Published: 04 Jan 2008
THE Rafa Benitez fan club, an increasingly diminishing band of brothers, maintain the Liverpool boss requires more time and money.
Well, he has had quite enough of both. On the financial side, Benitez has now overtaken the £125million spent by Gerard Houllier.
The result? Liverpool are six points worse off than they were at the same stage the season before last.
As for time, he has now been in the job for three and a half seasons.
In that same spell, Arsene Wenger has built a new side that leads Liverpool by 12 points in the Premier League.
And he’s done it for peanuts. The Arsenal team that started the 2-0 win over West Ham on Tuesday cost around the £21.5m that Benitez forked out for striker Fernando Torres.
In the same spell, Alex Ferguson has created another championship-winning team for no more than Benitez has squandered. And yet the Liverpool boss says he needs even more dosh.
During his famous fall-out with American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, Benitez claimed they didn’t understand the transfer market. You now have to ask whether the Spaniard does.
Apart from Torres, his attempts at finding goalscorers have been, if anything, comical.
It all started with the calamitous buy of Fernando Morientes, a player who never settled before returning to Spain for £3.3m less than he cost.
Craig Bellamy came and went, while £9m Dirk Kuyt has managed 11 goals in his last 40 games — and Andrei Voronin one in 16.
When Peter Crouch proved he COULD score, Benitez decided he wasn’t good enough. And what of the other signings?
What ever happened to Luis Garcia, Mark Gonzalez, Bolo Zenden, Gabriel Paletta, Jan Kromkamp, Josemi, Antonio Nunez, Mauricio Pellegrino etc, etc? Yes, there have been successes like Jose Reina, Danny Agger and Xabi Alonso, while Jermaine Pennant and Mo Sissoko have had their moments.
But too many have been purchased on what appears to be little more than the hope they will fit in somewhere.
Then, of course, there is the famous rotation policy which does nothing for player confidence. Now it’s happening with Ryan Babel and Yossi Benayoun. And Harry Kewell still gets in the team!
Meanwhile, Liverpool lag further behind Arsenal, Man Utd and Chelsea.
The difference is these clubs still win when they are playing badly — Liverpool can’t even do that when they play well.
Twelve points adrift and Benitez maintains they are in the title race. Same old words, same old tactics, same old results.
And yet the fan club still say: “Give him a chance, he inherited rubbish, Chelsea and United spend more, it’s a long building process, he’s won the big cups...” The record is wearing a little thin.
utusanLFC : I deliberately included Howard's photo so you know who is the writer of this rubbish article who knows more than only to condemn us. Evidently, those venom was intended only to LFC and Howard never ever wrote such theme towards any of the London's club nor Man.U - the most favourite club in the world. What to do? We're in LFC will just have to let the players speak themselves on the pitch.... (if I put it right...)
As for now.... so be it.