Liverpool Message Board
This is just an effort to set up a little debate, not a slagging match. I hope most take it as that.
Many on here have been calling for Rafa's head due to our poor performance this season. Much of the criticism is valid. Our chances of following up last years strong title run with another title run were realistically lost a while back. Now even a top 4 finish is looking like a battle, and not just the dropping out of CL, but the way we did it obviously shows at least in the first half of the season we've gone backward.
If we do not finish in the top 4, and at least make a strong run at the silverware still on offer, then I and I think many others will also be calling for Rafa's head at the end of the season. Going from a strong title chase, to an also ran is just not good enough.
But, the season is only a little over half over, so what if the rest of the season looks a little different. What if we do get ourselves back into the top 4? What if at least one of the current top 3 has a wobble, which based on current performances, is not a far fetched idea, and we can actually get beyond just 4th place? What if we do more than just a decent run in the remaining competitions, and actually pick up silverware, either the FA cup, the Europa league, or even dare I dream, both?
I'm fairly sure most will be calling for changes if we don't turn things around this term, especially if the core players remain healthy. But what will others being saying if we do actually turn our season around?
Dave even if we won, the Uefa Cup. FA Cup and came in the top four I would still want him to go.
Something has happened in that club for a team to lose out to Manure by four points to a team that made Reading look like Brazil and the first port of call to try and find the problem is the manager.
- 1 Reply to Kenny 7 Suarez
I agree that ultimate responsibility does have to go to the manager (as does the credit I might add) if we cannot turn things around, which is why I expect to join those calling for his head if that comes to pass. And, I understand you've had a fundamental change of heart on the boss. But I think it’s a fair proposition to give him till the end of the season, and therefore allow his to rise above, or hang himself.
But if he is able to rise above, I think credit where credit is due. Mind you, and I don't necessarily count you in this statement, I think the more likely outcome is silence from some quarters. Its strange how some of the most frequent posters at the moment were all but non existent on these boards when we were chasing the title last season. Got a feeling if Rafa fails the volume on here will get very loud, but if he succeeds many will be either silent, or posting under different ID's.
For what it´s worth, here in Spain many many supporters do not like Rafa. They say he is not good with the players, has an inflexible style of management, fails to inspire etc and that what he did at Valencia was not sustainable. At the same time, those same supporters like Liverpool because of the large number of Spanish players in particular "El Nino" and are dismayed with the current scene. So, it´s not just we brits who are talking! Furthermore, they were saying the same things last season too!
To be honest Dave, I think there is a good chance we will get in to the top-four, its not a foregone conclusion by any means, but despite the sh*t season we have had, we are only 4 points off that.
The thing for me is, the team is going backwards, not enough pace, no width, too many cr*p buys, and playing with 2 holding midfielders, not enough support for Torres etc. After 5 years the squad should be in better nick than it is, like everyone says, Spurs' squad is much better, and Redknapp has only been there a year!
If you use the same methods you get the same results and Rafa never changes his methods!
He should go at the end of the season full stop! We got rid of Houllier the season after finishing second, the same should happen to Rafa. I will always love the guy for Istanbul and some unforgettable nights on the way, but he has had enough time, and dare I say it, enough money! Its who we get to replace him. Mourinho would not come without guarantees of serious investment in the team, so it wouldn't surprise me if we did go for Roy Hodgson either way, Rafa has had enough time!
What a "courageous" post, Dave. This early in the season. You are really asking people to stand up and be counted, aren't you?
For my two bobs worth, it is more than just the manager's performance that has put us in our current position. I think a combination of issues came together and totally undermined us early in the season and we just haven't recovered.
1) The loss of Alonso was ENORMOUS. The whole Barry affair was a fiasco from start to finish. Maybe if Rafa was more of a people person Alonso could have been coaxed to stay.
2) The number of injuries to key personnel in October. We lost 5 of our 6 games that month and drew the first 3 in November.Four of those EPL games we WOULD/SHOULD have expected to win normally. That's 10 points lost. And Europe, basically, too. Look at some of the team lineups we were forced to field in October and you can see why it got so bad. According to "The Physio Room" our injury list for late Sept through October included Masch, Benny, Torres, Kuyt, Gerrard ,Riera, Johnson, Aurelio and of course Aqua. That's pretty much our first team.
Now, some of our posters on here will say Rafa should have bought decent players to make sure we could cover any injuries.
I respond "What with?" We now all know the owners will not release big sums of money for Rafa to buy decent players. Look at the Barry saga as a prime example. All it needed was 18mill - a bargain in today's market. And we might have kept Alonso into the bargain when he reminded us all just how good he really was last season. Just think, Alonso, Gerrard, Barry and Masch as our core midfielders and Lucas as their understudy. Aqua? Who needs him?
What happened to all of the Alonso money, anyway? Where is the Voronin/Doessena money going? Just how long has this been going on?
I bet Rafa doesn't get 20+ mill to spend on one player in January. Hence the continual arrival of "squad players" at the club. Is that really the managers fault?
See next post for more.
3) Player performances this season. Whether it is injuries, lack of confidence, poor team selection or strategy the fact remains that some of our players, especially some of our key players have performed abysmally this season. Team tactics have nothing whatsoever to do with a player's ability to control the ball and play a simple 10 yd pass to a team mate. So why is it so many of our players have, at times been totally incapable of performing these two simple feats? Do we blame the manager for this, too? These guys are professional footballers! Have they no pride in their own performance, let alone the shirt? My junior school team showed better basic football skills than our team has in some recent games. It has been nothing short of embarassing watching some of our recent games.
4) Strategy. Here ALL blame rests firmly at the feet of the manager. We finished 2nd last season and lost only 2 EPL games. Why? Same team, pretty much. Same manager. Same owners. Same opposition. So, what has changed?
We flew home in the second half of last season because Rafa seemed to throw away his notebook and sent the team out with one simple message - ATTACK. It IS the best form of defence. We had drawn SO MANY games the season before, games we should have won. That wasn't allowed to happen last season.
This season we started well but we, or at least Rafa seems to have fallen back on his old ways. When things started to go pear shaped in October the team went back to "not loosing" as the number one priority rather than "let's win at all cost." The team consequently defends too deep, has no-one as a pressure outlet up front and basically just hoik the ball as far away from our goal as possible.
So, my answer to your question?
It is not ALL the fault of Benitez.
He HAS managed to pull us up to being a "top four club" once again, ignoring the current position which may still be salvaged in the second half of the season.
He HAS managed to secure some very good players for us.
He did, very nearly, deliver last season.
Regardless of the result this season I don't think he should be shown the door.
Think back to what he achieved last season. If we had a bit more luck with injuries this October might never have happened, we could have 43 points, still be in ECL and be sitting in 3rd place and therefore seriously in line to challenge, once again for the EPL title.
I think it would benefit the club immensely if Rafa were to do two things:
1) Show more emotion. Players will respond to a pat on the back. Rifts can be mended if sympathetic communication takes place. Teams can lift when they see their manager display obvious pleasure with their efforts on the touch line.
2) Throw away the notebook. There is only one thing the players need to be told, only one strategy that needs to be adopted - ATTACK. Keep it simple but ATTACK. No fancy flicks, no hoiks from defence, no shooting from 50 yds out. Simple, accurate passes that move the team forward.
I also think the management needs to play it's part.
1) There must be large sums of money available to buy a single player when a hole is identified and a player is targeted as the solution. We can't keep settling for second or third best. If we need a central striker, and many of us now think we do, find the right player and buy him. Regardless (almost) of what it costs. We are suppsoed to be a great club. we should be buying top shelf players, not rubbish.
2) The future of the club lies in it's youth. We MUST develop our own players, not keep having to buy them for exorbitant prices. Management, including Rafa and the owners, must attract good quality young players to our club, not keep selling them off. You can almost see Utd's team for the next 5 or 10 years already in the making. Young players are brought on, given experience next to older players and encouraged to develop at Utd. Where is our team for the next 5 years or so? We are just starting to see a couple of the youngsters but we have had to wait until the club is in crisis for it to happen.
These kids are our future and they cost bugger all to buy.
They must be developed.
They must have a stable and successful environment in which to do it.
- 1 Reply to ajay
Lot of good points in here Ajay. I think its clear that Rafa is not perfect, as no man is. But by and large I think he's done a good job with finite money, and lets not forget a dysfunctional board. So think he deserves at least till the summer before we pass judgment.
One point on the injury question, and need for cover. I remember a few years ago much discussion that we had too many squad players, and not enough real class. Maybe in some ways the squad has swung the other way. Our better players are more numerous now, with the likes of Torres, Gerrard, Masch, Riena, and Johnson. However since the back ups are weaker, if a number of them go down at once it really hurts. So the question is with the same amount of cash do we get in 2 good players for each position, or 1 great, and one decent for each position?
I still say he has to go...His goal was to win the league in five years he has not done that..Can you or I stay in a high profile job and not meet our business objectives...Spent plenty of cash and not built a consistant wining team......Nice try but if a business is not doing well management has to be changed a a fresh approach taken................
now i think the time is for rafa to go but people keep saying about his promise of winning the title in 5 years and that got me wondering about a couple of points:
a. Would people have been happy if, when he first joined us, he had said I will win the title in 10 years (rather than 5)? I doubt it.
b. Would people still want him here now if he had said it would take 10 years (not 5) as he would still have a chance to meet that target with 4 season to go after this one?