Tag Archives: Rafa Benitez

The Sweeper: Rafa Will Not Leave. This is a Fact, No?

Rafa Benitez

Big Story
The future of Rafa Benitez dominates the British press this morning, as Liverpool slumped to their sixth defeat in seven games and fingers are being jabbed once again: former Liverpool star Ronnie Whelan suggests Rafa does not care about the Premier League; Sam Wallace concludes that Rafa is too clever for his own good; John Ley looks at the facts unnecessarily needed to prove Liverpool have had a poor start; and David Hytner looks at the club’s growing injury crisis, the one mitigating factor that seems to be saving Rafa.

But the most pertinent and balanced piece comes from Rory Smith in the Telegraph, getting to the heart of the issue: money, which Liverpool do not have to throw away. “Liverpool have neither the mechanism nor the means to effect a dismissal, requiring as it would a majority vote in a boardroom fractured beyond repair and up to £20 million to pay off Benítez and his staff (if they were not to be re-employed elsewhere),” Smith writes. “That money, it is fair to say, would be better spent backing Benítez in the January bring-and-buy sale.”

As ever, for all the ink spilled, that serious sum of cash is likely to ensure Rafa will stay come what may until at least the end of the season.

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The Sweeper appears daily. For more rambling and links throughout the day every day, follow your editor Tom Dunmore @pitchinvasion on Twitter.

The Sweeper: Rafa on the Rack

Champions League

Big Story
Yesterday’s stunning day of UEFA Champions League action is of course the focus of discussion today, with every game providing talking juicy points for the press.

The British press naturally focused on Liverpool after their home defeat to Lyon. Paul Hayward considers the future of  Rafa Benitez (“Everything that can go wrong is going wrong at the moment”, Rafa said after), and Kevin Gardside says fans are losing faith in the Spaniard, though Henry Winter reminds us how many players Rafa was missing in their defeat to Lyon and Gabrielle Marcotti gives sensible reasons for why Liverpool would be “mad to sack Benitez now”.

An even longer-term crisis is focused on up north in Scotland, as Rangers crushing defeat at home 4-1 to Romania’s FC Unirea has Ewan Murray saying that “The most comprehensive thesaurus in the world would barely contain the words to describe this Rangers performance. The latest evidence that Scottish football may be in terminal decline rather than just suffering a rough spell arrived on another harrowing night in Glasgow.” Rangers boss Walter Smith faced calls for his immediate resignation.

Still, probably the most surprising result of the night came in Spain – Barcelona’s coach Pep Guardiola tried unconvincingly to sound unperturbed by their defeat to Rubin Kazan at Camp Nou. And the last minute goal conceded by Arsenal to AZ Alkmar is picked over by Rob Kelly in the Telegraph, who had seemingly been waiting for a chance to make the obvious conclusion that the current team is not a patch on Wenger’s old “invincibles”.

Worldwide News

The Sweeper appears daily. For more rambling and links throughout the day every day, follow your editor Tom Dunmore @pitchinvasion on Twitter.

Rafa Benitez and Liverpool’s Premier League Title Hopes in Four Seconds Flat

Welcome to our experimental new weekly feature, the Premier League in four easy seconds. Today, Liverpool equalled the number of defeats they suffered all last season in their first three games of this campaign, falling six points behind, uh, Tottenham Hotspur as they lost at home to Aston Villa. It was not, shall we say, a good day for Rafa Benitez.

In the 48th minute, Benitez turned to face the fourth official after the goal that had put Aston Villa 2-0 up at Anfield, apparently questioning the call of the referee to award the preceding corner-kick. It was a few seconds that captured Rafa’s current mood of limp frustration, as he half-heartedly gesticulated in a rather dubious projection of his team’s failings onto officialdom.  It was almost as unconvincing and lame as Liverpool’s performance, and here it is summing up the surprising state of the Premier League this week.

Rafa Benitez

The moment after

d

Contemplation

Rafa Benitez

Gesticulation

Under the gaze

Under the gaze

The fourth official considers Rafa's point

The fourth official considers Rafa's point

A brief dialogue

I can't hear you!

Well, that helped.

Back to reality, all too soon.