WITH question marks hanging over Kenny Dalglish’s head after such a poor Premier League campaign, one name has been spoken about most regarding a potential successor to the King. Rafael Benitez, known as ‘Rafa’ to those who love him dearly, is the manager that seems to be the popular choice with the Media and supporters alike.
The Spaniard led Liverpool to the Champions League title in his first season, an FA Cup trophy in his second and almost supplied the Reds with their first Premier League success in 2009.
However, towards the end of his reign, a lot of people seem to forget that his Liverpool team simply went stale. In his final season, Liverpool’s title challenge ended before it even had the opportunity to shape itself with two defeats in their first three games. This coupled with a Champions League group stage exit afforded Liverpool fans their biggest opportunity yet to voice their concerns over Benitez’s reign. This they did and with notable anger. The fans were seeing a completely different style of football to what they were used to under Rafa, and it was a style of football that simply did not work.
After a trophy-less season, with even the Europa League evading the Reds, Benitez left by mutual consent. Every fan, including Rafa himself, knew it was time for change. Now, though, a lot of Reds fans are calling for the Spaniard to be re-instated.
There is no questioning the desire, commitment and passion that Rafa Benitez has for Liverpool Football Club however the alarming way in which his spell as manager faded out to a dull end should not be forgotten. As well as this, Mr Benitez spent a lot of money during his time at Liverpool on players such as Jermaine Pennant, Ryan Babel, Robbie Keane and Alberto Aquilani who simply never made the grade at Anfield.
Rafa was also to blame for the loss of one of Liverpool’s best players of the past decade; Xabi Alonso. After one uncharacteristically poor season at Anfield, Rafa decided it was time to move Alonso on and replace him with England midfielder Gareth Barry. After failing to both sell Alonso and sign Barry from Aston Villa, Alonso remained unhappy and felt unwanted for the next 12 months. The Spaniard responded with his best season of his career and as much as this benefited Liverpool, Real Madrid stepped in and snapped up the midfield maestro.
There are several reasons why Benitez should not return to Anfield but the most important and necessary one for me is how he lost control of the dressing room and struggled to get his players playing in his style. Turning to Rafa would be a step back in my opinion and as much as he will always be held in the hearts of every Liverpool fan, a fresh face is needed if Dalglish is relieved of his duties.
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