Just as the second half of the season is starting to hot up on the pitch, the verbal battles between two of the league’s best is starting to get pretty interesting as well.
Rafa Benitez has a chance to take his Liverpool side 10 points clear of third-placed Manchester United this weekend (who have three games in hand); however, he’s not doing it quietly.
Apparently Sir Alex Ferguson is already getting to the Spaniard in a big way. Why else would he feel the need to lay down the law with almost half a season remaining?
Benitez also feels that Ferguson’s suggestion that Liverpool cannot handle the pressure at the top of the table is only an example of the Scot’s infamous psychological tricks.
“I was surprised but I have to talk about facts,” added Benitez. “I think that is important. I think they (United) are nervous because we are at the top of the table.
“I want to be clear. I don’t want to play mind games too early and I think that they want to start.”
And Benitez has also been angered by Ferguson’s complaints about the English fixture list.
“Then he was talking about the fixtures,” continued the former Valencia chief. “Two years ago we were playing a lot of early kick-offs away on Saturdays when United were playing on Sundays. And we didn’t say anything.
“Now he is complaining about everything, that everybody is against United. But the second half of the season will see them playing at home against all the teams at the top of the table, it is a fantastic advantage. (Sky Sports)
Benitez has been known for using the “black arts” in the past, so it seems almost hypocritical for the manager to call out someone who plays his same game. But to be fair, Benitez has never guided Liverpool into a Premier League race this deep in the season.
How do you think this will go down? Do you expect Sir Alex to launch an attack back on Benitez, or will the Scot let it go and return to the job at hand?