The hysterical reporting on Liverpool Football Club continues in today’s press. The Mail and the Guardian are both running polls asking if the Reds can still win the Premier league or if they are out of the title race. Bookmakers have slashed odds on Benitez becoming the first Premiership manager to be sacked, with Rafa currently positioned second favourite behind Pompey chief Paul Hart.
Newspaper columnists are claiming Rafa is loosing the dressing room. Steve Stammers writing for the Mirror in his article entitled: “After criticising Gerrard and Carragher, Rafa Benitez needs to learn what goes on in the dressing room stays in the dressing room,” says:
“It is one of the oldest maxims in football ‘“ lose the dressing room and you end up losing the battle.” His story is based upon the miss-quoted interview with Benitez following the defeat of Villa when he stated:
“clearly the team has to improve and it depends on the experienced players to take more responsibility.”
As reported here yesterday, this quote has assumed a new life as:
“Benitez blames Gerrard and Carragher for defeat.”
Stammers goes on to say:
“But once such verbal assaults are made in the public arena, it is the start of a slippery slope. Gerrard and Carragher this week ‘“ whose turn will it be after the next Liverpool defeat? That will be going through the minds of the players. Great managers keep their views private and in-house.”
This is one of a number of articles in today’s papers attacking Benitez. Theres an old saying: “damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” and Rafa who has been criticised in the past for protecting his players after defeat, is now being condemned for asking his players to take responsibility.
These stories are being illustrated with pictures of Benitez taken when he is screaming instructions to his players during a match. The photo’s are not complimentary and add to the notion being painted in the story, that Benitez is a man on the edge. One report says “the inquest goes on,” which is a term usually used after criminologists study a corpse. This story also declares: “The clock is ticking for Benitez.” The Reds boss has had a huge amount of unjust flack thrown at him in the past, but after only three games into the new season it appears to have reached a new low. The press practically demanding the sacking of managers is sadly part of the game now and such an action will clearly not be considered by Liverpool Football Club in order to satisfy a salivating press room.
The only real winners if Rafa was sacked would be the press, happy to claim another scalp. The team would fall into unrest, lacking in direction. Benitez would walk into any top coaching job in Europe and Liverpool would have to ostensibly start from scratch again.
Sadly this type of hysterical coverage is likely to continue and the best remedy for team and management desperate to win, is to work harder and try kick start the season. Only then will the critics curtail their written assaults. Liverpool, who alongside Barcelona, where the best team in Europe only a few months back, have not suddenly become the worst team in the Premiership. The Reds boss has not in the space of three months become the 2nd worst coach in the league. The Reds destroyed teams last term, brushing aside huge opponents with relative ease and played some of the best football the fans have seen in nearly 20 years. The team can match and surpass such displays again once they launch their season.