Soccer

Rafael Benitez Blamed by Many for Liverpool’s Woes

| by Ian Palmer

It seems more and more people are coming out each day to share their opinions on why Liverpool is still struggling in the English Premier League this season. Not surprisingly, one of the common threads is people pointing their fingers at ex-manager Rafael Benitez, claiming he weakened the club by his poor signings during his time in reign. We can now add Sunderland manager Steve Bruce to that list of believers.

Bruce recently said he believes Liverpool sits in 18th place in the EPL because new manager Roy Hodgson was left such a weak squad by his predecessor and they lack any depth. He blames this on Benitez for spending millions of pounds on players who simply aren’t good enough to play for a top-level EPL team. Bruce said if you look at all of the money Benitez spent over the years and the quality of the team, there’s definitely something missing and it’s going to be a hard job for Hodgson to rectify the situation in a short period of time.

Bruce also criticized Benitez for the way he behaved off the pitch and said about Hodgson, “I know one thing – he will conduct himself far better than the previous manager (Benitez) and they’ll be a lot more respected by all of us in the game.”

Benitez, as usual, refused to take any of the blame for the sorry state of Liverpool and recently insisted they had a strong squad after he was fired in the summer and went on to take over Italian Serie A club Inter Milan. While in charge, Benitez was forever blaming the Liverpool's owners for not supplying any funds for new players. But when looking at the facts and the current squad, it seems Benitez is way off base.

Benitez’s biggest waste of money was the 20 million pounds he spent on Alberto Aquilani, who has now been sent out on loan after playing just a handful of games for Liverpool. He also shelled out millions of pounds on mediocre players such as Lucas Leiva, Jermaine Pennant, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, Josemi, Antonio Nunez, Fernando Morientes, Godwin Antwi, Jack Hobbs, Paul Anderson, Andrea Dossena, and David Ngog, among others.
 
However, not all of his signings were bad. Benitez did manage to bring in Fernando Torres, Glen Johnson, Ryan Babel, Xabi Alonso, Luis Garcia, and Dirk Kuyt. But while the team is and was struggling for goals, he got rid of world-class strikers such as Robbie Keane (Ireland), Peter Crouch (England), and Craig Bellamy (Wales).

Overall, it’s been reported that Benitez signed a staggering 76 players during his five-year reign at a total cost of 229 million pounds, so claiming he had a lack of funds doesn’t seem to hold any water. It’s obvious he had the money and spent it unwisely. Now the club is trying to dig itself out of the hole he left them in. Of course, Benitez fans will argue tooth and nail in support of him, but the numbers speak for themselves.

It looks like Liverpool’s in for a long season and Sportsbook Bodog.com has the odds of them winning the English league this season at 100-1 and their odds of winning the Europa League at 10-1.