19 Oct 2009

BRAVO! Why Rafa Benitez should be applauded...

Well done, Rafa. No, I really mean it! After Liverpool’s defeat to Sunderland, the stage was set for another Rafa rant about the injustices of the game, something that the media would've lapped-up. Instead, Rafa said all the right things, and for that he should be applauded.

According to the rules, the ‘Beach-ball’ goal should have been disallowed; Rafa could’ve seized upon this as an opportunity to paper over the cracks and make excuses for the team. Instead, he refused to blame that piece of bad luck and chose to tell the truth:

“It was a special situation but we didn’t play well. The goal changed the game but we made some mistakes and gave the ball away. When we had our chances, we didn’t take them.

On the specific question of whether the beach-ball goal should’ve stood, Rafa added:

“It’s a bad situation for us that the [beach] ball was in the middle and was influential...It’s a very technical question, but it...could have been a goal anyway. Again I will say we didn’t play well — that’s the main thing for me.”

Spot on. No excuses; no attempts to lay the blame elsewhere; just an honest assessment of where Liverpool went wrong. How the goal was scored is irrelevant – the team did not play well, and that is the principal reason the game was lost.

If Rafa had gone on the rampage about the goal and complained about it, the media and rival fans would – no doubt – be ridiculing him right now, which would make an already farcical situation even worse.

It may seem like a small thing, but given the previous occasions where Rafa has made lame excuses after the team has not performed, his honesty was very refreshing, and very much in line with the Liverpool way of doing things, i.e. being fair, honest and dignified in defeat.

I personally always prefer it when a manager tells the truth and doesn’t blame things like lost penalty decisions etc for losing games. Mistakes will inevitably happen during matches, but it’s still up to the team to rise above them and try and win the game.

On this occasion, Liverpool failed to do that, and Rafa must take the lion’s share of the blame. But that's another article.


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  1. Perhaps this is not the best place for me to vent in this way, because it may appear as i am attempting to paper over the cracks.  But i assure you i am not.  The freak goal did not cost us the points and i know exactly the type of limp performance that was on show on Saturday and it was one i fully expected and predicted.  Very similar to Boro away last year i imagine.

    BUT, i have to discuss the oficiating this weekend, not only at our game.  I honestly believe the standard of refereeing is way below par and should be addressed.  How on earth a consultation between 4 match officials at a Premier League game cannot yield the correct decsions when a basic law has ben broken leaves me to serioulsy doubt the referees capabilities.  Ok, i didn't know that law, but it is not my job to.  It is however, each of the match officials job to know each and every law of the game and at least 1 of them should have known the goal should have been disallowed.

    Moving on, the decsion in the Arsenal v Birmingham game to award an in-direct free-kick for a back pass from Birminghams's Larsson was as ridiculous.  again, a fundamental rule in the game has gone completely over a referees head.  Quite clearly to anyone who has any knoeledge about football, Larsson was stretching to make a vital interception in his own area.  Had Joe Hart smashed the ball out of play, everyone connected with Birmingham would have screamed at him for not picking the ball up!  Yet the referee penalises him when he does.  The back pass rule was brought in to cut out time-wasting and deliberate back-passes.  If a referee in the Prem cannot understand that what Larsson did was neither, then again we have serious problems in the game at the highets level.

    It really concerns me that fundamental mistakes which we have seen this weekend, and indeed every weekend, go largely un punished and we as fans have to tolerate these guys in charge week in, week out!

  2. In all honesty i was expecting you to give him a roasting but every credit. Yeah i agree team was crap and he made no excuses. What i cannot understand, which i think you were reffering to when you said '<span>Rafa must take the lion’s share of blame. But that’s another article.' is why on earth when our best two players are injured would we change the whole system, why didn't he just play benayoun in Gerrards position and either kuyt up top or even ngog. + if masch is fit enough to be on bench why not start him and bring him off rather than start a rookie who in my eyes isn't and will never be good enough, i know hes only 20 but i dont think he can cut it at this standard. Lee catermole at the same age looked world class in comparison.

  3. Also would like peoples opinions on this but is it just me or would everyone like to see dan agger play left back, i know insua has done well but for me agger would be more solid defensively and has more about him when hes high up the pitch???

  4. I completely agree Rossi - Rafa should've played aces in their places, but he failed to do that AND he switched to an unfamiliar formation, which is basicsally suicide when the defence is already struggling in our usual formation.  I will probably write something about why the game was lost but I feel like I'll just be repeating myself.  All the points I'll make I've already made several times this season.

  5. + i think everyone can see that he should'nt have done that - ok it worked against newcastle a couple of times playing that system but sunderland are one of the in form teams this year, so just didn't get why but anyway done and dusted i dont think he will try it any time soon, watch him play same system against Lyon now!!!!

  6. Rossi thats something I thought a long time back before Insua broke through the ranks. Even before we bought Dossena. He used to play there for Denmark at times. But I suppose Rafa would just see that as a stop gap and I think Insua will only continue to improve with the more games he plays.

    The spine of the team is a shambles. From centre back to centre midfield right up to centre forward when torres isnt playing. 

    Theres no doubt we need a long term replacement for Carragher, doubts will continue over Aggers ability to stay fit and Skrtels form has been poor. In centre mid Lucas is not up to it yet, again its questionable if he ever will be. I still personally think Masch is gone next summer. Time to move Gerrard back and get someone to either partner/ play off Torres up front.

    But firstly to get to riute of the problem the yanks need to go

  7. Not so much for me with Dan Agger switching to LB.  i think we have enough in Aurelio and Insua.  If you talking about switching Agger's position how about making him Alonso's replacement and play him alongside Masch just in front of the back 4.  You cnat argue his confidence on the ball would enable him to get the ball deep, and spread play effectiveley.  Whether he has the pther attributes needed to play in that poition i'm not sure, but as we are chucking out ideas thought i'd throw that one into the mix.

  8. I agree Insua will get better with more games but maybe for now, just get agger to play there to help sure up the defence saying that, it might not make much of a difference at the min. I miss Alonso

  9. I hadn't thought of that, but it sounds like a better idea than having spearing and Lucas neither of which have the vision of Agger. Maybe asking a little too much, considering he's just getting back from injury as midfield is supposed to be the engine room.

  10. I wouldn't mind having Agger a left back but I wouldn't want him as a creative central midfielder. We need a specialist in that position - an Alonso or a Gerrard -= not a converted defender.  I'd be up for having Agger as a defensive-mid - If Masch goes, convert him to that. he'd setill be doing pretty much the same job as he does not, i.e. defending.  Probably too injury prone for that role though, but if he stays fit...

    Ultimately, I just don't like the idea of having a defender in a creative position.  Agger's natural instinct is (probably) to defend, which would translate into this role as a CM.

  11. Yea, well.. Rafa did not have a choice as people anyway have made him out to be a moaner. In this case, the beach ball situation was peculiar.

    Well, the thing which really concerns me is if this whole line-up situation is so clear to us w.r.t who is effective and who is not, why does'nt rafa see it? Is it because he is too stubborn and wants to prove a point to the owners or is it genuinely the case that the players he has are not performing or executing the orders properly?

    The other worrying thing was that Sunderland could have won by 2-3 goals easily if Bent had got some of his angles right. We just had one clear chance at the end during the added time

  12. yeh i definitely think this should be the formation and team vs lyon if not we are just going to lose (again)!! :

    Benayoun(Behind Torres)
    Torres (if if not fit babel or kuyt up front) has to play all the wingers/attackers (riera/kuyt/babel/benayoun) against lyon! Need to attack from the very start!!! and the same formation against man utd just get rid of babel/kuyt (preferably kuyt - need pace against man utd full backs) for torres

  13. 'Agger's natural instinct is (probably) to defend, which would translate into this role as a CM.' I agree but maybe he would defend better than Lucas/spearing and probably has a better eye for a pass than them also. It will never happen anyway but it was a good random idea imo.

    + good players can adapt and change positions with age or circumstance. Vincent Kompany at city was a centre half who lays for city in midfield. Hiero at Bolton did the same as campo to good effect. I know i might get slated for that but as i live in bolton now, they all have said that when Hierro played dm he was superb coz he could pass a ball better than anyone else in the team. The great Lother matthias changed from cm to sweeper, Henry changed from a winger to a striker, it can work to good effect as long as the player has the attributes and i think we can all agree that agger has the confidence and the ability with the ball to play that role but as we also know, he'll be out for the season in a few weeks!!!

  14. Personally I would prefer to see Agger at CB... I reckon he'll be there by the end of the year (fitness willing).
    If there was a player I would like to see converted it would be Aurelio to CM - again if he could stay fit. I think he's played there earlier in his career, and has the tackling and the passing (wot a sweet left boot)... so mebbe an option if Masche does go...

  15. Had a shocker in cm against Fiorentina, but he has done ok generally on a couple of occaisions.

  16. Rafa is in a no win situation, he's damned no matter what he say's. Better to be honest and he does deserve credit for that, the press want his blood but why?. What has he done to deserve this attack on him?, does he abuse ref's?, does he swear every other word on the touchline?, does he dodge the media after games?, NO NOT AT ALL!. He simply won't kiss their arses to gain favour with the media and that is what they don't like about him, maybe if he took them out for dinner like some, he would get a better deal.

  17. The media always set a target and then try to gun them down. Maurinho was the target a couple of years ago and then he was sacked. As was Big Phil and Avram Grant. Also i see so many goals scored from set pieces for example the two against chelsea yet nothing is spoken about man to man marking yet the next time we concede from a corner the whole Zonal marking ? will come in and say it never works. The other week Andy Gray was talking about how many goals in the league are conceded by set pieces but its only when we concede is a big deal made about it.

  18. If he behaved like Fergie i could understand it, but even though the media knew the 'rafa rant' was factually correct, they shit themselves and backed Fergie. I think they are like that paper we all hate? the media jump to support a dead cert!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!highly principled eh?

  19. I disagree, there, Jaimie. Firstly, we have 3 left-backs already. Agger is possibly our best centre-back right now. Lastly, he looked out of sorts when he played as the third centre-back, where he almost played at left-back, but not quite. The last thing our defence needs right now is more shifting around. 

    Also, I agree with you that Rafa is COMPLETELY to blame for the loss. Everyone looked out of place, and how do you expect to switch to a back 3+2 wingbacks, when we've been playing a back four forever, and especially when one of our 3 centre-backs is just coming back from a long injury. When he changed it to four at the back in the 72nd minute, we seemed to be playing a lot better. I think he also realized his mistakes himself, which is why he didn't blame anyone for the defeat. 

  20. Oh, nice result on the ban, by the way.

  21. I think rafa is just being stubborn!! He has the players, just doesnt always play his best 11!! For e.g Sunderland, wrong formation, inexperience and lucas!!!! need i say more!! He shud'av stuck with our usual formation!! He shud'av played: Reina, Johnson, Carra, Agger, Insua, mid: Babel, Mash, Aureilio, Riera, Kuyt with benni just behind!! Aurellio can play xabis position no probs!! Fiorentina was his 1st game back so didnt look up to speed and he had that useless moron lucas next to him!! Did anyone see how good aurellio's passin was in the 2nd half of that game!! I like rafa as a manager but think he needs to stop playing games with media and trying to prove points!! As the manager he also needs to look at his errors and rectify them asap otherwise europe next season is not happenin!!!

  22. Rafa is a fucking idiotic, fat, bold-headed manager. If he looses to ManUnited, he should be kicked out of Anfield. abosolutely idiotic manager.