Benitez scorns play-off plan

2010-02-17 18:26

Liverpool - Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has ridiculed the prospect of a play-off to decide which English Premier League side gets the fourth Champions League place.

The Premier League is considering alternatives to the current system of the top four automatically qualifying for European football's leading club competition.

Liverpool, the 2005 winners, have taken part in the Champions League for the last six seasons.

Despite slipping into the second tier Europa League, they are once again fighting with Manchester City, Tottenham and Aston Villa to finish fourth this season.

Benitez feels a play-off system would be unfair, because the team that finishes fourth could lose out on the Champions League to a side that has finished 20 points behind them.

He also thinks English teams already play too many matches and are stretched by the commitments of international competition.

Benitez, speaking at Anfield on Wednesday, said: "If a team finishes fourth and they have to play against a team that's finished seventh after a fantastic season, against a team that maybe finished 20 points behind, what does this mean?

"They (officials) want to keep the competition alive and then play probably four more games when you don't have time, when you play a lot of international football and the players go off with the international team.

"When will you play, how you will play these games?," the Spaniard asked. "What does it means for the team that finishes fourth to play against a team that finished seventh and maybe 20 points behind, maybe we can do the same with the teams at the bottom of the table."

Sarcastically, he added: "If you finish fourth you could play against the team that finished fourth bottom of the table and then we can play 50 games every season and we don't need to rest so it will be fantastic!

"And still people can be in their offices analysing the fixtures and creating different things and players will be injured, which we've had a lot.

"In England we have massive problems with injuries and if we carry on playing games, we will probably end up playing three games a week which will be fantastic for television.

"I'm trying to say that we are playing too much now. The players are injured because they are playing too many games."

Premier League chiefs floated the idea of a '39th' league game in Asia only to see it sink under the weight of fan, club and media criticism.

And Benitez said: "They were talking about the 39th game, games in Asia, now the play-offs, we'll be playing until the end of the century at this rate."

Having failed to qualify from the group stages of the Champions League, Liverpool open their campaign in the second tier Europa League with a tie against Romania's Unirea Urziceni at Anfield on Thursday.

After the disappointment in the Champions League, Benitez insists Liverpool will not be taking the Romanian champions lightly.

"The main thing is that the other team is a good team, they did really well in the group stage of the Champions League, they have changed their manager but they are well organised, compact and they play good counter-attacking football," he said.

"The videos we have seen show that they are a good team.

"If you analyse now, this round, you will see a difference in quality between the Champions League and the Europa League.

"But the semi-finals, the quarter finals, any club in the Europa League in the semi final will be good enough to be in the Champions League.

"We will try to do well because we know if we can win it will be a big boost for the rest of the season.

"We know we have to do well against (Manchester) City this weekend so if we can play well and win this one, it will be better for the next one."


  • Hardus - 2010-02-17 19:49

    Can't agree more ... if you ended 4th after 38 games played in the league per team it should be where it ends ...

  • Willie - 2010-02-17 21:09

    its right that there is a play off. If say Liverpool don't deserve to be fourth, but they have just been lucky, it is only fair that they should be eliminated in a playoff and allow a better team to represent England. It has happened many times that Liverpool finish fourth but are only the ninth or 11th best team in the league.

  • SAGE - 2010-02-17 21:17

    If they fired him two seasons ago in favour of Guus Hiddinck we wouldnt be having this situation to contend with! Go Rafa you Spanish moegoe!

  • @willie - 2010-02-18 08:57

    What rock did you crawl out under? How can the team that finishes 4th in a league competition only be the 9th best team???? It's dumb morons like you that shouldn't have access to the internet to sprout your shite. What a friggin dork! You must be a supporter of Manure.LOL

  • Naz - 2010-02-18 10:27

    Hahaha.. Rafa's is only trying to save the embarrasement of losing to bottom ranked teams if the playoff system happens... :-)

  • liv4life - 2010-02-18 11:19

    @willie where do you come from any team that ends 4 have played there heart out to be there because they know what they playing for then you get stupid idiots like you that are allowed to browse the internet and send shit remarks the first time i heard of you as well are you sure you on the right page where you send your comment this is not softball its called football idiot LIVERPOOOOOOOOOOOOOL

  • Big K - 2010-02-18 14:18

    Playoffs is K@K, whoever is 4th deserves to be there, irrespective of which team they are!! I say F#$% the Playoffs!

  • Nash the Gunner - 2010-02-18 15:47

    @ Bik K, agreed, we all saw in the FA Cup, Carling Cup, other playoffs that anything could happen over 2 legs(AC Milan not making CL 2 last season), i also feel that a team in the top 4 deserves to be there, what if a team that lays lower down the log are very lucky on the night and wins, wouldnt it be unfair on the team that worked hard all season long, and what would it do to the mentality of the players because they could feel that they don't have to work hard during the season because there is always playoffs at the end of the season... besides it will make the CL extremely boring with these average teams qualifying due to 1 good day at the office instead of playing good football all season to be there, imaging Hull making it

  • TRUE Red - 2010-02-19 09:28

    After 38 games, you finish where you deserve, finish & klaar. I'm not saying that because we fighting for 4th this season only, but would have said so when we finished 2nd last season as well. It would kill the league IMHO, as you only have to finish 7th after the whole season to stand a chance at CL footie ?! Willie obviously doesn't know anything about football so just ignore him

  • Big K - 2010-02-19 14:19

    @Willie, u are as dumb as your name suggests, i commented on the article but dint read the other comments, now after seeing your comments, u should Go back to playing with little Willie, since when has a team that finished 4th, deserves to be 9th?? Mathematically, if you look at the points between 4th position and 9th position, ders an average of bout 9-10 points (give or take)over the years and thats 3 wins (and a draw)!!! So stop being a P00s and go lubricate you INSIGNIFICUNT!!! Ders no such thing as luck being 4th and being 9th u dumbassssssssssssssss, its worlds apart!!! I still say F#$% the Playoffs, wat bull$#IT!!!

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