26 Mar 2009

Why Yossi Benayoun is right to defy Rafael Benitez...

Rafa Benitez is reportedly angry that Yossi Benayoun has defied his orders by planning to play for Israel in a 2010 World Cup qualifier this weekend. After the way Benitez has treated Benayoun over the last 2 years, what exactly does he expect?

In a recent interview, Benayoun said:

“I had a little problem with Liverpool. They didn’t really want me to come to Israel. But as long as I know I will be able to give 100 per cent I will play, even if it means risking my health.”

“I’ve been going through intensive treatment in the last couple of weeks and I’m almost fully fit, but sometimes it’s still painful. Missing out on Saturday’s match would be the biggest disappointment of my career.”

Benayoun – like so many other good players over the last 5 years – has been messed around by Benitez ever since he arrived at Anfield. Indeed, Benitez has made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t consider the Israeli as a regular first team player.

Let’s look at the facts:

1. This season, Benayoun has been benched or subbed in 28 out of 39 games.

2. Last season, it was 33 games benched/subbed in 52 games

3. Total: 61 games subbed/benched out 91 games.

So, in almost 70 per cent of Liverpool games, Benayoun is either on the bench or subbed. Add to this the fact that he rarely gets a run in the team and is often dropped after scoring goals – a typical Benitez trademark.

On the other hand, Benayoun is the CAPTAIN of Israel, who have an historic chance to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1970.

You can be sure that if it was Steven Gerrard planning to play in a crucial world cup qualifier for England then fans would react in a completely different way.

Clearly, Benitez does not value Benayoun, but that is no surprise considering that, with few exceptions, genuinely creative players always seem to be marginalised/misused by Benitez.

I am sure that if Benitez had treated Benayoun differently and actually showed a bit of faith in him, then his decision to play for Israel may have been harder to make.

I imagine though that the decision was very hard to make: Stay in Liverpool and hang out on the bench hoping that a manager who has never valued me gives me 10 minutes at the end of a premiership game; OR play for my country in a crucial World Cup qualifier for a manager that actually values my contribution?

Tough decision indeed.

Benayoun is NOT putting country above club; he is putting country above Benitez, something I have absolutely no problem with.

Any fans criticising Benayoun should consider their sniping in the context of Steven Gerrard's attitude to England, as the Liverpool captain considers playing for England to be far more important than playing for his club.

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  1. I think you're letting your disdain for Benitez cloud your judgement of the situation.
    Yossi Benayoun is a well-paid professional footballer playing for Liverpool FC. Benitez is not his employer. Yossi is not fully fit and therefore should not travel to play for Israel. I respect his desire and patriotism but he's injured and is ignoring the regulations and recommendations set out by every club regarding participation in international football.

    His defiance will cause problems as it would in any job.

  2. "I am sure that if Benitez had treated Benayoun differently and actually showed a bit of faith in him, then his decision to play for Israel may have been harder to make."

    Such claims really devalue the points you're trying to make. There is simply no way of knowing that unless you're a close personal friend of Benayoun's. Also, he had a decent run in the side prior to his current injury so again, your analysis and comments lack balanced factual basis and analysis.

  3. benny-onion is a squad player at best for liverpool, thats why he was bought. thats how he's played. and thats what he should be happy with. i dont see him getting the chance to play and score against european giants with the mediocre clubs that are at his level like racing santander, west ham etc. he thank his lucky stars to even be on the bench at liverpool. i can see why benitez and co are upset, as they are helping the player take a step forward to recover from an injury only to take TWO steps back with a new injury on international duty. seems a bit counter productive to me. sorry benny these are the FACTS!!!!!!!!!!

  4. I agree your dislike for Benitez definately clouds your judgement, i think the post by anon above is spot on and only took a tenth of the time to read!

  5. "liverpool captain considers playing for england to be far more important than playing for his club".....where did you get that nonsense from exactly?

    As for Yossi, i agree. He should play for his country. I wish him well but hope he doesn't come back injured again!

    I wish Stephen Ireland had Yossi's patriotism.

  6. Second in the league, with a realistic chance to snatch it if ManU falter again, ranked number 1 in Europe and in the CL quarter finals yet again and you have the audacity to slate Rafa for wanting a fit squad for the vital run in. If he was fit fine but he is not and stands a real chance of aggravating his injury. You call yourself a supporter of LFC?

  7. Re Gerrard and England, he said it himself!

    "When I join up with England, these games are bigger than Champions League games or league games. You're representing your country. If you go to a major tournament and play well or achieve something as a team it's going to be a lot bigger than achieving something at your club."

    "Maybe that is supporters being selfish. As a player, you want to play in the biggest games. Those are European [Championship] games and World Cup games."


    From these words, I think we can safely deduce that playing for England means more to Gerrard than playing for Liverpool.

  8. there is no way this man is a lfc fan this is really clutching at straws criticising rafa for wanting yossi to stay with liverpool instead of going away with israel when he clearly isn't 100% fit if anything i am very happy with rafa's stance on this! In rafa we trust ever heard of the old saying if u can't say something nice...shut up and stay away from lfc ha ha ha!!

  9. lol, what a load of sh1te

  10. 'the Liverpool captain considers playing for England to be far more important than playing for his club.'

    Err, no he doesn't

  11. "When I join up with England, these games are bigger than Champions League games or league games. You're representing your country. If you go to a major tournament and play well or achieve something as a team it's going to be a lot bigger than achieving something at your club."

    So said Gerrard in an interview with the English Media before an England game. It's called PR, Jamie, and it would be obvious to a Liverpool supporter what his true feelings are.

    As for Yossi, I respect his devotion to his Country but he is injured and if Gerrard were injured, Benitez would go apeshit if he were called up.
    Oh wait..... Gerrard was injured, was called up and Benitez did go apeshit.
    You don't like Benitez - we get it. You may not be a WUM but if every little thing is used by you to belittle Benitez, it critically weakens your argument.

  12. well, i dont know the point you trying to make and not sure what this site is about... but surely you are not a LFC fan

  13. Muppet!! But you got the attention you crave so much, and you are obviously too stupid to get it by making intelligent observations, so you just continue to slate somebody!!! Shows you are truly a great man. Moron

  14. Hmm - isn't it rather childish to resort to lame insults instead of engaging in intelligent debate?

    Just a thought!

    I assure you though that I am *deeply wounded* by your scathing, lacerating wit.

  15. I think Gerrard's performances for England and Liverpool will show any level headed guy which team Gerrard gives more importance to. If he would have said I play for Liverpool with more passion (as everyone knows he does) like Carra did, then he'd be getting stick from the media. And don't take Gerrard at face value for whatever he says, he's a footballer, not Obama, he speaks through his actions, and I'm satisfied with that. Half of what these guys say anyway is PR nonsense.

    As for Sir Rafael, I'd like you to read these two articles

    And I've heard a lot of rumours, apparently, we're going for Robben, although it'll be insanely hard to get him. And as for Rafa not buying finished products, do you know how many players he was close to getting before Parry messed it up? Simao, Vidic, Evra, Alves, and of course, Barry. Simao, I think, had already passed a medical at Liverpool for the deal to break down, and Rafa thought Vidic was a done deal but Parry decided to leave for vacation at the 11th hour.

  16. I see - so Liverpool lost out on all these players because of Parry? Where is the proof of this? The 'Parry is cause of LFC's problems' thing is a myth perpetuated by the media and those close to Benitez in order to deflect the blame.

    Fans - especially the RCDNW brigade latch onto the Parry stuff and try and make it fact as it further's their agenda.

    Parry is part of the problem, yes, but Benitez is the main problem.

    Same thing with Keane situation - suddenly, it's all Parry's fault; If you believe some Liverpool fans, Parry was the one who signed Keane (!). Yes, Chief Executives always unilaterally go behind the back of the manager and sign players without his knowledge.

    This is a ridiculous notion but many fans have been brainwashed into believing it!

    Benitez even tried publicly to pass the buck; when asked why he signed Keane, he responded: "The club signed Keane", as if he had nothing to do with it.

    Well, if you believe that you'll believe anything.

    When it comes to transfer policy, the buck stops with manager. End of story. Thus far, IMO, benitez's transfer policy has been 20% success and 80% failure.

  17. 20% success? Well, I don't think Torres, Alonso, Masch, Agger, Skrtel, Reina, Kuyt, Riera etc. count as failures, do they? As for a lot of the young lads signed by Benitez, many of them have not matured. I think Babel, Lucas (I am in disagreement with most Reds fans when I rate Lucas, but IMO he'll go on to be a really good player, mark my words), Eggnog, Insua, Nemeth. And don't forget, we've won the FA Youth Cup recently as well. And I think Doss is very underrated, he's an Italian starter, for God's sake. His attacking leaves a lot to be desired for, but he has improved in that regard, but his defending is still top quality. And Degen has been injured most of the season. Frankly speaking, we need just one or two fully developed players, a right winger, and maybe another forward (although I think Kuyt, Eggnog and Babel will suffice). I think the rest of the positions are pretty well covered.

    Well, I think we all know the role Rick Parry played in this season's failure to get Barry, and knowing the fact that Simao had completed a medical, and his transfer didn't go through makes me suspect Parry a whole lot more than Benitez. After all, what is the manager supposed to do? He's the one who makes the demand for the player, and the negotiations are taken care of by the CEO, or at least that's how its been run in Liverpool. Benitez made the demands for the specific players I mentioned - Simao, Vidic, Evra, Barry, Dani Alves. It was Parry's job to go on with the negotiations, especially since we were close to signing all those players. And I'll blame Benitez if I think he's done something wrong. I think his tendency to overthink in games against weaker opposition might cost us the Prem this season, but you cannot deny his tactical acumen against the big teams. Even if we don't win the Prem, we'll have certainly made progress and gotten closer to winning the best league in the world.

    And if you really want to compare Ferguson to Benitez (you haven't done it now, but I saw some of your older articles), why don't you take into consideration the fact that Ferguson took 7 years to land Man U their first triumph. And the fact that he was abysmal in his first 3 or 4 years (a lot of Man U fans were asking for his head). Rafa, on the other hand, has improved almost every year, and has definitely made us a European force to reckon with.

    And even when Benitez has made poor signings, like Keane, Josemi, Kromkamp and the like, he's made sure to get rid of them quickly, unlike a certain Scotsman who lost 15 mil on Veron. Look at how he got done with the RB position. FIrst he got Josemi for 2 mil, realized he was shit, swapped Kromkamp for free, and then sold Kromkamp for 2 mil, and bought Arby for 2.6. NOt that bad, and he didn't lose too much on Keane either.

    Finally, look where he's brought us in 5 years. From a squad with no quality players, except Gerrard, Carra, Hyypia and Hamann (who was pretty old already), we have a team with good players at every position, and still competing for the Prem and the CL. I think that's pretty good.

    BTW, did you read those articles I posted?

  18. Another anti Rafa article by Jaimie Kanwar just days after he accused Rafa of getting ready to attack Aggar over his contract statement!

    Why are you so negative about Rafa? Why cant you just trust his judgement and get off his case?

    Benayoun is employed by LFC and should do whatever his manager tells him to do, always without exception.

  19. Why shouldnt he be subbed or on the bench 70% of the time... I dont think that he is consistently good enough to command a 1st team starting place.

    I doubt if he'd see as much playing time at Utd, Chelsea or Arsenal and thats not a good thing for LFC.

    In Rafa we trust - tell us what team you really support Jaimie coz it's obviously not Liverpool.

  20. Stuart - So, if we apply your thinking: Rafa is employed by LFC and should do whatever his manager (i.e Hicks and Gillett) tells him, always without exception.

    Surely you can see the flaw with this kind of thinking?

  21. Anonymous - benyoun IS good enough to command a regular starting place and he has proved that in the few games he's actually started. If he isn't good enough, explain why.

    The fact is, Benitez has favourites; Dirk Kuyt for example. It doesn't matter how badly he plays, he will always start. If benitez showed the same faith in Benayoun - a far superior creative influence - then Benayoun could have more of an impact.

    it all boils down to the same thing: Benitez's preference is for defensive-minded players capable of running 50 miles a game, i.e Dirk Kuyt.

    Benayoun is not that type of player, so he suffers.

    Did Peter Beardsley defend as much Kuyt is forced to? Did John Barnes? Dalglish? NO. Did Liverpool suffer as a result?! NO.

    Benitez demands TOO MUCH defensive play from his attacking players. Benayoun would thrive ina Dalglish managed team; why? because Dalglish was attack minded.

  22. Quite possibly the most absurd article I have ever read on a Liverpool FC website. Your use of such jumbled nonsensical reasoning, merely to have a go at Rafa, is quite pathetic.

  23. Bikram - I didn't say 100% failure - the 20% success rate would include the players you listed, i.e. Torres, Masch etc.

    I don't think Babel, Lucas, Ngog etc will ever make it at Anfield,a dnthat's not because of their ability, it's because of Benitez and his unwillingness to allow young players with potential to flourish.

    As for the likes of Nemeth - he will never be given a chance, so it's am moot point. Just imagine if Souness/Evans didn't give Fowler and Mcmanaman a chance - look at what the club would've lost.

    Nemeth has superb potential, but has he been anywhere near the first team yet? No.

    Re the Ferguson/Benitez comparison - it's just not a fair comparison. In fact, it's now a cliche. When Ferguson took over, United were in a *far worse* position then Liverpool were when Benitez took over. As well as widely publicised internal problems, the drinking culture was a real problem. Anyway, I've discussed this issue in an article before. I'm currently working on another article re this issue as I really want to put this myth to bed once and for all.

    I really don't think you're being fair when it comes to comparing the Houllier/Benitez's squads. There is plenty of dross in Benitez;s squad too. and when he took over he had the following quality players:

    Florent Sinama Pongolle
    Kewell (His first season under Houllier was a success)

    Lots of quality players, and without these players Liverpool would not have won the CL in 2005.

    I haven't had a chance to read those articles yet but I will soon and I'll post my response.

  24. By the way this myth that man utd were in a far worse position than liverpool when fergie took over seems to be repeated alot here is a fact for you when fergie took over man utd they finished 4th the year before same as when rafa took over liverpool man utd had averaged a 4th position over the last 4 years before fergie took over same as liverpool before rafa took over. This would make anyone with half a brain come to the conclusion they were very much in the same position. Both managers had to reform each squad proved by only 3 players still being there from when rafa took over! The only difference i can see is that rafa has had a more successful first 5 years than fergie did, anything i've missed, know it all!?!? If you see; reina, arbeloa, agger, skrtel, aurellio, insua, reira, mascherano, alonso, kuyt, torres as 20% of his signings he must of made a hell of alot of signings also you can't judge younger signings until they've proved it at atleast reserve level..

  25. I appreciate what you're saying, but Benitez didn't have a massive drinking culture to contend with or a severe lack of personal discipline amongst players. Ig nothing else, Houllier was a strict disciplinarian and had the players on a tight leash.

  26. if you love ferguson so much why don't you support man utd?!? you have actually said you are doing an article on rafa and fergie i might be psychic here but does it claim that rafa is a sh*t manager?!? Just a guess am sure i'm wrong but its just a guess!!! Make sure you get your facts right before you write anything else please sick of reading lies and pathetic opinions...also are you honestly saying the squad in 2005 is better than the one now? the reason we won the champions league is rafa not the squad thats why we hadn't even come close before he took over, genius!

  27. The whole country was dealing with a drinking culture it wasn't specific to man utd so whats your point?
    I think Houlier was a good manager and did alot for our club and will always hold him in the highest respect but i also believe we have a more tactically aware manager now and also a better manager all round involving transfers and ability to win major competitions.

    I suppose only time will tell football is full of opinions but i feel you are the minority on your feelings as the various comments have pointed out.

  28. Show me one article where I have *ever* claimed that rafa is a 'shit manager'. I highlight what I perceive to be his flaws. So sue me! Doesn't mean I think he's a poor manager - far from it. Indeed, I've praised Rafa many times. If you look through my post history, you'll see that I was once a a Rafa supporter...

    And yes, I have great respect for Ferguson, and it has nothing to do with liking Man U. That is just a simplistic response. I respect his ability as a Manager, in the same way I respect the likes of Brian Clough, Arsene Wenger and countless others. If you can't handle that, or accept the concept that it is possible to admire a rival team's manager *without actually supporting the rival team*, then I submit it is you who needs to look at things a different way.

    Perhaps you could also stop blatanatly misrepresenting the things I say - At no point have I said that the 2005 squad was better than today's squad - I merely pointed out that Houllier's players were mostly responsible for winning the CL.

    And I disagree it was Rafa and not the squad that won the CL. Clearly, the players were more motivated when playing in the CL than they were in the league. If Rafa was such an influence, then how come we were such a failure in the league that season, finishing on a pathetic 58 points - behind Everton, level with Bolton (!) and 37 points behind Chelsea!

  29. We finished 5th in 2005 one place behind 4th the previous years position not a massive failure compared to previous years also this proves the point that rafa was very much responsible for our performances in europe as he was used to europe being in the competition and having a proven track record before liverpool. He was still adjusting to the english league thats why the slip in the league. If it was the players who were motivated in europe why was it only this year and not the years before bit of a coincidence that rafa took over at the same time as this sudden motivation from the squad in europe?

  30. Though you might like this one, Jaimie. http://www.setanta.com/uk/Articles/Football/2009/03/25/Premier-Arbeloa-Rafa-is-inspirational-/gnid-45743/

  31. Hmmm. Interesting. A Spanish player who praising his Spanish boss in public. Wouldn't have anything to do with Liverpool's interest in a new right back would it? ;-)

    In any event, I'm sure Crouch, Finnan, Riise, Agger, Babel, Keane, Henchoz and countless others would disagree with Arbeloa's contention that Benitez is 'inspirational'.

    On a different note - you're clearly an intelligent fellow with excellent knowledge of the the club and the ability to compose a compelling argument. You'll probably scoff at this, but If you're interested in writing for the site, I'd be interested in discussing it.

    For more, CLICK HERE

  32. I hope you feel a bit ashamed now as Yossi picked up an injury on international duty! The whole reason why Rafa didn't want him to go as he would be prone to injury due to him not being fully fit!!

  33. The right to defy Benitez? plz buddy throw away the crack pipe asap!

    Benitez is the man who gave yossi the opportunity to play for a huge club. He paid what..5 or 6 mil so Yossi would have known he wasnt going to be in the team week in week out.

    he previously wasnt exactly setting the park alight and therefore didnt deserve a full 90 mins in my opinion. Lately however he has been awesomee & justifying rafa bringing him on board so good on him & rafa for that..lets hope he continues this form for us...wait he cant because he decided to play for his country when not fully fit and now he's injured again.

    playing for your country is huge but not when injured with the posibility of prolonging the injury and especially when your club who pays your weekly wage is fighting for the title for the 1st time in years.

  34. Nice one, Yossi! After all the hassle over the Israel game, a great end to the week by scoring the winner against Fulham :-D

  35. I would not blame benayoun on the decision he took.Since he comes in as a sub in almost all the matches,I think he would be more valuable to his country at this point in time considering the fact that he is a very good player.If Rafa does not want him,surely his country does.