The current spat between Benitez and the Liverpool chairman continued today after Benitez seemed to offer his services for the England job.
In a Press conference on Thursday, Rafa expressed his frustration with the present situation at Anfield and suggested that ‘maybe if his English gets better’ he would fancy the England job. He was asked later to clarify what many journalists believed to be a joke and said,
“Maybe I could be Steve McClaren’s replacement if I improve my English. I was being serious. You never know what can happen in the future”
Tom Hicks, the reds co-chairman issued a statement that same day saying that no discussions on new transfers would take place until the chairmen flew in to Liverpool in early December.
The exact source of Benitez’ frustration seems unclear. Some suggest that the desire to pin Mascherano down on a long-term deal may be the root fault, while others suggest the sale of Scott Carson and Peter Crouch weighs heavy on the managers mind – keen to bring in another big name in January.
This summer, Rafa was afforded the luxury of being told by the owners that he could go after whichever targets he wanted, and one of the targets was Liverpool’s record transfer – the £26 million Fernando Torres.
In yesterday’s interview Benitez repeated the line,
“I am focused on training and coaching my team”
a whopping 15 times – deflecting numerous questions this way.
Tom Hicks responded with:
“After the Champions League final in Athens, Rafa made certain demands of us and we responded to those demands in the summer.
“We brought in some good players and spent more money than has ever been spent before at this club. We now have some crucial games coming up in the Premier League and the Champions League and we want to see if we can win these games with the players we have.
“This was the message we gave to Rafa recently and I think during the international break he must have grown a bit frustrated about this.
“We told him to concentrate on the games coming up and nothing else and I guess he didn’t like that. But, for the time being, we just need to be focused on what happens on the pitch.
“It is really time for Rafa to quit talking about new players and to coach the players we have.”
It is not unreasonable to see both sides of the argument. What is most unusual is that Liverpool are riding relatively high in the Premiership and still have a decent chance of continuing in the Champions League.
The board quite clearly did back Benitez in the summer too.
However the situation of a Liverpool manager openly touting himself for the England job, and for a chairman to publicly rebuke the boss needs to stop.
Both individuals need to put their ego’s away and remember that Liverpool FC exists solely to win trophies. Three points tomorrow against Newcastle is the only thing we’re interested in hearing about this weekend.
Who’s in the wrong? Benitez or Hicks?