The Fans View

Rafa’s ridiculed reign at the reds

Last time it was about transfers, this time it’s about what he’s done with these transfers.

Common thought amongst Liverpool fans is that Benitez has trouble developing players’ talents due to his apparent ‘stand back-ish’ approach to interaction. Where this has come from? I have no idea. It may be due to the limited amount of youth coming through the side, who knows? However, i point those who feel this way in the direction of six players; Alvaro Arbeloa, Pepe Reina, Yossi Benayoun, Javier Mascherano, Fernando Torres and Emiliano Insua.

Arbeloa, one of Benitez’ best signings in his Liverpool career in my opinion. Why? The sheer shrewdness of it! Arbeloa, signed by Deportivo from the Real Madrid ‘B’ side was played in the heart of defence in his native Spain. Upon signing for Liverpool for a measly £2.5m, he was shifted to the right side of defence (after making his debut at left back to contain Lionel Messi) and developed his game.

Here, he continued to improve and established himself as one of the most consistent right backs in the country. Not only this, he managed to develop an attacking game and an excellent vertical jump which really came in handy during most goal celebrations. It was not long that the Spanish national team were looking at him and became the number two right back, after the irreplaceable (for some reason) Sergio Ramos.

From lower league centre back, to international right back for the European champions. Quite a rise, under the tutelage of Benitez.

Dumped by Barcelona and loaned out to Villareal, (where he would soon join permanently) Pepe Reina was a promising goalkeeper in the Spanish ranks. Coming through the Barcelona system, Reina made over 30 league starts for the club before they chose to cement Victor Valdes between the posts and let Reina go.

After 3 seasons playing constantly for El Submarino, Reina was picked by Benitez to be the last line of defence. Largely unknown by those on Merseyside, he quickly became a hero in the FA Cup Final penalty shoot out against West Ham.

Since then, he’s been a major part of the side and broken several long-standing records of those greats before him, including Ray Clemence and Bruce Grobbelaar. During this time, he has risen to be one of the finest keepers on the land and emerging as Iker Casillas’ understudy for the Spanish national team – lets face it, no one is knocking out the part time captain of Spain – while leaving former team-mate Victor Valdes in his dust.

All this for £6.5m? Bargain, considering he cost less than Craig Gordon and Petr Cech individually. Equal best signing along with Arbeloa, since Rafa made the move to the Mersey.

Benayoun, the Israeli superstar. Plucked from West Ham for £5m, he has gone on to be a firm favourite of the Kopites and one of the most dazzling players in Europe. Playing a key role in Liverpool’s run in to a second place finish in the Premier League last season, Benayoun has not looked back and cemented a starting spot in Benitez’ first XI.

He represents what Rafa yearns for in his players. A player ready to fight and battle his way into the side. This instilled ideology has led Benayoun to scoring winners against Fulham and Real Madrid, and a late equaliser (his second for the game) in the 4-4 heart-stopper against Arsenal at Anfield.

The timing of these goals show his never-say-die attitude and his growing reputation as a player, being able to produce in the biggest of games.

This coming from a man who was playing decent football in a Hammers outfit looking to finish around the mid-table, to a player for the big occasions and a massive part of Benitez’ plans.

His arrival to the Premier League was well-documented along with his friend and fellow Argentine, Carlos Tevez, but Javier Mascherano had a very difficult start to life in England. Making a handful of appearances for the first team, and being dropped to the reserve side for West Ham, Mascherano was tipped to go back to his native country and re-establish himself. Benitez had other plans, taking the Argentine international to the Liverpool on loan.

In his time at Liverpool, Mascherano has developed his game to be compared to the great Claude Makelele and even surpass his reputation as the best defensive midfielder on the planet. What he lacks for in attack, he makes up in his immense work rate, superb anticipation and terrific tackling ability.

When Diego Maradona was appointed head coach of the Argentina national side, he quickly pointed to Mascherano as his captain-to-be, praising his heart, passion and soul for the game and Argentina.

Signed for a touch over £17m, ‘Monster Masch’ has become an unsellable entity for Benitez’ plans for the future of the club, showing divine passion for the club for most of his time.

Another Argentine in the first team who has upped his level since arriving to the club is Emiliano Insua. Signed for £1.3m from Boca Juniors in Argentina, Insua has made the left back spot his own for the Reds after an impressive debut season in the 2008/09 campaign, keeping Italy international Andrea Dossena and the ever reliable Fabio Aurelio out to get their game time on the wing.

Dubbed as one of the best young fullbacks in world football, Insua has made his first appearance for the senior Argentina national side as part of their successful World Cup qualifying campaign.

With the intrinsic ability to bomb forward and support in attack, as well as being very capable in defence, the twenty year old has sharpened his game under Benitez and has many years ahead of  him to become a memorable Liverpool and Argentinian player.

Finally to the new Kop hero, Fernando Torres – El Niño, Liverpool’s number nine, the heir to the throne, the list goes on as long as the superlatives to describe him.

It only takes Torres no time at all to describe the impact Benitez has had on his game since arriving from Atletico Madrid for £20.2m in the 2007/08 season.

After rejecting many offers from massive clubs around Europe, Torres signed for Liverpool and showed a sign of things to come in his first home league game against Chelsea, by skinning Tal Ben-Haim and slotting past Petr Cech.

Since then, he has become arguably the finest striker in the world amassing 50 goals in 72 league starts – a Liverpool record, and fourth best all time in the Premier League. Not bad for someone who has battled several injuries since he joined for the club.

His international career, just as sparkling. From being highest goal-scorer in World Cup qualification for Spain, to a memorable Euro 2008 in which he scored the winner in the final against Germany (1-0) and was named man of the match, to an outstanding Confederations Cup where he recorded the fastest ever hat-trick for a Spaniard in the national side (after 17 minutes) in which they finished third.

In interview after interview, to his new autobiography ‘El Nino – My Story’, Torres is full of praise for his gaffer for transforming him into one of the deadliest strikers in football.

During a time where loyalty in football is rare, and where world-class strikers are fetching obscene amounts of money, for £20.2m Fernando Torres has been worth that and hundreds of times more both on and off the pitch.

Benitez has also turned many others into quality players, including; Dirk Kuyt (15 goals and 9 assist last season, as well as 7 goals this season), Peter Crouch (from Championship striker to England international), David Ngog (for £1.5m, turned into a really promising youngster and scored 6 goals this term), Momo Sissoko (who played as a striker for Auxerre before signing for Valencia with then boss Benitez, to turn into a fine defensive midfielder), and Daniel Agger (plucked from Danish league side Bromby and become one of the best ball playing centre-backs in the world).

Player development is part and parcel of any managerial career, and Benitez is one of the best at doing so. Each manager has black marks on his record, but overall Benitez has been excellent in spotting talent and turning promise into quality.

52 comments on
Rafa’s ridiculed reign at the reds

  1. Kopites 25m pounds 4 Marouane Chamakh is he worth it? Is it the best move during this crisis period in LFC? “With Liverpool’s season apparently lurching from one crisis to another, the club’s hierarchy have decided not to enter the transfer market this month, opting instead to save the money they have already received from the sale of Dossena and Voronin – and the impending sale of two other star names – in order to finance the Chamakh deal”

    The approach reflects Benitez’s new desire to purchase good young players instead of fringe squad players, a tactic that has, for the most part, been a distinct flop” – ESPN SOCCERNET

  2. Olivetti,

    In response to your message I don’t believe Benitez has been crying about not having any money, if so I would ever so like you to quote where you think Rafa has been crying about it! The real issue here is fans like yourself are ‘crying’ about Rafa and he’s inability to work wonders in the transfer market. As highlighted in the article he has made some fantastic signings albeit he has also made some questionable signings. However, what you cannot dispute is that ALL managers make signings that haven’t worked out. If every signing he made turned out to be a success story like Torres, Reina, Arbeloa etc then he wouldn’t be at Liverpool FC but would surely be managing a club with a bottomless pit of money such as Manchester City or Chelsea! I suggest you stop ‘crying’ about it and be a little less hypocritical!

    Some of your quotes regarding current players such as Lucas, Pacheo & Nemeth are just pure observations with little thought behind them. The three of them all arrived at the club with great potential and in the latter two are still very young. I believe Nemeth is plying his trade on loan and Pacheo has recently figured in the LFC first team with rave reviews from the Reserve set up. Lucas has been our best player over the last 3 games and has contributed more then Javier Mascherano, who seems to be playing erratically. Rafa’s loyalty in Lucas seems to be paying off, I suggest next time you watch LFC look at Lucas’s work rate and sheer determination to break up the oppositions possession and starting the next attack.

    Were you saying ‘bad management’ when we finished 2nd last season? Running United close to the title when we missed Torres for almost half the season? You can’t go from a manager everyone thought was great for LFC to useless within 6 months?!? Again your probably just a minority fans being hypocritical who can’t handle a period of bad form.

    “WHY SHOULD US FANS SETTLE FOR DECENT WHEN WE CAN HAVE GREAT” – In particular I would like to know more about who you think will make us great in your opinion? If you suggest Mourinho then just look at his loyalty to clubs. Stays for a few seasons, ruffles a few feathers and then gets booted out because no one can stand him. I’m not saying he is a bad manager, in fact the opposite a very good club manager. However, he has no interest in building the LFC brand and future. Rafa has signalled that the future of this club is just as important with the re-structure of the academy.

    Take your rose tinted glasses off and look at the wider picture and the long term objectives.

    • though he(Lucas) doesn’t like to defend, I think he looks @ himself as a striker more than a central/defensive midfielder. Wake-up friend! Also you called our finishing 2nd last year “good management” dat we ran United close. United is carrying d premier league 4 d upteen time & we r yet to taste that glory. Not only did United taste that glory again last season(@ our detriment) they spent less than us in the transfer mkt(summer and winter) & when they sold players they made more than us. what is the need of spending so much only to come 2nd, we can as well be QPR or Arsenal who buys once in a while.

      • Spending so much? Liverpool?

        Before this window, £5m was spent per window during Rafa’s career at Liverpool. That is pittance.

        Now, after another disappointing window, Rafa has made £6m in PROFIT yet he continues to have to find loans/frees.

        2 players out, 1 player in and we still don’t have a striker to back up Torres.

        As Peter highlights below, he is now being forced into looking to next season with Jovanovic and Chamakh on free transfers to solve our problem and free funds for the squad, if he gets any, next season.

  3. The role of a Manager – is not to cry about money , he knows his budget and must work accordingly.
    if he cannot work to the best of the clubs abbility and his , then he should hand in his papers and walk.
    poor Babel – looks like he had so much promise and still does .
    lucas – came to us with so much of promise.(and dont think his premiership material)
    nemeth – so much talk , but no game time
    pacheco- same thing
    Kuyt – was a striker (now his just a workhorse)
    Reirra – not the best winger in the word but decent enough, quite effective last season when somebody actually capable enough passes the ball wide.
    we have gone backwards in to the second season rafa was here , no width and not good enough tactics not good team selection , quite franky we look pathetic and never looked like we can dominate the game.
    why – lets blame Aqulani , cause he has not plyed ball in such a long time and rafa expected the lad to hit form for the latter part of the season.
    bad managment – as in business any in world you can say he’s messed up and ryoally as well,under these circumstances he’ll normally be fired , quite simply he has lost out on money in different avenues.
    rafa’s incapable of nuturing young talent .
    bad mangament plain and simple, poor STEVIE , how much more can we ask from this guy , he’s out of form , out of luck and he’s looking tired ,really tired , and they call this a team sport .
    lucas has started every game and now everyone is saying he’s getting better , HOW !! at least 50% of the goals we concede come from he’s sloppy play.he’s the sam age as Fabregas and we say ”HE’S STILL LEARNING”
    the deal with REAL and ALONSO , we could have taken at least two players from that deal from Real as they had to many players on their wage bill??????????/ BAD MANAGEMENT ,
    sure I hate the Americans , but quite franky it could have been anybody that bought the club and found it hard to re-invest due to the hard financial times.
    we need to look at mistakes,decisions, and player managment – these have not been the best and I use the word DECENT , cause thats what i say about Rafa’s time on Anfield

    WHY SHOULD US FANS SETTLE FOR DECENT WHEN WE CAN HAVE GREAT

  4. I don’t understand why Rafa has signed so many players. Wouldn’t he have been better off spending the same amount of money on 12 – 15 real quality players? The Reading game highlighted how poor we are, and I’m only talking about basics here. The ability to pass and move with both feet, bring a ball under control, take players on and retain possession. We are void of all of those things at the moment becuase too many of our players can’t do it. For me, it’s not the poor results that hurt the most, it’s watching us play so poorly. We can kid ourselves that being well organised, athletic and disciplined is the right formula, but we all know it’ll only take us so far. It’s embarrasing that we marvel at the football played by sides like Arsenal and Utd. Once we were the envy of the league. And before someone tells me that times have changed, well the principles are still the same, stick the ball in the net more often than the opposition and you’ll win. We barley create chances these days. We need to rediscover our principles again, start playing some quality football, rather than this football by numbers we’ve grown so used to.

    • Transition!

      This is the perfect example of media brainwashing those who want to listen.

      He has had to sell to buy most of his Liverpool career and wanted to create his own squad instead of Houllier’s. Wit 14m quid a season to do so, high turnover is expected.

  5. Firstly I think it’s a refreshing article although obviously can be deemed bias from a Liverpool fans perspective. I agree Rafa has made some excellent signings (highlighted in the article) and has also made some questionable signings. However please compare these to other managers of the top clubs of current playing staff, Ferguson – Nani, Hargreaves, Anderson, Tosic, Oberton. Wenger – Almunia, Senderos, Eduardo, Walcott, Djourou, Eboue. Chelsea – Ivanovic, Mikel, Malouda, Boswinga, Ferreira, Deco, Belletti.

    From last season players such as Arbeloa and Alonso had made their mind up in terms of joining The ‘Galacticos’ when Real came knocking on the door. Rafa took these players including Alonso and made them into International regulars (Xabi was unknown outside of Spain when bought from Real Sociedad as was Arbeloa for that matter ). Lets not forget the development of Gerrard and Torres under Rafa, he has turned them into a much more effective offensive players and found a system that utilizes them both to their maximum potential. The same development can be said of players we have sold on for a profit yet never made an impact for us like Bellamy, Crouch and Sissoko. Much has been said about Insua’s & Lucas’s involvement but they have provided us with stability and potential. The same fans calling for Lucas’s head are the same petty fans questioning why there is a lack of young players coming through the ranks!! Stop contradicting yourself!! If you actually study Liverpool play Lucas has probably been our best player over the Xmas and New Year period!!

    If we’re talking Youth Development please please don’t refer to Arsenal as all they do is scour the continent for young prospects and find a loophole in their contract and buy them. Ramsey, Walcott, Clichy, Merida all bought from other clubs, technically called poaching. Their only home grown is Wilshere and Lansbury. There current regular first team squad doesn’t boast any home grown talent! Although no doubting that poaching young players can be the way forward it does cost a club a lot of money and risk for a player that has no Premiership pedigree. Liverpool are starting to nurture the likes of Kelly, Spearing, Darby and there are more in the pipeline with Eccleston and Martin. Since signing his contract Rafa has appointed King Kenny to the Academy to help improve their potential so there is no doubt it is in the forefront of his mind.

    I agree with RED1028 and you stand by your team thick or thin. Lets think about the situation when Rafa took over and what playing squad he inherited and where we are now. The only reason why there are disgruntled fans is because Rafa has raised the expectations by going to Real Madrid & Barcelona and beating them! I ask you if Rafa went who would be the best candidate to replace him? Its an honest question and realistically there is no better club coach available!!

    This season has represented a dip in form and often provides frustrating times but with essentially our best player from last season leaving and lengthy injuries to key players the stability has not been there. We will return to play better football with the likes of Aqualani getting fitter and sharper and Torres and Gerrard free from injury. Also once the defence has settled we will look less vulnerable in the Premier League

    One last note I will mention is it is amazing to see the same fans moaning and chanting Rafa to get sacked when 6 months ago they were the optimists cheering on the team when we were almost head to head with United!!!

    • Very interesting what you put about arsenal as like allot of my friends i just see them as arsenal youth talent and forget that they have poached most of them form under the noses of clubs who put in all the effort and time to help them grow.

      These day’s tho who’s the best youth developer in the premiership ? who can claim to having developed local talent and at what age would you consider them a youth development and not cheap poaching tactics ?

  6. Very good article and discussion but unfortunately i am going to fall on the anti Rafa policy side.
    Its ironic that we recently celebrated 50 years since Shankly took over at LFc and built the great club we have today. When one looks at the foundation it was laid on, the policy of identifying and signing players from the lower leagues cannot be ignored. We have abandoned this policy in recent years and instead want to sign the ‘Instant Player’ (Just add water policy.
    Many other clubs have done well by adopting this policy, indeed our near neighbours have signed Lescott and Cahill from the lower ranks.
    Arsenal got Walcott & Ramsey from the lower leagues.
    I would suggest that LFC stop spending massive sums on average foreign players and instead sign proven world class players (Torres etc) and take a gamble on some lower league clubs to add depth to the squad?
    Also we need to look at the free transfer & Bosman markets, this market offers great value every year, also the relegated clubs offer some occasional value. (Newcastle with Duff & Martins)

  7. I have always maintained that RAFA is in it for self gain and nothing else that is why he signed a new contract before the s!@#$%t hit the fan. He continues to play Lucas everytime Lucas gets the ball the first pass is bakwards because he does not know how to attack. Rafa is extremely defensive and if you want to win then you have to attack. I just want to add Liverpool is definately struggeling to put some passes together and confidence is low, but it has to change, we must just keep on supporting and get the YANKS out somehow. Liverpool forever Rafa never.

    • This is just nonsense.
      Rafa is as close to an honorary scouser as you’ll ever find from abroad.
      I can’t stand these sorts of comments from people who mimic and copy what they’ve heard from poxy commentators and pundits without actualy watching what’s happening on the field.
      Lucas just passes backwards? Nonsense.
      Yes, we are struggling to put passes together in some games…now look at exactly who and you’ll see there are some crowd favourites who also are adding to that struggle, but because they’re favourites, they never get mentioned.

      Rafa’s defensive? Scored more goals than anyone last season. Defensive? How quickly some forget…
      No other manager would put up with the rubbish Rafa has had to (especially with one of the top sides in the world waiting for him in the wings).

      Rafa leaves?…and it really hits the fan.

      Agree about the cancerous owners though. 😉

  8. We accepted Kuyt with his limited talent and now we are accepting Lucas the next is Insua,we are heading towards midtable please open your eyes.Supporting the manager is one thing blind faith is another 1 1 1 1 that is what we have got Reina Carragher Gerrard Torres others may be good enough with proper training but not under him and the yes man Pelligrino.I will support Liverpool till i die and others can say what they want but when i see bad touches bad passing and launching EVERY game i question what is wrong that is what a supporter does.I do not know about Rafa i honestly think he wants the money

    • Rafa wants the money? He was offered the Inter job, and even Besiktas offered him millions in personal salary a season but said no and came here.

      With Madrid sniffing around as always, he told them to do one and signed a 5 year contract with us.

      If he wanted a transfer budget/higher salary then he’d be off in a jiffy.

      Kuyt scored 15 goals (12 in the league) and had 9 assists last season, which is a fantastic return. Not to mention, when studying Liverpool’s play, he is drawing players away from the ball and opening up space.

      His play this season has been incredibly below par, but on the whole Kuyt has been a pretty good signing.

      Insua and Lucas need time to show their potential. If Insua is playing left back for Argentina, he must be doing something right as Benitez said Maradona was studying Insua’s progress for some time.

  9. Peter Jones hits the nail on the head……well said! Just like it is and not the glossed over version by the
    writer John Shamon,who obviously has blinkers on.

    Rafa must go……he is a failure.

  10. if these players aquired had played there hearts out instead of acting like prima donnas. some of the foriegn players didfnt like england or the premier league.if the wages were paid on performance instead instead of this culture of wages are gauranteed even if you play as poor soccer,perhaps the success rate would be higher

  11. Everyone slating his transfer record, i ask to read the last article i wrote about his dealings in the transfer record.

  12. His transfer record is pi** poor, it has to be said, If I signed 50 players I dare say half a dozen or so would be great players – compare him to Wenger, or even Rednapp, Bruce & Hughes – the latter 3 all have made a number of great signings with very little money available, why the **** did we sell Warnock & Riise (ok Riise had a bad season) but look at Dossena, we stand to loose £5m on him alone, Benitez should be held accountable, he would be in any other business. YNWA

    • Sorry mate did you just say Hughes made great signings with very little money available?

      I can’t see Warnock and Riise setting the world alight either. If Warnock was that good he’d be playing for England. He’s got very little going forward and like Insua, a poor positional sense.

      If Wenger’s signings were so great where are his trophies? Since Viera & Henry left Arsenal have struggled. He’s spent big money on Eduardo, Nasri and Arshavin, neither are taking the Premiership by storm. Although Arshavin does have a habit of scoring against us.

      Can I ask if you felt the same way when we were going for the league in May last year? Or do you change your spots going on our current position?

      • Pls open your eyes & use your head to think not your heart to think. I love Liverpool since the 70’s & always will.
        I really hope either Chelsea or Arsenal wil the BPL. Mr. Wenger may not have any trophy at this moment, but he is very good in developing young & new player. You compare the player sign by Rafa & Wenger. Who spend more???
        Arsenal young player will finish the BPL above us for sure. Too sad, Liverpool under Rafa is not going to win the BPL this or next year……..

      • Do you not remember Hughes being at Blackburn Rovers? He got them into Europe on a hell of a lot less money than Rafa has spent. You must be having a laugh when you queston Wengers ability as a manager – he hasn’t won anything in the last 5 years as they’ve been going through a transitional period, but they’ve not been too far away – remember the whooping his young lads gave us at Anfield. Warnock has played for England & will again as he’s a much improved player now he gets more game time.
        As regards the league last year, we would’ve won it if we’d dared to play 4-4-2 against bottom & mid table clubs at Anfield & I can’t see another chance coming our way in the near future, with all the backing Chelsea & City have. For every good signing Rafa has made he’s made 3 or 4 bad ones, don’t get me wrong I love Liverpool & I really want Rafa to succeed, so lets hope we do better in this window. YNWA

  13. You’ve named 6 players plus 4 others out more than FIFTY that he’s signed. For every Torres we’ve got/had 3 Voronins; for every Agger we’ver got/had 3 Degens or Kromkamps or Josemis (he swapped them for God’s sake); for every Kuyt we’ve got/had 3 or 4 Antonio Nunez. What did he do with an already prove international goal-scorer in Fernando Morientes? He chased Marc Gonzales for 2 seasons; where is he now? Nearly £25m spent on Babel, Pennant and Bellamy. Remember Pellegrino, Palleta and, at £20m, let’s not forget the bizarre Robbie Keane situation. Whatever is said about him, his transfer record is not the great record his supporters would have you believe.

  14. Insua is one of the worst fullbacks I have seen playing for Liverpool. He is slow, has no awareness of danger and has very poor positional sense and I have been watching the Reds for over 50 years.
    Makes me wonder if you have ever seen him play!

    • Spot on Bob. I can’t believe the rave reviews some of our fans are giving him. He’s no better than our other left-backs and they’re nothing special. He gets caught out of position so often it’s embarrassing.

  15. What’s wrong with the prescribed names above, all but insua n alvaro were established players! Torres was already a star. Developing would be looking at babel as a great example of an exceptional talent that rafa hasn’t managed as the likes of wenger would have. We have no outstanding youth players coming thru. Yes spearing is good but I look at Ramsey n then wonder. Plessis not exactly setting it alight! Rafa is a good manager but to say he has developed youngsters n made em good he hasn’t shown us many qualities

  16. An article that is a long time overdue. I ask all supporters to keep faith in these rocky times. Just look at what we have to spend this january. There is only talk of loaning players. How can you expect to win the richest league on the planet by hoping only for third rate players. Chelsea were going for Ribery a few weeks a go without having to sell anyone from their squad. A player who would cost no less than £40 million by consevative estimates. Man City are willing to buy Torres, Gerrard and Mascherano if they were offered. A combined sum of probably no less than £120 million. What do we have? Without selling players probably £0-1Million if we are lucky.

  17. This is a fantastic article to read whilst we ride out the storm of our mediocre season.
    Many fans, myself included, have been guilty of uttering concerns over Rafas’ tenure this season what with some shocking defeats and questionable decisions from the Gaffer. Articles like this are there to remind us Rafa has a vision that goes further than the end of his nose unlike some fans who aren’t happy until the ball has burst through the back of the net!

    The squad has some outstanding individuals, no doubt although I do feel we’re still lacking a bit in depth in some departments. I feel that Kuyt has been developed to adopt the right wing position and despite his goals and assists from that area of the pitch I feel he should bolster the striking position more. Without Torres and Stevie (predominantly a midfielder) in the fold we are lacking depth up front only in as much that Ngog, Nemeth and Pacheo are still younger developing players fine tuning their games. Babel can play up front (when he plays) despite being a midfielder and as for Vorinin… that’s my point!

    Yossi, Babel and so on should be delegated to their respective positions and the subs should back them up. Playing Lucas and Masch together is in my mind an ineffective, counter productive tactic. With both as holding midfielders and Stevie up front we don’t get the urgency and drive we need from midfield. Aquilani still has to find his feet in the top flight of English football and given time he will. He has shown early signs of vision and skill for which he was signed. Aurellio has the ability to play left back or left wing but needs consitent fitness with equal playing time to cement a 1st team slot. The younger midfielders don’t get regular outings to establish themselves and adapt to the gulf in speed between the reserves and precision required in the 1st team – early in the season I looked at the subs bench and shuddered to see lack of strength in depth and that has manifested into the season we suffering so far. That is not to say the midfield are to blame but an overall point which is being made.

    Defensivley I feel we are fairly well catered for. Insua has come on leaps and bounds and has done well to secure the left back position. On the other side Glen Johnson continues to bemuse – fantastic going forward but I just wish he’d stop that final cross evading him as it has too many times, “Put yer leg out Glen!” The trio of Carragher, Agger and Reina patrolling the 6 yard box dosen’t give me too many causes for concern. Zonal marking or man marking? Mark a man, a man will score a goal not a zone!

    Confusion and dissapointment has become a constant theme this season and “Sack Rafa!” has been the cry of too many a disgruntled fan but would you sack Torres for not scoring or Pepe for letting a few goals in? Would you get rid of Stevie or Carra for having a few bad games? It’s a team effort at the end of the day and no one is blameless for the bad run we are having. Get behind the boys, show ’em you care, give them your support. Trust Rafa, as hard as it is at times. Replacing him would be short change for what he produced last season with virtually the same squad, 4 points from a title!

    Our anthem says
    “When you walk through a storm
    Hold your head up high
    And don’t be afraid of the dark

    At the end of the storm
    Is a golden sky
    And the sweet silver song of the lark

    Walk on through the wind
    Walk on through the rain
    Though your dreams be tossed and blown

    Walk on walk on with hope in your heart
    And you’ll never walk alone
    You’ll never walk alone.”

    After the highs of last season we are experiencing a new low that I’ve not seen seen on the pitch in over 25 years. Let’s ride out the storm together, get back to winning ways, get rid of those bloody yanks and build our new stadium. Walk On With Hope In Your Hearts…
    Andy Southern / RED1028

  18. It’s looking that all this you mentioned is not enough mate. Where are the Liverpool youngsters coming up? I can’t see one after 5 years of Benitez! that’s surely a black mark! look at united and arsenal (unfortunately) and you can see new young stars coming up.

  19. Very selective article.

    If Arbeloa was such an incredible signing, why was he shipped out for peanuts and replaced? We barely even made a profit on the guy.

    And who, apart from you, has dubbed Insua as “one of the best young fullbacks in world football”? He’s an average young player, nothing more. Yes he’s played for Argentina, but didn’t half the population during the qualifying campaign? If Sean Dundee was Argintinian he’d have got a game too.

    Football is about trophies, and if you can’t win trophies you need to be playing football the right away at least.

    Are we going to win trophies under Rafa? No. Do we play good football under Rafa? Definately not.

    The performance at Reading (with his strongest possible side!) was shameful and humiliating, and until the man falls on his sword we’ll continue to struggle.

    Just my opinion, of course.

    • Maybe you have not gotten into the MU game yet when you wrote this reply..
      Look at MU.. they lost.. yet no one is blasting Sir Alex.. everyone’s into praising Leeds for their win.. and MU had their strong team on display.. Giggs, Rooney, Berbatov, Owen, Anderson, Valencia..
      And yet.. for all the folly by MU.. Benitez is getting blasted for the draw with Reading..
      I think everyone’s being unfair on Benitez for all that he’s done.. as much as Liverpool was in ascendancy in the last few years, there’s bound to be a blip.. just as Arsenal is going through.. they havent had won a trophy in the last 5 or 6 years (sorry if my numbers are wrong).. and they got into one CL final.. and they are a great team.. whereas LFC has been semi-finals contender thrice, finalist and winners.. all in the past 5 years.. and LFC in the past 5 years in PL.. increasing in points, goals scored.. decreasing in number of losses.. and now we have a blip.. and what do we do.. instead of standing behind Benitez.. everyone’s jumping on the bandwagon to criticize him.. I say.. give that man a break.. everyone’s entitled to some lows before being on the up again..

      • The problem is at a club like liverpool and in the league we are in if you have a ‘blip’ as you put it it becomes absolutely detrimental to longterm plans ( just look at how close other teams like city, villa and spurs have got !) Because of this ‘blip’ that has lasted over half a season we are behind in the race for 4th not even in the league race and are out of two cup competitions and barely in the FA cup.

        People don’t blast Sir Alex because his team just like Arsenal are no where near in that sort of trouble ? and you can bet that non of those teams would dare put in the type of performance that liverpool did on saturday if it was their last chance of silverware . The reason people are slating liverpool is because there is no effort to fight the current situation.

      • What are you on about? Of course nobody is blasting Ferguson. Have you seen where his team is? They’ve had one poor performance and been punished. Saturday was one of our better performances recently and it was still poor. Benitez is getting blasted because bar the odd player, we had our strongest team out, as we did against Wolves and were made to look so ordianry it was embarrassing. The problem is, we as a collective of supportes have come to accept mediocrity e.g. Lucas, Insua, Riera (yes I know he’s an international ut City fans laughed when we bought him,) and possibly Skrtl too. The Reading goalscorer admitted they looked at our defending at set pieces and exploited. I can see this zonal marking hasn’t worked, the players know it hasn’t worked which is why confidence is low at corners etc yet the manager puts it down to defenders not doing their jobs properly. Well guess what Rafa, give them a system that’s within their capabilities or only buy players that can adapt. Our football is currently depressing to watch; defenders hoof the ball en-masse, midfielders can’t control the damned tihng and forwards get little service.

      • Friend look @ MU in d last 5yrs r we better off than them? for 5yrs we have stayed without a trophy r u not worried, r u not tired off d magic, d signs Rafa does on TV. what LFC needs are trophies if Rafa can’t deliver them he should go. Obviously he’s shown he cannot deliver them so what r we waiting for? I am surprised seeing LFC faithfuls like urself still standing behind Rafa, the man should get-out. If it will take us five yrs to build a team let it be, let’s do it slowly but with another coach. Rafa has spent his own 5yrs wasting transfer-budget on overpriced players, depleting the quality of players he has and subjecting youngsters to perpetual bench. Kopite, Rafa is our problem, he should go.

    • Arbeloa had 1 season left on his contract and made himself pretty clear once he left that he didn’t want to be at Liverpool. Can Rafa hold him to ransom? Hardly.

      Insua is 20. His attacking play has made him get caught out at times, i do not hide that fact at all, but at 20 he has a great impact down the left in attack.

      Other quality youngsters get caught out plenty. The likes of Cheik M’Bengue at Toulouse for instance.

      All i would like to say on the quality of play is that when confidence lifts above 70%, we are mighty hard to beat and look brilliant to watch. Liverpool verse Real Madrid in the Champions League last season was Rafa’ system at it’s best. That was not even a year ago.

      • Im sorry but bringing up madrid just shows how far we’ve failed to compete this season.

        What liverpool fans want to see at the very least is ‘Effort’. Can you honestly say that over half a season of substandard play consists to a blip in form and what’s the excuse for the world class players like Gerrard and Mascherano ? at least mascha has upped his game of late as did Carra but iv yet to see a good 90, even 30 mins from Gerro yet ?
        Insua has failed to perform all season apart from a few games he has gone backwards, he may yet come through this and i hope he dose because he has quality but again it’s all down to how much he want’s to fight ! and that goes for the lot of them as some just seem comfortable to go through the motions for a pay cheque.

        • Liverpool have been sub-standard and i haven’t said otherwise. I moan about the lack of ‘spark’ the side has had for 9/10ths of the season as much as anybody. But i don’t look at it just on what’s happening now.

          What most fail to see is the overall picture and Insua, along with almost every other player, has gone backward but they are quality players.

          Kuyt, Insua, Carragher and Johnson are all quality players in their role but a dip in form and a drop in morale has seen the sloppiness in their play exaggerate to a low to mid-table club’s form.

          Negativity is a form of release for some, but i don’t want to be drawn down to the level that most media outlets want us to be.

        • I am simply venting my frustration like any fan who pays to watch them would !

          I do see the bigger picture which is why on the whole im not getting at rafa because i know the restrictions he has been under since day one but when i go and watch the players put in effort levels most under 10 football teams would be ashamed with i start to question things ( it’s only human to)
          My problem at the moment is effort not confidence or tactics and i would say im pretty justified that whatever situation were in as a club and what ever quality level were at that the bottom line from any professional should be 100% effort.

          With regards to insua my only concern for him is that he looks to be going the way of Sissoko who looked more than promising to begin with but then started a dip in form from which he never recovered from. I hope he has the strength to get through this spell but again it’s about will and effort in that situation , if he works at it his quality will come through “hopefully” .

          Johnson needs to work on his defensive ability to which i mirror him with Ashley Cole who at the start of his career who was good in offence but lacking defensively. It is simply the fact of fine tuning his raw talent for me but we do look weaker defensively when he is included imho.

          I have been positive for ages but i wont stand for the effort put in recently ! Dose that bring me down to the level the media want me ? I don’t think it dose, it simply shows that i care about the club and that i will voice my opinion, not simply act like everything’s ok when it’s not.

  20. and we are playing like an ale house team, what position are we,,,and were are we in the champions league, we are still in the f.a. by the skin of our teeth, of course he has made some good signings, but 37 million on 2 players this summer, one a full back and one that was crocked, explain that….

  21. Sorry cant agree with the Insua bit. He had one good game last season against a very poor Newcastle team, and has been expossed all season so far. Noticed no review on Lucas!

  22. Great to see something positive on the web nowadays! Although some of these are overstatements you are on the right path and keeping it positive rather than jumping with the press is a nice change.

  23. Absolute rubbish. You hand picked a few players but forgot to mention – Robbie Keane, Mark González, Ryan Babel, Jermaine Pennant, Craig Bellamy, Lucas Leiva, Fernando Morientes, Stephen Warnock, Mohammed Sissoko, Scott Carson, Sebastian Leto, Gabriel Paletta – shall I go on?? Where was the development on those players? Not to mention the reserve team players and in particular Nemeth.

    Is Insua or Fábio Aurélio really better than Warnock or Riise? Is Lucas better than Sissoko? Sissoko, Keane, Bellamy & Crouch are all still playing at a high level – in the old days whenever you left Liverpool you only went one way – down. Not anymore under this manager.

    • I was thinking this. It’s very easy to pick out the players that have worked for rafa but what about those who didn’t work out ? quite a substantial list their too .

      And the likes of Keane, crouch, arbeloa , hyppia, Alonso, riise (who played worse under rafa) who were all quality players who were sold to buy, but my argument would be that with the obvious quality additions of Torres, Mascerano, Benaeyoun, Reina, were have those sales taken us in terms of having quality in our ranks ? It makes no sense to sell quality we have if we are going to go out and replace them with substandard additions .

      • i wonder y u name Aloso and some of those other players as flops yet by the time theycame over to liverpool noone knew them nd actually didn’t have much quality but for, even if it were u being slow learner or thick, an manage would not keep u around. i say we have a good team that needs time mayb this isn’t our season

        • Sorry probably misunderstanding the way iv put it.

          I did not mean Alonso was worse ( even though if your honest we only got two seasons of good play from him.) and was only muting the fact that Riise lost ability when rafa came in but it was my intention to include Riise along with alonso and the others in that list as quality players who we’ve let go and replaced with substandard additions.

          Well pointed out that most of that list made their names at liverpool ( something i already knew ) but i wasn’t getting at that ! My argument was that what is the point in selling players who work in liverpool’s team only to risk money and time on players who have not or are not making the grade.

          Maybe it’s not our year but i wonder if you said that last year or the year before that and maybe next year if nothing happens ? I would bloody hope the manager would get rid of me if my attitude/ commitment was not rite but more so the manager shouldn’t get rid of/ or force out quality players and replace them with 3/4th rate players .

          Im not rafa bashing or hating the institution in any way but i wan’t to see progress at the very least on some level in the club and as a fan who regularly pays my hard earned money to watch and support the red’s every week i demand a level of effort from every player which most notably in games against reading, portsmouth, seccond half arsenal, fiorentina away to name a few wasn’t there .

          We have a good core of players who when playing well are better than anything this league has to offer however our support players are just not good enough for varying reasons and when the top boy’s don’t perform no one steps up to the plate.
          Our young lads are being starved of the opportunity to progress , just look at the quality of Spearing, Darby, Kelly, Pacheo, these lads need more chances but are forced out even when players like Kuyt, Lucas, Skirtle, Insua, Gerrard(yes i said it) are not performing .

          In the end iv seen this before with Houllier, going so close then falling apart is so cruel to take and to see it happen again is unbearable ( been there done that and don’t want it again.) All i want is for rafa to turn it arround.
          I hope im proved wrong with any negative thing iv said about the squad because i could live with that , my pride for liverpool’s glory ?, id take that any day of the week and i know any true liverpool fan would too.

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