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Liverpool FC: A footballing 'Phoenix' set to rise from the ashes

01-08-2008 04:50 PM CET | Sports

Press release from: Liverpool-Kop

Liverpool FC: A footballing 'Phoenix' set to rise from

The death knell is sounding for Rafael Benitez, and the ominous drums of inevitable fate are banging louder and more frantically with each passing day.

It is increasingly clear that Rafa is on his way out of Liverpool. Reading between the lines over the last few months, it seems obvious that the club is conspiring and scheming behind the scenes, laying the groundwork for the future and preparing for the Spaniard’s exit.

I write this with genuine sadness as I can see, like so many others, that Rafa is a fantastic manager and fantastic man – exactly the type of character Liverpool need and deserve. He embodies everything that a Liverpool Manager should and shares many of the same personal qualities as Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Kenny Dalglish.

Despite his qualities, this season has, so far, been an unmitigated disaster on and off the pitch. Rafa’s perceived faults have been ‘discussed’ to death all over the net, so I won’t explore them here, but it is these faults (and in some cases limitations) that have played a major part in all the negative aspects of Liverpool’s season so far.

Gone are the triumphant cries of ‘Hail the Rafalution!’. Save for the blinkered blind-faith brigade, the relentless optimism that defined the first couple of years of Rafa’s reign has all but disappeared, and the club is in turmoil both on and off the pitch, plagued with public recrimination, transitional uncertainty and maddening inconsistency on the pitch.

Rafa has to take much of the blame for many of the negative things both on and off the pitch. Whether it’s press conference petulance, public warfare with the owners, incessant rotation, formational inconsistency, poor team selection, depressingly negative tactics, persistence with mediocrity, refusal to consistently play the best XI or failure to utilize deserving players, everything negative that could possibly happen this season, has happened.

The only thing negative that *hasn’t* happened is Rafa’s dismissal.

And if this *was* to happen, it would be the worst possible decision imaginable. I am a fervent critic of Rafa, but he does not deserve the ignominy of a mid-season sacking.

This is not the Liverpool way. The club has *never* sacked a Manager in mid-season, even when they deserved it! That’s left to the likes of Newcastle United, who will never understand the concept of Managerial consistency – something which explains why they have never and probably will never win the league.

It’s a well-worn cliché, but sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better. I truly believe that, right now, things are as bad as they are ever going to get under Rafael Benitez.

The same slide into the abyss happened under Gerard Houllier, but the difference is tat with Rafa, I genuinely believe things *can* get better. I never felt that with Houllier, which is why he had to go.

Rafa has the skills and the ability to win Liverpool the league, but he is sabotaging himself with his stubborn refusal to change his managerial philosophy.

People can keep going on about what he did with Valencia, but that is IRRELEVENT now. Liverpool are not in La Liga – the Premiership is massively different to the Spanish League, and Rafa cannot just import the same methods, stick to them stubbornly and hope for the best.

It is clear that whatever Rafa is doing in the league is failing on a grand scale and this needs to change. One thing is certain beyond a shadow of a doubt: The league is beyond reach this season.

As such, Liverpool fans should just write-off the league for this season. Forget about it. Accept the title dream is gone and just deal with it. The mistakes have been made and the club has suffered as a result. There’s no point feeling angry about it. What’s done is done.

There is still so much to play for though, and I for one am excited about the possibility of winning the Champions League again. Of course, this is not how any Liverpool fan wants it to be, but this is the reality.

There is an old Chinese proverb that is especially relevant to Liverpool’s current predicament:

‘A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials’.

In Liverpool’s case, the ‘gem’ is the team and the man who cannot be perfected without trials is obviously Rafa.

Rafa has to learn from this season’s ‘trials’ and come back next season with a different footballing philosophy. Yes – I believe that Rafa should be given one more season, but only if he is willing to address his flaws that have been so painfully apparent this season.

I genuinely hope Hicks and Gillette have some patience and faith, and grant Rafa a second chance for next season. If Rafa learns from this season’s mistakes, then the sky could be the limit for Liverpool.

If, after being give another chance, Rafa persists with his stubbornness and does not make the changes required, then he will have no one but himself to blame when he ends up on the Liverpool scrapheap.

Come on, Rafa! Just swallow your pride and learn from your mistakes! The majority of Liverpool fans want you as the Manager, but you have to earn that loyalty. And to do that, you need to accept that you’ve strayed from the path and led the club in the wrong direction.

Everything is still possible.

Liverpool are like the mythical bird, the Phoenix. At the end of its life-cycle, the Phoenix builds itself a nest and sets itself on fire. Both the nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, regenerated phoenix arises.

Liverpool’s season is burning, but next season, Liverpool and Rafa can be like the Phoenix and rise triumphantly from the ashes.
Critical realism about Liverpool FC

Site -
Contact - Jaimie Kanwar
Email –
Tel - 07779 210994

Liverpool-Kop is a news and opinion portal offering hard-hitting views on Liverpool FC. The site was set up as a rejection of the cliched, sycophantic, biased approach of the mass media when it comes to reporting about LFC.

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