30 Nov 2009

How RAFA BENITEZ contradicted himself over ALBERTO AQUILANI'S fitness levels

In an interview prior to the Everton game, the ever-cautious Rafa Benitez explained how the physical nature of the Premiership was the main reason Alberto Aquilani was persistently warming the bench. In the same interview, he blatantly contradicted himself over the state of the player's fitness, something that arguably sheds light on the real reason the Italian is being held back.

In the interview with the Liverpool Post, Benitez was asked about the level of Aquilani's fitness, to which he declared:

"The player is fit. He is training".

The player is FIT.

It seems ridiculous to examine the meaning of unambiguous words, but I think it's safe to assume that if Benitez says he's fit, then he's fit, right? What else does 'the player is fit' mean? It doesn't mean he's unfit, does it? In a footballing context, saying 'the player is fit' means he is strong enough to play football.

Later in the interview, Benitez was asked whether Aquilani would feature in the Merseyside Derby, to which he replied:

"The derby game is a physical one and everyone knows that when you are not fully fit they can be difficult to manage so you have to think about what’s best for the player and the best for the team.

"He hasn’t played for months so he has to be ready and fully fit if he is to be able to play at the level that he can play in England".


So, in one breath Benitez says Aquilani is fit; in the next, he backtracks and suggests he's not fully fit.

Which one is it? Is Aquilani fit or not?!

LFC superfans and the pro-Benitez brigade are trying their best to shout down anyone who questions the manager's excessive caution over Aquilani, using excuses like 'Benitez talks to the physios - you don't' and 'He was rushed back by Roma so Liverpool are not making the same mistakes'.

Liverpool fans have a right to question the club's stance over Aquilani for the following reasons:

* The constant moving of goal-posts re his recovery time.

* The large fee being paid out for the player's services.

* The fact that Aquilani has been out of action for almost 9 months now.

* The fact that almost 4 months into the season he is yet to make a league appearance.

* The fact that Benitez's decision to sign an injured player left a huge hole in the team, something that has contributed to the club's horrible run of form over the last 3 months.

* The fact that players who are seemingly MORE injured that Aquilani gets time on the pitch.

Benitez's contradiction concerns me because it suggests that:

a) He is either not being entirely upfront about the nature and extent of Aquilani's injury, or more likely:

b) The player is fit and able to play but is not doing so because Benitez is being his usual ultra-cautious self, arguably to the detriment of the team.

In the same interview, Benitez stated:

"Why have I not been playing him? Because the games are so close that if you put a player on the pitch who is not physically ready [then] maybe he cannot settle down in time".

Another contradiction. If he is 'not physically ready' then how can he be fit?!

Benitez added the following:

"If it is 1-0 like it was the other day and they are attacking a bit more and you changed Lucas, Gerrard or Mascherano to play him, maybe you are making a mistake because you will lose the control. If we were winning 3-0 in the first half of every game he would be playing because it would be easier for him to settle down".

So - If it's 1-0 and we are attacking more then it would be mistake to replace Lucas with Aquilani because Liverpool might 'lose control'?!

And the only time Aquilani is guaranteed playing time will be on the extremely rare occasions that Liverpool is winning 3-0 IN THE FIRST HALF of a game?!

Does this make any logical sense to anyone? Of course, the pro-Benitez brigade will regale us with all kinds of convoluted reasons why this all makes sense, but the reality is clear to see: Aquilani's continued absence from the team has nothing to do with his fitness levels and everything to do with Benitez's ultra-cautious sensibilities.

If Benitez was so worried that an injury-prone player like Aquilani might not be able to cut it physically in the Premiership, WHY DID HE SIGN HIM IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Jaimie Kanwar
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195 comments:

  1. Jaimie,
    As ever the article makes heavy weather of a simple point you want to make, which is, I think, that either Aquilani is fit and Rafa is being over-cautious; or that Aquilani is a costly mistake.

    On the second point I guess the proof of the pudding will be if Aquilani continues to sit on the bench or in the physio's couch for a large majority of the season. We still have two thirds of the season to go. I'd therefore encourage you to reserve judgement.

    On the former the accusation is that Rafa is over-cautious. (Is the Pope a Catholic?) I'm not sure that in itself is grounds for your general hysterical opinion of the man - I mean Rafa not the Pope, although perhaps you could do an analysis of him too.

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  2. I don't have a 'hysterical opinion' of the man - I simply point out aspects of his management approach that I feel are detrimental to the club.

    Benitez's reasoning doesn't make any logical sense - if Aquilani sits on the bench for another two months the physical premiership is still going to be the same!  No matter when he plays, other players will be kicking him, taking his legs and generally going in hard on him.

    I can just see how it's going to be for Aquilani: he'll be started against the weaker teams, and at home against the bigger teams.  Away, he'll constantly be on the bench, and he'll be subbed off endlessly in the letter third of games, with Benitez using the 'we're protecting him' excuse.

    I foresee lots of frustration for Aquilani and the fans in the future.

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  3. I agree with the article whole heartedly.  Rafa doesn't want to play him any meaningful situations. Fit or not. Since we just sit out and defend 1-0 situations and soak up pressure, we will never go 2-0 or more in any game this season. I believe the hull and stoke games were a fluke. Win or lose, rafa wants to do it with his own players. This man is senile. Thats the only way to explain it. 

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  4. rafa has to tread cautiously as to when he introduces aquillaini - the timing has to be perfect. I he picks up a knock from a bad tackle in a derby for instance - everyone will be on his back saying - why the hell did he buy such a liability. He needs time to ease into the english style. There is a difference between match fit and derby game fit.

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  5. Fair enough, but surely Aquilani runs the risk of picking up a knock at any time?  Let's just say benitez waits until after the winter period to play him, say, February.  He's just as likely to get injured then as he is now, just as with any player.

    What is the point of spending 18m on a player who is not played (to the detriment of the team) because there is a fear he may get injured?

    This fear is always going to be there, is it not?

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  6. The day after we beat Everton 2-0 and your Liverpool fan site's only article is to whinge about a player who was an unused sub.

    You turd.

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  7. I think it's more than obvious he means Aquilani's not 'match-fit'. And since there are no reserve games these days, he has little choice but to bide his time. I'm no fan of the way the team is playing, but there's noo guarantee that a man who hasn't played in 9 months would make it any better.

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  8. I agree with Pebble8, reserve judgement until the season is over surely. We had a similar situation if you remember with Torres. I too was calling for him to start every game but I think the way raffa dealt with him was very sensible and had the player itching to get on and prove himself. Look at him now, an even more potent force than I ever thought. I knew he was good, but not this good. Who knows, perhaps we'll be saying similar things about aquilani at the end of the season. We're winning again, that's the main thing. Plenty of games left for Aquilani to start pushing for his automatic starting right.

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  9. I find it slightly hypocritical that you slated the ECHO only a few days ago accusing them of a witch-hunt against Babel yet here you've used one of their articles to attack Benitez (again), over the Aquilani fitness issue. Anyway...

    One could assume Benitez is saying Aquilani is fit (as in, not injured) but at the same time he's not match-fit, their is a vast difference. Have you ever played competative football? I have and I can say with absolute clarity being "fit" and being "match fit" are two completely different levels!

    If Rafa/Club physio's believe he's not yet match ready that's fair enough, they're registered medical professionals and although you're attempting to say otherwise, they DO know best.

    Why also do you put RAFA BENITEZ and ALBERTO AQUILANI in bold? Is it to attract people to your site?

    "<span>"If it is 1-0 like it was the other day and they are attacking a bit more and you changed Lucas, Gerrard or Mascherano to play him, maybe you are making a mistake because you will lose the control. If we were winning 3-0 in the first half of every game he would be playing because it would be easier for him to settle down".</span>
    "So - If it's 1-0 and we are attacking more then it would be mistake to replace Lucas with Aquilani because Liverpool might 'lose control'?!"

    I think it's quite clear what point Benitez is making Jaimie, you're just being incredibly pedantic. He means to bring on a player who's played very little football when we're 1-0 up would be a risk as we may lose control of the game by sacrificing one of our other midfield players for a player who isn't 100% and may need time to settle. I think you're being stupid on purpose here.

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  10. In all honesty JK, I believe that a little is getting lost in your translation. When Benitez says Aquilani is fit and in training, he refers to him not being injured. Yet however he also refers to the Aqua man not being fully fit after being on the sidelines for so long and this clearly points to his level of fitness and not the state of his injury or lack thereof. The reserves game against Wigan was cancelled, and this was to be additional time for him to regain fitness(see the ambiguity), the words fit and fitness can be quite obscure.

    I do believe Rafa has been overly cautious with Alberto, however i don't believe that he meant anythiing malicious with his use of the words fit/fitness...

    I know Blackburn are seen as the 'physical' type of side, however I would not be surprised if Aquilani starts against Rovers. I genuinely hope and pray that the approvals of Totti and Riise ring true and their "world's best" and "great passing" come to fruition. I have started rambling and will be ending my post now... :-E

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  11. Rafa is using the word fit in two different ways :

    "The player is fit. He is training" = Aquilani is no longer injured, and can train as normal.

    "He hasn’t played for months so he has to be ready and fully fit" = Aquilani is not match fit. He still has to work on regaining his stamina, sharpness, etc.

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  12. I think it's true most fans genuinely want to see Aquaman in action and sooner rather than later. There's no doubting from the comments of his former team mates that we've acquired a real talent here and given the nature of th injuries we've had this season, no one can blame Rafa for being cautious. As makmanaman said there's  a big difference between being fit and being match fit. I personally thought the Debrecen game was ideal for him to start but the pitch was far from ideal. I'm just hoping, like most fans, that he is worth the wait!  

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  13. i would like to make this point about rafa firstly he buys kuyt for 11 million or so as a forward he plays on the right wing, he buys babel for 11 million or so as a right winger or upfront he plays on the left wing he buys benyaoun for 4 million or so as a central midfield player or just behind the front man, he plays left and right wing. he has gerrard inmy opinion the best central midfield player in europe under benetiz has played everywhere but central midfield. the players he does buy like pennant and reira both wingers can hardly get a game. he sells riise and buys aurellio who is 3 to 4 years older than riise. i always said the turning point when he had to go was after the milan defeat. the reason for this is there back line had a average age of 35 or so and who did we play up front kuyt. that game was crying out for bellamy and a goal scorer like crouch. maybe its me but if rafa honestly thinks lucas is better than aquillani then we really have major problems. if you think back houlier made the same mistakes he bought bad players and played them out of position. i have been a massive liverpool fan and if he hadn't sold keane last year i am totally convinced that alot of draws we had last year he might have turned them in to wins.

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  14. There is always the fear that a player would get injured. At the same time though, most player coming over to the EPL is more often than not eased into it. I think that approach is even more apt given Aquilani's injury history. At some point he has to play and in my mind it has to be soon but the derby against Everton wasn't the place. The guy is signed 4 5 yrs so it makes sense to be cautious given his history. We've had a horrible start and lying 5th in the table is ok. I think he'll be on the pitch vs blacburn at the weekend.

    Love the "Benitez" crusade ur on though. keep it up

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  15. Don't get me wrong - I don't tink there's anything malicious about what benitez said.  There may well be a difference between being fit and match-fit, but Aquilani played against Arsenal a few weeks ago.  That seemed to signal the start of his road to match-fitness.  Since then, nothing.

    If Aquilani was not a little match-fit then he wouldn't have played against Arsenal.  And the only way he can get match-fitness is if he plays!

    He could've featured against Debrecen, Man City and Everton.  Instead, we get excuses like 'the pitch was bad'?  What about when he plays over winter (if he plays) - pitches are always worse then.  And would it have hurt to give him 10-15 minutes here and there over the last month?  How would giving him a few minutes against Everton when we were 2-0 up - and Everton's players were tired - have hurt?

    The physicality excuses is cop-out - the league is always going be physical, and Benitez knew this before he signed him.

    IUt wouldn't be so bad if we were weren't repeatedly told that he was '4-8 weeks away' going all the way back to August.  Plus, given our horrible form recently, Aquilani was *needed*.

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  16. Fit and match fit are clearly different - even you with you ridiculous writing you can work out that a person can be fit to play but due to having not played that persons touch and control is not upto match pace.  If you bothered to listen to Rafas prematch interview he did make this point quite clearly and distinguished between being fit and match fit - Whether I agree with Rafas over cautious method - since clearly you can't get match fit sitting on the bench is a different point..  However I do understand he is slightly nervous of throughing him in for his first game in a heated derby match - why he didn't play him in the last european match i am unsure! 

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  17. Jaimie you may want to visit this link:

    http://www.liverpoolfc.tv/news/drilldown/N166654091130-1646.htm

    Kind of puts what you're saying into perspective, just a few exerts from the article:
    "People have to understand that some players are trying very hard to help the team when they are not really fit. But they want to play, and their attitude is very positive.
     
    "Now we have a week of training, and I hope we will see a lot more of them fitter for the next game."
    "There are several players who maybe should not be out there at the moment. They are not fully fit, they are not training and they have injuries.
     
    "But we are working so hard together. We are seeing players involved when they should really be on the treatment table.
     
    "But they all wanted to play, to do a job for the team and to work to get us going again as a team."

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  18. What a daft article - I can't believe you have seriously written an article about Benitez contradicting himself when its obvious to anyone with half a football brain that Benitez is making the sensible decisions when it comes to Aquilani (or should I say "cautious"?)

    When Benitez said Aquilani is fit I understood that to mean he is fit enough to take part in full training with the squad, does this mean he is match fit and can last 90 minutes - NO - how many times do you hear a manager speak of being match fit & sharp. Anyone who has played football knows that if you have had a couple of weeks away from competitive football (even Sunday league) that your not match fit or sharp/quick enough to perform to your best level. So is Aquilani fit? - Yes. Is he match fit? - not yet. and Yes I know that to become match fit you need to play football so...

    Is the manager a fool for not playing a new member of the squad who isn't match fit in a must win match or a derby match which is more intense than a normal match when he hasn't had any time to settle down into the team and english football - I mean adjusting to a new league is easy right? Ummm no. Had he made a stray pass that cost us the win or taken a knock that put him back on the injury list then bloggers like Jamie would be here crucifying him for playing a non-match-fit Aquilani!

    I know its frustrating that our major signing has only played 22 minutes of competitive football, but this is exaggerated by our terrible season, if we were still in the CL and still in the title hunt would you question Benitez use of Aquilani? I'm sure in time he will be an integral part of our team, but lets be patient and remember to support the team and the manager.

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  19. You say since the Arsenal cameo there has been nothing, however do not account for certain injuries during the following games forcing substitutions. Also the reserve game he was due to take part in was cancelled, after that happened a training game was organised. This may not be enough, it probably isn't, but it certainly is not "nothing"

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  20. ITs pretty obvious that if you introduce a different type of player the team will be disrupted, and with all of the injuries we are barely holding it together now, so putting Aquiani on the pitch in a tricky situation is a bigger risk than we should take. In the Derby I thought we might see him once we went 2 up - it strikes me that this is an ideal situation, but this is the first time that we have been two up for a long time. The toffees were clogging away at us and the risk to Aquilani would also not have been ideal. I do expect thim to have an hour against Fiorentina, and maybe half an hour before that, but the guy will be way off the pace, and people like you, who rarely say anything positive, will have a field day when you see how slow and disjointed he will be at first.

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  21. That's all well and good, but consider this quote: "People have to understand that some players are trying very hard to help the team when they are not really fit. But they want to play, and their attitude is very positive".

    Would it not make sense to use Aquilani to ease the burden on players who are 'not really fit'?  Could Aquialni not have deputised for Gerrard in the latter stages of the game yesterday, especially since his contribution was negligible.

    I'm sure Aquilani has a positive attitude and wants to play;  furthermore, it is probably likely that Aquilani is fitter than the likes of Gerrard right now, yet he still doesn't get a sniff of pitch time.

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  22. I was really looking fwd to seeing Aquailani kick the ball around, especially on the hour mark, and even more so after we went up by 2.  We only used two subs afterall.  So is he 'fully' fit?.. probably not, is he 'fit'? well at least fit enought to sit on that bench, but who else could be on that bench, it's not like we have many more options.  I for one belive Rafa is doing what is best for the club, do I agree with him all the time, of course not, but he's there maganing one of the footballing giants, and I'm sitting here in front of a computer reading forums...  :)

    I have to assume he will be a used sub over the weekend, but again if you go by the 3-0 first half requirement mentioned by Rafa, then I guess not. :(   I'm not holding my breath.

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  23. What an aweful comment! Sorry but that is utter tripe. Rafael Benitez is the best thing to happen to Liverpool football club since Graham Souness left (note - "since he left"!). We are consistently improving results and points season on season. Ok, there will always be a blip here and there but the club is being overhauled from the foundations up by this guy and I would consider it a tragedy if he was not still here in 5 years to bear the fruits of his labour. Already we've had 2 Champs league finals and this season is the first in his charge that we failed to reach the knockout stage. His record in Europe is one of the best there is for the 5 years previous to this (Winners, round 2, final, quarter final, semi final). This year is slightly transitional with an important midfield place being replaced and injuries have hampered this greatly. I'm fully confident that we will again be one of the most feared teams in the champions league next year. The prem is getting closer and closer too.

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  24. And what excuses are you going to make if Aquilani doesn't get an hour against Fiorentina, and doesn't get half an hour against Blackburn?

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  25. oh yeah lets play him in a must win CL game. Lets play him in a must win game against City - lets play him in an intense derby...I'm sure that a fully (match) fit Aquilani will play in these games in the future, but you don't put a brand new player (only 22 mins) in against these teams. Benitez has said that if we were winning and controlling games then he could have a run out, but we're not which makes introducing him to a game even harder!

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  26. You say since the Arsenal cameo there has been nothing, however do not account for certain injuries during the following games forcing substitutions. Also the reserve game he was due to take part in was cancelled, after that happened a training game was organised. This may not be enough, it probably isn't, but it certainly is not "nothing

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  27. I don't think you really know what your talking about mate. I can't argue that Rafa doesn't seem to contradict himself by first saying Aquilani's now "fit" and then goes on to say that he is "not fit to play" yet. I think Aquilani may be physically fit, but as Rafa has said numerous times, he lacks match fitness. Yes he may be "fit and training" with the squad, but that does not change the fact (as Jaimie commented on) that he has been out of action for almost nine months. A manager cannot throw on a new player who has not played for nine months into the middle of a heated derby, it just wouldn't be smart. Alberto needs time to adjust, which is why Rafa hasn't rushed Aquilani into the first team. If you have seen him play, you know the lad has the touch and quality to do big things for us.

    I must admit that I can't wait to see him in the starting XI either. 

    In Rafa We Trust

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  28. It's a fair point Jaimie but as you've said, Aquilani has been out injured for the better part of 9 months, risking him to replace a tired Gerrard would be inadvisible in my opinion (although I'm no doctor!).

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  29. Does this mean you think he should play a full 90 minutes Jamie?

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  30. I had to respond via Facebook due myself exceeding characters - I have raised some points. The one last thing I would say is if come January Aquilani isn't getting some game time then it is time to worry.

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  31. That must be a browser issue as your replies on facebook are well short of the 5000 character limit.  Firefox is best for the site.  Also, if you copied and pasted from word, that can sometimes cause a problem.  If you use word, it's best to paste into notepad then copy and paste into the comment box.

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  32. To be honest Jaimie I think we'll see Aquilani in the game against Blackburn, I can understand why he left him out against Everton for various reasons, one of which we saw during the match - their awful tackling!

    it's frustrating to have a player with Aquilani's ability occupying the bench but we have to respect Benitez' decision as he's only got the Clubs interests at heart.

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  33. Not at all - I think his road to match fitness should've continued after the Arsenal appearance.  10-15 minutes in every game since.  Given our crap form and other injuries, Aquilani's quality could've been the difference between losing and drawing, or drawing and winning.

    And let's not forget he's renowned for having a fearsome shot from long distance, something that could've been utilised in the last 10-15 minutes of some recent games.

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  34. This is a win win for you isnt it?  If Rafa decides to bring Aquilani into the team easily then he's too cautious, if he rushes him back and he has a bad game or gets injured then its "Rafa wastes money".  Of course the fact the team has been playing poorly and we have had a run of tough must win games does not get taken into account.  Any manager could have been tempted to rush a player like Aquilani back but he has been patient and not taken foolish risks that would have had the vultures licking their lips. 

    At the moment I fully understand the treatment of Aquilani I am expecting him to possibly get a few minutes against Blackburn especially if we get a good lead but I will be very surprised if he does not get close to a full game (barring injury) against Fiorentina. 

    Of course I am fully expecting the inevitable Rafa attack once Aquilani has his first bad game or injury.  In fact I would guess you already have that article written and are itching for the time you get to post it. ;)

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  35. having looked again, if you tried to post everything as one comment, then that may have esceeded the character limit.  I think splitting it into 2 separate comments would work.

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  36. idiot!
    Aquiliani is fit, but not match-fit! There is a big difference between the two!

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  37. Copied from Word so it would be that causing the probs so.

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  38. Well said Jaimie. But I think Benitez is making all the excuses about fitness and showing himself to be cautious about the player, only to cover his favouritism for Lucas. He simply loves playing 2 cent Midfielders and loves playing Lucas in particular.
    He gave silly excuses in the past about why not starting with Babel and why Bable is better as a Sub.
    To a certain degree, I can understand the psychology of Benitez. I've been watching him since he was a Valencia Manager. He did exactly the same with great talents in that team like Aimar and Mista.
    I can tell you from now everyone that Aquilani won't make it to the 1st team unless Masch or Lucas(God Willing) get injuried.

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  39. It's good that you see him as a match winner - and I do agree, it would have been great to see him get more minutes every game, but I thinkthe importance of the game and how poor the team have been playing has all contributed to Aqua keeping the bench nice and warm.  As we play more games we would expect to win comfortably I'm confident we will see more of Aquilani.

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  40. Didn't need Aquilani yesterday as it turned out.

    The player has come back from an operation.

    It is up to the manager to play him when he is ready.

    You don't know what is going on at Anfield in the back room. You only write speculation.

    The player is being weened into the game via training.

    Leave it to Rafa. He knows what he is doing. Good win against Everton. Thought you might have written an article about that but then again Manchester UTD fans don't, do they?

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  41. And what happened to the last player that subbed for Gerrard in a Derby?  He is still being crucified to this day!

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  42. Rush Aquilani back and Rafa gets slated.

    Don't play Aquilani and Rafa gets slated.

    Aquilani plays, gets injured, Rafa gets slated.

    Just leave it to Rafa please.

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  43. Please, enough of the cliched counter-arguments already!  So, if Aquilani gets injured when he starts playing then I'll post something about how Benitez wasted money?!

    That will never happen. 

    BEFORE Aquilani signed, I posted about how I thought the money was not being spent wisely.

    He's here now so that's no longer an issue.  If he plays and gets injured then that's life.  I won't argue he's a waste of money - I've been calling for Aquilani to play more so that would be ridiculous.

    I will only revisit the waste of money argument if Aquilani plays regularly and turns out to be a a failure in the premiership.

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  44. I'm a Liverpool fan and agree with almost everything you said...
    excpet the fact that it was not a 'good' win.  We played poorly, and if not for the 'unlucky' Everton, or the lucky Liverpool, we would not come away with 3 pts.  It was a good 'break' for us, in a season that has seen too few of them for Liverpool.

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  45. <span>Another stellar article by Jaimie K!! Everyone who knows even the smallest bit about football has no problems following what Rafa is saying: Aquilani is not injured [i.e. he’s fit] but is naturally a bit rusty [i.e. he’s not fully fit]. Furthermore, everyone with a brain knows that your chances of reinjuring yourself are high when you first come back from a serious injury but as each day passes those chances go down – so it’s best to “take it slow”. While we all understand these seminal points for Jamie they are hidden existential mysteries which (apparently) need to be explored in microscopic detail.</span>

    <span><span>P.S. Just a suggestion, if you cannot build an airtight (or in your case relevent) argument in 772 words, rearticulating those same mundane insights ten other different ways generally proves equally pointless.  </span></span>

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  46. <span>Another stellar article by Jaimie K!! Everyone who knows even the smallest bit about football has no problems following what Rafa is saying: Aquilani is not injured [i.e. he’s fit] but is naturally a bit rusty [i.e. he’s not fully fit]. Furthermore, everyone with a brain knows that your chances of reinjuring yourself are high when you first come back from a serious injury but as each day passes those chances go down – so it’s best to “take it slow”. While we all understand these seminal points for Jamie they are hidden existential mysteries which (apparently) need to be explored in microscopic detail.</span>

    <span><span>P.S. Just a suggestion, if you cannot build an airtight (or in your case relevent) argument in 772 words, rearticulating those same mundane insights ten other different ways generally proves equally pointless.  </span></span>

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  47. You're making up your own facts.  Riera plays plenty, when healthy.  Pennant was inconsistant, and had a shit attitude, so of course he didn't play regularly.  Kuyt had played out wide for club and country before being played out wide for liverpool.  Babel is a lazy cunt who has never shown me he is willing to fight for his place.  Benayoun is not a central midfielder, he is an attacking player, and has always been played in attacking positions for Liverpool.  Gerrard has played the best football in his life after being moved to a "free" attacking position, so much so that he now plays in a "free" attacking position for country as well.  Aurelio was here before Riise was sold, and Aurelio wasn't even bought, he was a free transfer.

    Oh, and your comment about the '07 champions league final just shows how ignorant you are.  Rafa's lineup was just about spot-on.  We mostly controlled that game because we neutralized Kaka's threat.  If Gerrard buried his chance early in the 2nd half, it's 1-1 and game on.  He didn't.  That's football.  From there we had to become more and more adventurous, which eventually saw us get caught out by Kaka.

    And lastly, how was can you be so sure Keane would have scored those goals.  He missed at least 5 sitters when he was given a run of games.  What would have changed which would have made him a player who didn't miss sitters?

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  48. Match against blackburn is best time to play Aquilani .... I dont want  to see him on bench because as per rafa policy bench player do not get more than 10-15 min of play .....

    I am just worried that Aquilani may be next keane in making ...

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  49. i think  rafa is correct in both cases as you can be fit in training
    but not match fit , and the blood and guts of a darby game
    is not the right stage for someone to gain match fitness

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  50. Good point about Aimar and Mista.  I agree with you about Lucas too - given all the praise and support Benitez has publicly offered Lucas this season, I don't see him being dropped.

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  51. the simple reason why aquilani is not playing is because lucas is and benitez is absolutely obsest with mediocre players of the quality of lucas,this and this alone is the reason why liverpool are playing as poor as they are and nothing will change until lucas gets injured.

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  52. I find it unbelievable that a professional footballer won't be played because the pitch is a bit bumpy LMAO. Is he made of glass? If he can't handle a bumpy pitch he shouldn't be here.

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  53. No way will he start. As Benitez said if we're anything less than 3-0 up he won't come on either. Come back next week and i think you'll find i'll be right.

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  54. Its clear that JK has never played on a competitive football team.  What we see in the games is 10% of what is going on with the team.  You will never have the depth of insight, experience and capability to counter what RB does.  I don't even understand why you follow Liverpool, because you obviously find more pain than pleasure in doing it.  We WON a frigging derby match.  Put down your knife and stop shiving the team (Rafa is part of it) all the time.

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  55. U simply are trying to make a big deal out of nothing. Even though he is fit do you really think that it makes sence to have him play his first game against a team like Everton that thrive only in the Prem because of their aggressive style of play...

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  56. Jaimie I do not disagree with the frustration you (and we all) feel about having a £20m signing sitting on the bench. But given the list of injuries we have had this season, I would not blame any manager (let alone someone who is predisposed to erring on the side of caution) deciding to keep back someone who has only recently returned from a long term injury and who is new to the premiership. You know as well as I do that Rafa thinks in terms of seasons and not just the next match or two. In that sort of frame of mind it makes sense to ease Aquilani in. I'm not defending Rafa simply trying to understand what the motive might be.

    I will support you to the hilt if by the end of January Rafa still refuses to play Aquilani and/or the lad just can't stand. 

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  57. What of Debrecen or Man City? It's not about the derby, he's not gettin any matchplay so how can he attain match fitness? In training? Ask any player you can train all day but true match sharpness only comes from playing games. He isn't so he can't get it.

    With the fixtures as they are i can't see him getting 2 or 3 90 minutes under his belt until well into 2010.

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  58. What of Debrecen or Man City? It's not about the derby, he's not gettin any matchplay so how can he attain match fitness? In training? Ask any player you can train all day but true match sharpness only comes from playing games. He isn't so he can't get it.

    With the fixtures as they are i can't see him getting 2 or 3 90 minutes under his belt until well into 2010.

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  59. Rofl of course it will happen.  Of course you will be far more sly about how you write it but if any of 1.Aquilani gets injured 2. he struggles to adapt as quickly as hoped. 3.  The media spin him as being a failure you will use it as justification to write a "I was right, Rafa (once again) was wrong article.  Its what this site is all about; pandering to the media brainwashed masses.

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  60. Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells7:15 pm, November 30, 2009

     You are merely creating headlines to draw hits on your site.  Your fundmanental premises that Rafa is contradicting himself is false.  He has explained very clearly  that there is a difference between being healed  after surgery and being match fit.  He has pointed out clearly that a player who has not played competititve football regularly for more than six months needs to be aclimatised to the game and more so if he is moving from a slow-moving to a fast-moving league.  In addition he has had flu.
    In the games for which he was available Rafa was looking for an opportunity for him to play himself in.  But in those games we were either losing, drawing or just ahead and under pressure.  These were critical siaautions in which the incumbents - Lucas and Mascherano - were acquitting themselves well.  It was not the ideal situation to introduce a new player - either for the team or for the player.

    I think anyone with goodwill would understand this.  Your seizing on specific words from different statements and trying to spin contradicitons from them is silly.  There is no contradiction and even if there was an apparent contradiciton please have some consideration for the overall clarity of the message Rafa was sending and the fact that English is not his first language.

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  61. I, along with most other LFC fans, have been realy looking forward to seeing Aquilani play. But, so far, i've been very dissapointed with the lack of playing time he's been given. If it is just a case of match fitness, i don't see why he can't play. To me it seems like common sense. If a player is lacking match fitness then all he needs is game time to get back to normal. Of corse, i'm not talking about playing the full 90 in each game. But Rafa should try and play him in each weekend game, but try and ease him back into it. Giving Alberto a little more time than the last, everytime he plays. For me the main thing i'm worried about is Benitez being too cautious.

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  62. I agree Jaimie first i thought it was an unwise move to buy a player who wouldnt figure for the first part of the season, then we were told he was a different player to alonso in he would play further up ther pitch with more attacking options and he could score goals.

    Well correct me if i am wrong but that is what we need now, the only way to adapt to the premiership is to play in it, its as simple as that and if he is on the bench then we have to presume he is fit to take part.

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  63. Yes, some aspects of his management approach are detrimental to the team, but a lot of other aspects are incredibly beneficial. We can talk about his style ultra cautious, or that he's cold and distant from his players, or whatever, but nonetheless, it's a style that gets you to 2 Champion's League finals, the number 1 ranking in Europe, an FA Cup win, and 2nd place in the Premier League, 4 points shy of 1st place.
    Don't forget that in a press conference situation, he's having numerous questions fired at him, he's not speaking in his first language, and he probably doesn't really wanna be there. So you should take a lot of what he says in interviews and press conferences with a pinch of salt. It really doesn't matter that much.
    There's critical realism, and there's just criticising for the sake of it. And by doing the latter, you're no different from journalists or pundits on the the telly, who have got a space to fill, whether it be column inches or studio time, so they just either spit out old cliches or half baked ideas, which are so often completely irrelevant. Don't go down that road.

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  64. The cup is always half empty for you isn't it Jamie??

    I would expect this type of article from a Man U supporter but NEVER a Red.

    Anyone with half a brain can see why Rafa isn't playing Aqualani. He isn't READY!!!! and won't be ready untill RAFA says so, So turn your Monitor of you Blirt

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  65. Jamie with you sometimes I think Rafa is damned if he does and damned if he doesnt.

    At the moment you are complaining that Aquillani isnt getting enough game time. However had Aquillani been thrown in before now and done a reoccurance of an old injury firstly you would be questioning buying such an injury prone player and secondly you would most likely accuse Benitez of rushing Aquillani back because his own job is on the line.

    I cant wait to see Aquillani play. If he fits up to half his billing he should prove to be a quality addition. But i dont see the point in questioning a managers decision on when to introduce a new player to the rigours of the premier league especially when the player themselves have been unfortunatley blighted by injuries in the past. If he feels it necessary to wrap him in cotton wool I back the managers decision.

    What this boils down to is that you want the manager gone, it nothing got to do with when Aquillani finally makes his full debut or gets 20 minutes here or there, it justs another excuse so that you can have a go

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  66. Jamie with you sometimes I think Rafa is damned if he does and damned if he doesnt.

    At the moment you are complaining that Aquillani isnt getting enough game time. However had Aquillani been thrown in before now and done a reoccurance of an old injury firstly you would be questioning buying such an injury prone player and secondly you would most likely accuse Benitez of rushing Aquillani back because his own job is on the line.

    I cant wait to see Aquillani play. If he fits up to half his billing he should prove to be a quality addition. But i dont see the point in questioning a managers decision on when to introduce a new player to the rigours of the premier league especially when the player themselves have been unfortunatley blighted by injuries in the past. If he feels it necessary to wrap him in cotton wool I back the managers decision.

    What this boils down to is that you want the manager gone, it nothing got to do with when Aquillani finally makes his full debut or gets 20 minutes here or there, it justs another excuse so that you can have a go

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  67. Jamie with you sometimes I think Rafa is damned if he does and damned if he doesnt.

    At the moment you are complaining that Aquillani isnt getting enough game time. However had Aquillani been thrown in before now and done a reoccurance of an old injury firstly you would be questioning buying such an injury prone player and secondly you would most likely accuse Benitez of rushing Aquillani back because his own job is on the line.

    I cant wait to see Aquillani play. If he fits up to half his billing he should prove to be a quality addition. But i dont see the point in questioning a managers decision on when to introduce a new player to the rigours of the premier league especially when the player themselves have been unfortunatley blighted by injuries in the past. If he feels it necessary to wrap him in cotton wool I back the managers decision.

    What this boils down to is that you want the manager gone, it nothing got to do with when Aquillani finally makes his full debut or gets 20 minutes here or there, it justs another excuse so that you can have a go

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  68. Didnt Rafa gradually introduce alonso into the 1st team after he 1st bought him?? Didnt turn out too bad???

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  69. A player is fit doesn't mean he's match fit. Other players who are playing but are not 100% fit are used to the speed of the english game. Rafa did the right thing, we won our last two matches. I think Aquilani will get 20-30mins against Blackburn depending on the score and then he will start against Fiorentina.

    Jaimie you said you, 'good point' about Mista and Aimar, Mista was never a great talent (2 Caps for Spain) and Aimar played 89 Lge games between 2002-04 winning 2 Leagues ,Uefa Cup and Super Cup under Benitez. Both players played their best football of their careers under Benitez. The '2 Cent' midfielders who played in that team were Baraja (43 Caps for Spain) and Albeda (51 Caps for Spain). Wrong again Jamie, you just haven't got a clue about football and your negativity towards Rafa is all wrong.      

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  70. I agree to some extent Jamie. If he played 25 minutes over 2 weeks ago, why has he not played a minute since, yet been on the bench every game? Surely Debecni (spelling) was a good game to bring him in, as we were obviously (or so we thought) going to win. If he doesn't play a part against Florence, I would suggest something more concerning could be unfolding, in that Aquilani has suffered some kind of serious relapse and his apperances on the bench are merely for show. Otherwise, why not involve him against Florence?

    We will see though! I think it's just uber-caution on Benitez's part myself!

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  71. Juan - please don't try and second guess what I would write.  I am and always have been totally consistent with everything I write.  Prior to Aquilani's signing, I questioned the wisdom of spending money on an injured player.  I argued that Liverpool's title bid could be over by the time he's fit and playing regularly.  That fear was well-founded.  I'm now calling for Aquilani to play more; why would I then criticise benitez for doing exactly what I (and others) have been calling for?  The idea is totally ridiculous, and there is no evidence that I have done anything of the kind in the past.

    If Benitez plays Aquilani and he gets injured then so be it.  That's the risk that needs to be taken.  During our injury crisis over the last couple of months, show me one line I've written that has criticised Benitez for playing players coming back from injury...

    You're right though - I do want Benitez to leave Liverpool, but only at the end of the season.  I've stated this view a few times this season, and it's not something I've hidden.

    My views on his approach to management are well-documented, and I want a change at the club next summer.

    I'm entitled to that view, and I have stated my reasons in huge detail and backed those reasons up with examples *many* times.

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  72. Hey Nick - the relapse possibility did cross my mind.  He played against Arsenal, then he got the flu (!), and since then he hasn't featured at all (save for 30 seconds against Deb) - it's possible that the injury was aggravated and the club kept it quiet...

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  73. No - Alonso played from day 1

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  74. Thats fair enough Jamie, everyone is entitled to their opinion on Rafa and life would be boring if everyones opinion was the same.

    But you do point out that you were against Rafas appointment from the start. Becuase of that fact is it not possible you would always be over critical of Rafa and that he could never do right in your eyes?

    Apologies for the multi posting, it just seems to happen automatically when i post on this site

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  75. Don't worry guys, Aquilani will get his home debut in the champion league game again Florentina. This will be the perfect "Italian league" game yet without any significant for him to show us his talents. Cheers !!!

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  76. Jamie. Do some exercise or play football or something and then you'll perhaps begin to understand the difference between being fit to run around for 90 minutes and to be effective.

    You useless lardy arse!

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  77. the baffler said he would not risk a player if he is thought to be not fit
    then why today has he said that riera beniyoun and gerrard were used but were not fit
                   when gerrard is fit there is no doubt he is one of the best midfielders in the world now that we no longer have the excellent alonso
    we cant afford to play gerrard in the hole benitez continues to play 2 holding  midfielders so we lack gerrards attacking and defence splitting passes   when we bought yossi he played in the hole for west ham
    benitez has only played him in that position once  against burnley
    AND HE SCORED A HAT TRICK! need i say more

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  78. In my opinion the reason for Aquilani's continued absence is simply the poor run of form the team has been on. Even before that run people have been billing him as a saviour and missing link. The cameo against Arsenal and the touches of class he showed in that short appearance has people wanting to see more. With the pressure on him already being quite intense I think people would have been looking for him to almost turn our fortunes around on his own which is unfair on the player. I do concede that some more substitute appearances would have been expected but I think the caution being shown in not starting him is in some way to protect the player from the pressure of being labelled a flop before his Liverpool career has really began. 

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  79. If only we hah the pure management perfection that you would provide if you were Liverpool fc manager. I suppose all we can do really is pray that some day the club owners will see the light and appoint you as manager so that from that day forward we can start to win every single game we play.

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  80. The large fee for his services? you mean the one you wrote the "TRUTH" about the deal from the Roma site? You'd see that it's not a massive fee given the majority of the deal is in add ons.

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  81. The majority of the fee is not in add-ons.  the bulk of the fee is 18m, all of which needs to be paid by June 2011.  Add ons only come to about 3-4m

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  82.  Aquilani is the flop of the season

    . Know one knows if he is fit or not

    .If he is, Lucas is keeping him out of the team

    .Lucas is Terrible,

    .There is not place for him in Liverpools setup

    .When he plays it will be as a substitute for Gerrard

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  83. Once again Jamie your spot on. Rafa is so obsessed with 2 defensive midfielders and of late 2 defensive wingers that he cant find any room for attack minded players like Aqua, Yossi and Babel. The only way Aqua will get a game is if Stevie gets injured again because Rafa cant handle a midfielder going beyond the half way line.

    This guy is so negative that he makes Houlier look like the total football god. Am afraid we wont be seeing much of Aqua this season because of his love for Lucas, and before you Pro Rafa brigade get on the hump, i would rather listen to Souness, Grobablaar, Redknapp, Whelen, St John, Roy Evans and even Collymore who have all slated Rafa's negetiveness and consistent selection of Lucas. Some of the ex players are legends who love the club and dont manipulate the fans the way Rafa does.

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  84. I did not realise benitez is the only human being never ever ever to make a mistake,these benitez lovers, my god they just don't debate at all, anyone dares to bring up any benitez mistakes gets verbally attacked,it seems no one but no one must criticise their idol,benitez lovers everyone makes mistakes so for gods sake stop this propaganda that the man never makes one,not everything he does is correct thats impossible,as a 40yr liverpool supporter I would like to comment on the fact that benitez told us that had aqualani been fit when signed he would have cost us £30 million , this I suggest must make him pretty close to being world class player surely????, so imagine how aqualani feels when he reads [as we have done]benitez comments that if the team is leading 1-0 and benitez bring s him on, there is a reasonable chance aqualani will mess things up, this must do wonders for aqualani's confidence, is this good management to say things like this to the press knowing the player might read it , a near world class player coming on at 1-0 and not being good enough????,benitez lovers is this fair comment or what, or is democratic  comment against benitez just 100% rubbish , or he never gets anything wrong and if he does we never debate the point we should all praise him or shut up, sounds like the old dictatorship  ????

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  85. do you believe that players like torres and gerrard will be happy playing the style of football we are playing, no. so if we dont reach the champions league next year do you think they wont be asking themselves what am i doing here. they are top players who want to parade themselves on the biggest stage. And dont kid yourselves that they will not consider it just because they play for liverpool. just like we go to work and are not happy
    players are the same apart from a select few, but from speaking to some pros, football is there job and they want to do there best with the talent they have and money isnt the be all . it is the same in business if the boss isnt doing his job or making silly decisions and the workers lose respect, he either loses his job or the workers leave. ive never felt so bad after a derby win.

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  86. There is a valid point here. If i was Aquilani i'd prefer my manager not to publicly state that my appearance could cause the team to "lose control." That doesn't exactly show him in a great light does it? Is he not going to feel a little slighted by that?

    This is a little curious to say the least.

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  87. What a load of bollocks! Rafa knows what he's doing mate, he has just been very unlucky lately. His tactical nous is up there with the best but he can't perform miracles with the mediocre team we have at the moment. It's the yanks fault we are in all this mess, they don't care about the club for shit, they don't care what us stupid fans think to them we are just a bunch of fucking peasants, bring in the sheiks!!!!
    Rafa cares about the club he understands how we feel. Jamie Redknapp is a cunt too accusing Rafa of brainwashing the fans, who asked for his fuckin opinion.
    The last thing I would like to put across is how a certain andrey voronin ( whatever his fuckin name is) is the worst striker I've ever seen I seriously reckon we would not be in this mess if it wernt for him, the number of times he loses the ball is stupid but not as bad as the chances he's sent begging (away to Lyon the first one that comes to mind).
    I'm not a big fan of Lucas either although he does seem to be getting better, but he looks out of place in our midfield and other teams know this which is why he's always getting "bullied" in such a vital position. I hope babel stays though cuz if he goes he will at somepoint turn into a star you can see it in him and of course if that occured benitez would be at fault! I'm so excited about the prospect of aquilani with his attacking style of play it's just what we need and I'm confident he will play at b'burn on the weekend if not he will 100% gonna play fiorentina because it's pretty much a nothing game.

    Ps
    el-niƱo nd rafa are in it for the long haul I would say. Fingers crossed

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  88. I haven't read all the answers, so I'm sorry if I'm repeating someone else, but it seems quite obvious that Benitez is referring to two kinds of "fit". He has said time and time again that Aquilani is not match fit, meaning that he does not have the rythm of play yet, and he'll have to get used to english football too. So in this way, he's not "fit" to play against a team as physical as Everton away. He's healthy, "fit" if you want. But he's not "fit" to play to his best because he's not used or acostumed to english football, or any footbal for that matter in almost 9 months.
    So you have "fit" = healthy - yes
    And "fit" = ready to play football to the betterment of your team - questionable

    The dilemma we all know about is how to get match fit if you're not playing. But the last few games have been so "life or death" that Benitez thought it best to spare Aquilani. Had he played badly, people would start doubting him too early. The ideal scenario would be some Anfield matches where we're winning 3x0 at half time, but that's not been happening, is it? I'm quite sure we'll see Aquilani against Blackburn. Then you can start having something footbalish to talk about, other than the lack of it and its consequences. He's here now, let's support him and Rafa, and hope he playes well. cheers

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  89. Then first "fit" means that he is physically able to cope with the demands of a football match. "Fully fit", however, also pertains match fitness and to some extent acclimatizing to a new league, a new environmenta and a new system of playing football. He has not played a full game of competitive football in 9 months (correct me if I'm wrong), and therefore he cannot be expected to have all his sharpness. Furthermore, Aquilani is a very technical player, and he will definitely need some time before he is match fit.

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  90. I think rafa is just trying to wait for a match we are winning confortably and not put him in a game were we are  just winnning by a goal or losing. but the Florence game in champions league will be perfect

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  91. Mystery solved! The reason Aquilani hasn't played yet is because of Rafa's 'ultra cautious sensibilities'. Of course, it's so clear now - the man spent 20 million on Aquilani in the hope that he'd never have to play him.
    TOP NOTCH INSIGHT.

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  92. It's hardly that complicated. When Rafa says that he is "fit and training" he means that he is over his injury. You need to include the actual question and context under which he makes these statements. That not convoluted, it's common sense. That you go out of your way to assert that being "fit" could not possibly mean more than one thing is fairly indicative of how wrong you are. Fitness is a scale, not black and white, and can be interpreted in a variety of ways. It's just a typical tactic you use in trying to assert your argument that you refuse to allow this to be true.
    Rafa has clearly elaborated on this, saying it's a catch 22 situation. Aquilani is not "match fit", a different concept from being over his injury. He can run and train at a high level but in order to be effective in the toughest league in the world he needs stamina and the experience of the tough and physical nature of English football, otherwise he'll be shown up and not play well. In order to get this time on the pitch he needs to play, but if he plays without this experience he'll not play well etc etc. Rafa said all of this quite specifically in a recent press conference and admitted that it's a difficult decision.
    Is he being cautious? Absolutely, that's in his nature. You think this is a bad thing, many others don't. That's generally a matter of opinion. Rafa is protecting the player and thinking in the long term. Given the difficulty that many Italian players have in adapting to English football I personally think this is the right approach. We need to be sure that Aquilani is prepared, completely and totally prepared, when he makes his league debut.

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  93. Hardly that curious, it's totally in line with how Benitez has always run his teams. The way he runs his team is very specific, very tactical. Everyone knows that, so why is it a surprise when we find that his tactical preferences over-ride some vague concept like "Aquilani is a world class player and should be played"? Rafa thinks specifics, tactics, positions, all in immense detail. He doesn't just throw a player into a team because of talent alone. We've seen this time and time again, I don't really know what it's a surprise.

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  94. I fully agreed that Aquilani will be on the pitch for the Fiorentina game, as the outcome has no impact on Liverpool.  Acquilani can play to his best without the pressure to perform.

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  95. Acquilani may come on if by half time Liverpool is leading by 3 goals...

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  96. This site never ceases to amaze me.  I stopped reading halfway through because there wasn't any point.  Anyone could tell you that Aquilani is fit, as in not injured, but not fit, as in match fit.

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  97. The lads not 100% fit enough yet  , yes bringing him on v Everton would be a smart move kop on mate.You'll just have to trust Rafa's judgement on which is the right time to bring the lad on.And of course you can be fit but not fully fit to start a game or not ready to come on unless the conditions are suited to ease him back in .
    And your playing mystic meg again ..

    "I foresee lots of frustration for Aquilani and the fans in the future."

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  98. Well said Billm,
    I cant understand these other comments. Why would Rafa throw Alberto into a derby when he's just back from nine months out and has only played ten mins here and there.
    Why oh why would he pay so much money for a player who he has put so much faith in by buying whilst injured with no intention of playing him?
    The only frustration I have right now as a season ticket holder is the lack of support shown to a manager who has done really well for LFC by so called fans.

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  99. I honestly think half fit Aquillani is better than fully fit Lucas.Lucas's mediocrity is being hailed as excellence by Rafa.

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  100. Rafa is bring him on easily and  at the right time we will see him shine , bringing him on a 1-0 up v Everton would have been worse time to bring Aquilani on he would been miles of the pace of the game never mind the pace of the derby which could have easily gone the other way and bringing him on and losing or drawing the game ... Rafa would have been crucified by the unfaithful and the press.
    IMO he won't play v Blackburn  but maybe come on as sub if were 3-0 up or bossing the game ... my hope is he gets a good run out v  Fiorentina .. if not i have a slight worry he may have had a minor step back in his recovery .Rafa doesn't want to make the same mistakes as Roma and rush him back with a ankle that is not fully recovered and if you cant see that point you need your head testing .
    Rafa is trying to get him on as a sub , but for a couple of reasons , like the way the game is going , injuries to players  forcing other substitutions { city game}.
    Just give it a rest lads and gals and let Rafa decide when the time is right and give the lad a chance before you decide he was a gamble worth taking ... imo he will be ...
    Also Masch and Lucas have been play well recently and maybe a role up front replacing Gerrard might be of less burden to the lad and give Gerrard a rest with his injury ?

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  101. The 20 million EURO transfer fee is broken up into the following:

    - 4 cash instalments of
    - - 5 million EURO upfront
    - - 3 million EURO by 4th January 2010
    - - 7 million EURO by June 30th 2010
    - - 5 million EURO by June 30th 2011.

    Further Add ons include:

    - 300,000 EURO for every year Liverpool qualify for the Champions League from 2010/11 to 2014/15

    - 250,000 EURO everytime the player reaches 35 appearancs, 70 appearances, 105 appeances and then 140 appearances.

    - 1 million EURO the first time Liverpool either wins the Premier League or Champions League by 30 June 2014.

    - 5% of any future transfer fee will be paid to Roma.

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  102. I have always trusted in the people who deal with the players week in and week out. Imagine Rafa benching a match fit player when results are not going his way as has been the case. Surely guys Rafa knows best. He is being assisted by King Kenny and the rest of his technical team. These guys are not stupid. My request to Jaimie is that he needs to calm down and be patient. Remember we do not need to have Aqua back on the treatment table especially of you saw just how physical the derby game was. Ask Masch for an idea of the physical nature of that game as he dusted himself more than once in that game from overzealous tackles. Please relax Jaimie. Rafa knows what he is doing. It is easier to intoduce a player when the team is playing well. YNWA

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  103. Realistically imo were looking at about £18.5m-£20m on  Aquilani which is a gamble for any club .... but you will just have to Trust Rafa's judgement ..

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  104. Yes Terry, you might be right but all the same rafa and his technical team know what they are doing thus why they are in the job, to make the right decisions for the team. Rafa will only play Aqua once he is satisfied that he is match fit enough to take to the field. I have always trusted Rafa and I still believe he is making the right choices under the circumstances. In Rafa we trust. Players are also aware of why Aqua is not playing and they realise we need to be patient. I believe no one wants to see Aqua play more than Rafa. Surely he bought him to play him hence his decision to protect him until such time that he feels he is ready to play. Rafa paid 20M and would surely not do so just to get the player to sit on the bench. That he is making the bench should give us a sign that Rafa is waiting for the right moment to use the player but that moment has unfortunately not arrived yet. YNWA

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  105. Boring Jamie...

    Liverpool beat Everton 0-2, and you want to talk about Aquilani not playing?  Perhaps a valid point if we were beaten 2-0. 

    You are not taking into account that English is not Rafa's mother tongue, so I dont think it is fair for you to quote him, and then use his words to your advantage to get across your point.  In addition Rafa is not a Doctor, and neither are you, so you are not qualified to question this as Rafa will be getting advise from a team of skilled and experienced phyisos. 

    Also consider that you do not get to see Aquilani train day in and day out, so again you are not qualified to question Rafa on this, as he does, and clearly doesnt think the boy is ready to be thrown into a 'backs against the wall' derby.  Perhaps if we were 1-0 down with 20 mins to go he would have brought him on? The way I see it.....  we were defending a lead (by the skin of our teeth) so it made a lot of sense to air on the side of caution, and stick with the midfield enforcers?

    We all want to see what Aquilani can do.  You are not alone on that, but why cant you focus on the fact that Liverpool beat Everton and are now 2 points off 4th place?  Thats all that really matters at the end of the day? 

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  106. Anyway id like to see him brought into a much more confident side , not that its what im waiting for .. but imo would also help his introduction to the premier league .

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  107. Everything is black and white isn't it? The player is fit or not fit - there is no inbetween. Tell me are you a doctor or physiotherapist? have you examined Aquilani personally?

    Load of balls otherwise.

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  108. Relax? I am perfectly relaxed.  Just because I raise the issue doesn't mean I am somehow panicking.  You can have all the trust you want, but mark my words, you and all the other 'In Rafa We Trust' brigade are going to be extremely frustrated over the next year with how Benitez uses Aquilani.  He will be on the bench and subbed off endlessly as a result of over-caution, and the player himself will get increasingly frustrated.  All the signs are there, and 6 months from now you can refer back to this comment and see that I was right, and then you'll understand my personal frustration with the way he's being handled.

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  109. My frustration comes not just from vewiing the short term but from surmising what could happen in the long-term.  Mark my words - this is how it's going to be:

    * Aquilani will regularly be used a sub for the rest of the season, especially in away games

    * Lucas will remain first choice CM; Aquilani will only start against lesser teams at home in the league.

    * He will not get a regular run of starts in the team

    * Any team that is remotely physical = Aquilani on the bench

    * He will be used more in Europa league games

    * If and when Aquilani starts, he will regularl be subbed off erly in games under the guise of 'protecting him'

    * Aquilani will grow frustrated by this treatment, and this will eventually affect his performances.

    * At some point, he will express his frustration publicly about not being given a run of games/always being on the bench/subbed

    * Benitez will come out with the same old spiel: 'He is clever; he knows my idea, and blah blah blah.

    All the signs are there; I predicted similar treatment for Crouch, Keane, Yossi, Babel etc, and the the same things happened.

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  110. I have to admit, I'm getting a little frustrated at Aqua's lack of starts (or even cameos) of late. That said, as you have admitted Jamie, we don't really know what's what - it could well be a relapse and cover up; it could be that Aqaua's training like a girl and Rafa wants to subject him to some more gym work; it could be just about anything. Point is, whether you like it or not, Rafa IS in a better position to make a judgment.

    On another note, I find it interesting that you're picking up on a perceived contradiction. Haven't you, in the past, vilified Rafa for bringing players back from injury too early (specifically Alonso, when he had a subsequent relapse)? And now you want players back pronto? I know, I know, Rafa is claiming he's fit, so it shouldn't be a risk. But I point you to my previous comment about Rafa being in a better position to know what's going on.

    Time for consistency all round, I think. We are Liverpool supporters, we will continue to support Liverpool, to back the players, and to back the manager. Sometimes you remind me of one of those fickle supporters who sits in the stand effing and blinding at a player all match because he doesn't like the look of him, then starts jumping for joy when aforementioned player weaves through the entire oppo to score the match winner. You obviously need to have a good moan to get you through the day. Knock yourself out my friend. We'll just agree to disagree.

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  111. Mr Kanwar, is this the best you could do? You sound dissapointed that we won. Aquaman is fit, just not fit for the biggest derby in the land.  What happened to balanced reporting and stating the positive result for once . Most of our players will be back fo the next game. I believe this is a turning point. I want to see what you write if we have some futher good results.

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  112. GET OFF YOUR SOAPBOX - your as bad as A.Gray... I'm fit, but I wouldnt last 10 minutes in a football game at any level (unless in goal, then I'd just be sh*t) because I havent played in years...

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  113. or maybe "fit" as in in "phwoarr, he's fit"

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  114. you are such a boring, unoriginal, whining, fake LFC fan

    I'm sik of reading your little niggles at Rafa and LFC that you think you are the only person to uncover. I know you're desperate for hits on your site to boost your ratings and potential income but the depths you are sinking to are really embarrasing. Maybe you need to go get a proper day job and stop these immature little rants.

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  115. You are so pathetic and transparent!!!

    You just dont like Benitez - FACT!

    Your views are nonsense and you continue to try and influence other fans opinions by providing a completely one sided anti-Benitez view point.

    It was the same the other day when you were singing Ryan Babels praises and slating Benitez managerial abilities.

    Take your negativeness to somewhere that is more at home like Goodison or Castle Grey Skull.

    How about you take a more positive approach and support the team, the manager and the club. Your negative opinions dont help anyone and will only spread to the other easily led fans that read the propaganda spewed out by the press in their disgusting ridiculous Rafa Benitez Hate Campaign.

    GO AWAY JAMIE KANWAR WITH YOUR CANCEROUS VIEWS!

    YNWA

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  116. I'm amazed at some of the statements, not only in the article but in the comments.
    Firstly Aquilani is a Benitez player...he bought him. He has been cautious because he has been injured for over 6 months and wants to ensure he plays the rest of the season not just 2 or 3 games in November. However my main point to Jaimie is why would Benitez not play him if he is 100% MATCH fit (there is a difference). He either wants to get sacked or understands the nature of the players injury far better than anyone outside of the club.
    Jaimie, as i have said before, you clearly have an agenda re Benitez so why not be honest and say so outright. You want Benitez sacked and will twist everything he does to produce a negative view. If you can't be honest then crawl back under the stone.

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  117. I'ld be so glad the day this blog goes offsite

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  118. You don't even have a simple grasp of the english language.

    <span><span>"<span>He hasn’t played for months so he has to be ready and fully fit</span> if he is to be able to play at the level that he can play in England".</span></span>

    The bit in bold doesn't make sense when you ignore the second part of the sentence.
    Have you played football before? Laughable.

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  119. MARTIN O NEILL????

    THIS SUMS YOU UP KANWAR!!!

    YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHATSOEVER!!

    YOU SERIOUSLY CANNOT BE A LIVERPOOL FAN AND MUST HAVE NO FOOTBALL KNOWLEDGE!! YOU ARE SO BLINDED AND BLINKERED BY YOUR SEVERE HATRED FOR BENITEZ THAT EVERY OTHER OPINION YOU HAVE IS WARPED!!!

    YOU SHOW NO SUPPORT AND NO PASSION FOR THE CLUB......JUST NEGATIVITY!!!!

    MARTIN O NEILL?? MY WHOLE OFFICE IS LAUGHING AT YOU AS I WRITE THIS AFTER I JUST TOLD THEM ABOUT WHO YOU WANT IN CHARGE!! YOU ARE A LAUGHING STOCK!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

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  120. From todays echo - Rafa reveals Kanwar knows jack shit:

    “It’s more simple than people think,” said Benitez. “He has been out for longer than we expected and, because he has been injured during the summer, he couldn’t train properly."

    “Now it is much better and it is a case of improving his match fitness. We want to play him and we thought we might have been able to do that with the reserves at Wigan."

    “That was called off (last week) but we had some games at Melwood and he played 45 minutes against our reserves last week. We are trying to improve him as quick as we can."

    “But when you have a player who is not fit, he is always going to need time to settle in to a game; if the game is tight and he makes mistakes, then you have a problem."

    “We want to protect the player but, at the same time, we want to keep winning games; he understands that he needs to be a little bit fitter before he can play.”

    “It has not been easy (to not play him) but we are giving him more encouragement in training sessions and he is getting much, much better,” said Benitez."

    “We know he is a top class player and we want to do the best for him and the team; but the best for the player and the team sometimes means he cannot play."

    “Think about this example. We were winning 1-0 (against Debrecen) the other day and me and Sammy (Lee) were talking about playing him."

    “But if we played him for the last 20 minutes, when they were attacking a little bit more and he is not settled, maybe it will be the situation will become worse. It is not easy finding the balance but he is getting better all the time.”

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  121. Jamie you really are a proper tool aren't you!!!!!

    I'm still to even read 1 positive article written by yourself, it's always doom and gloom and rumour mongering from you!!!

    Like any plastic fan you jump on the band wagon with whichever way it seems to be traveling at that specific moment in time!!! Get a grip and get behing this team and show some support and loyalty!!!

    Or are you really just a bitter posing as a red!!!

    Muppet!!!!

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  122. Exclusive from the Echo reveals Kanwar knows jack:

    “It’s more simple than people think,” said Benitez. “He has been out for longer than we expected and, because he has been injured during the summer, he couldn’t train properly."

    “Now it is much better and it is a case of improving his match fitness. We want to play him and we thought we might have been able to do that with the reserves at Wigan."

    “That was called off (last week) but we had some games at Melwood and he played 45 minutes against our reserves last week. We are trying to improve him as quick as we can."



    “It has not been easy (to not play him) but we are giving him more encouragement in training sessions and he is getting much, much better,” said Benitez."

    “We know he is a top class player and we want to do the best for him and the team; but the best for the player and the team sometimes means he cannot play."

    “But when you have a player who is not fit, he is always going to need time to settle in to a game; if the game is tight and he makes mistakes, then you have a problem."

    “We want to protect the player but, at the same time, we want to keep winning games; he understands that he needs to be a little bit fitter before he can play.”


    “It has not been easy (to not play him) but we are giving him more encouragement in training sessions and he is getting much, much better,” said Benitez.

    “We know he is a top class player and we want to do the best for him and the team; but the best for the player and the team sometimes means he cannot play.

    “Think about this example. We were winning 1-0 (against Debrecen) the other day and me and Sammy (Lee) were talking about playing him."

    “But if we played him for the last 20 minutes, when they were attacking a little bit more and he is not settled, maybe it will be the situation will become worse. It is not easy finding the balance but he is getting better all the time.”


    How will you spin this?

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  123. Exclusive from the Echo reveals Kanwar knows jack:  
     
    “It’s more simple than people think,” said Benitez. “He has been out for longer than we expected and, because he has been injured during the summer, he couldn’t train properly."  
     
    “Now it is much better and it is a case of improving his match fitness. We want to play him and we thought we might have been able to do that with the reserves at Wigan."  
     
    “That was called off (last week) but we had some games at Melwood and he played 45 minutes against our reserves last week. We are trying to improve him as quick as we can."  
     
     
     

     
    “It has not been easy (to not play him) but we are giving him more encouragement in training sessions and he is getting much, much better,” said Benitez.  
     
    “We know he is a top class player and we want to do the best for him and the team; but the best for the player and the team sometimes means he cannot play.  
     
    “Think about this example. We were winning 1-0 (against Debrecen) the other day and me and Sammy (Lee) were talking about playing him."  
     
    “But if we played him for the last 20 minutes, when they were attacking a little bit more and he is not settled, maybe it will be the situation will become worse. It is not easy finding the balance but he is getting better all the time.”  
     
     
    How will you spin this?

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  124. Spin it?  It's just more lame excuses by Benitez that barely make sense.  He says the same thing over and over, as if that's going to give it more weight.  A prime example is the Debrecen example he gives: 
       
    “But if we played him for the last 20 minutes, when they were attacking a little bit more and he is not settled, maybe it will be the situation will become worse. It is not easy finding the balance but he is getting better all the time.”  

    What kind of sense does this make?!  They were attacking a bit more...so maybe it will become worse?!

    This is just nonsense.  And fans will lap it up with a spoon as some kind of definitive explanation. 

    I'm sure Aquilani loves the fact that Benitez suggests in publicn that if he brought him on against the WORST TEAM IN THE GROUP, he might make things worse for Liverpool.

    Bravo!

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  125. You actually wrote the article !  Nice :)

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  126. Quite simply, the manager has explained that, so tight have some recent games been, it would have been a gamble to pitch an unfit player into battle with the stakes so high.
    “It’s more simple than people think,” said Benitez. “He has been out for longer than we expected and, because he has been injured during the summer, he couldn’t train properly.
    “Now it is much better and it is a case of improving his match fitness. We want to play him and we thought we might have been able to do that with the reserves at Wigan.
    “That was called off (last week) but we had some games at Melwood and he played 45 minutes against our reserves last week. We are trying to improve him as quick as we can.
    “But when you have a player who is not fit, he is always going to need time to settle in to a game; if the game is tight and he makes mistakes, then you have a problem.
    “We want to protect the player but, at the same time, we want to keep winning games; he understands that he needs to be a little bit fitter before he can play.”

    “It has not been easy (to not play him) but we are giving him more encouragement in training sessions and he is getting much, much better,” said Benitez.
    “We know he is a top class player and we want to do the best for him and the team; but the best for the player and the team sometimes means he cannot play.
    “Think about this example. We were winning 1-0 (against Debrecen) the other day and me and Sammy (Lee) were talking about playing him.
    “But if we played him for the last 20 minutes, when they were attacking a little bit more and he is not settled, maybe it will be the situation will become worse. It is not easy finding the balance but he is getting better all the time.

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  127. grobbelaar, st john, souness and arguabaly evans are all failed football managers. they proved they couldn't manage at benitez' level, so i wouldn't take too much notice of what they come out with.

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  128. There's a difference between fit and match fit.
    There's a difference between running around and playing a game.
    Partially fit gerrard/benayoun/riera can play as they have PL experience, tactical awareness of the team, positional experience (the Liverpool) way etc. etc.

    You seem to pounce on anything, grab it like a bulldog and switch off.
    Then try to make some (pseudo) intelligent argument against the manager.

    You "try" to present yourself as observational with no pre-formed motives, however, the consistent theme throughout your "opinions", "arguments", "proofs" or whatever you wish to call them is obvious.

    Self-serving bias, negative cognitive selection in all matters re: Benitez, the LFC fan side of you is waiting for it's "ah hah, see i told you, i was right!!" moment.

    Unfortunately, it's the pro-brigade which hammered you into suppression. There's nothing to win here. Your opinions may have been battered by the pro mob but it's irrelevant and seeking solace with the anti-mob dressed up as "neutrals" doesn't help.

    Rare it is to find an article here which is Harvard-esque.

    Just picking points here and there in isolation to further pre-formed opinions.

    Come to think of it - background in tabloid sensationalistic journalism???

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  129. If hes not fit then hes not fit.  this is the second article you've written harping on about this matter.  unless you are a doctor and can effectively assess whether or not Aquilani is fit then stop whining.  Aquilani will play when he is fully fit.  If he comes on now then gets injured for another 2 months because he was forced back to early then it would be a disaster.

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  130. Jaimie, once again your anti-Benitez stance comes to the fore....The manager has the best possible information with regards to his players. With the amount of injuries we have had this season, most people would be take care with a £18 million players, who if incorporated into the team properly, COULD have a major impact on our season. So you want him brought into a derby match where tackles are flying in...good logic there!!! Yes he could get injured in any other match, but they are not normally as physical as a derby match. 
    For me what shows your true agenda come in an earlier comment you made....."He will be on the bench and subbed off endlessly as a result of over-caution, and the player himself will get increasingly frustrated.  All the signs are there"....
    What prompted this statement, Robbie Keane, Ryan Babel....two players that were ineffective on the pitch. Now before i am labelled a member of the "In Rafa We Trust" brigade, is everyone that doesnt a agree with you in that camp? Do we all have to be pro-Rafa or anti-Rafa. There are some of us, who can actually see the good and bad in Rafa. Unfortunately, there is now an agenda behind all you articles, and at a time where OUR team is going through a difficult period, i find your actions quite sad....

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  131. this makes perfect sense. we were under a lot of pressure for the last 20 mins agains debreccen, and they came close to scoring. we defo looked nervy. why is it such a mental idea not to bring on an attacking player who is short of match fitness, instead leaving it as with 2 holding players who are settled and more solid?
    the other school of thought is to bring the attacking player on, and hopefully keep the ball a bit more and maybe offer a bigger threat on the counter, but these are just ideas. i don't think one is really more valid than the other. what i do think though, is that is a simple tactic to understand, benitez has clearly explained why he has done it and it makes TOTAL sense. it is a football BASIC.
    you might not agree with the tactic, but surely you can see why it was done. it's not hard to understand, i don't really see why you're saying it makes no sense.

    benitez hasn't contradicted himself AT ALL regarding aquilani's injury. he is fit, but he is not match fit. again, why is this so difficult to comprehend? you don't throw players who haven't played since march into high pressure games. if we were playing better at the moment, he would be starting games by now.
    don't forget the reserve match he was due to play in got cancelled, thus putting back his progress a bit, and he got the virus that knocked a lot of the players back a few weeks ago. this undoubtedly knocked his fitness too.

    what is the problem?!!

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  132. [good points by the two posters above]

    There's a difference between running around and playing a game.  
    Partially fit gerrard/benayoun/riera can play as they have PL experience, tactical awareness of the team, positional experience (the Liverpool) way etc. etc.  
     
    You seem to pounce on anything, grab it like a bulldog and switch off.  
    Then try to make some (pseudo) intelligent argument against the manager.  
     
    You "try" to present yourself as observational with no pre-formed motives, however, the consistent theme throughout your "opinions", "arguments", "proofs" or whatever you wish to call them is obvious.  
     
    Self-serving bias, negative cognitive selection in all matters re: Benitez, the LFC fan side of you is waiting for it's "ah hah, see i told you, i was right!!" moment.  
     
    Unfortunately, it's the pro-brigade which hammered you into suppression. There's nothing to win here. Your opinions may have been battered by the pro mob but it's irrelevant and seeking solace with the anti-mob dressed up as "neutrals" doesn't help.  
     
    Rare it is to find an article here which is Harvard-esque.  
     
    Just picking points here and there in isolation to further pre-formed opinions.  
     
    Come to think of it - background in tabloid sensationalistic journalism???

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  133. don't forget, anyone can be a football manager, and having inside information on a players performance in training and medical reports are irrelivant, according to this site!

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  134. If hes not fit hes not fit. No point risking him getting another injury because he was rushed back. This is the second article you've written whining about this mr. kanwar and unless you are a doctor and can effectively assess Aquilani's fitness then your loaded opinions are irrelevent.

    Also your use of unsubstantiated media quotes as your 'hard evidence' in almost every article you write is incredibly naive and completely disqualifies any point you make.

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  135. Yawn, yawn, yawn, yet another rewrite of one of your previous articles.
    Rafa could play him but chose not to. You could write a decent article but you choose not to.

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  136. The fact that everyone sees him as our solution is the main problem and probably why Benitez is (quite sensibly in my opinion) holding him back. Whilst the form is poor and results are generally shite, there's too much pressure on the lad to be our 'saviour'. If he has one bad game then the fickle brigade will get on his case and, before you know it, the media will be howling that we've signed another 'expensive flop' and so on and so forth. Get him 100% fit, let the team improve and get more confidence while he's watching from the bench. Once the results and performances improve then introduce him. It's a hell of a lot easier to settle into a winning and confident side than trying too hard to make a difference in a struggling and poor first team and a new league to boot.

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  137. On the American's payroll12:59 pm, December 01, 2009

    Please dont give this fella the time of day and stop clicking on this site. He is quite clearly on the owner's payroll to undermine fans confidence in Rafa and have a go at SOS, it's a joke and i cant belive so many people are falling for it. Anyone who has done the slightest bit of research in the clubs finances and transfers since the Americans took over d knows the socre about what is happening to our club, the owners are not backing tha manager and we are competing against clubs that are, simple as. We are going downhill fast and i dread to think where we would be without rafa. By the way Aquilani cost us £5m up front, enough said.

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  138. Just wondering how much you get per hit on your site. Cos you're not a Liverpool fan.] you're a troll.

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  139. He's fit to play but needs match fitness, Benitez is trying to choose the right time to introduce him. Rub a dub dub!

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  140. I would suggest everyone read rafas actual comments on Aquilani's fitness. He explains the reasons quite well. This is the usual sensationalist attempt at hatchet job on rafa by a very poor excuse for a cyber journalist.

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  141. Kanwhine do you / have you ever played football??? fit and "match fit" are 2 different levels of fitness. Rafa's english is shocking so I presume when he says fit he means fit and when he say fully fit he means match fit. Chill out Aquilani will play when he's ready to.

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  142. Spot on Pebble.  Let's wait and see before we have to read another diatribe from JK.

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  143. Spot on Pebble.  Let's wait and see before we have to read another diatribe from JK.

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  144. You're doing it again. Just because someone disagree with you they are not part of this so called IRWT briagde. The poster above clearly says that we should trust the manager and medical/technical team because they actually know what's going on in temrs of a player's fitness. He didn't say we must trust in Rafa regardless off what he does or that Rafa does no wrong. Get off this pedestal man. We can support Rafa without being "brainwashed" or being part of this IRWT brigade.

    "Mark my words...." Calm down Mystic Meg. Actually while you've got your magic crystal ball out and you're making these predictions can you let me know what the lottery results will be tomorrow.

    Aquilani hasn't played because he isn't match fit. He has recovered from a long term injury has played less than 25 minutes of competetive football. There is nothing there to suggest that he will be subsituted because of caution or that he will benched. When he is fully fit, and i mean match fit, then he will play regularly.

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  145. kanwhine?  That's a new one!  It's usually Wankar or Kantwar, or C**twar ;)

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  146. you're exactly right Pebble, looks like Rafa wants to bring him in to a winning team so there isn't too much pressure on his shoulders. If we were 2 or 3 nil up versus Debrechen last week he'd have had more than 30 seconds.

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  147. why reply to this one and not to some of the valid points raised above? pick and choose, lad.

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  148. Simple really - the distinction between match 'fit' and fit.  I thought this was common knowledge in football - the distinction between the two.

    Therefore, in my eyes, no contradiction by the boss.

    It's a real shame you don't examine what David Cameron says for a day job.  With nit-picking qualities like yours the public would find out Cameron is nothing more than a hollow populist seeking election.

    Do consider it!

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  149. You are spot on he is being defensive even though in my opinion playing Lucas has been and will always be a liability

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  150. <span>"The fact that almost 4 months into the season he is yet to make a league appearance."</span>
    <span>
     - Two words - Birmingham match.<span></span></span>

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  151. Fit = no remnants of the injury that caused him to miss the early part of the season.
    Fully fit= Match fit. 
    You seem like a very angry man who is determined to undermine Rafa Benitez at every turn while at the same time passionately condemning fans who are upset about the way Hicks and Gillett run the club.  Your arguments are always rather tenuous and more than a little laboured. I don't know whether you enjoy stirring up an argument or if you're simply waiting for the two Americans to give you a biscuit - either way, it's just a little bit sad! 

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  152. Chill out Jamie. He'll get a decent run out against Blackburn and will maybe play the majority of the Fiorentina game, just to ease him in a bit. I agree should've played more in Hungary and maybe the derby was right as this was a pure battle. Knowing the Toffess they would've probably juts kicked lumps out of him.

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  153. In saying he is fit Rafa meant that Aqua was over his injury and able to train. He is not 'match fit' and Rafa is chosing the right time in the best interest of the team and the player. Aqua was meant to play for the reserves but the match was cancelled, a special game was arraged for him in order to get some playing time under his belt aside from the regular training.

    In Rafa we trust! 

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  154. well thats true.. grr down tiger :P

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  155. Keane didnt have much game time, he was probably patronised by Rafa, he did not give him game time... so what he got like 3 games in a row, is that enough?? The answer is simply no!!, Babel has not been utilized to his strengths, Kuyt should not be a winger, he should play in his preferred place (striker), he scored against Everton because he  Gerrard has become lazy now hes behind Torres even N'gog runs back, Gerrard has to play in midfield what doesnt he understand?, Benayoun has to play off Torres his creative skills are needed Gerrard is not creating anything without Alonso playing them final passes to him.. And Aquilani is not even playing to do this and on top of that he lies about when he will be ready to play.. On August 6 he said " Alberto is a great player and a exciting one, and he should be ready in 4-8wks" well something along the lines of that, but Jaimie, Aurelio should be kept.. he is good

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  156. I may be in the minority here, but I agree with JK!! What is the point of putting Aquilani on the bench if he isn't "match" fit. I've read many chastising JK of what foolish move it would have been to put him in the CL, Man City, or any other important games. Then why have him on the bench?? It's not like the manager has an unlimited number players he can draw from, only the bench. So, one would think you'd put individuals on the bench that can really help the team - not an individual, if the weather permits, if the other lads are nice enough, or for any other lame reason you would sub in. It is ludicrous! Also, there is this notion that we need to wait to ensure that he doesn't get injured. I don't need to remind anyone, but if Liverpool doesn't make the top four this year, and thereby the CL money, what chances do we have to compete with the rest who have more money already and will get even richer!!! MONEY is tight enough already, and if we don't get the CL money, then what????

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  157. "I may be in the minority here, but I agree with JK!! What is the point of putting Aquilani on the bench if he isn't "match" fit."

    Because he has to play games in order to get match fitness. It's not rocket science.

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  158. More from Benitez:

    "The player is fit and training, but match fitness is something you can improve by playing games. So why have I not been playing him? Because the games are so close that if you put a player on the pitch who is not physically ready, maybe he cannot settle down in time."

    "If it is 1-0, like it was against Debrecen the other day, they are attacking a bit more and if you changed Lucas, Steven Gerrard or Javier Mascherano, maybe you're making a mistake as you will lose the control."

    "If you are losing you can play the player, because maybe then he can change the game with his quality. Likewise, if we were winning 3-0 in the first half of every game he would be playing because it would be easier for him to settle down."

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  159. Jaime, having seen a few of your blogs now its clear you have two very simple agendas:

    1. To back the American owners against the disapproval of fans, in particular Spirit of Shankley;

    2. To denigrate Rafa.

    Your blogs are so consistent and transparent, your reasoning so desperately contrived and unintelligent, its hard to believe that anyone with judgement would have entrusted you with such a project, so I'm inclined to believe you are acting independently. If I'm right, you are simply a laughing stock. On the other hand, if I'm wrong and you are being backed by Hicks or Gillett,  they really are wasting their money. Your tone and logic are so hysterically bad that surely none of your readers can take you seriously.

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  160. You're not going to get through to him. If Jamie doesn't understand something it means that it doesn't make sense. It doesn't mean, heaven forbid, that Jamie just couldn't be bothered to work it out.

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  161. What absolute nonsense. First of all, Benayoun and Crouch never suffered because of how they were handled. Both players thrived under Benitez, in fact becoming better footballers. What aspect of Crouch's career did you predict? Rafa consistently played Crouch when he was not scoring at the beginning of his Liverpool career. Rafa stuck with him when he knew the quality was there. Eventually Crouch came good and a season later he was a regular in the England team. Perhaps you "predicted" how things were going to pan out for these players but you might want to link to the articles you wrote about this because it's the first I've heard of it.
    As for your absurd ideas on Aquliani, I look forward to a time about 3 months from now when he's starting every game and showing his class. There is not even the slightest of indications that your prediction will happen and here's why:
    Aquilani is not Babel. He's smarter and a better worker off the ball. Babel doesn't get enough time on the pitch because he makes bad decisions and doesn't deliver enough quality crosses from the by-line. Aquilani is older and more experienced and when Rafa asks him to do something he'll do it. For this reason he will become a regular in the team.
    Aquilani is not Robbie Keane. He doesn't need to be the centre of an attack to be effective, he's far more of a team player. He also doesn't have someone like Stevie G competing for his spot. Keane was let go because he wasn't efficient or flexible enough to play Rafa's style of football. Aquilani is very flexible and very efficient, the perfect kind of player for Rafa.

    It's interesting that you think Aquilani is going to suffer what you consider to be the "Benitez effect" but you can't even explain why these things will happen. Why will Aquilani not get game time? Why will he only play in European games? Where's the logic in that? Where's the actual tactics behind this? It's almost as if you think that Rafa makes decisions in the same way you do, based on absurdly over-simplified ideas. Of course the truth is that you just don't understand what Rafa is trying to do so you have to assume his intellect is at the same level as yours.

    Rafa's statements in the Echo make complete sense. He's not going to debut Aquilani until he can be sure that the player is up to the job. He was going to give him plenty of minutes in a reserve game but that was cancelled. How is that hard to understand? Once Aquilani gets 45 minutes of hard football under his belt and Rafa can see that he maintains his composure and plays well he'll give him time in a more high profile match. He'll then gain some real match fitness and soon push Lucas out of the team.

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  162. Interesting, he has time to respond to the name calling but the host of intelligent and detailed responses above get nothing. Of course I shouldn't be surprised, Jamie has said that he doesn't care about credibility.

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  163. Is it really that hard to get? Rafa wants to give Aquilani time in a match where his lack of fitness and recent match practice won't be exposed. If during any of these games Liverpool were looking comfortable and in control Aquilani would have played. We weren't, so he didn't.

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  164. "You can have all the trust you want, but mark my words, you and all the other 'In Rafa We Trust' brigade are going to be extremely frustrated over the next year with how Benitez uses Aquilani.  He will be on the bench and subbed off endlessly as a result of over-caution"


    Well done for stating the bleedin' obvious Jaimie, Aquilani WILL probably be subbed at various times this season just as Benayoun, Torres, Reira, Gerrard, Insua, Aurelio...will be!

    You've purposely worded your comment in order to give Benitez no other way out, he either plays Aquilani for 90 minutes in every match or you'll criticise him!! Aquilani WILL not play every game for 90 minutes as he's been out for 9 months, you know this and once again come May you'll be using it as a stick to beat Rafa with.

    It won't be a result of over-caution, it could be to protect a lead (just as Ferguson did at Spurs this week) or because the physical demands of the match require it. How about for once you just try and support the CLUB and not just certain elements of it, we're supposed to win and lose as a Unit, you've no idea what TEAM mentallity is do you Jaimie?

    When the fast bullets fly you're the first one blaming everybody and ducking for the table.

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  165. "You can have all the trust you want, but mark my words, you and all the other 'In Rafa We Trust' brigade are going to be extremely frustrated over the next year with how Benitez uses Aquilani.  He will be on the bench and subbed off endlessly as a result of over-caution"


    Well done for stating the bleedin' obvious Jaimie, Aquilani WILL probably be subbed at various times this season just as Benayoun, Torres, Reira, Gerrard, Insua, Aurelio...will be!

    You've purposely worded your comment in order to give Benitez no other way out, he either plays Aquilani for 90 minutes in every match or you'll criticise him!! Aquilani WILL not play every game for 90 minutes as he's been out for 9 months, you know this and once again come May you'll be using it as a stick to beat Rafa with.

    It won't be a result of over-caution, it could be to protect a lead (just as Ferguson did at Spurs this week) or because the physical demands of the match require it. How about for once you just try and support the CLUB and not just certain elements of it, we're supposed to win and lose as a Unit, you've no idea what TEAM mentallity is do you Jaimie?

    When the fast bullets fly you're the first one blaming everybody and ducking for the table.

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  166. "You can have all the trust you want, but mark my words, you and all the other 'In Rafa We Trust' brigade are going to be extremely frustrated over the next year with how Benitez uses Aquilani.  He will be on the bench and subbed off endlessly as a result of over-caution"


    Well done for stating the bleedin' obvious Jaimie, Aquilani WILL probably be subbed at various times this season just as Benayoun, Torres, Reira, Gerrard, Insua, Aurelio...will be!

    You've purposely worded your comment in order to give Benitez no other way out, he either plays Aquilani for 90 minutes in every match or you'll criticise him!! Aquilani WILL not play every game for 90 minutes as he's been out for 9 months, you know this and once again come May you'll be using it as a stick to beat Rafa with.

    It won't be a result of over-caution, it could be to protect a lead (just as Ferguson did at Spurs this week) or because the physical demands of the match require it. How about for once you just try and support the CLUB and not just certain elements of it, we're supposed to win and lose as a Unit, you've no idea what TEAM mentallity is do you Jaimie?

    When the fast bullets fly you're the first one blaming everybody and ducking for the table.

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  167. "You can have all the trust you want, but mark my words, you and all the other 'In Rafa We Trust' brigade are going to be extremely frustrated over the next year with how Benitez uses Aquilani.  He will be on the bench and subbed off endlessly as a result of over-caution"


    Well done for stating the bleedin' obvious Jaimie, Aquilani WILL probably be subbed at various times this season just as Benayoun, Torres, Reira, Gerrard, Insua, Aurelio...will be!

    You've purposely worded your comment in order to give Benitez no other way out, he either plays Aquilani for 90 minutes in every match or you'll criticise him!! Aquilani WILL not play every game for 90 minutes as he's been out for 9 months, you know this and once again come May you'll be using it as a stick to beat Rafa with.

    It won't be a result of over-caution, it could be to protect a lead (just as Ferguson did at Spurs this week) or because the physical demands of the match require it. How about for once you just try and support the CLUB and not just certain elements of it, we're supposed to win and lose as a Unit, you've no idea what TEAM mentallity is do you Jaimie?

    When the fast bullets fly you're the first one blaming everybody and ducking for the table.

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  168. "You can have all the trust you want, but mark my words, you and all the other 'In Rafa We Trust' brigade are going to be extremely frustrated over the next year with how Benitez uses Aquilani.  He will be on the bench and subbed off endlessly as a result of over-caution"


    Well done for stating the bleedin' obvious Jaimie, Aquilani WILL probably be subbed at various times this season just as Benayoun, Torres, Reira, Gerrard, Insua, Aurelio...will be!

    You've purposely worded your comment in order to give Benitez no other way out, he either plays Aquilani for 90 minutes in every match or you'll criticise him!! Aquilani WILL not play every game for 90 minutes as he's been out for 9 months, you know this and once again come May you'll be using it as a stick to beat Rafa with.

    It won't be a result of over-caution, it could be to protect a lead (just as Ferguson did at Spurs this week) or because the physical demands of the match require it. How about for once you just try and support the CLUB and not just certain elements of it, we're supposed to win and lose as a Unit, you've no idea what TEAM mentallity is do you Jaimie?

    When the fast bullets fly you're the first one blaming everybody and ducking for the table.

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  169. "You can have all the trust you want, but mark my words, you and all the other 'In Rafa We Trust' brigade are going to be extremely frustrated over the next year with how Benitez uses Aquilani.  He will be on the bench and subbed off endlessly as a result of over-caution"


    Well done for stating the bleedin' obvious Jaimie, Aquilani WILL probably be subbed at various times this season just as Benayoun, Torres, Reira, Gerrard, Insua, Aurelio...will be!

    You've purposely worded your comment in order to give Benitez no other way out, he either plays Aquilani for 90 minutes in every match or you'll criticise him!! Aquilani WILL not play every game for 90 minutes as he's been out for 9 months, you know this and once again come May you'll be using it as a stick to beat Rafa with.

    It won't be a result of over-caution, it could be to protect a lead (just as Ferguson did at Spurs this week) or because the physical demands of the match require it. How about for once you just try and support the CLUB and not just certain elements of it, we're supposed to win and lose as a Unit, you've no idea what TEAM mentallity is do you Jaimie?

    When the fast bullets fly you're the first one blaming everybody and ducking for the table.

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  170. Martin O'Neill?

    You're having a laugh Jaimie, he's no fit to lace Rafa's boots in terms of tactical awareness and managerial ability. Are Real Madrid chasing Martin O'Neill? Have Juventus and Inter Milan tried to lure MON their way?

    Benitez is widely regarded as one of the best managers in WORLD football, MON is a footnote in the EPL.

    I wonder what would happen to your poisonous Rafa bashing Blog if you got your wish and MON did come in? What if he utterly capitulated Jaimie? You'd look extremely stupid wouldn't you? I'd imagine your blog would disappear overnight should that happen as you're completely unable to admit fault and I've never seen a comment were you admit you were wrong.

    You warn us about SOS but you yourself are like a greasy politician, when you're wrong you simply avoid answering the question.

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  171. RAFAEL BENITEZ has earmarked Liverpool’s Champions League dead rubber against Fiorentina as the long-awaited full debut of Alberto Aquilani.

    With Liverpool braced for a physical examination at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, it’s unlikely Aquilani will be risked at Ewood Park.

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  172. Jaimie why have you replied to this inane comment and ignored the intelligent and reasoned arguements above it?

    As per usual once you are found to be out of your depth it terms of intellect or insight you ignore the comment, you simply pick & choose what to respond to.

    You're a fake Jaimie, you endlessly spout drivel about SOS being xenophobic but from day one you've attempted to assassinate Benitez' persona - you've said as much yourself, you didn't want Rafa you wanted MON, but why?

    Benitez came to us on the back of superb successes with Valencia, taking them to the first La Liga Title for nearly 30 years, winning the UEFA Cup and appearing in the later ECL stages. He had the right attitude and the reputation to back him up, yet you didn't want him.

    I find myself asking why, and the only reason I can think of (given Rafa's record) is that it's because he's spanish, either that or you were so perturbed by "THEM" not choosing the manager you wanted that you've been stamping your foot and screaming "I'll show them!" ever since.

    Either way, I think we're dealing with a seriously troubled psyche!

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  173. Jaimie why have you replied to this inane comment and ignored the intelligent and reasoned arguements above it?

    As per usual once you are found to be out of your depth it terms of intellect or insight you ignore the comment, you simply pick & choose what to respond to.

    You're a fake Jaimie, you endlessly spout drivel about SOS being xenophobic but from day one you've attempted to assassinate Benitez' persona - you've said as much yourself, you didn't want Rafa you wanted MON, but why?

    Benitez came to us on the back of superb successes with Valencia, taking them to the first La Liga Title for nearly 30 years, winning the UEFA Cup and appearing in the later ECL stages. He had the right attitude and the reputation to back him up, yet you didn't want him.

    I find myself asking why, and the only reason I can think of (given Rafa's record) is that it's because he's spanish, either that or you were so perturbed by "THEM" not choosing the manager you wanted that you've been stamping your foot and screaming "I'll show them!" ever since.

    Either way, I think we're dealing with a seriously troubled psyche!

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  174. Jaimie why have you replied to this inane comment and ignored the intelligent and reasoned arguements above it?

    As per usual once you are found to be out of your depth it terms of intellect or insight you ignore the comment, you simply pick & choose what to respond to.

    You're a fake Jaimie, you endlessly spout drivel about SOS being xenophobic but from day one you've attempted to assassinate Benitez' persona - you've said as much yourself, you didn't want Rafa you wanted MON, but why?

    Benitez came to us on the back of superb successes with Valencia, taking them to the first La Liga Title for nearly 30 years, winning the UEFA Cup and appearing in the later ECL stages. He had the right attitude and the reputation to back him up, yet you didn't want him.

    I find myself asking why, and the only reason I can think of (given Rafa's record) is that it's because he's spanish, either that or you were so perturbed by "THEM" not choosing the manager you wanted that you've been stamping your foot and screaming "I'll show them!" ever since.

    Either way, I think we're dealing with a seriously troubled psyche!

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  175. Jaimie why have you replied to this inane comment and ignored the intelligent and reasoned arguements above it?

    As per usual once you are found to be out of your depth it terms of intellect or insight you ignore the comment, you simply pick & choose what to respond to.

    You're a fake Jaimie, you endlessly spout drivel about SOS being xenophobic but from day one you've attempted to assassinate Benitez' persona - you've said as much yourself, you didn't want Rafa you wanted MON, but why?

    Benitez came to us on the back of superb successes with Valencia, taking them to the first La Liga Title for nearly 30 years, winning the UEFA Cup and appearing in the later ECL stages. He had the right attitude and the reputation to back him up, yet you didn't want him.

    I find myself asking why, and the only reason I can think of (given Rafa's record) is that it's because he's spanish, either that or you were so perturbed by "THEM" not choosing the manager you wanted that you've been stamping your foot and screaming "I'll show them!" ever since.

    Either way, I think we're dealing with a seriously troubled psyche!

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  176. Jaimie why have you replied to this inane comment and ignored the intelligent and reasoned arguements above it?

    As per usual once you are found to be out of your depth it terms of intellect or insight you ignore the comment, you simply pick & choose what to respond to.

    You're a fake Jaimie, you endlessly spout drivel about SOS being xenophobic but from day one you've attempted to assassinate Benitez' persona - you've said as much yourself, you didn't want Rafa you wanted MON, but why?

    Benitez came to us on the back of superb successes with Valencia, taking them to the first La Liga Title for nearly 30 years, winning the UEFA Cup and appearing in the later ECL stages. He had the right attitude and the reputation to back him up, yet you didn't want him.

    I find myself asking why, and the only reason I can think of (given Rafa's record) is that it's because he's spanish, either that or you were so perturbed by "THEM" not choosing the manager you wanted that you've been stamping your foot and screaming "I'll show them!" ever since.

    Either way, I think we're dealing with a seriously troubled psyche!

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  177. Jaimie why have you replied to this inane comment and ignored the intelligent and reasoned arguements above it?

    As per usual once you are found to be out of your depth it terms of intellect or insight you ignore the comment, you simply pick & choose what to respond to.

    You're a fake Jaimie, you endlessly spout drivel about SOS being xenophobic but from day one you've attempted to assassinate Benitez' persona - you've said as much yourself, you didn't want Rafa you wanted MON, but why?

    Benitez came to us on the back of superb successes with Valencia, taking them to the first La Liga Title for nearly 30 years, winning the UEFA Cup and appearing in the later ECL stages. He had the right attitude and the reputation to back him up, yet you didn't want him.

    I find myself asking why, and the only reason I can think of (given Rafa's record) is that it's because he's spanish, either that or you were so perturbed by "THEM" not choosing the manager you wanted that you've been stamping your foot and screaming "I'll show them!" ever since.

    Either way, I think we're dealing with a seriously troubled psyche!

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  178. If you had the ability to see past the end of your own nose you would see that I have responded to the points above in different comments on the thread.  People raise the same points over and over; I'm not going to repeat myself on every comment.

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  179. I was not referring to just this season; as you've ignored, I stated 'over the next year', which includes part of next season too.

    I have no problem with Aquilani being protected in certain games to come, but Benitez will be over cautious, and the evidence for this is his past treatment of players, his general approach, and his current treatment of Aquilani.  I have no doubt he will repeatedly be benched and subbed off, even in important games, and just like now when Benitez makes illogical substitutions, some people will acknowledge it, and others will defend him to to the hilt.

    I predict that Aquilani will not start or finish more than 40% of games from this point on. 

    Scoff all you like, but I will be proved right.  And let's say in a year I'm proved to be right; is a 40% start/finish rate for such an expensive player justifiable? We shall see how Benitez's fans rationalise it.

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  180. You haven't responded to the claim that you contradict yourself. It is true, is it not, that you barracked Rafa for bringing back Alonso too early from injury? No? Now you're having a go at him for being cautious! Could you please justify?

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  181. Xabi Alonso was rushed back into the team 5 weeks after a METATARSAL INJURY.  Clearly that was too quick.

    There is balance to be struck here; Aquilani has been out for 9 months.  He has already played since his injury; he has repeatedly been on the bench; Benitez has declared he is fit.

    Alonso got injuured, and then was rushed back without any preparation/reserve games etc.

    There is a massive difference.

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  182. Here come the conspiracy theories! He's on the bench just for show. You two are being ridiculous.

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  183. Kash - the same tired views from another member of the anti rafa brigade; too defensive, too cautious, defensive wingers blah blah blah. By the way I am not part of the In rafa we trust Brigade either but i keep getting lumped in to it because i do support him most of the time.

    What team did we start with against Man City 2 weeks ago? I'm pretty sure Babel started. Is he a defensive winger? He gets injured and was replaced by Yossi. Another defensive winger? Kuyt on the right, is slightly defensive but has scored 4 goals this season and 2 assists in 14 PL games. More than Ashley Young (3 goals 1 assist in 14 PL games) who is supposedly an "attacking winger". More than Antonio Valenica (2 goals 2 assists in 13 PL games) who is a supposed "attacking winger". Funnily enough, more goals that Nicolas Anelka (3 goals 3 assists in 13 PL games) who has played as an out and out striker for most of this season.

    This whole thing about Dirk Kuyt not being affective is a fallacy created by Jaimie Kanwar which you've believed. Let me give you an example; Ashley Young went over 11 hours at the start of the season before providing an assist in the PL. After that assist he has gone another 10.5 hours without providing another assist in the PL. That's over 21 hours of football and one assist! But Ashley Young is considered a good young exciting winger. And he has less assists that "defensive" Kuyt. Just because Kuyt doesn't do step overs or fancy tricks like some wingers do it doesn't mean he is defensive. As i have proven above, he has performed statistically better than Ashley Young, Valencia and Anelka this season.

    And yes we're so negative - only 33 goals this season. That's rubbish. No hold on a second, same as Spurs who are apparently having a good season and are a good positive attacking team. No, wait, I have a better comparison, 3 more goals than Man Utd who are a positve attacking team. All of our problems this season have come from our poor defense and mistakes at the back. We've conceded 20 goals. So if you're scoring as many as the teams around you but you're conceding more which is what is leading to the lost points, what would you do? Would you perhaps become slightly more "negative" or defensive in your approach?

    We played the teams we did against Debrecen and Everton because they were the fittest teams available. Riera and Yossi not fully fit. Babel injured. We had no choice but to play Aurelio on the left.  

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  184. Opppss damn!! I have to agree with Jamie again. Dammit.

    I agreed with Jamie, on "why the hell, rafa brought aurelio, when we're 2-2 against city", and now I have to agree again with him with this article.

    Sopt on Jamie (this time only). I'm sure that we will be dissapointed on how rafa "manage" aquilani, and then aquialni dissapointed how rafa "manage" him, and then he left! look at babbel, alonso, luis garcia. From a five-star player, become a five-star subsitute (five-star leaver for alonso).

    I agree with Jamie. he should let aquilani play when we're 2-0 up against the Coffees (hahaha). Give him time to play, and get his fitness back rather that a "clownish" 30 seconds back at debrecen. We're winning already! Coffees were out of steam and strongly there's a chance for aquilani to prove with shooting power or prowess whatever (stronger shooting than our Capt.Stevie G? Doubt that) and who knows, maybe we can get 3...or 4! we need that kinda of boost. Masch, Carra, Agger was playing their heart out, and Reina that day was possessed by a "Speed Demon" (reminds me of Speedy Gonzales that rafa brought in. Speedy? Jokey is the right words), there's no way we can lose a 2-0 lead!!

    I don't know why oh why, you guys just couldn't see the picture. Rafa's eyes is blinded by his goatee...Loose the goatee and we will be BPL champ. Hahahah... If we cannot win this season ( I still hope we can), I reaaly want Chelski to win. If Manure win it, there goes our 18...and Manure will become KING OF ENGLAND...sad

    Oh yeah, some of the "WE DIE WITH RAFA" attitude will crucify me by saying "why must we bring in aquilani when we're already winning?" or "why must we take a risk of injuring aquilani, when the game already wrapped up?"....what's the difference? if he got injured, then there's nothing new is it? he's been injured for 9 months, then if he got injured again for 9 months nothing will change right? he will keep injure himself whether play 30 seconds or 30 miliseconds because he's fragile....maybe we should bring Aquilani to Madam Tussaud, make a replica of him out of wax, sit him on the bench all the time, sell the real him for maybe 5-10million and buy another midfielder. So all the "WE LOVE RAFA TILL WE GO TO HELL" attitude will be happy. we "keep" Madam Aquilani and at the same time, we can afford to buy another midfielder (another CM who's injury prone of course-Rafa's style). RESPECT

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  185. Jaimie you're a iidiot!

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  186. Jaimie--elsewhere--said MON will be the next Liverpool manager. So, when he isn't, we should all remember and remind him. ;)

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  187. Aquilani hasn't had a full reserve game. Don't you think that would be important? He was scheduled to play one against Wigan and it was cancelled. This was before you wrote this article which would have made your argument rather redundant. Instead he'll likely get some solid game time against Fiorentina and is then in a perfect position to start getting solid minutes in the league. At which point you'll be completely shown up.

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  188. Just read an article posing a simple question: why is Rafa taking this "softly" approach with Aquilani and is it a good idea? Perfect example of how these articles should be written. Instead Jamie makes up some nonsense about how "match fit" is not a real concept and how Rafa's comments don't make sense. Rather than having a sensible discussion about the simple issue of when we introduce the player we instead have to point out things that are painfully obvious just to get over Jamie's uncontrollable Benitez bashing.

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  189. So you admit, there is a difference between "fit" and "match fit". Therefore Rafa has not contradicted himself and the title of your article is totally debunked. Perhaps you could think of these things before you rattle off another rant, it would help us wade through the major portion of what you write and instead focus on having a sensible discussion.

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  190. He will be.  No question about it.

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  191. Aquilani has already played against Arsenal; He's also featured in the reserves.  He's been on the bench a number of times, which means he's fit to play some part in a game.  Alonso had none of that.  He was just rushed back with no preparation.  That is a huge difference.

    On top of that, no one recovers from a metatarsal injury after 5 weeks.  Look at the recovery times of the likes of Rooney, Gerrard et al - nowehere near 5 weeks. 

    Aquilani has been on the sidelines for NINE MONTHS!  He's had enough rest, added to which Benitez has already given him game time.

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  192. I said 'there may well be a difference' - I did not say 'there IS a difference'.

    I just do not agree that Aquilani is not fit enough to be given 10-15 minutes in each game.  He clearly IS fit enough as he played against Arsenal over a month ago.

    And Fraggs - I'm getting tired of the snide undercurrent in the majority of your posts.  You make lots of valid points, but if you don't like it here, don't visit.

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  193. Exposed for what?? Then why put him on the bench?? Does this apply to Gerrard? I know Gerrard is been out on the pitch when he was clearly not healthy, and so have a host of other players. So what gives with Aquliani? Are you implying that an injured and not fully fit Gerrard is better than a non "Match" fit Aquilani?

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  194. You are as usual spot on Jamie. I really appreciate your analysis about Rafa and his input in Liverpool. The team performance is proof that your analysis is extremely pertinent although the pro benitez will disagree. I was a pro benitez not long ago. But with time I've realised that Rafa is destroying our wonderful team by his team selections, by his stubborness to put players out of position or put player such as El Zhar to replace benayoun. What a joke this manager! Look at man u today. They had nearly no defensive centre backs available but still managed a clean sheet without holding midfielders and strolled to score 4 goals. Go learn from Ferguson Rafa!

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