After promising us a top four finish is there really any reason to call for an Anfield sacking?
Like all Liverpool fans, I have been bitterly disappointed by this season. This season was meant to be THE season. We’ve been saying it for a long time but, after last season, every Liverpool fan and player had the belief and every opponent feared us. That was until we played Tottenham on the first day of the season. Our performances have lacked conviction and that little bit of creative magic you need to win the tough gruelling games.
With no end in sight for the poor form and Gerrard and Torres suffering injury after injury, many are calling for heads to roll. Well, one head inparticular. That of Rafa Benitez. Personally, I have always supported Rafa, crazy decision after crazy decision. However, given the recent downturn, I’ve got to say that I’m losing faith. Couple that with the press reporting that Guus Hiddink is alledgedly interested in the Liverpool job, should it be available, I’m ashamed to admit that, for a brief moment, my head was turned. But that’s not right is it? My Dad brought me up a Liverpool fan and the words that my Dad uttered when I was 4 are still ringing in my ears. “Son” he said, “the love between a fan and a football team is far deeper than the love between me and your Mum”. Never has this been more true than now. I mean, you can always divorce your wife but your football team is for richer (Man City) for poorer (Man Utd), for better (Liverpool last season), for worse (this season, obviously). There’s no getting away from your love of your team.
With this in mind, should we really be talking about Rafa being sacked or, is it just a case of the anti-Rafa brigade shouting louder than everyone else, as usual. The fact that we have lurched from one bad performance to another has given them plenty of ammunition but is that supporting your team through thick and thin? Every manager has a poor patch and look at all that Rafa has done for LFC. Now, I know a statement like that is going to lead to the ARB leaving comments asking what has he done. Well let’s see. Brought in the world’s best striker; the country’s best goalkeeper (before anybody debates this, Reina has won the Golden Glove more than anybody else); one of the Spain’s most promising midfielders, turned him into one of the world’s best and then sold him for £20m profit; won and been runners up in the Champions League, won the FA and a League Cup final. Runners up in the league last season and finished with club record total of points and more points than any other runner up. A record that I’m strangely proud of. And all that is just off the top of my head.
If the Yanks were to sack Rafa, who would replace him? As I’ve mentioned, Hiddink has apparently thrown his hat into the ring. Has anybody actually seen the quote? What he said was, “I have to speak to the federation president before making any decision on my future, but it is true that I would like to coach in England again.”. How does that equate to him wanting the Liverpool job? Maybe, just maybe, he wants to replace Graham Woods as boss of Grimsby Town.
Then there’s the ever present rumours of Martin O’Neill. I just can’t see O’Neill doing an Owen Coyle and leaving Villa for a club that he is in direct competition with.
Mourinho perhaps? According to reports he is set to leave Inter at the end of the season but he has already said that he wants to take hot seat at Old Trafford once Rudolf’s stunt double retires. If you watch Robbie the Reindeer and freeze frame on 15 mins and 26 seconds, you can clearly see Ferguson taking Rudolf’s place. Anyway, this ambition would seemingly rule him out.
Mark Hughes…well this is possible. Despite his links to Manchester United, the fact that he went against that to manage Man City shows that he has got cojones. The fact that he’s unemployed wouldn’t hurt his cause either.
Laurent Blanc – No. Just no. “But he’s won the French league” some will undoubtedly say. So has Houllier, do you want him back?
The major one that I’m really not sure on is Kenny Dalglish. We all know how much of a legend he is both on the pitch and in the dugout but should he stay like that, with his reputation intact? My major concern though is that he has been out of the game for too long. He’s not managed a first team since leaving Celtic in 2000.
Aside from all this talk, we still have a manager. Rafa Benitez. After hearing the crowd who travelled to the Britannia Stadium on Saturday afternoon, the majority of fans, myself included, are still behind him. I think we should give him until the end of the season, we owe him that at least. By guaranteeing a top four finish, Benitez has alread put his head in the guillotine and his hand on the rope, ready to pull down the blade. After making such a statement, I don’t think he could have too many complaints he we finish fifth and he loses his job.
I’m not saying we should stick with him indefiniately, just give him a stay of execution.
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