News24

'If Torres goes then I go'

2009-11-17 13:20

London - Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez would quit the club if he was ever forced to sell Spain striker Fernando Torres, but he remains confident of keeping his prize forward.

The Spaniard, who has come under fire after Liverpool's shaky start to the season, also defended his transfer dealings and said he had put the club back on the world map since taking over five years ago.

"I'm confident it will never happen," Benitez said in a wide-ranging interview in The Times on Tuesday, when asked whether he would ever sanction the sale of Torres to pay off some of the club's debts. "If it did, I'd resign."

With Liverpool having lost five of their opening 12 Premier League matches, in danger of going out of the Champions League and already out of the League Cup, a raft of injuries has exposed a squad that appears to be lacking sufficient quality.

The sales of Xavi Alonso and Robbie Keane in the past year have also been questioned, while major signing Alberto Aquilani, a 17 million pound ($28.6 million) acquisition from Roma, has hardly featured after the playmaker arrived with an ankle injury.

Highly-rated Dutch winger Ryan Babel, another Benitez signing, has struggled to make an impact as have the likes of David N'gog and Lucas Leiva.

"We can only buy one or two big, 20 million pound players a year," Benitez said. "If we want to have money available, then we have to sell some players. We have to sell expensive and buy as cheaply as possible.

"Aquilani fit would be 20-30 million. We checked with doctors and they said he would be out one, maybe two months. We have lost some time, but I signed the player for five years, not five weeks. We needed to take the risk.

"Ryan (Babel) was signed for the future and we are waiting for his improvement. He has to be more consistent."

Benitez denied that Alonso was allowed to leave for Real Madrid after the two of them fell out.

"He put in a transfer request," Benitez said. "We had a professional and good relationship."

Despite Liverpool's title challenge already evaporating, Benitez said it was not all doom and gloom.

"People are worried," he said. "But the team will improve. When we have key players on the pitch we are as good as anyone. We have proved this in the past.

"There is a massive difference between five years ago and now," Benitez said. "The name of the club round the world is at the same level as it was in the 1980s. It's a fantastic achievement. Everybody talks about Liverpool in a good way. And we will get better.

"In 2004 the squad was worth, what, 100 million? Now perhaps we have one player worth that. The whole squad? Maybe 250 million. We must be doing something right."

Liverpool, who are seventh in the Premier League and 11 points adrift of leaders Chelsea, will attempt to get their season back on track at home against Manchester City on Saturday.

Reuters

Comments
  • zizo - 2009-11-17 13:33

    hey Benitez. Why dont you just accept the fact that the EPL has become more challenging and competitive. If you want to stay on top, you have to play well. Dont make excuses for your shoddy performance.If you dont act now you probably will be relegated in a few years time.

  • pedro - 2009-11-17 13:49

    If you can say "if torres goes you go" it tells a lot about yourself. You dont care about the rest of the club, and players, it seems that you only care about yourself and torres. remember torres is nothing without the other 10 players you goof ball. It is like Fergie saying, if ronaldo goes, he will go. What a lame pathethic statement to make. I hope your club chairman has a brain to confront you with this statement and maybe give you the boot. Your poor performance cannot be blamed on cheap signings and no money to run the club. Your problem is that you rely only on torres and when he is injured you are scrambling. Maybe your good players in the past have saved your job and now the true reflection of your coaching skills are coming out. Hey why dont you quit while you are ahead, save some embarrassment.

  • Livered - 2009-11-17 13:50

    Liverpool have got real problems! Rafa has had more than enough time at the club and still not delivered in the League which we desperately need!!!! Just one league success could buy him another 5 years at the club. I can't see them going anywhere again this year? I hope i am wrong, but based on past seasons, there is no chance this year! He needs to work on his purchasing skills! NEEDS to go to Fergie for lessons!

  • Livered - 2009-11-17 13:51

    Liverpool have got real problems! Rafa has had more than enough time at the club and still not delivered in the League which we desperately need!!!! Just one league success could buy him another 5 years at the club. I can't see them going anywhere again this year? I hope i am wrong, but based on past seasons, there is no chance this year! He needs to work on his purchasing skills! NEEDS to go to Fergie for lessons!

  • Torres - 2009-11-17 13:55

    Rafa! How about you go, and i'll stay?

  • LFC Forever - 2009-11-17 14:10

    LFC's start to the season has been painful. To think we lost the Premier League title by a mere 03 points last season! We are definitely not the same team (transfers, etc included) that we were at the close of last season. Part of the problem is in Benitez' comment "when we have key players on the pitch we are as good as anyone" -if we equate "key players" consistently with the likes of Gerrard and Torres, then like it or not we're saying the other 09 players don't matter much in the scheme of things. Without Captain Fantastic in the match to pull out something magical to save Liverpool from an otherwise lucklustre performance we've shown the weaknesses in our game. Benitez needs to realise that after 5 years at the Kop he's got to change his strategies or face serious consequences. Its partly this attitude that has kept the likes of Fergie in the game for so long and at such a noteworthy level. We need trophies. The team and its legion of fans deserve it!

  • Never Walk Alone - 2009-11-17 14:15

    Sign The Special One - Man City have been linked to him - however Man City have no pedigree or history - he will be wasted there !! Give him the same oppurtunity that MU gave Fergie - and surely he will be able to put the Reds back to winning ways - we have got nothing to loose (except Rafa) by trying this !

  • Twins - 2009-11-17 14:21

    Only a cow can say "if Torres goes then I go ".. It shows that u only rely on one player...

  • Peter - 2009-11-17 14:23

    Well he knows that if Torres goes that club and team is in a deap trouble becuase he is probably the best forward in world football right now and have safed Liverpool many times with his amazing ability to score goals! Torres will be the next BIG signing from somwhere, I mean how will he be abel to resists Real Madrid if they come calling, its one of the biggest teams in his home country! That must be his long term goal anyway! Hw will be gone by next season, Liverpool can afford to keep him, he is worth to much!

  • TRUE Red - 2009-11-17 14:44

    are you people complete idiots ? What Rafa said was that IF he was FORCED to sell El Nino by the stupid yank owners for some debt relief, he would leave & that makes sense ! When he has spent properly, he brought quality ! Masherano, Alonso, Reina, Torres, Johnson, etc - the owners don't give him alot of cash, so he has to sometimes gamble with buying no-name brands as well - unlike the likes of Fergie ! Talking about Fergie, think about this - Berbatov = 31 million, Carrick = 18 million, Ngog (1.5 million) sealing the win against ManUre in front of the Kop = PRICELESS ! Rafa has admitted to his flops, but give him credit when he get's it right as well - he bought Alonso for 12 million & sold him as a superstar for 30 million ! He bought Torres for 19 million & what's he worth now ? 50 mil ? He turned a consistent Top 8 club into a Top 4 club & made us a force in Europe again - not all things can be measured by trophies, especially since the likes of ManUre & Chelsea, who were already much stronger when he arrived, get stronger each year as well, BUT he has closed the gap considerably, while having LESS to spend than them each season ! And Mourinho will never join LFC as long as the yanks are in charge - they are worst than Roman ! It's easy to criticise Rafa over the last few week's, but fact was we had games where up to 10, yes TEN, players, most of them 1st team, were injured - funny no one complained last season hey, even though Stevie & El Nino were injured 1/2 the season !

  • Arsenal - 2009-11-17 14:51

    Who cares???!!!!

  • KR - 2009-11-17 14:56

    "Everybody talks about Liverpool in a good way"...Yeah right, the only reason Liverpool didn't loose last weekend is becasue they didn't play. LOL!

  • True red one - 2009-11-17 15:14

    True red ..i agree with you bunch of idiots.Go liverpool kick man- city ass.

  • Pieter - 2009-11-17 15:17

    Rafa is a big A-hole!! This clearly shows that without torres and gerard liverpool means nothing! The only time they play like a top 4 team is when they play Man Utd but then they go and lose against sunderland and fulham... I really hope Rafa stays as coach... so liverpool can go even further down the drain!

  • Gerrard - 2009-11-17 15:27

    Hey Rafa...got you a job at Silver Creek Spur, good possie...deputy head waiter...you can pick and choose and transfer waiters between all Spurs nationwide!! SO MUCH FUN!!

  • Lyndon - 2009-11-17 15:39

    Would be interesting to know how many of the comments received are from Liverpool supporters. It's normally the Man U bunch who have the most to say about Liverpool. We've had a poor start, so what! There's still a long way to go. The one criticism I have of Rafa is his rotation policy. How do you settle a team if you're changing all the time?

  • Shankly's Kin - 2009-11-17 15:52

    Can you people just chill!!! I agree with True Red 100%. Mo' aint never going to be the Anfield boss. We should be thanking Rafa for staying on through the BS from the owners. What manager would want the plate that Rafa's got in front of him? Steve McLaren? Gareth Southgate?? Those too are more likely to jump at the mess than Mancini or Mo'. And we all know how the story will end with mediocre managers at the helm. About the topic, Benitez is just saying that he wants to hold on to one of our best players. He is showing loyalty to one of the players that form our spine, a player whom Fergie was seriously interested in signing from Atletico BTW. Now he is being slaughtered for that too?? I hope all you Rafa haters (so called Reds fans and comment givers from other clubs) end up with pie on your faces come May 2010. If King Kenny believes in Rafa, so do I. Show your support. YNWA

  • MANUguyssuck - 2009-11-17 15:58

    I think Rafa is romantically interested in Torres?

  • pedro - 2009-11-17 16:09

    Premiership final result: 2009/10 1) Chelsea 2) Arsenal 3) Man U 4) --- 5) --- 6) Liverpool

  • Shankly's Kin - 2009-11-17 16:16

    This post comes from The Times' site (just for some perspective): I think xenaphobia reigns on these pages. The anti-benitez agenda comes from the media. As pointed out by another journalist there are far more underperforming teams under English management that are not subject to any scrutiny or critiscm whatosoever. Where some contribuors get their figures from relating to expenditure at clubs I don't know - it could only be the wholly unreliable fantasyleague site written by a man utd supporter who includes other clubs transfers at full value & his own clubs without the add-ons. Spurs, Man City, Chelsea & Man Utd (until the Ronaldo transfer) all spend more than Liverpool. The true measure of transfer expenditure is the wage bill anyway & you can add Arsenal to the list above as higher spenders. LFC have the 5th highest wage bill in the league so finishing anything higher then 5th is overachieving. Unfortunately, were the clubs nowadays all finish on the premiership ladder corelates directly to their wage bill. Liverpool has no right to expect to finish any higher than fifth. How anyone can argue that Benitez has done nothing but a fantastic job at Liverpool is beyond me. He takes over a UEFA cup team, over 30 points behind the league winners & with no significant additional expenditure over his rivals closes this gap to 4 points on the last count whilst picking up a champions league, another final appearance, consistently reaching the later stages of the competition & an FA cup. The youth & reserve teams now winning trophies & youngsters starting to come through. Before Benitez arrived at LFC they went to places like OT & Stamford Bridge & defended for their lives & tried to steal something from the game. Now the go there & compete as equals. It makes me wonder what the likes of Man Utd & Chelsea have been spending their money on in this period in order to allow Benitez to close the gap on them to such an extent. It also makes me wonder why Man Utd club & fans are so vocal

  • MANUTD TILL I DIE - 2009-11-17 16:18

    TRUE Red 11/17/2009 2:44 PM liverpool beat manutd first half 2008/2009 season "great" liverpool beat manutd in the second half the season 4-0 "phenomal" manutd win the league for the third consecutive season and equaling liverpools 18 league titles "PRICELESS" hahahahahahahahaha. GLORY GLORY MANUTD

  • mickey - 2009-11-17 16:26

    @MANUguyssuck no sorry mate its not torres thats got his toungue up Fafa's @rse it lucas how else do you explain so much game time for what is quite possibly liverpools sh!test player ever i myself can only see one logical explanation lucas is definately lubing up and bending foer the fat spanish waiter

  • Shaheen - 2009-11-17 16:28

    Some fans here have completely lost the plot. I'm no Liverpool supporter (the regulars would know), but come on, Rafa is saying that if he is forced to sell Torres for financial reasons, then what's the point in staying at a Club where the owners don't care about their prized assets? Geez, some people hey. Imagine you're a Programmer, and your boss tells you to get rid of your Super Computer and work on a Pentium II, surely you'd quit your job and look elsewhere? However, Torres would look stunning in a Barca shirt though ;).

  • milo - 2009-11-17 16:59

    yes, go!!!

  • Koppite - 2009-11-17 17:33

    @ Mickey, the same applies to you as well.

  • RedStreak - 2009-11-17 18:33

    @TRUE Red, take off your blickers mate, there so many inaccuracies in your comments below it [e.g. Torres cost LFC 27million not 19m] it just highlights your desparate attempt to hide the FACT that Liverpool will never reach the dominance they once enjoyed, there just too many big fish in the pond now. Oh, and Ngog scored that goal, because it was break away goal and whole Man Utd team was pressing for an equaliser in Liverpool's penalty area. Also, some facts Edwin van der Sar £2m, Ji-Sung Park £4m, Ben Foster £1m, Nemanja Vidic £7m, Patrice Evra £5.5m,Gabriel Obertan £3m, Michael Owen Free. Ronaldo 12m sold for 80m; Rafa's booboos: Djibril Cisse £14m; Ryan Babel £11.5m, Robbie Keane £20.3m (sold back for 12m) etc.

  • TRUE Red - 2009-11-18 09:09

    Redstreak, you obviously know NOTHING about soccer. Torres cost 19 million POUNDS (not Euro's) & is now worth at least 60 / 70 million. Also, Rafa didn't want Keane - our ex useless chairman bought him ! Shaheen, you are one UTD supporter I respect, because you talk sense. And agree with Shankly's Kin 110% - how are we expected to finish higher than 5th when we have the 5th most expensive squad ? Yet, we finished just 4 points behind ManUre last season, IN 2ND, because we are LFC !! The youth teams are doing amazing - thanks to Rafa's input - lighties like Ngog, Pacheco & Nemeth are stars for the future, so remember this post !

  • scouser - 2009-11-18 12:15

    Liverpool needs a good striking partner for Torres,maybe they can sign Benni,hahaha!!

  • AL - 2009-11-18 16:07

    @TrueRed: Only 1diots like you can always take any Loserfool article good or bad and try and bash MAN U so you dont have to feel so bad about how badly your team is sucking at the moment. It must really suck to know you`re not gonna win anything this season AGAIN and you try make excuses and even try compare Benitez to Ferguson. Your biggest problem problem is BENITEZ!!! Loserfool need to get rid of him now to stand any chance!! But hey, you beat MAN U so what else is there really...

  • TRUE Red - 2009-11-18 17:03

    Al, read from the bottom up - i didn't start the ManUre VS LFC comments, but i WILL defend my team when retards attack, make no mistake ! Benitez's record thus far has been impressive - better than Fergie's & Wenger's first 5 & a 1/2 years, so true LFC fans won't complain at all ! I'm not saying that i don't ever get frustrated with his team selections or substitutions (or lack thereof), but he is the manager & knows alot more than all of the people who have commented here put together, incl. me !

  • AL - 2009-11-18 17:21

    Hear you TrueRed. Just prodding the fire.

  • Rambi - 2009-11-19 09:30

    @Lyndon..You seem to be one of the few intelligent beings who understand what this article is saying. I agree that the problem could be the rotation policy that Rafa has adopted. Even when Torres are Gerard are not playing at the same time, LFC have the potential to win against any team (Man U!). Rafa, fix your rotation and bench the slackers and we will start to win again.

  • LFC_4_Eva - 2009-11-19 14:33

    I wud like to say one thing, it aint over yet, LFC staged one of the greatest come backs in the history when they won the Champions League in 2005. We will come back, come back strong. LFC been playing well just that lady luck has be ducking...

  • Rafa da Star - 2009-11-20 15:57

    @KR good one! But Geeewiz, what if he had the likes of Cantona, Beckham, Ronaldo and the likes leaving him, what would he have done, this guy is a loser, just like his team. but at least he keeps us entertained.

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