Liverpool – Has Benitez put you back 5 years?

by admin

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Flair and skill the trick for the Kop ?

When asking supporters the reason behind their team’s ‘misfortune’ this season, most Liverpool fans will angrily mutter one man’s name, Rafael Benitez. The reaction is one connoting such anger and distain, anyone overhearing the conversation unaware of who this ‘Benitez’ was, would naturally assume he was either the banker responsible for the recession or the man guilty of helping to conceive Justin Bieber.

Although perhaps a justified reaction, the list of kop flops ordered in by Rafa is seemingly endless, Mark Gonzalez (4.5m), Fernando Morientez (6.3m), Andrea Dossena (7m), Ryan Babel (11.5m) and Alberto Aquilani (18m) to name but a few, all failed to make their mark at Merseyside. His one saving grace perhaps, the signing of Fernando Torres (20m) from Athletico Madrid, scoring 33goals in all competitions in his debut season and still widely regarded as one of the world’s best forwards despite his current lack of form.

Even with Torres completely fit and firing on all cylinders and the option to lean once more on the weary shoulders of Steven Gerrard, the team looks far from the 2005 outfit that came back in the Champions League final to beat AC Milan on penalties and even further from the victorious 1985-91 side, led by current Manager Kenny Dalglish in his first stint in charge of the club.

In honesty it seems difficult to see how King Kenny can really make the impact he needs with the under-invested squad he has been left with, a legacy passed down from Benitez, that Hodgson was also powerless to do anything about. Liverpool have been linked with an incredible 32 signings in the January window, including the likes of  Luis Saurez, Eljero Elia, Eden Hazard and the highly sought after youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. But are these players really those needed to impact the team and create a turnaround?

Rather than focusing on how to turn things around this season, it seems clear Liverpool need to be dealing with the deeper issue, of how they can build the team to a title-challenging outfit for the future. They need to invest in key signings that they can build a team around, future players to replace the Jamie Carraghers and Steven Gerrards who, unfortunately for Liverpool, are passed their best. Until then King Kenny has a big job on his hands, despite his man-management skills and prestigious history, even he will struggle to inspire quality that doesn’t exist.

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  • Belleamie

    When influential midfielder Graeme Souness left at the end 0f 1984, Liverpool struggled the following season. They finished 5th in the Division One. It finally took TWO midfielders to replace Souness – Jan Molby and Steve McMahon.

    When influential midfielder Xabi Alonso leaves Anfield, Benitez is supposed to somehow win the Premiership !!!

    Benitez’ only mistake, in my opinion, was to have spent 20m on an INJURED player.

    Benitez was a class act, the best Manager we have had since Bob Paisley. When Dalglish took over from Fagan, he was taking over a winning team, with a winning mentality. When Benitez arrived at Anfield, a winning mentality was hardly present under Houllier.

  • Ynik2002

    What absolute rubbish…did the writer ( the term autor certainly doesn’t fit ) actually talk to any of the LFC fans that he quotes here? Don’t give up your day job!!

  • jimbob

    When are you pool fans ever going to stop waxing lyrical about Benitez!? Yes i understand you won a champions league under him which is obviously a good memory, but lets be honest that the team that one that basically only did beacuse every other half decent team in Europe were in a transitional period. Bar a certain few in Arsenal and Milan. Yes it was still a great achievement to win the cup so I’ll give you that but in the 4/5years following that Benitez did sweet fck all for you.

    You say the youth set up is in great shape? Why arent you winning reserve leagues then? You say that the net spend was below average? It way higher that plenty of other teams including united. The fact is that taking net spend out of it Liverpool were only behind City and Chelsea in the overall money spent for the 5years before Benitez left. What is there to show for that? A very good striker and goalie? Gerrard and carra didnt cost anything and that basically makes up all thats good about your team.

    There are others you say that are good like Lucas, skrtel, agger.. do you honestly believe they are good enough for a club like Liverpool? If you take away the attachments you have with these players and your natural instinct to defend them the answer is no. Benitez brought too many of these players in at once and never knew how to blood them through. Bad man management? Isnt that a huge part in being a manager? He was useless at it.

    The fact that you all have the excuse about the american owners clouds the fact that he didnt do a good enough job. His time at Inter showed that. I can understand you lot still loving the chap for bringin the 5th cup but please please stop using every excuse in the book to claim he was a god.


  • Matt


    It’s not about LFC fans ‘waxing lyrical’ about Benitez. We are only resp0nding to this completely unfair criticism.

    I’m all for just letting it go but when you’ve constantly got people coming out printing lies about him you feel compelled to defend him.

  • Alan

    Matt exactly, Benitez’s legacy will live long in the memory with the foundations he has laid for the Academy to produce players for the first team.

  • Jonski

    Jim Bob. I’ll think you find we have recently won the reserves league and currently are top of it now. Anyway how does winning reserve leagues compare with players mobing up to the first team. MOst of our top young players are either in the first team squad or are on loan. Do your reserach before writing such rubbish!

  • David from Merseyside

    Where do you start with this article? I’m really not sure to be honest, poorly researched and full of inaccuracies. Not even going to bother countering them I’ll just let Kenny show you what they’re capable of.

  • John Hughes

    What absolute rubbish.

    Benitez transfer record is generally excellent. He bought players in that could be afforded and sold them on again either for profit, to fund purchases of better players, or because they just didn’t work out.

    Yes there were players that didn’t work out, including Morientes, Josemi, Gonzales et al; but there were plenty more than that that did – Torres, Reina, Alonso (sold for £20million profit), Mascherano, Kuyt, Crouch (sold for £8million profit), Agger, Skrtel (although he’s not having a great season this year), Johnson, Arbeoa, Aurelio.

    Liverpool had a terrible season last season because of the friction between Benitez and Hicks/Gillette. Frankly Benitex didn’t help that, but it was Hicks and Gillette’s greed that was destroying the club from within. £30million interest payments a year is not viable. For the his last season, Benitez could only invest what money he raised from selling players, despite coming second in the league and reaching the quarter finals on the Champions league (for the fourth season in five). Liverpool were in economic recession, and that was not the fault of Benitez – the blame lies squarely with H&G, and with leveraged buyouts.

    Rightly or wrongly, the club dismissed Benitez in the summer. That wouldn’t have been so bad had they installed a suitable replacement, but instead, they hired Roy Hodgson. THAT is the man that has put Liverpool backwards. Thankfully only by one season, now that he has been removed from his post. How long it will take Fenway Sports to help Liverpool recover after H&G remains to be seen.

  • Mikey78

    Rafa Benitez = legend. For Istanbul and the 08-09 season, top scorers and 86 points and some brilliant football. Things were pulled from under his feet during the summer of 09, hence the slip in the table (if you don’t believe me, read up on all that happened).

    This ill informed article is an absolute joke. There is absolutely no research here at all. The first couple of sentences give it away – actually how many and where did you find ‘most’ Liverpool supporters. I think if you visit the stadium, you’ll find Rafa still held in very high regard.

    Was it Rafa’s fault that we had 13 players in the team that went to world cup, but Roy Hodgson chose to impose an ultra-defensive, stand off, route one, 4-4-2 formation on the team. It was an embarrassment. And then to hear sly sports pundits keep blaming Rafa for everything, what a joke. Are they blaming Roy for Fulham’s slip down the table too?

    Honestly mate, use your head, do some research and THINK before writing such utter nonsense again.


    That team could beat anyone.

    How can you also say, Aquilani was a flop. In the games he did play, he was getting back to full fitness. He still had the second highest number of assists in the team after Gerrard. It was not the fans decision to loan him out – and if you check, he is playing well for Juve!

  • Collins

    Seriously?? Did you write this or did you eat stupidity, mediocrity & idiocy then crapped this nonsense? Ask any Liverpool fan?? Do you even know a LFC fan??!
    Rafa did his best & what he thought was right, granted he made mistakes, but who the hell doesn’t…& it costed him his job which he loved, isn’t that enough payment without adding wannabe writers/critics like you into the mix?
    y wasn’t good enough, simple-not his fault, not everyone is meant to lead either, it was the Hicks-Gillet combo that messed things up!! So leave Rafa the hell alone, LFC managers are to respected, not to be commented by the likes of unknowns like you.
    What a shame to all us chaps named ‘Collins’!!!

  • Jimbob

    Jonski- that all you got to say??

    You havnt won’t in 3years yeh not that long but the way you lot go on you’d swear you win it every year! Currently top of a group in the league means nothin btw either! If u havnt realised there aren’t many to compete with! Btw I do realise this article is absolute bull in the wY it’s written and his percieved notion that pool fans hate benitez! I just can’t stand how most (not all) think he’s the best thing that ever happened to the club and actually celebrate coming 2nd! Is that really where u want pool to be at?

  • Matt


    We aren’t celebrating coming 2nd at all. Those that support Benitez are just sensible and realise that finishing 2nd is actually a good effort. We have no right to just expect to win it like in the 70’s and 80’s and some of us just have realistic expectations. Yet we get criticised for this. It’s ludicrous. It’s like those that criticise Wenger for not winning anything for 6 years. He’s still a very good manager it just proves how difficult it is with Utd & Chelsea’s dominance.

    I think all we want is for people to actually recognise that Rafa did a pretty good job instead of constantly mocking him when clearly his results were more than acceptable particularly in Europe where they were OUTSTANDING.

    If Kenny Dalglish can achieve the same as Rafa did over the next 5 seasons then I’ll be more than happy.

  • Jimbob

    Matt – It’s just that the 2nd place thing comes up so much! Of course it’s a good effort yeah but I’m not happy when we come second! I suppose it’s a sign of the times at the mo and that’s fair enough but to me the team he left are a lot worse than the team he had 2-3years into the job! Since by the time he left that was basically the team he had worked towards! I just feel that’s not good enough for Liverpool IMO and especially 7th! I suppose u can’t say it’s all of them but u just meet so many naive pool fans these days..

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