Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Steven Beacom: Benitez is playing a very dangerous game again

Fine result for Liverpool on Saturday night. They didn’t play at all well at Sunderland but thanks to the class act that is Fernando Torres, they claimed maximum points with a 1-0 victory.

What a strike from the Euro 2008 hero. He really is something else.

Once again though events on the pitch for the Reds were overshadowed by those off it.

Reports on Saturday morning suggested that manager Rafael Benitez was close to quitting over the club’s failure to date to sign Gareth Barry from Aston Villa.

After the victory over Sunderland, the Spaniard denied that, declaring he was 100% committed to the club, but in the same media briefing he had a pop at the board for failing to act quickly enough in the Barry deal.

And this after taking a swipe at chief executive Rick Parry the day before.

The vast majority of Liverpool fans are fully behind Benitez but if he contines to publicly voice his discontent about how the club is being run, he is on dangerous ground.

Just because the fans love you doesn’t guarantee you won’t be sacked - ask Jose Mourinho!

If Rafa stays, he would be advised to keep Xabi Alonso, forget Barry and move for a world class winger.

That’s what Liverpool need.

What the fans and indeed the players don’t need is their manager and board washing more dirty linen in public.

There was too much of that last season when Benitez fell out with the American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

The same scenario this time around would invariably hinder the necessity of challenging for the title this season.

And if that happens, Benitez will soon lose the support of the fans.

Where would he be then?

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