Rafa the Ridiculous Red

Ed here:

Over the past couple weeks, I’m really starting to think Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez is actually a BigSoccer poster in disguise. You know, one of those crazy ones that suggest how MLS should expand to Richmond, or who posts crazy diatribes about mental confusion.

It seems fair to wonder at this point about his mental stabilities given how his January has gone. He famously launched what appeared to be an unprovoked verbal Scud missile attack on Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson on January 9, discussing everything from Ferguson’s views on fixtures to treatment of referees, etc.

Benitez did all this with his team at the top of the table of course, a fact he wanted to make sure was conveyed.

Since then, however, his side has played four times, and drawn four times. Once at Stoke, and twice at home against rivals Everton (once in the league and once in the FA Cup), then were pulled back for a 1-1 tie by Wigan this week.

In the process, Liverpool’s lead in the Premier League has disappeared, and they now actually sit third thanks to having a significantly worse goal differential than Chelsea.

There’s little time for the tailspin to continue if the club still wants to contend. Liverpool host Chelsea this Sunday at 11 a.m. eastern.

Benitez seemed to question Wigan’s tactics (which must have worked, they almost won the game) in the postgame; but you can find fault with Benitez himself for pulling captain Steven Gerrard out of that match late – especially since Liverpool were given a free kick moments later in prime Gerrard range, but even a free kick taker of Gerrard’s skill cannot score from the team seats beyond the touchline.

It’s to the point now where I really hope Benitez stays at Liverpool for the next 10 years. The last thing I want, as someone who roots for Manchester United, is for the Liverpool brass to knock Benitez to the curb and then go out and find somebody that knows what he’s doing (Mourinho, anyone?).

This Liverpool side has a good bit of talent, they have a midfield leader I can’t stand, and in a year when teams like Chelsea and Arsenal (and even United) have played at times like they have no desire at all to win the title – Liverpool should be on top.

And they were. But you get the feeling that Benitez is someone who no matter what lofty perch he might find his team in, he will do something to mess it up.

If Chelsea brush aside Liverpool on Sunday, my sense of it is you can brush aside Benitez’s boys from title contention this season.

I only wonder who Rafa will blame that on.


Rafa Benitez thinks about who he will go off on next. Arsene Wenger? Big Phil? Don Garber?

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6 thoughts on “Rafa the Ridiculous Red

  1. It seems fair to wonder at this point about his mental stabilities given how his January has gone. He famously launched what appeared to be an unprovoked verbal Scud missile attack on Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson on January 9, discussing everything from Ferguson’s views on fixtures to treatment of referees, etc.

    You’re right, only a completely biased ManU fan would ever say that was ‘unprovoked’.

    Ignoring Ferguson’s attacks on Liverpool multiple times earlier in the year and his unbelievably insane rant about how ManU is somehow given a harder schedule than Liverpool when his team weren’t top.

  2. Even if you give all that – there’s no still no point for Benitez to go down the road he did. It makes me mad the other way around when United are top and Ferguson would go off on Jose, Arsene, sparklers, Vietnamese food, or whatever.

    But that’s just it. Benitez’s team was on top. That’s the biggest response a team/manager can give to any perceived slights from the outside. It shows either immaturity, stupidity, or a case of the crazy to get caught up in such things when his side was top of the table. And it doesn’t even account for the Gerrard sub vs. Wigan, which I found highly strange.

    If he gets the team back and they respond and win the title – all credit to him (and I’ll write it as such – I have no problem doing that). We’ll know after Sunday I think whether that’s going to happen or not. “Must win” seems like an odd description for a team just two points out, but I think that’s where they are at this point.

    Or, Everton will go into Old Trafford on Saturday and get a point or three and open the whole thing up again.

  3. “by Aaron Stollar” and “as someone who roots for Manchester United . . .”

    I’m totally confused — I thought Aaron was an Arsenal fan.

  4. We experienced a technical issue last week where all the past posts suddenly showed up as being written by me (Aaron), that post is Ed’s like you suspect.

    Hopefully the problem doesn’t appear again.

  5. Heh. No, I didn’t suspect — far easier for me to believe that I just remembered incorrectly. That’s the kind of mistake I make easily.

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