Liverpool v Chelsea – Aquilani keeps place, Maxi starts

Could this be Rafa’s last home game as Liverpool manager? It certainly feels much less likely than it did on Friday, but Rafa is not happy with the way he’s been left without the support of the board – and not just financial support – for yet another season. And this has been Liverpool’s worse season since he arrived.

New chairman Martin Broughton still hadn’t met the manager when the manager was last interviewed, and through fear of cheering at the wrong time the BA boss won’t be meeting him at today’s game either.

The manager is unhappy. The senior management seem to flit between pretending everything’s fine with the manager, telling members of the press they think the manager’s playing games to see what more he can get out of the club, or that he’s going anyway – of his own accord.  Meanwhile we hear about senior management discussing transfers without his knowledge, and letting the press know all about it, in what Rafa seems to believe is an attempt to undermine him. And it wouldn’t be the first.

The club seem to think Rafa is in the middle of doing what Xabi Alonso did last year, when Xabi had his new club lined up and agreed well before the end of the season. But it does seem more likely that Rafa’s doing what Gerrard did in 2005 – looking for reassurance that he really is wanted, looking for a sign that the club hopes he rejects advances from elsewhere.

Have we learned nothing about communication? That applies to a number of people at the club, who need to start opening their mouths and talking to each other, instead of trying to guess and fearing the worst, like a lovesick teenager wondering if they’re being two-timed.

Meanwhile there’s a game to play today and it’s one that sees the manager pick a weak side. Not a weakened side, just a side that’s about us good as he can pick.

With Carragher, Agger and Kyrgiakos all starting it either means a three-man defence or that one of them is playing at full-back.  And it seems like it will be Agger, playing at left back, with Mascherano again dropping back into defence to play right-back. Glen Johnson, switched to left-back in midweek, isn’t in the 18 today.

Whether Carragher will lose his rag at his right-back this year as he did in the last home game of last season remains to be seen, but if there’s one thing Liverpool do want to play for this afternoon it’s a clean sheet to keep Pepe Reina on course for another golden gloves award. It was the risk of losing that last season that caused Jamie Carragher to lose it with Alvaro Arbeloa, in what turned out to be his last game for the club.

£17m signing Alberto Aquilani makes it two starts in a row this afternoon, but Ryan Babel is dropped to the bench to make way for Maxi Rodriquez.

Liverpool have now qualified for the Europa League for next season, but their chances of fourth place are so slim it really isn’t worth considering it as a possibility. City and Spurs would have to draw in their fixture on Wednesday, before going on to lose their games at Burnley and West Ham. So Europa League it is for Liverpool next season, and unless major steps are made to sort out the mess that remains at the club even that might be seen as a massive achievement before too long.

Liverpool: Reina, Mascherano, Agger, Carragher, Kyrgiakos, Lucas, Gerrard, Aquilani, Maxi, Benayoun, Kuyt.
Subs: Cavalieri, Babel, Pacheco, Ngog, El Zhar, Degen, Ayala.

11 thoughts on “Liverpool v Chelsea – Aquilani keeps place, Maxi starts”

  1. What a sad day for LFC, I see very dark days on the horizon. I think EVERYTHING is wrong with the club, even SG looks like he has had enough. Torres has got the luck of a man who wants out, and he is just preparing himself for another shit season next year so he can leave safe in the knowledge that he repaid the trust that LFC gave him.

  2. @ jim

    its all over the italian TV, RAFA is of to Juve, torres and masch following? were does this leave liverpool? apperantly hodgson is to come in,wow what a replacment hehe, is it that the yanks want to get rid of benitez then sell most of the players to pay there depths??? and what about our new chairman?? nice act we have a chalsea supporter as the person to take us forward what a joke!!! I am so of the opinion that in two years time we will be fighting not to be relegated.
    so sad

  3. @LFC Malta

    The Italian TV stuff you’re talking about sounds like speculation, perhaps taken from the speculation here – (

    If they’re talking about Hodgson they may have got it from speculation here – (Tuttosport) who in turn say they got it from ‘the “News of the World” (Sunday’s “Sun”).

    Rafa wants to speak to the Chairman, he’s not happy with a number of broken promises and a number of other issues and he really needs to speak to him alone, without the MD alongside him.

    If Broughton has no real power to influence the running of the club I don’t think Rafa will stay. If Broughton has got the power he needs to decide if Rafa’s points are valid or not. I don’t think this is the “game” that certain senior people at Anfield tried to say it was.

    If Broughton hasn’t got that power then I fear for the future of the club a lot more than I did a few weeks back.

  4. Just to clarify that last point – the fear isn’t just about this manager leaving, it’s to do with what it says about who’s really running the club.

  5. The club is in almost uncharted waters. Its certainly not as bad as before Shanks started the dynasty of great days for the Reds. But of the ‘top 4’ before this season, we’d never won the Premiership title.
    Last years was not a year where good luck was the reason we got where we were, more it was bad luck that we didn’t quite win it. And it was truly a season of true grit shown by all.
    Changes to the lineup have changed the team more than desired. And financially, there seems no light in the tunnel. Whether we can still keep the best players, manager or finance our heavy debt, or not, is immaterial. The moral of the fans and playing staff is beginning to dwindle badly at the moment. Today’s result with Chelsea was inevitable, and ironically good for posterity. I’m amazed at our position in the league give all that has gone on around the club. Same grit was shown, but less potent. I’m a Londoner and have not yet even been to Liverpool. But my lad’s passion for football and LFC means that when he gets older we’ll try to make the journey to hallowed turf.
    I wonder which ground it will be in though. I say that not with the hope of us getting a new one alone, but with a little mischief. I wonder if there could be a plan for ground sharing implemented, with a view to building a 2nd ground within a set period in the future. I suppose that this would make the financial argument for renewal, for both clubs easier to take. Not withstanding the arrival of some crazy rich Liverpool ‘fan’ coming in to buy the club. Short-term though, it would help to fill the money hole, and maybe start a new dawn in relations between the fans at derbys.
    And what of our youth talent, any gooduns coming through?
    Thanks again Jim for your great work.

  6. What happens if we continue ‘cheating’ on Rafa? How would the club continue to progress and rebuild the way he wants?

    This article is written by conman from The Red And White Kop Forums – It does not necessarily represent our views and has been edited to suit posting.

    Some people may flirt with others; some people follow through and take that next step. There is a big difference, but both are very harmful to your family and your security. Flirting with other people will make your loved one insecure, feel unwanted, and used. Cheating on that loved one with someone else, bringing a new person into your life will ruin not only a marriage, but a family and possibly a future. Not only will you lose your spouse, but you will lose your house, your kids, the in-laws, many friends, and last but not least, respect.

    So, why am I telling you all this? Has this been posted on the wrong website? No, it hasn’t.

    Some of you have succumbed to peer pressure and in the process, lost your own thoughts. Some of you are hoping we get rid of Rafa Benitez and bring in someone like Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink and even Martin O’Neill. The list continues. If deep down this is what you want, then you are entitled to think this. But should you be saying it out-loud and in doing so making your current love, Rafa, feeling insecure and unwanted? That is the question.

    You can see Rafa is tired of all this constant flirting, moaning, finger pointing and accusations, especially in light of him fighting our corner against the real cancer of this club – the owners. Whether you believe in Rafa or not, there certainly is a case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Rafa’s actions of flirting with Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid is a response to those who hold his future in the palms of their hands. Rafa can walk, he can leave; its quite easy for him to do so, but he is building a destiny here, the owners are not interested in supporting it, the media are not interested in recognising it, and many of you are too blind to see it.

    Rafa could be the one to win us the Premier League, but then again he might never win it, but we have been trying for close to two decades to win it. Many have tried before him, and didn’t get us any closer. The reason you all have such high hopes for us to succeed is Rafa himself. He is the one who gave us all our recent highs. He is the one who made you believe that Liverpool are one of the best clubs in the world. If your expectations have been let down this season because of our terrible run, then its your expectations of Rafa that have been let down, you know he has done better and thus, you also know that he can do better.

    What happens if we cheat on Rafa and go one step further than flirting with someone else? How about if we replace him? What happens to our beloved club? Do we simply sign another manager and win the League? If you believe this, you are a clown. It’s not that simple. If we lose Rafa, its equivalent of cheating on your spouse – all the flack comes with it. You will lose the kids, the house, the in-laws, and your friends.

    If we lose Rafa, we will lose Rodolfo Borrell (U18 coach) and Jose Segura (academy technical manager) from Barcelona, Eduardo Macia (chief scout), Peter Brukne (sports physician) & players like Torres, Mascherano and Reina.

    How many youth players currently play in the Barcelona first team? 7 or 8 is my guess. What if we could have a set up like that!? We certainly have the two men who did it for the Catalan club. Our chieft scout, Macia, has made many well-thought suggestions and you do have to admit that we have been acquiring some great young talent over the past few years – certainly 10 times more than we ever did before. Our new sports physician might stay here, who knows, but it was Rafa that had the cunning to contact him in Australia and snap him up and try to build a medical presence here like we have never had before.

    What about our top players? Will we manage to keep Torres, Masherano and Reina without Rafa? I doubt it. He is the reason they are here. He is the one who brought them here and they wanted to play for him. Sure they love the city, but it wasn’t the city which brought them here. Sure they love us fans, but it wasn’t the fans that brought them here. Why may you ask did they want to play for Rafa? Because they believe in him and they believe they can win trophies with him.

    Basically, if you want to get rid of Rafa, you’re going to get rid of a hell of a lot more than you bargained for. This is a pivotal time in the development of our club. We might be getting some new owners and we need to make sure we are in a better position because of it. Can Rafa do better than this season with a few more quid to spend? Absolutely. We have Rafa’s new technical signings looking to implement their knowledge and allow us to become a better club because of it. If we sack Rafa we pay him £16m, which I assure you would be much better spent on players. Actually, it would be rather ironic that the only substantial money Rafa has received in recent years is the money to get rid of him.

    What about giving Rafa the time to see out his contract or most of it? Will it pay dividends? Sure, it would be cheaper to keep him. If Rafa can grow a club with an average spend of £5.5m a year, then we know he can work on a tight budget. We also know if given some money to splash, he tends to splash it wisely and if he doesn’t, he gets rid immediately. The ex-Barcelona academy members (Borrell and Segura) really do need some time on their side to develop the kids. No point in giving them just a year or two. They sure will need 4-5 years to get the ball rolling and a few more years until we see players regularly coming through.

    Let’s skip back to 1969/70, this season echoes Shankly’s worst season. What if we were to lose Shankly then? Could we have done better the following two decades? Unlikely. But if Shankly was sacked, we might well have lost Paisley, Fagan, Moran and some other of our top players. Let alone have the chance to rebuild the club with some new talented players.

    So the question I want to put to you is this: Have you thought about the concequences of losing Rafa?

    Because I’m sure we won’t take the hit as easy as some would make out.

  7. By the way i did not write this myself, its an artical i found and wanted to share.

  8. @Jim

    Martin Broughton has no say what so ever in the day to day running of the club. When he had his press conference he said all he was there for was to sell the club. The day to day running of the club is down to Ayre and Purslow, and MB has no involvement what so ever in those matters.

  9. What’s the real deal with Purslow, Jim?

    Having established with you a little while ago that Purslow isn’t an RBS employee in a literal sense or otherwise, would it be fair to say there are 3 or 4 disparate groups at the club at the moment – Rafa, Purslow, G&H (and Broughton linked in somehow)? It certainly seems that with the way they are communicating, disparate seems the word to describe the internal runnings of our club at the moment.

    It’s Purslow’s involvement I really don’t get though. It seems mysterious. Is he a fantasist?

  10. I also found this from a Gedo on RAWK (actually taken from a post of his on TLW)

    “Benitez and Purslow had a major bust up a hour before the Madrid game.

    I know Rafa’s not everybody cup of tea on here,but believe me, Purslow is one devious sly little c***.”

  11. At this stage of LFC life whilst waiting for new owners with a decision on a stadium.

    If the choice is 15Mil spent on letting the Manager plus the possible risk of 3 important backroom people going or 15Mil spent on players plus whatever the Manager can raise from selling the also rans, then I would choose to spend the 15Mil on players and leave the decision of the Manager to the new owners and their choice.

    Right now LFC is in a desperate position and the choices it makes must be the right ones for the short term benefit of the club and leave the long term decisions to the new owners.

    I think too much emotion is being generated right now.

Comments are closed.