COS Contributor Andrew Walker wonders if Rafa days are numbered.
Liverpool fans have finally come to the end of their tether over Liverpool’s form this season in the Premier and Champions league made clear by a deafening silence at the end of another loss at Anfield to Arsenal followed by an inept display at bottom of the table Portsmouth.
Regardless of this under fire manager Rafa Benitez has made an astonishing claim that he guarantees Liverpool will finish in the top four despite having won only seven games in the league this season.
The former Premier League runners up have made a terrible start to the season dropping points at home and away with performances that would have Liverpool legend Bill Shankly turning in his grave.
Despite another famous victory over Manchester United they are currently seventh in the league and just lost 2-1 to Arsenal at home in Anfield. They are 13 points off the top and currently they do not qualify for the champions’ league.
Liverpool has also been eliminated from this season’s champions league making them the first English team since 2004 not to make it through the group stages.
Liverpool’s’ disappointing run has caused fans to doubt the manager, who despite spending over 100million since 2008 has failed time and time again to bring them the trophy they desperately want, the premier league title.
Former Liverpool legend Ronnie Whelan has stuck the knife to Benitez by saying
“His days are numbered. He wants to win the European Cup so he can get a job in Europe. For me, his days have got to be numbered at Liverpool.
A frequent lack of consistency has plagued Liverpool all season. They won a big game at old Trafford only to lose their following game against Fulham. They also failed to perform against Arsenal and Chelsea losing both games convincingly. This was also noted by Whelan
“Why after such a great result against Manchester United, do you want to take a huge step backwards after losing to Arsenal in the Carling Cup as well? I don’t see where he’s coming from”
Even Benitez’s own players seem to be dubious about Rafa’s claim that Liverpool can reach the top four. Torres spoke about changing targets in a recent interview.
“We are out of the Champions League, we are really far away from the top of the Premier League, so we have to change our targets.
“We have to look to the Europa League and the FA Cup as the only competitions we can win this season. And making sure that we stay in the top four”
One major source of Rafa’s woes this year has come from injury problems to Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and new big summer sighing Aquilani.
This has fuelled the claim that Liverpool is a two man team as games where the two most influential players have not featured have resulted in poor Liverpool performances.
However the Liverpool gaffer still has some support from his players and peers. Dirk Kuyt defended his boss on the Liverpool website.
“We all have confidence that we can finish in the top four but the first focus is to win the next game, which is Wigan. That’s all we can do. People might have heard us say that before but that’s just the way it is.
“You can’t sit down and start thinking ‘how bad are we?’ or ‘aren’t things terrible at the moment?’ – this is almost the same team that did really well last season; we’ve got some people coming back from injuries who are getting fitter.
“It is tough at the moment. It really is. When you are working as hard as we are every day to get the best results, you want to see it happen but that’s life”
Benitez now faces another threat from Jose Mourinho. Jose is having a torrid time at Inter at the moment falling out with the Italian fans and the owners. Liverpool would be a perfect team for him as he already stated he loves the passion of the club and the fans.
It seems this year there is only one thing that Rafa Benitez can guarantee and that is unless his performances drastically improve he can start looking for a new club.