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For Liverpool, the Great Unraveling Must Now Begin

Somewhere deep in the bowels of Anfield there is a timer ticking down.  That timer shows about 100 days on it now, and tomorrow it will show about 99, and sometime this July the timer will hit zero.  At that point, a bell will ring and Liverpool Football Club will have to begin a massive process of undoing the horrendous financial mistakes of the Rafa Benitez era.  Sometime this July a $100 million loan payment will come due, and with no Champions League money coming in for the 2010/11 season, no cache of funds sitting in the bank and no prospect of future earnings to be found, Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett will have to start selling their big names.

Not that their big names will mind very much.  Fernando Torres has already laid the groundwork for his exit claiming that Liverpool needs to sign David Villa and David Silva for him to stay.  While he is at it, perhaps he should also include Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and the resurrected body of George Best.  They all have an equal likelihood of joining Liverpool this summer.  The other big Liverpool name, Steven Gerrard, has spent this entire campaign looking like the paler, more aggravated version of his former self.  In past years, Gerrard seemed to be able to will Liverpool to victory.  He now looks like a man who seems to be willing himself into a different shirt.

This is the current lot of the fabled Liverpool Football Club.  Mired in sixth place with more draws and losses than wins, trailing Tottenham and Man City in points and, more importantly, trailing those teams and Aston Villa in games in hand, a Champions League spot for next season looks all but impossible.  For Liverpool to survive intact, Champions League revenue was absolutely critical.  Without it, the modest Anfield Stadium, no matter its history, simply does not have enough seats and amenities to finance the club’s ambitions.  Moreover, as a player like Torres enters his prime years as a footballer, he cannot afford to spend those years playing for a mid-level team that looks like it will struggle to get in the UEFA tournament, let alone the Champions League.

All of this trouble can be laid squarely at the foot of Benitez, who hectored, threatened and blackmailed his owners into spending money that they did not have on players who wound up being gigantically over-priced.  Benitez seems to have gotten his financial advice from Bernie Madoff:

SeasonPlayers InPlayers OutNet Expenditure

Over that same period of time, Arsenal actually netted a positive £1.95 million from its transfer market dealings and Manchester United netted a positive £5.65 million, including its windfall for the Ronaldo sale.  Outside of the Billionaire Boys Club of Chelsea and Manchester City, nobody in England comes within £60 million of the net expenditures Benitez has made.

Furthermore, many of those expenditures have been true clunkers.  Alberto Aquilani (£20 million) is just beginning to find some form after spending most of the season healing from an injury that was evident before the purchase was made.  Glen Johnson (£18 million) has shown the inconsistent form that made him excess baggage at Chelsea.  Ryan Babel (£11.5 million) has never lived up to his promise.  Alberto Riera (£8 million) has managed to bad-mouth his way off of the Anfield sinking ship.  As for Robbie Keane (£20 million), the less said, the better.

While Benitez will be off this summer to try to pollute Juventes or Real Madrid with similar sludge, Hicks and Gillett are left to deal with the toxic waste site that is the current Liverpool FC.  Whatever loan agreements they currently have in place pre-date the collapse of the credit markets, and it is highly unlikely they will be able to negotiate a more favorable deal.  When those loan payments come due, the only asset they can use to service them is value of their current squad on the transfer market.

With better management and a more reliable strategic vision, Liverpool can rebuild over time.  However, things will probably get worse before they get better.  Whatever Liverpool’s results this year, their squad next year will almost certainly be less glamorous and probably be less skilled on the pitch.  As dark as things may seem for Liverpool at the moment, these are probably the good times compared with what is to come.

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  1. Anders Johnsen

    March 27, 2010 at 7:39 am

    Eric Altshule. You can keep Landon Donovan.

  2. Matt

    March 27, 2010 at 7:32 am

    Im no Rafa fan any longer but the tired, ridiculous, argument of him having spent more money than the rest of the PL is absolute bollocks.

    Even by your estimations above, he has net spend of £10m in the last SIX transfer windows! Meanwhile Spurs, Man City, Villa and co have been spending vast amounts more and bridging the gap.

    Forget the fact he spent moderate amounts to overhaul a squad with dross like Traore, Biscan, Cisse et al in his first 3 seasons. And still then the net spend was not excessive.

    As for your other points;
    – Glen Johnson excess baggage at Chelsea? They wanted to sign him back in the summer you spoon. Dont let that get in the way of your agenda though.
    – Robbie Keane… recouped the money back and a whole other story.
    – Aquilani – did not cost £20m. Fact.
    – Juventes – Who?
    – And the repayment is £100m not $100m.

  3. M Garcia

    March 25, 2010 at 10:00 am


    Well said. This post should put a line underneath your post and leave it.

  4. Red77

    March 25, 2010 at 6:47 am

    What a wonderful…or should I say, wonderfool world we live in. I agree with most of the comments above, but I for one have been observing the body langauage of the players and the manager and can only come to this conclusion (I am a red fan of 35 years; please believe me when I say; i have really really observed our players then and now, our managers then and now).

    And my conclusion is this. Rafa is clueless and our players totally disillusioned. If Carra can say”I will leave if not wanted”, that says it all!!!

    Rafa is clueless as to how to manage this team. he scribbles, he writes, he jots, he (what does he do?) etc etc. I wonder when he watches the match? I believe his scrap book is full of mistakes the players have made. I have said this before. A manager who does not celebrate a goal is not into football. He is a machine, and we don’t need that. We won CL and FA Cup (anythng else?) only because captain wonderful stepped up. Tactics were poor, bad even. Any Red fan worth his salt will know we lost the second one to Milan cos’ of one major Rafa error. He pulled out Masch. We lost midfield control. No way back. Not once has he ever said he made a mistake. Not once, even today when we have lost 10!!! 10!!! Tomkins is mad to support him. hey, Tom, we missed out last year due to this mutt. Not the owners, they dont play football!!! As to saying rafa has only 10 years but Fergie/Wenger have etc etc is just lame excuses. What does Martin O’Neil have at AV that they are doing better with less? What has Harry got that we have (oops, we have Rafa) not? Look at Moyes for crying out loud? Even if we do not win anything, at least it would be great to watch a team that plays. Like Arsenal. We used to do that,,,but never during this dope’s management.

    Yes, we had injuries (who doesn’t?), yes we had bad referring decisions (who hasn’t), but its his job to make it right. Right personal, right structure, right tactics, right strategies. Oh, sure, you can still get it wrong (like Fregie against Barca; how he got that one wrong!!!), but 10 defeats a season can no longer be atributed to injuries etc. It is terrible, horrendous, laughable, pathetic …showing by a manager. Anywhere else, he would have got the sack. Pity abt the contract. What to do, what to do….get a good lawyer and check any clause that we can use to dump this dupe, quickly!!!! How abt messing with his mind by getting a co-manager, like how we screwed with Roy?

    As for the players, what a change from last year!!! Only Xavi is gone, but what has happenened? Stevie is certainly not interested (why Rafa does not put him back in CM is mind-boggling) and looks a beaten man. Kuyt plays one good pass out of 10 (and therefore messes the move; as did Garcia before him), Agger seems afraid to break his leg the way he pulled out of tackling Valencia (hey, World Cup calling buddy) and what Maxi brings to the game, I am yet to see. Aqua, poor lad, is not suited for us, not yet anyway. But why spend a bomb on someone who is supposed to replace Xavi and then can’t play? And even then, wouldn’t it have made sense to use Stevie as his direct replacement and play Babel or Kuyt further upfront?

    It is what it is. We will most probably miss the CL (whom am I kidding, we definitely will) next season. Rafa should be man enough to admit his errors and quit. Safe the club that he claims to love 20mln quid. Myabe we can buy back ex-players who are doing great elsewhere, like Xavi, Bellamy, Crouch, Sami, Finnan, Rise….maybe I am just a sentimental fool. We deserve the rollocking we get from other fans…even they are stunned.

    I look forward to what I know will be a hammering from some, but hammer all you want. The truth is we are doomed because we have a mutt in charge, on a leash I agree, held by 2 bigger mutts. Who let the dogs out???

  5. Jious

    March 24, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Liverpool needs a new manager BADLY

    Sure they haven’t upgraded players across the board but Rafa has brought in some big names and they all flopped

    He is to blame

  6. Cricketlover

    March 24, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    There’s lots wrong with Liverpool and enough blame to go around.

    The biggest problem is that the team is not performing on the field. Of all the top teams in Europe, Liverpool play the most unattractive football. Hardly do you see them put together 3 or more forward passes. There’s little creativity and they run out of ideas in breaking down teams. All this is due to the tactics of Rafa Benitez. Benitez spent a lot of time studying Italian managers who always make their teams play with caution and try to capitalize on the mistakes of the opposition. Look at what Mancini did today when he sent out his Man City team against Everton. He played with one striker at home. Exactly what Benitez does. In the Premier League these cautious tactics don’t work well, especially if you want to contend for the title. With Benitez it’s very disappointing considering that he’s been in England for 6 years now. One would think he should now know better but of course we all know that he is a very stubborn manager. His cautious tactics are better suited for European matches in the Champions League and the Europa League where teams need to keep it tight.

    Most people agree that Benitez’s buyout clause, should he be fired, is huge (5 million pounds for each year left on his contract) is the reason why he has not been fired. Many believe that Benitez will leave on his own in the summer for Italy or Spain. I doubt it very much. He will never get the type of contract he has at Liverpool where he has total control of footballing matters. Benitez loves power and he has it all at Liverpool. This is why he is not under any pressure. He knows the situation of the club better than anyone and feels his job is safe as long as the club’s financial problems continue.

    The only salvation is for new investors with deep pockets who are willing to spend to move the club forward.

  7. Steven Cohen

    March 24, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    If it weren’t for a phantom goal in the second leg of the 2005 Champions League semifinal, Rafa would have been fired ages ago.

    The American owners are the subject of hatred, as anti-American bigotry is in large supply in ultra-liberal Merseyside. The notion that they have been responsible for Liverpool’s form is beyond ridiculous.

    You can get mad at the owners about the stadium, and that’s it. If you want to get mad about the debt, get mad at David Moores and the minority investors who sold LIverpool FC on the premise of a debt-financed bid.

    Otherwise, shut up. Do some good, and go kill another 96.

    • Clampdown

      March 24, 2010 at 5:16 pm


    • brn442

      March 24, 2010 at 5:26 pm

      Wow, oh “S. Cohen”. I get it. Until the last sentance. You were acually making sense.

    • Eric Altshule

      March 24, 2010 at 5:41 pm

      Stupid and unnecessary. Before this all starts an absurd reaction, it is my assumption that the writer of this comment has nothing to do with the host of World Football Daily. It is probably just some jackass who is interested in provoking a response.

    • Gaz

      March 25, 2010 at 8:26 am

      The fact that this idiot used the name, “Steven Cohen” says a lot though. 🙁

      Liverpool fans are such “scum” but I’ve never seen one post something about the Munich plane disaster on a Manchester United article.

      There seems to be in increase in people only interested in insulting instead of commenting. Gaffer, ever thought of registration so you can better take care of this?

  8. M Garcia

    March 24, 2010 at 3:19 pm


    I think you’re overlooking the fact that investment largely depends on variables none of us really know, but are simply guessing or speculating at. For one, with your scenario, I agree with you.
    However, how about this one? The new investor owns 40% of the club and Gillett and Hicks own 30% each with the inability to team up on any one issue in the board room to collectively reach 60%, thereby overruling the new investor who holds a stake of 40%. Of course no one would invest in the scenario you’ve proposed. But there are some pretty damn smart lawyers out there structuring deals that would present an investment opportunity attractive to some very rich people. Hell, look at how smart Gillett and Hick’s attorneys were to snow over Moores and Parry. I detest the way it has turned out, but they took over that club with smart business strategy and screwed us. There are equally brilliant businessman out there who could undo it.
    As far as Rafa, if he leaves voluntarily for Juventus or Madrid, or wherever else he may want to go, the pay out doesn’t occur. The other thing is that again, none of us know what the terms of the Rafa buyout really are. All pure speculation. And as with anything else in life, probably completely negotiable, especially if you’ve got new investment coming in.
    From here, mate, the glass has got to be half full. We as Liverpool supporters have no other choice at this point.

    • Jon

      March 25, 2010 at 9:44 am

      Hey M Garcia,

      I agree with you on the Rafa payout, but then as an investor you’d be relying on the conduct of someone else regarding your money. That is, *maybe* Rafa leaves for Juventus or Real and you don’t lose 20 million pounds, but maybe he doesn’t, and would rather force his firing to get the payout. That sort of uncertainty is exactly the kind of thing that puts off investors, who prefer certainty.

      With regards to your proposed scenario, I think that unlikely to happen. Gilette and Hicks do not get along. Neither one of them wants to put themselves in a position where they would be dependant on the other to block a vote from the minority investor. And no minority investor wants to get into a situation where they have to play one owner against the other to get a resolution passed. Your scenario still doesn’t overcome the problem that the minority investor has no control – in fact, it exacerbates the problem because it is more likely to pit the three owners against one another on lots of issues.

      Moores and Parry did not get snowed over. They made a lot of money.

      Not to disrespect corporate lawyers, many of whom are my colleagues and friends, but there is only so much you can do to make an investment look attractive, and the minority investor will have lawyers of their own to see through the deal and point out the unsound nature of the investment at its base.

      I appreciate that as an LFC fan you’d like to see the glass as half full. I do think there are a lot of things in the Liverpool club that are attractive, but not new minority investment. Look at it this way – you’ve got world recognition as a brand name. You sell more shirts than most clubs. You have a fan following all over the world. You have one of the most dedicated fan bases, and a city council who realize the cultural importance of the club to the people of Liverpool. My guess is your half-full glass is that a rich investor will come in and just buy the club outright. Surely there are people that can manage the asset better than Hicks and Gilette and make more money off those assets, and surely there is a number at which Hicks and Gilette would be compelled to sell. That’s my guess on your best prospect for the future.



  9. Jon

    March 24, 2010 at 11:49 am

    My comment is slightly off the topic, but I wanted to address some of the comments that have been made here regarding new investment in the club versus having to sell the current players to cover the financial loss of failing to make the Champions’ League. At least two commentators, M Garcia and Nawaf, suggest that new investment will come into the club in the form of sales of shares.

    I’m an Arsenal supporter and so I’m neutral in the debate here, but I really do not see this as being a realistic possibility and I think if you are a Liverpool supporter clinging to the lifeline of new investment you are likely to be disappointed. Why on Earth would a sound investor want to put money into Liverpool? Neither Hicks nor Gilette have said they are looking to sell a majority stake – that is, to sell the club – of their shares. What they want is a 100 million investor who will take a minority stake – something like 20 or 30% of the club. This would leave the management of the club purely in the hands of Gilette and Hicks with the new investor having no say or control. You’d be essentially giving away your 100 million pounds.

    And look at the environment you are being asked to invest it: Hicks and Gilette do not like each other. So you’d be getting into a business bed with two personalities that conflict. That’s a stupid thing to do in any business, least of all one where you’d have no control over the money you put into the club. Your money is like as not to get caught in the middle of the two squabbling.

    Then on top of that you’d be buying in to a club that is bound to pay it’s manager 20 million pounds if he were to be relieved. So even if you had any say and you wanted to get rid of Rafa, 20% of your investment is gone before you blinked. With a dressing room that may or may not still respect the manager and a board room in tatters, you’d be a total idiot to put money into that corporate situation.

    On top of that, you’d have to look at the long term situation of the club as well, since they are in an outdated stadium with gate receipts that do no match the ambition of the fans or owners.

    No right thinking investor is going to throw away 100 million pounds into that situation. Which is why no one has yet jumped at the chance though the club has been looking for investors for months.

    I could see someone wanting to come along and buy out Hicks and Gilette. With the right business model and a new stadium development plan, an owner with the right vision and patience could capitalize on Liverpool’s dedicated fan base and international brand recogition to turn the club into a highly valuable asset. That would take time, effort, stability, patience, a long term vision, and most importantly, current owners willing to sell a majority stake in the club. Which they have stoutly refused to do.

    You can debate all you like about Eric’s figures and whether there will need to be sales or refinance or a new manager or whatnot for the future of the club, but I don’t think “new investment is coming” is an argument that I would accept as a likely solution.



  10. Chris from Texas

    March 24, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Liverpool need to rebuild, but this article was poorly written. The comparisons made aren’t right and forget very basic facts mentioned by Mintox above.

    Rafa is stubborn, but he wasn’t in control of transfers until this year. The Robbie Keane thing (I’m a fan of his by the way), wasn’t Rafa’s decision. He wanted a striker to compliment Gareth Barry playing on the left and the owners wanted a charismatic player that would sell jerseys.

    Rafa wanted to buy the striker after Barry but nobody listened, thus leaving Benitez with an expensive striker who didn’t fit into his plans.

    Also, he had to revamp an aging, underachieving squad. What happened when Chelsea or Man City decided to do that? And claiming United made a profit because of selling Ronaldo is laughable. If Liverpool sold Torres you would see that number drop like a rock as well.

    The article did make some good points however, I personally wasn’t a big fan of buying an injured player.

    I think an overall look and possibly an interview with someone who has been responsible for transfer dealings would be a great read on this fantastic website.

  11. M Garcia

    March 24, 2010 at 10:21 am

    There isn’t a sport on the planet whose supporters overreact the way football supporters do. Admittedly, as a supporter whose mood rises and falls according to that weeks results, I’ve been disturbed by the crescendo building that may eventually lead to a spot outside the top four.
    But for the love of God, this is a ridiculously shallow analysis of what we, as Liverpool supporters, should be prepared to face. The reality is Liverpool will always be a marketable commodity. Yes, falling out of the top four would present a financial hardship. But end of the world, not so much. Yes, when Rafa goes, and I think for the good of the club and the morale it should be at the end of the season, it will be the end of a largely progressive period for Liverpool. Again, not the end of the world.
    However, as soon as news of the injection of cash into the club becomes a reality, which it will, things change dramatically. The possibilities with managers open up at that point also. With news of fresh investment comes managers, top quality managers, sniffing around Anfield. Yes, that means Mourinho and Hiidink. Morale picks up, players abroad start looking at Liverpool again as a destination club full of potential, and we’re off to the races again.
    Final thought: Ask yourselves, true Liverpool detractors & pessimists; Why would the likes of Pepe Reina and Javier Mascherano commit themselves to the club for the longterm, in a season as bad as this one, if they weren’t convinced that everything would work out in the short term? Reina, Mascherano, and Torres are clearly Rafa backers. Guys like Carragher, Gerrard, Babel, and even Aquilani wouldn’t shed a tear if Rafa left. But the only way both of these camps stay in THE camp, i.e., Anfield, is if Rafa gets an offer from Juventus or Madrid at the end of the season and he leaves voluntarily. Which for the good of the club, would be the best of any alternative. That way, the Rafa camp saves face, the not so Rafa camp is happy, and the next manager can start with a team full of optomism and hopefully a transfer budget to match.
    This article does absolutely nothing for me on the despair scale. What truly will drive me into despair? We do absolutely nothing before next season.

  12. Eric Altshule

    March 24, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Gaz – As far as the numbers, they can all be checked at a great website that compiles this stuff –

    I don’t think the numbers are an issue of debate. They are what they are. It is always easy to pick on the owners, and Hicks and Gillett are very soft targets. Any “investor/owners” will be. From my perspective – I am neither a Liverpool supporter nor hater – their biggest fault was letting Rafa get away with murder. When you see the absolutely foolish purchases – Robbie Keene for six months, £20 million for a crocked Aquilani, £18 million for Johnson when I doubt anyone else would have paid much more than £10-12 – Rafa is acting like a man gambling with the house’s money.

    You can blame Hicks and Gillett for poor management, and I do. But to a large degree, they are also the victims in this case. The real swindler is Rafa.

    • brn442

      March 24, 2010 at 10:35 am

      Well, Rafa may agree with you about Keane. There is a lot we don’t know about that deal. Keane may have been Parry’s signing, hence the friction between the two men. The shame is, Benitez sold Keane at a loss, in the middle of a title challenging season without getting a replacement, to prove a point, he could’ve gotten a then out of favour Bent on loan at least. Another example of his stubbornness.

    • Gaz

      March 24, 2010 at 2:23 pm

      Off the bat, the Crouch move was 11 million not 9 million as listed on the site you used.

      The numbers are, and always will be, an issue of debate. If a writer for another publication wrote this article he would have a completely different number than you for all the teams brought up.

      It always makes me think of the saying that there are, “lies, damn lies, and statistics”.

      Having said that, even if the numbers are off by 10 million you point still holds up. Too much silly spending on the wrong players. It’s just a matter of who was in charge of these decisions. Was Rafa the man responsible for these decisions (all evidence suggests so)?

  13. bluerogue

    March 24, 2010 at 10:07 am

    it’s not that they have so much it’s that they have spent so little. a club like liverpool should easily have an extra 20-25 million a year to put into transfers.

    • Eric Altshule

      March 24, 2010 at 4:02 pm

      Bluerogue – You are delusional. Nobody outside of Real Madrid, Chelsea and Man City averages that kind of spending in the transfer market. Even ignoring the money gained from the Ronaldo sale, Man U has only averaged £12 million in net spending in the transfer market over the past six years. If your solution is for Liverpool to spend a lot more money despite their limited revenue sources, your club will be in the land of Leeds within five years.

  14. Matthew N

    March 24, 2010 at 9:57 am

    This article is so wrong and off base, but that doesn’t surprise me at all. First, your numbers are wrong and out of context, and second, it isn’t Benitez’s job to decide how much to spend. The owners/board tell him how much he has and he spends it, that is his job. Like I said, this article is dumb. I won’t be coming back here (not that your Liverpool commentary was any good in the first place).

  15. Gaz

    March 24, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Liverpool are in some trouble and however you look at it we’re probably going to have to go through a rebuilding period starting next season. If you’re still holding on to the hope that we’ll still make 4th spot, you are definitely an optimist. I’m not saying it won’t happen but it’s going to be a very lucky feat if it does.

    Having said that I’m not sure about those numbers.

    I know every source reports different numbers and nobody really knows the truth but where did you get those numbers (in other words, you forgot to cite it for us, mate).

  16. Roger

    March 24, 2010 at 8:33 am

    Wot a load of crock this article is…complete windup that’s what it is.
    Those figures are sort of right but the net result of manu and arsenal being positive…ur having a laugh. Utd spent 60+ on 3 players after they won the first of 3 titles in this recent run. that was not including berbatov, vidic, valencia etc. even with the sale of ronaldo their net spend is not positive…dream on! ur pissing in the wind mate.

  17. The Gaffer

    March 24, 2010 at 6:47 am

    My beef with Liverpool is that Rafa Benitez doesn’t seem to be too moved by how poor the team has been performing this season. In the press, he says he doesn’t feel under pressure. But maybe that’s because he has such a huge safety net where it’s practically impossible for him to get sacked unless Liverpool is willing to fork out a ton of money or if Rafa has another job lined up.

    The reality is that Benitez should feel under pressure. He should be sweating big time. He keeps on coming out with proclamations in the press that he’s confident that they will make fourth place but each time he says it, the club seems to sink deeper and deeper.

    Why Hicks and Gillett would sign such an agreement is beyond me. Ultimately, Benitez is holding the club hostage. If this had been any other major club, Benitez would have been sacked long ago based on his poor results. But not Liverpool. At least not yet.

    The Gaffer

  18. Benj

    March 24, 2010 at 3:32 am

    And on the point of having no youth prospects, I tend to disagree, we have had some fantastic players go out on loan and still at the club playing reserves, players like Pacheco, San Jose, Hobbs, Palsson, Spearing, Buchtmann, Dalla Valle, Nemeth, Ince, El Zhar, Mavinga, Kelly, Darby, Ayala, Irwin, Need I go on?

    • brn442

      March 24, 2010 at 10:06 am

      “We are in the top six”? so that’s the new standard of Liverpool Football Club, with less than 10 matches to go?

      Please don’t give me the injury bug excuse, that’s why you have more than 11 players on a squad. Man U, Chelsea, and Arsenal have had major injuries this season, the difference is, they have strength in depth to cope.

      Yossi is NOT a fringe player.

      I’m glad that you see Liverpool is producing wonderful young players
      – name one who has broke into the first team the last 4 years AND stayed there. Ngog, finally got his confidence up with a few solid performances this season only to disappear back to the bench (assuming he’s not injured)

      Again, Yossi is NOT a fringe player.

  19. Benj

    March 24, 2010 at 3:24 am

    Pull up all the stats you like, but the Benitez era has seen some of Liverpool’s finest players come and go.

    If Benitez hadn’t spent the money he did, we wouldn’t have had the likes of Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano, Daniel Agger, Aquilani, Dirk Kuyt, Fabio Aurelio, Danny Guthrie, Glen Johnson, Yossi Benayoun, Maxi Rodriguez, Luis Garcia, PEPE REINA, FERNANDO TORRES…

    The thing with Rafa is, the players he had to start off with were hardly sellable.

    So he had to spend more money on the above players, and look at the value of our current starting 11.

    Say we played Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Aurelio, Mascherano, Gerrard, Aquilani, Dirk Kuyt, Ryan Babel and Fernando Torres.

    As a low estimate of each, according to rumours: £25m £20m £8m £10m £8m £30m £45m £20m £15m £10m At Least £60m

    That’s a first team worth around £250m, and you say he has squandered his money? Behave

    This season, with an injury storm to some of the clubs top players (Stevie, Glen, Nando and Aqua) as well as a few of the fringe players (Yossi, Aurelio, Agger, Skrtel) this has led to a lack of confidence for the players and thus a lack of form.

    Stick to statistics, that’ll get you nowhere, and give some fucking hard earned respect to our manager, you know? The one that took us to our highest points total last year, that gave us some of the best talent we’ve ever had in nando, pepe, xabi et al, that is more scouse than most Liverpudlians.

    I agree that it may be time for a change, but behave yourself.

    Crisis? We are still in the top freaking six.

    Oh and you say that we spend the most outside of the ‘billionaire boys club’…. OUR INVESTORS ARE BILLIONAIRES!!! They just don’t like using it…

    In Rafa We Trust….. Mostly….


  20. mintox

    March 24, 2010 at 3:20 am

    I have no opinion on whether Benitez is a good manager, if the owners are doing the right thing or even if the club is being run properly, I do however, object to innacurate reporting.

    You are oversimplifying your arguement to prove your point and conveniently overlooking important points in your comparison.

    The simple fact is a club that brings in a new manager is often trying to rebuild and win a title.

    Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool have all done so in the last 5 years whilst Arsenal and Manchester United have been stable for over 10 years (25 years in Uniteds case).

    Arsenal and United can afford not to spend because they’ve spent years building up their academies and strengthening their squads. To compare the two groups of teams at diffent stages of their life cycles is pointless.

    The other three HAVE to spend heaps of cash just to catch up to United and Arsenal. Chelsea did it, Manchester City continue to do it and Liverpool are trying to do it.

    All United and Arsenal have to do is replace ageing players and the odd departing player here and there whilst promoting players from their academies. it makes complete sense that their net spend is going to be severely less in comparison.

    Consider then the position that Liverpool have found themselves in:
    – A poor squad when Benitez arrived that didn’t raise much money in player sales.
    – A Chelsea team able to spend millions all at once to bring themselves on par with Arsenal and United
    – The need to spend big to catch up to the new big three
    – A lack of financing to do so thus leading to purchases that were not what the coach wanted

    Benitez has had to threaten and blackmail to get the money that should have come his way to build the squad. Instead he’s had to settle for players such as Pennant, Riera and Garcia instead of Silva, Simao, Villa (who have all been rumoured to be Benitez targets).

    This hasn’t been helped by the fact that every manager makes mistakes with player purchases. Ferguson himself has purchased players such as Djemba Djemba and Kleberson so even the best can fail.

    In Liverpool case, they could not afford mistakes AND the fact that Benitez had to settle for second or even third preferences when purchasing players as it ended up meaning they had to spend more in the end to replace those players with other players.

    I don’t blame Benitez, he’s done what he had to do in trying circumstances, I blame the owners. Why saddle the club with debt that can’t be handled and has hamstrung their ability to compete when you should know that running a club requires the outlay of cash on players.

  21. brn442

    March 24, 2010 at 2:18 am

    Well said. As I’ve said before, the expansion of the Champions League has actually been bad for Liverpool because it has led to mediocrity in the club – “who cares if you haven’t won the league in 18+ years when you have that trusted 4th place CL spot like hot water bottle just waiting for you in bed.”

    This is why I pray, as a Liverpool supporter, to my Lord Jesus Christ, that we DON’T finish in the top four as it will force the issue this summer.

    While the Benitez “experiment” has been far from a complete disaster, the team is much better than what it was when he took over, and yes, he has had to deal with the clown owners in the boardroom and that power struggle with Rick Parry, but as you’ve rightly said, considering the amount of money he has spent and the time he has had, he has simply failed at doing what he was brought in to do, which was to win the League.

    There is no doubt that Rafa is one of the best managers in the world but his stubbornness is his undoing. His failure in buying another world-class striker to back up/partner Torres or to simply hold on to the half-way decent ones he’s let go. Heaven knows if we still had a Bellamy, Crouch, or Keane chipping in 12-15 goals a season, how different things would have been.

    As you’ve said Gerrard simply can’t be bothered anymore, Torres WILL be a target this summer, too many under-used players (Ngog, Aquilani, Pacheco) low morale (Babbel, Riera) and outside of Spearing, NOTHING seems to be coming out of Kirkby or Melwood (why even bother having a youth programme.)

    As Manchester United gets dangerously to that 19th title, something has to give and I’m afraid it has to be Benitez.

  22. Dave

    March 24, 2010 at 2:09 am

    Fear Eric,lad, you need to wake up to yourself. The Yank owners are solely responsible for what has happened at LFC.Benitez has not overspent,as prooven by many other media commentators !!! Your figures are pie in the sky ! You need to stop criticising a manager who has been forced by ‘phony owners’, to buy makeshift players to fill gaps that have been made through injuries etc; If he had been given the finances and backing that were promised by the ‘phoney owners’, LFC would not be in the ‘MIRE’ that they are in now ! RAFA BENITEZ is a good manager, but has been forced to juggle everything to get by ! If ANFIELD is a toxic waste site, it is the doing of the so-called ‘OWNERS’.

    • Dave's Blind

      March 25, 2010 at 2:48 pm

      Wow, some of you really are blind. The owners may have some of the blame placed at their feet, but buying players who turn out to be crap or simply are misused by your manager is not the owners fault. Most of the blame falls on Benitez. Benitez has had money, he’s just spent it poorly (or maybe he spent it wisely and misused the assets). Either way, he screwed up. He may still be a good manager, but how can you not place his share of the blame on Benitez?

  23. Nawaf

    March 24, 2010 at 1:51 am

    I wonder how much you will be sticking to your dooms day predictions Eric Altshule when most of that does not come true…. Are things bad, yes they are, are liverpool FC still a lot more marketable than most of the teams above them, hell yes. This is a fact you seem to be forgetting. Hicks and Gillett will sell shares before the 100 mil is due. Do you honestly think stripping your asset of what makes it valuable, the playing staff, is sound logic? “Hey I know how to pay the banks less than half of what we owe them! Sell our best players dooming liverpool to shit and when liverpool is a mid-table team and they want the rest we sell our shares of pennies on the dollar!”. Strengthening is what is in best interests of the owners and with the prospect of getting in a fresh coach for next season.

  24. Berlin Nayager

    March 24, 2010 at 1:47 am

    Rafa has become bigger than the club. He seems to be the only person who believes that Insua is a good defender. Most goals against us come from the left of the park. Look at the two conceded against united. Lets not talk about Lucas. He would not make our sunday league side. As for maxi. Is Rafa given an incentive to play these guys. It would help Liverpool in the long term to pay rafa out now.

  25. bonesman

    March 24, 2010 at 1:45 am

    Theres so much wrong with this article idont know were to start, a good place for you to start before writing another liverpool fc
    based piece a good place to start would be here..

  26. RedsG

    March 24, 2010 at 1:30 am

    Article spot on, unlesss some drastic improvements in the financial situation which, looks very unlikely..can happen… Very Very Very disappointing to watch the dear Reds palying these days..No style, no attack, no passes and most of all, No good (best suited) players fielded on the field..even though we have…None of the players look motivated as often play of the team is and players playing in the positions they are not best suited for the team..



    TrueVeryMuchHurting REds

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