Alex Ferguson will be singing the praises of Manchester City today after Liverpool stuttered, spluttered and failed to find the winning goal they needed to have any chance of winning the title. From a fantastic position before Christmas, Liverpool have thrown point after point away to allow Manchester United to catch them up, draw level and now pull too far away to catch.
7 points with 12 games to go may not seem too far a distance for Liverpool, but honestly, can you see United losing 3 games whilst Liverpool keep winning. It’s never going to happen and Ferguson has been proved right when he questioned if Liverpool had the experience and stomach for a consistent title challenge in January. Benitez has seen his side falter and his stubborn insistence on playing two defensive midfielders, even in home games, has cost them any hope of the title. Why is he obsessed with playing Lucas? I cannot understand his inclusion in the Liverpool starting line up, especially with the attack minded Babel on the bench.
It’s a decision that confuses me when they need to win games. Lucas is never going to offer anything, his passing was its usual dreadful range of over hit passes, under hit balls, awful first touches and safe sideways passing. Why is he in there rather than a more attacking midfielder? For some reason, Benitez doesn’t seem to come under anywhere near the level of criticism for his transfer dealings that he should. How much money has he wasted in his 5 years, £100 million? £150 million? Liverpool’s two most consistent players, Gerrard and Carragher, in his tenure were already there, Torres has simply been injured too many times this season and the cover he has for him simply cannot cope with the pressure of a title challenge. Selling Robbie Keane after treating him like a diseased leper, becomes a worse decision every time Liverpool drop points or fetch on David N’gog to try and salvage something.Peter Crouch, Jermaine Pennant, Scott Carson, Craig Bellamy, Mark Rodriquez, Fernando Morientes, Gabriel Paletta, Jan Krompkamp and Mo Sissiko have all been bought and sold under Benitez. The side cry out for a decent left back, but he sold their best one to Blackburn Rovers, there is no quality cover for Gerrard and Torres. The reserve side is full of cheap South American imports that won’t push themselves in to the first team. Lucas cost £6 million. That alone is a travesty.
After 3 years of not winning anything after 2 of the luckiest cup final wins in the history of football ( The 2005 Champions League and the 2006 F.A. Cup) you have to question his future as manager of Liverpool. Why should he be offered a new contract? How many points will Liverpool finish behind Manchester United, if they even manage to hold on to second, which is no guarentee with Chelsea and Aston Villa still breathing down their necks. What excuses will we be given next? It’s always someone else’s fault that Liverpool don’t win games and his childish outbursts are frankly absurd. He picks the team, chooses the tactics, plays midfielders up front, centre halves at right back and strikers on the wing. Is Alex Ferguson brainwashing him to pick such unbalanced sides?
Does he honestly believe that his defensive strangulation of football can deliver another Champions League? Will he try to suffocate Real Madrid at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night, a side transformed under Juande Ramos since he was parachuted in to save their season in January. 8 wins on the trot have seen Madrid eat in to Barcelona’s lead, cutting it from 12 points to 7 and perhaps the Champions League is more realistic proposition for Madrid than it is for Liverpool. A bad result on Wednesday night will be the end of Liverpools season that promised so much 6 weeks ago to be over before the end of February. They will be fortunate to finish 10 points behind Manchester United and lucky if they get anywhere near the Champions League final. Benitez has thrown the Premiership title away and if Liverpool want to win it, they need a new manager.