It’s rather funny that all the pre-match hype surrounding this fixture has centred on Liverpool and primarily Rafa Benitez’s future at the club.
Sure, we’re on a very poor run of results but nobody from within the club – most fans included – seem in the slightest worried about Benitez’s future.
To me, the attention should be on the man in the opposite dugout this Saturday. But, given that the British media will never critique a fellow Brit but instead prefer to pursue foreign managers, it’s hardly been mentioned in the build-up.
City have 1 win in their last 6 games – against Scunthorpe in the Carling Cup. And have managed to draw against Burnley, Birmingham, Wigan, Fulham and Villa. Hardly the best run of form for a manager who spent over £100m on players this summer. Yet, of course, nothing is said of Mark Hughes’ position or the fact his vastly assembled squad are incapable of keeping a lead against the likes of those above. Last season we were heavily criticised for too many draws, not City though.
Of course, we’re talking about 2 completely different managers. One is a multi-European trophy winning manager with a proven track record and who has nurtured World Class players in the shape of Torres, Mascherano, Alonso, Gerrard and Reina.
The other has won absolutely nothing, except the odd manager of the month award, and has spent millions on players who were already regarded as World Class before they signed. The main difference though is that one’s British making him immune to the pathetic media onslaught. Hughes, along with O’Neill, Redknapp and old Ferguson will never be criticised to the level the likes of Benitez, Avram Grant, Arsene Wenger, Phil Scolari and even Jose Mourinho suffer.
While the media continue to bring up old arguments, which in most cases have been proved false, about Benitez’s track record in the transfer market, not one of them highlight the pretty shocking record Hughes has had in his 2 years at City. Take Nigel De Jong, signed for £16m when he was available for £2.3m 6 months later. Or what about good old Brazilian forward Jo at £18m, played 9 times – not bad, £2m per game. Imagine if Benitez made a signing like that? He’d be crucified. And don’t even get me started on the ridiculous “pursual” of Kaka.
It’s City who should be questioning their manager, not us.