December 22nd, 2009
07:00 PM ET

How long can Liverpool keep faith with Rafa?

Two months ago I wrote a blog about Rafa Benitez's precarious position as Liverpool manager. At the time the Spaniard was bemoaning his lack of squad size and I was posing the question that really he only had himself to blame.

Rafa Benitez must do something quickly or Liverpool's season will implode completely.
Rafa Benitez must do something quickly or Liverpool's season will implode completely.

My posting came just before the Premier League match at home to Manchester United, a game I felt they had no chance of winning.

Well, what did I know...They beat the champions 2-0 at Anfield that day, a result that gave renewed hope to the red half of Merseyside and meant they were still very much in the title race.

Since then, Liverpool have crashed out of the Champions League and the English Coca-Cola Cup and, at the time of writing, they lie a lowly eighth in the Premier League - eight points away from Aston Villa, who occupy the fourth and final Champions League placing.

In a season where a new order is beginning to emerge in English football, with Aston Villa, Tottenham and Manchester City all looking to challenge the established elite, Liverpool are being left behind.

Sure, they can still win the FA Cup and the Europa League, in which the patriotic English bookmakers have laughingly made them favorites ahead of teams like Valencia and Juventus, but does even the most ardent 'Red' believe that will happen?

The truth is that Rafa has had his time at Anfield and has to go, as soon as possible, for this great club to rebuild again.

OK..so the fans have not turned against him, but so what. That is only because they reserve their ire for the unpopular American owners who many believe are at the root cause of Liverpool's problems.

Well, I don't buy that at all. Rafa has had fortunes to spend and they are nowhere nearer ending their 19-year wait for title glory.

So, why hasn't he been sacked yet...Is finance the answer?..Can Liverpool not afford to sack Rafa?..If that is true, then they'll have even less cash when they fail to qualify for the Champions League next season - and a place in the Europa League won't be a certainty either judging by their abject recent 2-0 defeat at Portsmouth.

Things have got to change at Anfield, and quickly. Look at the players Rafa doesn't use...Ryan Babel, Andrei Voronin, Andra Dossena, Phillip Degen...why not sell those four and use the money..whatever it is...to sign a striker. Any striker who can score a few goals. He doesn't have to be a world-beater, just a good back-up for the amazing Fernando Torres.

Benni Mccarthy wants to leave Blackburn..The veteran Kevin Phillips isn't playing at Birmingham....How about Luca Toni, who Bayern Munich want to offload...Are you seriously telling me Luca Toni would not improve Liverpool's squad?..Plus he would provide company for fellow-Italian Alberto Aquilani, who is starting to look like the most expensive mistake in Liverpool's history.

Do some wheeler-dealing Rafa...Do something...But don't pass the buck or blame anybody else, because you have put Liverpool in this mess and - as seems increasingly likely - until you are finally relieved of your duties, only you can get them out of it.

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Filed under:  Football
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Bill

    Benitez could have sold Voronin for 3million in the summer....However, he was told that he would not be able to reinvest any of the money from the sale into new players. It was a matter of physical bodies, hence he didn't leave.

    It's too simplisitic just to say sell 'x' and buy 'y'. Football transfers don't work like that, apart from in Football Manager games.

    Also he won't go because Liverpool because a) the club can't afford to sack him and b) no replacement will want to take over with Benitez's squad and literally no money to spend.

    There is a case to even say Benitez has been overachieving for the past few years. One thing is for certain. He's here to stay until the summer.

    December 22, 2009 at 9:08 pm | Reply
  2. Jason Shields

    "Rafa has had fortunes to spend and they are nowhere nearer ending their 19-year wait for title glory."

    Rafa has spent approximately £292M in the last 5 years, but has recouped approximately £196M over the same period. That makes a net spend of...gee let's be generous and say £100M over 5 years (it's actually closer to £96M) which of course works out at an approximate average of £20M per year. Wow, what a fortune.

    "So, why hasn't he been sacked yet...Is finance the answer?"

    No. The answer is simple. Traditionally, Liverpool Football Club and its fans are patient. We know football. We know class. We know success. We also know that these things are built and earned over time, not achieved overnight. We're also loyal. Sacking Rafa for a short-term run of bad results is not the Liverpool way.

    "Look at the players Rafa doesn't use...Ryan Babel, Andrei Voronin, Andra Dossena, Phillip Degen...why not sell those four..."

    Don't forget that to sell something you also need what is called a "buyer". There doesn't seem to be many of these "buyers" interested given the current financial climate (or the fact that the names mentioned are all squad players at best – and before you say this is Rafa's fault too, see my previous point about £20M per year)

    "Benni Mccarthy wants to leave Blackburn..The veteran Kevin Phillips isn't playing at Birmingham....How about Luca Toni"

    Benni McCarthy? Kevin Phillips? Hang on, give me a minute to catch my breath. Funny stuff. Luca Toni might do a job for us, but at what cost? His wage demands are pretty high if I remember rightly. We have no money, remember?

    The reason that we have no money? Hicks and Gillette. Why buy a football club when you are (in Premier League terms) penniless? I gather that they've sold some US sport franchises recently and allegedly banked in the region of $300M.

    How much of that money finds its way to Liverpool remains to be seen.

    In Rafa we trust. Justice for the '96.

    YNWA

    RedMistDescending.

    December 23, 2009 at 12:04 am | Reply
  3. Bogart

    Good idea! Mark Hughes is available now, isn't he?

    December 23, 2009 at 10:34 am | Reply
  4. Raft Benitez

    how see future a Liverpol.

    December 24, 2009 at 2:01 pm | Reply
  5. M Daroch

    Full credit Jason's comment, and about the post, well it definitely sounds like being written by someone who has no clue of what's currently happening at merseyside presumably because he sits across the pond and gains his knowledge about LFC from likes of Andy Gray.
    Merry Xmas everyone

    December 24, 2009 at 2:43 pm | Reply
  6. Ugo

    Rafa should sell back dat fool Alberto to raise fund for David villa.

    December 26, 2009 at 8:34 am | Reply
  7. Ritesh Kachhwaha

    I do feel Rafa is under considerable pressure but that mainly has been from the outside and there has not been any comments made apart from support for Rafa internally at Liverpool.

    I do feel that Liverpool have probably over succeed in the last few years and the expectations for the club are too high.

    I do not think they have the squad of Manchester United or Chelsea so thinking of winning the league will be very tough.

    Liverpool have the 2 best players in the league with Gerrard and Torres and that is why we came close of winning the league last year.

    Rafa isn't to blame – the reason why we are having so many problems is because Gerrard and Torres have been injured and without those 2 we are simply an average side with a few good players (Reina, Carra, Macharano & Yossi) but the two world class players that we have make us what we are and since they have been out for most of the season we have struggled.

    in Rafa we trust.

    December 28, 2009 at 6:27 pm | Reply
  8. Lucas Odemba

    Every team has ups and downs. Its LFC downtime and we hope to recover in this second season-half. We believe in the team and the manager and very hopeful to bag a cup this season. We never walk alone!

    January 4, 2010 at 11:36 am | Reply
  9. kazakoukou

    Rafa should definately go all he has ever cared about is winning the Champions League and he's knocked out at the group stages he's out of here. And not exactly doing in the Premier League.

    January 5, 2010 at 10:40 pm | Reply
  10. Benedict Okoagbor

    For me is just about season i think his year is not Liverpool season

    I wsh Rafa well

    January 11, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Reply

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