Rafa Benitez explains how Hicks & Gillett halted his dream team

23 March 2012

Former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has explained how a lack of funds prevented the development of his squad in 2009, under the ownership of Tom Hicks and George Gillett.


Speaking to Sports Illustrated magazine, Benitez revealed how he had intended to sign Fiorentina attacker Stevan Jovetic.

“My idea was to play Mascherano, Lucas, Gerrard, Aquilani – two of these four players in the middle and Jovetic between the lines, but we didn’t have the money.”

Jovetic went on to score twice against Benitez’s side in the Champions League just a month later, while Xabi Alonso left for Real Madrid and Alberto Aquilani never fitted in.

Another one that got away was Brazilian Daniel Alves – who was at the time at Sevilla and now of course is a key part of Barcelona’s attacking side.

“Daniel Alves was our first option on the right side,” he told the magazine.

“The problem that we had was that I had to decide to bring Alves as a winger when he was an offensive full-back.

“It was a difficult decision as we had money at the time for only just one striker or a winger/full-back.

“We signed a striker – the striker was Kuyt, who to be fair has turned out to be a fantastic contributor to the club.”

Benitez’s team of 2009 finished second in the League, with Fernando Torres on form. The next season they finished seventh in a disappointing campaign that saw Benitez leave the club within weeks of the season ending. Six months later Hicks and Gillett left the club.

The interview was in Sports Illustrated.

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