Mediawatch: Reds on Rafa Special

This weekend has seen the pressure intensify further on Rafa Benitez’s reign as Liverpool manager.

The Reds boss since 2004 has gained support from many corners, including fellow Premier League mangers and some former players. He has also received criticism and calls for him to go from other former Reds.

We’ll attempt to keep this page up-to-date with the latest quotes and comment regarding the manager’s position and future.

In Support of Rafa

Carlo Ancelotti Chelsea manager
“Last year Liverpool were fantastic and they’re capable of being fantastic again and Benitez knows that – he’s a top, top manager. Sometimes it’s a thin dividing line between success and failure. Everybody has those spells, the bad spells. You have to be patient and let him turn it around. When he gets everyone back fit they’re capable of having a terrific run again for sure. Liverpool will always come back strong.”

Jimmy Case Former player
“I think at this moment you have to stick with it and look towards the end of the season and reflect then. I know that everything appears to be falling apart around our ears at the moment, in terms of going out of competitions and it makes it worse with the Reading result. There are fans who will continue to support the manager through thick and thin and I think the majority of Liverpool supporters will do just that. I think we need stability until the end of the season and see what unfolds then.”

Harry Redknapp Spurs manager
“The man’s record is fantastic and he doesn’t need advice off me. I consider Rafa to be one of the best in the world. He has done a fantastic job and he has the quality to continue to do that.”

Peter Beardsley Former player
“If they were to make a change that would be the perfect change. He [Kenny] knows the club inside out. He and Sammy Lee get on like a house on fire so there wouldn’t need to be wholesale changes. But at the moment I wouldn’t do anything.”

John Aldridge Former player
“We can turn the tide, I don’t think to get rid of Rafa now is the answer.”

“Maybe Rafa has lost some confidence within himself because certainly the team has lost confidence and belief – it is there for everyone to see on the pitch. There is perhaps a lack of togetherness on the pitch, if anything.

“But Rafa has got confidence in his own ability. If he didn’t, I’m sure he’d walk away to help the club. I think Rafa has got to do his best with the team and hopefully we’ll get to May, we’ll have secured the fourth place and, who knows, maybe won the Europa League.”

Jason McAteer Former player
“If Rafa Benitez was to go, who is going to come in with the budget restrictions? It is going to be very, very difficult for a top-class manager, which is what Liverpool deserve, to come in and do anything with the budget Liverpool have got.”

“People are blaming Rafa Benitez and a few of the signings but the team hasn’t really changed a lot from last season.

“I don’t think you can blame Rafa Benitez totally; the performance [against Reading] was very disappointing from the fact there was a lack of passion shown but that comes from the players, not the manager.”

Criticising Rafa

Ian St. John Former player
“When we go out and play, and the last week has just emphasised it, we don’t have a style of play. Nobody can say ‘this is how we’re trying to play’ because you cannot see anything.

“It seems to be a case of getting the ball and pass it to whoever is square of you. Against Stoke it was punt it up the park time but the other night against Reading it was just square ball after square ball.

“We don’t have a system that we used to have when Liverpool got the ball and then were all moving and you could see who was playing to who and who went where. You could see the movement and read the game ahead because the players were reading the game ahead.”

“If you’re a fan and you see it week in and week out, you know what’s happening. With this lot you don’t know what’s happening. You don’t know what they’re going to do apart from play it square.

Danny Murphy Former player
“If you ask me has the time for Liverpool come to look for a new manager then I have to say ‘yes’. That is not me slating the guy because he forced me out when I didn’t want to leave the club in the first place. Neither am I saying he is a bad manager. But over the last year or so the club have not moved forwards, in fact they are going backwards.”

Ronnie Whelan Former player
“He should’ve gone a long time ago. They have got to do it now. Liverpool have not been good. They have lost 10 of the last 20 games”

Mark Lawrenson Former player
“If you take Gerrard and Torres out of the Liverpool team then it is ordinary to say the the least. If they spent the season without those two then Liverpool would do well to finish halfway up the table. Obviously a lot of people on the back of last night’s defeat are saying that Rafa should go but I don’t think he will.

“For a lot of people the defeat by Reading has made their mind up but not the inner workings at the club.”

Alan Hansen Former player
“He cannot point to the money he has to spend in the transfer market as an excuse for the situation Liverpool find themselves in. He may not be able to spend big money, but while none of his £5-8 million buys have worked out: you only have to look at Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic at Manchester United to realise that there is a real value within that price bracket.

“All of Liverpool’s present players, with the exception of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, have been brought in by Benítez, so it’s not as though he can claim to have inherited somebody else’s squad.

“One of the biggest mysteries is how Liverpool have gone from being so good last season to so bad now, but it all comes back to the fact that those players on the pitch are Benítez’s players and most of them aren’t good enough and don’t appear to have the heart for it.”