Is it time for Benitez to go?

Monday, 15 March 2010



The minimum requirement for any Liverpool manager should be a top four finish and domestic or European trophy but currently Rafa Benitez is failing to deliver on a promise he made a couple of months ago. Now the big question on everyone’s lips is – Will Rafa Benitez still be in charge of the club next season?

And the answer to that question is yes, albeit he should not be considering how his team have gone out and performed this season. We all know from his press conferences, his tactics and his interaction with other managers that Benitez is highly negative and stubborn.

That is why he remains on as manager, but not just that, because he signed a new contract last March it could cost the club around £16million to sack him according to the Daily Mail. The Spaniard has a clause in the five-year contract that dictates his £4m-a-season deal is paid up in full within 24 hours of him being dismissed.

Despite some abysmal performances and shocking defeats, nine in total, Benitez still won’t walk away from what is a sinking ship.

Having dominated the Premier League last season Liverpool were hotly tipped to continue that form once again this term but their season started out bad and has gone to worse after back to back defeats at Wigan and Lille in the Premier League and Europa League respectively in the last week.

As I said earlier the Kop have been beaten on nine occasions in the Premier League this season, defeats have come at the hands of: Wigan (a), Arsenal (a), Portsmouth (a), Arsenal (h), Chelsea (a), Fulham (a), Sunderland (a), Aston Villa (h) and Spurs (a). It is interesting to note that only two of those defeats have occurred in front of their home crowd and it shows how important fans are to a team.

Crashing out of the Champions League at the group stages, losing 2-1 to Reading in the FA Cup and being knocked out of the Carling Cup by a youthful Arsenal side the only trophy which Liverpool can now win is the Europa League even then that is not realistic they would be better off focusing on finishing fourth.

Defeat to Manchester United next weekend would make it impossible for Benitez to fulfill his promise of Champions League football next season. Failure to reach the Champions League would leave Liverpool seriously lacking the TV money that goes with qualification and could see key players like Fernando Torres leave the club.

I am not a Liverpool fan but all these talks of new investors sound hopeful but that have to be seen to be believed, so I take them with a pinch of salt and I am sure Liverpool fans would agree with that.

According to recent reports Liverpool are in talks with private equity firm the Rhone Group over a proposed £118.5million deal to buy a significant share of the club, apparently their investment would see Liverpool retain both Torres and Gerrard.

Another crucial week for Rafa Benitez and Liverpool begins tonight as they take on Portsmouth, they will also face Lille on Thursday night and Manchester United on Sunday, by this time next week Liverpool’s season could well be totally over.

The fans need to get behind their side and ask questions of the players and
management later because fourth place is currently a dream but could be a reality if they win every game between now and the end of the season.

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Touchline Views

This is a football blog by Ian Walsh, covering all aspects of the game - from the Premier League and La Liga to the slightly mental football stories we all love.

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