According to the BBC, Rafa Benitez has been offered a severance package by Liverpool. If the Spaniard accepts the offer, it would see an immediate end to his tenure at Anfield. If not…well, who knows? Liverpool’s crisis continues, as it seems that the man who led them to European glory and came tantalisingly close to a Premier League crown will be seeking new employment.
Whilst the owners may believe this is the right decision, and that the club needs a change to reinvigorate the players and fans alike, it will create more problems than it solves. There are many criticisms that can be thrown at Benitez about last season, but the blame does not lie solely with him. Key players underperformed, and the Reds had some atrocious luck at times, including a lengthy injury list.
After one poor (albeit very poor) season, all Benitez’s good work seems to have been forgotten. The man created a side that constantly defeated Europe’s best in the Champions League, and brought some quality players to the club. Critics may point to the flops like Morientes, Keane and Aquilani, but what about the world class talent, such as Torres, Mascherano and Reina? And unearthing unknown gems, like Agger and Skrtel?
Whoever the club bring in, it is unlikely that his managerial skills will match those of Benitez. At the moment, there are few good enough who would want the job. Bookmakers are listing names like Hodgson, O’Neill and Van Gaal, but would any of them want to join an unstable club in the process of being sold, and then facing a possible exit when new owners come in?
Benitez had led the club through five years of steady, if at times unspectacular, progression, and then after one admittedly awful season, he is being shown the door. He is a great manager, which shows why he was linked with the jobs at sides like Real Madrid, Inter and Juventus. It is unlikely that Liverpool will realistically be able to bring in a replacement as good as Benitez, and sadly the turbulence at Anfield doesn’t look like ending any time soon.
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