Rafael Benitez spoke to the press ahead of tonight’s Champions League clash with Benfica, and had to face the inevitable questions about his own future plans. Talk over the weekend has been all about him delivering an ultimatum that unless he gets a certain amount of money for transfers he’ll be on his way to Real or Inter. The amount he’s been demanding has varied depending on which story you read. So did Rafa have a problem with the Liverpool board over transfer funds? His response was simple: “You know what my answer is going to be. I am really focussed on the Champions League clash and am not worried about other things. All I am doing now is preparing my team for the game and talking to the players about the match. I have no problems with the board, with the Chairman or with the chief executive. I am happy here. All we want to do now is beat Benfica and then afterwards I promise my only thoughts will be on the Arsenal match.”
So without saying he was staying or going Rafa’s answer was open to interpretation. He said he was happy, he said he had no problems with the board, but he didn’t say he was staying. At least that’s how some will read it, but in reality Rafa fully intends to stay and as long as all the existing promises are kept that won’t be a problem.
So on to the match tonight. Liverpool are a goal down from the first leg. Any goal from Benfica would mean a draw on aggregate would be enough to take the Portuguese side through. Rafa played down the assumption that it’s all-out-attack for the Reds: “Our idea is clear. We want to score as early as we can, but if that’s not possible, okay, as long as we win the game at least 1-0 after 90 minutes we will be in the tie. Then we can think about extra-time. I know people are talking a lot about scoring a lot of goals. That’s what we would like to happen, but we need to be clever and use our experience of this situation.”