And so, it seems, does the manager. Rafa Benitez says that quality players (like Torres) must get protection from referees because they get fouled a lot. I understand the need to ‘protect’ talented players but Rafa, shouldn’t we work on improving the standard of refereeing (which, as FC keeps pointing out, is a bloody tough job) instead of creating divisions amongst players?
Do you seriously imagine that a day will come when if Torres is tackled, the ref gives the defender a red card but if Voronin is scythed in half, no one bats an eyelid?
Sidenote: Is paranoia a side-effect of extreme pressure?
Rafa has also talked about his decision to rotate the Liverpool squad, and while I completely agree with his rotation tactics what I don’t agree with at times are his tactics and his faith in his players. As Rafa rightly said, Kuyt, Voronin and Crouch are good enough to beat Brum, you don’t need Torres for that. However, this implies that the Liverpool squad plays well without Torres, which is not the case.
I like Voronin and Babel, but for me the only serious change from last year for Liverpool has been the inclusion of Torres. The Liverpool of last year would have stumbled against Brum just like Liverpool without Torres stumbled against Brum last weekend. Torres gives them something special, like Ronaldo gives United, but without Torres Liverpool don’t play with the fluidity and aggression that a team of their stature should be playing. Rafa is too cautious with his teams; Liverpool need to push forward more.
For all the talk about ‘squad depth’, the real measure is whether you can survive without your star players and whether you have enough ‘match winners’ in your team. I’ll put this question to you:
How many ‘match winners’ do Liverpool have?
And as a follow-up, tell me who you think the match winners are for the other clubs in the top 4.