“Liverpool is my home and I will come back”
Then, when asked about the much lambasted pair of Hicks and Gillett, who may well be on their way through the exit door very soon, Rafa said:
“After the Americans arrived, everything changed. I thought it would be easier the first year, we signed Torres and everything was going well but little by little we had some money problems and all the decisions were subject to the money issues.”
A lot of column inches have been taken up with Benitez last season in charge of the club. After just falling short the previous season, many expected Liverpool to mount a serious challenge for the title. The push would have to come without the influential Xabi Alonso who left for Real Madrid after falling out with Benitez. Rafa explained what went wrong, detailing that he thought he had the money to sign Gareth Barry only to be left disappointed when the time came.
Several stories emanated last season that Rafa had lost the Liverpool dressing room, with his very public falling out with Albert Riera used as a stick with which to beat him. This may have been one of the reasons that Christian Purslow decided to dispense with his services during the summer. Benitez claims that he never lost the dressing room and was surprised at where these stories came from:
“It’s not true that I lost the dressing room. It was obvious that maybe some players were not happy but the majority of the players were very good professionals who were surprised by these stories in the same newspapers by the same journalists. Who was leaking them?”
However, just like Gerard Houllier before him, Liverpool will always hold an important place in the heart of Rafa Benitez. Coming back to manage the club that won over his heart is not something he would ever rule out and as Jimmy Greaves once said, “Football is a funny old game.” Benitez says, “You never know, football is football. It could be in five years’ time, ten years’ time, two years’ time. We have two years of a contract here, we are really pleased here, the people are very nice, the fans are very similar to Liverpool fans, with passion, so everything is going well.” And he finished by saying, “Liverpool is my home and I will come back.”
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