Torres: It would be a mistake to axe boss
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Group A: Marseille v Liverpool
David Maddock 11/12/2007 (Daily Mirror)
Fernando Torres has pleaded with Liverpool's owners to lift the pressure on coach Rafa Benitez.
Defeat here in Marseille tonight would end their Champions League bid and push Benitez towards the exit door.
But striker Torres said: "It would be a huge mistake to think about changing the manager if we don't get the win we need.
"It's the most important match since I joined this club, and for matches like this you need your focus to be fully on it - it has to be the only thing we think of at this time, we can't be distracted by anything else."
Liverpool have three crucial games in nine days which could see European hopes dashed tomorrow, their Premier League campaign dented against Manchester United and a Carling Cup exit against Chelsea.
Lose all three and their season will be over and their manager looking for a new job.
But Torres believes putting that sort of pressure on Benitez is ridiculous.
Last night he told owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks to back his fellow Spaniard and offer assurances Benitez's job was safe, even if the result does not go Liverpool's way in France tonight. Torres is firmly in the Benitez camp, after the coach brought him to the Premier League for £21m.
The Spain striker has threatened to quit Anfield if the manager is sacked, and his views carry plenty of weight with fans.
In a clear message to US duo Gillett and Hicks, he argued the club was being fatally undermined because their was so much pressure on the manager.
He added: "Rafa Benitez has done so much for this club. The fans are right behind him, and both the staff and the players are completely behind him too.
"Right now, we all need to be united in order to get a result in France, because that is the most important thing for the club."
Benitez is aware that in a ruthless world where the bottom line is profit, an early exit from the Champions League would cost Liverpool millions and put his position in jeopardy.
Yet last night, he refused to entertain the idea of failure. "We will win," he said. "I can tell from the way my players are in training that there is a confidence we will get the result we need.
"Yes, there is a meeting with the owners, but we have this game that we must concentrate on first, then the game against Manchester United, and after that Chelsea."