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Rafa's Red Missed

Robbo Robson | 10:24 UK time, Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Am I alone in not knowing what to make of Rafael Benitez?

The Blue Bell regulars up here insist the bloke's done pretty good bagging trophies and reaching finals... me, I can't help feeling he has one thing going for him - Steven Gerrard.

You think of the trophies Stevie G has won almost single-handedly - the Champs League, the FA Cup - Liverpool would have been on the thick end of a hiding if it wasn't for He of the Low Hairline.

Rafa Benitez

In the last couple of games, Gerrard has been just as immense in taking on the Bluenoses (and the 'orrible chants from the fans). And meanwhile Benitez sits on the touchline writing out ideas in his little notebook. What's he writing in there? I bet it's not a shopping list. If his work in the transfer market is owt to go by, his missus'd never let him near Morrisons!

You can see it now - Rafa comes home and offloads the groceries and she's all "What you go and buy some more Spanish sausage for? The shelves are full of dried up, uninspiring lumps of meat - and you get more?"

"I buy custard, too!"

"Custard!!! We are having mushroom soup, coq au vin and cheese and biscuits - where you think I can fit custard into that?"

"I am sorry!"

"AND the custard was £20 a tin! Aieee! Rafa! It's like Robbie Keane all over again."

Of course Benitez'd disagree. He's not putting his name to anything until he gets more control over transfer dealings. But how can you give ultimate power to a man who pays £20m for Keane and then leaves him out of the squad? If he doesn't fit into the gaffer's plan now when the games are coming like Homer Simpson in a Ferrari - thick and fast - then when will he?

No chairman, or chief executive or chief whatever else is in the comfy chairs at Anfield, could let a man with his track record of purchases have sole control.

The current chanting by Man U fans that suggests Benitez is losing his grip on reality is going a bit far, but after the two 1-1s recently, resorting to moaning about the way the opposition played is pretty feeble stuff.

It's an age-old gripe by indulged managers. It's not our fault - they were nasty. They parked a bus in front of the goal, they got men behind the ball, they tackled us, they tried to stop us scoring! My heart bleeds.

You never hear a lower club manager whingeing 'It's not fair, they've got better players than us and they kept passing it to each other and trying to score! Wahhhhhhh!'

Any road, who goes to Anfield and takes Liverpool on (apart from Barnsley?) Fulham and Stoke have proved that it's not hard to keep them out so why play open?

Besides which Moyes had precisely no strikers at his disposal. None. Still, we'll put Phil Neville at centre-forward, play 2-3-5, and if that doesn't work we'll tie Yakubu and Shah's legs together and see if we can get one fit forward out of the two of them.

It's the equivalent of having a boxing match against a bloke with his hands manacled together and complaining 'cos he keeps on moving his head out the way.

It's nonsense! And despite the fact Rafa claims only one side was trying to win, Everton were 1-0 up at half-time, thanks to the fact that Tim Cahill was freer than a pensioner's bus pass when that corner was knocked in.

And any road, how many times have we seen Rafa's reds cling on to a narrow lead rather than force the issue and go for a second? Liverpool play their best stuff when they're behind and their worst stuff when they're in front. Eriksson's England were the same.

Liverpool's frontline should have enough wit, imagination, and class to force a win against such unambitious opponents, especially if £20m worth is creosoting his fence.

Torres, the one truly great signing of Benitez's reign, showed he has some of that, but the rest... Ryan Babel? Barney Rubble'd be a better bet... Bennayoun? Yeah he sounds like a great Scouser but he's called Yossi not Yosser... Kuyt? Works so hard you'd think he played for Moyes but he hit his late chance with all the conviction of a Pat Nevin penalty.

In fact the real fox in the box looked like Jamie Carragher after that fantasy football shimmy in the first half! (Jamie Carragher, Johann Cruyff... same initials...)

You wouldn't worry for Rafa if you felt there was an attempt by the club to pour oil on troubled waters, but the fact that it appears to be Kuwaiti oil isn't going to make Rafa's position any more secure.

In a battle against Hicks and Gillett (not the best a fan could get) the odds are stacked in Rafa's favour. But with a bottomless vat of cash to spend, should Rafa be the man to waste it - ermm, spend it?

I'm told the Kop love the man, but you get a Liverpool fan on his own, and they'll tell you different.

I watched it with a bloke called Sammy who's a top lad but a bit uppity when Liverpool are playing - he effs like a top TV comedian every time Torres goes down 'cos he thinks that's his season over - and contrary to the popular song, quite often walks alone when he heads back from the boozer.

Sammy'll tell you Benitez is a bit petulant, a poor operator in the transfer market and too negative. And if you offered to swap him with Mourinho he'd bite your hand off.

I just wonder whether Sammy's truly in the minority or not. Let us know. In the meantime I hope Rafa proves us doubters wrong. Cos we need a new name on the Premier League trophy and I think the Boro might just miss out this year.

P.S. What's the similarity between M&S and Chelsea football club? Both of them always have comfy draws. (Come on Watford, prove me wrong!)

Comments

  • 1. At 12:58pm on 27 Jan 2009, liverpoolscot wrote:

    Benitez is an exacting manager and maybe should learn to keep his thoughts to himself sometimes. However with regards to Keane the strong rumour is that was a Rick Parry signing and not sanctioned by Benitez hence his insistence on having control over player transfers in his new contract.

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  • 2. At 1:04pm on 27 Jan 2009, stevenicolsleftpeg wrote:

    Torres, the one truly great signing of Benitez's reign.
    Three golden gloves in a row for Pepe Reina suggests otherwise and i've that lad Mascherano can kick a ball, not to mention Alonso, Agger and Skrtel.
    No self respecting Liverpool fan would take Mourinho as manager.

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  • 3. At 1:05pm on 27 Jan 2009, dannymc22 wrote:

    Finally someone agrees with me. I am a Liverpool fan and i am somewhat annoyed with rafa's buys. Reina, Skrtel, alonso, mascherano and torres - excellent. The rest all deadwood!

    Benayoun,kuyt,babel, keane,arbeloa,dossena,voronin,lucas,sissoko,
    degen,pennant,bellamy,morientes,josemi,nunez
    kromkamp

    Im sure theres more!!!

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  • 4. At 1:06pm on 27 Jan 2009, stevenicolsleftpeg wrote:

    And another thing Victor Anichebe is a striker so it's Evertons problem that they decide to play him on the right wing and not up front.

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  • 5. At 1:07pm on 27 Jan 2009, Damien Druce wrote:

    absolute class, not a word you would attribute to benitez or his liverpool team. manchester united on the trophy again this year, i think so.

    ps. fergie is no angel in the transfer market but the proof is in the pudding - titles!

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  • 6. At 1:14pm on 27 Jan 2009, sparq2112 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 7. At 1:18pm on 27 Jan 2009, sparq2112 wrote:

    damiendruce, you'll be eating your own word come May, Benitez will do the business either this year or next and deliver us the Prem Tittle, and quicker than it took Taggot at United !

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  • 8. At 1:18pm on 27 Jan 2009, forshaw1970 wrote:

    All managers make mistakes - think Fergir and think Massimo Taibi, Diego Forlan, Veron etc...

    We do not know what Rick parry has sanctioned in the past but clearly Keane was his idea.

    Benitez would have taken Barry over Keane if given the choice.

    On the subject of Fergie and the proof in the pudding - cast your mind back to an FA Cup game where he was one game away from the sack. The only person who saved him was Bobby Charlton and the result he got that night. 5 years into the job at OT, that is how long it took Fergie to win anything.

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  • 9. At 1:18pm on 27 Jan 2009, mrbrownred wrote:

    I am a Liverpool fan and a Rafa fan. I now sit on the Kop after standing there for many years. How quickly you jump on the anti Rafa bandwagon. without even considering the facts. I know Rafa is the right man and wouldn't swap him for Jose even with his Russian budget.

    To say his dealings in the transfer market have not been good apart from Torres ignores the facts. Reina, Alonso and Torres have formed the spine of our team supported by Skertel and Agger. Add to this list Mascherano, Arbeloa, Riera and Kuyt and that is quite a list of first team players with an average cost of about £5-6million. In the case of Kuyt any lesser manager would have dropped Kuyt last season but our Rafa knows better and we have seen the best of him this season where we has won 4 or 5 key games for us already.

    This one man 'Gerrard' team nonsense has got to stop. Many lazy 'jounalists' say the same thing. Did you really think this up yourself or are you just requoting? I don't suppose you bothered to count the number of games we have won without him or when he has played poorly? Yes on Sunday Gerrard had a great game but earlier in the season he struggled with his form and it was left to others to perform. You lazy writers all talk about him and Torres as match winners. But did you bother to count the number of points Reina has won us this season or Kuyt or Riera? El Zhar has even been the difference in a couple of games. But I suppose that is too hard for you to work out.

    Keep churnin out the same rubbish. I'm sure there are enough stupid people to actually believe you. For now me and Mr Benetiz will stick to the facts.

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  • 10. At 1:19pm on 27 Jan 2009, KevM4444 wrote:

    Some valid points but how on earth can you say that Torres is his only decent signing? Is Reina not now regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in Europe? Do you not hold Mascherano and Alonso with the same amount of regard as a lot of top European clubs do? Are Skrtel and Agger not two of the best centre halves in the Premiership?
    I'd argue that Benitez has a pretty decent track record in the transfer market. Have Ferguson, Wenger and Mourinho never bought a "dud" player? It's easy to jump on the Benitez knocking bandwagon at the moment but at least have a think before making a statement like that.

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  • 11. At 1:21pm on 27 Jan 2009, SummersIron wrote:

    Some very funny jokes in this blog. Unfortunately, the one that would have been the wittiest was spoiled by spelling Saha as 'Shah'. I do hope you correct this so that others will be able to fully enjoy a humorous mental image.
    The shopping list analogy was good, but I object to you referring to the unwanted meat as 'Spanish'. Other than Gerrard, the best players in that team are Reina, Alonso and Torres. Riera (who I presume you were chiefly referring to), bar one poor game, is as decent a winger as Liverpool could hope to sign with their available resources.
    Also, I have a general question for Liverpool fans:
    I seem to remember them signing a player called Flora, which caused endless hilarity on the transfer window 606 thread. What has become of him? I shall be much obliged to anyone who can enlighten me on this.

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  • 12. At 1:21pm on 27 Jan 2009, EdinburghPremFan wrote:

    I love the boxing comment - very funny!

    I couldn't agree more about Robbie Keane though, why pay £20m for a striker and then leave him out of the squad entirely!

    I think given time Keane will come good for Liverpool, but no matter how much a player says he'll remain confident, and has belief in himself....if you're manager is dropping you week in, week out from the squad then your confidence will surely take a battering.

    Man Utd will win the league, and I truly think for all Rafa's progress with the Reds (Champ League, FA Cup) it is time for someone else to come in during the summer.

    Anyone else agree?

    Good blog though Robbo...keep it up

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  • 13. At 1:22pm on 27 Jan 2009, rossarmstronguk wrote:

    Hilarious article Robbo. Kind of strange that Benitez would come in for such criticism given this is the season they have managed to at least maintain a credible title challenge.

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  • 14. At 1:22pm on 27 Jan 2009, BoDiddley wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 15. At 1:25pm on 27 Jan 2009, Samwell2804 wrote:

    More Great Stuff Robbo,

    on top form again, keep it up mate

    "If his work in the transfer market is owt to go by, his missus'd never let him near Morrisons!" - brilliant

    loved the lil Mr and Mrs Benitez sketch, the images it conjurs up, u could just imagine them ranting like that! haha

    "thanks to the fact that Tim Cahill was freer than a pensioner's bus pass when that corner was knocked in. " - makes u wonder how the smallest man on the pitch can once again out fox the liverpool defence, to make it 2 in 2games against them!

    No dout we will have some Liverpool moaners on here soon, because "your bad mouthing their club and picking on them again" waaaahhhhhh

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  • 16. At 1:26pm on 27 Jan 2009, Kopclass wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 17. At 1:27pm on 27 Jan 2009, forshaw1970 wrote:

    I would also make the point that much is made of Liverpool being a one trick pony aka Steven Gerrard. Now a two trick pony with Torres.

    I would point you Robbo in the direction of Man u. Last season without Ronaldo they would have won nothing. The beginning of this season he was missing and man u couldn't buy a win.

    Now he is back and nearer last seasons form man u are winning games though not quite as easily.

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  • 18. At 1:29pm on 27 Jan 2009, Damien Druce wrote:

    let me clear up my earlier point.

    yes i am a united fan and yes i will always want my team to win the league. but i would sooner the race be between manchester and merseyside anyday. its more passionate and much more interesting.

    with regards to fergie he has made some awful signings over the years and so long as he doesnt retire at the end of the season (as suspected) then he will make more mistakes in the transfer market.

    benitez has done a good job and his rant was valid but more importantly it was INTERESTING!

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  • 19. At 1:29pm on 27 Jan 2009, benlons84 wrote:

    I'm a liverpool fan, and I completely support Benitez. But, he can test the best of us. Keane is undoubtedly a great player, but lets be honest, the reason he didn't play against Everton is because he has been a poor imitation of himself this season. He has missed plenty of open goals (remember the Preston game??) and been completely forgettable in almost all of his appearences in a red shirt.

    Benitez has bought some expensive duds, but so has every manager. £17m for Reyes? Nani? Shevchenko? The class of Alonso, Agger, Skrtel, Mascherano, Torres and Rirera should be enough to suggest he is capable of picking a good player.

    The problem with Benitez is not his signings but his inability to go for the game, win it with attacking flair. We have the players, but the tactics are normally cautious to the point of being unneccesarily defensive!

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  • 20. At 1:31pm on 27 Jan 2009, svoures wrote:

    Your friend Sammy is indeed a minority. I live in Liverpool and the vast majority of Liverpool fans are 100% behind Benitez and the fact that he wants free reign on transfers.

    Most of the ones against him watch a bit too much of the likes of Sky, where whatever he does is wrong.

    As for his 'unsuccesfull' signings, let's not forget how much money 'Mr Ferguson' spent on the likes of Veron, Kleberson, Forlan, Bellion...even the likes of Nani and Anderson who have 1 good game every 29th February...and with the transfers all handled by him.

    Yes Rafa had some bad signings, but this can happen when you are refused to buy the ones you want and you have to go for second or third choices (see Pennant). Even Keane was not Rafa's choice. A lot of them were also on a free transfer.

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  • 21. At 1:32pm on 27 Jan 2009, sparq2112 wrote:

    I can't believe all these idiots posting on here, they must be Everton fans or United fans because surely every Liverpool fan (Frustrated at times, I Know) can see what class Benitez is.

    3 European cup finals in 6 years, alright he's lost 1 at Valencia and Liverpool, but won it for us in Istanbul.

    The very same people who have been slagging off our premiership form for the past 3 years, why are the still moaning now.

    We are level on points with United, goal difference separates us ( they do have a game in hand, but have to win or draw it)

    But we are still very much in the race, and who would have thought that come February ?

    Me neither .

    Sparq

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  • 22. At 1:36pm on 27 Jan 2009, stephendcarr77 wrote:

    I'd have to agree with most of the comments regarding Rafa's transfers. Reina, Arbeloa (an absolute steal at £2.5million), Alonso, Mascherano, Riera, Agger and Skrtel were bought for a total of £56million. Their value now would be conisiderably more. When he has had money to spend, he has spent it well. When he hasn't had the cash, he has bought pretty poorly (Benayoun and Pennant spring to mind). But you get what you pay for don't you? Match regulars will of course point to the £10 million spent on Kuyt, whose second touch is nearly always a header and Babel (£10.5 million), who is beyond frustrating. On reflection, it appears that Liverpool have the only two Dutch players who cannot control a football.

    People may point to Keane, and we did overpay, but it's the board who agree fees, not the manager and he is a very good player, but the move clearly has not worked out. This was also the case for Morientes, albeit for significantly less money, where his track record suggested Rafa had made a great signing but it obviously did not turn out that way.

    One of biggest mistakes, however, was the £7 million purchase of Dossena - a supposed attacking defender who can neither attack nor defend - when we already had Aurellio and the extremely promising Insua.

    No manager has a perfect record on transfers and it is interesting that Rafa's seem to be subject to more discussion than most....

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  • 23. At 1:37pm on 27 Jan 2009, Bangforyourbuck wrote:

    Would this "Sammy" fella happen to have the last name of Lee...?

    I'm now utterly convinced that when Gerard Houllier parted ways, he went off for a couple of years, grew a goatee and then removed Benitez and became his doppelganger. The signings and the tactics are exactly the same, there were even rumours of Heskey returning, how more concrete can you get???? Also, for Florent Sinama-Pongolle read El Zhar, for Antony Le Tallec read David Ngog.

    I'm telling you, the conspiracy theory starts here...

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  • 24. At 1:37pm on 27 Jan 2009, welshrarebit73 wrote:

    Fair do's that article is spot on. This season we should have pushed on and been clear in the title race, by about 5 or 6 points even after the mancs played their games in hand. Why can everyone see that to win a game you need to SCORE more goals than the opposition except for our manager. I fear that this is going to end up a lot like Houllier, where a once revered and thoroughly likeable manager is going to end up being derided over transfer dealings and selection policy. Torres and Keane would be a dream regular front pairing, but instead of giving them the chance to gel, he always halls Keane off, and as for playing Kuyt on the right wing, what is it about him that makes him think he can convert a striker to that position (remember Cisse?) I really do think that it may be for the best if he does not sign the contract and we go our seperate ways. Who would replace him? Answers on a postcard, but something needs to change very soon

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  • 25. At 1:37pm on 27 Jan 2009, stuExeterCity wrote:

    At number 6, i think he had a budget of considerably more than £25mil off the top of my head he signed the below players for around those amounts (again based on the figures i remember being bartered around at the time) not to mention a few younger players which went straight into the reserves who would have cost around a million each.

    Andrea Dossena £7mil
    Diego Cavalieri £3mil
    Robbie Keane £20Mil
    David N'Gog £2mil
    Albert Riera £12mil

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  • 26. At 1:38pm on 27 Jan 2009, SundayShambler wrote:

    If we win anything this year it will be despite Rafa not because of him. We know we have some great players so why does Rafa not play them all together? Against Everton at home in the league he wanted to go defensive when we went one up, so why not bring Mascherano on. Probably the best defensive midfielder in the country. For buying Lucas he needs his head examining.

    I wouldnt give Rafa the responsibility to spend his pocket money never mind millions on transfers. I hope we get new owners and a new manager.

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  • 27. At 1:39pm on 27 Jan 2009, Bald and Proud wrote:

    Well i for one commend ye Robbo on yet another fine piece.

    The hypocrisy of Rafa knows no bounds, the only manager of the "big four" who will go into games with the "1 point is better than 0" philosophy, essentially his Liverpool team are built to contain the opposition and hope that Torres or Gerrard will nick them a goal.

    How dare any team decide to defend against the mighty Liverpool, with all that history blah blah blah, same old tripe they've been trotting out for years now. Besides which it is probably easier for teams to defend against Liverpool than it is to attack them, the defence is pretty formidable i admit and if you stop Gerrard and Torres then you are as good as 1 point better off.

    PS. If rafa were to sort out the marking on set pieces then would probably find that those draws could be turned into wins, but hey i guess Rafa knows best?

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  • 28. At 1:39pm on 27 Jan 2009, Samwell2804 wrote:

    oh i do love all these moaning Liverpool fans(as much as i love any of the big teams moaning when anything is said against them/their team)

    stevenicolsleftpeg - come off it mate - As Neutral I struggle to see how any of Liverpools players, apart from Gerrard and Torres would, get into any of the other big club teams, wouldnt choose skrtel/agger over Ferdinand/Vidic or Terry/Carvalho and i wouldnt choose Alonso/Mascherano over Carrick/Scholes/Hargreaves or Lampard/Essien/Ballack

    and as for Reina, i think id still choose Cech or VDS, as for me the only reason he looks good is because for years now Liverpool have played that ultra defensive game under Benitez, plus he cant even displace Casillas as Spain no1 - oh let me guess its a nationalist thing because he doesnt play in spain!!!

    and as for all of you who say your not a 1man team.......come off it........how blind are u all.......if it wasnt for Roy of the Rovers ud probably be an ordinary run of the mill top 10team?! hes everything to your team any halfwit can see that

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  • 29. At 1:41pm on 27 Jan 2009, loboche wrote:

    Years ago I was sat watching a Man Utd game in the Champions League in Cyprus. United were a goal up with 20 minutes to go. Fergie took a midfield player off and brought on Andy Cole who scored another goal. The local commentators went on about it being a sign of a great team scoring another goal instead of going on the defensive. Only an idiot would say that Liverpool are not a great team. Yet to me Benitez first step is usually backwards, preserve the lead. How often do you see him really go for it?? It doesn't always work out. You might lose one point, but sometimes you gain two.

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  • 30. At 1:41pm on 27 Jan 2009, adamstownfc wrote:

    Benitez only has a squad of cup players. Besides the obvious gerrard, alonso....etc... the rest do not have the bottle to win games against the small teams. No point in beating united, chelsea and dropping ridiculous points at home which is a regular feature under Benitez. Liverpool are only title challengers because United, Chelsea and Arsenal has performed so poorly in the first half of the season. Liverpool fans want the league more than a CL, FA Cup or CC and the only way this will be achieved is to get rid of Benitez. His get out of jail cards have been cups, its time to show either you have it or you don't.

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  • 31. At 1:42pm on 27 Jan 2009, Chaddyroar wrote:

    Golden Gloves or not, I don't fancy reina. He looks prone to a rick, there's just something about him that's got 'dodgy keeper' emblazened on my mind every time I see him.

    Sooner or later he will cost Liverpool something big.

    Carragher, Alonso, Gerrard and Torres. Now they are proper players. I believe any manager in Europe would welcome these players into their squad, with Stevie G and El Nino commanding a starting spot in pretty much any team. The boy Agger is coming along too and Mascherano can be class when he takes responsibility and does his assigned job.

    But the rest of the squad are poor when compared to Chelsea and Man U. even Villa's squad now looks deeper than the Scousers'.

    Over the course of a protracted season, including european games and international breaks, this Liverpool squad will be found out and cannot continue to challenge on three fronts in my opinion.

    Liverpool fans want United stopped from equalling their League Championship record. Liverpool will never have a better chance to do that than this season. If Man United win the league AND Liverpool fail to win the Champion's league, it will cost Benitez his job.

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  • 32. At 1:42pm on 27 Jan 2009, its_marts9711 wrote:

    I agree with the points made about the quantity of good signings Benitez has made compared to how many he is given credit for. Altghough he has failed to bring in any quality in the wing back positions which is where it is needed most. As a liverpool fan i believe he has done more in 4 years for the club than any other Liverpool manager in the Premiership. The fact still remains that he makes mistakes and bad calls far too often to be ignored. I think if Liverpool beat Man U to the title it will be more luck than anything and unfortunatly Benitez will not become a truly great manager (irrispective of all the cup trophies), unless he cuts out the simple mistakes we have come see over his reign at Anfield.

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  • 33. At 1:45pm on 27 Jan 2009, RedBMan wrote:

    Gerrard won the champs league single handedly? What a joke! It wasn't until Didi came on & shored up the midfield that Gerrard was given a license to go forward and make an impact. Whoever wrote this article does not know the game very well.

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  • 34. At 1:48pm on 27 Jan 2009, ya_dafty wrote:

    Benetiz greatest skill is to over complicate, over analyse and to restrict players playing freely.

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  • 35. At 1:49pm on 27 Jan 2009, ya_dafty wrote:

    Number 33. Carra states in his book that Rafa got his tactics wrong in the first half. He redeemed himself by bringing on Didi but that was a forced hand. It was Gerrards magic that really did it as oppose to the magic of Rafa. That is the point being made.

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  • 36. At 1:51pm on 27 Jan 2009, GazB wrote:

    What a load of tosh! This is like an article written by a 10 year old. And I thought the articles on Goal.com were bad. How much do you get paid Robbo for this tripe?

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  • 37. At 1:51pm on 27 Jan 2009, phil wrote:

    what a load of old tosh.

    where was steven gerrard when we struggled against standard liege at the start of the season, only for reina and kuyt we were out of the champions league before it even started, gerrard and indeed torres did nothing in those games

    where was gerrard when we were 1-0 down against man utd, what did gerrard do when we beat chelsea

    true liverpool are playing poorly at the minute and gerrard is coming up with key goals, but that is what he is paid for, in april it might be babel or it might be keane. look at anelka with chelsea he was the only guy scoring from october to december for them then it dried up completely, didn't hear anybody call them a one-man team

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  • 38. At 1:52pm on 27 Jan 2009, 5TimesChris wrote:

    You can only work within your means and with what you have.
    I am not making excuses for Rafa here - but there has always been a big divide between the sending by Rafa and Sir Alex. While AF has vasts sums available to him - Rafa can only buy players within his budget. I am sure Rafa would have loved to have splashed £29.1m on a defender - but he cant.
    Rafa has made mistakes in the transfer - but has been quick to move the player on if he does not make the grade. Kromkamp, Voronin, Gonzalez to name a few. He has even made a profit on some - i.e Sissoko, Bellamy (if only we added a sell-on clause). None of the players sold have gone on to bigger and better though.
    But with regards to Keane I do not understand. He is the perfect foil for Torres - but he cannot get a consistent run, arm around the shoulder, or some sort of re-assurance that he needs. He is a good player - he cannot just become a bad one suddenly. Rafa seems to love playing the 4-2-3-1 formation and as long as this continues - Keano will not start. We need to play 4-4-2 at home and get Torres and Keane playing togeher otherwise Kenae will be off for a very reduced fee.
    Maybe if Rafa had the money and the time - then I am sure that above us will only be sky.

    As for Mourinho - never. Ever.

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  • 39. At 1:53pm on 27 Jan 2009, low_lie_the_fields wrote:

    From a die hard LFC fan:

    Positive:
    1) Stevie G has not carried us this season as we won a lot of games without him.

    2) Rafa is an excellent tactician. The team has improved as a result of this as well as a several signings, Torres, Masch, Agger, Riera.

    Areas For Improvement:
    3) We are poor in attack. We don't threaten teams like the other top 3. Torres, Gerrard and sometimes Riera have been our only real threats going forward this season.

    Conclusion: Rafa is not good at bringing in or developing flare players that can break down the opposition. E.g. Babel had and still has strong potential - Benitez has broken his spirit. He needs to rectify this for us to be noticeably better than the other top teams.

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  • 40. At 1:54pm on 27 Jan 2009, aburton1892 wrote:

    A few things of note here. I completely agree that Benitez has in the past had us playing away at teams the way Everton did on Sunday, defneding solidly and hoping for scraps so dont really feel he can have a pop at the blue noses for doing the same with a depleted squad (despite the factthey claim to not have any strikers and then play Anichebe on the wing!?) This is where I stop agreeing with you though! I know you have to come out and try and be funny and usualy you are, a bit. But to suggest that Torres is the one good signing Rafa has made is rediculous. Reina has proven to be an outstanding buy, bringing clean sheets and solidity to th back, aided by Agger and Skrtel. Whilst many who dont see many games bang on about how poor Arbelola is, he is actually a pretty sound, reliable defender and offers a good overlapping outlet down the wing. (Although I would rather have steve finnan of 3 yeras ago!)

    Alonso is pure class and without doubt allows us to dictate the speed of the game as we wish, how that signing can be seen as a failure I dont know. Many of the other players he has brought in such as pennant, bellamy, josemi etc. havent been the success he'd hoped but he has admitted this and in turn, more often than not generated a profit from their sales.

    Regarding Keane, as was mentioned at the top of the comments, many hear/believe this was Parry signing and is one of the reasons benitez wants control over the budget he is allowed. Benitez wanted Barry but was undermined and given Keane.

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  • 41. At 1:55pm on 27 Jan 2009, thetrickykid wrote:


    "Torres, the one truly great signing of Benitez's reign"

    Reina? Alonso? Mascherano? Agger? Skrtel?

    "Besides which Moyes had precisely no strikers at his disposal. "

    Victor Anichebe is a Nigerian international striker. He played in both games. David Moyes chose not to play him up front - but this is very different to what you claim.

    "And if you offered to swap him with Mourinho he'd bite your hand off. I just wonder whether Sammy's truly in the minority or not."

    I very much doubt that any Liverpool fan would choose Mourinho over Benitez from what I have seen.

    "In the meantime I hope Rafa proves us doubters wrong. "

    Not if this article is anything to go by you don't.

    I'm sorry, I normally quite like your column - but this is a weak, opportunistic and poorly researched article. Nothing more than a scattergun attack on a PL manager written for cheap laughs (though I did like the Homer Simpson in a Ferrari gag).

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  • 42. At 1:55pm on 27 Jan 2009, Liverpooljam87 wrote:

    I agree with Robbo on this one. Why was Robbie Keane not even in Sunday's squad? 20 million pounds worth of striking quality and he's left at home. Ridiculous.

    When we were applying late pressure, trying to push for a goal towards the end of the game on Sunday, it was clear Dirk Kuyt was tired and needed replacing. But where was Robbie Keane? Someone who might have provided a discreet flick-on for Torres or Gerrard to run onto or even came up with a goal himself.

    Rafa's tactics are getting more and more baffling as the season wears on. I'm not a big betting man but I wouldn't like to think I was putting money on us at the moment. Starting Kuyt upfront, on his own, against Stoke City was another joke. That day we had 46 million pounds worth of striking talent sat on the bench twiddling their thumbs. Ridiculous when you think that we're alledged 'Title Contenders'.

    I'm not digging so much at the players, although there are certain games that stick out where they could have performed better, but my opinion is raised mostly towards our manager. He does rely on Gerrard too much. If it hadn't have been for Gerrard would we have won the Champions League? Would we have even beat Olympiakos to go through to the next round? Would we have won the F.A. Cup a few seasons back?

    My answer to those questions is of a negative response. A bit like Rafa's current tactics.

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  • 43. At 1:56pm on 27 Jan 2009, The Trawler wrote:

    on the point about the inspiration of Gerrard and Ronaldo i'd say the difference is that Ronaldo can weave his spell on the match without having to go chasing it - maybe because the rest of United's team are also without exception amongst the best players in Europe in their positions, admittedly.

    by contrast, it seems when Gerrard plays the whole thing has to revolve around him or else often as not he might as well not be on the pitch.

    it's a major difference, and one which carries through to the national team as well.

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  • 44. At 1:56pm on 27 Jan 2009, shredder91 wrote:

    joint top of the league, last 16 of the CLl and another game in the FA CUP to come.

    You're right - sack him, what will he ever do for us

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  • 45. At 1:56pm on 27 Jan 2009, Teiam - problem solved wrote:

    Excellent article Robbo, as a United fan all I can say the longer Benitez stays at Liverpool the better, the man is useless and seems to turn the neutrals against him, he really is classless from saying Everton are too defensive (coming from the man who defended for 2 games against Chelsea and managed to sneak a Garcia "goal"), when Mourinho left all managers paid him a compliment, even Wenger who was called a voyeur but Benitez just said he was glad. THEN there was the time where he was told to focus on training and tactics or whatever and so like a child, in the next conference, that's all he said. THEEEN there's the moan at Fergie, couldn't have timed it worse and why make it personal too? The man is the worst at mind games, like the time he inspired Drogba to send Liverpool crashing.

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  • 46. At 1:56pm on 27 Jan 2009, PaulTheVillan wrote:

    Rafa is losing the plot, the board are losing money and Liverpool arn't winning (of late) on the pitch.

    Shame......

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  • 47. At 1:56pm on 27 Jan 2009, Red_Sam_ThisYearHonest! wrote:

    Poor Robbo.

    Not content with your regular round of Liverpool-bashing (that bandwagon's getting awfully full) you fail to grasp the very real possibility, as is being reported elsewhere (apart from the BBC obviously, as you can't get your Manc blinkers off) that Keane's purchase was not actually sanctioned by Benitez at all, but by the Chief Exec who, in turn, vetoed the purchase of a player who would have made a real difference to the side, for less money, and with much more chances to play.

    After all, do you honestly believe that a manager who has set his stall out for years on a lone striker set-up suddenly decide to break with years of tradition and introduce a second striker for £20m and then not play him?

    Give me a break - it's obvious what's happened as regards the Keane purchase, especially so given Benitez's comments regarding control of transfers (another area where the BBC is delighting in misreporting Benitez's issues) so instead of blurting out your poorly researched, semi-humourous nonsense, try and understand a little more what it is you're writing about.

    Or is that why you hide behind the cloak of the 'BBC Blog', a system many BBC journalists are currently employing in order, it seems, to circumvent the facts of any given matter in favour of editorial.

    Try it with the Gaza appeal, why not? Or is that subject a little too much in the public domain for you to get away with it?

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  • 48. At 1:58pm on 27 Jan 2009, Funkenblows wrote:

    As a Liverpool fan, I have been consistently frustrated by Benitez's signings and tatcics. I cannot agree with much of the defence of the squad above- Reina flaps like a recently beheaded chicken at everything, and is calamitous even when on form. Arbeloa is one of the very worst right-backs in the league- if he cannot complete a 5-yard pass, why does he think he can pull of a 35 yard cross? Reira is coming along nicely, yes, and Mascherano is quality. Alonso and Torres complete the list of successes. Too much money spent on filler, and nowhere near enough prime meat.

    And with this bunch of mostly also-rans, Benitez continues to adhere to a style of "play" which borders on the coma-inducing. Wide men who only cut inside, never cross from the by-line. Full backs who insist on playing themselves out of position. TWO holding midfielders- we don't play UTD or Chelsea every week!

    A final note- no-one has mentioned Crouch- nearly had his career ruined by Rafa the Gaffa. How many millions for a bench-warming bean-pole?

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  • 49. At 1:59pm on 27 Jan 2009, BluenoseLiam wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 50. At 2:00pm on 27 Jan 2009, alwaysblobbing wrote:

    torres the only good signing?

    so who bought riena, alonso, masch, agger? benayoun and the rest of the squad players are only still there cos rafa wasnt given the cash the he and all of us were promosed!

    rafa might not played the most offensive football but hes got us into better position than we probably deserved to be, and with limited funds! i didnt see mourinho do that!

    if new owners came in rafa would probably walk anyway before hes was thrown.

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  • 51. At 2:01pm on 27 Jan 2009, shredder91 wrote:

    At No48

    "As a Liverpool fan, I have been consistently frustrated by Benitez's signings and tatcics. I cannot agree with much of the defence of the squad above- Reina flaps like a recently beheaded chicken at everything"

    Stopped reading there, as you obviously are an idiot

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  • 52. At 2:04pm on 27 Jan 2009, MMsRedArmy wrote:

    #51

    sorry mate but who cost us two goals against man u last season, Reina by flapping, and two against Everton, Reina by flapping.

    Decent keeper, but no better and not good enough if we want to win the league.

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  • 53. At 2:05pm on 27 Jan 2009, caseytoo wrote:

    There are many different views of Rafa and - without doubt - he is a good manager in his way. But people forget that the team he won his only trophies with was largely Houlier's. Since then a lot of money has been spent and a great deal of air has been expelled but not to any genuine benefit of the club. As supporters we are hampered in making our conclusions because we don't know all the facts. Was Keane foisted on Benitez or was he his idea of a good signing? Why get rid of Peter Crouch and several other half way reasonable players. Why get embroiled in a stupid slanging match with United? My main gripe with Rafa, though, is his refusal to let a team grow together and learn to play for each other. His teams are full of talent but they just don't flow. More often than not they look as though each match is the first time they have played together. And why stick to a defensive "system" that makes fans tremble whenever the opposition get a corner. He is over-cautious and has an over-inflated idea of his own importance. He seems to think that football is about systems and tactics and plans. As a certain truly great Liverpool manager once said - football is a simple game - and Rafa just over-complicates it. I'd be happy to see the back of him and yes I'd not be too proud to see Jose take his place but I;d prefer a British manager with equivalent brains but more determination and understanding of what makes a football team really work.

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  • 54. At 2:06pm on 27 Jan 2009, prentonparker wrote:

    Love it Robbo. Spot on, but you'll have all the defenders of the Raffa faith on complaining!

    Amazing isn't how the picture changes to suit events. Now Robbie Keane was not signed by Raffa according to some fans 'in the know.' So what about all the other duffers he has signed? Parry sign them too?

    As you say Torres is the one signing he has made that would get into the team at any of their title rivals. If Mascherano became available tomorrow tell me of another English club who would stump up 17 million pounds for him. Not even Citeh!

    No wonder the Anfield board won't give him carte blanche control. There is no bottomless pit transfer/wages fund. Perhaps if he cleared out some of the dead wood on fat contracts he would have more to play with.

    Stevie G is undoubtedly Liverpool's best player and has been instrumental in digging his club out of the mire on more than one occasion.

    If anyone made an inspiring speech at half time in Istanbul it was Gerrard, who told his team mates they were a disgrace to the shirt and likely to be on the end of their worst ever humiliation in Europe. But who got the credit for turning it around? Raffa! He's a lucky man to have Gerrard at his disposal.

    And who was it that won the cup for Liverpool against West Ham?

    Yes Robbo, I too have spoken to lots of Reds fans privately and they express grave reservations about Raffa's transfer dealings, tactics, substitutions and out bursts yet collectively they always feel the need to defend him as they are almost paranoid about anyone 'attacking' their club.

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  • 55. At 2:07pm on 27 Jan 2009, Ash wrote:

    Is the fact that Keane cost £20m a reason to pick a player? Even if he's playing abysmally and then acts like a petulant child when he's taken off for fluffing chance after chance and whinging at players for passing the ball a few inches off his foot? That's send a great message to the rest of the squad woudn't it.

    This is the exact reason England have been so poor for so many years - managers pandering to players egos. Benitez has the guts to know that he made a mistake in Keane, no matter how much it cost, and isn't blindly sticking to playing him when it's obvious it isn't working.

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  • 56. At 2:11pm on 27 Jan 2009, Edu Gomez wrote:

    didn't it occur to you that maybe Benitez didn't actually want Robbie Keane? Maybe the reason he hasn't signed a new contract is because someone other than he is bringing in players who don't fit his system of play?

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  • 57. At 2:11pm on 27 Jan 2009, Andre the Giant wrote:

    I think it was in 2007 that Rafa bought 24 players. 24!

    That's more than some play with in their whole squad.

    And what has he won? Three major trophies and two of those were from penalty shoot outs.

    The guys a joke.

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  • 58. At 2:11pm on 27 Jan 2009, MMsRedArmy wrote:

    Totally agree with you robbo, I am a liverpool fan who does not support RB and would not be unhappy if he left at the end of contract. I would however have to add in some of the other players people have mentioned above to the list of good signings.

    However to the fellow Liverpool fans who talk about Agger and Alonso. Good, even very good players. But come on, Benitez does not play Agger half the time when fit, this is one of the reasons why he is thinking of leaving. He keeps on playing granddad Hypia, who was good 3 or 4 seasons ago when he had seom pace, but should be back-up at best these days and not involved in any rotation nonsense.

    As for Alonso, RB did his level best to sell him during the summer for a lot less than he wanted to buy someone to play in the same position who is no better. What was that about, if he is such a good signing why try and get rid

    And this “parry bought Keane” stuff that is going around. Open your eyes. Raffa wanted another striker, sanctioned the buying of a player to play in the same position as he plays Gerrard within the 4-2-3-1 formation. He also totally ignored the fact we need a good right-sided player to play in that formation. It is a repeating record these days and most Liverpool fans seem to still accept it. Something goes wrong, must have been Parry’s fault as the sun shines from Raffa’s rear end. Wake up, the man has spend millions and millions on crap, alongside his 4 or 5 good signings, cannot work out a way to beat teams who play defensively against us and blames everybody else for his failings.

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  • 59. At 2:12pm on 27 Jan 2009, Wash wrote:

    It's an age-old gripe by indulged managers. It's not our fault - they were nasty. They parked a bus in front of the goal, they got men behind the ball, they tackled us, they tried to stop us scoring! My heart bleeds.

    You never hear a lower club manager whingeing 'It's not fair, they've got better players than us and they kept passing it to each other and trying to score! Wahhhhhhh!'

    -----------------------------------------------------

    Couldn't agree more- It drove me mad when Jose said it, and I'm a Chelsea fan.

    I play 6 a side on a sunday night- I'm 47, my brother is 42 and the rest are in their late 30's. We play against teams of teenagers and 20 somethings, what are we supposed to do, try and out run them for 20mins each way? No, we play to our strengths, we use our experience, we defend deep, absorb pressure, we don't dive in and we hit teams on the break by leaving a man up front and hitting him as early as we can- our season finished last sunday,we were unbeaten, concede only 3 goals and the Championship cup is currently on top of my tv.

    It might not be pretty, but teams who are limited in certain departments are not going to play you at your own game- if Rafa is the genius that Liverpool fans claim he is, with the world class players that Liverpool fans are saying here he has at his disposal, he should have been able to beat an Everton team that has no recognised strike force, much less any world class players (no offence Everton, just my humble opinion).

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  • 60. At 2:16pm on 27 Jan 2009, benitezShanks wrote:

    Erm i somehow think your comment about Everton having no strikers is wrong. I seem to remember Anichebe starting the game but moyes chose to stick him on the right wing.

    Some of the signings Benitez has made have been poor, but if you look at some of the signings Fegie or Arsen have made over the years it does show managers get them wrong.
    The good ones overweight the bad ones so i cant see your argument there!

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  • 61. At 2:17pm on 27 Jan 2009, Red_Sam_ThisYearHonest! wrote:

    It does look as though the BBC is running a concerted campaign against Liverpool FC in general and Rafa Benitez in particular.

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  • 62. At 2:21pm on 27 Jan 2009, dodiesmith wrote:

    Oh, Robbo, a good writer always knows that you need a good "lead" in to an article.... and you write the best leads....

    Also loved the title Red Mist (Missed) --
    great stuff.

    The first four lines of your blog says it all.
    Rafa has Gerrard.

    However, Gerrard himself would add that HE has Torres. Indeed, Gerrard has said this is the best team he's played with. Now if only he can make THEM play like they believe him.

    I was concerned about Rafa's selections for some time but he went UP in my estimation when he challenged Ferguson. It was NOT a rant, it was deflecting from his players, a distraction and he was taking the fire. He went up in my estimation 100%.

    The stress of working with the Liverpool US management must be enormous....
    he's had some surgery.... not playing Keane is an astonishing lack of faith in a player....

    so if Mourinho came calling, I for one would say open the bloody door. Sorry, but we need to move on.

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  • 63. At 2:21pm on 27 Jan 2009, Bangforyourbuck wrote:

    The talk about Anichebe being a striker is ridiculous. The Liverpool equivalent would be playing Ngog, Babel or El Zhar up front on their own, I'm pretty sure you'd hear Liverpool fans making a special point of that.

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  • 64. At 2:22pm on 27 Jan 2009, caseytoo wrote:

    JCsRedArmy is right. The issue isn't about individual players - it is about a manager who simply thinks so mechanically about the game that he gets really surprised when he cannot simply plug a different part into the team and win the game. Football is about psychology and confidence and sheer guts as well as skill. RB treats the game as if it were a computer-football game. His signings have been mixed but no one can argue that, in five years, he has really failed to deliver anything substantial. And by that I mean a consistently good team that instils fear into the hearts of opponents. To stifle an RB Liverpool team all you have to do is close them down like fury and defend as if your life depended on it. RB's teams lack flair and imagination because they seem never to be allowed to enjoy their football.

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  • 65. At 2:22pm on 27 Jan 2009, wengitari wrote:

    This is becoming all too predicatable. What percentage of the football blogs are now anti-liverpool?

    Just over the last 2 weeks:
    Phil McNulty "Benitez get's his timing wrong"
    Phil McNulty "Moyes masters defensive arts"
    Robbo Robson "Rafa's red missed"

    Any more coming??

    As interesting as they are.... they are highly inaccurate, and sound like the rantings of a typical jealous football fan.

    Liverpool have done very well this season, and how do you respond? by trying to belittle their every achievement.

    Drawing the derby games with an on-form everton, who, despite being without Saha and Yakubu have scored a lot of goals in recent games, is not a BIG STORY. Yet, that seems to have been the catalyst for these BBC blogs over the last 2 weeks.

    What of Man U's 1-0 defeat by Derby? what of their struggle to beat a half-hearted Tottenham side 2-1 (we all know Harry had already resigned that game before kick-off)... ? Seems to be a slight bias going on here. "Let's have a dig at Benitez! everyone else is doing it!"

    Robbo "hey, i need to write a new blog, please, i'm stuck for ideas!"
    Phil "have a dig at Benitez, i did it a few days ago, it goes down well with them Man U fans!"
    Robbo "eh, okay.... let me think up a few one liners...."
    "right, what about this one: I can't help feeling he [rafa] has one thing going for him - Steven Gerrard."
    Phil "yeah, hahaha, that's a cracker! I used that line a few days ago in my blog, but go on... they haven't heard it for a few days!"
    Robbo "hey, great... okay... i'll do it!"
    Phil "oh, make sure you mention the whole Keane-saga, and Torres too... you know, forgetting him being injured most of the season, he hasn't scored many has he?"
    Robbo "no, you're right! hey Phil... thanks for the tips! "

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  • 66. At 2:23pm on 27 Jan 2009, Richyburger wrote:

    It's funny how when he was bought all the Liverpool fans were saying it was a brilliant signing by RAFA but now that he's provd to be a bit of a lame duck suddenly Rick Parry forced the sale on Rafa.

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  • 67. At 2:23pm on 27 Jan 2009, jimmyroyce wrote:

    Cisse
    Alonso
    Josemi
    Garcia
    Sissoko
    Agger
    Nunez
    Pellegrino
    Gonzalez
    Kuyt
    Bellamy
    Crouch
    Aurelio
    Pennant
    Arbeloa
    Fowler
    Mascherano
    Reina
    Anderson
    Paletta
    Padelli
    Roque
    Peltier
    Nabil El Zhar
    Brouwer
    Hansen
    Flynn
    Insua
    Duran
    Huth
    Idrizaj
    Antwi
    Carsson
    Kromkamp
    Morientes
    Barragan
    Plessis
    Ajdarevic
    Zenden
    Lucas
    Veronin
    Simon
    Nemeth
    Mihailov
    San Jose
    Kacaniklic
    Pacheco
    Purie
    Alexandrov
    Torres
    Benayoun
    Babel
    Awang
    Amoo
    Bouzanis
    Pouriez
    Mimms
    Skrtel
    Leto
    Intadje
    Ayala
    Bruna-Blanco
    Gulacsi
    Degen
    Dossena
    Cavalieri
    Saric
    Weijl
    Poloskei
    Della Valle
    Mendy
    Ngog
    Keane
    Buchtmann
    Flora
    Riera
    Keleman
    Duyan
    Ode
    Kasami
    Poulsson

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  • 68. At 2:23pm on 27 Jan 2009, ccfc05 wrote:

    Torres the one true great signing! - Like many others I have to say you are way off the Mark Robbo - Alonso, Mascherano (at what he does) Reina, Skertel, Agger, Riera all quality buys who would force their way into any of the other top teams in the EPL. Also like most bloggers and jouralists you fail to mention the fact that Benitez' bad buys have been shipped on quickly, Nunez & Cisse(rafa didnt even want either) Bellamy, Sissoko, Josemi, Gonzalez etc all shuipped on after 1-2 seasons. Also how about the fact that Benitez has sold several players at a profit Bellamy, Crouch, Carson, and the fact that he massivley reduced the Wage bill by getting rid of a lot of the deadwood left by Houiller, Kewell, Diao, Cheryou, Diao etc.. Rafa has also sold players in order to buy quality like Torres (Bellamy, Cisse and Garcia) Sold to generate the funds for "the one truly great signing". So Robbo I can understand your beausment about some of his actions but like the majority of football bloggers and writers, your happy to Rafa bash without taking any of his achievements into conteaxt, to say that all the trophies are down to Gerrard is massivley disrespectful to the others involved in both, what about Garcia's semi final volley in 2006 FA cup against Chelsae or Crouch's header against utd in the earlier rounds, or how about the 2 victories over Leverkusen when Gerrard didnt score but Liverpool beat them home and away, and Juventas in the quarter final, again Garcia scored no goal from Gerrard. Also in 2005 LFC finished over 30 points behind the EPL winners, each season that gap has been reduced and now into his fifth Season Rafa has liverpool joint top of the league in January into the knockout stages of Europe (an achievement reached in each of his seasons) and stil in the cup. Just cause of a bad run of draws (note no losses) and all of a sudden Rafa is uselss, Liverpool are gone and all of his players are terrible bar 2, When united were not performing at the beginning of this season where was all the Fergie bashing (I'm not saying he should have been his record speaks for itself), it took Fergie 5 years to win a trophy, Rafa won the CL in his first season and followed it up with the cup in 2006 and now is getting to a stage where Liverpool can seriously challenge for the league. Its easy to just complain about Benitez, it seems to be much more difficult to actually credit him for his achievements in the same way Wenger and Fergie and Jose were before him..... Next time Robbo check up some of the details before blogging....FACT

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  • 69. At 2:24pm on 27 Jan 2009, U13800415 wrote:

    BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!! People go on about Rafa biting the worm that was put infront of him by Alex 'looks like a whiskey drinker' Fergson, but most are just the same biting to the blue nose and mancs fans judging by some of the comments on here. Ignore them. We have already beaten the blues away from home this season, and also United at home, and still sit joint top of the league. Keep the jibes til the end of the season, because I have no doubt that we will finish a lot higher than Everton. Pains me to say it but United are a good team with good individuals and play a unique style of football, which is pleasing on the eye, if you finish above us, so be it, you won by playing the better footy. There you go peace restored.

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  • 70. At 2:25pm on 27 Jan 2009, Red_Sam_ThisYearHonest! wrote:

    It would certainly have been interesting to read what the BBC would have contributed to Mr Ferguson's first four years in charge of Man Utd, when he stormed to two 11th place finishes, a 13th place finish and almost got his club relegated, whilst winning precisely nothing in the process and, indeed, being met with hate-filled chants and banners proclaiming "Three Years And It's Still Crap - Tara Fergie".

    Of course, we're not allowed to talk about that, are we.

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  • 71. At 2:28pm on 27 Jan 2009, Noblelox wrote:

    I'm with sparq2112. I don't think Rafa was the instigator of the Keane move. I think that was Parry. Rafa has givewn far more slack to some of his own stuttering purchases in the past.

    However Keane was never worth £20M and so to weigh him down with the "earn your fee" request is a bit unfair, because if we had bought Keane for a realistic fee of say £10M this wouldn't be an issue. We would simply accept that he was just a bad buy for the system we play. But at £20M we expect him to transcend all playing patterns, and keep whacking them into the net be it 4-4-2, 4-4-1-1 4-1-3-1-1...etc...

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  • 72. At 2:28pm on 27 Jan 2009, redJoey wrote:

    Unfortunately for Liverpool, Benitez takes an approach that is suited to the two-points-for-a-win system. Under this system, Liverpool would be three points ahead of Man U (albeit with a game in hand).

    But if you beat Man U and draw your two matches against Stoke City while Man U win theirs, you get five points while Man U get six. Time to smell the coffee Rafa.

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  • 73. At 2:29pm on 27 Jan 2009, Zephyryx wrote:

    I don't mean this to be in any way disrespectful but feelings towards Benitez seem to be more favourable the more REAL knowledge of Liverpool you have.

    A few 'facts' (to quote the great man lol):

    1) Liverpool got more points than any other team in 2008.

    2) Liverpool scored more goals in the 07-08 season than any other team.

    3) Reina (another poor signing, sir?) has won the golden glove in all three of his seasons in England.

    4) Zonal marking simply IS statistically more effective than man marking. In 2005-06 (the only stat I could find with a quick Google search) Liverpool conceded fewer goals from set pieces than any other team and only TWO from corners. The problem is with zonal marking, when it goes wrong, it always looks worse than when man marking goes wrong and you get the excruciatingly inevitable 'nobody picked him up' or 'the striker got away from his man' from the autopiloting commentator.
    As an aside, I don’t consider Torres, Mascherano, Reina, Agger or Skrtel to be anything other than total successes as transfers. Keane has proven quality, even though the manner of his current exclusion does seem rather odd. It must be said though, that he has made 18 league appearances this season, only 2 less than Gerrard and well…hasn’t really had much impact. His situation is a bit of a mess. He lacks form so doesn’t play, but won’t find form without playing. We’ll see what happens there but his lack of impact could not have been foreseen so I think it’s unfair to judge Benitez too harshly.
    I think you’ll find if you talk to enough Liverpool fans that there is a real disillusionment with the media at the moment. Truly lazy, uneducated journalism is making a lot of fans unwilling to criticise Benitez when he deserves it simply because he is criticised so often when he doesn’t. He gets called such things as the Tinkerman. Are these people aware that this season only Vidic has played more minutes for United than Carragher, Gerrard, Reina and I think Alonso have played for Liverpool and nobody calls Ferguson the Tinkerman? That’s a fact off the top of my head and I’m not a journalist!
    I like your article, you make some very good points but I do think Benitez is deserving of a lot more credit than he gets from the British media. In Spain, they know how good he is, just like we do here on Merseyside.

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  • 74. At 2:29pm on 27 Jan 2009, BoDiddley wrote:

    66. "It's funny how when he was bought all the Liverpool fans were saying it was a brilliant signing by RAFA but now that he's provd to be a bit of a lame duck suddenly Rick Parry forced the sale on Rafa."

    ___________________________________

    Agreed - what a complete joke !

    Benitez bleats about everything else, so why didn't he bleat it was nothing to do with him when Keane was bought.

    Well at least Rafa is good at one thing - leaking constant BS to the press to put the blame for his awful team on Parry.

    Deluded big time, the average Liverpool fan methinks

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  • 75. At 2:30pm on 27 Jan 2009, Bangforyourbuck wrote:

    Re post 64:

    I don't think Benitez treats it like a computer game, because they have handy references to their positions. I'd never play Championship Manager etc, look at Kuyt (Striker Centre), pay a fair chunk of change then decide to play him as a winger!

    Same goes for Keane (FRC) - play him as a left winger; Carragher (DC) - right back; Babel (FRC) - left winger (5 minutes at a time).

    Plus I'd have fired my scouts by now...

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  • 76. At 2:30pm on 27 Jan 2009, Gilo wrote:

    Rafa/LFC are solid come team. Like England they play reserved negative cautious football against the best sides (ironic as this was his criticism of Moyes), which is tried and tested method of scraping extra time victories and penalties. The year they won the CL was after scraping through the groups my one man Gerrard saving the day.

    ONE FACT will settle all arguements... If you sold the entire squad to Man UtD how players would SAF pick after 5 years of Rafa signings would be picked?

    Answer = 2 (and no prizes for naming them)

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  • 77. At 2:31pm on 27 Jan 2009, Gilo wrote:

    Rafa/LFC are solid cup team. Like England they play reserved negative cautious football against the best sides (ironic as this was his criticism of Moyes), which is tried and tested method of scraping extra time victories and penalties. The year they won the CL was after scraping through the groups my one man Gerrard saving the day.

    ONE FACT will settle all arguements... If you sold the entire squad to Man UtD how players would SAF pick after 5 years of Rafa signings?

    Answer = 2 (and no prizes for naming them)

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  • 78. At 2:31pm on 27 Jan 2009, Robser wrote:

    Im a huge Liverpool fan - absolutely sick of Rafa at this stage - and usually when a Pool fan says that he is asked, oh well who'd you get in then?

    Well to answer, Mourinho is better if boring football is to be accepted, which it is, given the love for Rafa.

    Martin O'Neill is a better man for the job too.

    As is Guus Hiddink and we'd actually play an exciting brand of football - wow imagine that! Cause all we have been doing is imagining it cause it hasnt been getting played at Anfiled in a long time!

    As for your comments about Gerrard - well thats just rubbish - he didnt single handidly win anything for us. He may well have been the star player in a game against West Ham in an FA Cup final but there are a bunch of rounds before this game you understand?

    And the Champions League in 2005 - give me a break. Didi Haman was the main influence on that game and again - there are a lot of rounds to negotiate before a final.....

    But all in all id agree with your mate Sammy, im sick of Rafa, sick of his bizarre team choices, sick of his inability to sub before 60 minutes in a game. Sick of him airing everything in public, sick of him slagging off everyone and not looking at his own bizarre and shocking selections at times.

    Oh to have Wenger.....but any of the other names mentioned would do!

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  • 79. At 2:32pm on 27 Jan 2009, babyfacedassasin2 wrote:

    I agree Robbo, as a Unired fan i hope Rafa stays at Liverpool for as long as posssible. He is far too defensively minded to win the league, his tactics might work fine for a cup competition but his teams will drop too many points over a season to win the EPL.

    As for the complaints over his signings. Liverpool fans may point out Alonso,Reina, Skrtel and Agger as good signings but he has too many flops to be considered a success. Also the successful players he has bought are mainly defensive minded players. He hasnt bought one ( apart from Torres) quality and successfull attacking player. This will be his downfall as these are the type of players who can get you a goal to win a game 1-0 or 2-1, and over the course of a season these are invaluable points.

    That is why Liverpool rely so much on Gerrard. There is no other creative spark in the ACM position. Alonso can pick a pass but he usually plays too deep to really attack the opposition. They are weak on both wings and apart from Torres have no real threat up front.

    Benitz has had time to change this but he hasnt. His solution was to buy Keane who he wont play, and he wanted to sell Alonso who is one of his best performers this season to bring in Barry!! I really hope Rafa stays at Liverpool for the next 10 years.

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  • 80. At 2:33pm on 27 Jan 2009, Robser wrote:

    Gilessmith - Im presuming the two players you mention getting a game at United are Gerrard and Torres. Well no offence but im pretty sure Xabi Alonso is better than Darren Fletcher who is getting a lot of games this season. Add to that the fact Van Der Saar is as reliable as the economy right now, then I think you'd have to include Reina in there too.

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  • 81. At 2:33pm on 27 Jan 2009, PaulTheVillan wrote:

    Oh dear. Look at all those signings.

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  • 82. At 2:34pm on 27 Jan 2009, thetrickykid wrote:

    "The talk about Anichebe being a striker is ridiculous. "

    Why is it ridiculous? He is a striker:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/shared/bsp/hi/football/statistics/players/a/anichebe_300989.stm


    "The Liverpool equivalent would be playing Ngog, Babel or El Zhar up front on their own, I'm pretty sure you'd hear Liverpool fans making a special point of that."

    Ngog;

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/shared/bsp/hi/football/statistics/players/n/ngog_355308.stm

    Babel:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/shared/bsp/hi/football/statistics/players/b/babel_287654.stm

    El Zhar:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/shared/bsp/hi/football/statistics/players/e/el_zhar_321530.stm

    I'm pretty sure that all three of those players have played up front for Liverpool this season or last. You (or I) might not rate them very highly, but they are still strikers. They are still employed by their clubs.

    By all means say they don't have very good strikers to choose - but saying "they had precisely no strikers at their disposal" is either a lie or a poorly researched piece of journalism.

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  • 83. At 2:34pm on 27 Jan 2009, PaulTheVillan wrote:

    #80.

    Van Der Saar is about to break a record for clean sheets.

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  • 84. At 2:38pm on 27 Jan 2009, Bangforyourbuck wrote:

    Re post 82:

    That's what I meant, not that Ngog etc aren't strikers, but that they are so lightweight in that position it's effectively playing without strikers.

    I don't think anyone has said "they had precisely no strikers", it's more a football phrase like if Liverpool were without Carragher, Skrtel, Agger, Hyypia and played fringe players people would say "they had no defenders".

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  • 85. At 2:40pm on 27 Jan 2009, footy_analysis - play beautifully - wrote:

    I remember when Rafa used to conduct himself in a good way, he used to refuse to get involved in spats with other managers and be critical of them.

    Now, there's not a week that goes by where Benitez hasn't had a rant about someone.

    His transfer buys have also been questionable.

    A typical Benitez signing is buy him, don't play him, play him, drop him, play him out of position, drop him, sell him.

    The style Liverpool play in isn't very pleasing on the eye either and is only just scraping them results.

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  • 86. At 2:42pm on 27 Jan 2009, Ash wrote:

    63. At 2:21pm on 27 Jan 2009, Bangforyourbuck wrote:

    The talk about Anichebe being a striker is ridiculous. The Liverpool equivalent would be playing Ngog, Babel or El Zhar up front on their own, I'm pretty sure you'd hear Liverpool fans making a special point of that.

    _______________________

    Seeing as they all can (even prefer) to play up front, I'd rather play one of them than not play without a striker at all and then complain that we don't have strikers which is patently untrue.

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  • 87. At 2:43pm on 27 Jan 2009, digispoonerta wrote:

    Why is it that whenever someone deems to criticise a team in the premiership all the teams fans then scream shout holler and generally whinge ....

    Take what is sometimes factual/ sometimes tongue in cheek and sometimes relavant criticisism without blowing a fuse.

    The ammount of money that a club pays for a player will depending on certain factors

    1. Do they play in the premiership? Add 10%

    2. Do they play for ManC/Chelsea/ ManU Add 10%

    3. Lets see how much more these mugs will pay Add ????

    All of the big clubs have paid over the odds for players .... your all as bad as each other.

    Stop bleating, concentrate on supporting your team, BE REALISTIC.

    Every other club in the country that is not in the premiership has too.

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  • 88. At 2:45pm on 27 Jan 2009, frankripples wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 89. At 2:46pm on 27 Jan 2009, Red_Sam_ThisYearHonest! wrote:

    88,

    The BBC Sports website team down to a tee, there.

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  • 90. At 2:46pm on 27 Jan 2009, digispoonerta wrote:

    #88 Well said ........

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  • 91. At 2:49pm on 27 Jan 2009, digispoonerta wrote:

    Point 2 in post #87 should read.

    2. Is it Liverpool/ManC/Chelsea/ ManU Add 10%

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  • 92. At 2:51pm on 27 Jan 2009, Neil Anderson wrote:

    Robbo, yet another top article. You hit the proverbial nail on the head.

    Rafa should look at his own tactics when playing away from home, just look at the game at the Emirates. It was Rafa that took Keane and Torres off last Monday when Everton were arguably there for the taking. A very negative move that never gained him any fans but certainly put doubt into a few.

    Rafa isn't losing the plot....He lost it 18 months ago when Gillette and Hicks arrived. The owners have driven all the spirit out of Anfield and instead left the place like a morgue after an exorcism.

    Wash-CARU FC: it is not that we don’t have World class players, believe it or not we do have a few, however, they don’t play as individuals, like Torres and Gerrard. Therefore we win as a team, draw as a team and lose as a team.

    When we look back at the two derbies…. people have often said if it wasn’t for Gerrard, Liverpool didn’t have a clue and were very ordinary. However, you rarely hear an Everton player singled out without his playing partner been praised or condemned as well.

    Luckily for Liverpool the Gerrard trial is adjourned until March when it will be further adjourned until Monday 25th May (day after the season ends). Well the lad could do with a few months in the summer off.

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  • 93. At 2:51pm on 27 Jan 2009, Bangforyourbuck wrote:

    Re post 86:

    True, but if you were having to play a third, fourth, fifth choice striker up front on their own against one of the big four away, you'd be setting up to contain rather than expecting them to go and do something special.

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  • 94. At 2:52pm on 27 Jan 2009, Noblelox wrote:

    Can I just add...as a Liverpool fan, what is it with all the anti-Mourinho stance? I remember another successful manager who used to dole out stick, and would play with the press, his name was Bill Shankly.

    Problem is that none of the so called fans who moan about Mourinho can even remember Shankly.

    Can I also add, that since Rafa had his "rant" about Fergie, the drunken tramp hasn't had another pop at Liverpool.... Bullies don't like it if you fight back..

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  • 95. At 2:55pm on 27 Jan 2009, eezy_squeezy wrote:

    Benitez is a manager who lacks bottle. Sure, he can kick up a stink with the best of them, but, during the heat of battle, Senor Benitez's first instinct is always caution.

    Contrast this with truly great managers like Mourinho, Ferguson and Wenger who realise that faint hearts win nothing, and demonstrate their bottle every time a big decision needs to be made in a game.

    Rafa's greatest plus for many Liverpool fans is Istanbul 2005. This despite the team being 3-0 down at half time due to following his too cautious game plan. Only when the players decided to abandon this ill conceived plan and bomb forward did they actually get anywhere.

    If Liverpool win the league title it will be despite Benitez not because of him.

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  • 96. At 2:56pm on 27 Jan 2009, AnfieldRocks wrote:

    Any one would agree that Liverpool team is better year after year since he has been in charge. I always wonder how the team in 2005 won the Champions league. We have a new and improved team with StevieG, Carra and Alonso remaining in the squad from the team that lifted the cup. There is no reason to doubt Rafa's ability to build a stronger team.

    Robbo has done well to get everyone's attention with cheap tactics to blame Rafa and his tactics. Liverpool are second in the league and are poised to win the league this year. Hope that will silence you for a wee bit of time.

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  • 97. At 2:57pm on 27 Jan 2009, Leeroy Jenkins wrote:

    Spot on Robbo.

    Mascherano & Alonso are both decent players but they wont change you from a top 4 side to title winners.

    Skrtel is an accident waiting to happen.

    Agger has lost it completely since the injury.

    Kuyt is as honest as the day is long, unfortunately his scoring record isn't.

    And I've never been convinced by Reina, no matter how many Golden Gloves he wins.

    Then you look at the other dross that's come through anfield during Rafa's reign and you have to say he's not exactly a whizz in the market is he?

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  • 98. At 2:58pm on 27 Jan 2009, 6OrMoreCharachters wrote:

    you could not be further from the truth robbo. seriously, get a grip. im going to take this apart 1 by 1.

    all the finals gerrard has won us? CL? how, because he scored one goal? gerrard never won us that final, and if you'd paid attention to the substitutions and change of tactics at HT which basically rendered kaka useless, you'd realize rafa did. yes, i know gerrard is a great player, a legend for our club, but to put him down as the man to win us those trophies is a load of cack. how about in rafa's first season, when he went for a header with jamie carragher and riise (2 defenders) around him, ended up scoring an own goal and cost us that final? just bypass carra's and didi's contribution to that final, why don't you?

    gerrard has been immense taking no everton. big wow, a local lad, the captain of the team, if he doesn't lead by example when the team is clearly suffering at the moment, then who will? its why he gets 120k a week!

    i like how you try to emphasise everton had no strikers. did you watch the games? there was a lad up top called anichebe for most of both, so where you are getting this from is beyond me.

    and rafa's zonal marking has made us the best team in the league at defending set pieces. why did you not mention that? so 2 games in a row, we are beat by a man famed for his aerial prowess, and suddenly our whole system is complete bonkers. ok robbo, whatever you say.

    oh and of course, your other point, his poor transfers. torres is the only decent one according to you. forgetting reina (three seasons in the EPL, three times most clean sheets and leading it this season too), xabi, arbeloa (not a husehold name, but isnt that how wenger makes his name? this guy stopped messi in his debut game playing out of position, and is as reliable as any fullback we have had for the last 6-8 years. and he can get forward to great effect), garcia (scoring in every round of the CL the season we won it, bar the final, nuff said), mascherano (anyone who doesnt recognise this guy as the best DM in the world needs to get a reality check), as well as the youngsters he has brought in, you know, the ones who won our first reserve league title since the gerrard, carra, owen days. the likes of hammill (scored in the scottish cup final v celtic couple of years back), pacheco and nemeth.

    you constantly seem to bleat on about things without any basis, just like a lot of people who are losing their minds. no wonder you dont know what to make of him

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  • 99. At 2:58pm on 27 Jan 2009, rubertos_08 wrote:

    so many posts from Liverpool fans defending Rafa's transfer dealings with the example of Alonso.

    Is it just me or did Benitez try and punt him off in the summer?!

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  • 100. At 2:58pm on 27 Jan 2009, Neil Anderson wrote:

    Noblelox: Fergie doesn't need to have another pop at Liverpool. They are kicking their own backsides and looking foolish.

    Since the Rafa Rant Liverpool haven't won, thus proving his point that they are nervous and will crack under pressure.

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  • 101. At 2:59pm on 27 Jan 2009, collie21 wrote:

    2 recent draws? what are you on about. Since November 22nd Liverpool have beaten Blackburn, Newcastle and Bolton and every other game has been a draw. Fulham, Everton, Stoke, Arsenal, Hull, West ham. Sorry but you are right, Benitez never had it to loose, but 20 million for a bloke you don't play is just stupid.
    Put Sammy Lee in charge and Liverpool will win it all.

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  • 102. At 3:01pm on 27 Jan 2009, 18carragold wrote:

    It's getting annoying now how the media portray Gerard as our one player (second paragraph). His goal came from a great pass from another player.

    Yes, Gerard is an important member of our TEAM but I doubt even he could get us joint top of the league having won several important trophies in recent years without some help. Consider this:

    Ronaldo (a midfielder) scores enough goals to win the league single handed and the equaliser in the Euro cup; not to mention other important goals. He's feted as a great player and credit to MU and their manager.

    Gerard (a midfielder) scores important goals and wins cups. He's our only player and it's becoming boring how we 'rely' on him.

    Benitez changed Gerard's style and has made him more of a team player than he was under other managers.

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  • 103. At 3:01pm on 27 Jan 2009, benlons84 wrote:

    Rafa knows how to win competitions, including league titles. He is confident with his squad and there are still at least 5 months of the season remaining. He may be cautios at times but he can see the wider picture. Didn't see anybody moaning about Rafa when he beat Newcastle 5-1... three bad results in a row is frustrating, but most Liverpool fans see the bigger picture.

    Unlike most fans we don't call for the manager's head after a bad run of games. I, like many liverpool fans, will shake our heads in utter disbelief when Ngog is on the bench (or pitch) ahead of Keane but there is normally a method in his madness.

    The last two games against Everton were poor, but name me a game where the opposition plays 10 men behind the ball was actually exciting?? I don't blame everton one bit, it makes perfect sense and liverpool were guilty of it in Europe under Houllier.

    Gerard is world class. He is arguably the best player of his type in the world. If we weren't slightly reliant on him then I would demand he took a pay cut. Plaenty of the biggest teams in Europe would struggle without their best player. Chelsea wo Lampard? United wo Ronaldo? Arsenal wo Fabregas? Good teams rely on top players to perform.

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  • 104. At 3:01pm on 27 Jan 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    I wonder what was in post 88?

    Must have been anti israeli. Or pro burning children, or something like that. Better not to ask.

    I just came to say that Robo is RIGHT UP FERGIES ALLEY ONCE AGAIN.

    And don't be thinking of shooting the messenger!

    Everyone knows Rafa and Fergie have drawn handbags at twenty paces, and you've come in on one side.

    Say it loud, say it proud, YOU LOVE MAN U.

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  • 105. At 3:02pm on 27 Jan 2009, Bangforyourbuck wrote:

    99: Was just about to make that point myself! They'll probably turn it around to say that Benitez realised how quality Alonso was or that it was all Parry's fault, rather than if Barry had arrived at Anfield Alonso would have been out the door faster than it took Beckham to become a comedy Italian.

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  • 106. At 3:03pm on 27 Jan 2009, Neil wrote:

    Anybody listing Arbeloa as a bad signing (£2.5m for a good right back who has had two and a half very good seasons since he came here) or calling Pepe 'Mr Golden Gloves' Reina a 'dodgy keeper' needs their head testing - another £6m baragin by the way for one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

    Reina, Arbeloa, Agger, Skrtel, Alonso, Mascherano, Garcia, Riera, Torres - all excellent signings that have contributed largely to our success under Rafa.

    You've got to love the way he is criticised for some of his stop-gap squad buys to bulk up our squad, notably the free transfers, and players who came in, did a job and helped win trophies before he sold them on for substantial profits like Kromkamp, Sissoko, Bellamy and Crouch. Isn't that just clever 'wheeler-dealing' on a limited (compared to Chelsea and United) budget?

    I'm sure that is how it would be described if it was loveable 'Arry at Spurs or the transfer 'genius' Wenger at our helm.

    Robbo - stick to the funny articles, your lack of football knowledge is letting you down and it's attracting a herd of ill-informed sheep.

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  • 107. At 3:03pm on 27 Jan 2009, redfooty123 wrote:

    robbo, interesting piece in yet another anti-liverpool story/opinion....i think the main point that can be seen from what you have written is that your comments show why YOU are sat there writing this piece for the bbc blog website or whatever its called and RAFA is out there managing LIVERPOOL FC the most successful football team in the country!keep up the good work and look forward to your next piece. x

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  • 108. At 3:04pm on 27 Jan 2009, Eddy Cordoza wrote:

    Re. 70. Red_Sam_ThisYearHonest!

    You can talk about whatever you like - what a ridiculous comment. People don't mention it much these days because it was a long time ago and Ferguson has won lots of trophies since.

    Besides, when he arrived he ditched 'old favourites' in the team and invested in youth. Subsequently he was given time and it paid off. Loyalty goes a long way, especially when the manager has a long term vision.

    Like a number of other Liverpool fans on this blog, you are sounding extremely paranoid. Your manager blames everything from referees, the composition of the F.A, or even opposition teams tactics - because of course Liverpool are the only team in the league who encounter defensive opposition - while Liverpool fans seem to think that there is a massive media conspiracy against their team.

    There isn't, journalists tend to write about the big story of the moment. City have been blogged to death in recent weeks, the Ronaldo saga was convered ad infinitum, etc etc. Liverpool ARE newsworthy at the moment - treat it as a compliment.

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  • 109. At 3:06pm on 27 Jan 2009, Karthick Arvinth wrote:

    I used to have respect for Benitez as a manager but he disappoints me now. All that childish petulance and his so called "tactical pragmatism". Not to mention his transfer dealings. Personally I think Rafael Benitez is over-rated as Liverpool manager. Nobody can dispute he did an outstanding job at Valencia muscling out the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona but La Liga fans will tell you he isn't the same man now. Everyone hails him as a tactical genius but I don't buy that. As for that Champions League win...well that was fool's luck. I mean what manager in his right mind would start Harry Kewell on the left wing in a Champions League final against Milan? If Kewell hadn't got injured, Rafa would have thrown it away and no doubt Liverpool would've been hammered. And watching Liverpool play their rigid, no-imagination football is like going to Church. Apart from Gerrard and Torres, the rest of the team is just mish-mash that are not worth paying to watch. I feel for Liverpool and their fans but in my opinion, Liverpool will never win the league as long as Rafa is in charge and the sooner they accept that, the lesser the disappointment.

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  • 110. At 3:06pm on 27 Jan 2009, jack halford wrote:

    I think the only thing that Rafa knows about football, is how to knock the confidence out of a good player.
    He drops players when they are playing well, so that must be like a kick in the teeth to those players.
    Robbie Keane scored two goals and was putting together some excellent performances and then does not play next game !!
    He did the same with Crouch !!

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  • 111. At 3:08pm on 27 Jan 2009, Redurn wrote:

    Enough people have pulled you up on the other good signings you neglected to mention so there’s no need for me to list them again.

    On the Keane issue, as somebody else mentioned you don’t play someone just because he cost £20m. Keane’s started 23 games this season!! He’s been given plenty of chances but hasn’t taken them. People need to stop blaming Rafa and start pointing the finger at Keane. He’s being paid a lot of money and is letting everyone down. Pull your finger out Robbie!

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  • 112. At 3:10pm on 27 Jan 2009, stevemuzza wrote:

    Give Benitez some credit for the position we are currently in. If we're guna moan about money wasted on players then lets look at some teams that havent justified this, i.e. Tottenham.

    I'm so proud to be a Liverpool fan under Benitez's reign, if peope want to moan about Gerrard being a one man team- then so be it. Just deal with it, coz up until Christmas, no-one or no team had done!

    Lets leave Robbo to earn his salary with these types of articles.

    Keep it goin lads!

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  • 113. At 3:12pm on 27 Jan 2009, superiorrowley wrote:

    I agree with Robbo's comments about Benitez's tactics. 1-0 up v Everton, take off both attackers ( even though Keane was aweful) and replace with 2 midfielders. What does that signal to the opposition ?
    He, like Ericson, is far too defensively minded, more importanat not to lose than to win attitude which is a far cry from the Liverpool I have followed for over 40 years.
    He has the players, even Keane can do well, but he needs to change his ideas.
    I would take Mourinho tomorrow !!!!
    superiorrowley

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  • 114. At 3:13pm on 27 Jan 2009, Red_Sam_ThisYearHonest! wrote:

    108,

    Trying to pass off Ferguson's dire early years off as irrelevant is as laughable as implying that Benitez's similar time in charge of Liverpool is in some way a failure.

    However, that seems to be the prevailing wind on the BBC.

    No wonder Liverpool fans are being banned from this site left, right and centre.

    Something about this site stinks.

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  • 115. At 3:14pm on 27 Jan 2009, thetrickykid wrote:

    "That's what I meant, not that Ngog etc aren't strikers, but that they are so lightweight in that position it's effectively playing without strikers."

    But that's not what you said is it? It is this evasiveness of what people mean to say that causes so many mistruths to become accepted fact.

    "I don't think anyone has said "they had precisely no strikers", it's more a football phrase like if Liverpool were without Carragher, Skrtel, Agger, Hyypia and played fringe players people would say "they had no defenders". "

    The author states it in the 13th paragraph of the article. The article you are blogging about. Other journalists have also been claiming it recently too.

    I stand by the points I made in my first post about this article. This is a very poor piece of journalism and the author should be embarrassed to accept payment for such bile. All he has achieved is to produce a forum where the kind of fans who have an axe to grind about a particular club can come and post unsubstantiated polemic vitriol. The "working class man in a pub" act that the journalist employs can be amusing, but when it's used to write articles in this manner it just serves to bring the wind up merchants to the fore. I find it difficult to believe that the journalist didn't know that would happen. By all means stimulate discussion about football matters, but this is the kind of thing I'd expect to read in The Sun if I was ever daft enough to read it. Maybe the BBC should moderate Robbo in future.

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  • 116. At 3:14pm on 27 Jan 2009, jimmyroyce wrote:

    Liverpool fans should join in with Celtic and Newcastle fans and have a competition to see which set are the most fond of themselves.

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  • 117. At 3:16pm on 27 Jan 2009, markadoi84 wrote:

    Robbo - in answer to your first question, what I'd make of Rafa Benitez is something to keep my testicles warm and stop them from swinging into the uncomfortable 'trapped outside the boxers' position - otherwise known as a 'nut case'. As for his beard, I'm sure you could fashion a nice toilet seat warmer out of that and send the s**t the other way past it for a change. The man would be well advised to keep his gob shut, he's made a prat out of himself twice in the last couple of weeks so he should take a leaf out of Arsene Wenger's book (lately anyway) and go about his business quietly and without making people think he spends most of his week sat in the corner of his office rocking backwards and forwards whilst eating raw donkey meat.

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  • 118. At 3:17pm on 27 Jan 2009, Bluenose wrote:

    The horrible chants from the fans?

    How about all the spit hurled at Lescott when he scored?

    Will them supporters be banned btw? I doubt it!

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  • 119. At 3:18pm on 27 Jan 2009, Bangforyourbuck wrote:

    I don't know what the motives are for the rest, but for my posts it's because I WANT them to win the title. I pray that they can topple ManUre and Chelsea, and they should be about a dozen points clear by now.

    It's my frustration with Benitez - his tactics and his mentality - which does me in because we watch another pretender capitulate to Fergie. If Liverpool continue in the way they are now I wouldn't back them for the title at 100-1.

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  • 120. At 3:21pm on 27 Jan 2009, whatbill wrote:

    Robbo,

    I enjoyed it at the start but I guess you can have too much of a good thing - can you and your fellow BBC bloggers please give Rafa and Liverpool a rest. I think the non-liverpool consesus is that there are issues with Rafa's erratic tempermant and outbursts, conservative team selections, questionable transfer policy and love/hate relationship with his directors which combined together make it unlikely that they will win the league.

    However, he has the backing of their loyal/blinkered fans, who will back him all the way to 5th place if thats what it takes (don't laugh, Arsenal are only 6 points behind and on much better form). I think we have to accept this now and move on.

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  • 121. At 3:24pm on 27 Jan 2009, Bangforyourbuck wrote:

    Re 115:

    You're right, I missed Robbo saying that and he should be strung up for it.

    When you say "that's not what you said" I think it's pretty clear to everyone what was meant in the context it was written. If we have to start spelling things out then god help us, but for this one occasion - I listed Everton's only striker and compared him to Liverpool players of a similar ability to show the massive lack of attacking force available.

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  • 122. At 3:29pm on 27 Jan 2009, fernandobennett wrote:

    I'm sure I'm repeating other people but you can't say Torres is Benitez's only great signing.

    Sure you can pick on benayoun because he clearly isn't good enough for the club, maybe even ryan babel as he has had some poor performances recently (although i still think he will come good). I'll maybe even let you off criticising dirk the destroyer, but you can't tell me that the likes of pepe reina, xabi alonso, mascherano, agger and skrtel weren't great signings by benitez. Even the likes of aurelio and arbeloa have proved to be good value for money.

    I think you need to reconsider your statement mate.

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  • 123. At 3:31pm on 27 Jan 2009, Red_Sam_ThisYearHonest! wrote:

    Look, the simple fact is that this, and many other BBC-sanctioned anti-Liverpool articles are designed purely to allow others to slag off the club and it's manager, and if they manage to catch the odd fake poster masquerading as a LFC fan and the plastics who've been 'supporting' the club since May 2005, in order to legitimise the articles, then so much the better.

    It's an absolutely shocking state of affairs, especially when it's perpetrated by the national broadcaster.

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  • 124. At 3:34pm on 27 Jan 2009, thetrickykid wrote:

    @ 95

    "Rafa's greatest plus for many Liverpool fans is Istanbul 2005. This despite the team being 3-0 down at half time due to following his too cautious game plan. Only when the players decided to abandon this ill conceived plan and bomb forward did they actually get anywhere."

    Are you truly suggesting that the players on the pitch conspired to undermine their manager by ignoring any tactical input he may have had into the game, in terms of picking players and formations and determining how to nullify the threat of AC Milan, and instead fabricate their own genial, gung-ho solution that AC Milan, with all their experienced players and world class coach could not counteract?
    Not only this, but they have also managed to keep it completely secret from the world's press, even when ex players have moved on?

    Really?

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  • 125. At 3:38pm on 27 Jan 2009, michaeltherover wrote:

    As a blackburn fan who tries not to get caught up in the rediculous spats that break out between the top 4 teams, I have to say that I think Benitez is the least talented of the managers within the top 6. He has not really come as long a way with Liverpool in the last 4/5 years as you'd have expected him to with the team/ fanbase/ and transfer funds he inherited.

    Yes, he has an eye for picking solid defenders and making his team hard to beat and knows that this can be highly effective in cup runs as the slightest mistake can send you crashing out.

    However, when it comes to picking attacking players he has been extemely poor (with the obvious exception of Torres) and I think this will cost him from effectively challenging over a whole season when you need to win games, not draw.

    Gerrard, for all his strengths, is not a particulary creative midfielder, more solid, determined, and with a great passing and shooting technique but not a creator.

    It's also hard to create chances when you have 2nd rate wingers whose only aim is seemingly to cross the ball into the box from any position and full backs that rarely overlap.

    You can get away winning the premier league defensively, Morinhio showed us that, but Morinhio had the flair in midfield and one hell of a target man to make this work. Benitez doesn't have that.

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  • 126. At 3:38pm on 27 Jan 2009, markadoi84 wrote:

    TheTrickyKid - I'm sure Benitez told the players to try and attack more in the 2005 final, but it seems pretty obvious to me that occassionally when Rafa's cautious gameplan isn't working, Gerrard in particular will think "right, I'm gonna try and spur this team forward on my own". The point is though, and this cannot possibly be denied, that Benitez is a complete hypocrite to complain about another team's defensive set up. Particularly against a team with NO strikers - it's plain ridiculous and Moyes will be delighted with this typically petulant and blinkered outburst from a man who is obviously cracking up. I'd put money on Everton to win the replay, Liverpool are - as always - bottling it.

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  • 127. At 3:40pm on 27 Jan 2009, LFC_Its_Only_A_Game wrote:

    Hi Robbo,
    I am sometimes not sure how to take you... you say things like Gerrard is what keeps liverpool afloat and then you say lets hope some other team can get there name on the premier league trophy... as a fan of the pool, we see this type of talk every season, if its not chelsea, its arsenal and now its Liverpools turn so i suppose BBC have to pay you for doing something eh????
    all I wanted to say regarding your comments is to ask you one question... do you think that red team from manchester would have been as successful as they were last season without ronaldo?? simple yes or no... i dont want a story about it...

    finally me and all the other liverpool fans can only hope we can get out of this blip... if there was something we could do about it we would, like get onto the pitch and put a finishing touch to the amount of possession we tend to have in alot of the recent games... it is sad that there is alot of crap going on within the club but what club hasnt got crap going on... media have to hit someone and its not going to be burton albion... so it has to be one of the big 4... anyway my fingers are crossed for liverpool to make the fans smile come Mid May... cheerio Robbo

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  • 128. At 3:41pm on 27 Jan 2009, MMsRedArmy wrote:

    #122

    All very well and good. But why will nobody answer the question as to why RB tried his best to sell Alonso during the if he was such a good signing (he would not be here to play well this seaon of it was up to RB), and why he has not played Agger, to the point that Agger wants to leave because he is not playing enough when fit (that is going off statements made by Agger himself)

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  • 129. At 3:42pm on 27 Jan 2009, 6OrMoreCharachters wrote:

    funny how when fergie blames opposition managers and refs etc, he is just playing mind games, yet when rafa, two time la liga winner with valencia up against the likes of barca and real madrid (who united of all people should know about), makes similar comments, he is losing it. somehow, it is appropriate to assume rafa has never been in this position before. he has. and he has a way of dealing with it which has been successful. so what if we arent used to it?

    look at it this way. rafa came to england, zonal marking and rotation and all. criticism was flying left right and centre. now, zonal marking has made us the best team defending set pieces in the league. it has been shown that all the top teams rotate just as much as us, including those who win the league.

    rafa is now dealing with being top and all the mind games in his own way, and we all see it as weird now, but it'll be interesting to see what you make of it at the end of the season

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  • 130. At 3:42pm on 27 Jan 2009, bpl333 wrote:

    im a united fan, and it makes me laugh how liverpool think that they have a realistic chance of the title.

    Remember this year liverpool will have more than 1 trophy to play for after January, and their squad will be stretched...............Liverpool seem to have no plan b, if the big 'hoof' to Torres isnt working........and in Skrtel, he is a poor man 'Vidic'

    This time next week, their season will be over, and the banter will start again about how they are going to win it next year............

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  • 131. At 3:42pm on 27 Jan 2009, Reds69 wrote:

    Another rubbish article from someone who can't leave his personal bias out of anything he writes.

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  • 132. At 3:43pm on 27 Jan 2009, thetrickykid wrote:

    Re 121.

    Fair enough. And I agree with you that Everton have limited striking resources at the moment. I wasn't attacking you. I was attacking the journalist. I enjoy coming to this website in general and getting to read the opinions of genuine fans from every team. There's nothing worse than when a blog descends into a farce populated by windup merchants - whichever club they may support/hate. This article seems to have been written with the sole purpose to produce that result. The BBC is 'supposed' to be neutral.

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  • 133. At 3:44pm on 27 Jan 2009, Rich_Owl wrote:

    I've been saying for a couple of years that Rafas buys have been a bit ropey. If Liverpool want to seriously challenge Man Utd and Chelsea, then they have to buy players who are better than Man Utd or Chelseas. Simple? Apparently not. Is Robbie Keane better than Rooney, Tevez, Drogba or Anelka? No. Is Babbel better than Giggs or Joe Cole? No. Is Pennent or Benayoun better than CRonaldo? No. Mascherano better than Essien? No. Need I continue? Liverpool have two players which would get into the ManU or Chelsea teams. Rafa bought one of them. He needs to bring in players (or bring through players) who ManU or Chelsea would want to have in their side. THEN Liverpool will be able to consistently compete. He has spent a lot of money and has failed to do that, and so is probably going to keep getting stick for his transfer dealings as a result.

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  • 134. At 3:45pm on 27 Jan 2009, markadoi84 wrote:

    LFC_Its_Only_A_Game - I'm a United fan and without Ronaldo, perhaps United wouldn't have been as successful. But still, take Ronaldo out of the United squad and you still have a better squad and first team than Liverpool's. This is not a criticism of Liverpool as a club, it's a criticism of Benitez's ability to improve his team - he's been there since 2004 now, won the CL in 2005 and since then he's failed with so, so, so many signings and he hasn't yet come close to challenging for the Premiership. Take Ronaldo away from United, you still have a great team, likewise if you take Drogba from Chelsea. With Gerrard and Torres, Liverpool can't make a challenge. Now what would you have if you took them away? I agree with the chap who said Benitez is the least talented manager in the top 6.

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  • 135. At 3:47pm on 27 Jan 2009, LFC_Its_Only_A_Game wrote:

    hey bpl333, we have a chance of winning of it... we cannot doubt that due us been as close as we are in the past 19years.... i have heard all the crap we pool fans need to hear from sad manc fans so do us a favour and stop repeating yourself will you... good man

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  • 136. At 3:47pm on 27 Jan 2009, Obaydah Al-Namer wrote:

    TOMKINS: PROOF OF PROGRESSION
    Paul Tomkins 26 January 2009
    I don't think there have been many more one-sided derbies since Ian Rush scored four.
    paul tomkins

    Although Liverpool have won a fair few local clashes fairly heavily in the recent past, and lost one too, possession has surely never been so dominated by one side. I half-expected David Moyes to ask Rafa, 'Can we have the ball back, Mr?'

    Admittedly there weren't too many saves by their goalkeeper, bar one incredible stop to atone for an incredible blunder, but fair play to Lescott and Jagielka for blocking almost everything in a game of attack versus defence. Those two were outstanding, albeit aided by virtually every outfield player dropping deep.

    Liverpool kept moving the ball, using the width with intelligence and trying to draw out their neighbours, but it wasn't so much that they parked the bus as brought the entire depot and lined them up like an Evel Knievel stunt. While Liverpool attacked and attacked, it's almost impossible to get in behind teams if they play that way.

    I'm also not sure I buy this hard-luck story of Everton having no strikers; if they choose to play muscular target-man Anichebe on the wing, that's their problem. It's a bit like Liverpool playing Kuyt on the wing with every other striker injured and complaining of having no fit centre-forwards. When Torres was out, Kuyt ended up back up front, naturally.

    In terms of footballing class, there was a gulf. The gulf in attitude and expectations was also seen in how the visiting fans celebrated a draw like a win, even though they'd thrown away the lead. Part of their glee was knowing that the Reds did not need a replay, with the Premiership and Champions League to seriously contest. So their glee pleased me, in a perverse way, as it was a little hollow.

    Thankfully Liverpool usually do better at Goodison, where the home team cannot rely on such negative (but clearly effective) tactics. Being a Cup game, the Blues might be even more hyped up, but that could help the Reds find some space in behind. Everton will almost certainly play better, but by making a game of it, they could play into the hands (or feet) of Torres and Gerrard.

    Everton actually remind me a bit of Liverpool from the early part of this decade when visiting big clubs like Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United, and in Europe, Roma and Barcelona.

    It's testament to how far Liverpool have come that they no longer need to go to such places and get ten men behind the ball in ultra-negative fashion and hope for one moment of lightning to strike.

    The problem with that Liverpool set-up was how to take it to the next level. It's very hard to spring from a side that is hard to beat to one that can genuinely challenge for trophies – something Everton have yet to do.

    And while Liverpool have drawn a few games too many of late, that is a transition that I believe the Reds have been making well in the past two years. It's not quite perfected yet, but it's getting there.

    Only time will tell if this recent run is the kind of 'slump' where a team usually loses three out of four-or-so games; if this is the Reds' dodgy spell, then those draws are better than defeats, and a sign of progress. If it is a greater trend, then that would obviously be more of a worry. But all teams have bad days, and Liverpool don't seem to get beat on theirs.

    While I have a lot of respect for Houllier (who did a great job in his first three years), I currently see a Liverpool team improving in its overall output under Benítez, to one that had really fallen off the pace in the last two years under his predecessor.

    Whereas the Liverpool team, and overall squad, weakened after a peak in 2002 (with the replacement of McAllister, Fowler, Anelka, Barmby, Ziege, Redknapp, Berger and a few other established senior players with inferior talents), this one continues to look stronger.

    Every team will have its lulls on a short-term basis, but Liverpool are now one of the most feared teams in Europe and flying high domestically. The difference was that at this stage in 2002-03 and 2003-04 the Reds were off the pace by 10-20 points, and both times suffered very poor seasons in Europe. If this is not a sign of progress, I don't know what is.

    While Houllier signed some great defensive players (in particular Didi Hamann and the indefatigable Sami Hyypia), his attacking signings didn't work out so well. Harry Kewell could, and perhaps should have been a bargain, but he was just never fit long enough. That was just bad luck.

    Perhaps this failing of Houllier's is natural; it's far harder to find top-class offensive talent, and I can list loads of attacking midfield and striking flops signed by Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger in the last decade or so.

    (For the record I'll name just a few: Veron, Kleberson, Bellion, Forlan and, it could be argued, Nani; at Arsenal: Wreh, Diawara, Mendez, Boa Morte, Reyes and the woeful Franny Jeffers. But once you get just one right, you can be set for a number of years.)

    But between 2002 and 2004, Liverpool never made the step up to a really potent all-round team, in particular due to a lack of top attacking talents.

    Back then, Liverpool, like Everton, relied on defending in numbers while a gutsy little forward punched above his weight. But before he even got his feet under the table, Benítez lost Owen, the one guaranteed source of goals, and instead inherited the talented but erratic (and expensive) Djibril Cissé.

    So in four years, he has had to totally overhaul that side of the Reds' game. By contrast, at the point Benítez arrived, Ferguson already had Ronaldo and Rooney. He also had Giggs and Scholes, so the majority of his attacking talent was already in place, as were Ferdinand and Neville at the back. Already playing catch-up, Benítez had to start from scratch.

    He went for Peter Crouch and Craig Bellamy, two reasonably cheap players who have recently moved on for lots of money. Neither was a total success at Liverpool, but Crouch was certainly a good buy in every sense: playing well, and making the club a very tidy profit. However, once Torres arrived, neither was going to play as much football, and rather than be substitutes they took their chances elsewhere.

    However, in Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres and Albert Riera, Benítez has added skilful Spaniards with real class and vision. These are top-class technical footballers who are a joy to watch, without being prima donnas.

    Luis Garcia was another attacking success; not the most consistent performer, but you can never argue with the important goals he scored and how he made things happen.

    Dirk Kuyt is a bit similar in terms of output and important goals, if very different in style; not especially prolific as a striker, his goals and assists from the right flank have made him a positive attacking acquisition.

    Kuyt's game is that of a 'wide-midfielder', ie a solid type of player who does well at both ends of the pitch, rather than a 'winger', who is usually a skilful player who only excels going forward; making Kuyt more of a Ljungberg than a Pires. I feel Kuyt suffers by comparison with the world's silkiest wingers, but most teams tend to balance a winger on one flank with a more industrious type on the other, such as Park Ji-Sung at Manchester United.

    I also feel that Ryan Babel has been hit-and-miss rather than anything like approaching a flop, but he's fallen behind Riera in the pecking order.

    Some fringe players will need to play every week to find their rhythm and gain the confidence to show their true quality. But that will not be possible, by nature of their role, and the limitations placed on them by those established in the team. Dipping in and out of the side is not ideal to help them flourish; but if you don't have the likes of Babel and Lucas – young internationals with major footballing nations – then you don't have cover, and therefore can't rest players or deal with injuries.

    But it's not just Rafa's signings that have improved the attacking side of the Reds' game. While Steven Gerrard is simply a great natural talent who has improved with age, Benítez has also helped him treble his seasonal goal tallies and redefined his role.

    All of these players are still at a good age. The same is true of Benítez's key defensive signings: Reina, Agger, Skrtel, Arbeloa and Mascherano, with Insua vying to add himself to that list.

    So I see no correlation whatsoever between now and what went wrong a few years ago, when the best players, bar Gerrard and Carragher, were either on their way out of the door, or in their 30s.

    This squad has a far better balance in terms of quality in every position and also age. It has a better mentality, too, with less 'flighty' types.

    So my fear remains that some impatient fans (particularly with United on 17 league titles) would want the baby thrown out with the bath water if, despite progressing, the Reds fall a little short come May. For me, there are more similarities with Shankly's Liverpool than Houllier's, but even so, neither pattern is predetermined to be repeated.

    This is a new team, in a new era, heading into new and unknown territory: the future.

    SHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

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  • 137. At 3:48pm on 27 Jan 2009, thetrickykid wrote:

    markadoi84 - It is impossible to counter such a reasonable, well balanced and obviously neutral opinion.

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  • 138. At 3:50pm on 27 Jan 2009, LFC_Its_Only_A_Game wrote:

    markodoi84, i wasnt talking to you or to any other liverpool fan... i was asking robbo i believe... we know your the league champions, european champions, so what, we have been there mate... we know what its like to gloat at times... talk later

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  • 139. At 3:50pm on 27 Jan 2009, Eddy Cordoza wrote:

    Re 114. Red_Sam_ThisYearHonest!

    I didn't pass off Ferguson's early years as irrelevant. In fact, if you read, i think they were extremely relevant. He had a long term version and sowed the seeds that came to fruition during the 90's.

    My main point though, was that you implied that Ferguson's poor start at United has been brushed under the carpet by all journalists. Utter nonsense. Ferguson, like Wenger, like Scolari, like ANY manager, gets endless column inches written about them when things aren't going well. Most people accept it as part of football whereas you seem to think that it's some kind of anti-Liverpool media agenda. That's just paranoia.

    These BBC blogs are entertaining because they present views from all angles. If you just want to just read pro-Liverpool propaganda telling you how great everything is at Anfield at the moment, then perhaps the official website is for you?

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  • 140. At 3:51pm on 27 Jan 2009, phuketphil wrote:

    Benitez is a myth in his own lifetime. He is sometimes quite shrewd in his transfer dealings, but too often gets things wrong. He's not a motivator, nor is he a tactician. His tenure with Liverpool has depended solely on his relationship with Steven Gerrard, who he realises is literally saving his skin. He doesn't have the integrity, knowledge, or accumen of SAF, and never will have.

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  • 141. At 3:51pm on 27 Jan 2009, 6OrMoreCharachters wrote:

    to the guy/woman who is questioning why we wanted to sell alonso. remember, by his own admission, he has had a bad 18 months. at the time, it seemed inevitable, even to the bbc's mihir bose dude, that the 6 + 5 rule would come into effect. therefore, why not get rid of a player who has had a bad 18 months for one who can bring close to the same quality as well as more versatility to the team, and makes the team more flexible as regards the rules? rafa clearly knew what alonso could potentially do as he rejected two bids from juve, of 14 and 15.5 million respectively, and one from arsenal of 15M, because he wanted how much he knew alonso was worth. therefore, when that was not met, he didnt flog him for whatever he could get, he kept him, thus showing he knew his quality.

    im over you sad WUM's now... i'll talk come may

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  • 142. At 3:51pm on 27 Jan 2009, B_Ri wrote:

    Re: Comment 7

    It's already starting:

    "you'll be eating your own word come May, Benitez will do the business either this year or next and deliver us the Prem Tittle"

    Liverpool fans are already to half heartedly admit this year won't be their year, and that "next year will be our year."

    How many years now have the scousers been sayning "next year will be our year"?

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  • 143. At 3:53pm on 27 Jan 2009, Bangforyourbuck wrote:

    Re: 132

    True but this is a football blog, not a Gaza aid appeal, let's paint the world in all colours, not just beige! But I can understand where you're coming from.

    Now let's all have a love-in.

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  • 144. At 3:53pm on 27 Jan 2009, B_Ri wrote:

    Further point, how many trophies has Benitez actually won compared to Houllier, who if I remember won 3 in one season once.

    I never knew why they got rid of Houllier.

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  • 145. At 3:53pm on 27 Jan 2009, aka_bluepeter wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 146. At 3:54pm on 27 Jan 2009, ClarkySparky wrote:

    Why is everyone picking on the manager?!

    We are joint top of the league and some people STILL can't admit what a good job he is doing.

    We are ahead of Chelsea and joint with Man Utd despite the fact they can (and do) spend far more money on each player than we can afford and generally have bottomless pits of money!

    With the budget we have, to be competing with these clubs is impressive. All signs points to a decent manager!

    Bad managers don't get to 2 champions league finals in 3 years or win it with Djimi Traore in their team.

    Ignorant comment about Torres being the only great signing too Robbo, looked a bit stupid there since he's scored 5 league goals and we're at the top of the league........surely the other signings must be doing something right?!

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  • 147. At 3:54pm on 27 Jan 2009, G_is_God wrote:

    when did everton need any strikers? all they ever relied on was a hopeful set piece into the box for cahil to pounce on. in terms of skill-championship side at best. even the everton die-hards will tell you they are complete dross

    Anichebe is a striker, but played on the right wing last Sunday. that tells you everything you need to know about the tactics employed by Neverton.

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  • 148. At 3:55pm on 27 Jan 2009, markadoi84 wrote:

    Thetrickykid - I didn't say it was neutral, it was however my opinion. I have a lot of respect for Liverpool as a club, not to mention world-class players like Gerrard, Torres and Carragher. But as for Benitez, well if I were a Liverpool fan I'd feel very short changed and probably as short tempered as you - I mean it must hurt after your lot bleat about "this time it's our year" every pre-season and then you get let down once again. If I were you, I'd be looking for a manager who loses his temper but then delivers - not one who then goes and draws against Stoke. Try convincing me that Benitez was in any way right to criticise Everton's tactics? He should commend a fellow manager who used seriously limitted resources to combat a far richer and far stronger opponent. Keep your sarcasm to yourself mate and admit that, yet again, you're going nowhere.

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  • 149. At 3:56pm on 27 Jan 2009, Red Kings of Europe wrote:

    You know what "Robbo Robson"? Methinks you, and the rest of the media, should start to show Rafa a bit of respect, eh? Take a look at what the man has achieved before slagging him off.

    Stevie Gerrard is a fantastic player, but he will happily admit that the trophies he has won, under Rafa or not, have not been won single-handedly by him. Stevie G also often thanks Rafa for how he has helped him develop over the last five years, and take his game to a new level. Would another manager have been able to do likewise? Dunno. But Rafa has.

    And as for slating his tactics on Sunday, what an absolute joke. We responded very well in the second half to the goal, dominated the game, just wasn't our day. You wouldn't criticise Fergie because he's so SCARY though!

    And Torres the only truly great signing Rafa has made here? Haha, makes me laugh that. Try Reina, a top class 'keeper. Try Xabi Alonso, a fantastic playmaker. Try Mascherano, a vital player who plays a role that all teams need to have someone in.

    Oh yeah, almost forgot to ask, "Robbo Robson" - you are so good at this manager lark, shouldn't you be a manager yourself?

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  • 150. At 3:56pm on 27 Jan 2009, MMsRedArmy wrote:

    #129 – 6ormorecharacters - because

    When ferguson does it, his team invariably goes on to get the result they need in the next game, be that a win or a draw (ie a champs league game second leg to go through)

    RB has done it, and his team have drawn with Stoke (who Man u beat, albeit with a late goal, but three points) and drawn two home games with Everton.

    It was called a mistake after the match, not before, when the results can be shown. Raffa had his outburst and we failed to get the result we need, Ferguson does it and Man u get their result. That is the difference and why it has been said to be a mistake.

    Btw, nothing to do with you. But still waiting for a raffa sheep to explain why he tried to sell Alonso and not play Agger, when apparently according to most fellow Liverpool fans on this they were great signings

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  • 151. At 4:00pm on 27 Jan 2009, Bangforyourbuck wrote:

    RE 136:

    I didn't realise you were quoting from God, because clearly his word is final and cannot be challenged.

    I may just write a lengthy counter-argument and post it as clipped from somewhere else and also deliver it as gospel.

    That's not to say I disagree with everything written on there, but you can't post it and expect it to end all discussions just "because".

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  • 152. At 4:00pm on 27 Jan 2009, martfarg wrote:

    whats going on is that Rafa wont play keane to prove Parry wrong. when he plays him, he plays him out of position so keano cant shine. if keane shines, parry will have justified his purchase. ive followed keane for years as an ireland supporter and my message to RK is move on mate, its not worth fighting with the fat spanish waiter, he moans until he gets his way. as per crouch last season. i love lfc and keano, but somethings got to give. We either lose rafa and all his spanish contingent or keano. move on keano, move to celtic, youll be idolised there mate. i'll still support you from croke park.

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  • 153. At 4:01pm on 27 Jan 2009, markadoi84 wrote:

    LFCItsOnlyAGame - talk later....next season by any chance?? OK sorry, I'm not on here to be arrogant or wind people up and I'm not here to go "our team's better than your's". I was making a point about Liverpool under Benitez and I don't think anybody would have thought Rafa had done a good job in the last 4 years if, after the 2005 final, we'd been told his team would not challenge for the next 3 or 4 seasons. Most would have expected a title or 2 in that time, but all he's done is make silly signings and put pressure on his team with irrational rants. Sorry if you don't agree.

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  • 154. At 4:02pm on 27 Jan 2009, NEARPOSTHEADER wrote:

    Ooh, Robbo had the temerity to have a little dig at the Beatified Benitez and that grand, old institution that is Liverpool FC. For me, Rafa has yet to prove that he is a great manager - in my ever-so-'umble opinion, he makes far too many baffling decisions in regards to transfers, selections and tactics.
    After the league game against Everton, I commented that LFC didn't go for the jugular after they were 1 up and missed a great chance for the 3 points - I thnk Robbo's comparison with Ericksson's England was spot-on.
    Yes Rafa won the Champs League, but the true test of a team is winning the league (remember Greece did win the Euro Championships), and he has been found wanting season after season.
    LFC are fortunate that they have such an illustrous past and can attract great players who grew up supporting the club, but it seems that Rafa doesn't choose/mold enough great players to make an all-conquering side.
    Yes, there are very good players apart from Gerrard, but it seems to me he signs too much driftwood.

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  • 155. At 4:02pm on 27 Jan 2009, manufan_India wrote:

    Rafa is definitely a fantastic manager but a very defensive minded manager which could bring success in cup competitions and in leagues where the competition is too tight at the top with few teams vying for the same position. In those cases, draws are good results as long as they are close to the top and the last few weeks could decide it which is also one of the reasons for Rafa trying the rotations last year. He won the leagues in Spain when Real Madrid and Barcelona was not doing well and he did exceptionally well in CL as he is a fantastic manager. Jose Mourinho is of similar style but probably more charismatic and he had more funds in Chelsea which helped him to be defensive but still be successful in the premier league. For the last four years, Liverpool didn't have a chance because either Chelsea or Manu were not dropping points but this year it is more of an even contest which is one of the reasons for Liverpool to be in the title race and also the fantastic start made by Liverpool. Fergie, Arsene, Martin O Neil are attack minded managers hence have better chance of succeeding in BPL but may be they will struggle in Spanish and Italian Leagues. People here have been mentioning about Pepe Reina as a good signing by pointing at the golden gloves but it is again a testament to Benitez's defensive tactics as they couldn't win the title with all those cleansheets. Martin O Neil would be a fantastic coach for Liverpool and he will definitely give Fergie and Wenge a tough fight but i hope Martic joins Manu !

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  • 156. At 4:02pm on 27 Jan 2009, Neil wrote:

    145. At 3:53pm on 27 Jan 2009, aka_bluepeter wrote:
    Benitez is maquerading as a true Brit, all detached and in control thinly disguising the fact he is a typical fiery, illogical, irrational and emotional continental when things don't go his way. When the pressure builds the dummies start to fly and Fergie is eyeing him like a Hawk waiting to pounce. At the moment he doesn't need to as it seems Benitez is walking stright into the trap without being led there. At least Mourhino gave Fergie a run for his money.

    Bottom line is the only signings he has made who can live with Gerrard is Torres and possibly Reina. Not enough to compete with Chelsea and Arsenal let alone Man Utd.


    Great bit of xenophobia there, followed up by more nonsense. It's as bad as the poster who said only two players from Liverpool (Torres and Gerrard) would get in United or Chelsea's teams, when the likes of Reina, Carragher, Agger, Alonso and Mascherano would arguably walk into their sides at the moment.

    Football is a squad game and both United and Chelsea would love to have players like Reina, Agger, Skrtel, Carragher, Alonso, Mascherano, Riera, Gerrard and Torres available to them.

    To suggest otherwise is plain daft - Liverpool are second in the table level on points with Manchester United and ahead of Chelsea and Arsenal for a reason. If we only had two top players we'd be battling it out with the likes of City and Spurs trying to keep our place in the Premiership.

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  • 157. At 4:06pm on 27 Jan 2009, Red Kings of Europe wrote:

    "Besides which Moyes had precisely no strikers at his disposal. None."

    Indeed, not like, erm, Victor Anichebe has ever played there in his life.

    Honestly, so many of you journalists, like "Robbo Robson", are desperate to jump onto the anti-Rafa bandwagon when things are not looking so good (still joint top the league, in the CL knockout stages and in the hat for 5th round, so not going too bad, lad), yet, when things are going well, you praise him. Kneejerky much?

    Unfortunately there are very few good journalists left to write about football. There are some, you are not one of them "Robbo Robson". You are a fool, who loves to just copy n' paste others quotes it seems, with regards to our great club.

    Stop being rubbish, yours sincerely,

    RKoE

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  • 158. At 4:07pm on 27 Jan 2009, Filipe wrote:

    The problem with Liverpool is the pressure attached with 19 years without a league title. For a team that was used to winning everything, its often very hard to get over the finishing line and finally end all those years of waiting.

    If i remember correctly when Man Utd won their first PL title it wasn't exactly a walk in the park. The pressure gets to everyone, the players, fans, manager etc..

    So if Liverpool are to win the league expect it to be on the last day (Maybe with a Man Utd slip up due to over-confidence).

    Its not gonna be pretty

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  • 159. At 4:08pm on 27 Jan 2009, LFC_Its_Only_A_Game wrote:

    markodoi84,
    im not here to wind you up either mate, whether its 2009 or 1985, benny and slur ferg where in similar situations, winning the odd trophy here and there, i mean for me, i want Rafa to stay as LFC manager because for me, the proof is written on the walls when you look at slur fergie and arsene wenger, they have been the longest serving managers in the top league and there record shows that the longer you are with a team of individuals you wil get results.. not straight away but it can only improve the longer a manager stays with one club... why do we think the newcastles and spurs who were good footballing teams get rid of a manager over 3 bad results and employ a new man... to me a manager needs time... regardless of what the other liverpool fans say on here... and look back at my posts... have i said once, next year is the year...??? no i have not... but i will say if we were offered our place in the league along with mancs up top, we would all take it... we are there and yes we hope we do it... but taken the past few games and results into perspective... that wont be enough to take within the reach of the mancs...

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  • 160. At 4:09pm on 27 Jan 2009, Red Kings of Europe wrote:

    martfarg, you are clearly not worthy of being a Liverpool fan mate. Calling Rafa a "fat Spanish waiter" stinks of bitterness, just because he doesn't always play your beloved Keane.

    Go support someone else. Adios.

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  • 161. At 4:13pm on 27 Jan 2009, LFC8LFC wrote:

    Robbo suggesting Benitez only good signing is Torres is farcical to say the least. Maybe you have heard of Reina, Mascherano, Agger, Skrtel, Alonso, Luis Garcia??????? There have been some duds, but is that so unusual? Even the high and mighty sir Alex Ferguson has had a few.

    Also, you say Gerrard is his only trump card, and then give Rafa no credit for having developed Gerrard into the payer he is. Under the Houllier reign Gerrard was deployed in central midfield, it would have been seen as a joke for him to play anywhere else.

    Rafa changed that, he moved him further foward and this helped Gerrard develop his already good attacking skills.

    The man is unpredictable i will give you that, i do find the Robbie Keane situation bizarre but it's good to know that every journalist has already termed him a flop only six months into his contract.

    Especially as a few games in christmas he was seen as "starting to prove his worth". Shows how the media's judgments change to use a robbo quote as Fast as Holmer Simpson in a Ferrari.

    Why not write something slightly constructive, like touching on his ramblings with the owners, or his need to air things out in public surely even you would admit the American owners haven't exactly made life easy for the man (yes he has not always helped himself). Instead of going for the easy report or the sensational one.

    Your articles can be funny that is certain, but whether you are really a creditable journalist. Well that's another story.

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  • 162. At 4:15pm on 27 Jan 2009, steveyg101 wrote:

    I find it hard to swallow reading about Benitez's alleged 'ineptitude' in the transfer market. Let's get this straight once and for all - there is nothing horrendous about Benitez's buys! Yes he has bought players that have not performed well, but so have all other top-flight managers.

    To borrow from a recent Thomkins article -- and in reference to Ferguson -- i'll name a few examples for the sake of argument: Veron, Kleberson, Bellion, Forlan. And for some Arsenal equivalents under Wenger: Wreh, Diawara, Mendez, Boa Morte, Reyes, and Francis Jeffers.

    Yes, Benitez has bought his fair share of mediocre players. But no, that doesn't make him a poor manager. Talk all you want about flops -- the fact of the matter is he has bought Liverpool:

    Mascherano
    Agger
    Skrtel
    Torres

    And other players that were either brilliant value for money buys or young prospects for the future:

    Babel (£11m)
    Kuyt (£9m)
    Benayoun (£6m)
    Ngog (£1m)
    Insua (£500,000)
    Arbeloa (£2.5m)



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  • 163. At 4:15pm on 27 Jan 2009, matt-equals-amazing wrote:

    I cannot believe LFC fans are actually accusing the BBC of being against their 'beloved' club.

    Anyone else read ANYTHING written by Mark Lawrenson...? He must be the most bias contributor to this site! And who did he play for...hmm...

    Also, Gerrard and Torres are, if you actually allow yourself to think, the only two great players at the club. No other player in the Liverpool squad would make it into the United team, or for that matter Chelsea and even Arsenal. Especially given recent runs of form.

    Reina - accident prone, too short and completely over-shadowed by both VDS and Cech.

    Skrtel - Same playing style as Vidic... only not as good.

    Reira - I just cannot believe any of you ACTUALLY think he's good?

    I could go on but I'll save you the misery.

    Finally, Gerrard is the sole reason Liverpool has won anything under Rafa. Yes, he doesn't play every game, and he has been missing when you've actually won a game (that doesn't mean you aren't reliable upon him...) but when it comes to it, the most you've really ever achieved without Gerrard, and of late Torres was the 2-1 win over United this season.

    And even that has not seemed to do you lot much good...

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  • 164. At 4:18pm on 27 Jan 2009, johnboy1804 wrote:

    #19 I think has got it exactly right. and the post at #28, REALLY??

    you wouldnt swap alonso OR mascherano for MIchael Carrick, or Owen Hargreaves

    Bearing in mind how good carrick actuallly is, and the fact owen hargreaves has as much chance of playing this year for man utd as i do

    im not having a go but look at it realistically dont just go along with whatever robbo says

    Robbos blogs arent exactly the most informative or well researched as some people believe

    As far as Benitez's track record goes with signings, well i wont go into that actually as id just be repeating what every other sensible football fan on here has said, regardless of who they support, look at #18 damiendruce. A united fan AND intelligent, a rare occurence if the people usually on here are anything to go by

    Wehn does your contract to write for the bbc end robbo, i might start a facebook petition against it being renewed!

    im sure id get a few (thousand) names together

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  • 165. At 4:20pm on 27 Jan 2009, markadoi84 wrote:

    LFC_Its_Only_A_Game - very fair point regarding sticking with your manager rather than doing a Spurs of Newcastle. Others (and perhaps you did too) were right to point out he won the league with Valencia too, beating the likes of Barca and Real to the trophy twice. This is why it is so puzzling that he hasn't managed to do the same with Liverpool and seems to be crumbling - are these outbursts a little game plan to make people 'think' he's losing the plot??? He will win the league with Liverpool providing 2 factors are fulfilled - first that he is forgiven for wasting yet more money and, perhaps, failing again to challenge for the whole season (not yet the case, but doesn't look good right now) and secondly if he can keep his sanity. Mourinho courted lots of press with his own brand of crazy behaviour, but he was clever enough to take pressure OFF his players and onto himself. Currently, Rafa is dumping pressure onto both him and his players. His man management must be questioned - he's destroying one of the best strikers in the premiership, one he chose to sign. Anyway, all the best and maybe I'll be proven wrong.

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  • 166. At 4:23pm on 27 Jan 2009, Wheatlio wrote:

    Agreed, 30% of his signings realistically improved the squad. Just considering Babel and Keane is £32 million bringing absolutely nothing to the table. Gerrard must be fed up of hauling around his Liverpool FC rucksack that seems to contain the rest of the squad. Benitez is rumbled.

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  • 167. At 4:25pm on 27 Jan 2009, Obaydah Al-Namer wrote:

    RE:151

    I'm not quoting from God and that's obvious!

    Please write your counter argument then!

    I'm waiting.....

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  • 168. At 4:25pm on 27 Jan 2009, LFC_Its_Only_A_Game wrote:

    markadoi84, only time will tell mate..... no ones comments in here can make a difference...we enjoyed the first half of the season and the 2nd half is so far a nightmare... we cant deny that... as for Keano and me been from Ireland, well i feel strange about the whole situation.... Benny isnt been the most sensible man at the moment and funny thing is if, if ,if if liverpool where to be successful this season, all this crap talk will be forgotten and i really would like that to happen for benny's sake.... talk soon and enjoy the rest of your day mate.

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  • 169. At 4:25pm on 27 Jan 2009, RetiredNo6 wrote:

    Ph look it's the same list of "bad Wenger buys" where the only one that actually is a genuine wast of money is Jeffers.

    As a Gooner Wenger has only made two really poor buys. Jeffers and Richard Wright. £14million on two poor standard English players, that I'm sure were signed to try and satisfy the press who love depicting him as an English hater.

    The others on that list...

    Chris Wreh - Cost £1million pound and scored half a dozen crucial goals in the run-in to the double including an FA Cup semi final winner.

    Diawara - Made a £2million profit on him in 6 months

    Mendez - Cost £100,000 wasn't up to it... worth the gamble.

    Boa Morte - Cost £500,000 made a profit on him sold for £1.25million.

    Reyes - Cost £12million sold for £8million - I'd say was a disappointment for what was expected, but certainly not a disaster and destroyed Juve and Madrid in the Champions League run.

    Francis Jeffers - Yep. As said above. You can have that one.

    The other key difference is that Wenger's successes have not just been steady successes.... but he's had some amazing buys. Vieira, Petit, Henry, Pires, Overmars, Toure, Campbell, Lehmann, Ljungberg, Anelka.... They were all outstanding signings at outstanding vlue for money. That's a list that Rafa can't come close to.

    Wenger's transfer market approach is meticulous and targeted.

    Rafa in contrast tends to take a scattergun approach and even the most biased Liverpool fan would have to agree there have been some unmittigated disasters.

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  • 170. At 4:29pm on 27 Jan 2009, LFC_Its_Only_A_Game wrote:

    markadoi84, I see Keane is in the squad for tomorrows game... so good to see that...

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  • 171. At 4:38pm on 27 Jan 2009, flyingEurotrash wrote:

    Robbo,

    A lot of Liverpool bashing going on at the moment, so you're jumping on the wagon. Unfortunately, I can't blame you as the owners and Rafa are once again making their annual spectacle of the English Institution that is Liverpool FC.

    Top and bottom: the owners need to sell up. We need them out and we need to bring in some owners who care about the club and are not using it to bankroll their real interests in the USA.

    Rafa: you need to swallow your pride and start using Keane. He's a class player and could have scored us a lot of goals this season. Rafa, I have to question your loyalty to LFC with the way you have made an example out of Keane. He's a class act on and off the pitch but you've made an example out of him at the expense of LFC's title challenge. N'gog ahead of Keane!? I can hear SAF laughing now I think! Rafa, I can't stand the way you play football (Robbo you are correct in that Liverpool only play when they are not winning), I wish you would play Babel on the right (you've destroyed his confidence too! Isn't he a Dutch International?!). I'll bet Pennant's little outburst is based on a lot of truth. He said half the players don't understand Rafa and I can truly belive that. I'd like to see some ambitous owners come in, maybe give Rafa ONE season with some cash and see how he does. If he continues to bore us to death, destroy raw talent and persevere with the likes of Shuyt and Lucas, then off with your head!!

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  • 172. At 4:42pm on 27 Jan 2009, Nandooooooo wrote:

    Robbo, I'm normally a big fan of your blog but I think you're being a bit naive in this one. As much as I am a biased Liverpool fan and supporter of Benitez himself, my support has been fading over the past weeks. BUT, you cannot blame Rafa over the Keane saga. You really think Benitez wouldn't play Keane if he had wanted to buy him for £20million? Clearly the board had something to do with the Keane signing. This is the same Rafael Benitez that CONTINUES to play Andrea Dossena, David N'Gog, and previously Josemi, Kromkamp and several others, who he has kept faith in despite poor perfomances BECAUSE they were his signings. Yes, it's his fault for being stubborn and not giving Keane and Torres the opportunity to gel, but don't blame him for buying and not playing, because he didn't want to buy, and to be honest, £20 million could have been spent signing a winger that could actually do something for the club.
    Hope to see your response to this Robbo, cheers.

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  • 173. At 4:43pm on 27 Jan 2009, RedraM wrote:

    I'm not going to defend the guy, but Benitez is what he is. He takes a conservative approach, makes some odd tactical decisions and is probably more suited to european football (think CL). Although some of his signings have been dire I also think that others have been made to look bad by the football and/or system that Liverpool play. Keane is not a crap player, and is hardly going to turn into one overnight. The media can't help but make something out of nothing, it's what they're paid for after all.

    Still, you can't knock what Benitez has achieved.

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  • 174. At 4:43pm on 27 Jan 2009, barrydodd22 wrote:

    A good blog

    Many of you have mentioned Keane is Rick Parrys signing, this is why Benitez may be the wrong man to bring the title, because when he gets the hump over something he lets it cloud his judgement is Keane a worse option than el shar, ngog or benayoun, no where close he is a class player who scored 20+ goals, but because Benitez is cheesed off he has messed him around, dropped subbed him, played him out of position. There are countless other examples of benitez getting the hump and it affecting his judgement.
    He is shocking in the transfer market a point proved by Xabi Alonso this season possibly Benitez biggest stand (prob because Xabi missed a game for the birth of his child, Beitez getting the hump again). We all knew we needed full backs and wingers and he wanted a centre mid no wonder the yanks want some control on their cash.
    Yes he is a good manager but we should be 10 points clear by now, we have the best team he just never quite seems to make wholey football based decisions.

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  • 175. At 4:44pm on 27 Jan 2009, markadoi84 wrote:

    LFC_Its_Only_A_Game - let's hope he gets his chance tomorrow mate, he's a quality player and even though he plays for your lot he's the sort of player I like to see doing well. It's been said many, many times in the media that it looks sometimes like his team-mates forget him. I can't believe this would be down to his workrate or his quality, both of which are proven, so clearly his style of play doesn't suit the system - strange signing if this is the case. Enjoy the rest of your day too, I appreciate the willingness to share different opinions rather than throw mud in each direction. Nice one dude.

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  • 176. At 4:46pm on 27 Jan 2009, phuketphil wrote:

    What is always evident with Liverpool's transfer dealings is that they are always seeking to plug gaps rather than building for the future. Rarely, if ever, do you see them buying young players with a view of developing them for the future. Benitez is a typical example of continental Europe, and particularly Spain, of this, where young players are developed by accident rather than by design.

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  • 177. At 4:47pm on 27 Jan 2009, workingrat wrote:

    "Of course Benitez'd disagree. He's not putting his name to anything until he gets more control over transfer dealings. But how can you give ultimate power to a man who pays £20m for Keane and then leaves him out of the squad?"

    i think you answered your own question there? or did you not notice you put two things that really dont go together- maybe he dosnt play robbie because he dosnt want him (and therefore probably did not buy him). as such it is quite hard to really disentangle who made the transfer mistakes, but also you forgot to mention players great buys like skrtel, alonso, reina, mascherno and agger. i do believe however that rafa may not be the one to carry liverpool to the title because at times he is too (this may sound silly) tactical. he is undoubtly one of the best tactitions in the modern game, but this results in him tinkering too much and maybe not being aggressive enough. but i will always stand by rafa because 5 years ago the club were no where to be seen (in terms of how good the team and squad were,involvement in major trophies etc). and yea he might complain about the money and transfers but thats because he(or rick parry) get 40/50 mil a season to spend on players just like man UTD for example, but rafa has to buy 5-6 with that money to strengthen his weaker squad) where as Man U can spend it on 1 or 2 (as there squad is amazing). therefore he/ rick is more likely to make mistakes because he has to buy more players(meaning theres more chance of them being poor signings) and as there is less money for each individual player! all hail RAFA! although i got to admit your shopping trip impression was hilarious, but slow down with the il-advised judgements!

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  • 178. At 4:48pm on 27 Jan 2009, supa1878 wrote:

    Red Kings of Europe

    Besides which Moyes had no Strikers at his disposal

    ‘Indeed not like erm Vicotor Anichebe has ever played their in his life’
    ---------------------------------------------------

    You mean the teenager that has been injured for almost 2 seasons and com on as a substitute????

    And that’s your excuse for not being able to win the last 2 games against Everton? Because Everton had a teenager striker playing for them? Not to mention the 2 teenagers that came on as subs in the last game!!!

    Pathetic excuse.

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  • 179. At 4:48pm on 27 Jan 2009, jimmyroyce wrote:

    Who the heck is this tomkins fella ? and whats that nonsense about forlan & veron being flops...???!

    If Liverpool spent 20odd mill on a midfielder and 8 mill odd on a striker and they both went on to be instrumental and win the premier league, a league cup and reach a champs league semi stage in 2 seasons, kopites would be claiming rafa was a genius for buying these such players :-)

    Also that article, when rafa took over 2004 at l'pool, utd's team at the start of the season contained howard, sylvestre, blanc, p nev, saha, smith, ruud, butt, keane, barthez, forlan, veron, bellion, djemba-djemba, kleberson etc. Since that time Ferguson has replaced all these (title winning) players and picked up 2 more league titles. He has also done that by spending less than Benitez.

    Ultimately, and this is the bottom line, Benitez has splashed £200million and turned Liverpool from a 1 man team into a 2 man team. Money they should have put to use in sorting out their stadium first.

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  • 180. At 4:48pm on 27 Jan 2009, Zapulek wrote:

    As a foreign follower of English football I wonder why in Europe (not only in Spain) Benitez is regarded as one of the best manager in the world if he's such a clueless muppet as the English press suggests. Is it because of the general lack of quality and knowledge of English sports writers? Just to make sure you know who are you writing about: a manager who won both Champions League and UEFA Cup plus an FA Cup, promotion with a small team like Extremadura and two Spanish Championships - with Valencia. (What has Valencia won since his departure by the way?)

    To suggest he did a bad job with transfers is simply hillarious. Torres, Alonso, Mascherano, Agger, Skrtel, Riera, Reina, Arbeloa and Aurelio are all great signings (especially considering the prices he's paid for them!). Crouch was sold for a profit, Bellamy was sold for a profit, Sissoko was sold for a profit. Do you actually check facts before writing a blog?

    There were players that didn't make it at Liverpool, true. But they were usually cheap players such as Josemi, Kromkamp or Pennant or even free transfers such as Zenden, Voronin. They were signed because Benitez didn't have the money to buy better players. Sure, Benitez has spent his fair amount of money but so did Tottenham - and where are they exactly? Why do people expect Benitez to win the Championship against teams that have had unlimited resources in the past years? And why don't they expect the same from Spurs?

    If you look at the facts, the only expensive flop Benitez had - so far - is Robbie Keane... and even here it is not sure who is really responsible for this transfer. Apart from that: Which manager doesn't have them? I only mention the likes of Veron, Reyes or SWP.

    To even suggest he wasted Gerrards career is astonishing - under Benitez Gerrard more than doubled his goal tally per season and turned into one of the very best players in the world. That's a fact.

    No doubt, Benitez made mistakes in his reign at Liverpool, he can be stubborn at times and what he exactly sees in Kuyt is also a mystery to me... but that shouldn't hide the most important fact his critics love to forget: Rafa Benitez turned Liverpool from also-rans to one of the most feared teams in Europe.

    What really puzzles me though is the quality of the people that get paid by BBC to write about football (excl. Tim Vickery and Gavin Strachan). Is it really possible that there aren't any better options available?

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  • 181. At 4:49pm on 27 Jan 2009, supa1878 wrote:

    Red Kings of Europe

    Besides which Moyes had no Strikers at his disposal

    ‘Indeed not like erm Vicotor Anichebe has ever played their in his life’
    -----------------------------------------------------

    You mean the teenager that has been injured for almost 2 seasons????

    And that’s your excuse for not being able to win the last 2 games against Everton? Everon had a teenager striker playing for them? Not to mention the 2 teenagers that came on as subs in the last game!!!

    Pathetic excuse.

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  • 182. At 4:53pm on 27 Jan 2009, ccfc05 wrote:

    #108

    Can you see no comparison between what Fergie did when he first arrived and what Benitez has done!

    Firstly - Like Fergie, Rafa has come in and completley changed the squad. Only 4 players from the CL winning side in 05 are still there.

    Secondly - Benitez has invested in youth, first team players like Torres, Mascherano, Reina, Babel (although yet to prove himself) Agger, Skertel all signed in their early 20's with a look to the future, like Fergies young sides they will have, as long as they all remain at Anfield at least 8 seasons playing together.

    Also on youth, Rafa has bought a significant amount of teenagers over the past few seasons, these youths have gone on to win a FA youth cup and the Reserve league North last season, not a definite sign of future success but its hardly a bad omen.

    Its easy to disregard someone criticising Fergie's early years now as he has achieved so much in his 20 odd years, but dont forget it took Fergie 5 years to win a cup (and he was a goal away from loosing his job) Rafa has won 2 major trophies in his first 4 seasons, lost another major final and improved Liverpools league position each season, if thats not a success then what is.

    Fergie is the best example of how a manager given time to shape his own squad can reap rewards, to completley disregard Rafa is just plain ignorant, I dont know if Liverpool can win the EPL this season, united are in fine form with a depleted squad and are always capeable of producing a winner, but dont forget this is the first time in many years that this debate has still been going on in January, if its still going on in May then Rafa has improved his league position yet again and who knows where the CL and FA cup will end up.

    And on Rafa blaming everyone - be honest with yourself and admit Fergie has been at this for years and years, he recently had a pop at the fixture list (the focus of Rafa's so called 'Rant'), every manager does this at some stage in their tenure it is hardly just Benitez

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  • 183. At 4:54pm on 27 Jan 2009, Reds69 wrote:

    Anyone who says that Keane hasn't been played is just blind. That's the only possible explanation. He has played a lot of matches this season. He has been substituted in a lot of those matches because he's done nothing and not looked dangerous. He has missed absolute sitters. Should Rafa persist in playing him for full matches when he's not contributing? That's absurd! If a player isn't playing well, they are subbed. Simple as.

    I want Keane to succeed as much as anyone. He's a quality player and a good lad. But he just hasn't been making the grade. Do you keeping playing a below-standard player just because you paid for him? Or do you play Gerrard in his position because he scores goals. I'll take the goals.

    I hope Keane turns it around, I really do. But anyone who blames Rafa for Keane's failings this year is just not very clever.

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  • 184. At 4:56pm on 27 Jan 2009, forbesabroad wrote:

    I don't disagree that Rafa has been very forthright in his opinions recently - but then which great managers do not defend their club to the hilt - and by whatever means it takes? Ferguson, Wenger, Mourinho, Old "Big Ed". Equally, since when is betraying the spirit of football a desirable quality in a team - shouldn't all teams, whatever their means, aspire to entertain their fans. Not least a club that purports to be a big club, with claims of equal standing to their local rivals, as can be regularly heard echoing in the streets around Goodison Park. Hull City certainly play in the right spirit and they are hardly rich or a "big" club. Talking of money, all managers make big money mistakes - Veron, Reyes, Schevchenko amongst others for those with short memories but to state that Benitez has been unsuccesful in the transfer market is a total fallacy. Yes, there has been some dross purchaed (usually moved on equally quickly) but who can deny the quality of many Benitez buys - Reina, Skrtel, Mascheranno, Alonso, Riera, Torres, Kuyt (who as many fans will tell you at Anfield is central to our success) etc. So benitez i s not an unmitigated success but his prerfectionism, drive and track record should be admired and as a Liverpool fan there is nothing but grounds for hope for this season and the future.

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  • 185. At 4:56pm on 27 Jan 2009, Bangforyourbuck wrote:

    Re 167:

    This is going to be long winded but here goes:

    - Liverpool had all the possession but couldn't finish, this is supposed to show they're a much better outfit? I remember a 0-0 against Sunderland three years ago where Sunderland had neither a shot or a corner, so what's changed? The best sides break them down and get 1-0s (see ManUre)

    - Not buying the Everton hard luck story. So people expect Everton to go out and try to out-play teams with their 3rd/4th choice striker?

    - Liverpool are no longer negative? Someone had better explain to me how they played at the Emirates and Stamford Bridge this season then, even against Arsenal's 10 men. Chelsea's poor showing at the Bridge made Liverpool seem better than they were.

    - How anyone can try to shine positive lights on draws against Stoke etc at Anfield is beyond me.

    - Transfers. Yes Fergie and Wenger have bought their fair share of duds, but Benitez has also never unearthed a Vieira-type bargain and never will because bargains and youngsters never flourish under Benitez, look at Babel, Lucas etc.

    - Benitez has had to overhaul the entire attacking side of Liverpool's game? He's had 4 years now and has only now found Torres, yet as stated above Liverpool are still not breaking teams down enough.

    - Riera is a "top-class technical footballer"? I'm sorry is there another Riera playing for Liverpool I don't know about? Decent, yes but far from top-class.

    - Kuyt's goals and assists are far less than you'd get from a natural wide player, even Pennant provided more assists.

    - And finally, credit to Rafa for Gerrard's improvement? This was due to luck more than judgement. It was a by-product of Rafa's reluctance to play 4-4-2 and instead cram the midfield because he was too scared to go for the win. Luckily for him, Gerrard thrived.

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  • 186. At 4:59pm on 27 Jan 2009, Red_Sam_ThisYearHonest! wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 187. At 5:01pm on 27 Jan 2009, Bergysdeftflicks wrote:

    Hi Robbo

    I think that maybe youre on your own trying to work out Benitez. Most observers wrote him off as a rather boring fumbler a long, long time ago. In fairness to him, his Club is a shambles at war with itself.

    Its a shame really as he seemed such a decent fella pre Yanks takeover. Since then hes as money driven and power crazed as ever they are i.e Hicks and Gillet. Its the internal war there that has ironically kept him in a job. If his Board was at one, i feel they would have sacked him ages ago.

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  • 188. At 5:01pm on 27 Jan 2009, 4ever-reddy wrote:

    Robbo you may wish to rewrite this blog a tad mate...
    I think you'll find that Parry the Fast One and the board at Liverpool wanted and bought Robbie Keane - Benítez didn't want the man, he wanted Barry. If the board do not want to trust Rafa and give him more of a role in what goes on with transfers then they are complete idiots.

    What is Rafa about... well in LESS than 5 years at Liverpool, Benítez has literally transformed the club from a side struggling to make an impact in Europe and being 15- 20 points behind in that league come January, to now being one of the most feared teams in Europe and doing extremely well domestically. This is what Benítez has done for LFC.

    No other manager has done so much in so little time especially with him having to cope with ineptitude on a grand scale at board level!

    Are you alone in not knowing what to make of Rafael Benitez? Maybe not Robbo, but his record cannot be knocked by anyone.

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  • 189. At 5:02pm on 27 Jan 2009, anfieldsean wrote:

    post 51- shredder that was genius lol. the funniest thing on this page so far. robbo is a joke and the so called liverpool fans agreeing with this drivel are clearly couch potatoes who have never been to liverpool let alone anfield. how unhappy were they when we were lifting the champions league/f.a cup? get a life lads.........

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  • 190. At 5:03pm on 27 Jan 2009, collie21 wrote:

    1. Any manager worth his salt will accept his teams limitations.
    2. Beggars belief that liverpool fans have to defend their manager by referring to Ferguson. So what if he is just as doggy or doggier, point is Raffa can't get it together.
    3. yes you mounted a challenge this season.
    4. It's over. Not because Man utd are in front, but because Keane is unhappy, Gerrard is in trouble, Benetiz is nervous and showboating, and the club is up for sale. They won't sell it if they win the league. Too expensive.

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  • 191. At 5:05pm on 27 Jan 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    It's not a bandwagon I'm jumping on... I'm trying to gauge whether there is a shedload of support for Benitez or whether he's beginning to hack a lot of you Scousers off.

    Fergie's as guilty of post-match bleating as anyone, witness him and Quieroz last year after Pompey turned them over in the Cup.

    Anyone with a remotely open mind will agree that Rafa's supposed tactical genius in Istnabul was down to a lot of luck and a lot of desperation. He picked Kewell, remember? He was cack and came off. The switch with Hamann holding and Gerrard pushed forward came at half-time - 3-0 down! I think we'll put our best player further forward. Genius! I remember Boro fans praising McClaren for putting on four forwards in the Uefa Cup when we needed to score three. What the hell else are you going to do?

    Since then I've simply not been convinced with him. He's definitely too ready to shut up shop. Torres is great - those of you trying to put Masch or Skrtel in the same bracket are having a chuckle, surely. Reina is a flapper. Agger - who I rate - is on his bike and Alonso - who made a very good start to the season - was on his bike in the summer according to all sources. Not sure about all this stuff re Keane being a Rick Parry purchase either.

    But it looks like Liverpool fans are pretty much on his side, even if they are occasionally irritated by him.

    In the meantime I've got me fingers crossed that the Baggies will have Fergie fumbling for his Book of Big Excuses following tonight's game.

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  • 192. At 5:08pm on 27 Jan 2009, collie21 wrote:

    When did the majority of Liverpool fans turn into sore loosers?

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  • 193. At 5:09pm on 27 Jan 2009, Red_Sam_ThisYearHonest! wrote:

    Robbo,

    Wrong again.

    Kewell wasn't 'cack and came off'.

    He pulled up with injury and came off.

    As usual, don't let the facts get in the way of your opinion.

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  • 194. At 5:10pm on 27 Jan 2009, UnbelievableTekkers wrote:

    Rafa is not by a long shot, bad at dabbling in the transfer market. He certainly does'nt bring in anymore turkeys than other top premiership managers. Torres is without doubt the best signing the club have made probably in the last 10 years, but Agger, Mascherano, Kuyt, and yes i will say it, even Keane, i am certain will all have major parts to play in the future of the club. I have to admit that the price paid for Keane was someway off the mark but i am sure he will prove his importance.

    I dont for a second think that Gerrard has single handedly won everything for us - best player on the pitch on all the mentioned occasions yes...but could he ACTUALLY do it if he was solely playing eleven men? I think not. Its a team game and all the players deserve a dose of the credit and/or criticism accordingly.

    I for one am with Rafa, i genuinely feel that he has taken the club to as close to the tip of the iceberg as it has been in 20 years, and i dont honestly feel that he has any intention of sliding back down any time soon.

    I do however, just wish he would keep his mouth shut sometimes and preserve some dignity!!

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  • 195. At 5:16pm on 27 Jan 2009, maccamanx13 wrote:

    I am a Liverpool fan and have been for 35 years so I think I have seen what it takes to win the league because I have seen Liverpool win it more than a few times.

    now for the honest opinion...

    Liverpool under Rafa don't have a killer instinct and because of certain tactics or the limitations of certain players are not likely to develop one this season. Man U have developed this over the years and have the players who have the natural instinct to kill teams off without creating too many chances. ...that's not luck it's having the players with the ability to perform under pressure when it matters most....you get what you pay for! Liverpool on the other hand have wasted chance after chance after chance this season because quite simply we have not got the same quantity/ quality of that type of player that the likes of Man U (Ronaldo Rooney Berbatov) and to some extent Chelsea ( Anelka Drogba) can afford.

    The midfield unit on paper are the best in the country bar none....but, and its a big but, they dont score enough goals! Alonso and Mascherano have many gifts but scoring aint one of them! Sorry to be so negative but it needs to change and Alonso is the weakest out of those 2 so someone needs to take out the ruthless hatchet and sacrifice him for a 20 million plus wide man of real quality who can score goals.

    Liverpool also haven't developed a clear striking partnership in Rafas time at the club...the instant fix was David Villa as he has proven his worth time and again at club and country. The board needs to back Rafas judgement and afford him the opportunity to buy someone of Villas quality. In truth Torres plays better when with a partner he trusts....hence Gerrards game lifts considerably when they are both in tandem.
    It's time for Nemeth to be given a run to see what he offers in the mean time.
    £20 million on Keane was a complete waste of time, energy and money....he's a good player who is unfortunately well out of his depth when it comes to scoring goals regularly under pressure, and, to be honest most fans had far too much optimism for Keanes ability to do what we all want which is to be lethal in front of goal...he isn't and nor has he ever been for any of his clubs!

    Defensively Liverpool are very naive at times when there has been chopping and changing of defenders. The first choice at the heart of the defence should be Carragher and Skrtl. As good as Hyypia and Agger are they are not longer first choice. The full backs, like the rest of the wing players, are of reasonable quality but they aren't going to give you a base from which league winning sides are built...that may be harsh but the difference between coming 1st and 2nd is very fine these days.

    There are very few quality wide players who can stretch the game by hogging the touchline and then taking the ball with pure pace and control when needed and then delivering a decent cross into the danger areas. This position is now key to Liverpools season as Riera is good but its all very one sided for the team and it lacks balance because of it. Kuytt works hard but he's no World beater and maybe when Babel wakes from his slumber and realises hes a player with talent we may see some fireworks....until then he gets my support but not my respect!

    My fear is that Liverpool, without the leadership of Gerrard, the goals of Torres and the sheer passion of Carra, are a very, very ordinary team with a goalie who is good with strong defenders but occasionally flaps when he hasnt. I feel someone needs to get a grip of some of these players and give them a reality check....Steven Gerrard needs to stand up and give these players a rollicking if they arent up to the job...if he does that he will gain the respect that Souness, as a player, had in his prime..."dont mess about because these fans know when you aren't trying your best!"
    Rafa....you need to be picking your strongest 11 weeek in week out because I can see a finish outside the top 4 coming our way if we arent careful. We are a poorer "team" than this time last year ...its just that we are scaling the heights because the others are poorer too!

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  • 196. At 5:25pm on 27 Jan 2009, TickTock wrote:

    However with regards to Keane the strong rumour is that was a Rick Parry signing and not sanctioned by Benitez
    ****************************

    Why did this only come to light after he flopped?

    I don't understand Liverpool supporters and their blind faith in everything Rafa does.Face it,everything he has won for you was actually with Houlliers squad.The more he's added to the players he inherited the more boring and less successful,you will be 5th this year,you've become.

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  • 197. At 5:27pm on 27 Jan 2009, anfieldsean wrote:

    its spelt Istanbul mate. i bet the other teams in the premier league would settle for a flapper who had the most clean sheets in the prem.... 3 years running.... gomes is a flapper, not golden gloves reina! i think you should be a man hold your hands up and say listen this was a poor blog. better luck next time.

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  • 198. At 5:28pm on 27 Jan 2009, AndYouCanPrintThat wrote:

    Torres is NOT a great signing. He's a great player but everyone knew that and he carried a great player price tag. Alonso is better signing to me.

    But in truth I can't think of anyone that Benitez has bought where you would say he's bought well for good price. For SAF, Vidic was a great signing, so was Evra, so was Ronaldo, so was VDS. Rooney, Ferdinand, Berbatov were no brainers just like Torres.

    What Benitez has lacked is home grown talent. For years SAF has fielded a team with half the players home grown. When you do that you can buy a few Rooneys with the money you've saved.

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  • 199. At 5:30pm on 27 Jan 2009, Y-I-1892man wrote:

    nice read Robbo-not your best but a nice read.Should Pool win owt this season due to relying on Stevie G and El Nino,so what!what would Chelski have achieved without Essien/Drogba?owt/nowt!!Man U without Ronaldo/Rooney?owt or nowt?some of Rafa´s signings have been dubious but not everyone is perfect!!look at the amount of money the mackems have spent this season and where are they?if we performed at work the way some players perform-we would be out of a job.They get rested/dropped at the best,but still on a fat salary though!!

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  • 200. At 5:30pm on 27 Jan 2009, andyblfc9 wrote:

    Haha i'm hoping you don't get paid to write that, one of the most embarrasing pieces ive ever read. I suppose your one that goes on about gerrard not being played in his "best position" when he is not playing central midfield.

    Rafa's only great signing is Torres, well you've obviously not watched Liverpool in the time Benitez has been here. How about:

    Reina- the best goalkeeper in the league.
    Mascherano- the best defensive midefielder in the world.
    Alonso- one of the best passes of the ball in the league.
    Agger and Skrtel- two of the best young centre backs in the world.
    Garcia- won us the champions league.

    Their all great signings and then theres the good signings: Arbeloa, Insua, Aurelio, Kuyt, Riera, Sissoko, Bellamy, Crouch (all sold for profits), Lucas, Nemeth (who will both turn out to be class.

    If a player fails under Rafa then he will immediately be sold on, such Josemi, Kromkamp, Voronin- non of which we lost money on.

    Your probably not a Liverpool fan so you therefore don't know much about us but can you atleast try and research before you spout rubbish like that again.

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  • 201. At 5:31pm on 27 Jan 2009, derobyrne wrote:

    Liverpools spine of the team is as good as any team in the league - Reina, Carra, Gerard, and Torres but there is too much deadwood in the squad. No quality in full back positions and no width in midfield, when babel does play he starts on the left and predictably has to cut in. Benayoun was a bit part player in a poor West Ham side so Liverpool will not be winning the premier league till Rafa gets some quality in depth and wide areas sorted out. Even still I dont think he will ever lift the premier league with his negative tactics especialy against poor opposition. Stoke had scored one goal in their previous six games before playing Liverpool and he proceeds to play one up front and two holding players in Lucas and Mascharano - insanity or else Fergie has him on the payroll!

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  • 202. At 5:32pm on 27 Jan 2009, maccamanx13 wrote:

    its not so much what Rafa does its what he doesnt do that worries me.

    going in to winnable home games without a recognised quality strike partnership is worrying....to do it once is naive....to do it more than once is plain stupidity.

    I am a Rafa fan but sometimes he baffles me with substitutions and setting out his time for cautious wins rather than for an out and out steamrollering of lesser opposition is a bit baffling to say the least

    I have just said above I think its a finish outside the top 4 unless they get a grip of things quickly

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  • 203. At 5:33pm on 27 Jan 2009, Gibson09 wrote:

    I believe that Rafa is a great manager, however, he is not the right man to lead liverpool to the premiership title. Yes, he won us the champions league, and we do always look a decent outfit in european competition, but when it gets to the nitty gritty of the premiership, his tactical decisions just bemuse me. We just dont appear to be able to break teams down, and when we get to the final third, we seem to run out of ideas. We have Torres, Gerrard, Keane, Alonso etc, but we dont seem to be able to cut through teams with the ruthlessness that teams like united and on their day arsenal do. I am frightened of the future of liverpool with rafa in charge. I find watching liverpool boring and frustrating.
    I also would hate to think of a Liverpool team without gerrard, i am scared to say without him at the moment we will not win football matches. Gerrard is the life of our team, and without him i really fear for us.
    I also think Rafa's transfers are mainly diabolical. Yes, he has signed great players such as Torres, Agger, Skrtel, Arbeloa (what a bargain), Mascherano, Riera. However, i dont understand him signing players such as Voronin(one of the worst players in lfc history), lucas (how he gets in the team in front of mascherano and alonso at times goes beyond belief, he is shocking!), Dossena, Ngog,Josemi and all of these unknown youth foriegners that no one has ever heard of who play one season in the reserves then head off somewhere else without making an appearance for the first teanm. My favourite rafa signing was that of luis garcia, who always added something to the team, creating goals and had a great goal record himself. If we had him now i believe he would demand a starting place, i rate the little spaniard so highly. Also, why are we stuck with Ngog who scored 1 goal for PSG last season when we could have Crouchy and even Cisse. Those two players have both scored more then any liverpool striker in the league this season. I know they had their woes at anfield but given time, they both had the potential to be prolific. The only player from the reserves/ youth to really step it up and impress me is Insua, who before leaving for international duty really made the left back place his own. But apart from him, who else( excluding that donkey plessis) has stepped it up and forced their way into the first team squad? Nemeth is a hungarian international with a great scoring record but is still to make his debut. I also feel for the scouse lads, who rafa doesnt seem to want to give a chance except in meaningless games, i feel that liverpool at times lack passion, and that gerrard, carragher, kuyt and the Kop are the only ones who always give 150%

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  • 204. At 5:34pm on 27 Jan 2009, SkrtelsMeanestScowl wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 205. At 5:34pm on 27 Jan 2009, I_H8_LEHMAN wrote:

    robbo, youve incurred the wrath of the scousers.. its inevitable that someones toes will get stepped on, but its even better seeing these liverpool fans try and "put you in your place" when you bad mouth rafa, but have a rant at wengers, or fergies or gthe gene hackmans expense and youre a legend.

    In any case i think youre right in most respects. Ive been dissapointed at his remarks in the press over the past month or two.

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  • 206. At 5:36pm on 27 Jan 2009, Obaydah Al-Namer wrote:

    We the Liverpool fans demand a written apology from the BBC and Robbo for insulting the Liverpool fans and their beloved manager in a 'prejudiced, fact-less & poisonous' blog sponsored by the BBC and written by one of it's staff.

    We also call for his resignation!

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  • 207. At 5:39pm on 27 Jan 2009, Wash wrote:

    I stand by the points I made in my first post about this article. This is a very poor piece of journalism

    -----------------------------

    And that is the problem- you refer to it as journalism, which the dictionary defines as the reporting of news. This is a blog, which is merely one persons written opinion on a subject, and as it says in the header he calls it how he sees it.

    Disagree if you want, that's the beauty of free speech- personally I think you have made a very cogent argument against Robbo's opinion- but at the end of the day, he's entitled to his as much as you are yours...

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  • 208. At 5:40pm on 27 Jan 2009, digispoonerta wrote:

    What is it with Liverpool fans?

    Obviously no-one is allowed to criticise the great Anfield club ..... we must all bow down in reverance ....

    I am not a supporter of a premier league club but even i'm getting fed up with the so called bleating about BBC v Liverpool bias most red fans seem to think there is.

    Liverpool are a good club, they play attarctive football most of the time, but they get things wrong occasionally.

    At the moment they are playing DEFENSIVELY .... Substitutions are either wrong or made at the wrong time, and generally the club AND its fans are living on past glories.

    Time to face it .... you are in 2nd place at the moment, if you win it great! But you have to earn the right to win this league. Don't just sit there and go "well we were the best team until Christmas, we should be winners"

    If you want to look at the past then look at the fact that all your greatest teams had talent ALL ROUND. Ggreat forward line, solid strong midfield and defence and a good keeper.

    The team has to be balanced and be good.great as a UNIT. Not good but have the odd player who is average.

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  • 209. At 5:40pm on 27 Jan 2009, Obaydah Al-Namer wrote:

    Are you comparing your Boro to Liverpool?

    you made me laugh!

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  • 210. At 5:40pm on 27 Jan 2009, Red_Sam_ThisYearHonest! wrote:

    Nemeth's gone on loan for a month, which leads me to believe that Rafa wants to see if he can handle the physical demands of first-team football, so we may well see him playing a bit more regularly soon.

    As regards the strikeforce with Torres, surely his strike partner is Gerrard? We were never be going two up front on a regular basis, and Torres/Gerrard are plainly great for each other's game. Yes we need more goals from the midfield - and yes, Alonso does have to look at himself in that regard. But I'm expecting to see regular double figures from Riera, same from Babel if he can pin down a place (which he is unable to at the moment, and quite rightly so), Kuyt needs to pull his socks up in that regard, too, but I'd hate to see him out of the side.

    And as for the defence, well Agger/Skrtel is obviously the pairing for the future, but for now it's Carra and One Other when the FBs are fit and, as we're seeing with the Agger will-he-won't-he fiasco that's being brewed up by the media you have to keep them all happy to hang onto them, so unfortunately we're probably paying for that.

    I still see ourselves as another season away from being able to win the league, but surely that is about where we should be given the starting position? The speed and hostility with which some people have leaped onto the 'Anti Rafa' bus driven by this and other national media is scandalous, frankly, when Benitez has clearly done an outstanding job at a club which, five years ago, was UEFA ranked number 10 but is now number one.

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  • 211. At 5:42pm on 27 Jan 2009, redreach26 wrote:

    Robbo - the Kewell bit you just wrote about shows your lack of research and knowledge. He was replaced in the champions league final because he had a hernia the size of a tennis ball sticking out of his groin.

    I am a Liverpool fan, and although I'm disappointed by our sometimes negative approach I am happy with the current situation this season and the fact we are finally competing for the title.
    The problem with a lot of football fans at the moment is that they believe EVERYTHING they read in the Sun/Mirror/Sky Sports + the others - most of it is gossip and rumour kicked out there to make money, and they don't care about anything else! You just have to look at the Robinho case where there were about 7 different stories kicking about, and Setanta's website which said Robbie Keane was going and the 'bookies favourite' destination was Everton!... please...

    As for you Lucas kickers, this guy will be CLASS in a couple of seasons time - but he needs time. The guy is only in his very early 20's. Like Torres he captained his former side before he was 20 - that doesn't happen if you are rubbish (even if the team is in the 2nd division)

    For the guy earlier, Flora is only 17 (maybe even 16?) and is in the reserves - one for the future as with Pacheco.

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  • 212. At 5:45pm on 27 Jan 2009, cantona1968 wrote:

    LO pt 47 -- Accusing Robbo of being a Utd fan, :) Made my day!!

    I think Robbo is a Man Utd fan in disguise.

    seriously though.......think it has been said before further up but Mr Rant will be leaving Liverpool later on this year cause to cause all this fuss and not win the title will be an absolute failure.

    Took SAF 7 full seasons to break Utd's championless streak and he had to build from a team that was in a relegation battle when he took it over. Not exactly sure what position Liverpool finished in the season before Mr Rant came aboard but I'm pretty sure it was easily the top ten, likely the top six but more probably the top 4! Surely this is less of a challenge to win the Premiership but he always falls short.

    He inherited two great players in Gerrard and Carragher, didn't do two bad with Reina and Alonso, peach of a signing with Torres and as a second forward Keane had the ability to build a fairly decent forward line. Whatever the reason man management but Keane is not half the player he was, obv lack of confidence but scores a brace against Bolton, one absolute cracker and what is his reward for the next game?? Naw you don't leave a striker out the game after he has come into form.

    Mr Rant no grace, no class, no hope!

    Between Utd and Chelsea this season and I'm reasonably optomistic we will get the 18th title in May.

    Utd fan all my life (mere 37) and after LFC run in 70s and 80s there is no way I could ever have predicted we would be able to claw back your haul of titles let alone predict that we will overtake you. Not arrogance but LFC look to be imploding as a club, and when Mr Rant goes LFC will need new manager who will need time as well before he can be expected to win anything. Please let it be Keegan.

    Anyhow, remember this is all banter, most of my mates are LFC fans so please no crying!

    Off to walk alone to pub for tonights match. I'll be very angry tomorrow if West Brom have the audacity to defend against us!!!

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  • 213. At 5:48pm on 27 Jan 2009, Red Kings of Europe wrote:

    "Robbo Robson", just realised you are a MIDDLESBROUGH fan. How embarrassing. Don't see you writing any articles about how bad Gareth is doing. Rafa doing dreadful though clearly, only second in the league, joint top, GET HIM OUT ASAP, in innit.

    You waste of oxygen.

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  • 214. At 5:51pm on 27 Jan 2009, simmobb2 wrote:

    His body language says it all Robbo, he knows it's over and he knows that he's failed because of his own shortcomings. Poor tactics, silly rotation policy, awful PR and some very questionable transfer dealings. Who'll be next I wonder?

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  • 215. At 5:52pm on 27 Jan 2009, digispoonerta wrote:

    #213 Red Kings of Europe

    This is obviously the first Robbo Blog you've read then.....

    Robbo spent his blogs last week talking about Boro and their manager ... one was even solely on the subject...

    Maybe you should engage brain before typing .... or get a speak and spell (obviously your level!)

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  • 216. At 5:55pm on 27 Jan 2009, Cosmo-Kramer wrote:

    Normally this blog gets on my nerves because it has far-fetched quips in every sentence. It is like a night out with Jimmy Tarbuck and Ronnie Corbett. But this one is quite good. Well done.

    "Torres, the one truly great signing of Benitez's reign". This says it all. It was hardly inspired was it. Plus is Gerrard wasn't such a loyal scouser (and had actually gone to Chelsea) then Benitez would have been out of a job years ago.

    Give Moyes the money that Benitez has had and Everton would be top of the league by miles.

    He is doing Liverpool no good at all. Let's hope he stays there for a long time.

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  • 217. At 6:02pm on 27 Jan 2009, seanredsforever wrote:

    Liverpool fan here and I have to agree with everything you say, Robbo. The man is an embarassment - that silly notebook is some kind of attempt to convey to the watching public his "technical expertise", methinks, but let's face it lads, he doesn't have a clue.

    Robbie Keane? Please! So if you HAVE to waste £20 million why then compund your stupidity by freezing the hapless player out of the team because he isn't scoring a hat-trick every game and saving your face? How many times has he actually paired Keane with Torres (notwithstanding the latter's absence through injury lately)? Nuff said, I think.

    Rafa has assembled a team of players completely bereft of ideas - really, the only players with any kind of footballing brain seem to be Torres - and Alonso who I have had my doubts about but am slowly coming around to. Even Gerarrd relies more on some insane kind of will power rather than skill, I believe, and he can be pretty dopey at times when it comes to creating any kind of meaningful advance from midfield - bang the ball into the box and hope someone is there. I lost count of the number of times he did that against Everton in the cup. (don't get me wrong, Stevie walks on water but he's no Franz Beckanbauer or Platini).

    Rafa has to go, I am afraid - Liverpool will not progress from their current also-rans status until there is someone at the helm that can infuse the team with some kind of sense of purpose and consistency. Y9ou kind of get the idea with Rafa that the players are being told something completely different every match and it shows - half the time they just look...lost.

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  • 218. At 6:04pm on 27 Jan 2009, steveyg101 wrote:

    "Reina - accident prone, too short and completely over-shadowed by both VDS and Cech."


    This has got to be one of the funniest comments I've came across in a long time.

    Routinely "over-shadowed" is he? I suppose that would be why, in every season he's been in the premier league, Jose Reina has won the golden gloves?

    That is the measure of any keeper -- it's why they call them the "golden gloves"! Over-shadowed my ... ignoramus

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  • 219. At 6:06pm on 27 Jan 2009, happy_red wrote:

    Change the subject Robbo - it's getting a tad boring now.

    How many ways are you going to find to have a go at Benitez? Surely you could have done it all in one article.

    We hear the same old tosh with regards to zonal defending - when Liverpool have one of the best records in the Prem from set pieces. It's not like all those teams using man-marking never concede goals now, is it?

    As for signings, we have Reina, Agger, Skertl, Insua, Arbeloa, Mascherano, Alonso, Riera, Torres and Keane. All of them great players. Keane has yet to fire, but there is no doubting his quality. There have been a few flops, like every manager has, but they are usually disposed of fairly rapidly.

    It took Fergie 7 years to win a major trophy. Rafa is in his 5th year and look at his record so far.

    Come on Robbo - change the conversation at the Bluebell and maybe find something to say about your own lot!

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  • 220. At 6:13pm on 27 Jan 2009, collie21 wrote:

    God some people are so sensitive! Benetiz is not a good manager fact. He's had a team for 5 or 6 years and he is still making elementary mistakes. Rotation didn't work day one. It won't win you anything. Look at teams who go on a cup run, usually the same 11 all the time.
    Rotation is to prevent injury and rest players not to drop players for the hell of it. I don't think bennytez has ever known his best 11.

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  • 221. At 6:18pm on 27 Jan 2009, cantona1968 wrote:

    Pt 219 It took Fergie 7 years to win a major trophy. Rafa is in his 5th year and look at his record so far........

    no it didn't.......

    3 years....full seasons

    Nov 86
    87 88
    88 89
    89 90 FA Cup
    90 91 Cup Winners Cup
    91 92 League Cup
    92 93 Premier League
    93 94 Premier League, FA Cup
    94 95
    95 96 Premier League, FA Cup
    96 97 Premier League
    97 98
    98 99 Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup
    99 00 Premier League
    00 01 Premier League
    01 02
    02 03 Premier League
    03 04 FA Cup
    04 05
    05 06 League Cup
    06 07 Premier League
    07 08 Champions League, Premier League

    dare I say......

    08 09 Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup?!?!?!?!?!

    ;)

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  • 222. At 6:24pm on 27 Jan 2009, SA-Red wrote:

    United Fan here,

    I think Rafas un-characteritic behaviour is born from the sudden realisation that he has built a team around Gerrard and he wont be able to replace him. Gerrard will be 29 at the end of this season. Also by implying that he wants full control of transfers he is

    1.) admitting that the players Liverpool signed under his stint are not that good, (I wonder how the current team feels about that? )

    2.) passing the buck.

    3.) Proof that he doesn't know what he is going to do once Gerrard is 32/33.

    I would like to close stating that from managing people in a company, its not good for morale to have such a high staff turnover. Its all good and well to sign 4 cheap players in the hope that 1 is a winner. But all the chopping and changing is not good for morale. Look at Spurs, Newcastle etc. cheers

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  • 223. At 6:29pm on 27 Jan 2009, Fireman wrote:

    I think Robbo has got this wrong since most of you crackers on here are bloggers like myself who dont even go to the game. I think its the media talking rubbish afa hasnt done himself and im not best pleased as I'd expect better from the BBC.

    I think Rafa has not done himself any favours recently but Liverpool supporters have more say as they pay his wages (technically, with gate reciepts) but fans dont they just watch the team on the TV and ok I'll give more respect in that you buy the shirts in some cases. The fact of the matter is Benitez knows what he's doing.

    Fans think of short temism and thats why Curbs left Charlton and look where they are is that his fault no and every single charlton fan regrets wanting to get him sacked, and If Benitez has the players backing him if any of you Ras Claart people read the broadsheets or interviews and not them damn tabloids you will gage a general opinion that the players (influential ones) back Benitez.

    Anyone come test this opinion if you disagree.

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  • 224. At 6:32pm on 27 Jan 2009, steveyg101 wrote:

    Retiredno6 wrote:
    "Ph look it's the same list of "bad Wenger buys" where the only one that actually is a genuine wast of money is Jeffers.

    As a Gooner Wenger has only made two really poor buys. Jeffers and Richard Wright. ?14million on two poor standard English players, that I'm sure were signed to try and satisfy the press who love depicting him as an English hater.

    The others on that list...

    Chris Wreh - Cost ?1million pound and scored half a dozen crucial goals in the run-in to the double including an FA Cup semi final winner.

    Diawara - Made a ?2million profit on him in 6 months

    Mendez - Cost ?100,000 wasn't up to it... worth the gamble.

    Boa Morte - Cost ?500,000 made a profit on him sold for ?1.25million.

    Reyes - Cost ?12million sold for ?8million - I'd say was a disappointment for what was expected, but certainly not a disaster and destroyed Juve and Madrid in the Champions League run.

    Francis Jeffers - Yep. As said above. You can have that one.

    The other key difference is that Wenger's successes have not just been steady successes.... but he's had some amazing buys. Vieira, Petit, Henry, Pires, Overmars, Toure, Campbell, Lehmann, Ljungberg, Anelka.... They were all outstanding signings at outstanding vlue for money. That's a list that Rafa can't come close to.

    Wenger's transfer market approach is meticulous and targeted.

    Rafa in contrast tends to take a scattergun approach and even the most biased Liverpool fan would have to agree there have been some unmittigated disasters."
    ---------


    I was not attacking Wenger. If you'd read my post and not just the list of names, you'd see its point was that ALL good managers make hit and miss signings, even Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.

    Your point about the relative lack of cost of these players -- the refrain of all Gooners these days -- is simply not sufficient (or even relevant) to explain Wenger's poor signings. They were poor signings and that's it -- whether he's paid 100,000 or 10,000,000 for them, the point about football is you can't get these things right.

    We all know Wenger's system is to 'buy big players, not big names' as he so eloquently puts it, and that this translates as spending almost all of your budget on scouting and youth development. Benitez himself has actually (and very publicly, I might add) stated that he wants to do the same thing with Liverpool. He has been disallowed from doing so. You know the contract dispute you've been reading about in the news recently? It deals with this and other problems at LFC that he is trying to sort out.

    So instead of claiming Arsene Wenger is some sort of 'demigod' in footballing terms -- a man who, despite his clear humanity, somehow never manages to make a single mistake (we all know from regular postmatch interviews that Wenger himself clearly beleives this, although I don't expect all of his fans to follow suit) -- have the good grace, in a forum discussing Liverpool, to respect the reality of affairs and give Benitez his credit where it's due.

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  • 225. At 6:35pm on 27 Jan 2009, jimmyroyce wrote:

    Extramadura, tenerife, valencia are still paying the price from Benitez's reign and are still in absolute loads of debt because of him. He is now doing the same at Liverpool but it seems their fans cant see it or are refusing to see it in their pursuit of glory.

    Its a shame for a once great club really that all it will result in, is the club being hawked all around the world again for a couple of pieces of silver.

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  • 226. At 6:35pm on 27 Jan 2009, SA-Red wrote:

    United fan here, please keep Rafa!
    DO NOT SACK HIM

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  • 227. At 6:39pm on 27 Jan 2009, MONTYTHEMAGNIFICENT wrote:

    If the media just reported the truth and none of this specualtion that goes on due to reporting the game would probably be very boring. As soon as a few bad results happen, or you team plays bad then every litle detail is analised and speculated about did anyone make this noise when Mascerano was left out? or how about any of the United Chelsea or Arsenal stars that have been left out in the same manner in the past? I believe that Bentiez hasnt hit a dud with keane i do believe that he will come good and i also believe Gerrard is twice the player under Benitez even he admits that. I was abit bemussed over the Alonso saga even if Barry would have been a great addition and yes a few of his buys are questionable but what about Ferguson Veron spring to mind? Forlan?(even if the latter played well in spain) Benitez needs to be backed properly Liverpool do need a little more superstar quality , the squad over all is excellent but it needs a level or two more before we are complete The rightsided Midfield for me is definatley an area we need to add to, i love Kuyt and want him to stay but we need some one of the Arien Robben/Linel Messi/Chritiano Ronaldo class iera is great but for some one like Sebastian schweinstieger (is that correct?) someone that is a pure game winner also wing back areas need to stocked up Dossena still has time but things arent looking good and Areleo was free for a reason for me though Arbeloa and now the new Insua are musts i just think we lack threat down the flanks with this and keane eventually coming good Liverpool could become real deal back to back Premiership champions. Its all getting there and i won't lie if i said its been frutrating at times but we must look were we were and were we are now each season we get stronger and each season Rafa learns (nost of the time) but we must stick by him because after all what he did for Valencia dn for us in the first season is nothing short of world class management its easy to kick a man when hes down but when everythings going good no one says nothing, lets hope the yanks leave and rafa can spend the money chelsea and United have if he is backed properly id judge him then but for now i can seewere we are going we just need to step up and get Fernando scoring if he does and we can keep him and Stevie G fit the rest of the team will come good. DONT BELIEVE THE MEDIA HYPE ITS STILL JANUARY AND WE ARE STILL RIGHT IN THIS TITLE RACE. YNWA

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  • 228. At 6:39pm on 27 Jan 2009, cantona1968 wrote:

    Mr Rant is a ranter.

    Mr Rants rants against Co Chairman

    Mr Rant rants to journalists, i.e. the infamous 'I am just concentrating on coaching and training matters'

    Mr Rant rants against established managers, i.e. the ludricous ' I am now talking faxts'

    Mr Rant rants on about referees 'I thinkthe refereree was poor today, we should have had a penalty.'

    Mr Rant rants on how 'smaller clubs' having the audicity to not let them score, i.e. 'there was only one team wanting to win today and one team wanting to draw.'

    Mr Rant rants on about transfer dealings, i.e. 'I will npt sign a new contract unless I can have full and complete control over transfers, I did not want to sign Keane'

    Mr Rant would not get into the Mr Men series because he would scare the little ickle children and they would them flounce around and sullk.

    Mr Rant rants because while he is ranting fans, journos & chairmen maybe are not looking too hard at his lact of coaching abilities and realising he has not got a flickering clue.

    Mr Rant rants....it is what he does.

    Yours rantingly

    C

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  • 229. At 6:42pm on 27 Jan 2009, steveyg101 wrote:

    United Fan here,

    I think Rafas un-characteritic behaviour is born from the sudden realisation that he has built a team around Gerrard and he wont be able to replace him. Gerrard will be 29 at the end of this season. Also by implying that he wants full control of transfers he is

    1.) admitting that the players Liverpool signed under his stint are not that good, (I wonder how the current team feels about that? )

    2.) passing the buck.

    3.) Proof that he doesn't know what he is going to do once Gerrard is 32/33.

    I would like to close stating that from managing people in a company, its not good for morale to have such a high staff turnover. Its all good and well to sign 4 cheap players in the hope that 1 is a winner. But all the chopping and changing is not good for morale. Look at Spurs, Newcastle etc. cheers
    -----


    Ironic this, given that a certain Manchester side have also built thier entire team around a certain player, but one with far less commitment to thier cause and a much higher propensity to looking elsewhere, eh?

    Anyway, Gerrard has been improving since Benitez has arrived and will continue to fire on all cylinders for at least another three years. The familiar refrain that Liverpool are nothing without him shouldn't be uttered by a Manchester United fan, not when Liverpool actually beat them without Gerrard or Torres.

    As for his signings, Benitez inherited a shite squad from Houllier, simple as that. Look at the players who've featured regularly this season: only Gerrard, Carragher and Hyypia (in a bit-part role) are what's left of the squad he got, and Benitez has been slowly building a better one with which to compete. Unlike your lot, we don't have £100m to spunk every 3 years on 5 players; we've had to rebuild an entire squad.

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  • 230. At 6:44pm on 27 Jan 2009, SA-Red wrote:

    Heskey chose Aston Villa over Liverpool? Why?

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  • 231. At 6:45pm on 27 Jan 2009, steveyg101 wrote:

    Extramadura, tenerife, valencia are still paying the price from Benitez's reign and are still in absolute loads of debt because of him. He is now doing the same at Liverpool but it seems their fans cant see it or are refusing to see it in their pursuit of glory.

    Its a shame for a once great club really that all it will result in, is the club being hawked all around the world again for a couple of pieces of silver.
    ---


    My god, ignorance such as this never ceases to amaze me. What on earth do you think Benitez has got to do with the current ownership saga? A) He's not an owner. B) He is not a cheif excecutive.

    As for his singings, you'll notice that, before Torres, Liverpool had never spent more than 12million on a player. He's spent more in recent years yes but that is only because the likes of United and Chelsea have been doing so for years. Why so? You have to spend to accumulate. Simple. As.

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  • 232. At 6:46pm on 27 Jan 2009, cantona1968 wrote:

    Unlike your lot, we don't have ?100m to spunk every 3 years on 5 players; we've had to rebuild an entire squad.......

    186 million and counting in four years by Rafa, wanna do a cost comparison with Utd signings since Rafa joined?

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  • 233. At 6:47pm on 27 Jan 2009, Dave209 wrote:

    'If Moyes had had the money Benitez would have had Everton would be top of the league by miles.'

    That is the funniest thing I think I have heard in ages! What on earth has Moyes bought with money? Beattie? Bent? Fellani, the waste of fifteen million? The only notable success I can think of is Yakubu, and he is a lazy slob. The man is a ditherer, Arteta good singing give him that, but the rest are hopeless. David Moyes has been one of the most over-rated managers of the last ten years. His team are nowhere near breaking into the top four, they can't sell out at regular home games, and earlier in the season all my bluenose mates were getting on his back. Now it's different. It'll be back to moaning again in a week or so. They're boring, play useless football and just aren't that good.

    As for the blog, Robbo, I've always thought you were a bit clueless, and this demonstrates my point. Liverpool are joint top of the league, still in the European and FA Cups, playing better than in a long time, yet Rafa is losing the plot? Rubbish. Torres is not the only good singing - Mascherano, Reina, Alonso, Kuyt, Arbeloa, Agger, Skrtel, Riera, etc etc. Yes there have been some misses but who doesn't have them?

    It took Alex Ferguson seven years to win any sort of trophy with Man Utd, let alone the league. Benitez has won the European Cup and FA Cup, this is his fifth season. Yet the press jump on his back at the slightest blip. It's a disgrace. If someone had played the way Everton played at Old Trafford and Utd hadn't won, the press would be in uproar at the 'killing' of the beautiful game. It's hyopcritical and pathetic. No wonder Rafa had a go at Ferguson. Good on him.

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  • 234. At 6:48pm on 27 Jan 2009, SA-Red wrote:

    "steveyg101 " - The team is not being built around Ronaldo. Its built on Vidic and Ferdinand, Evra, Rafael, and Fabio. Evans.

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  • 235. At 6:49pm on 27 Jan 2009, SA-Red wrote:

    Heskey chose Aston Villa over Liverpool? Why?

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  • 236. At 6:49pm on 27 Jan 2009, SA-Red wrote:

    Can a liverpool fan please answer my question? Heskey chose Aston Villa over Liverpool? Why?

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  • 237. At 6:50pm on 27 Jan 2009, Wash wrote:

    I am noting various comments about how Reina is the best keeper in the PL because he wins the Golden Glove award. I also note how several fans extol the virtues of Liverpools defending, especially against set pieces.

    The golden gloves are awarded for the most clean sheets- however, as a keeper myself, that doesn't mean you are the best keeper in the league, it means that your TEAM is pretty damn good at not conceding goals- by Liverpools fan's own claims, their defence is one of the best around and must take some of the credit.

    Reina is a good keeper, no doubt, but best in the league? Hhmmmm, jury's still out...

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  • 238. At 6:50pm on 27 Jan 2009, jimmyroyce wrote:

    231

    valencia are still bankrupt after rafas reign after spending shed loads on players. His valencia team by the way used to defend with all thier might like everton and hoof it up to Carew.

    and no, he isnt a chief executive, yet. but it seems he wants to be :0

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  • 239. At 6:51pm on 27 Jan 2009, Red_Sam_ThisYearHonest! wrote:

    SA-Red,

    Probably for either more money, more playing time, or both.

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  • 240. At 6:52pm on 27 Jan 2009, SA-Red wrote:

    Can a liverpool fan please answer my question? Heskey chose Aston Villa over Liverpool? Why?

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  • 241. At 6:54pm on 27 Jan 2009, Red_Sam_ThisYearHonest! wrote:

    "and no, he isnt a chief executive, yet. but it seems he wants to be :0"

    So which part of "within the confines of a budget set by the board" didn't you understand when Benitez made that point clearly?

    Is it an accent thing?

    Or did the tabloids simply not report it?

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  • 242. At 6:55pm on 27 Jan 2009, Fireman wrote:

    SA red,

    Hesky came to us for one reason and that was BEEBs own MON, as he got the best out of him as a younger player and he can do that to anyone MON. He is one of the better managers in the premiership and Im just glad he's at the Villa even if we finish 8th I'd still be happy as he has stabalised a mid table team into a contending top 6 team.

    Not bad work over 3 seasons with mainly English players (Though for the record Im a Jamaica fan, but respect taht the domestic league must be built on players predominently from that country like any labour force).

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  • 243. At 6:57pm on 27 Jan 2009, jimmyroyce wrote:

    Heskey chose aston villa over liverpool becuase he believes villa are are better club going places. My opinion of course.

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  • 244. At 6:58pm on 27 Jan 2009, SA-Red wrote:

    Martin O Neill, now there is a great manager.

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  • 245. At 6:59pm on 27 Jan 2009, steveyg101 wrote:

    Unlike your lot, we don't have ?100m to spunk every 3 years on 5 players; we've had to rebuild an entire squad.......

    186 million and counting in four years by Rafa, wanna do a cost comparison with Utd signings since Rafa joined?
    -------


    You can't do a cost-comparison since Rafa's joined, because Ferguson's been building a squad for 20 years!

    If you want the hardest data though, know this: making an allowance for inflation, United have broken the British transfer record nine times since Alex Ferguson has arrived.

    Don't think that this, as well as your Verons and your Nanis, your Hargreaves and your Andersons, will ever convince me that Manchester United spend sparingly. You've spent £100 million on strikers alone in the last four years, and spunked (and this is the right word) £30 million on a centre back! We've never spent more than £6million on a defender, let alone a centre-back, and before the (exsquisite) purachse of Fernando Torres, had never spent more than £12 on a single player.

    Stay away from Liverpool blogs

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  • 246. At 6:59pm on 27 Jan 2009, ojohnnyboy wrote:

    benitez is poo

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  • 247. At 7:02pm on 27 Jan 2009, cantona1968 wrote:

    233. It took Alex Ferguson seven years to win any sort of trophy with Man Utd, let alone the league. Benitez has won the European Cup and FA Cup, this is his fifth season.
    ______________________________
    Really?

    Joined Nov 86, Utd were i think bottom or in the bottom 3

    First two full seasons were blank, then we got lucky the season after in the FA Cup. Added the ECW Cup year after, year after that the League Cup (just about scrapes in as a major trophy), then the season after the leage. Just 6 full seasons for SAF ti turn Utd from complet chumps to Champs......


    87 88
    88 89
    89 90 FA Cup
    90 91 Cup Winners Cup
    91 92 League Cup
    92 93 Premier League
    93 94 Premier League, FA Cup
    94 95
    95 96 Premier League, FA Cup
    96 97 Premier League
    97 98
    98 99 Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup
    99 00 Premier League
    00 01 Premier League
    01 02
    02 03 Premier League
    03 04 FA Cup
    04 05
    05 06 League Cup
    06 07 Premier League
    07 08 Champions League, Premier League

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  • 248. At 7:02pm on 27 Jan 2009, SA-Red wrote:

    Dear "steveyg101" - Watch Aston Villa this season. They will finish in the top 3 without smashing the transfer record. Without using a safety in numbers approach in signing players. And they will keep Gareth Barry.

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  • 249. At 7:02pm on 27 Jan 2009, steveyg101 wrote:

    "steveyg101 " - The team is not being built around Ronaldo. Its built on Vidic and Ferdinand, Evra, Rafael, and Fabio. Evans.
    ---

    Perhaps now, but that is a matter of opinion. Manchester United wouldn't have won last season without Ronaldo...

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  • 250. At 7:04pm on 27 Jan 2009, Crumbs wrote:

    30. At 1:41pm on 27 Jan 2009, adamstownfc wrote:

    Benitez only has a squad of cup players. Besides the obvious gerrard, alonso....etc... the rest do not have the bottle to win games against the small teams. No point in beating united, chelsea and dropping ridiculous points at home which is a regular feature under Benitez. Liverpool are only title challengers because United, Chelsea and Arsenal has performed so poorly in the first half of the season. Liverpool fans want the league more than a CL, FA Cup or CC and the only way this will be achieved is to get rid of Benitez. His get out of jail cards have been cups, its time to show either you have it or you don't.

    -----------------------------------------------------

    I think this comment has really hit the nail on the head. Liverpool have a cup team mentality due to Benitez's style, and that's how it's always been with Rafa. I can't see that changing but I do think he and they are getting a lot of criticism in the least deserving of seasons: when they are the main title contenders against man united. chelsea and arsenal playing poorly? yes they are, and you may say liverpool are too, but they're doing better than their rivals bar man u.
    benitez is a decent manager but petty and if he wants the league he has to show that because right now he's neglecting a proven premier league striker out of his team - keane - and expecting him to play great stuff when brought on after hours of football missed.
    the best point of he above comment is the mention of dropping points against smaller clubs. players like benayoun, pennant, and babel dont seem to have a positive affect on the team in the easy to win games. gerrard comes alive in all the tough games, but routine 3 point games seem to be harder than they should be. liverpool have a good squad and they're a great football team, but to keep challenging for the title they need more composure. look at keane: he hasn't screamed and shouted about being left out but you can tell it's killed him. thats professionalism as hes not letting his emotions ruin him. he just needs to get more games under him and adapt to the system. look at anelka at chelsea: last season was awful and now hes top scorer in the league. patience and faith in your players is needed and everyone seems to forget that. its easy to criticise anyone else when you're winning everything.

    whatever happens come may, lfc have every reason to be proud of this seasons efforts, and should expect the anfield revival to carry on into the next few years.
    benitez is coming good, albeit slowly, and hopefully he instils composure in all his players and gets rid of the negative influences and concentrates on a more determined and driven approach.

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  • 251. At 7:04pm on 27 Jan 2009, ojohnnyboy wrote:

    to steveyg101

    you can slag nani and anderson off but theyve won the league, u can slag off how much united spend, but it all goes back into improving the team, trophies are what its all about and we've got the best ones at the min.

    the point is, ur team doesnt spend money and doesnt win anything.

    long may it continue.

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  • 252. At 7:04pm on 27 Jan 2009, Arctic wrote:

    A year ago no one would have said buying Keane would be a bad move. I have sympathy there, he simply hasn't produced the goods even when he does play in behind the out-and-out striker.

    But generally yes, Benitez is another Houllier when it comes to transfers and there's no way I'd trust him with the transfer wallet.

    Having said that Rick Parry isn't much cop either.

    I've supported Liverpool for 30 years, and the last 3 managers have been a disgrace in the transfer market.

    Count the money and you'll see Liverpool have been close to matching any of the top 3 pound for pound.

    There have been 4 good buys from about 30 or 40 purchases. Some I can forgive because no one could predict how badly the players would settle, but most have just been uninspiring.

    If you spend 40 million in one summer and end up with a team no one has heard of, there's something very wrong. And that has been the story too many times since Houllier took over.

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  • 253. At 7:07pm on 27 Jan 2009, steveyg101 wrote:

    Dear "steveyg101" - Watch Aston Villa this season. They will finish in the top 3 without smashing the transfer record. Without using a safety in numbers approach in signing players. And they will keep Gareth Barry.
    ---


    Yes, it's been done before. A couple of years back Everton 'broke' into the top four. But that doesn't mean they'll stay there. Arsenal will regain momentum soon enough, and as Wenger stays I don't see any team making that place thier own. This is not an attack on Villa. I admire O'Neill beyond all other current PL managers; I just don't think you can compete without significant and lasting investement

    And for the record: I thought the pursuit of Barry was unwarranted and unneccesary, and harmed the image of LFC (all very publicly, much to my dismay).

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  • 254. At 7:08pm on 27 Jan 2009, cantona1968 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 255. At 7:09pm on 27 Jan 2009, SA-Red wrote:

    My point is just that Rafa is crap. There are many better managers out there.

    On the point about us paying alot for players

    The capacity of Old Trafford and Anfield was the same once upon a time. As we won trophies we increased the capacity. Look at our home record over the last 2 seasons. We've only dropped points in 2 games. one in each season. that's because we have 76,000 supporters. Dont be jealous because we sign that many expensive players. I cant help the fact that your chairman didnt have the foresight to do the same? Dont blame United for appointing Graeme Souness? Or selling Barnes and Beardsley? Do we sell Giggs , Neville, Scholesy? We dont have a sheikh or a russian funding our success?

    Parry is crap, Rafa is crap. And thats not our fault.

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  • 256. At 7:10pm on 27 Jan 2009, happy_red wrote:

    "Heskey chose aston villa over liverpool becuase he believes villa are are better club going places. My opinion of course."

    Since when did emule have the choice of which club to go to betwenn Villa and Liverpool. Liverpool rightly rid themselves of the great lumberer many years ago and I, for one, wouldn't take him back in a million years.

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  • 257. At 7:10pm on 27 Jan 2009, wedontknowfootball wrote:

    haha loved the dialogue with the missus! lol. you're the dog's.

    http://wedontknowfootball.com/

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  • 258. At 7:11pm on 27 Jan 2009, steveyg101 wrote:

    231

    valencia are still bankrupt after rafas reign after spending shed loads on players. His valencia team by the way used to defend with all thier might like everton and hoof it up to Carew.

    and no, he isnt a chief executive, yet. but it seems he wants to be :0
    ---


    Yes, yes; all very insightful. The fact is, Benitez did win the league in Spain - twice. Valencia hadn't won it for 30 years so this is an achievment in itself -- as is beating an Ac Milan squad in thier prime with a team of no-hopers and Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher. He's a good manager, you can't deny it

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  • 259. At 7:11pm on 27 Jan 2009, IberianBlue wrote:

    As a 'bluenose', I find most the Liverpool fans' comments rather shocking.

    I'm not being facetious or glib, but I would absolutely, 100%, without a second of doubt LOVE Benithez to sign a new contract and be given complete control of the transfer budget. I'd be almost certain that his reign would end with EFC the bigger team in Liverpool (see, that's how honest I am - yes, LFC are the bigger team. Clearly.)

    He's awful. Really don't know how LFC fans can't see that. Maybe they rate CL higher than all else. Fair enough if they do. If Benithez can deliver a CL final now and then - something his tactics are clearly more adept to - kopites will be happy.

    Almost unilaterally would frown upon Mourinho being appointed? The levels of delusion Rafa The Magician (love that clip on youtube!) has cast over fans is remarkable.

    Summed up by the absolute authoratative certainty LFC fans have that Keane (as he is a flop) was a Parry signing rather than Rafa. I mean...come off it. Just ridiculous. Where does this 'knowledge' come from? Maybe Torres was? Maybe then Rafa wanted rid off Gerrard but Parry insisted he stayed?

    Even if it were true...Rafa wanted the money for Barry, fans claim. To keep Alonso. To give Agger (a fine defender) a pay rise (all claims from LFC posters). Barry? BARRY? 18 bloody million? I mean, I like the guy, hell of a player but HOW MANY DEFENSIVE MFs DOES BENITHEZ NEED???? Barry and Alonso (let's be honest, the same player and as good as each other) AND Masch-a-diver? At the same club? At a time when anyone with eyes can see that LFC are in desperate, desperate need of width.

    And Everton are called defensive?

    Not our fault we played defensively on Sunday. Rick Parry made us do it.

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  • 260. At 7:12pm on 27 Jan 2009, Crumbs wrote:

    im pretty sure heskey chose villa over liverpool for a few reasons:

    1 villa are clearly a more stable club than liverpool
    2 they are a developing team
    3 exciting to be at a team becomming bigger than it possibly ever has been
    4 hes guranteed to be played at villa
    5 villa is a more english team - more chance of being chosen for england
    6 new challenge
    7 if keane cnt get a place in the lpool squad what chance does heskey have
    8 o'neill is a genius and doesnt - unlike benitez - moan about how the opposition play, rant at alec ferguson and seem to make too many poor, ill-considered decisions
    9 less pressure in games at villa - if he plays poorly at anfield hes going to be thrown away. look at keane, even when he equalised against arsenal and looked a decent asset to the squad he was overlooked continually.

    i think thats a fair list of reasons as to why he didn't choose liverpool, and unbias too, unlike a lot of this forum gets.

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  • 261. At 7:13pm on 27 Jan 2009, SA-Red wrote:

    Villa will finish in the top 3.

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  • 262. At 7:14pm on 27 Jan 2009, steveyg101 wrote:

    My point is just that Rafa is crap. There are many better managers out there.
    ---

    Yes that may be true, but tell me: how many managers 'out there' are actually available to manage LFC at this current point in time?

    There are in fact no managers good enough to manage a top-flight team that are not already in contract, none. And so we come to a predicament: how to lure a Mourinho or a Wenger from another top flight club? It simply can't be done, and so we are stuck, for better or worse, with Benitez!

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  • 263. At 7:16pm on 27 Jan 2009, kevfullo wrote:

    1st i am an LFC fan, i don't think rafa has the copyright on rubbish signings for us tho' paul stewart and sean dundee anyone?i like the feller but he is a bit mad.i remember somone asking Dalglish what was the secret of winning the league in the 80's when he was player manager , he replied" play your best players and win games" i wish the goateed one would have a bit of that. i love this blog so keep it up,us footy nerds need it!

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  • 264. At 7:16pm on 27 Jan 2009, Crumbs wrote:

    one more thing - if liverpool should rebuy a player it should be crouch. probably the most underrated striker in the league. how many times did he bail lpool out of trouble?

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  • 265. At 7:17pm on 27 Jan 2009, SA-Red wrote:

    Was Redknapp not contracted to P/Mouth? He just won an FA Cup. And dont get me wrong, Im not suggesting Redknapp should go to Liverpool. Im just saying that it could be done.

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  • 266. At 7:17pm on 27 Jan 2009, steveyg101 wrote:

    And who really gives a damn about Heskey? There was no 'choice' in his move to Aston Villa because Liverpool did not make him an offer!

    More to the point, he's not exactly the kind of player you want to hold up as an example of all the talent you're 'creaming' off a member of the top four!

    The man is 30 years of age; his best years are far behind him. Yes, he's a good foil. Yes he can hold the ball. But what on earth do you think Liverpool need from a player like this when Benitez plays 4-3-2-1 with Gerrard in the hole?

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  • 267. At 7:19pm on 27 Jan 2009, steveyg101 wrote:

    Was Redknapp not contracted to P/Mouth? He just won an FA Cup. And dont get me wrong, Im not suggesting Redknapp should go to Liverpool. Im just saying that it could be done.
    -------

    Hmm.... An interesting proposition surely. The thing is with these 'good but not world famous managers', you never know how they will handle it with a larger squad, increased pressure and, ultimately, better playes. The one manager I've got on my mind who I think would do well is O'Neill! Lol.

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  • 268. At 7:22pm on 27 Jan 2009, SA-Red wrote:

    You re-signed Fowler . If Heskey says he was approached by pool and he chose Villa then I believe him, it was on Skysports.

    You guys just turnover too many players. If I was a Liverpool player I'd go mad. You cant buy and sell players like the'yre houses (assets), trying to make money. They are people. Their performance is based on morale.

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  • 269. At 7:26pm on 27 Jan 2009, happy_red wrote:

    "we are stuck, for better or worse, with Benitez!"

    Really? No matter which manager Liverpool got, they would always be starting from a far worse position than Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal - all of whom have had years and/or vast amounts of money to build teams.

    Rafa is a fantastic manager who has brought some superb players to the club and who is trying to rebuild. It's very sad to see the short sightedness of some 'fans'. No manager could come in to a club in the state it was in after Houllier and challenge for the Premiership immediately, especially as the other top teams spent more than us from a much better starting position.

    The fact we have been to 2 European Cup finals (winning one), won an FA Cup and have consistently qualified for the Champions League (something previous managers failed miserably to do) is a testament to the progress Rafa has made. Bearing in mind he has had to work with the most incompetent chief exec in the Premiership is even more impressive.

    I am happy that we are now challenging for the title instead of being out of the race before December. Another impressive Champions League drive and about to knock out the 'Tesco Value' team from the FA Cup.

    Long may it continue...

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  • 270. At 7:29pm on 27 Jan 2009, Red_Nic wrote:

    There is absoloutely no chance i'd swap Benitez for Mourinho, who simply is another man with an eye for stuffing a squad full of mediocrity.

    I will stand here quite comfortably and say Chelsea's failure to win anything last season and look like winning nothing this season is down to him and his degrading of the squad.

    He spent the summers shipping in the likes of Kalou, Sidwell, Pizzaro, Tal Ben Haim and rarely invested in youth at all, which has led Chelsea to the thin squad now under Scolari's command. Centre Midfielders aside, where is their quality in depth?!

    And with Benitez, no one will ever no for certain who was the driving force behind Keane but Parry hasn't certainly let this club down too many times over the years with his incompetence, not that Benitez is a saint, he has made mistakes, especially with being too cautious.

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  • 271. At 7:30pm on 27 Jan 2009, Russ wrote:

    "15. At 1:25pm on 27 Jan 2009, Samwell2804 wrote:

    ....makes u wonder how the smallest man on the pitch can once again out fox the liverpool defence, to make it 2 in 2games against them!"

    Shows how much you know, Cahill only scored one in two games I think you will find?!

    Also why should a players price tag mean they cannot be dropped out the squad. Im not saying Rafa was right or wrong but just because he cost 20 mill doesnt mean you cant drop him for a game then bring him back in as a management technique. You want the best 11 players for that game, sorry Torres Keane cost more so he's going to play ahead of you?

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  • 272. At 7:32pm on 27 Jan 2009, steveyg101 wrote:

    You re-signed Fowler . If Heskey says he was approached by pool and he chose Villa then I believe him, it was on Skysports.
    --------

    I was unaware of this. I was working on a previous comment by Benitez around December saying he had no interest whatsoever in Heskey or Owen. It was widely publicised.


    You guys just turnover too many players. If I was a Liverpool player I'd go mad. You cant buy and sell players like the'yre houses (assets), trying to make money. They are people. Their performance is based on morale.
    -------

    I know, believe me I know. Benitez is probably (and I'm saying this not just as a Liverpool fan, but on the basis of his record) the best tactician in the game. It's not just the two finals he's taken us to, but his general record in Europe that suggests he knows football, all kinds of it, from all over the continent.

    But his record with people, on the other hand, now that is something that leaves a lot to be desired. His treatment of Keane is a good example; most other managers would attempt to curry belief in thier own players, thier new signings (especially centre-forwards who thrive on self-beleif), while Benitez benches him and plays him out of position. The same is the case with Babel, and other more marginal players.

    What really infruiriates me about it is that he is generally consistent, either rotating the squad for other competitions or picking players that perform well in training, apart from the regualr inclusion of Dirk Kuyt. Kuyt is, well, a worker, but aside from this he offers little. It drives me mad to see the creative talent of Babel on the bench while Kuyt is on the pitch screwing up every single 1-2, every single attacking move.

    Anyway, as you can gather: I certainly AM aware of his shortcomings, and nothing makes me madder!

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  • 273. At 7:35pm on 27 Jan 2009, SA-Red wrote:

    Look guys was just having a laugh. Respect to Aston Villa. I really think MON hasnt put a foot wrong in his entire career, and the squad looks terrific.

    Liverpool, I hope Gerrard doesnt pick up an injury, but they have every chance to win the league. lets be honest about it, there are still a few games to go.

    Chelsea, why did you let go of your asst manager!!!!! Essien will make a difference end Feb/Early March.

    Arsenal, will be back when Walcott and Fabregas return .

    Its been one of the best seasons so far. I will agree to disagree about Benitez.

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  • 274. At 7:35pm on 27 Jan 2009, jimmyroyce wrote:

    269

    the only reason rafa has got you into champs league is because it is top 4 since he took over (sometimes 5 if it suits lfc) whereas it was top 2 under houllier.

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  • 275. At 7:39pm on 27 Jan 2009, steveyg101 wrote:

    Really? No matter which manager Liverpool got, they would always be starting from a far worse position than Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal - all of whom have had years and/or vast amounts of money to build teams.

    Rafa is a fantastic manager who has brought some superb players to the club and who is trying to rebuild. It's very sad to see the short sightedness of some 'fans'. No manager could come in to a club in the state it was in after Houllier and challenge for the Premiership immediately, especially as the other top teams spent more than us from a much better starting position.

    The fact we have been to 2 European Cup finals (winning one), won an FA Cup and have consistently qualified for the Champions League (something previous managers failed miserably to do) is a testament to the progress Rafa has made. Bearing in mind he has had to work with the most incompetent chief exec in the Premiership is even more impressive.

    I am happy that we are now challenging for the title instead of being out of the race before December. Another impressive Champions League drive and about to knock out the 'Tesco Value' team from the FA Cup.
    -------

    Look, I know this all too well. In this very thread (if you'll scroll up) you'll see me stating exactly what you've said: namely, that Benitez has vastly improved the squad and we are progressing year from year.

    What I will not do, or ever do, is revere Benitez to the point where I think he never makes mistakes. I'm a fan, beleive me I am. I'm no plastic supporter; but I do believe Benitez makes mistakes as a manager and needs to adapt his managerial style, if only slightly, to suit the interests of LFC at large.

    The reason I said we're stuck with him, then, is because I know he's so stubborn he will never change. He will never stop picking Kuyt, for instance, even if you've got a younger player with far more creativity, talent and potential sitting on the bench losing his self-esteem as the weeks go by. He will never add that little bit of spice to the game by encouraging beleif in his own players, by nurturing them. I admire what he's done, but think he could do just that little but more, personally.

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  • 276. At 7:47pm on 27 Jan 2009, brillers wrote:

    It's becoming really annoying with people commenting on how much they hate this blog. If so, why read it every week?! You confuse me and others! you're just wasting blog space!

    Man U for the title. RB is crazy!

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  • 277. At 7:47pm on 27 Jan 2009, steveyg101 wrote:

    There is absoloutely no chance i'd swap Benitez for Mourinho, who simply is another man with an eye for stuffing a squad full of mediocrity.

    I will stand here quite comfortably and say Chelsea's failure to win anything last season and look like winning nothing this season is down to him and his degrading of the squad.

    He spent the summers shipping in the likes of Kalou, Sidwell, Pizzaro, Tal Ben Haim and rarely invested in youth at all, which has led Chelsea to the thin squad now under Scolari's command. Centre Midfielders aside, where is their quality in depth?!

    And with Benitez, no one will ever no for certain who was the driving force behind Keane but Parry hasn't certainly let this club down too many times over the years with his incompetence, not that Benitez is a saint, he has made mistakes, especially with being too cautious.
    ----

    I'd disagree on Mourinho. Everyone associates his managing with Chelsea and the millions they spent, but he had a very successful career at Porto beforehand.

    Mourinho's teams are basically well organised units, each player multi-dimensional with the possible exclusion of a centre-forward (Drogba) and the obvious exception of the goal keeper (Cech).

    However, unlike Benitez, Mourinho spends a significant time working on players' self -belief. He didn't win the title at Chelsea by keeping team sheets secret and marginalising certain players. He instilled beleif in a team that hadn't won anything significant for decades; and I can never see Benitez doing this.

    (As an aside, though, Sammy Lee is exactly this type of manager. I think his arrival has aided our progress substantially)

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  • 278. At 7:48pm on 27 Jan 2009, andyblfc9 wrote:

    Hahaha JimmyRoyce 274 don't make a comment when you don't actually have a clue. How long ago do you think it was when Houllier managed us? It was top 4 who qualified for champions league then too. Deary me

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  • 279. At 8:22pm on 27 Jan 2009, Top Balcony Blue - Nil Satis Nisi Optimum wrote:

    Just a couple of points:

    YES Everton had a striker on Sunday - Amechebe. And the point is . . .?
    (As a matter of interest he is 5th in line behind Yak, Saha, Vaughan and Cahill.)

    We went there with a plan - keep it tight and hit them on the break. Anybody who thinks this was the wrong tactics at a ground where we havent won for 10 years and with a much depleted side are clearly doing everything possible to ignore their own teams short comings.

    Accusing the BBC of being anti-liverpool now? It's a good job that Hansen, Lawrenson and Alan Green all make up for that then big style.

    We snuck a draw in the cup and RB didn't have the dignity to accept that on the day his players couldn't break us down. What sort of tactician is he, if he doesn’t plan against the opposing team defending as unit?

    In the league match it was RB who had withdrawn his £48m strike-force, who was being negative and defensive then?

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  • 280. At 8:27pm on 27 Jan 2009, Chris wrote:

    Benitez is a complete enigma, tactical genuis (see champions league). But he seems to struggle to get a team to flow consistantly.
    In the transfer market he is as good as the rest, reira came in at pitance (relative) and has done very well, alonso, reina, mascherano,agger,skertel all v.good. He has also got rid of the players that didnt work very quickly and almost breaks even on most of them.
    I have long supported Benitez and reli believed that with consistancy he will take us to the league, recently ive started to think he isnt completely focused on the title and wondered about him. Fully expect him to prove me wrong.

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  • 281. At 8:31pm on 27 Jan 2009, Cosmo-Kramer wrote:

    Recent results prove that Liverpool and Everton are on an equal footing at the moment.

    Everton have spirit and drive and are on the way up.

    Liverpool with all the contract whinging and fighting in pubs and lists of "facts" are on the way down.

    United for the title.

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  • 282. At 8:43pm on 27 Jan 2009, Canuckchuck wrote:

    Dear Robbo et al,
    Raffa has the five minute Sudoku's cut from the daily mail and stuck into his note book, thats what he is always scribbling down.

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  • 283. At 9:01pm on 27 Jan 2009, BillBobJoeKenny wrote:

    It must be that time of the year, news is slow, and so the press start looking in holes for hares to release. Last year it was Ronaldo and the Real saga..............

    Rafa will not please all of the people all of the time, and in view of recent results and his unfortunate outburst, some supporters may feel the need to doubt, especially when he appears to tinker with the team for no obvious reason. But anyone who watches Liverpool week in week will recognise that they have played some of their best football this year for a long time.

    Teams win Leagues, and in football, that not only means wearing the same shirt, but thinking alike, reading player movements, anticipation, and movement off the ball. I think there has been real progress in this area this year.

    Judge Rafa on his season at the end of the season and not just after the half time whistle. I remember a lot of people gloating in 2005 just after the half time whistle and I remember some of the comments placed on this and other websites, about how shameful Liverpool were, and what a disgrace they were...............but they went on and won the CL.

    Some on the players that Rafa has bought are not players for now, but players that will mature over time and develop, and these include Flora, Babbel and Ngog, and supporters need to give them time.

    Keane was not a Rafa purchase and time will prove this. Thankfully the only difference is that Liverpool don't have a Russian who insists on picking the team.

    And finally, Man Utd fans just love blogs like this as it gives them an opportunity to forget their own troubles and have a go at the old enemy, but all Man Utd fans know that sometime soon Fergie's reign will end and what will happen to Utd then? Will they self destruct like Arsenal have? Will they go for a foreign coach or risk the likes of Keane or Hughes? Will the Americans try to cash in and leave the club in serious debt?


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  • 284. At 9:07pm on 27 Jan 2009, Chris wrote:

    just for those who say only gerrard and El nino into the other bigsides. i rekon, starting eleven from the "big four" reads

    Reina

    Rafel Carra Rio Evra

    Gerrard Mascherano Essien/Fabregas

    Ronaldo Torres Rooney/Tevez

    1 chelsea/1 arsenal
    5 Liverpool
    5 Man utd

    i am i no biased.
    IRWT come on you reds

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  • 285. At 9:15pm on 27 Jan 2009, ajhawk wrote:

    Lets compare the team from 2001 and now, and see how much better it is...

    FA Cup Final 2001

    Westerveld,
    Babbel,
    Henchoz,
    Hyypia,
    Carragher,
    Murphy,
    Gerrard,
    Hamann,
    Smicer,
    Heskey,
    Owen.

    Subs: Fowler, Berger, Arphexad, McAllister, Vignal.

    Now

    Reina
    Arbeloa
    Carragher
    Skrtel/Agger
    Insua/Dossena/Aurelio
    Mascherano
    Alonso
    Kuyt
    Riera
    Gerrard
    Torres

    Subs: Cavalieri, Keane, Benayoun, Babel, El Zhar, (one of the left backs), (one of the centre backs)

    I wonder which team you'd pick.....
    Hmmmmmm.................

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  • 286. At 9:16pm on 27 Jan 2009, kingofot wrote:

    Finally, a belter of an article.

    Superb

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  • 287. At 9:22pm on 27 Jan 2009, Red_Sam_ThisYearHonest! wrote:

    "Lets compare the team from 2001 and now, and see how much better it is...

    FA Cup Final 2001

    Westerveld,
    Babbel,
    Henchoz,
    Hyypia,
    Carragher,
    Murphy,
    Gerrard,
    Hamann,
    Smicer,
    Heskey,
    Owen.

    Subs: Fowler, Berger, Arphexad, McAllister, Vignal.

    Now

    Reina
    Arbeloa
    Carragher
    Skrtel/Agger
    Insua/Dossena/Aurelio
    Mascherano
    Alonso
    Kuyt
    Riera
    Gerrard
    Torres

    Subs: Cavalieri, Keane, Benayoun, Babel, El Zhar, (one of the left backs), (one of the centre backs)

    I wonder which team you'd pick.....
    Hmmmmmm................."

    Well not the first one.

    With an average age of over 29, they'd be knackered by half time.

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  • 288. At 9:26pm on 27 Jan 2009, Cosmo-Kramer wrote:

    "And finally, Man Utd fans just love blogs like this as it gives them an opportunity to forget their own troubles and have a go at the old enemy, but all Man Utd fans know that sometime soon Fergie's reign will end and what will happen to Utd then?"

    AF is not going anywhere. If he did
    we would have David Moyes. Or Mourinho. Or someone else. It will be taken care of.

    "Will they self destruct like Arsenal have?"

    Arsenal haven't self destructed, they are having a bad patch like United did for a couple of years. And they will be back up there next year or the year after.

    To have a bad patch you have to have a good patch first which is probably why Liverpool fans don't understand. (Unless the last 20 years has been one big bad patch.)

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  • 289. At 9:34pm on 27 Jan 2009, Gilo wrote:

    Robser #80...True Fletcher has played more games this yearm, but their squad enables less risks to play the likes of him and O'shea. But unlike Rafa, SAF almost NEVER drops Rooney/Ronaldo/Ferdinand...
    Stoke 0-0 was further proof that without Torres you have nothing to be scared of.

    Your comments about Van De Sar are ridiculous...the guys on his way to 6 straight wins and 10 consecutive clean sheets!! Thats 900 minutes without conceding a goal....Oh yeah but im sure SAF would looooove Carragher (oops i bottled England the same week they had a defensive crisis) and the other Spanish rubbish.

    Credit to Moyes for outstanding tactics, a team full of desire and pride, and putting two young English lads on in a huge match. Liverpool's youth resemble Valencia U18s and we are not short of an era with no reds in the England team.

    Truth is LFC have been found out recently, Aston Villa deserve points on merit for a modest budget, outstanding attacking football (4-3-3) tonight away at Pompey...

    Top 6 by merit...
    Man U
    Chelski
    Villa
    Arsenal
    Everton
    Hull

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  • 290. At 9:46pm on 27 Jan 2009, Corsey69 wrote:

    Much as I hate to say it Robbo, as a huge Liverpool fan, I have to agree with alot of the sentiments above, from both yourself and others...

    First-off, I imagine the definition of the word 'irony' has been changed on Wikipedia to 'Benitez slating/accusing a team who/of playing for a draw'... his first remark after a woeful 0-0 at Stoke (us being the only team that won't score against them in the Premier League this season I'd imagine) was 'At least we didn't lose...' - a shocking comment, and indicative of this 'no lose' mentality (favourite word), which actually seems to have fed through to the players... The full-back generally throws the ball in on half-way, and it goes Alonso-Masch-Carra-Skrtel-Carra-Reina - all backward-looking... this negativity means we've lost the fewest games, yet are not in front - actually feel as though he thinks its still Spain, where 2 points for a win was the system until alot more recently.

    With regard to transfers, one can see why he isn't being given full 'call' on who he wants - some of the signings have been a)Poor b) Played out of position from the outset, c) Another player for the same position (am a fan of Barry, but did we need a midfielder?), and d)most of all - his treatment of the signings - the behaviour towards Crouch (marginalised), Babel (never picked), Agger (Left out regularly, whereas at least he can bring the ball forward), and most of all - Keane - Most Liverpool fans believed £20m to be a ridiculous amount, but his recent treatment has been disgraceful - a real 'toys out of the pram' effort from Benitez...

    And finally... his selections remain BAFFLING...
    Kuyt has the highest work-rate simply because his 1st touch goes into the other half - how he can be apparently the first name on the team-sheet is beyond any football fan I know.

    Lucas - In mine, and alot of peers' eyes... the worst player to ever put on a Liverpool shirt - a woeful, slow, non-performer, somehow picked AHEAD of Mascherano at times (And which has cost us so many points)
    - how this guy is being persisted with is beyond so many of us.

    Babel - ONLY played out of position on the left-wing - how is the youjngster actually supposed to do anything???

    4-2-3-1 - AT HOME - This formation can perhaps be used away to Milan/Barcelona/Chelsea - to see it employed against weaker teams at Anfield, is incredibly frustrating, and has cost us c.10 points, and practically handed the title to our rivals.

    Unless Benitez cops on, stops whingeing, becomes less negative (significantly so), and treats his players with dignity, he is fast losing the support of myself and practically all other Reds' fans I know...

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  • 291. At 9:55pm on 27 Jan 2009, Musiclovesyou wrote:

    As far as I can see, Benitez is a very good manager. His teams are solid defensively, the attacking emphasis built on high workrate and ball retention. This is both Liverpool's greatest strength but also their defining weakness. We're really difficult to beat but easy to keep at arms' length. We were exactly the same under Gerard Houllier, so nothing has really changed in the last 8 years, Champions League in 2005 notwithstanding.

    Stick a bank of 9 men in front of us with a lone front man, and we have absolutely no clue how to break a team down. Regrettably, Benitez' cautious approach lets him down and that's why I don't think we'll win the Premier League with him in charge.

    Man Utd go into every game they play looking to get forward and win, same as Arsenal, same as Aston Villa, same as Chelsea. Of course Liverpool have aspirations to do that, to say otherwise is just stupid, but the reality is somewhat different. We regularly have an obscene amount of posession but often we don't do enough with it. The home match against Stoke, the two home matches against Everton all cases in point. It's quite frustrating really as we've got some quality players, a great spine throughout the team but I don't think Benitez is decisive enough when it comes to really going for the win late in the game. How many times has he brought Babel on after 80 minutes when he's realistically got little opportunity to change the game?

    I do think Benitez is a good manager, and we're still in with a shout for some silverware this season, but as with last season, too many draws will rule us out come May and until Benitez changes his cautious approach, we'll still be just that little bit lacking.

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  • 292. At 10:08pm on 27 Jan 2009, karim1981 wrote:

    hahahaha as a liverpool fan thats one of the funniest things ive ever read in my life, cheers for cheering me up!!! got a rough stomach this evening, but that has made me feel so much better

    i mean it in a positive way too.. think your quite spot on with your comments and your thoughts about the way liverpool conduct themselves.

    I think rafa is a great coach and has done wonders for this club.. we did beat United and Chelsea without Gerrard and Torres though so your criticism off that is a bit unfounded.

    Gerrard is liverpool through and through and it wouldnt matter if you, me or the guy next door was coach, he would still work his socks off scoring 30 yard screamers.

    I also have to admit that we have failed in the transfer market.

    Cavalieri - never ever gonna be number 1, so its a waste of £3.5 million that would have been better off on a right back/right winger and give Martin the chance to prove himself

    Dossena - what a waste of £7million, again could have been used to get a right winger and given Darby the chance to shine

    Lucas - possibly the worst midfielder we have bought, would have preferred sissoko to stay anther season, everyone struggles after a bad injury

    Benayoun - useful in spurts but again, we deserve better at Anfield

    Pennant - 6.7million wasted, had we saved that money, dossena and cavalieri, thats £16million we could have used on a decent right winger or another striker

    Kuyt - works so hard and love him for it, but we spent £10million on him scoring goals, hasnt happened

    Keane - £20million, what a waste of money

    neways thats enough of the rant, fingers crossed some of these players can prove me wrong in the weeks ahead.

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  • 293. At 10:14pm on 27 Jan 2009, Gilo wrote:

    Van de Sar just broke premiership clean sheet record...probably puts an end that SAF would pick three of your players in his team....make it two...and im not sure id drop Giggs in the middle for Gerrard based on tonights masterclass...


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  • 294. At 10:27pm on 27 Jan 2009, U11015071 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 295. At 10:32pm on 27 Jan 2009, mape_ventura wrote:

    Great blog again Robbo!

    But why did you have to give the Scousers a platform to moan!!

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  • 296. At 10:34pm on 27 Jan 2009, Brian Renshaw wrote:

    Good Post Robbo
    One-eyed reds who think Rafa is the Messiah will try to rubbish it but you make the points football supporters without blinkers on understand.

    Rafa's meddling about with the team has cost Liverpool the title this year. United have simply looked on at the nonesense going on with selections and consequently results and walked all over Liverpool who are now also rans for the title.

    Torres was more concerned with Kaka not joining Man City (absolutely not of his business) than reclaiming his goalscoring form and in the match against Everton missed a complete sitter.

    Fergie knows how to wind Liverpool up. They'll finish 3rd behind United and Chelsea

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  • 297. At 10:37pm on 27 Jan 2009, m1santhrope wrote:

    the bbc seriously need to review the quality of output of these journalists.

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  • 298. At 10:42pm on 27 Jan 2009, SA-Red wrote:

    Heskey is what? He chose Villa over Liverpool, I wonder why?

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  • 299. At 10:45pm on 27 Jan 2009, nicklhughes07 wrote:

    Forshaw1970 (at 17). . .

    United a one man team?! The United team is littered with players who are the best players in their respective positions on earth at the moment. . .Van Der Sar, Evra, Ferdinand, Vidic, Ronaldo. . .

    Giggs is on fire (when I thought his legs had gone), Carrick is playing incredibly, and Berbatov and Rooney are top, top class (if Rooney had a slightly cooler head in the penalty area (as well as when talking to referees!) I would say he was the top 5 forwards on the planet too).

    We are by no means a one man team. Ronaldo was incredible last season, and deservedly the best player in the world, but Evra, Ferdinand, Rooney and Tevez were instrumental too, and the whole squad contributed in some massive games (Fletcher and Park especially, and incredibly. . .).

    Liverpool fans will just have to face up to the fact that they are not going to win the title. United have a better manager and a better team man for man except perhaps for Gerrard and Torres. . .your "two man team."

    Robbo's blog is funny, like it's meant to be, he's not going to start putting graphs and analysis in there. Where is the famous Scouse sense of humour, oh that's right, you never have been able to laugh at YOURSELVES. . .

    I guess you'd prefer it if Robbo left it to the reasoned and impartial Phil McNulty, who can't even use an apostrophe. Where's he from again??

    Just read his articles will you. . .

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  • 300. At 11:03pm on 27 Jan 2009, Stokerambo wrote:

    I'm ever so glad Liverpool fans are generally happy with Rafa the Dummy Spit. I fully agree with Robbo - without Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, Liverpool would struggle to get a UEFA cup spot.

    Every manager makes bad buys, yet only Torres, Agger and Alonso stand out - he even wanted to get rid of Alonso! Reina is a good keeper, but prone to stupid mistakes, not too dissimilar to Fabien Barthez. I believe he is nowhere near being Spain's first choice goalie.

    Despite my ingrained antipathy towards Liverpool, I still want to watch a good match. Whilst Liverpool play an acceptable passing game, I find them very predictable and often too negative. They play like this against the wrong teams - teams they should go out and give a good thrashing.

    Finally, I cannot remember the last time Liverpool produced a hot talent from their once-famed academy.

    Take a look at Manchester United; in the time Rafa has been at Anfield, Fergie has spent a lot, made a few poor signings, but has always brought players through the youth system - Danny Welbeck is only the latest and more importantly a local lad.

    I remember not too long ago a Liverpool side containing te likes of Owen, Fowler, Gerrard, Carragher, Murphy and Stephen Wright - all local lads either brought through the ranks or signed as young players from the lower leagues. The man in charge? The much maligned Gérard Houllier - he won them 3 trophies in one season and Owen won the Ballon D'Or. A year later Liverpool did the league double over United. Stick with Rafa, he's a great manager!

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  • 301. At 11:12pm on 27 Jan 2009, mick1983lfc wrote:

    Just another pointless article this is bet you amused yourself when writing it. It lacks Facts, common sense and comes across childish.
    Rafa quoted when we took over LFC that he had a major team restructure plan that was going to take many years to what level the team need to be it.
    Liverpool are now one or 2 first team players away from that and the way Rafa has made LFC into title contenders he deserves alot of credit for.
    Man Utd have always had the money to buy or " waste " on players whichever you prefer to use. Fergie also has about an average 8 good buys to his name but also alot of drab players, its never been highlighted tho coz the board will always back him to spend big when he wants it.
    As for one good player bought in Torres ? What about Reina, Arbeloa a snip at 2 million, Agger, Skrtel, Reira, Mascha, Alonso, Dirk Kuyt also there a one or 2 fringe players like Babel who has bags of promise but doesn't look interested when called on.
    Rafa has also totally re-vamped the reserve system along with GA and look to have some promising players.
    Now the facts.
    the likes of player like Bellamy, Pennant, Yossi have all been bought when not backed by the board.
    Rafa asked for Alves he got Pennant.
    Rafa asked for Mancini he got Yossi,
    Rafa asked Carlos Tevez he got Bellamy. Its these type of sqaud players that Rafa does not want but has to buy.
    Making LFC title contenders was not going to happen over night but we are nearly there, just like Valencia was we are hard to beat. Ok some draws but with added quality we will sort that out. If you want my honest opinion people are starting to get scared of LFC now because we are becoming bigger and stronger little by little season by season.
    In Rafa We Trust....YNWA

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  • 302. At 11:35pm on 27 Jan 2009, The_Master wrote:

    Lots of ppl here are talking about how long it took Fergie to deliver his first trophy at united... Well these ppl are no doubt clueless scousers. The reason it took him 5 (not 5) years to get the first trophy was the team that was at his disposal. When fergie joined, united was a struggling team, fighting relegation and with quite a few players preferring the booze to the game. He had to build a team from scratch....As for Dumb Rafa, the team he inherited was a team constantly fighting for the champions league places, a team where Houillier already spent millions on building. This is a big difference....Scousers get a life, get a job...

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  • 303. At 11:55pm on 27 Jan 2009, Benitez for the chop-Bring in Jol :) wrote:

    What i will say about this article is firstly, i can't believe you get paid to write articles like this.....the BBC could pluck 1000's of so called 'football fans' from the 606 forums that could write similar stuff like this for free. And they would at least be able to chuck a few facts in for good measure...

    The article lacks any depth and is flawed from start to finish.

    As said all through this, Rafa has signed many good players - in fact if you look at any of the 10m+ signings he has made, with the exception of Keane who may come good, he has got all of them right (Torres/Alonso/Mascherano/Babel/Riera). Unfortunately, Benitez has rarely been in a position to invest his whole transfer kitty until the last 2 seasons as he needed many new players to replace Houlliers deadwood. It is easy to criticise a flopped signing whom cost a couple of million because many fail...hence the reason they are available for such a low price. Players that are the finished article like Torres, cost alot more but Benitez has been able to invest his budgets in proven quality signings because the nucleus and group of players he wants to work with are now in place. It is alright United fans coming on and taking pops at our failed signings but United were fortunate enough to have a young group of players come through of such a standard that when SAF has bought, he has been able to buy proven quality....if you look at the high prices paid for players like Rooney/Ferdinand/Nani/Anderson/RVN/Carrick/Berbatov/Tevez (if this goes through).....

    Getting back to the subject in hand, i am not Benitez's biggest fan - his defensive approach and strange substitutions are just some of the reasons he is not on my Xmas card list.....however, he has a plan in mind and it would seem crazy to bring a new manager in whom would want his own players in so again we would go through a transitional period with players coming and going. Many players like Reina/Torres/Alonso may leave if Rafa goes....we don't want this.

    I would give Rafa until the end of next season...if he hasn't delivered by then, he should leave.

    There is still a long way to go in the PL race...

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  • 304. At 11:56pm on 27 Jan 2009, redinnz22 wrote:

    Rafa may or may not have control over the transfers at Liverpool but he does have control over team selection and the team he put out in against Stoke a few games back was unforgivable and had me thinking....when the doctors took his kidney stones out, did they make a mistake and actually take his brain!?

    At the beginning of the season Liverpool and the fans were full of hope because finally, finally, Rafa seemed to have got what we have all been thinking for ages...pick your best XI and play them. Easy.

    But slowly Rafa's ridiculous rotation comes into play and we start losing games...I'm not saying it is all Rafa's fault but after the Taggot rants and the stupid sub selections (I mean Yossi over Riera.....Lucas over Masca seriously?!) The man is starting to lose the plot!

    Two trophies’ in five years does not a magnificent manager make.

    As a life long Liverpool supporter I hope I'm made to eat my words come May but if we fail to win yet another trophy this year then I think it is time for Rafa to grab his sombrero and head back to Spain.


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  • 305. At 11:57pm on 27 Jan 2009, fitzemgoodentight wrote:

    im a utd fan from dublin and most of my mates support liverpool and backing for rafa is split about 50-50 between them.
    my own personal opinion on rafa's liverpool is they are not worthy to be champions this year. i find them pretty boring to watch. (remember the recent game against stoke) rafa's liverpool seem to me to be a bunch of 'waiters' as in they go out on to the pitch and wait to see what the other team will do. as opposed to utd who go out and try to make things happen them selfs. liverpool will never win the league again unless they become a team of action instead of a team of reaction.
    FACT! rafa is too negative against perceived lesser opposition and has dropped vital points as a result, in my opinion he needs to be more positive. robbie keane has played really well for liverpool but it seems even his own team mates have a reluctance to pass to him when he has been in good positions and now rafa does not even give him his game.
    I agree that torres is a magnificant signing and liverpool have some good players such as reina, carragher, alonso and mascherano but for me there is only one man at anfield and his name is stephen gerrard.
    stevie g is the man and liverpool fans dont like to admit it but they would be fecked without him.
    in conclusion, rafa is a good manager but he is not great, certenly not the man to restore the glory years of the 70's and 80's.
    there are two things keepin him in charge, one is his champions league win and the other.......... stevie g.

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  • 306. At 01:22am on 28 Jan 2009, tarquin wrote:

    The old 'Gerrard does it all himself' argument eh?

    True there are many instances where Gerrard has dragged his team to a result over the years, but frankly don't you want that in a captain?

    To suggest that Liverpool's current position is based pretty much solely on Gerrard (which is what you imply by saying he's all Rafa's got going for him) is mad

    Like everybody else has said Liverpool wouldn't get very far without their solid defence - or is Gerrard the reason they've only lost one game his season, less than even United? Nothing to do with Reina, Carra, Skrtel or Agger of course

    Nothing to do with the skillful passes of Alonso, or how about that lump Rafa signed, called Mascherano or something?

    Right now Liverpool are in a predictable slump, and I agree that Rafa's tactics are too negative, I've always thought that about their league campaigns

    But just because Gerrard rescues the team a few times does not mean he is all there is to liverpool - when they play badly against lower opposition he seems to pull something out, not unlike last minute Vidic headers that win games for United - I think most teams would bite your arm off to have a player that could do that

    Liverpool are too negative, and they need width - but they have plenty of talent across the pitch apart from Gerrard, which is why they're currently second

    To your main question tho - Rafa is frustrating, but I still believe

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  • 307. At 04:30am on 28 Jan 2009, hoss9876 wrote:

    Not being a football fan, perhaps I don't really understand the passion that people have for their teams. However, this passion seems to make people say 'facts' a lot. 'The fact is', 'I am dealing in facts' and x did this and that is FACT.

    Can people start offering the source of their facts or at least quoting where the facts come from? The issue about Liverpool being a one man team is interesting. According to the premier league statistics company Actimindex Gerrard is the 6th best player in the league at the moment. Now you might not agree with the way these are calculated but hey that's statistics.

    Liverpool have a further three players in the top 25 Kuyt (10), Reina (13) and Carragher (14) so in essence, and according to these stats, Liverpool are no more a one man team than United who have Berbatov (8), Vidic (11) and Ronaldo (24) in the top 25.

    Interestingly it looks like on present form Barry would have been a far better signing as he is ranked 4th compared with Keane who is currently, and surprisingly given all the grief he is getting, ranked 31.

    So the facts are - Liverpool do not have only one decent player, Barry would have been a better buy, and Vidic is the best centre back in the country at the moment.
    FACT!!!! (LOL)

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  • 308. At 07:00am on 28 Jan 2009, tarquin wrote:

    hoss9876

    that sounds like a fantasy league stat - based on goals and assists

    Kuyt's form is based on his early run of goals, a whopping 5 - but he hasn't scored since november, I wouldn't buy him :P

    Vidic probably is the best CB tho

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  • 309. At 07:50am on 28 Jan 2009, supershunsuke wrote:

    Am I alone in thinking Robbo's use of the phrase "Any road" is really irritating?

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  • 310. At 08:00am on 28 Jan 2009, scottini wrote:

    I am staggered that you are paid to write articles, I really am. I am not going to re-iterate points that have been made above, none better than mrbrownred at the top. Poor, poor article.

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  • 311. At 08:30am on 28 Jan 2009, davy_p_82 wrote:

    Robbo - when you ask why a man who spent 20mil on Keane and then leaves him on the bench should be allowed total transfer control, has it crossed you're mind that maybe he didn't want Keane and that's why he is saying he wants total control? Maybe I'm wrong but that would explain why he never plays him. It's a similar situation to when Cosse was signed just before Benitez arrived. He wasn't a rafa signing so Rafa didn't really like playing him. Having said that, although I don't mind seeing Keane on the bench when Torres is fit, it is madness to leave him out if Fernando is injured, and not to not even bring him on when we need a goal is equally bizarre.

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  • 312. At 08:36am on 28 Jan 2009, LFCGiant wrote:

    Im sure this blog's usually a "funny view" of a variety of events from the past week- but typically at the moment Rafa and Liverpool are an easy target (for speaking the TRUTH about Man U and the FA)-

    I think its a bit embarrassing how all you journalists jump on the same boat like "a strength in numbers" situation.

    I hope we are champions in May and you can all get off Fergies lap!

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  • 313. At 08:48am on 28 Jan 2009, whatbill wrote:

    For all the talk of the progress that Rafa has made over the last few years, this morning Liverpool are level on points with Aston Villa. O'Neil has had less time to turn things round at Villa, with lower starting point and less resources. Given that Liverpool could probably have had O'Neil if they'd gone for him at the time, why do the Liverpool fans continue to back Rafa?

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  • 314. At 09:04am on 28 Jan 2009, Magnifecento_red wrote:

    As a Liverpool fan I found this article pretty funny and agree with some points. First of all you say ''with a bottomless vat of cash to spend, should Rafa be the man to waste it - ermm, spend it?'' What bottomless vat of cash is this? We're being plunged into debt by the totally inept yanks so I don't know where you get this from. Anyway, I still agree that I wouldn't want Rafa using it all going by his track record in the transfer market. This proved by the FACT that our best player this season(Alonso) was on Rafa's shipping out list in the summer because he wanted Barry. Now I'm sure most reds would agree that the best thing the Yanks and Parry have done is refuse Rafa the funds to buy Barry.

    And I don't go by all this Rafa didn't want Keane and that he was a Parry signing. Didn't Rafa go on record saying something along the lines of we'd be singing a homegrown player that wasn't English? Which turned out to be Keane...and Rafa didn't look too disappointed at the unveiling of Keane did he? I'm sure Parry panicked that we hadn't bought anybody of note and thats why Rafa got the funds for Keane, and that Keane wasn't Rafa's number one target as Barry was but to say he didn't want Keane is nonsense IMO.

    Rafa's downfalls are his negativity and stubborness. Also he zaps the confidence out of players by his refusal to play them or even include them in the squad ie. Keane, Babel, Benayoun. And his persistance with Kuyt is bordering on the downright ludicrous. I'm sure they're sleeping together.

    I think our best formation is Torres up front with Gerrard just behind so he's right to leave out Keane atm. But when Keane has been on form and scoring goals why leave him out next game? Why take him off in the 60th minute after he has scored 2 goals? Why leave a £20m striker out of the squad altogether? Now Keane doesn't help himself with his mouthing off when he's subbed and his constant moaning at other players on the pitch but Rafa has to take some of the blame for the flop that has been Robbie Keane. I reckon Rafa is mostly to blame for Keane's failure at Anfield. He is to blame for our negativity which has resulted in 8 draws this year. I mean if we had went for the kill more we could have had more wins, and even if there was a loss or two resulting in a more Gung Ho mentality then we'd still have more points than we do now.

    On the flip side to all this, we're still in the title hunt in January. We're in the next round of that Champion's League. We have an Fa Cup replay against the bitters next week where they should come out at us a bit more. So what are we complaining about?

    I'd never ever swap Rafa for anybody after what he has done for this club. But I think he is losing it abit. His moan at Fergie as spectacular and right it was, gave the edge to United who will no doubt run on and win the league, sadly to say going by their current form. Is it a coincidence that our best performances this year have come when Rafa was on the sidelines with his kidney problems? I'm starting to think it wasn't.

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  • 315. At 09:13am on 28 Jan 2009, Owen wrote:

    I agree with a lot of the comments for and against Rafa, but there is one rumour I keep hearing and I'd like to dispel it.

    A lot of people are saying that Liverpool are only where they are because Man U and Chelsea have dropped some easy points themselves.

    How ridiculous! What obvious comments. All the teams in the league are where they are because of the number of points they have won/lost and the number their opponents have won/lost. That is the whole idea of the league!

    If you mean that Liverpool are playing no better this season than past seasons then you are clearly wrong. Liverpool are 7 points ahead of where they were last season and they also lost their next game. If Liverpool beat Wigan tonight then they will be 10 points ahead of where they were last season.

    If Liverpool go on from here and match their form from the end of last season, then things will be close. At the start of the season that is all most of us fans wanted.

    Can anyone remind me of the gap between Man U and Liverpool at the end of last season?

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  • 316. At 09:22am on 28 Jan 2009, Magnifecento_red wrote:

    Actually on a results comparison basis going by the teams we have already played this season and the corresponding fixtures last season, we are down by 2 points.

    But yes we are up on last year at this point of the season, which is keeping us in the hunt.

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  • 317. At 09:33am on 28 Jan 2009, jmstewart wrote:

    I am a Rangers and a football fan. I love watching the English Premiership, it's great entertainment.

    However watching Liverpool can be very frustrating at times, so much so that I often have to change the channel. The reason being that Rafa's style is far too conservative. They play like a team that is trying to snatch a win rather than steam roller teams.

    Rafa lacks that killer instinct that Fergie clearly has. Why doesn't he play 2 up front more often?

    It's ironic that Rafa has a go at Moyes regarding Everton's tactics when it's clear from the way that Liverpool line up that their first priority is not to lose first, anything else is a bonus.

    Liverpool have had the players to at least challenge for the league for a few seasons now but he's failed to deliver.

    I wouldn't say Liverpool completely rely on Gerrard, but there can be no denying he's saved Rafa's bacon on too many occasions to count but then again probably because he's one of the few players that has license to go forward.

    I can see Villa and Chelsea overtaking Liverpool before the end of the season unless he allows his team to open up a bit.

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  • 318. At 09:38am on 28 Jan 2009, Berb_is_king wrote:

    The whole "being a one man team" things annoys me slightly. I am a Spurs fan and for the previous 2 seasons we were a 2 man team (berba and Keane)

    If you took Agbonlahor and Ashley Young out of the Villa side would they be challenging for a Champ league spot and being talked about as on the verge of breaking into the top 4 ?

    Every team relies on their better players, and expects more from them than others, that is why they are better players.....

    Liverpool have 2 world class players. Man Utd have a couple more. But to say they are a lesser team just because they sometimes rely on these 2 world class players is a bit niave.

    But Rafa's treatment of Keane is rubbish, but it seems not even the "mighty" Liverpool can escape the Chairman who wants to dabble in a spot of "real life Championship Manager" Shame.

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  • 319. At 09:40am on 28 Jan 2009, pool_guy_mike wrote:

    Do you actually get paid to write this drivel? It's absolutely pathetic and one of the laziest pieces of 'journalism' I have ever had the misfortune to read. You sound like a Manchester united or Everton fan writing on a message board.

    Perhaps if you spoke to a Liverpool fan from Liverpool rather than some cockney mate of yours who has been an "devout LFC fan" since 25 may '05, you might realise that Rafa is held in high regard on merseyside, indeed some even call him the best manager we have had since Shankly. So yes your friend is in the minority.

    Are Rafa's transfer dealings really that bad? Granted Robbie Keane has not exactly lived up to his £20m tag but lets compare that to Mr Fergusons dealings, Juan Veron £30m I believe, Eric Djemba Djemba, Massimo Taibi, Kleberson, the list goes on and on, I could also pick a few examples of bad buys from Arsene Wengers back catalogue, Reyes, Wiltord, Jefferson, etc and he is seen as some sort of transfer market messiah, and while we are at it lets put to bed this myth about Everton having not spent any money Yakubu £11m, Felliani £15m, Lescott £5.5m compare them to Kuyt £10m, Alonso £10m, Agger £5.8m is Rafa really that bad in the transfer market? Perhaps you should do your job properly and research your blogs before you post them, save yourself the embarrassment. If I was your employer I would be ashamed.

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  • 320. At 09:43am on 28 Jan 2009, philmcn_is_a_joke wrote:

    this isn't funny and is laden with erroneous assertations....it amounts to little more than character assasination of a very successful manager by a halfwit...does "robbo" have anything intelligent to say? When I think my licence fee pays for this nonsense it makes my blood boil - asinine in the extreme.

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  • 321. At 09:48am on 28 Jan 2009, joerred124 wrote:

    Yet another blog with seemingly little research. Yet another blogger who has scanned the club's recent history picking out the obvious,

    Steven Gerard is all Rafa's got?

    Let's have a look at the some of the games that have shaped our season and got us to joint top of the league (tonight's result pending).

    Manchester United - Trailing - Babel scores the winner.

    Manchester City - Trailing - Kuyt scores the winner.

    Wigan - Trailing - Riera scores the winner.

    All relatively late "Gerrard rescue-style goals" that have got us results where in previous seasons we would have dropped points.

    My point being that although Steven Gerrard may come up trumps in the big games, and all teams need a star performer (Ronaldo, Lampard, Kaka, Messi), our so called 'poor signings' have won us valuable points at crucial times in the current season.

    Had these players not have come up with a goal, we would be trailing by 9 points as it stands. Even the most optimistic fan would have to admit we had no chance in gaining ground in the remainder of the season.

    Torres being Rafa's only great signing, has barely featured so far this season, yet we are in a better position than we have been for a long time to go on to become champions.

    Rafa has built a great squad on a lot smaller budget that our real rivals, Chelsea and Man Utd. (Time will tell with Aston Villa, if they stay in the race everyone will rightly hail Martin O'Neill as a brilliant manager). With these cheaper signings doing their bit at vital times, further proving themselves in terms of form this season.

    We're in the race, we need to hit another run of form, which history tells happens within the next couple of weeks of the season, and it'll go down to the wire.

    Anyone who thinks Rafa should go, is cracking up, should simply do some research. He's the in the top 3 or 4 managers in Europe. In this era of Manager Tinkering though, who can blame people for constantly thinking managers need to be replaced.

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  • 322. At 10:00am on 28 Jan 2009, electricSurferDude18 wrote:

    How can you say Benitez has bought wasteful players?? I think you're forgetting Torres, Reina, Skrtel, Agger, Reira, Alonso, etc. Anyone would have loved Keane in their team at the beginning of the season but his form has let him down, how is that Benitez's fault?? No-one expected Liverpool to be in as good a position as we are now and being top of the league for the majority of the first half of the season isn't easy. Even now, at most we will be 3 points behind United if they win their game in hand, its not impossible to still win the league. I don't think we should be written off as contenders just yet.

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  • 323. At 10:05am on 28 Jan 2009, nogginthenogforever wrote:

    As much as I like reading your blog Robbo, never fails to give me a laugh, the real comedy is in the responses.

    Whats the football fan equivalent of nerdrage called?

    A word needs inventing, because its here.

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  • 324. At 10:22am on 28 Jan 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    A quick thanks from me for the Liverpool fans feedback...

    It's pretty clear that not every one of you are happy with Rafa. Just to be clear... he can't be a hopeless manager or Liverpool would have won nowt. I just can't figure him out. And this season he has made himself into a story - partly cos the team are doing better than usual and partly because his pre-match and post-match comments don't seem to match up with what the rest of us have come to call reality.

    Having a dig at the other team's tactics just cos you didn't win is pretty feeble stuff. (He's not the only one to do, mind) The anti-ManU rant was not a good sign, regardless of whether it was making any worthwhile points. And the team are struggling right now mainly cos Rafa's teams have too negative a mindset. They can play top stuff when they go behind but why wait?

    But you know what, it's an opinion, and in this day and age it's quite refreshing to hear that Benitez has so many defenders (even if he does have too many full backs)

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  • 325. At 10:25am on 28 Jan 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    Pretty much the only thing everyone seems to be agreed on is that Martin O'Neill is marvellous. It won't happen but how about swapping O'Neill for Rafa? Any takers?

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  • 326. At 10:28am on 28 Jan 2009, brighton72 wrote:

    Regardless of the Keane issue, you gotta say Rafa has done well in his period of time there UNTIL they are actually in a position to challenge UTD and Chelsea, Liverpool have been good enough to beat both the above mentioned sides and yet struggle to do so against teams you would fancy all 3 points. HE needs to concentrate on purely footballing issues that take place during the 90mins of a game and not the goings on in the board room and in particular the FA. He totally lost the plot when having a pop at Sir Alex BLAH BLAH BLAH and then EVERTON, what a BABY. Get back to what your employed to do, pick a team to try and win games..

    Breaking News: Robbie Keane to sign loan deal with Brighton Hove Albion.... I WISH

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  • 327. At 10:29am on 28 Jan 2009, nogginthenogforever wrote:

    The obvious answer is they should have taken O Neil instead of Rafa at the time.

    Given what teams they both inherited at their respective clubs, the budget they both have, O Neil has fabricated a team challenging Liverpool in half the time Rafa has had, and well below half the budget.

    I would mark him as Fergusons successor myself, if he is ever to leave Villa.

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  • 328. At 10:31am on 28 Jan 2009, renrutmit wrote:

    Well done Robbo you seem to have touched a few nerves, makes a nice change too see our scouse cousins beating themselves up instead of slating Utd

    They might have forgotten that this is the sort of scrutiny that you come under when you are near the top of the pile.............

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  • 329. At 10:34am on 28 Jan 2009, Danny_EFC13 wrote:

    pool_guy_mike...... Just how can you say Everton have spent money?! Our net spend under Moyes is lower than 20million. Thats less than 5million pounds a season!

    Take this Summer for example, Everton sold Johnson for 10million combined with the 5million gained from the sale of Mcfadden and there's your 15million for Fellaini.

    Compare this with your own team, 20million Torres, 20million Keane, 18million Mascherano, 10million Kuyt, 11million Babbel, 10million Alonso, 11million Rierra, 8million Dossena etc and our spending power really does pail into insignificance.

    So forgive us for coming to Anfield and 'parking the bus' while missing 4 players who would have no doubt started. We play to our strengths, it is not our problem if your side doesn't have the ingenuity to break us down. The fact were able to compete with a supposed title challenging team helps to show perfectly the achievement of our manager and the failings of yours.

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  • 330. At 10:39am on 28 Jan 2009, brighton72 wrote:

    Couldn't agree with you more Danny_EFC13

    YOUR JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH LIVERPOOL, THAT'S IT PURE AND SIMPLE

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  • 331. At 10:39am on 28 Jan 2009, IberianBlue wrote:

    Te he. Love how riled up and defensive Liverpool get about King Rafa - guess being defensive is fairly apt.

    Fans of other clubs can be objective about the advantages and failings of their own mangers and managers of others. You'll find few fans, for example (until the vitriolic backlash that will, of course, now come from RS fans on this blog) that don't think David Moyes is a very good manager.

    To a man, non-RS fans think Rafa is overrated. RS fans think he's the Second Coming. But it's the rest of the world, of course, that's being myopic!

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  • 332. At 10:42am on 28 Jan 2009, LFC_SA wrote:

    I don't have a problem with Rafa's transfers ... I think he's done ok with a limited budget. My problem is the style that he has Liverpool playing! They are far too negative and far too cautious to win the league ... and that aspect is purely down to Rafa! 2 wins and 2 loses is better than 4 draws so there's no excuse not to push for wins ... especially at Anfield! Whether Keane was Rafa's idea or not ... the fact is that he was a very decent player with loads of confidence and massive EPL experience ... he's now been reduced to a laughing stock at LFC ... again down to Rafa. Babel had loads of potential and, with some nuturing and encouragement, he could have been a great player! But's he also fading like a flower under Rafa's guidance and will probably be shipped out sometime soon! The style we play makes it very difficult to beat us ... but also very easy not to get beat! Perfect for the cups ... but not for the league! Very sadly ... I feel we'll be missing out on the EPL again this season ... unless there's a sudden change of tactics which I don't see happening!

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  • 333. At 10:49am on 28 Jan 2009, jack halford wrote:

    I think it rude to call Benitez a 'Fat Spanish waiter', but he does remind me of Manuel in Fawlty Towers !!

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  • 334. At 10:52am on 28 Jan 2009, IberianBlue wrote:

    GAV...
    Limited budget?

    TOP 5 expenditures 08/09

    Manchester City 143.856.000 £
    149.850.000 €
    Tottenham Hotspur 118.848.000 £
    123.800.000 €
    FC Barcelona 86.880.000 £
    90.500.000 €
    Real Madrid CF 70.752.000 £
    73.700.000 €
    Liverpool FC 68.928.000 £
    71.800.000 €

    Enough with the excuses.

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  • 335. At 11:00am on 28 Jan 2009, adam_longley wrote:

    It does make me laugh when people say that rafa has been a failure in the transfer market. DannyMC22 wrote yesterday, that Sissoko, Bellamy, Morientes, Josemi, Nunez were all failures, and i'd agree with you, likewise Benitez would. thats why he sold them, and he made a profit for them all. look at Wenger and Ferguson. they have made just as many mistakes in buying players, and ended up releasing them or selling them for next to nothing (kleberson, Jeffers, Boa Morte spring to mind , but there are countless more.) fair enough Robbie Keane hasn't settled in so far, and with his vast premiership experience should be exempt from a 'settling in' period, but every player needs to adapt to a new system. Keane takes stick after pretty much every game. has anyone thought that Benitez is protecting him from all of this. he's in the squad for tonight so its not like he's just been thrown out. All the best players have been rested for cup games in the past. people need to get a grip on reality and see that not everything is as black and white as the press report it. we're not proffesional managers who get paid sack loads of money to make decisions. i'm sure if each and everyone of us did Rafa's job for a year, we'd make far more mistakes then he has!! lay off him!!!

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  • 336. At 11:04am on 28 Jan 2009, indiejb wrote:

    the problem i think is that liverpool rely more on their top players than other clubs do, for example at the moment man united have had an unsettled defence yet have managed to keep 11 clean sheets in a row mainly without services of rio and evra.

    does rafa actually know his best side when everyone is fit? i dont think he does which is one of the problems plus also i could not see many of liverpool's players getting in the man u or chelsea team except gerrard and torres but outwith that i dont think others would get a sniff

    they have a relative lack of decent width in both full back positions and also their wingers are not up to standard either

    ps i am an Aberdeen fan

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  • 337. At 11:24am on 28 Jan 2009, dandolinho wrote:

    wot an absolute load off toss from robbo, honestly, u can nit pick at yossi n a few other duds, but to say he wastes it is a joke, prob as much as fergie or wenger or even with their vast sums, chelsea (lets have alook, boulahrouz, kalou, boa morte, jeffers, forlan, veron, taibi... omg i could go on for hours). yeah rafa made a few duds, but lest b fair, most of em dont last a season, they get shipped straight out (kromkamp only last 6 month). but to say only torres is the real class he bought is something else all together... alonso, reina, agger, skrtl any1.. n again thats just a few off the top of my head. ill admit, his little notes about fergie lookin bk coulda been better timed... but if u sit down with me m8, i love rafa, the team is quite clearly on the up, improved season upon season, n wen ur competeing against 2 established prem winners (arsenal n united) not to mention the vast sums of chelsea, n now man city too, the man has done a brilliant job. Keane, he may not work, wen e does play he misses so many chances, yeah yeah that couls b a confidence thing, but i dont buy into that at all... he's been a proven goal scorere everywer, but those teams played to him, if he is as good as he is supposed to b, then he should b able to adapt to LIVERPOOLS way of playing. ill b the first to admit that i wasnt all that keane(c wot i did there) on signing keane, i didnt at the time c wer he would fit, altho i did think he would make a bigger impact on the squad than he has, im sorry but its no wonder team mates arnt lookin for him coz wen he does get it, he does nowt with it... plus we dont c him train n i bet alot of the dropping comes from seeing him train too.

    anyway just to reitterate, this has quite possibly been the worst article i have read in a long time!

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  • 338. At 11:24am on 28 Jan 2009, garfee01 wrote:

    First time writer here. What has become apparent over the many months of reading these blogs, is that they achieve exactly what they are meant to achieve. Just look at the string here. Robbo and his pals are paid to write amusing (sometimes) and provocative (most times) articles which will fire up the juices of the readers. Getting angry is pointless because it just leads people to write biased garbage themselves. True footy fans support their own team, and defend them vigorously where possible, but acknowledge that another team has good style, good players, etc... etc... Gerrard would grace most teams, as would CR, or Fabregas.... Most managers have good points and bad points, but to try and say SAF is lucky, or has had so long to build his team is as much a waste of time as saying RB is useless. He clearly is not as LFC's current position and recent trophy haul testifies. However, one team will finish first and the rest will follow in 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc.. the winner being the team that scored more points over the season, however they did it. Complaining that one team had more luck than another is ludicrous. Apologies for this going on too long, because that was the other main thing I've noted - writers can be so up themselves that they go on for longer articles than Robbo - well done those who can keep it short and to the point....

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  • 339. At 11:29am on 28 Jan 2009, WordsofWisdom wrote:

    Spot on Robbo! It's a case of 'stick a fork in him and turn him over...he's done!'

    Rafa's record in the transfer market is indefensible (rubbish). Look at the number of players he buys who only last a season!

    And the Liverpool fans on here who still talk about 'if' we win the PL this year! Completely delusional, they won't finish in the top 3.

    Liverpool are actually worse this year than last. Torres has been missing and won't get near the contribution he made last season. Babel and Lucas have gone backwards and none of the pre-season buys have made an impact.

    For a couple of months now, watching events at Anfield is a bit like watching a train crash in slow motion.

    When the crumbled wreck settles, the Liverpool fans will finally call time on Segnior Benitez. I'd give long odds he won't be there next season.

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  • 340. At 11:31am on 28 Jan 2009, Eddy Cordoza wrote:

    Re. 319 pool_guy_mike

    1) It amuses me how often Liverpool fans have used the phrase 'lazy journalism' lately when a blog (that's right, a BLOG) dares to suggest everything isn't rosy at Anfield.

    2) It also amuses me that people like you, or LFCGiant (312) assume that if someone criticises Liverpool then they MUST be United fans. Nonsense! Robbo has had loads of digs at United in the past (especially Ronaldo) but most United fans take it as a joke and don't take it too personally. Where is that famous scouse wit we hear so much about?

    3) Are you saying that all of the Liverpool fans who have agreed with Robbo on this blog must be 'cockney mates' of his? Are you seriously suggesting that all Liverpudlian Liverpool fans love him? Get real. I know LFC season-ticket holders and some of them are very disillusioned. A lot of Liverpool fans on this blog are too.

    4) Benitez's's transfer dealings aren't bad, they are TERRIBLE. Surely an indication is when people sticking up for Rafa list average players like Kuyt and Riera as successes, as well as Alonso (who Benitez wanted to sell in the summer) and Babel (who he hardly ever plays). Plus he can hardly take credit for identifying Torres as a talent!

    Contrast with his (long list) of failures (see 67). Even my LFC supporting friends agree that the following three are arguably the worst players ever to wear a Liverpool shirt.

    Voronin
    Nunez
    Lucas

    Benitez is renowned for his defensive prowess but while the likes of Skrtel and Agger do have promise, how about:

    Pellegrino
    Paletta
    Josemi
    Kromkamp etc

    He even paid £7 million (or £9 million depending on which report you read) for Dossena!!

    Can you name one Liverpool full-back under the Benitez reign who is a geniune attacking threat? In open play that is, obviously Riise could belt a free-kick.

    And lets not forget Benitez's speciality... turning proven strikers in to shadows of their former self, kicking their heels on the bench:

    Bellamy
    Morientes
    Crouch
    and of course Keane

    Of course, as you point out, all managers make bad buys, but Benitez has an astonishingly low success-rate in the transfer market. As a neutral i just cannot understand why Liverpool fans rate him so highly as a manager. Mentioning him in the same breath as Shankly is sacrilege!

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  • 341. At 11:33am on 28 Jan 2009, lil-mazz2k8 wrote:

    If only i could write blogs like this! i have been waiting about two years now for people to start agreeing with me that benitez isnt all we think! He concentrates too much on the champions league for a start and if im honest, im not interested in winning that!
    The league is what we need and with his poor substitions and his lack of transfer talent, we'll never be at the top!
    Perhaps he hasnt played football manager enough? He could really learn a thing or two!
    I think that perhaps mourinho is the man for the job! We would see a more enthusiastic liverpool squad and alot more wins under the special one.
    He has had more than one gem, torres isnt our only positive out of Benitez but i can see where you are coming from! We could go back to the Phil Thompson, short and not so sweet era when we missed out on Anelka, look at him now, im not his biggest fan but he scored goals for fun at the start of the season!
    Keane will come good! In Robbie we should trust.
    Good blog, kept me busy at college!

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  • 342. At 11:37am on 28 Jan 2009, garfee01 wrote:

    Two comments in a row !! I notice there was a comparison between the Rafa/Keane situation and the Mourinho/Shevchenko situation. Both players appear (without any certain knowledge) to have been chairmen choices or purchases, and both managers appear to resent that fact and refuse to use the player effectively. Shevva was not rubbish by any stretch of any anybody's imagination, but he was useless at Chelsea through lack of confidence. Keane seems to be going the same way........ unfair to either player

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  • 343. At 11:41am on 28 Jan 2009, whatbill wrote:

    We can argue about different aspects of Rafa's management, but the bottom line is, he was brought to deliver the title and so far has not even come close. For all their shortcomings, Houlier and Evans both came closer than he has so far.

    This season he has at least managed to lead the premiership for a significant amount of time but Liverpool have now been dragged back into the chasing pack after some pretty uninspiring performances. If the challange peters out, that will have been 5 seasons. How much longer will he be given?

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  • 344. At 11:42am on 28 Jan 2009, dandolinho wrote:

    lol @ 340

    bellamy, had his chance, made a mocery of himself n was shipped out, morientez didnt work over here, wasnt man management that failed him, it was his ability in the prem league, crouch was by far a better player wen he left the club than wen he got there, i mean, the crouch statement is nonesense completely.. we made him into an international regular for gods sake man.

    yeah he paid a fair ammount for dossena, but the lads an itallian international, n 1st choice at that.

    he may not have 'identified' torres, but he sure as hell did alot better than any other manager in convincing him to leave, if i remember rightly fergie had a few goes at getting him, n he wernt interested.

    again, point out the bad buys all u want but plz put in some comparrissons, thelikes of jeffers, veron, kalou, forlan, blanc, klebber, tiabi, bartez, bhoularouz, boa morte...

    i mean, takin morientez into account... can we look at rosiky n say the same thing? or nani?

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  • 345. At 11:44am on 28 Jan 2009, dandolinho wrote:

    oh, shev may have been a chairmans choice, but keane wasnt btw, shva was bought coz of his close links wiv abromovic... i just dont think keane has that with hicks or gillet do u??

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  • 346. At 11:50am on 28 Jan 2009, garfee01 wrote:

    not suggesting Keane has a special relationship with the dynamic duo, but I feel that he is being overlooked because he was not the manager's own choice - my fault, wasn't clear.....

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  • 347. At 11:54am on 28 Jan 2009, Eddy Cordoza wrote:

    Re. 344 dandolinho

    The point is though, Benitez identified those players as players who could take Liverpool forward and they didn't. What they did afterwards is irrelevant. They're just examples of Benitez's poor record in the transfer market.

    But as i said, every manager has bad signings. Ferguson certainly has - inevitable given his 22 years in charge at Old Trafford. The best managers though, are those that get more right than wrong. I'm not the only person who thinks that Benitez gets FAR more wrong than right. Even his 'good' signings are unspectacular (Kuyt, Riera etc), with one notable £20 million (Spanish) exception.

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  • 348. At 11:55am on 28 Jan 2009, dandolinho wrote:

    then who's choice was he, i dont think hicks and or gillett have any say really in the buying... they are american, they kno jack about football players, i dont think that they would just 'suggest' keane. he a good player, but if ur a chairman, knowing nothing about football, they only really gonna kno n b looking at players like robinho, kaka, beckham, players that are in the press, keane is only appreciated in this country generally speaking coz of his exploits at leeds n spurs, he didnt do much at inter (altho to b fair wasnt given a chance) but his is no global superstar n i just think that h&g would care, kno n b more interested in 'global' players than a hard workin player with proven prem quality, do u not think?

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  • 349. At 12:02pm on 28 Jan 2009, Paul Curtis wrote:

    Always been behind Rafa and remain that way. I appreciate that sometimes he makes mistakes, who doesn't? I would be surprised if there is a single MUFC fan who hasn't sometimes questioned Fergie, but they know that he gets it right in the long term.

    In my opinion, Rafa gets most decisions right - even if sometimes the upside of his decisions are not realised till several weeks later.

    The progress has sometimes been slow, but it has been solid. Lets not be another knee-jerk club. Lets get stability back across the board, management, team, academy etc etc.

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  • 350. At 12:02pm on 28 Jan 2009, dandolinho wrote:

    re ceiling_fan

    yeah, in fergies 1st 5 years wot did he do?

    the people calling for benitez's head coz 'wot has he done in 5 years' need to look at that for reasons as to why u keep managers longer than 5 years, wenger too, not doing all that well now is he, but does any1 doubt wot he has done for the club?

    ofc liverpool are moving forward, we sustained being top for a while, since wot, november.. cant remember liverpool holding onto that spot for a long time... fergie finished second the season b4 he won it did he not, n that was after mounting a serious challenge b4 dropping off the pace, i think we all half expected this liverpool team to do the same. its the heart break of coming close that pushes u on the following season, if we dont mount a challenge next season or finnish worse off than this season then yeah it can b seen as a backwards step, but this team has done nowt but go forward since he arrived

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  • 351. At 12:09pm on 28 Jan 2009, IberianBlue wrote:

    If we're just making stuff up (and I've seen no evidence from any LFC fan to prove it's based on anything otherwise), then I've decided that Keane was a Rafa buy, Hicks insisted on Torres, my missus is Natalie Portman and Everton have been champions of England and Europe for the past three years.

    Delusion runs amok amongst reds - why can most not admit that Rafa signed Keane for a ridiculous amount of money and he's flopped. In no small part, due to rafa's management style.

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  • 352. At 12:12pm on 28 Jan 2009, prentonparker wrote:

    Can any of you Reds defending Rafa's record with buying and selling players point me in the direction of one LFC Academy product, preferably English, that your esteemed Manager has brought through to the first team?

    Where are the next generation of Gerrard's and Carraghers?

    And I dont mean one outing as a sub in an early round of the League Cup. Liverpool's Academy in Kirkby is fantastic and if they dont have the pick of England's finest young talent I would be asking why not.

    Yet the board must consider it a total waste of money because it is producing...nothing!

    And still starry eyed kids queue up to sign for a club that simply refuses to give its own a chance.

    If you have to be Spanish or South American to get a look in at Anfield, it has to be said the situation is probably not much better at Arsenal though Wiltshire looks as though he will be the exception.

    Gerrard and Carragher won't be there forever so where are the local heroes coming through? People who have roots in the City and care.

    Call me zenophobic if you must, but Liverpool's history has been built around local hero's not transient foreigners who have " always wanted to play in the Premiership since I was liitle boy in San Paulo and my agent told me about the silly money to be made......"

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  • 353. At 12:13pm on 28 Jan 2009, csomethingood wrote:

    Everyone, Robbo is the BBC Sport comedy interval act. Dont take whats said seriously, its for a laugh.

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  • 354. At 12:14pm on 28 Jan 2009, whatbill wrote:

    Fair play, Fergie didn't exactly get off to a flyer but within 5 seasons he had won a European trophy and the FA cup. And finished 2nd in the league. Also remember UK clubs were banned from european competition until 1991 and that in his first season avoiding relegation was the main objective as he inherited a team bottom of the table.

    The other point to make is that after 5 years Fergie was improving, having won trophies in consecutive seasons. Rafa had a great start but seems to have stagnated since then....

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  • 355. At 12:14pm on 28 Jan 2009, Bangforyourbuck wrote:

    I am saying this as a guy who likes Liverpool and hates ManUre but comparing Rafa's transfer record and achievements to Fergie is irrelevant.

    People keep asking what did Fergie do in his first five years, yes point noted however it was a much different time back then, managers nowadays aren't given the time to achieve like Fergie was. All managers in the game and know what they're getting, so they have to try and breed success as soon as possible or they will be up for the chop, they can't say "well such-and-such was given 4, 5, 6 years to turn it around" because it's a different game altogether and you cannot draw comparison.

    With regards to the transfers, also people keep listing Fergie and Wenger's flops. Again point noted but Benitez has had as many or more flops in half Wenger's time and a quarter of Fergie's, and without a tenth of the successes!

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  • 356. At 12:14pm on 28 Jan 2009, IberianBlue wrote:

    Many a true thing said in jest, csomethingood.

    Great point Prentonparker, but can I call you xenophobic instead?

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  • 357. At 12:16pm on 28 Jan 2009, Gibbo7111 wrote:

    Good point about transfers, although as pointed out there has been some sucesses, Torres, Mascherano, Alonso etc, there have been alot of complete deadwood bought. However the rest of the article is not so good, think about how many players from liverpool would actually make it into say the man u team or chelsea. Maybe gerrard and torres, but its hard to see many more than that. Yet, like o'neil at villa he is doing the best with the team he has, and for that he has to be given some credit for (eventually it has to be said) being a challenger this season. This article mirrors the same mindless comments that were said 5 years ago when houllier was sacked. The fact of the matter is that no team will probably ever reach the heights of the 80s liverpool team, so rafa turning them into potential champions is still some achievement. It took mourinho and ferguson time to change things at their clubs, benitez is showing now i think that he has changed them at liverpool.

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  • 358. At 12:17pm on 28 Jan 2009, dandolinho wrote:

    well, the youth academy had an overhaul wen rafa took over, will prob take a while to see the fruits of his labour, fergie did the same wen he got into united, n u only saw the fruits of that wen beckham n co. wer blooded in, same with wenger, n u'll only c those come through around about now really, wengers academy is built on foreign youth, n tbh, most clubs, top clubs anyway do that now, ie manuch at united, ur not tellin me he's from manchester. its just the prduct of modern football that these youngsters are now brought in from far and wide, even the twins at united, they aint local lads, but they seem top quality to me, same as insua does to me too, may be argentinian, but he looks like a winner to me

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  • 359. At 12:19pm on 28 Jan 2009, Neil Anderson wrote:

    A lot of the failed signings by both SAF and Rafa have been good players before hand and were again afterwards, notably Forlan for SAF and Morientes for Rafa.

    Is it therefore not a case of poor buys but a mixture of the players inability to fit into the style of play at the club and the managers inability to manage/coach the player successfully.

    As has been said in the past all managers have bad buys, but great managers take responsibility for there wrong doings and take action to put things right. Rafa's seems to have lost the ability to admit he was wrong and instead blames other people for their failings.

    I know another person with similar qualities to Rafa. Unfortunately i married her, and she has the ability to put a smile on my face. Rafa certainly doesn't have that ability. ;)

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  • 360. At 12:20pm on 28 Jan 2009, Owen wrote:

    "316: At 09:22am on 28 Jan 2009, Magnifecento_red wrote:

    Actually on a results comparison basis going by the teams we have already played this season and the corresponding fixtures last season, we are down by 2 points."

    Not sure where you got that, I have looked at the corresponding fixtures from last season and we are up 7 points. Those games played last season that don't correspond (against the relegated teams etc) are equal in terms of points gained, so like I said in my previous post, we are up a total of 7 points on last season.

    To 329 - Danny_EFC13, Liverpool have sold many players to finance new ones too you know. Most of the flops that Benitez has bought have been sold on for a profit allowing new players to be bought.

    To 339 - WordsOfWisdom, you're funny! I'll give you some words of wisdom, you stick a fork in meat to see if the juices coming out are clear (done) as opposed to red (not done). You don't stick a fork in to turn it over as turning over does not indicate that something is done! Your comment started a trend of non-wisdom. Liverpool are doing better than last season; Torres is unlikely to make the same contribution as last season BECAUSE he has been out for so long; I could go on, but I think you've had enough.

    343: whatbill - "Houlier and Evans both came closer than he has so far". It depends how you look at it, two years ago Benitez led Liverpool to their highest points total in the PL and this season they have currently got more. During both of the previous manager's reigns Chelsea were not the same force they are now and didn't have the same spending capabilities. With Villa, Everton and Man City now become more of a force there is clearly more competition for Benitez to deal with, How do you think they did better? They were never in contention to take the league and Benitez is (almost).

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  • 361. At 12:21pm on 28 Jan 2009, crankhead wrote:

    In reference to the original points raised by Robbo in his blog no honest Liverpool fan could disagree.

    Speaking as a Liverpool fan myself, one who is looking forward to going to the JJB tonight, whilst it hurts to admit thast after 5 years we are no closer to winning the title than under Houllier, the truth of that fact appears self-evident.

    We will never win the title under Rafa. The problems on the pitch can be boiled down to two undeliable facts:-

    1. Other than a fit Torres and Gerrard we have no one in our squad who will get into double figures in the league this season goal-wise.

    As Man U proved again last night whilst they are at their best when Ronaldo is at his best they still have goal more or less throughout their team.

    2. We lack pace on the flanks. Painfully evident in the two merseyside derbies was Riera and Kuyt constantly cutting inside because they did not have the pace to skin the opposing fullback. Whereas UTD have the likes of Ronaldo and Nani to stretch play and Chelsea have Cole and Bosingwa, albeit from a deeper position, to do likewise, Liverpool's widemen patently do not.

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  • 362. At 12:22pm on 28 Jan 2009, Red_Cat_7 wrote:

    I don't think the issue with Benitez is his transfers (and yes, he must say yes to them all !!).
    Our best football this year has been when "Stevie Me" has not played.
    Dont get me wrong, Stevie is one of the best midfielders in the world, but he is not a team player. He expects the ball and takes it upon himself to do everything.
    You remember Alonso's best performances this year and Stevie was missing for most of them. And for me Alonso has been our player of the season so far.
    I am sure part of Keanes issue is he does not seem to have the relationship with Gerrard that Torres does. No coincidence.
    Not sure on the answer - Stevie is great, he just needs to play more in the team and not top of the team.

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  • 363. At 12:22pm on 28 Jan 2009, prentonparker wrote:

    356. You certainly can! If only I used spellcheck!

    It is a serious point though. The word in the City is that there is no communication whatsoever between Rafa and the Academy staff. He takes no interest in the lads coming through. Very Sad.

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  • 364. At 12:26pm on 28 Jan 2009, Neil wrote:

    163. At 4:15pm on 27 Jan 2009, matt-equals-amazing wrote:
    I cannot believe LFC fans are actually accusing the BBC of being against their 'beloved' club.

    Anyone else read ANYTHING written by Mark Lawrenson...? He must be the most bias contributor to this site! And who did he play for...hmm...

    Also, Gerrard and Torres are, if you actually allow yourself to think, the only two great players at the club. No other player in the Liverpool squad would make it into the United team, or for that matter Chelsea and even Arsenal. Especially given recent runs of form.

    Reina - accident prone, too short and completely over-shadowed by both VDS and Cech.



    Seriously, are there really football fans out there with anything between their ears who think Cech or Van Der Sar have been better this season than Pepe Reina? Or that Reina, a ma with three consecutive Golden Glove awards for the most clean sheets is accident prone? He's made one howler in his time here, the third goal in a 3-0 defeat to Everton at Goodison. Cech's howlers these past two years for club and country have been plentiful, at United fans were cursing Van Der Sar's shocking form in the first few months of this season - including a terrible mistake at Anfield.

    Anybody who thinks Mark Lawrenson is pro-Liverpool needs their head testing - he rarely has a single good word to say about the club.

    matt-equals-amazing - what an embarassment you are - Reina, Mascherano, Alonso, Carragher, Agger and Skrtel would all walk into the Arsenal side - never mind Gerrard and Torres.

    If no Liverpool players aside from those two could play for Chelsea and Arsenal, how come Liverpool are ahead of both of those sides in the league and tonight could go level on points with United?

    Honestly, it's like all realism goes out the window when the intellectually challenged get the chance to have a pop at Rafael Benitez.

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  • 365. At 12:30pm on 28 Jan 2009, dandolinho wrote:

    ill second that electrifyingNeilD

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  • 366. At 12:35pm on 28 Jan 2009, crankhead wrote:

    Oh, and let me add a no.3 to my list of problems on the pitch.

    3. The formation:-

    All the talk of 4-2-3-1 aside what Rafa favours is essentially 4-5-1. An extremely negative way of playing football particularly the way Rafa seems to prefer his widemen to took in to constrict the space given to the opposing team.

    Why buy Keane and not play 4-4-2?

    Why buy Kuyt and play him on the right-wing? no pace, no trickery, meagre crossing ability, it makes no sense whatsoever.

    Liverpool needs pace on the flanks. Babel has to play.

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  • 367. At 12:38pm on 28 Jan 2009, bigbuba85 wrote:

    i agree almost completely. rafa benitez has never learned the lessons of the premiership. for three or four years now (that i can remember) he has consistently rested key players for crucial premiership games, maybe against lower opposition but still key to your own position. i thought at the begining of the season that this had changed but over recent weeks his tactic has re-emerged. if you compare this to successful managers within the top flight, namely furguson and morinho. key players start every game!!
    there also maybe the fact that rafa doesn't consider the premier league overly important in the grand scheme of things. but personally speaking, to be a truely dominating team (real, barca, man u, ac milan and chelsea) you have to control your own domestic leagues and cups.
    in defense of the robbie keane transfer, i can see logic. no he does not warrant a £20 million tag, but he is a tremendous forward. the thing is, i envisioned a torres keane partnership. keane getting the ball and feeding torres, or having a 'dink' with torres there to collect the scraps. but since torres injury this plan seems to have been sidelined, and liverpool have there second multi million pound seat warmer.
    Once again liverpool find their entire season resting on the shoulders of one man, the legend stevey gerrard, and as brilliant, dedicated and talented he is, one star player amongst a group of 'misfires' will not win the league, it may win you a cup. but based on the long haul of a premiership and a series of fgrueling games and suddenly liverpool are in trouble.
    amazingly, i do not think liverpool need new players, they need a new manager. rafa was never cut out for the premiership. continentally he was and will be brilliant. but he is not a premiership manager, he has had far to long to learn his lessons, yet these fundamental errors still crop up. to many tactics and not enough man managment.

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  • 368. At 12:39pm on 28 Jan 2009, Neil Anderson wrote:

    364: I think you just proved your own point there because you obviously don't have anything between your ears.

    Listen to Radio 5 tonight and Lawro's commentary, He is very biased, but then again i would expect him to be given his playing history. Commentators are just like you and me. They are football fans and will support a team, and will look on there team with rosey glasses compared to others. That is not a failing but a natural reaction.

    You say Liverpool could draw level with Man Utd tonight.... that is assuming you win and don't draw yet another game and Chelsea don't win thus over taking yourselves.

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  • 369. At 12:40pm on 28 Jan 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    #364
    You're bring a bit selective. Reina had a 'mare in the Cup Final against W.Ham... Gerrard wonder-goal saved them... and Reina becomes pen shoot-out hero. Liverpool shouldn't have been there in the first place. He's good but he's not kept ten clean sheets in a row.

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  • 370. At 12:40pm on 28 Jan 2009, dfrcdave wrote:

    Ok firstly I want to say that I fully support Benitez but I do feel slightly embarrassed about how he has vented all his feelings in the public eye over the contract, Ferguson and Evertons tactics.

    But my main point here is to try and look 1st hand in to this ongoing argument about LFC in terms of depth and being a 1 or 2 man team. People saying they dont have the squad Man Utd or Chelsea have, etc. So lets look at it here shall we, here is a list of the Liverpool squad against the squad of Man Utd. I've left out members on loan or those who haven't really had a chance to show their ability. But I've left in some of the fringe members for arguments sake. These, in my opinion, are the best players available for each team right now:

    Goalkeepers

    Reina Van der Sar
    Cavalieri Foster
    Itandje Kuszczak

    Full backs

    Dossena Rafael
    Insua Evans
    Arbeloa Neville
    Aurelio Evra
    Degen F Da Silva

    Central defenders

    Carragher Ferdinand
    Agger Vidic
    Hyypia Brown
    Skrtel O'Shea

    Midfielders

    Alonso Carrick
    Mascherano Anderson
    Leiva Fletcher
    Gerrard Scholes
    Plessis Hargreaves

    Wingers/Attacking Mid

    Riera Nani
    Babel Ronaldo
    Benayoun Giggs
    Pennant Park
    Tosic

    Strikers/Forwards

    Torres Rooney
    Keane Berbatov
    Kuyt Tevez
    Ngog Welbeck
    El Zahr

    Ok, that about does it. Sorry if you feel there's errors or I've missed anyone out but I think it does it. You can also argue some players are more versatile which strengthens the squad like O'Shea being able to play midfield, Carragher- full back, Babel- Forward, etc. etc.

    I think this shows Liverpools squad is not so different to Man Utd's. Ferguson also has a lot of crap in there and both teams have a mixture of experience and youth with hopeful prospects waiting in the wings. There are areas that I feel Liverpool are stronger than Man Utd. I think the main problem for Liverpool is out wide but the full backs of Man Utd are equally uninspiring and I would say overall, Man Utd just scrape having a better squad... but not all that different to be able to honestly believe Liverpool don't have a strong squad or they rely on 1 or 2 players... yes Gerrard and Torres are hugely important to Liverpool and without them they'd be worried but they have coped in their absence. The media have just picked up on this so much and made a huge deal out of it. I think Man Utd rely on Ronaldo and Rooney just as much!

    So to summarise, I believe, and this is just my opinion, Liverpool do have a good a squad as any; they have weaknesses throughout the squad but the likes of Chelsea and Man Utd have as many; Liverpool under Benitez have as good a chance of winning the title as anyone.









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  • 371. At 12:42pm on 28 Jan 2009, bigbuba85 wrote:

    continued...
    if liverpool are to return to domestic and european dominance (i am aware they won the trophy) they need a morinho.

    bigbuba (man u fan)

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  • 372. At 12:43pm on 28 Jan 2009, dandolinho wrote:

    babel cant play coz he is shocking, omg yeah he can run, n run fast, but he's just baros on steroids, his head is down all the time, cant find a pass, even if he could pick it up n give it to a player with his hands he'd fumble it. he cant cross n all.. at least kuyt can, n riera can, but then again, why would u need player to cross if ur striker is better on the floor than in the air? well in that case again, kuyt or riera beat babel, atleast than can find a pass, babel cant.

    i though he had alot of promise last year, but he has just slacked this year, needs to get his out of the clouds n stop all this rapping bull

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  • 373. At 12:45pm on 28 Jan 2009, jkmawdsley wrote:

    I know exactly what is up with the Liverpool players - -they all fall asleep before Rafa finishes his team talks. He just drones on and on and on and on.......with his dull and boring monotone dribble. He is the Garth Crooks of management, he takes so long to get his point across. He has neither the passion of Fergie, the intelligence of Wenger, the arrogance of Mourinho or the tactical nouse of Moyes. Thats why his team (well I say team, its only really Gerrard) will always be wannabe's and pretenders to the premiership throne.

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  • 374. At 12:46pm on 28 Jan 2009, Neil Anderson wrote:

    Ok challenge for everyone as we are going on about top managers.

    Name your all-time top domestic managers and see how many people would put Rafa in their top 5.

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  • 375. At 12:46pm on 28 Jan 2009, dandolinho wrote:

    robbo, keeping 10 clean sheets in a row against meagre opponents makes u the best golie ever.

    reina has got 3 golden gloves.. end of, he made a shambles in an everton match

    he's good but hasnt kept 10 clean sheets in a row.. but still has more clean sheets in 3 years than any1 else

    shouldnt have even been there... wot gives u that impression... should borough have been there instead i take it?

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  • 376. At 12:46pm on 28 Jan 2009, MMsRedArmy wrote:

    #364 and #369

    Not to mention two goals he cost us at OT last year out of three.

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  • 377. At 12:48pm on 28 Jan 2009, OptimisticScouse wrote:

    What a suprise another BBC pundit critising Liverpool and our manager! You moan because we dont challenge for the title and when we finally are you still moan! Lets go back to 2003-2004 and when Houllier was in charge, we were in the uefa cup, had no prospects at all of winning the league!

    Now look were we are, we are established as one of the very top teams in the world, yes i said world. Not just the premier league! Could you have seen that 5-6 years ago?? No

    Rafa has done a hell of a lot for our club and whoever this sammy is you talk about, should hang his head in shame and surely must have a short memory!!!!

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  • 378. At 12:48pm on 28 Jan 2009, jopabemu wrote:

    Before Rafa was in charge Liverpool were satisfied finishing 4th. Now we're complaining if we don't win the title. From winning the champions league he is the victim of his own success. Clearly Rafa is doing something right if Gerrard is a much better player for Liverpool rather than England.
    Everyone manager makes mistakes. You name one manager who has never made a poor signing and I'll tell you your a liar. Ferguson signed massimo taibi, kleberson, diego forlan, juan veron, alan smith, mark bosnich, poborsky, jordi cruyff, laurent blanc, david bellion, andy goram. i'm not going to go on but i think you see my point. the trick is, if your a good manager is to identify quickly that you've made a mistake and to change no matter how much money you've spent on him. rafa knows he's spent £20 million on keane but that shouldn't influence him who to put in the starting line-up. the decision on who to pick should be based on their current form. If Robbo Robson took over took over Rafa and won the champions league in his first season I would eat my hat. You need a fantastic tactical brain and Rafa has this.

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  • 379. At 12:49pm on 28 Jan 2009, whatbill wrote:

    364:

    " Anybody who thinks Mark Lawrenson is pro-Liverpool needs their head testing - he rarely has a single good word to say about the club."

    He is pro Liverpool - he just happens to be a realist!

    360: Houlier topped the table in 2002 quite late on in the season and only finished 7 points off the top, better than Rafa has ever managed. Evans also came within 7 points within 1997.

    Yes, competition has gone up since then but as one of England's biggest (and most sucessful) clubs, Liverpool should be up to it. Or did you only win all those titles in the 70s/80s because there was less competition ;-)?

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  • 380. At 12:55pm on 28 Jan 2009, Neil Anderson wrote:

    1. SAF
    2. Shankly
    3. Mouriniho
    4. Wenger
    5. Kendall or Clough Snr

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  • 381. At 12:56pm on 28 Jan 2009, dandolinho wrote:

    379

    yeah they both did finnish 7 points off the league, but then rafa has gained a points total in a season better than both of those sides, infact a points total that was good enough to win the leage at something like 7 out of 10 of the previous seasons...

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  • 382. At 12:57pm on 28 Jan 2009, crankhead wrote:

    Dandolinho,

    Ur wrong. Simple as that.

    1. All great attacking teams play with width and thus pace on the flanks, something which Kuyt and Riera conspicuously lack.


    2. a)Torres actually does get his fair share of headed goals.

    b)Getting the ball in the box from out wide does not necessarily mean you need Les Ferdinand circa 1995 in there heading the ball in the box.

    The point about having real width in ur team and pace, as Aston Villa have discovered with Ashley Young and to a lesser extent Agbonlahor, is that it stretches teams, causes them more problems and would create more space for others, like Robbie Keane for example

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  • 383. At 12:58pm on 28 Jan 2009, Liverpool Andy wrote:

    bet it's not a shopping list. If his work in the transfer market is owt to go by, his missus'd never let him near Morrisons!
    ___________________________________
    I couldn't be bothered to read past there Robbo, your blogs have been going downhill for a while now but this is one of the worst yet, Rafa's made some great signings in the transfer window, Torres obvoiusly cost a lot but he was still an amazing signing along with Riera in the summer when most people thought he would be a flop which didn't turn out to be the case and Ryan Babel may not have played much this season but he certainly has potential and is only young and the players that haven't done so well Rafa has still managed to sell on at a profit.

    Go back to the Blue Bell Robbo and speak to your 'pundit' mates who obviously know more about football than Rafa.

    This will be the last time I bother to read your blog, if I was you I'd be more concerned about 'Boro's position in the league and the 'brilliant' signings Southgate has made.

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  • 384. At 12:58pm on 28 Jan 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    #375
    I don't mean Liverpool shouldn't have been in the final - just that they shouldn't have got to extra time but won it in normal time. Reina's gaffes were the reason it took so long.

    I agree that VDS's record doesn't make him the best goalie. I don't think the amount of goals a keeper concedes is the only way to judge how good a keeper is. The main reason for Man U's defensive success this season is Vidic. Just as I'd put down a lot of Reina's 'success' to Carragher and Agger/Skrtel. To give Rafa his due he's good at spotting solid CBs...

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  • 385. At 12:58pm on 28 Jan 2009, Nick wrote:

    Dandolinho...You ask waht SAF did in his first 5 seasons? He turned around a side that were flirting with relegation and won 3 trophies (FA , League and Cup Winners Cups) and came runner - up in a title race they should have done.
    In his 6th full season he won the title and the rest as they say is history.

    Benitez may yet guide Liverpool to the title this season, i for one am not righting them off, but if Uniteds players come back fit and stay fit and i cant see anyway past us.After all we've won 6 on the bounce without conceding with a makeshift defence as well making it through 2 rounds of the FA Cup and getting to the League Cup final with a team shredded by injuries.

    This is the last season Benitez has to win it in a quicker time than SAF and remember Rafa took over a side that had finished runners up under Houllier compared to the shambles SAF inherited.

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  • 386. At 1:01pm on 28 Jan 2009, Nick wrote:

    Apologies for my atrocious spelling in post 385.

    By the way those calling for Rafas head who would you get in to replace him? Who exactly is out there?

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  • 387. At 1:04pm on 28 Jan 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    #383
    You can't say it's me worst blog ever if you only read the first two paragraphs. You're like them outraged TV viewers who get offended by summat on the box without ever watching it. And for your information I AM more worried about the Boro but if I rattle on about that all the time, no one outside of Teesside would read it and I get well depressed. If you read a previous blog (I mean all of it) you'll realise that I am currently growing an itchy beard and refraining from beer in an attempt to influence me team's fortunes. I already look like the sort of bloke who lies inebriated ina gutter and yet I'm bleeding well sober all the time. Even Rafa's bumfluff looks better than mine

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  • 388. At 1:05pm on 28 Jan 2009, dandolinho wrote:

    382

    errr, villa anology is a bit poor, who they got in the middle to knock it to?

    it really isnt all about pace on the wing, ill admit id like liverpool to have it, i want ricardo quaresma, at almost half the price of keane n woulda have made more sense to me, but we DO play 1 up front, torres can head a ball, as can ronaldo, but u wouldnt rely on it game after game would u? if u do u need some 1 as a fail, some 1 to pick up the knock downs, no player, even oliver bierhoss himself couldnt get the ball on target averytime, they more often than not skim off, n thats wer a player needs to b aware to pick up on theose, if torres is up there on his own, he may well get a few touches on it but he cant then get onto flicks.

    so in that case its better to play the ball to his feet is it not, let him HOLD the ball up n bring gerrard into the play, or whoever else u can, thats why torres n gerrard have such a good partnership

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  • 389. At 1:06pm on 28 Jan 2009, WordsofWisdom wrote:

    @370: if you actually believe that the squad comparison you list shows little difference, then there's no hope for you.

    Utd's squad creams Liverpools all over the pitch.

    When you're down fighting for 4th place in a few weeks, reality may finally set-in, but even then...I doubt it!!!

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  • 390. At 1:06pm on 28 Jan 2009, Bangforyourbuck wrote:

    Top domestic managers:

    1. Shankly
    2. Ferguson
    3. Clough
    4. Paisley
    5. Revie

    Even if you were to name the best current top-flight domestic managers Benitez would, for me, come behind Fergie, Wenger and Moyes. Maybe even Redknapp.

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  • 391. At 1:10pm on 28 Jan 2009, dandolinho wrote:

    it took fergie 5 years to win the FA cup n the rest is history, yeah we wernt a team 'flirting' with relegation, n that was evident by the fact we won the cl. but i dont think houllier would have won it, obviosly rafa's tactics are n wer better than houlliers.

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  • 392. At 1:11pm on 28 Jan 2009, LFCDanny1985 wrote:

    Again another piece of magnificent journilism by the anti liverpool brigade. what people fail to forget is that liverpool are still in the FA cup, champions League and are believe it or not still in a title race. amazing really when you think that we beat Man Utd without a certain Mr Gerrard and that we have miss Torres for most of the season so far. unfortunatly we didnt take advantage of our position when we had the chance, but i dare anyone to write Liverpool out of this title race. with regards to benitez's transfers everyone is so quick to mention his flops but also remember that he has built a team that is currently challenging for three trophies. so how bad actually is he doing?

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  • 393. At 1:12pm on 28 Jan 2009, Peter Reid's rock hard tackle wrote:

    When Rafa started at Liverpool, he had two world class players at his disposal - Owen and Gerrard. He let Owen go for a song, and has only finally replaced him adequately after a number of years and the £20+ million on Torres. He was also happy to let Gerrard leave for Chelsea, and only recently seems to have realised that Gerrard is the glue that holds the team together.

    Benitez is over-rated and Liverpool will never win the Premier League with him in control.

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  • 394. At 1:14pm on 28 Jan 2009, Neil Anderson wrote:

    Robbo: post a picture of you and the beard. We could all do with a laugh. you said it would be shaved off when Boro exceed 30 pts.

    I've pencilled in the 28th February when I think it will be coming off.

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  • 395. At 1:15pm on 28 Jan 2009, expertthedodd wrote:

    lets get something straight....Rafa will not win the premier league. We have a manager who thinks he can change all of english football to suit him instead of actually adapting to how a team needs to play to win the top prize. pathetic draws at home due to a lack of invention, movement and amobition are just not good enough.

    the fact is he is the man with which the buck stops. millions spent on players simply not good enough for a title winning side, a system that can't break down teams, and lets not forget that we are always told he is a hands on manager in training - fat lot of good that is doing.

    so no, lets be realistic, say goodbye in the summer and look to someone with guile and pashion such as o'neill to win the one thing we want more than anything else....

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  • 396. At 1:16pm on 28 Jan 2009, Roberto_Mexicano wrote:

    I'm sorry. The Champions League bought him some time, but i've never been convinced since. The man clearly hasn't a clue. It's like Houllier with better players.

    Time and again he makes blatant mistakes every season. For the past few seasons it was his ridiculous rotation system that cost us the league b4 xmas, last year he made the tactical master stroke of slagging of Didier Drogba b4 the CL semi, the one sure way to get a performance from him. He also left Babbel on the bench even tho he was on fire in the last few months of the season, and has now totally detroyed his confidence!

    This year he has gone into complete meltdown. When I heard his comments about Ferguson, although true, I just thought "please, no. Stop talking now". But it has got worse since, and to complain about team's playing defensive tactics against him when he spent the entire game against Everton leaving Torres on his own against 6 opponents is ridiculous. Everyone could see he didn't need 2 holding midfielders against Stoke, but somehow he turned a winable game into a fortunate draw.

    Liverpool will not win the league with Benitez, because over a long season his tactics and team selections simply aren't up to it. I just pray a new contract for him doesn't materialise!

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  • 397. At 1:23pm on 28 Jan 2009, SamiHyypes wrote:

    The author of this blog is the BBC's version of David Brent. Nowhere else will you hear so many tired and unoriginal jokes in place of actual content. He'd obviously prefer to be thought of as a funny man than a football writer, though the chance of either is minimal.

    I don't mind criticism of Rafa or the team as long as its well founded but there are so many errors in this "article" I don't know where to start. It is just cliche after cliche.

    Firstly, "we wouldn't have a CL/FA cup without Gerrard". Entirely wrong. Alonso, Carragher and Garcia played equally major parts and the second half comeback in Istanbul was inspired by Gerrard but made possible by Rafa switching to 3 at the back and putting Hamann on to man mark Kaka.

    Secondly, "Rafa is poor in the transfer market". Another fallacy. Of Rafa's major signings (>£10m) only Keane could be described as a failure, and as a talented striker already at a sizeable club in the premier league, who saw that coming? Torres, ALonso, Agger, Skrtel, Reina, Riera, Arbeloa - all excellent signings who have at least doubled in value since we signed them. Some players were signed as temporary solutions and moved on after a year, not because they were poor signings but because they were all we could afford at the time, did a job and were then upgraded. How can anyone who doubles their money on Momo Sissoko be bad in the transfer market?

    Thirdly, you claim that Everton had no recognised strikers and in the next sentence talk about Anichebe playing on the right. Anichebe is, as it happens, a centre forward. A staggering lack of research/knowledge displayed there. And who is this Shah?

    Finally, your mate "Sammy" doesn't really exist does he? If he does he has reached the heights of plasticism usually reserved for the Basingstoke to Old Trafford matchday bus. Of the many Liverpool fans I know (and I'd wager it's more than you know), none who have even a semblance of footballing knowledge want Rafa to go. Only the most reactionary, knee-jerk response fans would even consider it.

    With all this criticism, credit should be given where due, so your point that Liverpool play to our best only when losing is remarkably astute given the preceding nonsense. It is the main reason we aren't 10 points clear at the top. But beside that your entire article is misinformed and it seems you've done your research by reading an old copy of the sun.

    Expect much better from the BBC to be honest.

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  • 398. At 1:29pm on 28 Jan 2009, cantona1968 wrote:

    Liverppol Fans - defensive by nature, cantankerous when they deem there has been an attack or an expression of opinion against their team.

    Liverppol Manager - defensive by nature, cantankerous when he deems there has been an attack or an expression of opinion against their team.

    Is there something in the air up there?

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  • 399. At 1:32pm on 28 Jan 2009, dandolinho wrote:

    fergie, uniteds greatest manager ever, 1 of the greatest managers of all time too, n i hate to admit that

    but a few years bk, a few bad players n a couple of trophy-less seasons n i remember the fans wanting him to go saying he was past it... swings n roundabouts

    397 echoes my sentiments exactly.. spot on!

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  • 400. At 1:32pm on 28 Jan 2009, cantona1968 wrote:

    also readiing this and other blogs it is now obvious that where there used to be respect between Evertoians and Liverpool fans there is now just raw hatred similar to Utd/City. As far as I can see this is all down to arrogant comments instigated by Rafa over the last 5 seasons.

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  • 401. At 1:36pm on 28 Jan 2009, dfrcdave wrote:

    #389

    Creamed all over the pitch?

    Goalkeepers are a match. Ok, Man Utd have better back up but when would that usually come into play?

    Central defenses are solid! Vidic and Ferdi have been excellent but Liverpool have 4 brilliant centre backs and you can say what you want about Hyppias age but when he has played this season he has been as good as ever.

    Centre midfield. If you think the likes of Carrick, Scholes and Anderson cream Alonso, Masch and Gerrard then you need your head testing!

    Ok, as I said, full backs aren't great but neither are Man Utds. I feel the main area where Man Utd do cream Liverpool is wide midfield, that at the moment is the main difference. Strike force is better in depth but the way Liverpool play the strike force is good enough! They just need one or two better wingers and things will be looking great.

    Creamed all over the pitch, no way! Slightly better, probably.

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  • 402. At 1:38pm on 28 Jan 2009, terraPhil001 wrote:

    I predicted half wat through last season that Benitez and Mourinho would be out of jobs and that Mourinho would eventually take over at Anfield.
    I think if we are to win the league then we do need Mourinho in charge as Benitez hasn't got a clue about League tactics. We are just a good cup side under him.
    He and his substandard signing have contrived to blow their best chance of winning the league for 19 seasons and have gifted Man Utd the title.
    We now have to win every remaining league game including the Old Trafford fixture to stand a chance.
    I say no chance!

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  • 403. At 1:42pm on 28 Jan 2009, Caludrup wrote:

    Disagree with just about every word.

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  • 404. At 1:44pm on 28 Jan 2009, bpl333 wrote:

    If Liverpool drop points tonight how much pressure will they be under....................and will they crack???????

    Seriously where do they fall short...........personally i think the spine of their team is excellent, but to play 3 centre midfielders and 1 lone striker at home, is so so negative, away from home i understand and it does make sense...

    Out wide is where they do suffer badly..............the full backs whoever they do pick are average at most, with the attcking wide players not much better.............I know people will say Reira has done well, and Kuyt scores important goals, but in all honesty , you make liverpool play out wide, you have won half of the battle...........................

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  • 405. At 1:45pm on 28 Jan 2009, kevthered83 wrote:

    I agree with all the Liverpool fans. Rafa is a fantastic manager. His signings are top notch, and his handling of pressure is a fantastic achievement. He has definatley taken them forward too, remember a few seasons ago he finished 5th in the league....this season he will actually finish 4th!!! If that isnt progress I dont know what is.

    As a man utd fan, I can honestly say, respect to Rafa, and long may he stay at the helm!!!

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  • 406. At 1:46pm on 28 Jan 2009, SamiHyypes wrote:

    404: It is not 3 CMs a la Bolton, it is two plus Gerrard in an AMF/SS/Free role. How can it be a negative system when we outscored every team in the country with it last year?

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  • 407. At 1:47pm on 28 Jan 2009, dandolinho wrote:

    blown it? have to win all our remaining games? that assumes united will win all theirs too, i dont think liverpool have blown it at all, coulda done better, but hey, we only 3 points off them, n that for a team that has been dire and defensive all season... but then, why are united only 3 points clear, surly that points to united having been dire also?

    oh, over reliant on torres n gerrard.. i seem to remember uniteds terrible start, that came in conjunction with the loss of ronaldo, ronaldo doesnt play, united are terribad, n we have won a fair few, aswell as stayin on top, even getting there tbh without torres and gerrard.

    im not gonna knock united, think any team in the world wil struggle without united, especially wen they rely on him, but the same goes for liverpool right? chelsea without drogba or lampard? arsenal without fabregas? its a shallow point to make (robbo) that liverpool cant win nowt without those 2, same can b said about united, no way would they have won the league n cl last season without ronaldo

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  • 408. At 1:50pm on 28 Jan 2009, Kopclass wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 409. At 1:52pm on 28 Jan 2009, SamiHyypes wrote:

    405: If Ferguson was restricted to the resources that Rafa has been he would have won nothing. At least two more-than-20m players every season, routinely spending 15-20m on youngsters, find me one manager who couldn't win the league with that level of financial backing.

    Not to mention that when Rafa arrived at Liverpool our wage bill was 60m per year while Utd's was more than 90m. Ours is now around 75m but Utds has increased to 105m. So in the last 5 years Utd have spent at least 50m more than Liverpool every season. The day when (not if) Rafa does win the title for us it will be a more impressive achievement than anything Ferguson has ever managed.

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  • 410. At 1:52pm on 28 Jan 2009, LegendaryDaggers wrote:

    Benitez has one very large flaw! He always goes buying players from other countries (except Keane of course!), and many from his native Spain. Torres, Alonso, Arbeloa, Garcia to name a few. This provides problems as the Premier league is completely different to the Liga BBVA or the Serie A for example.
    With regards to Keane, take Del Piero, arguably Serie A's greatest ever player, and put him in Liverpool's team. He would be utterly useless and a cucumber on legs would be more efficient, it is because styles of play are so different.
    Rafa needs some home talent to mould his team around, like Gerrard who is Pool's saving grace on countless occasions. Looking into Barry was a great move from Rafa and shows some inclination of a brain in there. Whereas I'm not saying don't buy from abroad, don't generally buy players who are very settled in one country eg Dossena (and why Kaka's move would have a waste of Man City's money!!)
    To be fair to Rafa he isn't in charge of the transfer policy (maybe for the better!) but I completely agree that he shouldn't sign a new contract without that overall control. Otherwise you'll end up like Man City (maybe without the pots of dosh!) but where the owners chase players like Kaka that the manager doesn't really need or want.
    Good blog Robbo, agree that Pool's team is basically Gerrard and Torres and by signing players like Keane for £20.3m shows Rafa has no real idea of value. I wonder how much you could sign Keane for on Football Manager.....

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  • 411. At 1:53pm on 28 Jan 2009, its_rudimentary wrote:

    How can you say he has a terrible transfer record,shocking comment. All the above have outlined his good signings so I won't repeat the sentiments too much but Alonso, Mascherano, Torres, Reina all world class. Compare this to Houllier's Milan Baros obsession, Sean Dundee £2M, £10 M Diouf, Diao £5M, Cheyrou £4M, I'd rather have an out of sorts Keane over all of them. Also look at Fergie's shocking signings years gone by Djemba-Djemba, Klebersen and 28M on Veron who flopped.

    In short I think it is wrong to knock Benitez too much too soon. At least wait till May!!

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  • 412. At 1:54pm on 28 Jan 2009, cantona1968 wrote:

    #406 'How can it be a negative system when we outscored every team in the country with it last year?'


    .......that is apart from Utd (80), Arsenal (74) and Villa (71) then heh?

    PS Liverpool (67)

    Fackts have a habit of catching up on you!

    ;)

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  • 413. At 1:54pm on 28 Jan 2009, Kate BT wrote:

    I agree with some of the points, particularly re. Robbie Keane. As a Spurs fan, Keano was my favourite player for a number of years and I wholeheartedly wish him well. I honestly want him to succeed at Liverpool, despite leaving us. I know they were his boyhood club so I can forgive him for it. He's a great player but short on confidence, and leaving him out of the team won't help at all. Give him a run and he'll prove that he's a hard worker and, above all, a great striker.

    On a wider note, I agree that Liverpool don't always go for the win. I can't stand it when managers talk about teams not letting them play.

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  • 414. At 1:55pm on 28 Jan 2009, kingeric1997 wrote:

    With respect to the notion that Benitez won the European Cup in 2005, I am no Liverpool fan, but Benitez's tactics in that final cost 3 goals in 45mins with the game lost at half time. The guts of Gerrard, Carragher, and the fans won the game for Liverpool, as they had no choice but to throw tactics in the bin second half. Liverpool were well and truly outclassed in the second final with negative tactics and a lack of ambition.

    Are there really Liverpool fans on here saying ManUtd fans travel from Basingstoke?? Is this not the pot calling the kettle?? come on? I travelled up from Waterlooville for the cup tie last year, and we saw as many Liverpool fans from Newbury onwards as we did Hawks!!!!

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  • 415. At 1:55pm on 28 Jan 2009, Wheatlio wrote:

    Rafa Benitez, the fumbling and bumbling Spanish chancer that finds himself 'Oliver Twist' like asking for more and has a sharpened knife close at hand for any man that scratches his head in bewilderment as to what he may do with it. The money this clown spends borders on delirium. Its truly terrifying. The type of chap that ruins a healthy game of monopoly by buying up every property he lands on and by the second round of the board has to start selling up. His comments border on the fantastic and has become completly immune to making a fool of himself. His recent comments regarding Evertons fairly competent and well achieved earning of a replay were a complete farce. A Goodison replay and Arteta and Fellaini available for selection makes this an incredibly interesting battle. As a football man with success in and around Europe I find it distastful that he can muster up enough stupidity to take Ferguson on, drop stupid points and attack Liverpools other great football club within the same week. Staggering.

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  • 416. At 1:59pm on 28 Jan 2009, Ruairi wrote:

    #401

    Lay off the drugs pal, they don't work.
    United's squad makes Liverpools look like a Championship side. Mascherano is a second rate midfielder, if that. As for Lucas etc al, I wnat even bother. There is no better passer of the ball in the Premiership than Carrick and you're blind if you can't see that - perhaps the reason why he has not been picked for England. If you can't see that, then you shouldn't not be commentating on the game because you don't know what you're looking at.
    It's as simple as this - if you took Gerrard and Torres out of Liverpool, Liverpool would be a mid-table side.
    The Liverpool squad are not fit to tie the bootlaces of the United squad.
    This will be proven by the end of the season in terms of the number of points between the the two sides.
    In fact, if I was a Liverpool fan, I'd be worried about holding on to a Champions League spot.
    Rafa Benitez has lost it. Well, I don't think he ever really had it to be honest. And I hope he stays there for many more years.;

    K-Stand Red Army.

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  • 417. At 2:02pm on 28 Jan 2009, Magnifecento_red wrote:

    360. At 12:20pm on 28 Jan 2009, YouLucasBadAsYouPlay wrote:

    "316: At 09:22am on 28 Jan 2009, Magnifecento_red wrote:

    Actually on a results comparison basis going by the teams we have already played this season and the corresponding fixtures last season, we are down by 2 points."

    Not sure where you got that, I have looked at the corresponding fixtures from last season and we are up 7 points. Those games played last season that don't correspond (against the relegated teams etc) are equal in terms of points gained, so like I said in my previous post, we are up a total of 7 points on last season.''

    Actually if you replace our results against the promoted teams this season with our results against the relegated teams from last season, and all the other corresponding fixtures from this season and last season, we are in fact 2 points down. Although at this point last season, we were 9 points worse off.

    Check here for more details http://www.lfcreds.com/reds/index.php?topic=8963.0

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  • 418. At 2:04pm on 28 Jan 2009, maldiniforzamilano wrote:

    NOT A GREAT BLOG

    -390-
    390 you are just blatantly anti liverpool (and no i do not support liverpool)
    to say ferguson and wenger are better current domestic managers has some logic, but to mention moyes (a decent manager but not european or international class) and that useless, tactically inept, only liked because he is a cockney redknapp is beyond a joke.

    robbo has (deliberately exaggerated to cause controversy and increase the number of liverpool fans replying to the blog)
    however, he is an idiot if he believes that benitez would spend £20 million on keane. benitez may have wanted him but would have settled for a continental (probably spanish) striker for £10 - £15 million. he would have bought an excellent partner for torres with that money. he was not a huge fan of keane before keane joined

    as for him being bad in the market, reina, mascherano, torres, agger, babel, sissoko, xabi alonso, were all decent or world class.
    didnt fergie buy djemba-djemba, kleberson, veron (who WAS class before utd), pique, rossi (waste his talent), bellion and others. he also spent alot of money (£28 million on veron, 6.5 on kleberson, 3.5 on djemba, 2 on bellion, 7 on smith and 7 on heinze - over £50 million on flops)

    however, he cannot complain against defensive teams. his liverpool were the ugliest team in the 2005 champions league and turned alot of neutrals against them after the tournament.

    he is not perfect but not as bad as robbo makes him out.

    NOT A GREAT BLOG

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  • 419. At 2:04pm on 28 Jan 2009, whatbill wrote:

    396 - Good point about Drogba - Rafa is the last manager to motivate a decent performance out of him! Maybe he should sign him!

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  • 420. At 2:07pm on 28 Jan 2009, Neil Anderson wrote:

    406: you do talk some cack. You have not outscored everyone the past year or for that matter few years.

    selected teams

    06-07 season:

    Man Utd

    Home - goals for 42; against 12
    Away - goals for 37; against 15

    Liverpool

    Home - goals for 39; against 7
    Away - goals for 18; against 20

    Spurs

    Home - goals for 34; against 22
    Away - goals for 23; against 32

    07-08 season:

    Man Utd

    Home - goals for 47; against 7
    Away - goals for 33; against 15

    Liverpool

    Home - goals for 43; against 13
    Away - goals for 24; against 15

    Spurs

    Home - goals for 46; against 34
    Away - goals for 20; against 27

    and here is a link to the current season

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/table/default.stm

    If you then say they use different systems maybe that suggests Rafa should change his system.

    Either way you point is invalid.

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  • 421. At 2:10pm on 28 Jan 2009, Malcolmthered1947 wrote:

    I agree with most of the comments regarding Raffa's poor buys. You can add to the list Dossena, Ngog, Plessis and El Zhar. Not one of them would make me cross the road to watch them playing!

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  • 422. At 2:12pm on 28 Jan 2009, whatbill wrote:

    418 - Who did spend £20m on Keane then? I can't belive Parry signed him without any discussion or agreement? Rafa and Parry fell out over Barry, not Keane. Then Rafa realised it wasn't working out and tried to blame it on Parry. But then he blames Fergie, Everton, his chairmen, the FA and plenty of other people for his failings so I suppose it is to be expected.

    Maybe Parry also picks the team? Poor Rafa, blameless again...

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  • 423. At 2:15pm on 28 Jan 2009, Bangforyourbuck wrote:

    418 - If you'd read my previous posts I've said repeatedly that I'm very pro-Liverpool. I want them to win the title and knock the rest off their perch. I'm a Leeds fan myself so would have no reason to hate Liverpool (well maybe the daylight robbery of Kewell) and my brother is a Liverpool fan so have been pretty close to all that has gone on with them.

    On purely a resources v success ratio Moyes is definitely above Benitez, he turned a struggling to survive club into repeated genuine Europe contenders. He may not be European or international class but you'll notice the question was DOMESTIC managers.

    I said MAYBE Redknapp, because of the relative success of West Ham which others have failed to meet. Not forgetting that while there he effectively produced today's England team. And he turned Pompey from desperate minnows to FA Cup winners and playing in Europe.

    They are all better domestic successes than Rafa's had in my opinion.

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  • 424. At 2:16pm on 28 Jan 2009, dandolinho wrote:

    all the points about who bought keane, i honestly think that was rafa... spurs have a history of getting every penny for their players, n good on em, ud expect ur team to do that wen selling their best players

    but on the other hand, look at nani n anderson.. THEY WER NOT FERGIE BUYS... they wer the potuguesse number 2's buys. any wonder they aint shone this season like last.. their mentor has gone

    again not a dig, just highlighting comparrisons :P

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  • 425. At 2:17pm on 28 Jan 2009, SamiHyypes wrote:

    412: We actually played in four competitions last year and scored 107 goals. And before your next incisive reply, no, that does NOT include CL qualifiers. In the same number of games as Arsenal, one fewer than Utd and two fewer than Chelsea we scored 107, compared to 101 for Arsenal in second place. Nice try, but unlike you I’ve done my research properly ;)

    414: So which of Gerrard or Carragher substituted Finnan for Hamann who proceeded to mark Kaka out the game and provide a platform for us to build on? Tactics in the bin indeed, mental. And outclassed in the second final, you clearly didn’t watch it. Both sets of fans agreed that Milan were better in 05 but lost, and Liverpool were better in 07 and lost.

    416: Mascherano is better than Hargreaves, Fletcher or any of the cloggers you call defensive midfielders. He is roundly accepted to be the best in his position in the world since Makelele got too old. You’re in a small minority if you disagree.

    There is actually a better passer of the ball than Carrick in the PL. His name is Xabi Alonso. And not only that, he can shoot and tackle too, aspects of Carrick’s game which are substandard in the extreme.

    You think we should be worried about a CL spot? We’re 2nd, have you forgotten? And we’ve been better than Chelsea, Arsenal and Villa this season so no I’m not worried.

    Utd do have a better squad than us but it’s not as clear cut as you think. We have better options in central midfield (Alonso better than Carrick, Gerrard superior to anyone you have there, Mascherano as stated above, Lucas no worse than Fletcher/Oshea), our goalkeeper is better and we have more strength in depth at CB (although your first choice options there are better than ours).

    Goalkeepers – Liverpool
    Full Backs – Utd
    CBs – Even
    CMs – Liverpool
    Wingers – Utd
    Forwards – Utd

    So there you go, you shade it, like the other guy said.

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  • 426. At 2:20pm on 28 Jan 2009, SamiHyypes wrote:

    420: Sure about that? Read 425 for clarification. Apology accepted ;)

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  • 427. At 2:22pm on 28 Jan 2009, Neil Anderson wrote:

    Why do i need to apologise what i stated are in the words of Rafa....FAX

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  • 428. At 2:24pm on 28 Jan 2009, Rafa77 wrote:

    Benitez does my head in and I'm a Liverpool fan, take a look at this season alone, Liverpool could easily be six to eight points better off 4 points dropped against Stoke, 2 against West Ham, 4 against Hull City, 2 against Fulham....these are games that if you have any aspiration of winning the league you should be taking full points from....Benitez is too negative too tactful, take zonal marking for example, twice in two games they gave the same goal away to Everton purely through players not being allowed to man mark...Cahill made the exact same movement for both goals by starting at the back post unmarked and making simple movement towards the front post..It's so frustrating because you know Liverpool can play it's just something they lack...Their best performance was against Man Utd at home and this came about because tactics went out the window due the early goal from Tevez!! Liverpool had to go for and threw caution to the wind!

    But in saying all this I can understand why Benitez has stalled on his new contract, would you take the word three men who said that they never met Urgen Klinsmann behind your back when actually they did....This whole situation at Liverpool will not be solved until Parry is gone the American owners are gone and Benitez is gone...Benitez to Real Madrid in the summer its a banker

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  • 429. At 2:29pm on 28 Jan 2009, cantona1968 wrote:

    #425 Utd scored 109 goals last season, 80 in PL, 20 in CL and 9 in FA

    109 is still more than 107 in scouseland isn't it?

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  • 430. At 2:30pm on 28 Jan 2009, fabiocameltoe wrote:

    As far as I'm aware, you can't curse, insult others or use slanderous remarks on this forum.....surely there should be a rule that you can't smoke crack and post here either! All the Liverpool fans here are in some sort of fairytale land. Benitez is a muppet. Keane is a muppet. The owners are muppets and the fans are muppets. Benitez bought Keane. benitez picks the team. Benitez takes the credit when things go well and like his spiritual mentor over at Highbury....he accepts none of the blame when things don't go well.

    Keane is a good playerfor a team chasing Uefa Cup spots. 10m tops. Who in their right mind would pay 20 for Keane??? INSERT BLINKERED POOL FANS "IT WAS PARRY" COMMENT HERE.

    He chops and changes his team every week giving nobodies run outs when decent players are available. Torres was even a victim in his first season. He really doesn't know what he's doing. If Utd hadn't gotten off to a slow start they'd be well clear by now. The game's up for Rafa. It's just the Pool fans that don't seem to get it.

    Lucky Champions League win. Lucky results this season. Lucky to still have Gerrard and lucky for everyone else that you still have Benitez. Why on earth did he challenge Ferguson. Fair enough, what he said was true but we all knew it anyway. Didn't need that oddball to point it out. There's only one reason he did it....to try to rattle Ferguson....yeah good one Rafa, you nailed that one alright.

    Get rid of Benitez, get a manager that knows how to spend and how to play a settled side week in week out. Blaming Everton for their defensive display when Moyes has a fraction of Rafa's budget, away from home and no strikers is just pathetic and shows him up as the joker he is.

    Muppets

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  • 431. At 2:31pm on 28 Jan 2009, fabiocameltoe wrote:

    Hey Rafa77, do I know you?

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  • 432. At 2:33pm on 28 Jan 2009, dfrcdave wrote:

    #416

    My word, terrible comments there.

    I've tried to be as unbiased as possible and so am not going to take your comments seriously as they are very, very biased. Don't forget Mascherano played international football before he'd even played at club level with River Plate at age 19! And that is not just any international team, that is Argentina!

    He has since gone on to captain Argentina at age 24. Not bad ey for a second rate midfielder, not bad for any world class midfielder either.

    I'm not going to go in detail on your other comments, including the one about Carrick being the best passer in the premiership as you've obviously not been watching any games this season bar when Man Utd are on the tele.

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  • 433. At 2:35pm on 28 Jan 2009, Neil Anderson wrote:

    Rafa77:

    Rafa to Real Madrid is a banker...... is that cockney rhyme and slang?

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  • 434. At 2:36pm on 28 Jan 2009, Wheatlio wrote:

    fabiocameltoe

    Well said old boy, I have no respect for a man such as Benitez that flatly refuses to take responsibility for himself. And, insists on dragging everything and anybody down into his quagmire of self pity. The kind of snake that will lock all the doors of a burning house so if he burns, everybody else will too.

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  • 435. At 2:37pm on 28 Jan 2009, fabiocameltoe wrote:

    Hey Dragoneyes106, do I know you?

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  • 436. At 2:43pm on 28 Jan 2009, fabiocameltoe wrote:

    Wheatlio....i couldn't agree more.

    If he didn't want Keane then he should've said so at the time and been a man. Morinho made it pretty clear from the start that Shev etc were not his choices and he left soon after. What was Benitez doing???? Waiting to see if Keane would do well before showing his hand??? He's a bottom of the barrell excuse dredging wretch.

    So Keane hasn't done well so he drops him more consistently and hints at transferring him. He was dropping him from the start anyway. If he was his choice then he's an even bigger idiot cos he spends 20m, never plays him and now looks to sell him!!! That's something a raving lunatic would do. I know lots of raving lunatics, all looking for work, might send their cv's to Anfield. Maybe Houllier will do the interviews.

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  • 437. At 2:45pm on 28 Jan 2009, lfckaiser wrote:

    Im sure you have all noticed that our delivery from corners leaves a lot to be desired,we get at least 10 a game and seem no closer to finding the net

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  • 438. At 2:47pm on 28 Jan 2009, fabiocameltoe wrote:

    lfckaiser....you know why that is???....cos your manager's a raving lunatic!!!!!

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  • 439. At 2:48pm on 28 Jan 2009, Neil Anderson wrote:

    fabiocameltoe:

    we probably met at the "See the truth LFC" conference last year at the Arkles pub.

    The key note speakers were SAF and Robbo Robson.

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  • 440. At 2:51pm on 28 Jan 2009, fabiocameltoe wrote:

    ha ha, I don't think LFC will ever see the truth. I love it when they buy some south american kid, hear someone in training say he's a genius and then watch as he proves to be the man after Kevin Kilbanes heart

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  • 441. At 2:51pm on 28 Jan 2009, dandolinho wrote:

    oh, all the united 'suporters' have got back from signing on have they???

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  • 442. At 2:52pm on 28 Jan 2009, SamiHyypes wrote:

    436 - "So Keane hasn't done well so he drops him more consistently and hints at transferring him. He was dropping him from the start anyway. If he was his choice then he's an even bigger idiot cos he spends 20m, never plays him and now looks to sell him!".

    Wrong on both counts. After our first 22 games in all comps this season Keane had appeared in the most - 21. Five sub appearances, 16 starts. The only other player with as many starts was Reina. Not my definition of 'never playing him'. And Rafa has repeatedly stated he won't be sold in January as we need him.

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  • 443. At 2:53pm on 28 Jan 2009, fabiocameltoe wrote:

    Is that the auto response for all Liverpool supporters that have already used up their quota of "IT WAS PARRY" & "IT WAS HICKS" excuses for the month? It's like some sort of out of office reply!

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  • 444. At 2:56pm on 28 Jan 2009, cantona1968 wrote:

    SamiHyypes....your back. I thought you gone away to check your stats?

    I hate it when contributors come on here an spout stats and then when these are debunked they just forget abouty their original contribution in the first place.

    go on, give me another interesting stat about LFC.....go on!

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  • 445. At 2:57pm on 28 Jan 2009, fabiocameltoe wrote:

    Ok supernerd....seeing as you're running duracell extra in that stat mind of yours, can you please take 5 and grab the nearest elevator to statland and come back with what minute on average Keane was substituted in all those 16 games he started??? Also, wasn't Torres injured at the start of the season???

    And what do you need him for exactly? To warm Ngog's seat on the bench for him! Get your head outta the clouds.

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  • 446. At 2:58pm on 28 Jan 2009, Andrew Garlick wrote:

    Great Blog again Robbo...

    I for one know that "Rafa wanted Barry" and "Parry wanted Keane" who won....Nobody.

    Rafa is not going to play the guy parry wanted so he will sit in reserves...shame really I like Keane..

    Liverpool need to get their house in order, I aint a United Fan, Pool Fan, Chelsea or Arsenal...so I am not having a go...but I liked it when you played attractive football .

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  • 447. At 3:00pm on 28 Jan 2009, fabiocameltoe wrote:

    That's along time ago now. Lovely jubely

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  • 448. At 3:01pm on 28 Jan 2009, Crumbs wrote:

    The facts are that Liverpool are experiencing a season in which they have attributed their highest points returns for games played, and are second behind Manchester United in the Premier League, arguably the best team in the world. Really where is there a platform to criticise? If Liverpool had been more critical in their killing off of games, and have a better depth to their squad like Man Utd, Liverpool would be sitting atop the league and everyone would be heradling a truly remarkable season.
    Alec Ferguson is possibly the greatest club manager in the world and has so much experience in and around the Premier League. The fact Mr Benitez is fairly "new" in comparison with his peers only goes to show that his successes in Europe are in built to his philosophy of football, whereas the understanding of the Premier League is something that needs to be learnd.
    All the criticism coming Liverpools way - referring to their league form and position - is remarkable. They're experiencing their best points tally in the premier league and not losing many games in all competitions. Rafa says one thing here and there and apparantly they're an awful club, undeserving of their place.
    Any self respecting football fan will recognise liverpool fc to be a great footballing team, along with man utd, and that this season they have focused on making their prestiguous history into something a bit more present.
    I think the main reason liverpool come under so much abuse is because the man utd fanbase are wary of the threat posed to them by their rivals. if a team is deserving of criticism it should be chelsea or arsenal, as they have both been extremely disappointing this season whilst both having the professionalism of a sunday-league team. why does that always get overlooked?
    i think whenever there is half an issue to be raised, liverpool will always be the scapegoat. not bad to still be challenging for the title after constant abuse being thrown at the players, team and manager, is it?
    the league has another 16 matchdays left and football, as we know, is ever so temperamental. if anything we should be thanking liverpool for providing a different element to the title race this year, rather than it always being chelsea and arsenal competing with man utd, the ther team in red are battlingaway at the summit.
    i do fail to understand the levels of hatred shown between rival fans - we may as well all go back to the 70's where there were mass riots resulting in people getting crushed or rival factions beating the crap out of each other, often ending with stabbings and animal violence. The internet allows those passive-aggressive people to release all their anger out into a little insignificant forum, where other freaks can feed off it and become even more sour, diluting their own reality with some rival fan's garbage.
    Passion, belief and faith should be the mechanics of football, not violence, hatred and bitterness. No team of professionals - whatever the profession - succeed with virtues as poisoned as that, and I think it's disgustingly ignorant of certain fans to believe that is the way to behave.

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  • 449. At 3:02pm on 28 Jan 2009, Neil Anderson wrote:

    Dandolinho: If you read the contributions to the blog you will see that it isn't just Man Utd fans that have had a go at Rafa.

    It has been anyone from Man Utd, Everton (the usual two clubs), but also Arsenal Chelsea, Spurs and Boro (apologies to clubs not included). Now you know the fit has hit the shan when Boro fans are questioning a manager of Liverpool.

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  • 450. At 3:03pm on 28 Jan 2009, Doneem wrote:

    I think a bit of both.

    I feel he has found the Premiership extremely difficult where as Europe he seems quite at home. I do feel he can be tacitly naive against the "lower" so to speak opposition and can't handle teams that have 10 men behind the ball for 90 mins hitting us on the break. Poor results against, Fulham, West Ham, Stoke x2 and Hull is potently 15 points but we have only got 5 from those games.

    Then teams that love to attack - Man U, Man C, Chelsea and Arsenal - we managed 10 points. I feel he struggles when teams defend.

    I do believe he has brought wisely and there are many players in some of the list that the so called fan described are still very Young, Babbel is one name I couldn't believe that isn't rated coz I am sure in 2 years he will be as hot property as Kaka.

    Benitez rotates, players have to get used to it and when the season is long and you haven't got the depth in the squad like say Man U there will come a time in the season were the performance drops and results suffer.

    I think he needs to be braver, when we play the defending teams we have to play slick attacking football (Like Arsenal) and tire out the opposition, Man U also play like this that’s why they are able to score so many goals in the 90th Min….. We may hate Man U but you have to admire there work rate.

    Overall… I think he is a good manager but needs the support of the board around him, it must be very difficult when the new owners promised loads of money but in truth have put Liverpool in a very compromising situation where it’s a real possibility that a similar thing that happened to Leeds could happen to Liverpool if we don't find investment soon especially in the current economic climate where a Billionaire business man wont come in every month.

    If Liverpool fail to win anything this year the blame must be put mostly on the board… I feel that the media and the average fan hasn't got a clue on what's going on behind the scenes.

    There is however another argument…….. How many corporate business would allow a manager of a section to spend £30 Million without getting authorisation from the Chef Executive and even thought the manager know best…. Football has changed it now a multi, multi Billion pound business and out to make a profit on the back of the loyal fan.

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  • 451. At 3:07pm on 28 Jan 2009, dandolinho wrote:

    anyway, enough, problem liverpool have in the strike force is that torres is THE lone striker, n is good at it, always has been.

    the problem being is that u need a world class forward to replace a world class forward, some may consider keane that, i for 1 dont, but anyway, if ur looking at a star striker, thats all well n good, even if u have vast sums at ur disposal, but are world class players gonna come to sit as a sub? no ofc they aint, if liverpool could stump up the cash for lets say david villa, he just aint gonna go, so ur only left with sub standard players to choose from, and or unproven/youth.

    look at keane tho, he is unhappy because he aint playing, but no 1 can deny torres' starting place, same goes for united really, tevez is looking unhappy coz he aint playing, but then berba is in form n rooney (wen not injured) are his first choices.

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  • 452. At 3:14pm on 28 Jan 2009, fabiocameltoe wrote:

    Animal violence???!!!! I don't know about you buddy...but there's a field of sheep and cattle not far from here and I'm off to give them hell!!!!

    What games should you have been more ruthless in finishing off??? It's a telling truth that your points tally would be considerably less if teams like Stoke and Boro would have been more clinical in finishing you off!!!! What world are you living in?

    Don't just come on a forum saying things like "if we'd finished teams off" without having at least the consideration to give examples!!!

    So Arsenal and Chelsea are a shambles....wow, cos that's contradicting everything you're saying about your "great" season as they are right behind you....WITH VILLA TOO!!!!

    Utd and Chelsea have mis-fired the first half of the season in a manner not familiar to their recent history. Utd have got their act together and will power on. Don't know if Chelsea will or won't put Liverpool can't. they're swimming against the tide now batman! They are a similar standard to Arsenal, although through opposite means.

    What great footballing club??? They don't play good football. They haven't played good football since Houllier joined all those years ago. Arsenal used to be hated for their route one boring football. Now they are reknowned for playing great passing football. Roles are reversing. History changes. Pool haven't won the league since 90.....only 3 years after Everton's last win.

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  • 453. At 3:18pm on 28 Jan 2009, fabiocameltoe wrote:

    Babbel + 2 years = Kaka.....sweet jesus!!!!!

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  • 454. At 3:18pm on 28 Jan 2009, Crumbs wrote:

    430 fabiocameltoe

    Lucky Champions League win. Lucky results this season.

    -------

    you dont win the champions league by luck and then get to the final again two years later. im pretty sure of that. lucky results this season? what games have you been watching? the teams inability to beat teams like stoke - on no less than two occasions - fulham, hull and west ham clearly shows everything isn't going their way. are you also forgetting the wins against both man utd and chelsea? the level of bias is alarming.
    anyone who knows anything about english football clearly understands liverpool to be more of a cup team than league outfit, and to be extremely effecient in europe. they are slowly becomming more effective in the premier league and trying to catch up with man utd. thats how things are at the moment and im pretty sure luck has played a small part, but not enough for it to be acredited to their form in the league this season and nor their recent experiences in the champions league the last few seasons.
    what a bizarre comment to make.
    plus, no-one believes liverpool will win the league this year as everyone is gunning for man utd again. may is the end of the season not january.

    also, to the poster who claimed the top 6 by merit include hull and arsenal, i fail to understand why this is the case.

    man utd, liverpool, everton, aston villa have all been decent performers this year while arsenal have really struggled and not been deserving of much credit at all. also, chelsea under scolari are not playing their usual football and hull after a decent start are finding it hard of late to get any points. wigan have had a great season so far and west ham are beginning to play some good stuff too. i think this season has been a real treat to experience, as a lot of factors of the norm have been subject to change.

    a football club is a business, and anyone who thinks the manager has 100% control over proceedings is quite simply a fool. im sure the majority of the clubs owners and members of the board are more concerned about financial matters than you'd imagine, after all it is their money being spent and invested.

    all in all this article was a decent one as it has sparked possibly the most interest and debate ive ever seen on 606, from both ridiculously naive and blinded liverpool fans and overly confident and elitist man utd fans and of course everyone else inbetween the two. whichever side of the fence you find yourself on, on thing is for certain: the premier league is becoming more of just that, a league, not just 4 clubs battling it out year after year, along with not only 3 or 4 teams in a relegation battle but at least 7 or 8. competition levels are high this season and its really been a pleasure to experience such footballing mentality and displays of talent. hopefully it will continue into next season!

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  • 455. At 3:22pm on 28 Jan 2009, dandolinho wrote:

    fabio, n ur doing so well that we're right behind ya

    arsenal wer, but aint doin jack now are they, think a huge majority of arsenal fans would love to b winning titles again, regardless of the football

    they way its played means nowt to me tbh, its the results n the trophy haul that comes with it, its all well n good lookin pretty but if u dont win naff all wots it actually good for?

    times do change, n wot comes around goes around, same as united not winning the title for 20 odd years n then they become dominant, ur talkin like this is gonna last forever, liverpools major problem was replacing great managers with rubbish ones (souness being the main culprit) do u think united can replace fergie? who u gonna look at really to replace him

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  • 456. At 3:24pm on 28 Jan 2009, Sryil_the_Sponge wrote:

    Listen here ....im so sick and tired of Liverpool fans !!
    When are you going to wake up and smell the coffee that you are now a mediocre team with a mediocre manager with medicore palyers (apart from torres,gerrard, alonso and mascherano) so stop relying on the your past greatness and settle for the best you can hope to achieve which is 4th place at best...
    Yeah alright you won the champions league a few years back but you should never have got that far after Luis Garcias ''goal that never was'' so stop dribbling on.
    Rafa makes shocking tactical decisons week in week out .... and as I well know all you Liverpool fans want is the Premier League and if you plan to win this anytime soon I suggest you cut your losses with Benitez as his tactics dont suit the PL and the majority of his purchases are nothing but average

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  • 457. At 3:25pm on 28 Jan 2009, bpl333 wrote:

    i think you scousers should stop whinging about who Rafa, and who Parry wanted..................once u had got Keane, you all popped up staying the usual ''its our season''. You could have signed Keane, Barry and a few otthers and it would have made no difference as your still likely to finish the season empty handed...........

    Every season your are in the mix until around January but this year it is Feb..........

    how your season could be game over this time next week..........

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  • 458. At 3:29pm on 28 Jan 2009, fabiocameltoe wrote:

    You've just listed 5 games!!!! Five games you ham and cheese sandwich!!!!! And that doesn't include Boro!!!! And you ask where's the luck????? MODERATOR.....RANDOM DRUGS TEST ON AISLE 5

    Now that you decided to post that big rant, can you please tell me where I said Liverpool were lucky in the last few CL seasons???? You say above that it was a bizarre comment for me to make so can you please point me in the direction of the comment you say I made because I'm pretty sure my words were "lucky CL win" and unless you, in all your wisdom, have been blessed with the gift of rewritting history, I don't think you've won the CL for the last few seasons. Now I could be wrong, I could be....I mean, maybe I just dreamt about the UTD Vs Chelsea final last year and of the others but you never know.

    If you're going to comment on others comments, please have the cop on to presume that they may just by some miracle actually remember what they said! And before you say something completely moronic....yes it was a lucky CL win. Deserved to get to the final the 2nd time.

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  • 459. At 3:30pm on 28 Jan 2009, fabiocameltoe wrote:

    that last comment is to kihiro 87...spiritual leader of the tribe of imbiciles

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  • 460. At 3:33pm on 28 Jan 2009, cantona1968 wrote:

    "We were talking about the number, and the big names that have had this number, so it will be inspirational for him to have it too," said the Spaniard.

    "We were looking for a player with game intelligence and good movement who could play alongside Torres.

    "He can play with Torres up front and also on the right. He is a player who can give to us a lot of goals - normally he gets about 15 each year.

    "We were looking for the workrate he can give to us, the game intelligence and also the goals."

    WHO SAID THAT?....

    Reds boss Rafael Benitez says.......

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/l/liverpool/7530485.stm

    Can the blinkered Rafa followers now please desist with the line that keane was not Rafa's choice? Please for the sake of sanity!!!!!

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  • 461. At 3:33pm on 28 Jan 2009, dandolinho wrote:

    im sick of united fans, they crawl out of the wood work wen they hit top, they dont post jack wen they are lagging behind, they didnt show their faces wen they had 1 of the worst starts to a season, wen ronaldo, aguably the man who actually makes united tick was gonna leave wer all like, we dont care they can have him we dont need him.

    swings n roundabouts boys, can say wot u like about us but we can all sprout the same bk, i can honestly say i havent read a post from an arsenal fan in a long time, coz they aint doing well.. really

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  • 462. At 3:34pm on 28 Jan 2009, Sryil_the_Sponge wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 463. At 3:35pm on 28 Jan 2009, fabiocameltoe wrote:

    dandolinho....I don't support utd....I hope they replace Ferguson with Dale Winton

    I wouldn't be too hard on Arsenal, it is only a year since they were right up there with a relatively new squad. This year has been very stuttering but I think Wenger, despite being the biggest whinge in footballing history, is also a genius. I think he'll get it right again. To see them play football as they do and win things after a couple of years is worth the wait.

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  • 464. At 3:36pm on 28 Jan 2009, Crumbs wrote:

    2005 win and 2007 runners up. thats the last few years if im not mistaken.
    i'm a big fan of all the exclamation marks coming my way too, as my response was clearly unbias and just observational, providing relative facts and the progressional status of liverpool as a club.
    im not a liverpool supporter, nor am i man utd supporter but i have respect for both clubs. im pretty sure that my repsonse wasnt a rant either, but just an in depth retaliation to your incredibly bias stance.
    as english clubs go i'm impressed with wigan and how they approach each game, so i dont see how i could be accused of being bias in that respect.
    also, how did i skip your points and ignore what you said? you said lucky cl win and lucky recent results. i merely stated why i thought you were being a bit short-sighted and rather bias.
    obviously you in all your maturity and "neutral" stance were 100% correct with the facts about liverpool as a club and their performance in europe over the last few years along with the domestic league competition this season.
    i do apologise, i feel like such a fool to even have challenged such a fair, non-bias set of opinions.

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  • 465. At 3:37pm on 28 Jan 2009, fabiocameltoe wrote:

    Liverpool remind me of Frank Bruno

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  • 466. At 3:39pm on 28 Jan 2009, Sryil_the_Sponge wrote:

    ha ha frank bruno .....how ?

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  • 467. At 3:42pm on 28 Jan 2009, Liverpool Andy wrote:

    Robbo, replying to your reply to my comment about me saying that this is the worst blog yet, your first 2 sentances quite clear showed what you were going to waffle on about and a statement which i consider to be completely false although everyone does have an opinion and I admit Rafa has made some bad signings but I think the good ones outway the bads and any bad signing he has made has quickly been shipped out usually at a profit.

    I notice you also said Reina hasn't kept 10 clean sheets in a row, when infact he has but not all of those 10 games were in the Premiership (some were league cup & FA Cup) this was in the 2005-06 season.

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  • 468. At 3:43pm on 28 Jan 2009, dandolinho wrote:

    fabio, my point being that i would take boring football n titles n cups pretty much season upon season rather than pretty football n hope we win a few alon the way! they may well have 'been right up there' but finnished 3rd.. again, pointless lookin good if u get nowt, no 1 will remember that arsenal team for pretty football, but as failures, u cant in 1 breath have a go at liverpool for dropping away (may not have worded it that way) n then give arsenal credit for going top n failing. kinda contradictory is it not. again, saying they will come good does kind of imply that, should the table look like this in may then liverpool, with the same manager like arsenal, will 'come good'

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  • 469. At 3:44pm on 28 Jan 2009, bpl333 wrote:

    461........what world are you living in.........you wouldnt want Ronaldo, you would love him...........just like i would like to see Gerrard sent down!!!!!!!

    United fans arnt like you scousers talking about winning the league every summer, and then making excuses like ''we are concentrating on the champions league'' more like you had no choice as you were out of the title race by Jan....

    plus you mentioned arsenal fans...........why are you scousers on here talking you havent done anything for 19 years!!!!!

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  • 470. At 3:44pm on 28 Jan 2009, fabiocameltoe wrote:

    Will you please go back and read me original post you doughnut.

    I said lucky CL win!!!!! LUCKY CL WIN!!!!

    I never mentioned 2007 until you did and all I said was it was deserved so please quit posting conversations you're having with a fictional person.

    Liverpool have had quite a few lucky results this season. Most teams at the top do too but you don't here them saying "oh bloody hell mom, if we hadn't have had that ref give that free against us in the 54th minute of that game on Nov 22nd at 12 degrees celcius then we would've held out for the win and as a result still be top of the table"

    Lverpool seek excuses. Get on with it.

    By the way, whoever the statnerd guy's forum name was....that quote was based on a hypothetical situation, so I'm saving you some valuable stat-seeking time here.....hope you appreciate it.

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  • 471. At 3:50pm on 28 Jan 2009, fabiocameltoe wrote:

    I agree with the pretty football thing if it's never working but Wenger's had to rebuild completely really. If he doesn't get it together next season then yeah maybe it's time to change things up but that team should never have come as close as it did last season given the players age ages.

    Liverpool are different. They're 20 years without a title and this is their closest yet and everybody still laughs at the thought. They've tried everything and nothing works.

    Arsenal have brought a lot to the Prem and bumped the standards up immeasurably. I think Wenger deserves a bit of time to recapture what they had a few years ago. Liverpool are just in La La Land though.

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  • 472. At 3:50pm on 28 Jan 2009, fabiocameltoe wrote:

    Frank Bruno challenged for titles too but was still a laughing stock

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  • 473. At 3:58pm on 28 Jan 2009, attaturkstadium05 wrote:

    I agree not all of Rafa's signings have worked out, some have been catastrophic (Keane, Pennant), but let's not forget on top of Torres he also brought in Alonso, Agger, Skrtel, and Riera, all of whom are playing very well.

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  • 474. At 4:03pm on 28 Jan 2009, dandolinho wrote:

    no, rafa has had to rebuild his team too to b fair m8, who still exists in the current team n wot houllier left... 3 players. n no matter how blinkered u are, the team is clearly a better team that wot he inherited. i liked the way liverpool played football under houllier, at first at least anyway, but i can comprehend the fact that rafa has improved this team.. probably as much as fergie did in his 1st 5 seasons, we may not have been mid table in 2004/05 but we trully wer a million miles off united n arsenal n chelsea, wot something like 30 odd points, i think fergie probably finnished that amount off top in his 1st season. as well as united 'flirted' with relegation wen he took over, fergie was 'flirting' with the sack in his 5th season b4 a lucky FA cup run, any team who wns a cup gets luck, so im not digging fergies start, quite the opposite.

    we cant tell the future (ofc we cant :P) n no united fan, even the most hardened or blinkered would have seen at the time of that FA cup win that united n fergie would lead on to total dominance... n the same can b sed of benitez, it could all go wrong, but i just dont wanna c liverpool go like newcastle or spurs n replace manager upon manager upon manager season after season. spurs are a great example... few bad results, for a team that pushed arsenal the seasons b4 for the coverted cl place, n the fans get weak knees, the board sack jol, n spurs could still now go down.. there is no doubt in my mind that jol was the man for the job there, n his exploits in the german league are proving that point... we drop from 1st to 2nd n then all of a sudden the knives are out on rafa?

    another point oo is, if he goes, i kno mancs dont care but who, realistically are liverpool going to go for, o'neil aint gonna move after the work he has done, i dont c jose, as contriversial as he is stepping up to the plate.. who else is there to replace him with?

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  • 475. At 4:04pm on 28 Jan 2009, whatbill wrote:

    What does 2007 runners up mean? Its not a trophy, you don't get a prize for 2nd place. Arsenal fans don't boast about their 2nd place in 2006 or Chelsea in 2008.

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  • 476. At 4:09pm on 28 Jan 2009, fabiocameltoe wrote:

    Nah, Benitez would be long gone if he hadn't gotten lucky in Istanbul. He's been given financial backing and huge fan support but he still keeps getting it wrong. I remeber Pool fans with Houllier, thinking he was the next best thing and then it went pear shaped. Same here. Nobody cares about the runners up as you said earlier and that all Liverpool look capable of. And I didn't mind Liverpool winning under Houllier. He was a nice guy and had some good players playing some decent football but Rafa is a moany, contradicting ,muppet.

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  • 477. At 4:17pm on 28 Jan 2009, dandolinho wrote:

    well, saying that, i dont think without rafa we would have gotten to another final of the cl, granted we didnt win, but the money we garnered from that run was wot eventually paid for torres really. i mean, come the end of the season, u can say all u like about liverpool not being good enough to win the league, but say they do, by some miraculous reason do win it, then they clearly are good enough, n if thats down to united n arsenal n chelsea not being good enough, then well, they wernt good enough to win the league.. small anology... united beat bolton with a 'lucky' 1-0 win, the same bolton that liverpool crushed, there is no denying that united deserved to win that game, but it took luck to win, weras liverpool didnt, they played some superb football... it all means nowt till may.. then 1 of us will have to eat humble pie (n ill b fair n plump that that is me lol)

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  • 478. At 4:22pm on 28 Jan 2009, fabiocameltoe wrote:

    I'm an Everton supporter I don't know what humble pie tastes like. I just hang around alleyways searching for less than 2 day old bread rolls.

    Anyone that wins the league deserves it. Only time in the last 20 years that I can think of a team that blew it was Newcastle. Maybe Arsenal a few years ago too.

    I think Liverpool are lucky in that the others around them are having hit and miss season although utd have gotten it together now. A few lucky results and you're in 2nd but I honestly can't see Chelsea not taking it from you. I don't think pool will be in the hunt in March. Really don't.

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  • 479. At 4:29pm on 28 Jan 2009, dandolinho wrote:

    well maybe, but, a win at old traford n its all bk on again.. its not like we have never won there b4 is it, i c a draw tbh, n liverpool are much better away this season than at home.

    n if ur an everton supporter u should kno wot humble pie tastes like, u been eating it since the 80's (but dont take that too hard, only messin, i been eating it since united became dominant :P)

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  • 480. At 4:36pm on 28 Jan 2009, SA-Red wrote:

    It will be priceless if Villa finish above Liverpool this season. Absolutely priceless.

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  • 481. At 4:44pm on 28 Jan 2009, Sryil_the_Sponge wrote:

    I truely believe that MON's Aston Villa will finish above Liverpool this season without a question of a doubt ...... arsenal liverpool and possibly everton to battle it out for that elusive 4th place

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  • 482. At 4:47pm on 28 Jan 2009, skyscraper wrote:

    #480

    i would absoultely LOVE that, almost as much as Robbo loves parmo's. he flipping loves them

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  • 483. At 4:48pm on 28 Jan 2009, cantona1968 wrote:

    1st Utd
    2nd Chelski
    3rd Villa
    4th Arsenal
    5th Liverpool
    6th Everton

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  • 484. At 4:58pm on 28 Jan 2009, nogginthenogforever wrote:

    'I do believe he has brought wisely and there are many players in some of the list that the so called fan described are still very Young, Babbel is one name I couldn't believe that isn't rated coz I am sure in 2 years he will be as hot property as Kaka.'



    Whoever wrote that , book yourself into The Priory, its gone way beyond recreational drug use, and into full fleged addiction of you think babel will be anything like kaka in two years.

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  • 485. At 5:10pm on 28 Jan 2009, kingeric1997 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 486. At 5:11pm on 28 Jan 2009, Scar_Magrar wrote:

    I'd love Liverpool to finish here

    i'd love liverpool to lose

    i'd love liverpool to finish below Villa

    Rafa's no idea what he's doing ( see european cup )

    It seems to me we have a lot of very bitter fans from various clubs who just want Liverpool to lose no matter what.

    We are second in the league with a team ( by all peoples accounts here ) that are no good, so it can only be put down to jealousy

    Man U should concentrate on the slippery one leaving, chelsea on Terry's ever increasing back troubles, city on being relegated with spurs


    18 and 5 and 47 trophies in my life time, lifes bad as a liverpool fan, it really is......

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  • 487. At 5:13pm on 28 Jan 2009, kingeric1997 wrote:

    is that 18 years without a title or 18 titles??

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  • 488. At 5:18pm on 28 Jan 2009, kingeric1997 wrote:

    so proud of your 5 european titles, but the rest of us know at what cost - something your club has only ever made excuses for. I'm not a hatred sort of person, and was moved when I saw the memorial at Anfield. However, I did wonder where the other memorial was for the other tragedy?

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  • 489. At 5:36pm on 28 Jan 2009, cantona1968 wrote:

    #486 Please don't tell me in your 47 trophies you are counting Lower league, Charity Shields, Supers Cups or any other one off matches?

    18 League Titles....yep acceptable

    5 EC/CL......yep acceptable

    3 UEFA Cups....yep acceptable

    7 FA Cups....yep acceptable

    7 League Cups.... yep acceptable

    If its any consolation you are still 6 major trophies ahead of Utd although me thinks that might be just 3 by the end of the season!



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  • 490. At 5:37pm on 28 Jan 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    To be fair to Liverpool fans, they have every right to talk about winning the title this season given they were top of the table for a fair while. No point in all this 'let's not mention the c-word (champions)' nonsense if you're out in front.

    Someone about 400 contributions ago complained that I'd set up a forum for whingeing scousers. Sadly, it looks more like I've set up a forum for snide United fans too.

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  • 491. At 5:39pm on 28 Jan 2009, cantona1968 wrote:

    Also Robbo, is there any chance you can get the Beebs programmers to list the latest comments at the top of the page instead of us having to scroll down to the bottom for updates?

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  • 492. At 5:43pm on 28 Jan 2009, cantona1968 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 493. At 5:53pm on 28 Jan 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    #492
    I know it's only banter... but it does all too often come to a 'we've won more than you' sort of argument. Liverpool fans trawl back through their history and United fans conveniently forget the barren years too. And of course I'll slag off Fergie if he deserves it - he's not giving anyone much chance at the mo which is disappointing to say the least.

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  • 494. At 5:53pm on 28 Jan 2009, kingeric1997 wrote:

    490 Robbo, talking about it is fine, but Hansen said after Chelsea got beat at OT that it was a 2 horse race, that Chelsea were out of it. Gerrard is on talking about they have a great chance of winning the league. Roy Keane wouldn't have been on talking like that in January, and for that matter nor would Daglish in his time, he would know that there is a lot more football to play before you start talking about titles, you talk about winning your next game.

    1 of 5 teams could still win the title, we are all expecting Villa to flounder, but they might just carry on picking up results, especially when the CL resumes.

    If Liverpool lose Torres or Gerrard, they could be battling out for 4th!

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  • 495. At 6:12pm on 28 Jan 2009, cantona1968 wrote:

    erm not sure why my post was removed but.........I def don't forget the barren years at Utd. went through school in the 70s and 80s with only the odd cup to celebrate. Never would have thought Utd would have got any where near LFC league total in my lifetime.

    I think the thing I find amusing is this crazy loyalty they have for Rafa. Forget about the rant againats Fergie cause obv I can be accused of being biased on that but Rafas rant against Hicks/Gillette last year with the whole I am just here to concentrate on training and coaching matters, it was just childish. And whatever you think of Hicks/Gillette they own LFC and you do not engage in a pathetic arguement with your bosses in such a way. Am totally baffled why LFC fans think Rafas stance on not sigining a new contract until he has total control of transfers. remember this is how most clubs were run in the 70s and 80s with managers controlling signings in such way and we all know there were so many instances of bungs etc.

    No modern day manager in PL has total control over transfer dealings. Ferigie may have said he wanted Berbatov and him and Gill agreed what would be a reasonable price but it was Gill and his advisors that did the deal and I'm pretty sure if Spurs had wanted £50 mill the deal would not have been done. LFC negotiated a great price for Torres, do you think if it had been left in the hands of Rafa they would have got such a good deal?

    I just know LFC will not win the PL while Rafa in charge and while as a Utd fan I probably should be happy with that.

    Big thing on the horizon for Utd is the succesion whenever that comes, not only who takes over but how they handle the fergie legend which considering we didn't handle the Busby transfer like LFC handled Shanks/Paisley/Fagan/Dalglish and kept the success going.

    But anyway I'm always happy to talk sensibly about football or stupidly if I think thats the level of any audience.

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  • 496. At 6:37pm on 28 Jan 2009, Crumbs wrote:

    Let's face it. Over the last few years, and much before it - since the premier league was initiated - Liverpool have been a team with a prestigious history, whilst contributing little in terms of major success domestically. On the continent they have become a force, and any self-respecting football fan will realise that. Rafa only has a negative influence on his team when he becomes petty and shouts out arguments he can never win, or convince anyone that he is right. It's cringeworthy at the best of times and utter petulance the rest of the time.
    If Liverpool dont win the league this season, which seems as though it will happen as man utd are coming into their own, i cant help but think if rafa had stopped blaming other people and took a bit more responsibility and focus into every game then maybe it would we'd be seeing a different team being paraded as english champions.
    safe to say, when rafa is good, he's damn good, but when he's bad he's possibly the worst influence you could wish for.
    the principle behind rafa waiting for new contract in regards to total control was a decent if not naive gesture, as many people have quite rightly said, the owners of the club will always have the last say, no matter what you are led to believe. football is a business, and mutual consent is the only way a deal is ever done, if not majority rule.
    mr ferguson is a wind up merchant and a world class manager. benitez domestically is unproven and lets himself get wound up too easily. it could prove costly, but at least liverpool have become more of a force this season.

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  • 497. At 7:45pm on 28 Jan 2009, skyscraper wrote:

    robbo do you like parmo

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  • 498. At 9:53pm on 28 Jan 2009, jdkoke273 wrote:

    Hehe, Robbo time for the 'your just an anti-Liverpool......' idiots to eat their words. Torres off for Riera and then Gerrard off for Keane! Another draw for Prof Benitez and looking more clueless as the season goes on.

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  • 499. At 9:58pm on 28 Jan 2009, jdkoke273 wrote:

    Oh how quickly they change their tune....


    Don't normally get involved with all the rubbish on here but enough is enough.....Rafa's has to go at end of season.

    Bad selections, bad tactics, poor signings.

    End of.



    Taken from 606, loyal to the end eh?

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  • 500. At 10:22pm on 28 Jan 2009, Aaron wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

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