Rafa: Torres doubtful. Hicks: I’m going to meddle more

Despite assurances from the Spanish team doctor that Fernando Torres’ injury was “not of major importance” and Torres himself saying, “I intend to play on Sunday,” Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez now says the Spanish striker looks very doubtful for the clash with Chelsea.

The international breaks have never been welcomed by Rafael Benitez, who despises the way that he often gets literally just a few hours to prepare his team for their next match. This weekend at least the game falls on a Sunday, rather than the usual lunchtime Saturday kick-offs we’ve grown accustomed to. As well as the Torres injury, Javier Mascherano’s return from international duty won’t be until tomorrow as Argentina’s friendly with Guatemala doesn’t kick-off until later today.

Rafa says it’s wrong to hold international friendlies in the middle of the season like this: “We have lost Torres and Mascherano is not back until tomorrow. I don’t think it is fair. I think Mascherano will be okay for Sunday but we will have to see.”

Maybe Rafa was fearing the worst rather than speaking from information received, but he seemed sure “The Kid” would be missing for the important game: “The news we have on Torres is that it is a hamstring injury. I need to talk to the doctor but I think he will miss this game. Normally it is a week when a player goes off like this. It is a big problem for us.”

The doubts over Torres and Mascherano are there alongside the absences of injured defenders Daniel Agger, Alvaro Arbeloa and Fabio Aurelio, injured forward Andriy Voronin, and suspended midfielder Xabi Alonso.

That’s not the only bad news. Off the field Tom Hicks has been trying to get fans worried that he’s planning to get more involved in the club’s day-to-day affairs. We’ve seen how bad things get when he tries that – witness the start-to-finish mess he made when he approached Jurgen Klinsmann for the manager’s job, offered him the job, got turned down by Klinsmann and then publicly admitted he’d done it, undermining the manager yet further. He revealed stadium plans, then checked to see if he could afford them, and realised he couldn’t. He fought to get refinancing of his underhand purchase of the club – and nearly ran out of time after struggling for four months to be taken seriously. He promised Rafa extra transfer funds – then went back on that and gave him nothing. He now claims he supports Rafa, even using a January transfer to prove it. But he neglected to point out that Liverpool’s sales in that transfer window outweighed the purchases.

With all that in mind, it’s hoped his latest outburst about the club is as false or misleading as most of his past statements were. He claimed: “I’m anticipating a more active role in Liverpool. I really don’t want to comment any more at this point.”

With DIC’s resolve said to be stronger than ever to buy the Texan and his mate out, it might all be bluster from the man who blamed the papers for making up the stories he was planning to sack Rafa, just before he admitted that it was true after all.

He was speaking from his Texas Rangers baseball franchise, in Arlington, Texas. Fans of the Rangers have seen Hicks’ lack of interest in turning them into a winning side, but in the main have been quite apathetic and just let him get away with it. But signs are there that anger from fans is bubbling under the surface, and having seen the protests from the passionate Liverpool fans they’re now considering getting on Hicks’ back more themselves.

If Hicks (and George Gillett before he disappeared) had supported Rafa as promised in the transfer market last summer and this winter, perhaps the worries about Torres would be less severe. Instead of buying a number of top-class players we bought one. Our net spend under the new owners is said to be £15m, much less than the money coming in from the Champions League run last season.

Hicks may be planning a more active role, and may well be involving his son Tommy Junior in that, but he’ll be far from comfortable should he decided to show his face at a game. He’s unwanted, disliked and despised.

But his ego needs a polish, and he’ll see this as a little challenge, thinking he’ll be able to pacify the restless natives.

9 thoughts on “Rafa: Torres doubtful. Hicks: I’m going to meddle more”

  1. Interesting, his actual words give little away. Lets hope his actual involvement is directly negotiating with DIC. Other possibilities: Gillett is selling out to Hicks or maybe we will see heads rolling or resigning and Hicks’ men coming in?

  2. Gillette selling out to HIcks please don’t give me anymore sleepless nights……..LFc only hope is Gillete decides to sell..Hicks can’t raise cash (as he is obliged to offer to sell to hicks first) and then DIC to buy out Gillette. Hicks position impotent.

    I know it was only a thought but g selling H what nightmare

  3. Agree. The worst of all possible outcomes. The pressure on Hicks needs to be kept up via Sons of Shankly and all the fans forums (fora?) He made this latest statement after being pressed by US based journalists and our campaign seems to be energising fans of his US teams into dissent. Hes no doubt pugnacious but sooner or later may decide he doesn’t need all this grief.

  4. I concur generally with both comments above. However I’m not at all convinced that Hicks isn’t dead serious about playing a more active role. The man just has no f**king idea what we think of him.

    I keep hearing that some treacherous a**ehole called Ian Ayre who was recently appointed as the Club’s commercial director (but is just a lackey to Hicks) is constantly briefing Hicks that the fans’ anger will die down and that he will be able to ride out the storm and then press ahead with his original plan of loading more debt onto the club. I understand Hicks already is planning to bring in his own son and promote Ayre while getting rid of Parry and Moores.

    Hicks’s apparently was none too happy with Moores and Parry for making it hard for him to complete the refinancing. They did this by reminding him of his promise not to load his takeover debt onto the club and making him structure differently from the way Hicks wanted. Although Parry and Moores’s efforts made little practical difference (as the club will still pay have to repay all of the interest and principal on Hicks’s loans) they were very inconvenient for Hicks who was hoping to load up the Club w/o anyone noticing.

    Am I the only one who sees parallels between Bush attitude to Iraq and Hicks’s attitude to Liverpool FC??

  5. Don’t think Bush wants to make a “financial” killing in Iraq, that’s the only difference. Also with such an interest burden on the club I don’t see any possibility of any principal being repaid whilst these two are in control.

  6. Hick’s is semi retarded,and really spiteful.He’s quite like donald trump freaking out on rosy o’donnel and every bit as ugly.He doesn’t care who he pisses of any more because the worst he can do is make a lot of money,now that his foot is in the door.Mr. hickabilly kiss my grits.

  7. That’s just where you’re wrong John and Anfielder is right. The people who put Bush in office were oil and energy industry men from Texas and the likes of Enron and Halliburton who have definitely made a huge financial killing out of Iraq. Although I have no information that Hicks is an oil man his motto is substantially the same (ie. “capitalism without conscience.”)

    Anywho we digress. The point is that the thought of a dumb, ignorant, stubborn, meathead from Texas sending our club down the same path as Leeds is one that makes me sick to my stomach, especially when there were, and still are, suitors of genuine substance out there who could do exactly what Hicks promised to do but never intended to do.

    Incidentally John you make a good point about the principal. Everyone keeps talking about the huge interest payments but how the f**k is the club ever going to repay Hicks’s principal debt of £350mil (and rising) within the term. Hicks’s sums just do not add up !!!

  8. Hicks actually used to raise money for Bush – how about that!

    Let’s keep up the pressure and not fall for any lies.

  9. Tom Hicks cares not a jot about anything we say , unless it hits his bottom line.

    He knows that if we want him out, and DIC supports that goal, the laws of supply and demand means his price for the club keeps going up and up.

    So we must keep ‘walking on’ together and showing him that his bottom-line will suffer and ‘Sons of Shankly’, this website and others have articulated how we do that.

    If I’m allowed a slight diversion, some of you may have heard McManaman’s inaccurate comments about our club and its finances last week.

    Now, I read, he’s potentially to join the Board of Birmingham City FC. I hope his maths improves or else their supporters will suffer as much as we are!

    Keep the faith. Keep Rafa. And let’s get Hicks out!

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