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Benitez is No Longer The Right Man for Liverpool

Despite Liverpool’s impressive turnaround in their Champions League group and an unbeaten record in the league until their recent losses against Reading and Man United, Liverpool has given their fans much more hope this season of lifting the Premier League title than in previous years.

However, the problem with Liverpool is that they’ve been much too inconsistent and have too many severe weaknesses in their side.

These are problems that Benitez was aware of last season but instead of correcting the issues during the summer by buying players to fit those slots, he (and Liverpool fans) now have to wait until the January transfer window for hopes of fixing the challenges.

Benitez’s dependence on playing Dirk Kuyt has hurt the Spaniard this season. It should be the Dutch striker, not Peter Crouch, that needs to be offloaded in the January transfer window. Kuyt, despite his determination, is severely lacking in the skills to be a prolific striker. And when you see him up alongside Fernando Torres, you can see how much more skillful Torres is in comparison to Kuyt.

Riise is another player who has had a terrible season thus far.

Harry Kewell isn’t ready for first team football. His pace and weight is still not what they need to be to succeed at a Premiership level again.

Ryan Babel shows flashes of brilliance but always seems to mess up the last few crucial steps of his move. With time, Babel will flourish at Anfield.

Momo Sissoko isn’t half the player he used to be and is making so many mistakes for Liverpool that he’s a liability on the pitch for the club.

Overall, Liverpool looks like a team that is missing a few jigsaw pieces. When Daniel Agger returns, the Reds will be sound at the back in front of the excellent keeper Reina. But it’s up front and in midfield where Benitez needs the most amount of help. Maybe he’s taking on more than he can chew after assistant manager Pako Ayestaran left Anfield recently?

For Liverpool fans, the holes in the side are too big to fix in a short amount of time to enable them to win the Premier League title this season. Yet again, it’s time to rebuild for Liverpool which makes me wonder whether Benitez is actually the right man for the job or not.

I’m now convinced that the Reds need someone to replace Rafa Benitez. They need a manager who can take them to the next level. Sure, Rafa has won the Champions League trophy for Liverpool and almost won a second one earlier this spring, but the same mistakes that Benitez commits are being repeated over and over again.

Whether you love or hate Rafa Benitez, I have to think that someone like Jose Mourinho could have achieved much more at Liverpool than Benitez did. Sure, Rafa won Liverpool a Champions League trophy that Mourinho may have been unable to achieve at Anfield, but Liverpool would be a top three side now if Mourinho was in charge. He would have spent his money more wisely. He would have fixed the holes that have plagued Liverpool for too long.

Instead it sounds like Gillette and Hicks have gone too soft and given Benitez more rope. The question now is when will the American owners decide enough is enough and could it be as early as this next summer?

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  1. Anonymous

    December 19, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    Go fuck yourself little Gaffer. Your blog sucks

  2. MJ

    December 19, 2007 at 11:17 am

    Yes he has, but not in the same year as those other two competitions. Houllier win all five of those trophies in the same year (2001) and that was my point.

    Sorry if I was a bit misleading there.

  3. Anonymous

    December 19, 2007 at 11:09 am

    mj, Rafa has also won the UEFA Super Cup and Community Shield.

  4. MJ

    December 19, 2007 at 9:02 am

    Before Rafa joined, you won a version of the treble under Gerard Houllier in 2001 (FA Cup, Carling Cup, UEFA Cup) as well as the UEFA Super Cup and Community Shield. Five trophies in one year, not too shabby.

    Since then, it’s been one Champions League and an FA Cup in all the time Rafa has been at Liverpool.

  5. BGreen

    December 19, 2007 at 2:53 am

    Records against top 3 are bad… True.. But from what I’ve seen. Rafa has tried to win matches with top 3 all the times… Rafa usually go attacking more than defending when meeting those top 3. And despite of bad results, the form is getting better each year passing by. I prefer to see progress like this rather than trying to defend and counter attack all the times to get only immediate results. If we cannot successfully go attacking on those top 3, we’ll never be one of them. So I’ll say I’ll believe in Rafa, and I’ll be patient and give him time like most of other true Liverpool fans. Remember midfielders we have before Rafa joined Liverpool? When is the last time we can win with a big margin for more than a few matches in one season? You seem to forget where we were before Rafa joined.

  6. The Gaffer

    December 18, 2007 at 8:55 pm

    Ladies and gents,

    I call it as I see it and I have no axe to grind against Liverpool. Some of my family still live in the city, not far from Walton Breck Road.

    But I prefer to be impartial since I don’t support any Premier League teams. If you’ve been following me long enough, you’ll know I don’t despise Liverpool FC.

    In fact, I probably focus on the Reds too much (to the detriment of other clubs). A perfect example of this is that the last 3 EPL Talk Podcast episodes have featured Liverpool fans. This wasn’t planned, but it’s obvious that I have nothing against the Reds or their fans.

    The Gaffer

  7. John

    December 18, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    is anyone surprised this article is here? the gaffer or whatever is prob laughing as his trash gets his blog a lot of hits from this stuff

    This site has always had a clear anti liverpool slat. Its clear “The Gaffer” is no fan of liverpool. Past comments and barbs prove that. Whats sad is he has to resort to putting up something totally stupid like Rafa has to go just so he can get hits on his blog. No respectable Footie site would post this trash

  8. Jason

    December 18, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    What a pile of crap. this site has turned into total garbage

  9. Anonymous

    December 18, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    Rafa’s record against the “big three” PLAYED 21 WON 3 DRAWN 2 LOST 16

    11 points out of 63 – that tells its own story!

    It shows that it has nothing to do with the quality of players that
    Rafa has been moaning about but Rafa’s lack of premier league expertise
    when it comes to the big premier league teams – Liverpool will be nothing
    but a cup team under Rafa – is that a good thing? Rafa will always be
    respected for his Champions league success but we will never win the
    premier league if we cant beat the top three teams.

    Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea 19-08-2007
    Liverpool 2-0 Chelsea 20-01-2007
    Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool 17-09-2006
    Chelsea 2-0 Liverpool 05-02-2006
    Liverpool 1-4 Chelsea 02-10-2005
    Liverpool 2-3 Chelsea 27-02-2005
    Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool 03-10-2004

    P 7 W 1 D 1 L 5

    Liverpool 0-1 Man United 16-12-2007
    Liverpool 0-1 Man United 03-03-2007
    Man United 2-0 Liverpool 22-10-2006
    ManUnited 1-0 Liverpool 22-01-2006
    Liverpool 0-0 MancUnited 18-09-2005
    Liverpool 0-1 Man United 15-01-2005
    ManUnited 2-1 Liverpool 20-09-2004

    P 7 W 0 D 1 L 6

    Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal 28-10-2007
    Liverpool 4-1 Arsenal 31-03-2007
    Arsenal 3-0 Liverpool 12-11-2006
    Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool 12-03-2006
    Liverpool 1-0 Arsenal 14-02-2006
    Arsenal 3-1 Liverpool 08-05-2005
    Liverpool 2-1 Arsenal 28-11-2004

    P 7 W 2 D 1 L 4


  10. MJ

    December 18, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    No statesidescouser, we were talking about money Rafa has spent on players since he’s been at Liverpool and how outrageous the prices he’s gotten these players for compared to their contributions has been.

    Manchester United wasn’t the point of this original discussion and for further reference, they’re not my favorite team. They’ve spent a lot of money on Hargreaves, Tevez, Anderson, Nani, etc., but they’ve also gotten a lot more out of those players than Liverpool got for their money. United spent $34 million on Hargreaves, $34 million on Anderson, and $28 million on Nani. The difference is that Nani and Anderson are younger and have much more upside than anyone Liverpool bought with the exception of Torres, and as I said before, Hargreaves has proven his worth with the way he shut down Gerrard and does the same to other teams’ attacking midfielders, like Lampard at Chelsea. Tevez and Rooney are the best striking duo in the Premiership and in Europe, while Torres has been a bit injury-prone and was hampered by Rafa’s rotation policy for the first part of the season.

    Look, I’m not getting into it with you comparing Manchester United to Liverpool, the evidence lies in the standings where United are ahead and went undefeated in the Champions League group stage. The point of Chris’ article was how Rafa is no longer the right man for Liverpool, and he’s correct in saying this. Mourinho may well be Liverpool’s next manager come this summer, because if Rafa doesn’t win the Champions League, he’s on his way out.

    All I’m asking you to do is to take off your Liverpool blinders and look at the club from a neutral perspective. They’ve spent a lot of money and not gotten the results; Manchester United and Chelsea spent money as well, but at least they’ve won with the players they’ve gotten for that money and United look good to win the double this season. Liverpool need a more competent Premiership manager; Rafa is top-quality in Europe but that shouldn’t be the team’s goal, they haven’t won the league since ’89-’90.

  11. Simon Burke

    December 18, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    I doubt Maurinho would come in because whereas it would be audacious I dont think the fans would want him. He is going to end up at Milan or one of the Spanish sides I expect though he’s not popular in Spain really.
    I can see Rafa leaving of his own accord this Summer – lets see what actually happens with transfers this coming window. Maybe Rafa should just coach what he has…. daft thought I know 🙂

  12. Simon Burke

    December 18, 2007 at 11:59 am

    I have to agree here with MJ – Liverpool have had loads of money to spend – you may indeed have made good money on players sold but you have still spent a lot and bought in a lot of talent to replace those that Benitez sold.
    This is very much his team now and your performance at home was poor this weekend and you were poor at home against Arsenal who you held to a draw but should have lost to. Chelsea you should have beaten but for all the talk of bad reffing it has to be said you got that back when you robbed Everton. I will give you 3 for Chelsea but I will take all three off you for Everton.
    Rafa is counting the cost of the draws with Portsmouth and Birmingham and his capitulation v Reading where he took off his best 3 players.
    As for money, you cite United but look at Wenger, he has made money this year, bought in just 2 players this Summer and we are top. (Yes I am a gooner and I like Liverpool as I hate Chelsea and United). Wenger has shown by good tactics and scouting that money isn’t necessarily everything. Benitez has had lots of money and has a huge squad yet he can’t maintain a serious title run it seems. I haven’t written you all yet but I think you are too brittle to put together the 10 game winning streak it will now take. For that matter I think Arsenal are too but we won’t need such a streak thankfully as we are still top.
    As for CL – I think it’s tough to win no question and you have beaten some great teams but it’s easier to win a cup than a league. If the CL was a true league I think you’d be found out. Instead you do very well in two-off games where your fanatical support raises your team to great heights. Clearly though over the course of the season you are getting found out too often. Benayoun and Kuyt arent quite of the standard to play against United – you are players short but Rafa bought both of them so is it Rafa’s fault? Can you blame injuries – Arsenal have missed Van Persie/Hleb and Fabregas and we are still just about top. United missed Ronaldo and Rooney early on but they are still there at the top. You have enough players to cover I feel as your squad is enormous. If anything it may be too big and players are suffering as a result. I wouldn’t say Rafa out but at the same time you can’t make the case that he has brought Premiership success. It really is about time Liverpool seriously challenged – you are good enough.

  13. StatesideScouser

    December 18, 2007 at 11:43 am

    but you haven’t proven me wrong yet MJ.

    You’ve listed money spent on players (including one from 3 years ago when we were apparently talking about recent spending), but neglected to include the money we made off selling Bellamy, Cisse, Garcia etc.

    Now do the math on that and compare it to the $100 mil Man U spent on 3 players this past summer.

    Want to list the price paid for Nani, Anderson, Hargreaves …. hmmm and you haven’t paid for Tevez yet have you ?

  14. MJ

    December 18, 2007 at 11:11 am

    Yes, exorbitant sums of money.

    Fernando Torres: $40.6 million
    Ryan Babel: $23 million (hasn’t been able to crack the starting XI consistently)
    Yossi Benayoun: $8 million
    Lucas Leiva: $16 million (he’s played in four matches this year, FOUR)
    Daniel Agger: $12 million (three seasons ago)
    Javier Mascherano: close to $40 million if they’re going to make that deal permanent, which they will.

    In terms of value for money, Liverpool haven’t gotten what they paid for. Manchester United spent a lot of money on Nani, Anderson, and Hargreaves but have gotten good returns on those players. If you’ll notice, it was Anderson and Hargreaves who completely neutralized Gerrard and Torres on Sunday.

    The CL is the luck of the draw!!! The group you get drawn into is simply luck, it comes out of a pot. There are things like country protection and seeding, but the other teams in the pot are drawn at random. Liverpool barely managed to get out of the easiest group in this year’s Champions League. Who you play in the Round of 16 and Rounds of 8 and 4 is also just the luck of the draw. In the Round of 16, there’s country protection and seeding, but teams have a possible 4 or 5 or 6 opponents, whatever the number is, and then your opponent is randomly selected. It’s the same way in the Rounds of 8 and 4, your opponent is picked from a pot. It’s just luck who you draw; you may get an easier graw, you may get a tougher draw, whatever, the point is it’s all chance.

    Yes, statesidescouser, I will keep up my good work actually. I couldn’t care less if you insulted me, your opinion means nothing to me and I know that what I do is good, especially for my age. It shows how immature and childish you are when you resort to personal attacks like that. Keep responding with your arguments and I will continute to prove you wrong each and every time.

  15. Anonymous

    December 18, 2007 at 11:01 am

    It takes time to build a team unless you have the money Chelsea have. Also, Rafa in the last couple of years has bought alot of young players for the future. This article is pretty much to be expected on this blog.

    As for this ignorant comment “CL is just the luck of the draw”. Last season we beat Barcelona (really lucky to draw the previous Champions) & Chelsea. In 2005 we beat Juventus, Chelsea & AC Milan, it seems like we are real lucky getting the best teams in Europe.

  16. charlie

    December 18, 2007 at 10:32 am

    Wow Gaffer, you certainly lit a fuse with this one! *LMAO!*

    Poor little scousers… You got hit with several bricks this week and as far as The Prem goes you aren’t singing anymore. (Liverpool’s Champions League exit comes in the first knockout round, by the way.)

    I can understand Pool fans’ loyalty to Benitez, even if it is somewhat blind. I found lim peh’s post particularly amusing (I do give him massive credit though for actually putting a name on his post, unlike the other blind losers). “We have big holes??? We need three class signings to remove ManU from the top.” I certainly hope you aren’t thinking this is going to happen in the January window. If so, here’s a news flash: It Ain’t.

    I agree Rafa has to finish the campaign. But I also know owners and boards don’t care what managers did two years ago, they care what they did in the current season. If you doubt this, ask Martin Jol.

  17. StatesideScouser

    December 18, 2007 at 10:21 am

    “exorbitant sums of money” MJ ?

    Don’t know what your sources are for this statement mate, but it is grossly wrong.

    Fact. Man Utd spent more this past summer than Liverpool.

    “CL is just the luck of the draw”

    another brilliant statement from an obviously extremely knowledgeable 18yr old. Keep up the good work there son.

  18. MJ

    December 18, 2007 at 9:58 am

    Wow, it looks like the whole Scouser community has revealed themselves. They say that Arsenal’s supporters follow Wenger religiously, but from the response to this post I’d say Liverpool’s supporters worship at the feet of Rafa Benitez, who, despite exorbitant sums of money handed to him and spent on the players of his choosing, has still failed to win the Premiership.

    I don’t think there’s any excuses left for Rafa. This is HIS team now; these are all HIS players and there’s no holdovers from the Houllier era that he didn’t want. He’s spent a large amount of money to shape the roster in the way he wanted to, and you would think that they’d be able to compete for a Premiership title and not just the Champions League. As I’ve said before, the CL is just the luck of the draw and you just have to score more goals over two legs, not necessarily be the better team. The PL is a test of endurance and will and over 38 games, separates the wannabes from the true contenders. Under Rafa, Liverpool have not been able to make a run at the title.

    I understand that injuries have set Liverpool back this year, but that’s no excuse either. The injury bugs hits every club at some point or another during the year; Man U were without Rooney and Hargreaves for a while, Chelsea are without Drogba and Terry right now, Arsenal lost Fabregas, van Persie, and Hleb for a period of time. You cant blame poor performances to injury; Rafa has more than enough depth to cover for those injuries, the team just hasn’t played well.

  19. StatesideScouser

    December 18, 2007 at 9:35 am

    I quite enjoy reading this blog at times and think you (the gaffer) know what you’re talking about when it comes to football, but a post like this just does my head in.

    How can you write of Rafa like this. After just 3 years. It’s not like we haven’t got anything to show for it now is it.

    Can we have some comparisons made please. For instance, can you honestly tell me that Sir Alex or Wenger made the impact that Rafa has done in their first 3 years at their clubs ? Jose may be a bit different here, but its amazing what an instant almost unlimited amount of funds can do to a side…

  20. Tampasoccer

    December 18, 2007 at 9:30 am

    Hmmm…yes and no, Gaffer…
    Benitez MUST be given at least this season and the next. We are severely missing ALONSO and Agger. Liverpool will be a different team with those two. Kuyt is among Rafa’s favorites and that is hurting us…
    We were missing width on Sunday-Kewell is not there yet after the injury, Babel is not there yet because of his youth…
    Crouch must be given more chances. But to say that Rafa is not the man is too soon. A couch must be given at least 5 years before he is judged on whether he is the man for the job or not. Let us wait and see what happens in 2007.

  21. bcjohn02

    December 18, 2007 at 8:43 am

    To anonymous at 4:36, anonymous at 4:40, lim peh, anonymous at 4:54, true red, anonymous at 6:08, and jimcalagon,

    I have to say I am not stunned at your reactions. Here you are, total idiots to the game. Why is that you may ask, well lets state the simple obvious…all you care to do is slag this piece and yet you yourselves cannot write one intelligent response in reply. It is people like you who give Liverpool an extremely bad name.

    Best bet, until you can come up with an intelligent response, keep quiet. It’ll make you look much smarter than you appear.

  22. Anonymous

    December 18, 2007 at 6:47 am

    Over 40 years as a TRUE red, and no amount of insult from another fan will take that away ….. I agree with this article to a point! I know our history and what we are capable of, when Rafa aired his views to the press he disrespected this club and its fans, yet the support he gets from what must be the new type of liverpool fan is crazy! This club is built on tradition, honest hard working players, manager and those behind the scenes. Now we seem happy our club was dragged through the press cause we think it will win us the title, it won’t! I want success as much as anyone and have experienced many ups and downs as a fan (often at great cost to travel with my team) but I have never felt so disillusioned and unsure of our future after rafa whinged to the press, I think Rafa wants, whats bets for rafa, not lfc or he won’t have made our club look so ordinary! he has the ability and could be a liverpool great, will he achieve that, without a crystal ball I can’t answer that! all I know is the mighty reds are struggling to stay mighty and its not about owners or new ground, its about our players and how they are managed, Rafa go be the next liverpool great or step down and let some else!

  23. Jimcalagon

    December 18, 2007 at 6:29 am

    You’re talking crap – Liverpool would have beaten Chelski but for the russian ref and Liverpool had 60% of the possession against ManUre and a couple of shots off the woodwork denied by bad luck.

    Can you suggest ONE manager better than Rafa? (And don’t bother saying Mourinho, who is an overrated eogotist)

  24. Anonymous

    December 18, 2007 at 6:08 am

    You dont know what your talking about.

  25. True Red

    December 18, 2007 at 6:00 am

    The gaffer must be a manch….true liverpool fans can see how much benitez has done for the club and how much Liverpool is moving in the right direction…moanrinhos chelsea without terry, drogba and chec lost left right and center how many times has liverpool played this season without torres, gerrard and carra and still win…………..we shall end the wait……and rafa is the man to take us there.

  26. Benlmf

    December 18, 2007 at 5:27 am

    Attacking wise, Riise is off form. Defence wise, he’s still doing his job well.

    I would agree Kuyt is not the “lethal” striker Liverpool needs. He has the attitude and endurance to run thru the whole match but does not provide the kind of threat Torres (finishing, pace & agility), Crouch (height) & Voronin (pace) provides.

    If Pennant comes back, they’ll be a formidable side again. Come May 2008 and you will be surprised. Just mark my word.

    As for Jose, he doesn’t have the characteristic of a Liverpool manager. Benitez has it. Cool, composed, & most importantly HUMBLE. I wouldn’t trade him for ant other manager. Period!

  27. Anonymous

    December 18, 2007 at 4:54 am

    FUCK OFF you cunt-hole scally…your spouting garbage…

  28. lim peh

    December 18, 2007 at 4:41 am

    you are the gaffer ??? more like the stupid.

    Hello!!! we are already a top 3 sides for the last two seasons !! we have big holes ???? you must be kidding me, we need three class signings to remove ManU from the top, the holes are left back, left wing, and a striker.

  29. Anonymous

    December 18, 2007 at 4:40 am

    You are a joke and rubbish. Nonsense article.

  30. Anonymous

    December 18, 2007 at 4:36 am

    i think you should just shut your mouth because you have no idea what you are talking about, true liverpool fans would not want jose at liverpool.

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