Rafael Benitez is king of Anfield till 2014 – but will Liverpool...

Rafael Benitez is king of Anfield till 2014 – but will Liverpool sign the right players?


So finally it has been confirmed. Rafa Benitez will stay at Liverpool for another five years after he agreed a contract extension that will keep him at Anfield until at least 2014, putting to an end (some of) the speculation that has haunted the corridors of the club for the past eighteen months or so.

Of course we all suspected this was coming, the announcement that Rick Parry would be resigning his Chief Executive post come the end of the season hinted that Senor Benitez had emerged victorious from a power struggle that had reached breaking point over the unlikely figure of Gareth Barry last summer. In that instance it was Parry who seemingly got his way, but as the saying goes “he may have won the battle….”

Benitez is known to have been stalling over a new deal out of fear over the club’s transfer policy. No longer could the Spaniard accept delays in transfer negotiations, and questions over his chosen targets. Benitez requested the kind of free reign over transfers that is enjoyed by the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson & Arsene Wenger. No more lampshades masquerading as tables at Liverpool, Benitez’s side, playing Benitez’s way. And now comes the fun part.

For Rafa to sign such a long-term deal (a five year contract in this hire ’em fire’em climate is something to be remarked upon in itself), it is fair to surmise that he has been given certain promises from his Superiors with regards to transfer policy. It will therefore be fascinating to see the decisions taken this summer, and whether sufficient funds are made available to turn his good side into a great one. We all know the areas which need to be addressed in this Liverpool squad, it would be farcical to suspect Benitez does not.

Obviously there are certain variables which may assist or hinder Benitez’s long-term buying strategy. Namely who replaces Parry as Chief Executive and, of course, the long-standing ownership issue. With the Kuwaiti bid being sneered at by those in the know as a smokescreen, there to flush out more serious interest, there are still rumours lurking around every Merseyside corner about potential new owners.

Benitez is in a strong bargaining position with any suitors, with a reputation enhanced by the past week’s wins over Real Madrid & Manchester United, and was very smart about aligning himself with the supporters in his latest statement. Any new owner would be forced to think very carefully before unveiling any grand plans which do not involve the Spaniard. And not just because the length of contract in Benitez’s inside pocket would demand a hefty compensation should he leave before 2014.

Hicks & Gillett have not done much to endear themselves to Liverpool fans since rolling into Anfield with talk of “Roffa” and “Snoogy Doogy” in 2007, and there will doubtless be dissenters towards this latest announcement, but from a personal perspective I believe it is in the best interests of the club.

Benitez has his faults, the media fall over themselves to highlight them. But his tactical depth, his physical preparation of the squad, and his attention to detail cannot be faulted. And hopefully now we will get to see how good his transfer eye REALLY is…

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Right, where to start? My name is Neil Jones, I'm 23 years old and from Liverpool- therefore I'm a Liverpool F.C. supporter. I have been writing football related bits and bobs for as long as I can remember. It was a massive ambition of mine right the way through school to be a sports writer, until the smell of money distracted me from University at 18! But now I'm determined to give it another go, starting from now! I guess I find it easy to write about something I seem to spend most my life talking/thinking/reading about, and have an awful lot of passion for. Hope you enjoy reading my pieces, and don't be afraid to cut me down if you disagree with my opinions. After all, that's what football is all about isn't it?


  1. as a united fan i find rafa getting full control over transfers to be quite funny.yes,he may have brought in some excellent players,but at the same time he has also signed a lot of average-very poor players.his record in the market leaves a lot to be desired,the few scouse supporting friends i have share the exact same thing.i look forward to see larger amouts of money being wasted by rafa

  2. It has never been clear what the issue was with transfers….purely speculation. I believe that it was only about the Barry incident last summer when Villa played hardball and the Liverpool hierarchy weren’t prepared to be taken for mugs. Reasonable position that.

    An assumption that Benitez has not had control over who has been bought and sold in the last 5 years would only lead to serious questions about his own integrity.

    You say that his tactical depth cannot be faulted. Up until two weeks ago it was faulted constantly by Liverpool fans as they perceived the PL to slip away. There was a huge upswell (which had been growing for some time) from Liverpool fans against Benitez after the Boro defeat.

    Two games and suddenly everything is rosy again?

    Time will tell!

  3. Yeah because buying Barry when you already have Mascherano, Gerrard and Alonso really makes sense when you have to play Kuyt on the wing. That would’ve been really smart :roll: Liverpool are lucky someone stood up to him. Now the manager who has spent 200m since arriving on a load of shite except for Torres, Alonso, Mascherano and maybe Skrtel has full control? Happy days!

  4. This is the best thing that can happen to man utd to lift their spirits….Pls Rafa sign for life………

  5. #3 Shite that shit on United last week. Oops sorry – of course United beat themselves with the help of thr referee.

  6. Superb. Comments from people who are so myopic that all their sporting knowledge is sourced from the Daily Star and ‘…the bloke down the pub…’. £200m spent on transfers is a lot, but when contrasted with out going transfers of £120m the actual outlay is £80m. People read half a fucking article by second rate journalists and carry the stupidity forward as if it is their own shoddy research. Liverpool’s squad are the FIFTH most expensive in the Premier league. Since arriving at Anfield, Rafa has had to ‘transfer up’, which means buy a player for a reasonable amount then sell him later down the line for a profit, e.g: we wouldn’t have been able to afford Mascherano without selling Sissoko. This is because Liverpool don’t/didn’t have the funds to spend £30m on part players/bench warmers season upon season. The question of Benitez’s integrity is just that; a question. There was obviously a give and take situation between the manager and the hierachy, where a wish list was handed in and the board would have their opinion. This was rumoured to have to reached a critical point when Benitez wanted to sign David Villa at the tail end of last season only for Parry to stall over the price, then the Euro’s happened and Valencia thought ‘screw £25m, we could get double that!’, so Robbie Keane was a sorry present to Rafa. Some present. Which brings me to my last point; are the managers of your own supported teams so perfect as to not make any mistakes with transfers or tactics? There is an endless list of FACTS to prove that the answer is ‘No’. I understand banter between fans of different clubs is natural and I enjoy it with my friends, but please if you are going to rant on, make sure you get the whole picture and not just the tabloid’s view. Benitez bashing is getting to be a fashion these days. If Man U had reversed the result against Liverpool and Benitez had said ‘The best side lost’ the press would have had Benitez ‘Cracking up’ for the rest of the season. Just because a band wagon rolls past does not mean you have to clamber aboard to mask the fact you cannot create your own opinions.

  7. i am a liverpool fan not to sure about rafa but if we buy a left back… right mid field… and a striker i would like to link david villa with torres

  8. Benitez seems to like players who can play in multiple positions, most recently seeing Dossena in the left mid role, Masch at right back, which is maybe why he is still thinking about Barry, as he can play at left back as well as across the middle of the park. Rafa is rumoured to be worried that the 6+5 rule is a certainty rather than speculation. I still prefer Alonso to Barry, our most prolific performer so far this term.

  9. What’s with this whole “benitez has wasted heaps of money” bollocks? Not every signing is going to work perfectly. Veron, Larsson, Forlan,…. shall I go on? As for United fans thinking he can’t manage, hear this. Ferguson’s first five years at Man Utd. 11th, 2nd, 11th, 13th, 6th. An average finishing position of 8.6. As for Benitez, if they finish only 3rd this season, his will be 3.6!! Ferguson took time to build, and Benitez has built twice as quick as Ferguson, for less money. Theoretically, in the coming years, Liverpool could be as dominant as United, although not likely with United and Chelsea established as winners, but there will be league titles coming in, no doubt about it. Everything is heading in the right direction, yet he’s a hack according to Man U fans posting here.

    All managers make bad signings, sometimes players just don’t adapt. Schevchenko a good example of Jose Mourinho making a mistake, despite the fact that he’s clearly a brilliant manager. Come on guys, show some maturity and speak the truth, it is possible.


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