With a daunting summer ahead of myself and other Liverpool FC supporters, I reflect.
You see, I have to reflect because I’m far too stubborn and optimistic when it comes to my Reds. My reflection, on the other hand, will tell me straight up, and that handsome guy staring back at me is telling me Benitez is out, and not just him.
At this point, not even Pepe Reina could save Benitez. See what I did there? Rafa had a train wreck of a year. After falling two points short of that long awaited EPL title last year, he quickly found himself trying to keep his head above water when his main goal became securing a spot in the Champion’s League.
Three positions later, he finished up the season in seventh position, the club’s worst finish since 1999. Even worse, the Red’s coach couldn’t help but be red-faced after he calmly and consistently guaranteed a fourth place finish when things were looking grim.
And for me, that’s not even the sealer. I really see him going out the door because he looked bored on the sidelines in the second half of the season. If he weren’t sitting across from Sir Alex, Ancelotti, Wenger, Mancini or Moyes, he looked bored – like he wouldn’t give two shits about the result if it didn’t have an effect on his job.
It doesn’t help that he’s linked with a new job every week. Since late 2009 reports have seen him linked to Juventus, and since Real Madrid and Inter Milan’s names have come up. It looks very plausible that Jose Mourinho will end up taking over the disappointing Real (which is why the Inter spot is rumored to be open), but that still leaves the Juve spot.
Will it comes down to finances? Possibly. Having lost some 54 million this season and already staring down another 350 million in debt, LFC may not be able to afford a new coach. But if Benitez walks away rather than waiting on the axe to fall, we could see a new man sitting in Anfield’s throne.
I’d just hope Benitez has the decency to walk away. I’m sure he almost knows for sure where he’ll be next year, and knowing the financial state of the club, and if he has any more care for its wellbeing, surely he’d walk away and not force LFC to pay him the rest of the contract if they’re forced to fire him.
I like Benitez – always have. I like having a Spaniard over on the sideline in a league managed mainly by a gang of United Kingdomers and Italians. I like his gestures. He has particular favorite of mine where he extends an arm toward the pitch and seems to be stirring some sort of stew with four fingers. I like that he’s always scribbling notes. I mean, for all I know they say “I hope I can make it home to catch the new ‘Inbetweeners’” or “Rafa, I bet you we concede a stoppage time goal… I’m not taking that one,” but I still like that quality in him. Heck, I even like his goatee.
Where does that leave me? I’m not really sure how I feel about it. Why am I writing this then? That’s a fair question – I suppose it’s a way of airing my concerns and venting a bit. I think this is where I lie: Even though on many occasion I’ve looked into ordering an “In Rafa We Trust” T-shirt, I wouldn’t hate seeing Mr. Benitez leaving Anfield. It’d be a bittersweet departure, but I’d wish his the best with the next club he manages.
For me, I just think the Reds are in need of a radical change, and the best place to do that is in the manager’s seat, because I don’t want to see any of our boys leaving – which I’ll get to next time around.
Until next time, crack yourself a Carlsberg.
(PS – A long overdue revision to previous Kop Talk: “It’s Easy Being a Liverpool Fan” is in order. Remember when Yossi Benayoun’s goal was disallowed at Atlético Madrid when he was ruled offside on an undeniably incorrect call? I most certainly do. I don’t know which reason is more responsible for me remembering. Was it because I immediately jotted the incident down knowing its significance, or because that moment still wakes me in the middle of the night in a cold sweat? Whichever, that blatantly awful call kept us out of the Europa League final – a shot at a piece of silverware that could have changed the look of next year’s squad more than we’ll never know. Yep, it’s easy all right.)