When our defence went to sleep in the 97th minute, we should have been playing against nine men. But before we get into that, we again witnessed Benitez making ill-judged substitutions and god only knows what he said to the team at half time for them to come out so slow, lethargic & seemingly unaware of their standing as professional footballers.
But the long and the short of it is that Suarez should not have been on the pitch (nor Sturridge) & no matter how culpable our defence was for that equaliser – that incident changed the course of the game. Suarez was the only player that could have saved a point for Liverpool and he should have been in the dressing room, preferably in a cage and wearing a muzzle. Where did the referee get six minutes from as well? And then to play almost seven; the Clattenburg incident earlier this season has had an effect on the way we have been refereed ever since and that and the Benitez effect has seriously jeopardised our Champions League position.
I wasn’t surprised by Rogers post match interview – not wanting to talk about the incident – how do you put a positive spin on such a reprehensible action – that said he still tried to shift the focus onto Torres’ alleged elbow on Carragher. Rogers took the coward’s “no comment” route. What was worse though was Benitez – given a chance to voice his disgust and contempt for Suarez’s despicable act, he chose the old cliche of not having seen it – if there was ever a clearer signal of the contempt he holds for Chelsea, this was it. Imagine any other manager letting such an incident go? His ongoing courting of Liverpool football club is sickening and totally unacceptable. He has to go – now – I would rather have one of the youth coaches in charge than have that man associated with our club for a second longer.
But back to Suarez – what kind of person must you be to even consider biting an opposition player? And let’s not forget – this is not Suarez’s first time – he served a seven match ban for biting when he played for Ajax – the man is an animal and let’s face it, with those teeth, Branislav is lucky he didn’t lose his arm.
The thing is that Suarez will be punished by the FA – they can’t fail to act (I can’t believe I just typed that either) but what good does that do us? None – if anything it simply helps our rivals. A Liverpool team missing its influential goal scorer is a far more palatable side to face for say Everton who are well in the Champions League dog-fight.
But Benitez is as responsible as anyone for that result. I don’t actually blame him for starting with Torres – he has played well recently and there was no reason to think that that wouldn’t continue. But it became apparent fairly quickly that this wasn’t one of Fernando’s switched on days. We had Ba on the bench – who can’t play on Thursday but he chose instead to bring on Benayoun for Hazard – can someone please explain to me why?
He also had Terry on the bench who had put in an imperious performance against Fulham as well as scoring two goals – yet when our defence looked at sixes and sevens did he bring him on to shore it up? No.
I am at a loss to explain a lot of what Benitez does. I am not paranoid enough to believe that it is sabotage but the fact is that his actions are more often than not ill-advised, demonstrate no merit and in fact are often counter productive – I think Benitez is simply a man out of his depth because he has been out of the Premier League and top flight football for too long.
We are in a difficult position now, with Tottenham on the ascendancy and with their talisman Bale back; Arsenal having their customary strong finish to the season; the only real positive is that 4th is still technically in our hands but personally I do not trust Benitez to handle the last few handful of games. They are too important and he has demonstrated again and again that he is not up for the job.
This isn’t just about us getting 4th – it has far reaching consequences. Getting that Champions League place will most probably have a direct influence on who becomes our manager next season, which players we buy, which in turn will determine our future for the next few years at least. Add to this the financial aspect of what the Champions League brings in as opposed to the Europa and you begin to get an inkling of what 4th means in the broader spectrum – this isn’t about bragging rights – it’s about being able to compete at the highest level. Would you bet on Benitez to deliver? I know I wouldn’t.
I wait with interest to see whether the FA have any teeth (sorry – couldn’t resist) but I wait with even more interest to see if those that run our club have any balls.
Posted by Trizia