Monday, November 2, 2009

The Football Fan Always Knows Best...

Rafa Benitez

A lot of this weeks sports coverage has revolved around the security of Rafa Benitez's job as Liverpool F.C. manager. Liverpool have had a pretty bad run of results recently (if you take away the 2-0 win over Manchester United!) But as the tabloids were busy rolling out the Halloween puns ("Hell-oween" and "Liverghoul" were too crackers) after Liverpool's latest loss against Fulham, I was thinking about Rafa's Liverpool achievements so far.

This poor form has made a lot of people to call for Rafa's head as Liverpool lie in sixth place after 11 games. I agree their current form does cause concern and I can understand many Liverpool fans being gutted to see their side seven points behind Manchester United and nine behind Chelsea but at the same time Rafa Benitez has done a fantastic job for his side. I think too many people believe Liverpool have a right to win the league this year after last season. Finishing second last year was a fantastic achievement and to push Fergie's men most of the way is even more of an achievement and clearly shows the improvement under Rafa. Then there's the Champions League win in his first season at the club, the F.A. Cup win the following year which was followed by a Champions League runners up medal the following season (which was then followed by the already mentioned runners up Premier League season the year after!)

Rafa has clearly been a success at Liverpool and perhaps another huge success can be the signing of Fernando Torres, probably, if not, THE best striker in the world? An absolute bargain at around £20million. But that has also caused a problem for the Spaniard. Rafa's use of Torres when he hasn't been fully fit or use of him in his 'rotation' policy has also drawn criticism from fans and the press. If Torres wasn't fully fit then taking him off against Fulham was the right decision as even if it isn't the top priority of the Kop (compared with Premier League glory), The Champions League game against Lyon is financially very important for Liverpool and Torres could be vital. That is unfortunately the fault of money driven modern football, not Rafa Benitez.

Perhaps Liverpool aren't title contenders this season but I wouldn't say they are totally dead and buried, there is bound to be more success and improvements under Benitez at Anfield and I am sure if he is left to carry on he can improve on the second place in the Premier League that he achieved last season.

Football commentators, football pundits and more importantly football fans (myself included) always think they know better than the manager, and think they could do a better job. Clearly, I'd have Southampton F.C. in the Champions League by now, right?

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