was being dropped.

This has all culminated in four consecutive draws which has pushed Liverpool from 1st to 3rd. They are not playing with any confidence, and face the prospect of being pushed to 4th in the league should they not beat Chelsea this Sunday. They could find themselves out of the title race if they lose the game. Then they face Everton in the FA Cup next Weds and Liverpool's season could be in tatters if they lose that one as well.

I had a bad feeling, when Rafa went off on one at Sir Alex, that it would backfire on him There is clearly a power struggle between Rafa and the Americans, and Rafa's treatment of Keane is humiliating to say the least.

I don't know what is ruining Liverpool at the moment, but the more I think about what he has done in the past, and what he has recently done, the more I believe that it is Rafa who is ruining Liverpool.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

He needs to go in June. 5 years to be out of the title race in December or January isn't good enough for LFC.

Rafa has many qualities, but he is also an egomaniac who thinks he always right even when consistently proved wrong. I won't miss him. His football, like Houlliers, is not up to the standard of such a great club.

1/29/2009 3:51 pm

Blogger Terry said...

totally agree..his team selections baffle me and he plays his best player,which is Gerrard just in case benitez is reading this,out of position to play Lucas, who in my opinion has to be the worst liverpool player i've seen playing for LFC..and when he realises things aren't working on the pitch his substitutions are criminal...has to go. Bring in Mourinho

1/29/2009 4:18 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's no doubt about it he has made some very strange decisions over his tenure at LFC and has often confounded us all with what many people see as an unnecessary overly cautious attitude.

Last night I couldn't believe two things. Firstly Xabi was on the bench and replaced by Lucas and secondly Gerrard being subbed.

When we drew with Everton in the league last week he played Keane (who didn't get a kick) and Xabi instead of Mascherano but it didn't work. I'm not saying it can't work and I'd like to see him try it more often.

I'm growing a bit tired of everybody pointing to Robbie Keane's absence as a reason for dropped points though. He's started 23 games this season which is more than enough opportunity and he's barely played decent in any of them (2 or 3 exceptions). It's just not good enough and on form he doesn't deserve a place in the team. It's as simple as that. Noone mentioned his absence when we thumped Newcastle 5-1 without him.

Anyway back to the point. If we were to get rid of Rafa now what would we achieve? We'd be back to square one. Torres, Reina, Alonso, Arbeloa could all possibly want to move on.

Those who say 'it's simply not good enough for LFC' need to get realistic. Football leagues are decided around the world by those who have the most money down to those who have the least. That's pretty much how a table reads at the end of each season in every country. We are 3rd in the 'spending power' table (not counting Man City). We 'usually' end up 3rd in the league and have almost won the champions league on a couple of occasions in addition to winning it in 2005.
So whichever way you look at it Rafa is either 'holding his own' on league position or 'overachieving' in Europe.

You just can't sack the bloke for not overachieving more than he already has just because you don't agree with some of his decisions.

It's hard to take I know but we need to stop overreacting. That's what the media get paid to do so leave them to it.

1/29/2009 4:23 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

I dont know. Rafa leavign is about the last thing I would want but Rafa possibly changing to suit the ideas of most of the fans would seem a better outcome.

We probably have a different starting XI. I would have Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Agger, Insua, Babel, Mascherano/Alonso, Gerrard, Riera, Torres, Keane. Quite simply for me our stringest team. The hard part is either picking 4-5-1 and leaving out a striker for a defensive central midfielder; or 4-4-2 and eliminating a DCM for the striker.

Before I would opt for Mascherano over Alonso but Alonso has been transformed since the season started and I think his positioning is pitting him just about over Mascherano.

I would like the 4-4-2, I want Torres and Keane playing from now until the end of the season. I want Alonso and Gerrard central. I want Babel on either wing, preferably right. Riera left. And from there the 4-2 looks attacking and strategically defensive in itself. The back four as I said earlier.

Something is wrong and I am not sure it has anything to do with football. It's like the karma has defected onto us now from Utd. They have the European and World Player of the Year, clean sheet record, they are the European, domestic and World Champions, and they have a game in hand, a bundle of goals from their last league game and now stand top of the table 2pts clear.

I haven't given up, it is still there for us but Lady Luck needs to smile on us now. Typically, when you call her, it comes around the time a game like Chelsea is next.

We havent lost at Anfield this season, we can beat Chelsea. Can Everton, who held us and Arsenal out, do the same to Man Utd? Crucial weekend.


1/29/2009 4:45 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you start a war please make sure you are up for u are doing,all the talking on the pitch,while we are doing off the pitch.Rafa please please it hurts so much what you are doing to liverpoolfc,we dont even know our best 11.some of our players are talking too much and doing very little on the pitch.

1/29/2009 5:05 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm tired of hearing about money as an excuse for Benitez's negative tactics and obsession with 2nd rate players like Kuyt and Lucas who he wasted over 15 million on. Not to mention 7 million wasted for Dossena, 20 for Keane and 7 on Pennant. Poor signings all.

Arsenal should have won the league last season with least expensive squad of the big 4 and only lost it because they lacked bottle. Wenger had built a team with the quality and skill to win.

Benitez has built a team who avoids defeat at all costs, is boring to watch and has bottled a title race in JANUARY We need a new manager in the summer. Hopefully Mourinho.

1/29/2009 5:37 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...


better kuyt then that lazy babel... can't dribble shit... always lose ball, and always off position...

1/29/2009 7:54 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ye see the thing for me is out of all the top four teams I think on paper our entire squad is the weakest...the fact of the matter is none of the top four's first eleven are world class. My point is the bones of the four teams have world class players but we seem,because of Benitez's mentality and selection, not to play to our strenghts,ie when have you seen Lampard playin' as a right winger or upfront when Drogba and Anelka are on the bench. They play to their strenghts,even injury ridden. Consistency comes with games. The Keane issue is debatable to an extent but having installeed confidence in the player from scoring two goals against West Brom at Anfield what does Benitez do but put him on the bench next game.Consistency in team selection. And to finish off by saying LFC don't have the money to spend,they paid £20 million on Keane and sit him on the bench and compensate playing our best player by playing him out of position with a player who contributes absolutely nothing defensively or going forward in Lucas,who by the way wouldn't even be let watch a match in the other top fours stadium let alone play with them.Very frustrating and it seems that the stubborn man in Benitez is playing himself straight into the palms of his counter parts without us even kicking a ball.

1/29/2009 8:15 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Anon (7.54PM), Kut and Babel started well this season at the beginning. Kuyt does what he is told. Babel has yearned for more regular starts. Babel was being teed up by Arsenal amongst others for a move before we stepped in. I get the feeling he wasn't another Rafa target.

But is it Rafa's fault entirely or partly? Look at the line-up and tell me if anyone had told you it the day befoe, would you have been disgruntled about it:

Reina; Arbeloa, Skrtel, Carragher, Aurelio; Benayoun, Leiva Lucas, Mascherano, Babel; Gerrard, Torres.

The only thing is Leiva ahead of Alonso. No way, Jose. He says Keane has to improve, and he does seeing as he had a good chunk of starts with Torres out. But Keane scores goals and sets them up, and employing him with 6mins of normal time is asking for a miracle. Keane should have been deployed from the 60th minute to encourage another goal, for the one goal is not enough.

Saying that, had Leiva not conceded that penalty, or indeed had Reina kept up his usual save, we wouldn't be moaning so much. Rafa can do what he wants, IMO, as long as its three points at the end of a league game for us. He wants to blunt Leiva, send him on loan.

I like Bruce's words afterwards: "I'm sure Sir Alex Ferguson will be delighted." I wonder if Bruce was looking to do Man Utd a favour more than three a point, much less three. We just need to score early and then add to it in the 1st half, hold a 0-2 or 2-0 lead and use that to maintain ourselves. We need to establish an adavntage early in the game to kick us off.

Can we do that against Chelsea? Certainly. We need to take the fight to them hard and quick, as we did to Man Utd. I just hope Torres and Keane can start together, Keane will work his sockes off.

Now, we can all have a go at Rafa now, but he had things handled well to lead us to the top. The players last night, Leiva excluded, should have wrapped the game up. but we sat back and allowed Wigan back into the game, culminating into the penalty. Had we come at them in the 2nd half as we did in the first, we would have won.


P.S: If anyone has a better starting XI for Sunday to my suggestion some comments above, could they put it up and we can all look at and pass opinion?

1/29/2009 8:58 pm

Blogger Skipper said...

Glad we won today. Let's focus on football again.

2/01/2009 8:14 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

yet another mystifying decision today with the sale of robbie keane back to spurs. this leaves liverpool with only torres up front. kuyt is useless as a striker and ngog is too young and inexperienced.

maybe rafa should pick himself and try to score some goals!

2/02/2009 6:26 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liverpool v Spurs is the last game of the season. What are the odds on Keane scoring to deny Liverpool the title?

2/02/2009 6:28 pm


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