Benitez must blank out Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson - on the rare occasions when Manchester United have been denied the Premier League title - has traditionally written a letter of congratulation to the victorious manager.
It is hardly a major feat of deduction to guess that Benitez will not be moved to prose in praise of Ferguson after United equalled Liverpool's tally of 18 titles.
If he could not bring himself to utter verbal congratulations to Ferguson when pressed at The Hawthorns on Sunday, Benitez is unlikely to put it down in writing.
He was prepared to salute Manchester United but made a point of not congratulating Ferguson - putting the latest coating of acrimony on a soured relationship between the pair.
The problem Benitez has here is two-fold. Firstly, even though Ferguson will be supremely indifferent as to whether he receives bouquets from Liverpool's manager or not, it makes his Anfield counterpart look petty and a bitterly sore loser.
Secondly, and more importantly, the man who holds the trophies wins the arguments and Ferguson has beaten Benitez hands down by securing a third successive title.
Benitez's lack of affection for Ferguson is painfully obvious and placed in certain contexts understandable.
There must be a measure of sympathy after what had every appearance of collusion between Manchester United's manager and Sam Allardyce in the recent "gesturegate" row that farcically suggested Benitez had shown Blackburn Rovers a lack of respect at Anfield.
And he certainly should not be expected to be subservient towards Ferguson. Liverpool's manager rightly feels it is more important to fight Anfield's corner than cosy up to Old Trafford's overlord.
But Benitez started a dangerous game when he delivered his carefully considered - definitely not a rant - attack against Ferguson's conduct towards referees, the FA's Respect campaign and fixture lists.
I spoke to Benitez at Stoke 24 hours after that outspoken attack on Ferguson, and to say he was spectacularly unrepentant is a masterpiece of understatement.
Sadly for Benitez, it also came after the sort of lifeless goalless draw that was to eventually become a significant factor in Benitez losing a title he simply had to win once he decided to throw down the gauntlet to Ferguson.
It was also provoked by what was, by Ferguson's standards, a fairly routine jab about the possibility of Liverpool getting nervous in the closing stages of the title race.
Benitez would not have enjoyed congratulating Ferguson. He would have hated it, but he should have swallowed hard and done it. It would have been the gracious thing to do and would have avoided the headlines that greeted him on Monday.
The latest outbreak of rancour also removed some focus from Liverpool's own outstanding development in the last three months, which can rightly bring huge satisfaction for Benitez and be the source of genuine optimism for next season.
Benitez is famously single-minded tactically and applies tunnel vision to his pursuit of success - he must now apply those same qualities to his relationship with Ferguson.
He must put an end to what is in danger of becoming an unhealthy sideshow, a sideshow that is currently benefiting only one man. And that man is not Benitez.
Benitez must blank everything Ferguson says and does from his mind and concentrate every fibre solely on Liverpool. He must somehow ensure that Manchester United become almost meaningless to him rather than developing an obsession with Old Trafford.
Easier said than done, but there is no mileage in taking on the master at his own game.
Ferguson is football's streetfighter, preying on any sign of vulnerablity and Benitez's original verbal jousting appeared to concentrate the minds of all at Manchester United at a crucial point in the season.
Benitez has assembled a team, if not quite a squad, that is capable of building on their progression this season and making a serious attempt to win the Premier League next season.
Liverpool can have no guarantees because Ferguson will have carefully noted their development, but if they maintain the positive attacking approach sparked by the 4-0 thrashing of Real Madrid in the Champions League and keep Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres fit, they will be even more dangerous opponents for United next season.
This is the best way for Benitez to fight Ferguson - and the only way in which he can win his arguments with the all-conquering Scot.