Time to end the Rafa-lution

by Gavin Caney

Friday, March 26th, 2010

As another manager, this time Tony Mowbray, bites the dust you can be forgiven for thinking that Rafa Benitez might actually be a cat. After all the man seems to have had as many lives. On countless occassions he has been written off and seemingly on his way out of Anfield yet much to the disdain of many he still remains. If he’d have lost the whole Kop he may have been sacked already but it’s a credit to the Liverpool supporters that they have stood behind him. In my eyes they should now let him walk alone.

Liverpool have regressed this season after many expected them to be pushing for the title. Last year showed promise and a new belief that the title may finally return to Merseyside after years spent firmly in the shadow of their bitter rivals up the M62. Torres and Gerrard were electric and hopes were high that the Holy Grail could finally be claimed by Benitez. Yet all them dreams have evaporated as this season has spiralled out of control.

Out of the Champions League. Out of the F.A Cup. Out of the Premier League title race. They, Rafa, are some facts. It’s also looking very unlikely that his side will squeak through the Champions League backdoor. Tottenham are four points clear with a game in hand. Man City and Aston Villa, equally inconsistent at the moment, are still fighting for fourth while Everton are making a brave late dash. Had Moyes’ had his troops fit all season they may have even pipped their neighbours. That would have certainly finished the Spaniard off. Guaranteed 4th place. Who were you kidding?

Should Manchester United win their 19th title in May then major bragging rights will be well and truly taken. Liverpool may have reigned supreme in Europe in the past but United have reached the last two finals and could still make a third this time around. The power in English football has certainly shifted since the Premier League began and Liverpool have been left behind. A club that spends so long living in the past should start think about the future.

Rafa Benitez is not the man to bring the title to Anfield. He’s been in English football long enough now to have adapted. He’s not new to this job or the country. Other managers have been given less time and arguably deserved longer. Some of his signings have been truly awful. There have been off-field problems at Anfield but Sir Alex and Carlo Ancelotti keep plugging away with countless issues at their end. Arsene Wenger has had much less to spend than Rafa in the last 5 years and he’s still making a fist of it the title race. Benitez is 18 points off the pace – simply not good enough for a club like Liverpool.

After his side went 2-1 down at Old Trafford last Sunday you would have expected Benitez to have made changes. Staring  down the barrel of defeat he continued to play with two holding midfielders. Where was the bravery? The inspiration? The ideas? Non-existant. He’s failed to get the best out of Steven Gerrard this season who has tried his upmost but failed to make a similar impact to the previous campaign. Fernando Torres has also been injured which has hardly helped and many would argue that United would struggle without Rooney and Chelsea without Drogba. Yet United still have Owen and Berbatov to call upon. Chelsea, Anelka and Kalou. Liverpool are left with David N’gog, a player who has improved ten-fold but is never going to be good enough.

Not good enough is a phrase that suits Rafa Benitez perfectly. With Real Madrid keen on him and Jose Mourinho eyeing up an English return it may be best for Liverpool to cut their losses. Benitez has had plenty of time to get it right and has had some massive highs. Yet this season has been full of horrible lows. With nobody taking control of a topsy-turvy season this could have been Benitez’ best chance to get it right. He hasn’t and for that reason I believe Rafa’s time at Anfield should finally be up this summer.

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  • samuel charles

    its time to remove you form your job.
    who the hell are you, your a tin pot reporter on a tin pot web page, and i cant even think how i came across your rubbish.

    Im a fairly good salesmen at a good firm but i tell you now, its like me thinking i can go up the best salesmen in the world and tell him, oh,, you have to go, WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP.

    HOW THE HELL ARE YOU TO TALK OF RAFA LIKE THIS, do you go the match, i do, do you know about stats and facts, i do, do you know the real story that is going on the club, er i do, but it sounds like you naff all.

    i dont want you talking about our club or rafa when you show next to no insight or fact.

    I tell you now, liverpool will not be getting that prick jose, we just can not even think about it, oh and another thing if rafa is so bad why is that david silva wanted to sign in the summer only for the conmen who run the club, dump that deal! you didnt know that did you.

    Tell you more, mascherano would not stay around before a world cup on a new 4 year deal if rafa was so dreadfull would he, or reina who will sign a 6 year lifetime deal in the next month, i suggest you not write about my great club any more, if not i will contact the club and talk to them about your rubbish you write. end off.

  • Alan

    Here’s hoping he’s gone in June but so many Liverpool supporters are obsessed with blind loyalty to managers who aren’t up to the task that everything is delayed at Anfield.

    They challenged for the league once in 5 years under Houllier and once in 6 years under Benitez yet many fans still live in fantasy land that time is always the answer for a manager. Time doesn’t matter if the manager keeps making the same mistakes over and over again and Benitez is a master at this. Kuyt and Lucas anyone?

  • Mike

    I’m not sure why I am replying to the plonker who wrote this but anyway here’s a couple of things worth considering.

    You mention Wenger is doing ok – when since Rafa arrived Rafa has finished higher 3 times out of 6 and Wenger has 1 trophy in 5 years. He’s been given time to recover from selling Viera, time to build a new squad built on youth. Rafa has only instigated a similar policy around 18 months ago – so we have yet to see the fruits of this, but the signs are promising – Nemeth & Kelly for example.

    The two holding midfielders is a bit of a myth. Yes on paper it looks that way, but in reality Lucas plays in a midfield 4 a lot of the time, with Mascherano just behind. Rafa can’t win here – a few seasons ago it was rotation, now this. I seem to remember Mourinho doing ok with a similar formation!!!

    The owners. Now wouldn’t you, if you owned a football club that had just finished 2nd, throw some money at it to make them finish 1st. We need some players with the quality of Gerrard and Torres. Rafa has often been forced to buy, third choice ‘cheaper’ players – in effect taking a gamble. There was no money forthcoming last season – players that came in were due to money owed to Liverpool (Johnson) and from the Xabi sale. So the owners stumped up a big fat zero for new players. Hardly Rafa’s fault. The word is, there is a summer of free transfers and sell to buy scenario’s in the offing.

    Be careful what you wish for! So Rafa goes – who is going to come in? Some fans claim to want Mourinho, others more astonishingly cite Dalglish. The reality is, the Americans have tested the water with a couple of names…… Mark Hughes and Alex McCleish. I mean come on. Are they serious? I mean could you imagine what would happen. The other name I cannot even consider seriously is Klinsmann – if that ever happened, it would be game over. The reality is that Liverpool cannot afford Mourinho – let alone his transfer budget. The second point is, he plays functional football rather than attractive.

    Personally, I think Rafa closing the gap so far he is allowed one bad season. He should (and the players themselves) learn a lot this year. We have some games against mid table sides to come whereas other top 4 pretenders have games against the top 3 to come – we’ll see what happens. If we don’t make top 4, so be it, but we will be back and can watch as whoever does gets knocked straight out (e.g. Everton in 2005). So, I think the manager should stay so we can see the fruits of his youth policy in a couple of years and to see how we start next season being motivated by the poor showing this season.

    And just a final thought about Referees, beachballs, own goals and penalties. I believe Utd have benefitted from 10 own goals this year and numerous penalties thanks to Howard Webb. Liverpool have had 2 awarded – and noticably many definite penalties denied including 2 against Arsenal.

  • Johno

    what the hell is wrong with Liverpool fans?

    You are more deluded than the idiots who take part in Britain’s Got Talent.

    What do you mean there’s been no money? What sort of excuse is that? You spent 40 m this season, Everton could buy a whole team for that!

    Some of the football Rafa dishes up is an absolute disgrace. Setting his teams up not to lose will not win you trophies.

    Rafa is still living off the Champions League victory.

    His mind games back fire every time

    Paying 20 m for a player who never plays, yet when he does he looks like a decent player, the kind of creative spark you’ve been missing all season.

    I would actually like to see Steven Gerrard go to Real Madrid, then we can really see what an over rated he really is too!

    As for Torres, the guy is class and Rafa must take some credit for turning him into the worlds best all round striker, only problem is can you really keep him?

  • Matt

    Johno: What are you on about. Keep your mouth shut to avoid revealing yourself as an idiot.

    Spent 40m, ok. And how much did we bring in through sales? If do the math, Rafas net spend this summer was under 1m. Let me help you: Buys minus sales equals Net spend.

    How the hell are you supposed to make a team stronger when you always have to replace talent rather than adding to it?


  • Johno

    Arsenal FC – now you do the math Matt Says

  • Mike

    The point I made earlier is not that there has been no money – we got to second and top scorers last year with the help of that money – but we need some more to get to the top, as Utd, Chelski and Arsenal all improve every year. If Fergie finished second, what would he do, improve the squad. Rafa hasn’t been able to.

    Who cares if David Moyes can buy a team for 40M – the football he plays is terrible, hit and hope stuff. Everton have been sorely shown up in the FA cup final recently and in europe this season. Long ball stuff, abysmal. Moyes loves his 4-5-1 and won’t change – the fans love it when they’re winning, but on a bad run you check out the views when they are slating him for playing one striker.

  • Scaramanger


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