Alan Hansen joined the likes of Andy Gray, Richard Keys, various former Liverpool players and almost the whole of the national media when he joined the ‘Rafa rotated Torres too much’ brigade.
Hansen let himself down when he said on Match of the Day about how Benitez was wrong to have rested Torres so much earlier in the season. Mind, firstly it would be an odd statement if true as surely he being rested earlier in the season is now proving worthwhile with the impressive form Torres is now in?
But, the problem is, it’s not true – despite Sky Sports doing their best to enforce the myth before and after the Inter match last week. Thankfully one or two football writers have picked up on the fact that Torres has not been rested for a single league or European match since September (unlike Rooney or Ronaldo at Man United). The only matches he has missed being due to the adductor injury he picked up when on good old international duty with Spain.
Dion Fanning in the Irish Independent compares the case of Torres and Rooney:
Manchester United have lost more league matches than Liverpool this season and Rooney has missed every one of them, usually rested. Torres, who if Sky are to be believed is glimpsed as frequently as the Aurora Borealis, has played five games more than Rooney this season, but Benitez is the man who has to answer questions about rotation.
The huge media bias against Liverpool and Benitez in particular is getting rather ridiculous of late. Take the post-Inter reaction how we were ‘lucky’ to get through courtesy of two controversial red cards; no praise for the fact we outplayed the competition’s favourites to win the trophy before it started, Italy’s current champions and runaway leaders.
Yet the week before the whole country eulogised over Arsenal winning in the San Siro against AC Milan. This was of course a severely ageing Milan side who where there for the taking. In fact, Gary Linekar was still creaming in his pants on Saturday night when he told how Arsenal had only won in the San Siro in the week – no Gary, that was last week, we we’re the ones who won in the San Siro this week.
Add to that the continually deteriorating coverage on Soccer Saturday with Jeff Stelling and the gang finding it appropiate to take the piss and laugh at Phil Thompson everytime Liverpool concede a goal, almost itching to say the word Barnsley or again bring up the Torres rotation myth. Matt Le Tissier wasn’t smiling to much after the player they’d all criticised scored a stunning equaliser – ‘he’s not worth 18m because he can’t change a game’ they said – even less so when Le Tissier’s beloved Saints had just lost 5-0 at Hull. I hope Thommo was laughing then.
It’s about time these crap pundits were ditched by Sky and co. but in this growing media age that is hugely unlikely. Maybe we could ask them just to get their facts right but that’s probably less likely so ignore the myths and stick to the facts.