Oct 21, 2010

Benitez rant a poor excuse for his Liverpool performance

By Ben Greenwood

Almost unnoticed amongst the speculation, shock and subsequent opinion-giving that came from the Wayne Rooney revelations were Rafa Benitez's comments regarding his former club Liverpool and “where it all went wrong”.

You have to read this mini-rant to believe it, so here it is:

“We have a saying in Spanish: 'White liquid in a bottle has to be milk'. What does this mean? It means that after 86 points and finishing second in the league, what changed?

"The Americans, they chose a new managing director and everything changed. So, what changed? The managing director is involved in all the decisions: new lawyer, new chief of press, new manager, nine new players, new medical staff, new fitness coaches - they changed everything.

"At the beginning, they changed the managing director who was talking with some players, and they changed everything that we were doing in the past.

"So, if you want to ask again what was going on, it's simple: they changed something and, at the end, they changed everything.

"So, white liquid in a bottle: milk. You will know who is to blame.

"White liquid in a bottle. If I see John the milkman in the Wirral, where I was living, with this bottle, I'd say, 'It's milk, sure'. The only thing I can say is that I'm sorry for the fans."

Alright, hands up who has the faintest idea what he is talking about? Milk? MILK?!

That aside, he is blaming the demise of Liverpool on Hicks and Gillett appointing Christian Purslow as managing director. Everything that went wrong stemmed from that appointment, apparently.

Ok, let's give the Inter Milan manager the benefit of the doubt for a know, before I launch a scathing attack on the man. Let's say that Purslow did sign nine new players without Benitez's input, let's say Purslow did appoint new medical staff and new fitness coaches without consulting the manager. For sure, this would not lead to anything good...but Rafa...hello...did it not occur to you to put a stop to this, to say “NO”, to point out YOU were the manager of the team and team matters?

Apparently you did not. Or more likely that isn't what happened at all. More likely, in fact, that you have responded Hicks' assessment that you signed a lot of mediocre players by trying to dump the blame back on him.

Now Hicks deserves nothing but contempt for the way he has acted during his ownership of Liverpool. Any shot at him is a valid one as long as it is based in fact. But Liverpool's failures on the pitch – the ongoing failures, remember – cannot solely be placed at his door.

Sorry, Rafa, but the assertion that you bought, in the main, below par players is a correct one. You only have to look on the pitch now to see this. The majority of players that run out at Anfield are still your signings, Mr Benitez, and they are not good enough.

Your tenure at Anfield was a failure, one European Cup aside. And allow me to pause here to point out that that was a European Cup won by Stephen Gerrard alone.

Your team and tactics had Liverpool 3-0 down to a far superior side until Gerrard, so often your saviour if you're honest with yourself, took it upon himself to drag Liverpool back into contention and on to a penalty shoot out victory.

Your Cantona-esque philosophical ramblings do nothing but show you up further. Hicks has left the club of Liverpool in a dire state but it was you that left the team a shadow of its former self.

It's best you keep quiet and focus on the task of following in the rather large footsteps of a certain Jose Mourinho, don't you think?

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