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Rafa: I asked for a table and they brought me a lampshade

That was Rafael Benitez’s famous quote in reference to players he wanted to sign when in charge of Valencia, who he led to unprecedented success in Spain.

Shortly after that comment he left for Liverpool.

Less than five years on, the situation at Anfield seems remarkably similar with Benitez demanding total control over the club’s transfer policy before signing a new contract. Rafa is hugely popular with Liverpool fans and he does play on that.

It’s a dangerous game because these days in football one bad week can change opinions. This week could be the most crucial of Benitez’s Liverpool career when an in form Everton visit Anfield in the league and FA Cup.

Benitez needs to inspire Liverpool to win both games. If not, supporters will ask questions and his negotiating position becomes a whole lot weaker. Don't be surprised if Rafa is NOT the Liverpool manager next season and ends up at Real Madrid, although there's more chance of him beating Sir Alex Ferguson at mind games than gaining control of the transfer policy at the Bernabeu!

Belfast Telegraph