Rafa Benitez realised something last season after his club failed once again in their bid for the elusive Premier League title: making predictions and building his team up prior to the season was worthless.
During his time at Anfield, his club had won every piece of silverware on the planet. But the Premier League title, the one that meant more to him than any other trophy, was still out there mocking him. So Benitez made a change; he replaced the once optimistic attitude with a cool demeanor that almost made the Spaniard look like he didn’t care about the League title. Add to that a surreal calmness, coupled with some fantastic football, and Liverpool now find themselves staring at three points and the potential lead tomorrow at Stamford Bridge. My how things have changed.
After eight games they are two points better off than they were in the 1989-90 campaign, which finished with Anfield’s 18th and last title, although to listen to the Liverpool manager, you would hardly think so.
“It is clear that you have to allow the fans to enjoy the situation,” Benitez said. “But you have a responsibility to be realistic. In football it is better not to be talked about.”
That extends to speaking about Jose Mourinho, who began the season by predicting in his Daily Telegraph column that Liverpool would win the championship and that after five years at Anfield there was no excuse for Benitez not to. (Telegraph)
Benitez finally appears to be the same confident boss that led Valencia to two La Liga titles during his time at the Spanish club. He doesn’t appear to be forcing the issue any longer, while allowing his team the chance to gel by cutting down on the mass team changes.
For Benitez and Liverpool, the changes have been a breath of fresh air. I’m sure Liverpool supporters would agree that their club is finally playing to their potential on the pitch.