Benitez under pressure again

2010-01-27 06:56

England - Rafael Benitez silenced his critics with victory over Spurs less than a week ago.

But his detractors will be back in full voice again after their hugely disappointing 0-0 draw with relegation-threatened Wolves at Molineux on Tuesday.

If the interest emanating from Juventus is serious, regarding the Spaniard taking over as their next manager, opposition to his departure from Anfield will be reducing even further as a result.

Their inability to dispose of a Wolves team who had lost their previous three league games and failed to score a goal was painful to behold and once again the tactics of the Liverpool manager have been placed under the microscope.

The lowest scorers in the Premier League against the side with only 17 goals away from Anfield in all competitions did not bode well and it was attritional stuff.

Even with Steven Gerrard back after missing two games with a hamstring problem, Liverpool looked a million miles away from the side of their halcyon days and Alan Hansen's goal that delivered their last victory at Molineux back in 1979.

Gerrard was clearly still not fully fit and it was beyond the wildest expectations for him to conjure a match-winning performance on his own and Liverpool's decision to play with a solitary striker in Dirk Kuyt again raised question marks over the cautious tactics of Benitez.

His lack of adventure, against a side shot with self-doubt and a lack of confidence was staggering and once again Alberto Aquilani was the most expensive substitute the Premier League has seen for some time as he watched in despair at Liverpool's ineffectiveness.

Wolves were in no mood for adventure either, desperate to improve on a run of seven defeats in their last ten games, but employing Kevin Doyle as a lone striker meant chances for them would be at a premium.

Accepting them has been Wolves' Achilles heel all season and their regular failing came back to haunt them after they had frustrated Liverpool with their flooded midfield for over half an hour.

Counter-attacking from deep, Matt Jarvis exposed the danger of playing Jamie Carragher out of position as a right-back, because of his lack of pace and Doyle, one of the few genuine players of class at McCarthy's disposal, reacted swiftly to force his way ahead of Martin Skrtel and meet the winger's low cross at the near post.

But his instinctive flick was not delicate enough to defeat Pepe Reina.

Doyle was a constant menace, his willingness to cover the miles incredible and even in his solitary role, Liverpool's nerves creaked every time he was in possession.

He forced one save from Reina with a header, whilst off balance and another rising shot from 25 yards flew over the target with Reina again scrambling to position himself.

At least it passed as a threat, which is more than Liverpool posed throughout 45 minutes of complete ennui for their travelling support.

It was not until three minutes after the interval that they registered a shot on target.

When another passing move broke down, the ball looped up for Albert Riera to produce an instinctive and speculative lob from fully 30-yards.

For a fleeting moment Marcus Hahnemann wore the look of a worried man, until he regained his bearings and pushed the effort away one-handed. The fact that was their only effort on target in 90 minutes underlines Liverpool's ineffectiveness and the critics of Benitez will not have missed the point.


  • Wes - 2010-01-27 07:10

    I bet the 'so called' Liverpool 'supporters' will again be out in full force calling for the Manager's head. Let's support the club, team and the coaches during this challenging time. Benitez IS the right man for the job. We need to get rid of the Yanks!!! Yanks OUT NOW!!!

  • Soccer fan - 2010-01-27 07:27

    @ All Pool supporters, Don't worry, you guys can challenge for the Europa league next year.

  • ab - 2010-01-27 08:13

    real liverpool fan. this guy really needs to go, his tactical choices were hopeless last night yet agian. How do you leave a 20mil signing like Aquilani on the bench and play a useless no hope like Lucas. he is killing liverpool so that they finish badly this season when he leaves so that he can take all the good players with him. what an idiot, somebody fire him

  • Up the pool - 2010-01-27 08:42

    Please fire this guy he is ruining Liverpool football club.I watched 93 mins of football last night and useless Lucas never played but he was on the field while we sit out a quality player like Aqualani what is Benitez up to he needs a slap and a kick right out of Liverpool

  • TRUE Red - 2010-01-27 09:40

    Forget what the table says, we are NOT 5th, as the 3 teams below us have TWO games in hand & are very close, so we are more like 7th/8th. It's amazing - Aquilani & Degen were AWESOME against Spur's, but Rafa decides not to play them AT ALL ?! Then, when he finally makes a sub, he takes off a good player, Riera, instead of Lucas ! That also meant Stevie had to play LEFT WING - yes, you heard correct, LEFT WING ! WTF ?! And Lucas, I have to take my hat off to you - i've seen you play terrible, week in week out, but last night you took the word "pathetic" to a whole new level ! I like this from this article - "once again Alberto Aquilani was the most expensive substitute the Premier League has seen for some time as he watched in despair at Liverpool's ineffectiveness". After the game Rafa said we were missing that final pass in the final third, which i agree with 110%. So WHY play Lucas as the attacking midfielder, especially when you have a good player, Aquilani, on the bench, and a great player, Stevie, on the pitch ? How can he get his tactic's 100% right against a good team like Spurs, and then not take off Lucas last night against a bottom of the table team ? Is this his mind games with the owner's again to say "see how bad we are, you have to give me transfer funds" ? Or is he again thinking about the next game on Saturday & resting Degen & Aquilani ? Has he forgotten we are still missing 4 1st team players - Agger, Johnson, Benayoun & Torres ? Play your strongest team EVERY game Rafa, and PLEASE don't allow Lucas anywhere near the bench, never mind the starting 11 ! You say the squad is stronger than the critics say, which I agree with, so why make the good player's disheartened by sticking with Lucas - you can see they don't even want to pass to him unless he is the only option. He lost possession countless times last night, again, and can't even win easy 50/50 balls ! His pass's are going to get our good player's injured again as they are not direct & clear, so the guy's have to either track back, get tackled or have to stretch for it. HOW can't you see this ? You ARE a good coach, but too stubborn ! Admit to yourself that Lucas, at best, is a squad player & will never be an Alonso or even an Aquilani. DROP the friggin' idiot, NOW, if we are to get back in the Top 4, or it's over !

  • StevieG - 2010-01-27 09:41

    @wes , I do not think the biggest problem is the Yanks although they are admittedly at a loss as to how to run a premier league club . No , Liverpool's biggest problem is the manager and his tactics - I am certain the owners do not make the team selection for every game so a change in ownership will not result in a change in Rafa's tactics . Sir Alex is the greatest manager of the past two decades simply because he never makes the same mistake twice and is not afraid of losing ( not that he enjoys it ) . Even with a weakened back four United will still play their normal attacking style of football whereas Liverpool are so afraid of conceding that they have forgotten how to score . Gerrard will go at the end of the season - he is too good a player to be deprived of the chance at winning trophies because his manager is an idiot . GGMU !

  • Big K - 2010-01-27 12:04

    I was swopping between channels last nite and ended up watching the Spurs game instead, do u blame me? TrueRed, i hear u bro, i think Mash and Aquilni will be lethal!! Maybe he is tryin to use Lucas to F#$% things up to prove a point!! Stevie G still looks abit outa it!! Sorry guys but i have to say that its either City or Spurs for 4th, Villa blowing hot and cold!! Rafa shud jus go to Juve!!! I think there's more heartache in ur guys season still too come!! Should your'l require any Councilling, DR PHIL is willing to assist!!! Kiss Torres & Stevie G goodbye in the summer, rumour is 100 mil for Torres to City!!

  • Achmed The Dead Terorrist - 2010-01-27 12:18

    To All Liverppol a United supporter I really fee for you guys. If the tables were turned I know I would feel the same way. Guys, Rafa is not the only problem and niether is it only the Yanks. The players need to now stand up and be counted. At the end of the day they are on the filed playing the match not Rafa and not the Yanks.

  • Julian - 2010-01-27 13:18

    You see i said last week not get carried away with the Spurs result, cause RAFA is constantly capable of delivering "mind blowing " tactics.....what a said perfromance, what a said team....Benitez just F&$ off to we can rebuild the club!

  • Georgie Best - 2010-01-27 14:14

    Ha, ha, ha,ha! he should drop his poep pens, then he may release some that pressure he is under, Fat Pig Spanish waiter. If Man Utd beat them last season he would have been gone, now they have to pay him 20 million pound to FO.

  • Nudge - 2010-01-27 20:19

    Liverpool fans....did you really expect to win anything this season? I hope that Benitez stays forever!

  • Dr Phil - 2010-01-28 08:31

    I watched the game on Tuesday night - well the first half anyway - I did not allow myself to be subjected to such boredom at the wee hours of the night. I HAVE always enjoyed watching the likes of United, Arsenal (post Adams days), Chelsea, Spurs and LFC playing football - their style was/is expansive, exciting and suited to the continental game (that is why they all do well against European opposition) BUT for the last few games, I dread watching Liverpool play - I would rather watch bowls or netball than watch the Reds play. It has to be the coach and not the players - he is the central figure in team selection, playing style, tactics and ULTIMATELY team morale. Something is amiss here and he has to admit to a failure on his side. Rafa, do your supporters a favour and pull a Mickey Arthur on them - at least you still have a career in waitering.... p.s. I am not an LFC support but I hate to a great team suffer at the hands of an incompetent and arrogant pr!ck!!!

  • Adam - 2010-01-28 08:35

    Poor Liverpool. While bets are being taken on whether you will be 4th or 5th, what does it matter? You will still not win the premiership (again!). The Rude Spanish waiter should go back to Madrid and open a take-aways. While he stays, we United fans will keep on smiling. No worries for us, there! If he goes to Juventus, it will be their loss, Liverpool's gain!

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