It’s been quite a week for the Liverpool boss. He keeps on ranting, but no one seems to be listening anymore, writes Tom Mallows
Speaking after the 1-1 draw with Mersey rivals Everton last Sunday Rafa said:
“One team was trying to win and the other team was trying not to lose.”
Liverpool recent record? Seven draws in their last ten games. The cracks are starting to show…..
“It is hard against a team with 10 players. We know some teams will do the same thing and defend. We just have to learn to upset them and to attack.”
That’s rich coming from someone who plays not one but TWO holding midfielders in Europe and perfected the art of defending away, before nicking a goal at home, in their successful 2005 Champions league campaign (the semi-final v Chelsea anyone??).
It got worse for Rafa after the Wigan game. Only a few weeks after listing facts about Sir Alex, Benitez decides to go all cryptic on us:
“The second half was a crazy game and when it is a crazy game you cannot control things.
“The players were okay. They were working very hard in the first half but the second half changed because it was crazy.”
Rafa wouldn’t say what was so crazy about the second half.
(It may or may not have been his tactical decisions and substitution of the one player who is actually playing well for Liverpool at the moment, Steven Gerrard.)
The rant continues:
“No I am disappointed with a number of things but no, the Wigan approach I will not talk about them.
“It has happened in the last three games. They have something in common I don’t like. I know why but I cannot say anything.”
Er, ok Rafa.
In the wake of “crazy-gate” (which I am sure at least one part of the media has called it) people have been queuing up to have a pop at the Liverpool boss. Here is just a few:
“Liverpool are going backwards. The decision to take off Steven Gerrard – who was not injured – at Wigan is confusing. What message does it send out? Gerrard will win you a game standing on one leg, so I don’t understand what was behind the change.” – Jamie Redknapp
“You can’t blame the rant he had at Fergie. That’s nothing to do with it. If things don’t improve soon, then it’s really possible to see Villa breaking in and that would make it a real danger for Liverpool not to be in the top four at all.” – John Aldridge.
“Top of the league….and that’s a fact.” Man United fans singing at the Hawthorns in Wednesday.
“He’s cracking up, he’s cracking, Rafa’s cracking up.” Everton fans singing at Anfield last Sunday.
And finally my personal favourite:
“He is a big part of what’s gone wrong and the way he’s behaved recently proves it.” – Glenn Hysen
Pull no punches Glenn – this would never have happened with you in the 80’s!
Perhaps Rafa should take some comfort from the fact that he is not the only manager who appears to be going slightly crazy. A number of Premier League bosses seem to be feeling the strain judging by their comments this week:
“There are five or even six teams who could still win the title.
“Do not rule out Aston Villa and even Everton. It is much tighter than people think.” – Arsene Wenger 27 January.
Rewind a month here’s what Arsene said about the Premier League title race ahead of the Boxing Day game with Villa:
“I don’t think Villa can win the title. Mathematically, they are in there but if you ask me if they can win the title I would say no, because there are other teams who look to me better equipped”
Over at Bolton Gary Megson has message this for the fans after getting some stick at the Blackburn game.
“The reaction was astounding and I am disappointed. I’ve had to cope with it for a long time. I don’t like it, it’s pathetic”
“I wouldn’t say they are fickle because I’ve had it from day one – most managers get a honeymoon period.
“You have to wonder about the intelligence of these people – it has to be heard to be believed to be honest.”
Good work Gary, lets hope they’re not intelligent enough to read. He continues:
“As a football club and as a dressing room, we have to try to keep that negativity away from what we need to try and do.”
Good idea Gary nice and positive.
“Will I ever win them over? No, no chance.”
No we said positive!
Back to Spurs now and Harry “Dellboy” Redknapp. When not trying to buy every player under the sun \’Arry was also keen to show us his tactical prowess when dealing with Luca Modric:
October 31: “You can’t put him (Modric) in a 4-4-2 as it’s difficult for him to play as one of two central midfielders; he’s got to play further forward.”
Three months later….
“I’ve played him (Modric) in a 4-4-2 where most people said he couldn’t play in England.”
Make your mind up Harry!
I’ll finish where I started with our loveable Rafa reassuring everyone that he’s ok:
“I am okay. You cannot change, you need to understand it has to be like this for years.”
Good luck Liverpool fans.