19 Oct 2009

RAFA BENITEZ: A class act, but it could be time to go...

It really pains me to write this, but it could soon be time for Rafa to step down as our manager. With every passing game this season (no pun intended) it is getting harder to defend him or to see where we as a team are making any progress at all.

The team and just about all of the players seem stale. If anything, they have gone backwards compared to last season. Worse still, many of them seem to lack desire or focus and they just don't seem to care enough about the shirt, which is the worst crime of all.

I don't know if Rafa still has the confidence of all the players. Has he lost them? It doesn't look like he has their full support to me.

I can't remember the last time we last lost 3 matches on the bounce without even scoring. Rafa always gets a response from his players after a defeat, or did. Not now it seems. We didn't get a shot on goal until the 93rd minute at the Stadium of Light, which is a bloody disgrace.

In my last article, I looked into Rafa's signings and the level of support he has received in the transfer market. Rafa has spent over £220m on players in his time, and too many of them are just not good enough to play for Liverpool. I don't see us playing football like a £220m team. Nowhere near.

Babel, Voronin, Lucas and Riera to name just a few. These are all Rafa's signings and frankly none of them should be in our squad if we want to be considered as title contenders, let alone in and around our 1st team. Can you imagine Chelsea or Man Utd signing any of these players if they were on the market tomorrow? In a word, no. Enough said.

Don't take me for a Judas, I am not. I want to see number 19 in the cabinet as badly as you. But I think we all need to get real though, we are not progressing this season. In fact we are in danger of slipping out of the top four altogether. Where would that leave us?

I want to support our players too, but how can you support Ryan Babel after that performance at the weekend? It is not the first time he has let us down either is it? He is not alone either - there are plenty of others we could get stuck into.

I am a big fan of Rafa and deeply respect all he has done for our club. He is a class act and a great man, but sometimes, you have to know when to call it a day. It’s like your favourite slippers, they are familiar, comfy and you love them. But after a few years they get worn out. It pains you to do it, but they have to go.

There could be worse to come – what happens if we suffer 2 defeats this week against Lyon and Man Utd? This would leave our title and Champions League dreams almost over for the season, and we are only in October. That would also mean FIVE defeats in a row.

If that happens, I think Rafa should (and maybe would) do the decent thing and walk away, with our love, respect and support in place. If this dross continues though, the goodwill of the fans may eventually start to slide.

I would hate to think of Rafa going the way of Gerard Houllier, who in hindsight stayed on for too long. He should have gone after his terrible illness, with the treble still fresh in our minds and reputation sky-high.

Fingers crossed we stuff Lyon and Man Utd this week, but I am hopeful rather than confident. We are at home in both games though which will be a massive help (we don't seem to be able to play away from Anfield this year, that's for sure).

I know I shouldn't do it, but I keep finding myself thinking about what it might be like to see King Kenny back in our dugout again.

Am I alone in thinking that? I bet I'm not.

Alex Miller


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  1. As much as I hate to say it, I think rafa is becoming stale - but if rafa goes - will torres want to follow?

  2. First of all, i think many may be feeling the same but its been a bad couple of weeks and we shouldnt get hasty. secondly i don't want to have this silly debate about net spend again. Ok hes spent 220mill but theyre not all theyre now are they????? 117mill or whatever the figure is, is what we have in the squad not 220mll, you cant include the cost of players who have been sold in the overall cost of the squad. 19 mill of that 220 was on keane and so on. So when you think of it City have spent more in the last transfer window than the total cost of the current squad.

  3. I think Torres is too much of a professional to have a 'If rafa goes, I go' attitude.  And to be honest, if he does display that then he can leave too.  players should be loyal to the CLUB not the MANAGER. End of story.

  4. Come on, Rossi.  The inescapeable fact is Rafa has spent 220m+. What do Liverpool have to show for it?  We may have made some money bacl but the original outlay still exists.

    Now don't get me wrong - I am not personally calling for Rafa's head. He should be given this season, as getting rid now wouldn't be good for anyone, and would just further destabilise the club.  There is still time to turn it around, but the league must be the priority. A good CL run cannot be allowed to paper over the cracks.

  5. To reiterate my point, a normal team Reina 7, Johnson 18, Dossena for arguments sake 7, Skrtel 7, Masch 18, Aquilani 20, Kuyt 9, Babel 11 and torres 22, obviously Gerrard Carra homegrown, that equals 119. So no wonder theyre not playing like a 220 million pound team.

    You also state if Lucas etc were on the market you wouldn't see Utd or Chelsea buying them then enough said, Well when Djemba Djemba, Kleberson were on the market, we didn't go near them. That argument about players can be said about every single team/manager. Even Wenger has bought a few duds, massive loss on Reyes.

    I don't get you on these points

  6. Like Man U. Chelsea dont sign crap players or good players who don't live up to their potential?????????????????

    The difference is they can sign enough to make the difference

  7. Think about it, If Rafa walks or even gets the sack, who in there wright mind is gonna want to come to Anfield and be manager. We have major debts, no transfer kitty, and two yank owners who don't know what the f*ck they are doing and keep arguing and passing the buck.

  8. No - the difference is they WIN TROPHIES.  United and Chelsea have both won the league this decade; if you win the league it doesn't matter if you signed a couple of crap players; you have an end product: something to show for it.

  9. just get rid of Lucas(especially), Babael , Dossena , Voronin and those two fagits Americans shite.

  10. obviously not a real fan. an nobody has taken in to account the total re-vamp of the youth system, an the aquisition of many of the worlds most talented yongsters. which will have come from rafas funds!

  11. It's true what Oneline says, just supposing you got your way and got shut of Rafa at the end of the season. Who would you want to bring in.....? Now stop and ask the question would that manager what to come to Liverpool while we are in affect broke with the future uncertain. I think it's at times like these that we need to stand together. It was the cretins booing our own players that made it so embarrasing being a red last seaon.

  12. I'm not debating the fact he's spent 220 mill, but theyre are 2 many different factors to consider such as we sell alonso for 30, who we paid 11 for and then signed Aquilani, so although we spent 31 mill on these 2, we still only have a net outlay of 1 mill roughly and only 1 of them actually here, so the comment of we don't play like a 220mill team annoyed me becuase its not as simple as that.

    If we hadn't have sold Bellamy could we have bought torres that summer? These are things that should be taken into account. I love Benitez - granted he makes mistakes but still theres nobody else worth considering in my view to take his job. Arsenal Fans love Wenger but it must annoy them that they sell some top players and dont replace them, instead play a youngster who has potential. They havn't won anything either for a while but the football they play for some reason papers over the cracks. For all their supposedly beautiful football last year we completly dominated both games but drew them both. Not sure where i am going with this now but in Benitez we trust

  13. Obviously not a real fan; according to whom? You?  Don't make sniping posts - state your case.  Please provide a list of 'the world's most talented youngster' supposedly on the books at Anfield, and explain why they're so good.

  14. Dan 8,

    I don't see any evidence of great young players coming through at all - who?? As for being a true fan, believe me I am, but a very frustrated and worried one..

  15. King Kenny might do it!!??

  16. My point is Rossi that Rafa has played a game of 'I never have money to spend'. That is clearly rubbish. I agree all teams buy duds, but if they are winning silverware no problem - we aren't and are you confident we will this year? We should be confident as fans.

    I fear something is gravely wrong with Rafa and some key players, leading to poor morale (a hunch based on watching the body language of some players in the games). That again is Rafa's responsibility and the first time I have seen it in his 5 years.

  17. If I was Rafa I might just think about walking away, with all the crap he has had to put up with these past three years. It is a wonder he is still here, he wont be out of a job for long thats for sure. God help us if he does, I dont know of any manager who could have done for us what he did last season under the cercumstances. This season he looses Alonso, then Mascherano looses interest then Carragher looses his form on top of Agger's injury and then Skrtle gets a bad injury at Spurs and looses his confidence. Then he looses Gerrard and Torres through internationals, goes to Sunderland, who nearly beat the scum on their own turf, so they are up for it. Goes into the match without Gerrard, Torres and Mascherano, and looses all three points thanks to a beach ball. Now it looks like he is loosing our support, no wonder he is loosing the plot. But lets be honest who could blame him!

  18. There are plenty of people who would, it is a great honour to manage liverpool after their great history just its not followed up.. but history is history... but i reckon plenty would honour managing liverpool... (decent ones though lol) and this argument about liverpool/rafa getting no money.... Torres 21 or 26.5m, Mascherano 18, Aquilani 20m, Johnson 18m, Keane 20m, Babel 11m, Kuyt 9m , Alonso 10m, Garcia 8/9/10m, Cisse 10-15m, Bellamy 8m? a team equalling 130m+??? come on jaimie keep the posts coming!

  19. Banksy,

    Nicely put - agree with you on so many points. You couldn't make up our bad luck and injuries so far this season. It is not just that though, it is the hunger in the players that is missing, even a lack of desire that is showing through. 

    Also, there are players that shouldn't be in our squad still playing in the team and yes, Mashcherano has been a disgrace so far.

    I am really worried about us this season, and that is down to Rafa. He has been in charge 5 years, we shouldn't need to be worried when 1 or 2 players are injured. But we are - because we only have 1 class striker, no world-class wingers, and inadequated cover in most positions right now - that can't be right...?

  20. <span>bring king kenny with sammy lee!</span>
    bring back the joy, happines and attacking pass and move football
    rather then the mechanic tactic one!

  21. jamie/alex, i've read this site for only a few months, and its clear in the main you are anti rafa, having said that you also both make good points from time to time, i dont agree with everything you say and do agree with somethings, however if rafa were to go right now(he'll never step down he would have to be sacked) the americans would have to pay out the remainder of his 5 year contract PLUS any compensation for whoever were to come in, i dont think paying out the best part of 15-20 million(in total) for another manager would be high on the agenda for the owners. then we also have the problem of who would be willing to work for these jokers of owners, then we also have the problem of the massive upheaval any new manager brings with him, new staff, wanting his own players etc etc. i wouldnt be too disappointed if rafa were to go, however, the fear i have is that it would put us another 2-3 years backwards of where we shuld be. credit where it due with rafa, he is the only top 4 manager to gain more points season on season since being there, he has made good progress. i just dont see another manager who would be willing or able to do the job, mourinho i dont think would leave mid-season, hiddink wont leave russia till after the world cup (if they get there) the only other aternative would be someone from a lower down club? oniell maybe is the only one capable, but would he come? i honestly dont think any changes will be made till the summer if any.

  22. I'm glad someone mentioned the Keane loss. Think about the difference Keane could have made in our lineup this season. That was a very short-sighted and wasteful move by Rafa. Keane had a lousy game against Preston North and that was all she wrote for Rafa. But for some reason that same standard doesn't apply to Lucas or Babel for Rafa. I think he gauges many players on whether or not he likes their attitude rather than what they actually bring to the pitch.

  23. I love the idea of King Kenny coming back as mamanger but to be honest, I would not want him to return.  I couldn't bear to see our most revered living legend torn apart when things (inevitably) wnt wrong.

    There would be constant comparisons between the past and the present, and Liverpool's fanbase would expect success along the lines of what kenny achieved before.

    basically, I don't want King Kenny's legacy damaged in any way.

  24. I think Rafa is brilliant. I hate people saying he has had all the funds he needs rubbish! Rafa would have roped in villa, silva, barry, etc but has not been backed by the board!

    JOHNSON was 17mil because pompy still had not payed all of the crouch money! this summer window Rafa has had about 5mil budget on transfers. keane money what happened to that????

    If rafa did go, who would you bring in thats better??????? nobody.......

    Arsene Wenger hs not won silverware since 2005 FACT

    This is Liverpool theres no place for fickle fans get behind your team and manager! if your going to winge at least do it in May

    PEPE REINA- the best goalkeeper liverpool have ever had!

    FERNANDO TORRES- the best stirker in the world?

    Rafa got the best out of STEVEN GERRARD too!

  25. I'm sorry, but could possibly spout any more unsubstantiated cliches?

    Reina the best goalkeeper Liverpool has ever had?!  You clearly have a very short memory.

    And please don't post likes to ThisIsAnfield.  Given how much TIA slags off this site, their links are not welcome here.

  26. Can we be sure a new manager will improve these player's?, No we can't. Will the next manager get a load of money to spend, No he won't, add to that he has just signed a £12m contract it's very unlikely he will go. You need  continuity in a manger to have success, he is the man.

  27. Strebby,

    Great points. You may find it hard to believe but I am not actually anti-Rafa at all. Until this season, I didn't have a bad word to say about the man. I think he is a great.

    You are also right about his year on year points totals too.

    My biggest fear now though is that the body language of the team is not right. I question whether the team is still behind Rafa. You would never even have dreamed of saying that until a month ago. But 3 losses on the bounce without scoring a goal (or even looking particularly likely to score in the Fiorentina and Sunderland games. 

    If he has or does lose the dressing room, the club will be big time unstable. I genuinely hope this is not the case.

  28. What a load of crap, the best keeper liverpool ever had ???????????????

    Apologies must be sent to grobelar, Clemence and Eilsha Scott

  29. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiFaBlPOXfk

    if RAFA BENITEZ left today I would cry.....

    watch this video!

  30. I'm glad people are actually debating this point now. Rafa, as we all very well know, has been largely wasteful of the money he's been given. Yes he's made good signings but he's made some absolute shockers too. His tactical decisions are being called into question more and more and as the article says he seems to be unable to change a game either at half time or with the subs he uses as he used to be able to.

    I have spoken about Rafa being the problem for a long time now - and it was almost as if I were spitting in peoples faces, given the reaction. I feel now people are realising that, although a great manager, he's not going to win us the league, and that's largely because he's unable to adapt and admit when he's made a mistake. As others have mentioned, he's slowly turning himself and Liverpool into Arsene Wenger and Arsenal (but minus the good football). I think this week will decide his fate, and in all honesty (although it pains me to say it) part of me hopes, like I did when England lost to Croatia with Mclaren as boss, that we lose against both Lyon and Utd, because otherwise the club isn't going to get the change it needs.

    As another poster mentioned if Torres, Reina, Riera etc. want to go because Rafa isn't there then they are welcome to! I'm more interested in players that want to play for the club, not the manager.

    In terms of who should replace him, I'm not really sure. Maybe someone like Rijkaard would fit the bill but in all honesty I'm not sure. All I know, and hope, is that either Rafa turns it around very quickly, or we need to see a change at the top, and I think unfortunately the latter is the preferable option!

  31. he ain't gonna be sacked - he's 6 months into a 5 year deal, supposedly worth £20m.  The americano's cannot afford to sack him, so unless he steps down, he's here for the next 2 to 3 years.

  32. Nick!, you should hang your head in shame, 'NO  LIVERPOOL FAN WOULD EVER SAY THAT'. you need to have a word with yourself, you manc.

  33. Hi Nick,

    Like you, I have been arguing that Rafa will not win us the league for ages, and I've always received 95% vitriol as a response.  There is no room for sentimentality - this season has illustrated the glaring problems in rafa's approach, and once again Liverpool are suffering as a result.

    I don't want him to be sacked/ resign during the season;  he should have till the end of the season; getting rid now will not solve anything and will just make things worse (IMO). 

    I am all for managerial change next summer though.  Even if we storm to another second placed finish, it's not good enough.  Benitez's Liverpool peaked last season.  He's had his time. 

    In terms of replacements, there are plenty of options: Marco Van Basten (up and comer in the Guardiola mould); Jose Mourinho (I can see him leaving Milan next season); Martin O'Neill; Manolo Jiminez (Sevilla - I think he's a top manager); Guus Hiddink (unlikely, but you never know); Michael Laudrup (another up and comer in the Guardiola mould).  I'm sure there are others out there.

    Mourinho is the obvious choice; as much as Liverpool fans dislike him, he is a born winner.

  34. I don't think anyone expects him to be sacked. I think the Yanks are playing a very clever game, giving him enough rope to hang himself with. I really think if he loses the next two, which are both at Anfield, then he'll walk.

    I don't deny that I think the Americans should go, but they really aren't the only problem...I don't even think they're the main problem! This is Rafa's squad, from top to bottom, and the fact is (as Mr Gilett said) if the players aren't performing, that's the managers problem, nobody elses.

  35. Agree - blaming the owners is the typical response of the 'rafa Can Do No Wrong Brigade'.  He is responsible for what happens on the pitch. Furthermore, the club has given him 2m+ for Torres; 20m for Keane; 18.6m for Masch; 17m for Johnson; 20m for Aquilani; 11m for Babel; 16m for Dossena and Riera.  That is some considerable financial backing, and things are still in the toilet.

  36. <span><span>

    And let’s not forget, you’ve won 57 per cent of your games in charge of Liverpool, the same as Bob Paisley.
    So with all that in mind, you deserve some respect, right? You’ve done a great job in trying circumstances. You’ve proved you are what they said you were when you arrived from Valencia – a world-class manager.
    But it’s not enough. You’ve lost four games out of nine this season. You’ve sold a player, Xabi Alonso, who wanted to leave the club, for a huge profit to the biggest club in his home country.
    You might think your excellent record buys you some time in the job at Anfield and some patience from the fans, just like it does for Arsene Wenger, trophyless with Arsenal since 2005.

    Well not for some people. They’ve had enough. They want Jose Mourinho. A man in a job at Inter Milan, with a huge salary. A man who would cost a lot of money in compensation and in wages. Oh and we’d have to pay you off  too, Rafa. But hang on, there’s no money…

    What’s that Rafa? You’re resigning? You don’t feel appreciated? You’ve had enough of fickle fans on phone-ins and internet forums sniping and moaning? Had enough of media men calling you “cold”, slagging off your tactics, harping on about zonal marking and questioning the timing of your substitutions?

    Hypothetical, of course. But it could happen. And it would be a huge problem for Liverpool if it did.
    Mourinho, Guus Hiddink, Fabio Capello…all top managers that trigger-happy fans have been mentioning as they debate Rafa’s replacement.
    But why would any of them come to Anfield? No money to spend, owners that hate each other, sky-high expectations and a demand for immediate results…
    Hardly the dream job is it?
    When Benitez was trying to renegotiate his contract at Valencia in 2004 he said: “My ideal scenario was continue the work I had started at Valencia.
    “But the managing director said to me, ‘If I give you two more years on your contract and then you lose three matches it is going to be my problem!” If that was how much respect my three years of work had earned, then it seemed obvious to me that they had little interest in me staying.”
    He later said: “It appears that I’m valued more outside the club than I am at Valencia itself.”
    Deja vu?
    It’s clear he likes to be loved. And for his record at Liverpool, he deserves to be. But if people turn against him so quickly, whose to say he won’t pack it in? It’s not like he would struggle to get another job.
    In the first post-Benitez year at Valencia, the club finished seventh, 26 points behind La Liga champions Barcelona.
    If Benitez resigns, or, as unlikely as it is given the financial situation, is sacked, Liverpool could go backwards too.
    I wonder what Alan Curbishley is doing these days…
    More on why Rafa’s the man for Liverpool here – Rafa, the facts
    Read more from Gareth at his Well Red LFC blog

  37. You're perfectly entitled to your opinon, but this is just misguided blind faith that completely ignores the reality of the situation. 

    In fact, I am going to post an article tomorrow rebutting every one of your points.

  38. What is amazing is the strong bond that Benitez shares with many die hard Benitez fans.I don't think either Houllier or Evans had that level of support.But if Liverpool can't finish in the top four, i mean even so will you "in rafa we trust fans' still believe he'll win us the title!Or do you even think that Benitez will ever win it in the five years he'll have.I'm not sure unless he does some soul searching i don't see that happening. He has made some glaring mistakes in the league!!

  39. I am genuinely disappointed with the timeing of your article.  I understand that there may be feeling that Rafa is not going to bring home the title we all want, but to engage in this type of debate during what is arguable one of the biggest week's in his reign, let alone the season is naive.

    i dont believe we will do it, but 2 consecutives wins and the world will look a much rosier place believe me.  But to questions whetehr his time has been and gone is as ludocrous as i think it is ill-timed.  Whatever mistakes he has made, and i think he has made a few during this Summers transfer window, he deserves time and faith to turn things around.  Last season was largely outanding.  Yes, i believe we will struggle to match those heights and that will be very disappointing, but to me, he deserves plenty of time to make changes next Summer and the Summer after if need be to put together a tittle-winning team.

    I honestly dont belive their is another manager out there excluding Mourinho who could do more for the club in terms of winning the title.  OK it looks as though it wont happen again this season, but please dont be fooled that another managerw ould wlak in and change our fortunes instantly.  Rafa has shown he is a winner, both with Valencia and with Liverpool.  He is still searching and learning and of course i would have wanted to have won a league withing 6 years of his arrival, but i do honestly belive hand on heart that he is and will remain the right man for job, and urge you to focus your energies on supporting the team as mush as you can.  I dont wish to be0little your views and it's a well written article, but to write that during this week of all week's surprises/disappoints me.

  40. Benitez has trotted out the same line every single loss - 'we didnt score our chances, we will concentrate on the next game and i have faith in the players,' NO!! lets forget blind loyalty and stick to hard facts:

    1) Liverpool do not play good football
    2) Any good team that Liverpool have played this season have beaten Liverpool. CONVINCINGLY
    3) Liverpool are set up to counter act other teams type of play - so we are not a positive team we do not impose our style of play. we have to change for every single team we play against. That is not the sign of a man who has had a team for 5 years, he hasnt imposed any thing positive in terms of how Liverpool play football.
    4) Liverpool under Benitez have no style or class in their football. They relay on moments of briliance from Torres or Gerard, and the now departed Alonso.

    Now look at the signs so far this season: Benitez refuses to play Reira because of an argument with him, he's now mainly on the subs bench. Does that remind you of anything? Yes thats right, Alonso got into an argument with Benitez over the birth of his 1st child, Benitez stuck him on the subs bench for a while, then Alonso got injured. Then Benitez tried selling him behind his back - thats not how a Liverpool manager should behave. at least be upfront Rafa and tell him to his face you want to sell him!! So Alonso was angry, he showed us all how great a player he is last season and then justifiably he left because of Rafa's disgusting treatment of him.In Real Madrids last match Alonso played a 50 yard through ball curled between three defenders along the floor - Real Madrid scored from it. Can Lucas do that?

    Rafa repeats the same mistakes and doesnt have a good bond with his key players. He prefers to play players like Lucas, Voronin, Dossena, Kuyt over young talented players (i.e. nemeth whos now playing for a top side in greece or Pacheca who was signed from Barcelona). He plays Babel out of position and then moans at him for not 'defending' - the guy is a young and raw Thierry Henry - stick him up front with Torres or with another striker!!

    Benitez wont do that though. He'll play Kuyt as a lone striker and lucas with mascherano in the middle. Or maybe lucas and Gerrard. You can GAURUNTEE Lucas will play though, despite him being a midefielder who cant tackle and cant spot a forward pass.

    Benitez needs to go, too many managers have come into the premiership and shown they can play good football with practically NO resources (Wigan and West Ham for example). So Benitez, what exactly do you do in training? tell players to defend a 1-0 loss with backwards passes? Supportores of Liverpool lets get real, Benitez needs to go.

  41. Dear All,

    For god sake... keep some perspective here!  The time for Rafa to even consider stepping down is not even close.  It is now, more than ever that he will prove his metal as a world class manager.  Take a look at his record and his (record breaking) achievements with Liverpool since his appointment.  Any requests or calls for Rafa to step down are unfounded and grounded in a lack of abilty (author) to look at the real evidence.  Any support for htis call is only provided by the ignorant and people who I insist are not true fans of Liverpool FC.

    Wake up and support our Manager now, before its too late!

  42. RIGHT! I'v had enough of this. To all of you who want Rafa to go remember this, when he arrived Liverpool where finishing 30 points behind the scum. Yes, just think about that 30 POINTS! We where going to the dogs, becoming just a middle table team. Remember Sir Alex took six years to win something and that was the FA Cup, that saved his job if they had lost that game he would have been sacked. Now look at the bastards, don't let us make the mistake of loosing Rafa. Lets learn from the Manx (God forgive me for saying that), if he leaves us now, if we loose faith and our nerve we won't be champs for another 20 years. Yes he has made mistakes, yes he can be a stubbon, frustrating man. But if you lot don't stop this, you might just get what you wish for. God help us.   

  43. Do you honestly, think Mourinho would ever come to Liverpool. I don't see that ever happening.  

  44. I usually play devils advocate in these types of debates, in this instance I am going to fall on the side of Rafa Benitez. There is not a manager in the world today who could replace him and and do a better job. People seem to forget that we have two arrogant businessmen trying make a fast buck out of our club that is proving harder than they thought, so, even if we won anything, all the prize money is going to fund the debt that they have heaped on our club. Unfortunatley, Rafa - ever the optimist - is now feeling the strain like every other player that played against Sunderland. King Kenny is not a manager anymore - it really is not going to work. Mourinho? We couldn't afford him AND I don't know about you but I don't want him. Sammy Lee? Gordon Strachan? Sven Goran Erikksson? Juande Ramos? Guus Hiddink?




    Lets unite behind our great club, our great players and our great manager. We need to keep our side of the bargain.

    You'll never walk alone!

  45. Dear david Burke,
    All who is calling for Rafa's head is not a real fan? What do u mean by that? What makes you think that blind fans like you are real fan. What we want from Rafa after 5 years at anfield is progress, good football and result. Is that too much to ask for?

    1. How many losses does the manager needs to field the best 11?
    2. How much time does the manager needs to realize the engine room is not functioning after alonso?
    3. How much experience does a manager needs to make ealier substitutions when we are losing?

    All the 3 points above is the sole responsbility of the manager. Dont you agree? As a fan I dont mind if we lose a game but played good football. Against Chelsea we were second best until benayaun came in. Isn't it obvious that Benayaun is a very creative player. Cant Gerrard play along side Macherano with benayaun assisting Torres at least against teams like Chelsea. Rafa said we were ok until we conceded a goal. Come on man, everyone knows that we conceded because we did not attack enough and who is to be blamed for that. Isn't it Rafa? What does Lucas has to offer in midfield against Chelsea? Nothing. A premiership winning team should have certain qualities such as fighting spirit, no fear against any team, creativity up front to break up solid defence, good individual skills etc. Rafa's team dont have that qualities yet at the moment. Isn't it obvious? Who is to be blamed for that if its not Rafa? The owners? Bottom line is Rafa's game plan, best 11 and substitution is to be blamed. He must change or leave. If he cant change things in 5 years, what makes you think that he can do it in 10?

  46. You know what mate you make me sick, with freinds like you who needs
    enemies. If you want to know why you wont get another great manager to take
    the job once Rafa has gone is one, the yanks, and two, just let them read
    your email. Fans like you and the yanks deserve each other. Your both

  47. Banksy... who is this reply aimed at?

  48. Someone called Jay Jay

  49. to 'guest', one of the pro rafa brigade:

    you say 'Last season was largely outstanding'. 11 league draws (far too many of which were at home), limp domestic Cup exits to Everton and Spurs, and an atrocious home performance in the Champions League tie against Chelsea may suggest that you need to take those rose tinted specs off, my friend. The last time I checked we won NOTHING.

    I wish the pro-Rafa brigade would face facts. It's time for change at Anfield. You can't use timing as an excuse to make the right decision either - it just doesn't wash. He should have gone 18 months ago or perhaps even earlier than that.

  50. Sorry - I mean you cant use timing as an excuse NOT to make the right decision

  51. This article is spot on. Well written.

  52. Hi David,

    I disagree that there is not a Manager in the world who could replace him and do a better job. And let's be clear here about what we mean by 'better job': winning the league.  If someone came in and won Liverpool the league, then that would be classed as doing a better job, would it not?

    Anyone who comes in doesn't necessarily have to be a better manager.  Rafa may have more tactical mous than others, but when it comes to man-management, there are plemty of managers out there who are far superior to him.  Effective man-management is vitally important to creating a consistently successful team. This is the vital component missing from modern Liverpool, and it has been missing since Roy Evans left.

    In terms of managers who could come in and potentially win Liverpool the league, my list of possibles is as follows:


    Martin O'Neill
    Felix Magath
    Manolo Jiminez
    Frank Rijkaard
    Jose Mourinho
    Guus Hiddink

    Experienced Outside bets

    Ottmar Hitzfeld
    Martin Jol
    Ronald Koeman
    Kenny Dalgish
    Marcello Lippi

    Young up and coming managers (in the Guardiola mould)

    Marco Van Basten
    Michael Laudrup
    Didier Deschamps
    Markus Babbel
    Laurent Blanc

    Are we seriously to believe that none of the above managers could do better than Benitez in the league?

  53. i was listening to a graet debate on talksport tonight with collymre saggers and guillem ballague, and he says that mourinhos agents have been speaking to liverpool "officials" for over 2 years saying that if liverpool ever neded a manager then his door is always open, theres not too many football journalists out there i totally believe but ballague is one of them, he was saying these things matter of factly and is very much under the impression mourinho would walk to liverpool....lets just wait and see hey??

  54. Why should he go? If he finishes 5th in the league and gets knocked out of all the cup competitions then Shankly did just as bad on occasions...just a bad year at the office: there were good ones too! Who would do any better? Would Rafa walking help Liverpool's season or put enormous pressure on whoever took over? If Rafa left now, I'm sure our eventual position would be lower than if he stayed.

    A ridiculous article when not even the tabloids are baying for any blood yet!

  55. pls rossi, i think you missed something big here, you forget to mention lucas sales as well as benayoun, ngog, agger, caverili(second keeper) and reira whom actually cost 30mil-. so if you add that to your figures, it almost seems as the same of that writers post

  56. if you win league, it shows a huge difference between those teams. the team who won the league have a better players than you. there is  a huge differece. jaimie

  57. lets face it jaimie. you are absolutelly right about faras fund. he has bought so many many many many craps players. yes ferguson have bought some but he used them to win league which is very profitable but rafa cant do it which is very shamefulness.but i suggest we give him some time to put things right. cheers

  58. lets face it jaimie. you are absolutelly right about faras fund. he has bought so many many many many craps players. yes ferguson have bought some but he used them to win league which is very profitable but rafa cant do it which is very shamefulness.but i suggest we give him some time to put things right. cheers

  59. Imagine all the Arsenal fans in the 90's going "But who can replace George Graham? And then get Bruce Rioch as a stop-gap till some unknown Frenchman who is managing some unknown Japaneses team to come take over, what the hell are the board thinking!?"

    Or Barcelona fans season before last going "But how can we sack Rijkaard who won us the CL and gave us Messi  because of one bad season? And replace him with an inexperienced youth team coach?"

    Now think about the last 3 matches, i can't remember the last time any of the Big 4 lost 3 games in a row, let alone play worse in each consecutive game.

    Why this blind faith in Rafa? Because he had no money to spend? Why does he need a 200 million pound squad to score 1 goal against Sunderland? I thought he was a master tactician that won the champions league 5 years ago with a bunch of no hopers?

  60. Rafa is hanging himself publicly. He simply refuses to accept Lucas isn't good enough for Liverpool and plays him every game. Lucas isn't to blame for every bad result; but he is clearly out of his depth and it's sad Rafa can't accept this even when the team is losing consistently with Lucas in the midfield. This gives you an idea as to why Rafa won't win a league at Anfield.

    You've had 5 seasons Rafa to mould a decent squad with the money you've been given and I'm afraid our start this season has been a total failure. Even in pre season we were getting excuses for abysmal performances.

    Man Utd just lost the £80m world player of the year and a £25m great striker in Tevez - so if Benitez STILL can't beat Fergie this year to the league title he never will and must be removed this summer. I reckon we are fighting for 4th.   

  61. Eh, we haven't won anything for 3 years already mate. If it goes 4 years without a trophy then any Liverpool manager would get the sack. If you don't like that go and support Rafa in his next job.

  62. We won't be champs for another 20 years if Rafa leaves? What absolute rubbish are the IRWT brigade coming out with now! I wonder how many of these people are actually Mancs who are so desperate for Liverpool to keep a manager who is winning nothing for the last 3 years and will struggle to win anything again this year.

    SiSince when did Liverpool FC want managers who DON'T win?! 

  63. If Rafa gets through this spell he will learn so much for the coming months, certain player's have had their cards marked now. Hopefully we can get fully fit and push on, it's far from over.

  64. After the Chelsea game i was angry because i thought we had lost to an eminently beatable side. they had one chance and took it. Then it was game over because we simply couldnt create a response. That is a terrible thing to say about a team expected to challenge for the title.

    Imagine how easy it is to play liverpool now? Managers will say "score a goal, and you can relax, because they dont have the stomach for a fight.' Chelsea did it, and didnt have a lot to think about, whereas they should have been forced to defend 30 mins of pressure. Benayoun came on and we flattered to create, but really we went nowhere fast.

    Sunderland scored early , and it seemed like a training game after that. The pace, strength and desire of Sunderland overwhelmed us, i find that unforgiveable. What really worried me was when the camera went to Benitez, there were way too many occassions of him sitting with a resigned look on his face. This was with over 30 mins of the game left! Where was the leadership?

    That was the first time i wondered if Benitez even cares anymore. If he does'nt then he should go before Liverpool head toward the fate of Newcastle and Leeds

  65. Andrew, this is 'guest' and just wanted to respond some of your comments.

    It may appear i have rose tinted glasses on but that is because i am very much in favour of respecting the work and progress that Rafa has achieved to date.  Ok, last season had it's disappointments with far oo many draws and disappointing cup exits, but the league campaign has to be seen as largely successful surely?  I was fortunate to travel to most games last season and the general feeling on the terraces at places like Fulham andOld Trafford was unlike anything i have experienced before.  What i wanted was a genuine title challenge, and that is exactly what we got.

    I dont believe Rafa gets the credit he deserves for turning the Liverpool side he inherited in 2004 into the team it was at the end of last season.  I will be the first to admit that we look weaker this season than last, and that is very disappointing, but i dont believe replacing the manager is the right answer at this stage, or indeed any stage during his reign.

    Surely the fact that you claim he should have gone 18 months ago, and since then we  have gone on to achieve our highest Prem finish and arguably our stongest title challenge in 2 decades proves that Rafa can perform and get the team playing to a standard you are happy with?

    Replacing him wasn't the answer then, and i'm afraid it isn't the answer now!

  66. That is an outrageous post im afraid.  I know you are not advocating each and every one of those, but be sensible about things.  IF we were to replace Rafa, and i very much hope we do not, only 1 man could come in and do a better job in quick fashion and that is Jose Mourinho. 

    I believe Mourinho has a unoque management style which yields extremely quick results.  I believe he could come in at this stage and manager any of the top 4 from last season and deliver the title this season.

    But it is so unlikely to happen.  But your toher candidates by and large are crazy.  Can you imagine replacing Rafa with Markus Babbel?  what's the point of that?

  67. Outrageous post?  Don't exaggerate or anything.  Why don't you explain why 'only 1 man could come in and do a better job in quick fashion and that is Jose Mourinho'.

    To me, that is an outrageous statement.  You make it sound like the only two people on the planet capable of managing Liverpool are Benitez and Mourinho.  This is quite clearly nonsense.

    Doing a better job = winning the league.  I believe there are more than several managers on that list who could win Liverpool the league.

  68. Because i didn't have the time to go into a detailes analysis.  In short, the vast majority of managers need to time to shape and mould a squad.  Even then, as we have seen in Rafa and Houlliers case, that is no guarantee to success.  So to me, replacing Rafa with the majority of your list of candidates would mean accepting 3/4 years of transition with no more likliness of a title than we have currently.

    On the other hand, i think Mourinho is an exceptional talent who as i said before, can deliver fast results.  He done fantastically well at Chelsea and despite all the fortunes he was afooreded, winning the title in his first 2 seasons in this country is one hell of an achievement.  Likewise, he followed that up with Inter although not quite such an chievement given their standing in Serie A and the general state of Italian football.

  69. Liverpool's draws last season and their losses this season have been quite easy to predict and also quite easy to fix.

    The solutions were:
    1) Last season when playing against teams that want to defend, play with two strikers not 1 .And Benitez should of been more concerned with attacking instead of the usual negative 'stop them scoring mentality'

    2) This season Liverpool havent got the luxury of an Alonso who can spread the play against the better sides so use the closest alternative - put Gerrard in the middle. And play Gerrard with a DEFENSIVE midfielder - not Lucas! So then Gerard can concentrate on dictating play and being creative rather than just defending and covering for Lucas' weaknesses.

    Both these problems were obvious before they became problems. And once they became problems they could and should have been addressed. Instead Rafa stuck to the same team and formation that everyone could see was not working. And look what happend - 11 draws last season. 4 losses this season.

    Rafa refuses to learn from his mistakes, pure and simple. And its hurting Liverpool

  70. This is such utter bullshit.
    You basically want to replace Rafa, who has a proven track record, with 'up-and-coming' managers who you rate. Let me guess - you probably wanted Klinsmann before Bayern found out he was shit.

    Simple fact is you are self-importantly bleating on about replacing Benitez but you have absolutely zero plan B.

    Mourinho: we couldn't afford him, his teams play shit football, and he needs a lot of money to get the players who will do it.

    All the people here going on about sacking Rafa are muppets. You really want to get Kenny Dalglish back in? He's been years out of the game and the game has moved on in that time. Would he even want the job?
    Get real.

  71. Well, things have changed if a manager can't survive after 3 trophyless seasons. The point is, the team has been improving. It's not a Houllier situation where you feel the manager has nothing left to offer. Rafa usually gets to the latter stages of the EC and last season he made Liverpool's first realistic assault on the title for donkey's years. There is also the fact that Alonso's departure affected the team's start. Maybe when Aquilani comes in things will start to move forward.

    In other words, let's wait and see.

  72. Hey, Drop Kuyt, its been too long now for the underperforming ducthman.When his confident is high, his speed increases 10%, therefore better off the ball rate. But when his confident is lower than high, he is a waste of EVERYTHING. Poor technique and no flair for a 'winger'. Might be a good off the pitch footballer with his charity works. But thats not on the pitch!

    Sack Rafa, we really need a change, he's got Liverpofol blinded by his past success which is bad. Not a very good motivator, his ego is too high up.

    I see Rafa turning into Houllier, so sad.