23 Oct 2012

"I still love LFC!" - Benitez flop hints at Anfield return. Take him back...?

After an underwhelming stint at Hoffenheim, Liverpool flop Ryan Babel is back at Ajax this season, and although he's enjoying his football again, he still has a soft spot for the Reds, and an Anfield return seems to be very much on his mind.

In an interview over the weekend, Babel conceded that he'd 'made mistakes' during his career, and admitted that he still has great affection for the Reds. He enthused:

"I love Liverpool, I still have a house there. I love the fans and I have great memories of my time at the club. It was a very good learning process for me. Now, I am mentally stronger, and the people at Ajax see that".

Babel had a torrid time at Hoffenheim, managing only 5 goals and 1 assist in 37 games, but he's still believes he can fulfil his potential and 'live up to what people thought I would become'.

When asked about a possible return to Liverpool, Babel praised the Premier League as the 'best league in the world', adding:

"You never know what your route is going to be. I am happy at Ajax, but if you have some fantasy and imagination you like to dream of things and Liverpool still has a special place in my heart."

Babel also blamed Rafa Benitez for stunting his development at Liverpool, an accusation that has some merit. It's not the first time the Dutchman has criticised LFC's former manager - last year, Babel provided detailed examples of how Benitez allegedly stunted his development at Liverpool:

"I wasn't allowed to train extra under our former manager, even when I wasn't involved. I begged lots of times but it was simply not allowed and during the season you don't train very hard because you have lots games, so most sessions we had were without sweating.

"But if I wanted to do some extra, which I asked for every single day, I didn't have permission. It was confusing of course because of course you want to get better. I even tried to train extra by doing it secretly, but the assistant manager came to tell me to stop".

As I wrote at the time, Babel - like many other players during the Benitez era - fell foul of the 'Benitez Effect*', which arguably curtailed his development at Anfield, but his failed time at Hoffenheim shows that it wasn't just Benitez's fault; Babel clearly isn't a top class player, and doesn't have the mentality to succeed at the highest level. Despite his good start at Ajax (3 goals in 6 starts), I doubt there's any way back for him at Anfield.

* Benitez Effect (noun) – Negligent misuse of - and/or - alienation of Liverpool FC football players, to the detriment of the team, resulting in demotivation, recrimination and, ultimately, a desire to (prematurely) leave the club.

Characteristics of the 'Benitez Effect': Can include some or all of the following:

- Inexplicably (and regularly) being dumped on the bench.
- Inexplicably (and regularly) being substituted for no good reason.
- Inexplicably (and regularly) being dropped after scoring/creating goals.
- Regularly being sidelined despite having a consistent positive impact.
- Regularly being played out of position.
- Never being given a fair run in the team.
- Not being allowed to build an effective understanding with team-mates.
- Being treated shabbily at the end of an LFC career (i.e. Riise/Hyypia)
- Occasionally being subject to unfair public criticism.

- Being ignoring in favour of on-field yes-men - i.e. 'athletes' who run 50 miles a game; do what they're told to the letter but contribute next no nothing for large stretches of the season.

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. The Benitez Effect - turning good players into world players IF they have the desire to succeed.

    Babel may have had all the skill in the world but he didn't have the mentality.

    If you were good enough AND you had the right attitude and desire to improve as a player, then Rafa had all the time for you.

    I don't see players like Reina, Agger, Srktel, Aurelio, Arbeloa, Mascherano, Torres, Kuyt, Maxi say a bad word about him - these are players of real class.

  2. I'm a little confused Jaimie.

    On one hand you say Babel is just not a top class player, ont he other, you say its Rafa's fault. I have never attended a training sesison at Melwood but I know for certain that a lot goes on behind closed doors. the entire ' Benitez effect' you have come up with is based solely on the testimonial of disgruntled players, what do you expect?

    I think you should give examples to qualify each characteristic of this 'effect'

    Also to suggest that Benitez did anything 'for no good reason' is a stretch. You may not agree with the reason but there were no random actions.

  3. Yes, Benitez had a positive impact on quite a few players too.

  4. Wasting more time on a nothing player. Next please .....

  5. No, if you read the article again you'll see that I said it wasn't *all* Benitez's fault.

    Babel had the potential to be a top class player when he came to LFC, but Benitez grossly mishandled him, and the disillusionment this created led to his downward spiral (IMO).

    I've explained why I feel this way at length - with detailed examples - here:


    The 'Benitez Effect' is not based on what ex-players say; it's based mainly on Benitez's actions/words during his reign.

  6. What a bell end Jamie K is.

  7. Jaimie, did your parents threaten you with Rafa Benitez when you where a child? I did the same with my kids but my monster was Alex Ferguson, they have grown out of it.

    Have you considered therapy, lol?

  8. While I don't think Rafa used him very well, e.g. dropping him after he's played considerably well, Babel didn't set the world on fire while at Hoffenheim either. When I read what he has to say I simply get the impression that he actually thinks that he is better than he is. He thinks that he is a centre forward/striker, but when playing in that position he doesn't score near enough to merit being picked there again. He may be talented, but he has to offer more, for example determination and grit, to fulfil it. Would be surprised if he did that in the Prem. I'd rather have Carroll back than Babel.

  9. I had therapy, but it failed. I'm scheduled for some electro-shock therapy soon though; we'll see how that works out.

  10. Ask Youse Benayoun and he will have the same to tell about Rafa. Benayoun was watching from the bench in the following game after scoring a hatrick of goals in one game. Rafa even admonished the player for attacking too much and did not praise him at all for scoring three. Worst of all, Benayoun was not even told why he was being dropped in the next game. Why are people still clamoring for Rafa to return?

  11. I shouldn't answer these questions... too sentimental! We had some good times with Babel. He should have played more and in a more natural position.

    Other players Benitez F'd up: Crouch (Torres Crouch was supposed to be the perfect partnership!), Danni Murphy (this boy was classic, one of my fave LFC players ever), Michael Owen :( (He was at the height of his career, prob sold to finance other great buys, yes, but still!), Jermaine Pennant (was good and didn't get enough game time - yes alcoholic and stuff but had talent!), Robbie Keane (I Think Beni's attitude toward him killed him... pretty much ended the mans career!).

    I'm appreciative for what Benitez did for Liverpool, but seeming as though I liked Babel and Benitez was a nutcase in some instances I'm Just jumping on the Babel band wagon...

    Wouldn't want anyone else at the helm other than BR right now... I think BR could inspire Babel to great things but maybe at a Swanse or something. We need one or two top class! Huntelaar, Falcao, Ba -players like that.

    Happy with the youth so keep developing that i think...

  12. Sterling is miles better than Babel!

  13. jamie...you are mentally challenged. You harp on about Benitez like most people discuss the Battle of Hastings. You now fancy yourself as a lexicographer...FAIL!!!! Benitez found us brilliant young players who are now coming through and who will become his legacy. You are actually a closet Man U supporter and continually denigrate everything LFC. Why don't you apply for fergie's job...you seem to think you have all the answers when it comes to management. I'd love to see how you handle that job, because you stink as a sports journalist.

  14. First of all, I am not a Rafa apologist and, to say the least, not one of his biggest fans. Having said that, some of the names you mention he's supposed to have mishandled, IMO shouldn't be on your list.

    Michael Owen? Come on. He refused to sign a contract extension and it was right to sell him instead of losing him for nothing a year later.

    Jermaine Pennant? Talented, yes, but this guy has severe attitude problems and comes across a bit thick. He didn't even tie his shoes in training (according to his team mates). Forgot to take his car with him when leaving Spain. How intelligent is that.

    Danny Murphy. Well, a very likeable chap, for sure. Scored the winner more than once against ManU. A willing worker and not a bad player, but I'd like to think that the guys Rafa brought in to replace him where head and shoulders above Danny (Xabi Alonso, Mascherano).

    Keane wasn't given a fair crack of the whip, but whenever I watched him play for us, I was left bemused by his constant arm-waving. Hasn't been too productive in his outings for us, either.

  15. hahaha... funny! "Battle of Hastings"

  16. I read the article.

    Besides Alonso, who Benitez arguably discovered. Every player you listed was either at the end of their careers or did not excel when they left the club. Owen ( a recently self-admitted cheat) being the prime example

    I think you are being unintentionally hypocritical. You agree that Babel was never good enough, yet wanted him to be given more opportunities . I could argue that Rafa just knew all along, why waste time with something you know will never work?

    I still contest Effect 2, saying Rafa did anything for no good reason is bordering disrespectful. Not everything works out every time.

  17. Fair share mate... But, the word from Stevie G our noble captain is that Rafa sold Michaels @$$ cold and calculated...
    I agree about Masch and Xabi - class acts, maybe just sentimental about Danny.

    Keane was bought by Rafa and if the player wasn't good enough then that was his own failing, but still managed the player badly.

    Another I left out was Djibril Cisse... A French nutter with an identity crisis... Stevie G again saying something along the lines of: strange but talented player, all he needed was an arm around the shoulder, a pat of encouragement. Rafa was never good at these things. His man management perhaps his biggest weakness. You have to know when to level with players and give a hint of encouragement.

    He was great at inspiring his first teamers and favorites, but horrid with the very talented fringe players we had. Even Yossi who got a fair amount of game time complained about Rafa.

    Anyway he's long gone... I'M just lending full support to BR!

  18. I voted Yes, on the basis that we could swap him for Downing. He may have only got 5 goals and 1 assit, but thats better than Downing.

    I always thought Babel never looked in control, he always looked like he was about to fall over lol.

  19. Out of the the 70 odd players Rafa signed, you would be pushing it to say 15 (that's including Suso and Sterling) were a success. That means (if my math is correct) roughly around 80% of his signings were failures. How can the pro Rafa brigade justify that?

  20. Nothing hypocritical at all. You are making assumptions about what I wrote that just don't exist. I didn't say 'Babel has *never* been a top class player; I said he *isn't* a top class player, i.e. present tense.

    As I said in the above comment, he could've been a top class player if not mishandled and demotivated by Benitez.

  21. What about Kenny... look it's pointless. Rafa Had some GREAT qualities and GREAT triumphs... But he was but a man and was highly flawed. What He did do though is help LFC create the platform it is currently benefiting from.

    All these Pro and Anti Rafa Brigades are quite pointless IMO

  22. Agreed, but that's pure speculation. The same could be said of Carroll

  23. Where is the proof of this mishandling and demotivation of Babel? Is this because Rafa wanted to play him in a position that would have suited the team better and Babel pretty much refused and made public that he wanted to play up front instead of on the wing? I believe that is what alienated him from Rafa, football is a team sport, Babel played on the wide left for Ajax, we bought him for that purpose, and he comes out and publicly states that he doesn't want to play in that position. That is poor form and shows that he isn't class. He may have talent, but he doesn't have class. This is more likely the reason why Rafa didn't play him as much, because Rafa doesn't/didn't suffer fools lightly.

  24. Yeah, so he moved to Chelsea to get playing time and what happened? Oh yeah, was watching from the bench. And how do you know if Benayoun was or wasn't told why he was being dropped?

  25. The proof is here:


    Add onto that Babel's own comments, the views of former Holland coach Marco Van basten, who criticised Benitez for keeping Babel on the bench, and all the other players who've echoed Babel's comments, and there is a lot of persuasive evidence.

  26. How many players that Wenger or Ferguson signed were a success? Around the same percentage.

  27. Hha!! 5 goals and 1 assist in 37 wish Downing had that return, if his was a torrid time what is downing having?

  28. A hard realization of the truth...

  29. I'm with you regarding being behind BR and concerning Rafa's lack of warmth. But then, those players are well paid professionals. Each and every one of us has a profession, too, we don't get paid anywhere near that amount of payment, but yet we can't demand more warmth from our bosses. Do that and you're gone in most cases, eh. I find it a bit immature of fully grown adults to demand an arm around their shoulders from the manager. Praise for good performances surely works wonders in all walks of life, but where I live there's a saying along the lines of 'the biggest praise is not being criticised'.

    To be fair towards Rafa it has to be said that neither Keane, Cisse, Babel or Pennant has made it at a top club. They are all talented players in their own right, but none of the big names would go anywhere near them. At the same time none of the big clubs go anywhere near Rafa, either.

  30. Why do you care about Arsenal or ManU? We have to succeed within our means. There is no point pointing your finger in the direction of other managers at opposing clubs. I really don't like Ferguson, but as long as he won the league and other competitions, money was earned in heaps, no-one probably cared too much whether he has spent money on a few flops, too. Same goes for Wenger. While Arsenal obviously didn't win (as) much, they still manage to qualify for the CL (a.k.a. the money printing machine) each and every year while, at least at times, playing attractive football and filling their ground.

  31. Babel believed his own hype when it comes to other people discussing his career at Liverpool, mainly MVBasten - poor old Ryan believed he was world class, when in fact - he was not.

    If he had the talent, regardless of the 'Benitez Effect', he would have made it - other players with lesser talent made it (Fabio) under Rafa just fine.

    Ryan was just a decent player, not exceptional, and playing at Liverpool shown this, he was not adaptable at all. Striker or Wing, do a job if you have the skill - if you dont, you dont suit the Liverpool team at all. One for all, and all for one. Not ME ME ME.

    I told Ryan as much on Twitter when he was here, and he got irate, slagged me off, and blocked me.

    I mean, truth hurts - he didn't like it, so tucked himself away and only listens to people who praise him! Wrongly!

  32. The Best bosses inspire their workers to do better... be whatever their methods. Rafa's cold perfectionist approach worked with the first teamers, but not with the fringe players.

    Don't we all wish our bosses could give praise where it is due? Would you not work harder for the pat on the back and the small uplifting comment when down? Professional - yes, machine - no.

    Regards to Pennant, Keane, Cisse - all were in their prime of their careers when at LFC. It will be hard for us to deduce the true reasons to their failures, but I prefer to point at the manager.

    With Regards to Babel, he is nearing the prime of his career. Maybe a return to the Fabled Anfield would not be so bad for him. All I know is if he did come back, he'd have to work extra hard as I am aggressively against bringing in players to replace the likes of Suso and Sterling. As replacement for Downing though - would be great...

    We all love a second chance!

  33. I think this is false... you are a product of your environment. I live in Africa: Poor people end up staying poor as their environment doesn't inspire better. May be a bit strange a comparison, but I believe the same analysis can be drawn for Babel in Rafa's LFC.

    Look at yourself, if you are unhappy at work, not getting opportunities, feel you are wasting your talents... will you succeed or falter? Your environment determines a lot in your life, your mentality, confidence and your inspiration.

    We've all seen what Torres can do (At Liverpool)... will he ever be as good at Chelsea? Probably not, because the environment determines a lot in ones' life...

    Even if Torres comes good, it's taken him time to show the same quality. You can argue he didn't get the same service, but even now he looks a bit out of sorts with a super class midfield behind him...

    Fernando T0$$3R

  34. Rafa committed the Cardinal sin. He sold Xabi Alonso.

  35. Professional - yes, machine - no. Where do I sign? We could get political now, couldn't we, because: Profit first - yes, employees well-being - no, hire and fire - yes, giving a $hit about employees easily to be replaced as there are millions out of job who'd sell their mother to get a job - yes. I could go on. That's how reality is for most of us, at least to some extend. Yet those overpaid, adored by the masses professional footballers cry foul for a pat on the back not given. IMHO they live completely out of touch with reality.

    Hope we'll find some other alternatives than Babel replacing Downing.

  36. Lol fully. injustices of the world... lets hope it develops into a better place.

    But I'm just sentimental. I was having a discussion with friends the other day. We as Liverpool fans love our players if they do a job for us. For me Babel had some really great moments... I'm just sentimental

  37. Babel was much more interested in his "rapping" than in his football.

  38. Are you mental? Did you not READ my post? The same, weaker players under Rafa, excelled. This negates your post instantly.

  39. Nando was a first teamer at Liverpool, a central point. Rafa made him... he's also spanish and a true world class player. I'm comparing the environment to chelsea.

    Babel was a fringe player at Pool... did not get the same treatment as first teamers. He is now better at Ajax, perhaps maybe influenced games more than the stats allowed for Hoffenheim.

    My point was the environment your superiors make for you can affect your performance is all. Nothing mental, but if you're going to go ballistic and personal like that on me, then might be best you check yourself mate...

  40. sterling suarez

    with their speed and rotation, they would drive defenders insane...

  41. Babel showed us that he had great potential whenever he played, however, he was also largely inconsistent. I never had the time to observe Babel all-day throughout his LFC career, therefore pin-pointing the possibilities of what went wrong is a difficult task.

    You have Ryan blaming Rafa, and Rafa blaming him. Who shall I believe? I'll pass judgement.

    All I can say is that Babel had and still has the raw physical ingredients, but maybe he is lacking the psychological ingredients.

    I remember Rafa observing that Babel's mentality was dependent a lot on how he was perceived. For example whenever he played away and was booed (as you would expect), Rafa noticed that Babel had a tendency to drop his shoulders and retreat into himself rather than lash out and do the damage footballing-wise. Correct me if I am wrong, but Babel also acknowledged this fact some time during his stay at Liverpool. Whenever Babel played with confidence (eg. vs. Besiktas or Olympique Lyon), he was a very dangerous player, but these flashes of brilliance, or rather flashes of confidence, were rather rare.

  42. Rafa did not make him. He was a world class player at Atl. Madrid, he just got better here.

    Babel was a fringe player for what reason? He was crap. Simple. Nothing to do with environment, as you are saying. Otherwise, why did other 'fringe' players excel when given their chances?


    You are waffling for the sake of what?

  43. To be fair on Keane, he managed to get 9 goals/assists in 16 starts and 3 sub apps in PL for us. Managed to get 3 goals/assists in 4 starts and 1 sub apps in CL. Not bad for a unwanted player.

  44. I am a big fan of the work Rafa did, yet I do think that Babel`s performances after he left us, do relate to his time at Liverpool. For a young player the years he was with us were vital to how/who he would become as a player latter on. It can be seen from many other top young talents who have gone to the likes of Chelsea etc. If there not dealt with right, and that means the perfect amount of game time at the right time for them, amongst other things, it is possible to stunt them.

    The player he is now, doesn`t mean he is that cause hes just not good enough, it could be the case of he was good enough but was stunted.

    This can be seen with other players like SWP etc.

    Would I have him back? Nope.

  45. NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!

    A thousand times no! Just like the thousand times Ryan Babel gave up the ball. We had to give up the Babel drinking game (where you take a shot of Vodka every time he gives up the ball on a bad pass) because we'd be drunk fifteen minutes into the game. He didn't score, he didn't keep possession, he didn't play defense. Rafa was right to sit him. I'd rather have an older Harry Kewel back (one of my favorite lesser LFC players) than Ryan Babel.

  46. Fair enough then. Didn't have that in mind to be honest. He simply didn't convince me back then.

  47. World class player in Madrid. Not so sure about that. He was considered as a talented players, but back then, when we've signed him, there were reports aplenty that other top clubs had their reservations about him. His scoring record wasn't that good and we took a risk which worked out fine. He wasn't a world class player when we signed him. The Chelseas and Barcelonas of this world weren't after him, but they usually are after every world class player.

  48. he couldnt hit a cows arse with a banjo,

  49. Benitez also had negative effects on players such as Babel, Benayoun, Keane and inevitably Alonso which forced him to leave. He had success but was not a great man manager as many of the players under him have reported.

  50. All I can remember about Babel was that he wasted a lot of opportunity to pass as he was greedy and love to do the long drive wonder goals. I guess maybe Rafa was fed up and we can see Spanish teams don't do the 1% chance type of goal. I think the problem Rafa had was dealing with the owners and the old staffs and culture in the academy and the club. He changes the style of play more European I guess which the fans hates call it boring and yet his team score more goals than Kenny's 60 million 442 style. He was running a club that was not stable and I remember that getting rid of Heighway caused a lot of issues for him. Yet after he install the likes of Rodolfo and co it proves to be a wise idea. Even buying the best kids at a very young age mostly 16 unlike Arsenal buys young establish players which are more expensive seems to be doing well now. Overall I feel we needed Rafa to stir and make changes in Liverpool in order to be competitive in the long run.

  51. On the contrary I think Rafa's a genius for getting the best of Babel. Read Rafa's book and you'll understand why. Babel's best football was played under Rafa and the proof is he hasn't done anything of note since he stopped playing Under Rafa. Why didn't hodgson and Kenny give him chance if he was really that good?! The fact is Rafa got the best out of him. Even Riera and Benayoun haven't been the same players since Rafa stopped coaching them so the Benitez effect you keep on mentioning must've been positive.

    I like to think of the Benitez effect as almost three Champions league finals in four years if it wasn't for Riise's own goal! I can only dream of those days:(

  52. "For the first game of the new season I wasn't in the team again. The manager ignored me when I wanted to know why."

    You need to get your facts right mate. Yossi knew he wouldn't play every game at Chelsea, but Benitez made it impossible for him to stay, unfortunately for us.

  53. hahahahahahaa... nice one ;) bilious

  54. The Jamie Kanwar Effect: 1st. posting articles on liverpool-kop website based on his own views only, no matter what the readers and liverpool fans thinks he tries to make his own point right! 2nd. criticizing Rafa Benitez as if he was failure as a liverpool manager, and ignoring the fact that he took liverpool to another level specially in European competition, 2 CL finals in 3 years and another semi-final next year. 3rd. depicts Rafa signing like they were all flops, and like he didn't improve alot of players during his tenure, while the truth is exactly the opposite ;)

  55. Babel is not good enough. I wouldnt want him back even on a free.

  56. joseph st hiliare9:05 am, October 24, 2012

    You sure about benayoun he didn't get more games 4 Chelsea or arsenal. Alonso was great in his last season the 2 b4 not so good. every manager has got players sitting on the bench that think they should be starting. Check super sub dzecko over at city.if only crouch could of been as content as him or if we could afford to have a back up striker we would of won league in 2009

  57. Dude you are getting emotional in your hate for babel. Rafa had a bad environment for fringe players, and he picked $#yte ones for the team sheet time after time. Nothing irked me more than that year we should have won the league. He should have just paired Torres and Crouch instead of of sticking to his age old 4-5-1 with no real wingers etc.

    Babel cannot be a crap player - Dutch internationals can not be crap! Stop hating on the guy... He played for us, have some respect! Go look at Babel highlights at Liverpool and tell me he was crap. And stop being a d*#$...

    I tire of your pointless argument.

  58. For some reason, I wasn't able to reply to your reply Jaimie, but that is not proof at all, this is Ryan Babel upset because he wasn't played in a position he wanted to play in and was being unprofessional about it by complaining about it in public. There is nothing showing Rafa's comments and why? Because Rafa showed respect in keeping it behind closed doors. I'm a huge fan of Rafa, but I'm not a blind fan in that I concede he made his fair share of mistakes, but again, what manager doesn't, Ferguson and Wenger certainly have. The fact that Babel voiced his concerns publicly shows the lack of class he has and rather than knuckle down and help the team out, much like Kuyt did, he chose to sulk, and frankly do not want a player like that at our great club.

  59. I remember Yossi coming out and stating that he wanted a move to get more time on the field, it was a running joke when he moved to Chelsea, because that was exactly what he wouldn't be getting. And again, this source is one-sided and as a history student, it's hard to look at information like that without both sides of the story. We don't get all the facts, maybe Yossi didn't feel he had to train well because he had a good match and took things for granted, it's all speculation.

  60. Why do I care? Because not only am I a Liverpool fan, I am a football fan. And when people constantly criticise the transfer policy of Rafa, it's good to look at in perspective of some of the other successful managers during this time and whether you like it or not, two of the most successful were/are Ferguson and Wenger. Arsenal also went through a period of time when they were rebuilding their stadium and because of this, had a limited transfer kitty, which is much like the situation we find ourselves in now. One of the major reasons why Arsenal have the funds they do now is because they upgraded their stadium, we are going to be doing the same thing, which will bring in revenue to add to the squad.

  61. Can't keep a player that doesn't want to be there. Would you have said the same thing when Rafa tried to sell him the previous season after a couple of mediocre seasons, or is it just because he had such a great season that next season.

  62. joseph st hiliare6:06 pm, October 24, 2012

    So using your method of thinking we should not be blaming downing Adam Carroll for not hitting any good form

  63. joseph st hiliare6:09 pm, October 24, 2012

    This has got to be sarcastic

  64. joseph st hiliare6:35 pm, October 24, 2012

    A few of us have noticed the same thing

  65. Alonso was and still is a Liverpool fan. He was forced out after falling out with Rafa.
    Rafa cashed in on him and bought crap players.

  66. That's hardly the same case as Ryan Bable who performed well for LFC in the grander scheme of things AND under a different manager with different styles.

    Carroll took very long to get going, but when he did, he started scoring and looking dangerous. I think Kenny man managed well with Carroll, however he is injury prone, and when BR came in, he was always going to be out the door it seemed. Carroll was slightly out of his depth, I personally think he could have made more of an impact, but he's gone and I trust BR. He makes good subs and good team selections and has a great way with the players.

    Downing... I don't get this guy - all of the skills but he never seems to come out with the goods. He's out of his depth, not good enough. Imagine if Ryan Babel got the same chances Downing did.

    Adam - ut of his depth... look how he plays at stoke. He's like Hodgeson - excell at a lower club, but at a top team... no ways.

    Kenny made bad signings there lets face it, and no amount of man management or inspiration was going to make these players good enough to play for LFC!

    Don't see how your comment about my "method of thinking" makes much of a relevance to the discussion, because we were talking about Rafa, not Kenny but I'll try to conclude anyway. Man management plays a big role in how a player performs. As anteater71 said, alot of these players live out of touch with reality. As a manager, one has to manage that. In the case of Ryan Babel, he showed time and time again he had the talent to succeed, but as for many players under Benitez, he was left out in the cold and only used as a substitute (often with devastating effect for the opposition). Kenny was the other way around: not the best tactician, but a great man manager and inspiration to the players. Last season was a strange one for us... we hit the pole a record amount of times and it just shows the fine line between success and failure. luckily we won a cup!

    I like BR... somewhere between, Man manager and a tactician. He's got the balance... he's like a Zen master, Bill Shankley reincarnated perhaps?

  67. You can only put 11 players on the pitch someone's got to get left out.when players talk about rafa's man management they were asked by the media first

  68. Benitez parting gift Suso and Sterling. Should we say more?