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The Punter: Liverpool boss Rafa still has a way to go in sack race

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Rafael Benitez

Rafael Benitez

Rafael Benitez

Rafa Benitez is taking a lot of flak and there is no let-up in demands for his sacking at Liverpool.

Following the draw at Stoke, and the exit from the FA Cup at the hands of Reading at Anfield, the clamour continues to grow.

But don’t get sucked into the 11-4 being offered by Paddy Power that Rafa will be the next to suffer in the Premier League Sack Race.

West Ham’s Gianfranco Zola was as short at 2-5 but he has now been given a vote of confidence by new owner David Sullivan — whatever that is worth — and is out to 6-4.

But there’s no doubt the point at Aston Villa, gives the Hammers a fighting chance of avoiding relegation and Zola some breathing space.

Best bet for for the next to go is Roberto Mancini at Man City (25-1) as he is unlikely to be kept beyond the summer if City miss out on a top four spot.

Back to Benitez and a look at the facts — something Rafa likes to deal with. His record actually shows him to be the best manager at Liverpool in 20 years.

He is having a very bad season but is that a reason for ditching him? The stats say no.

In a total of 211 Premier League matches under the Spaniard who at one stage was being touted for the Real Madrid job, Liverpool have won 118, drawn 50 and lost 43 with an average points haul per game of 1.91.

In five and a half seasons, the Anfield Reds have been in the top four along Chelsea, Man United and Arsenal and in that time, has reached two Champions League finals — winning one — won the FA Cup and reached a Carling Cup final.

Of course Rafa has made some bad signings — even Sir Alex Ferguson has done that — but he also has not had the rub of the green in several matches while being seriously hampered with injuries to Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and Yossi Benayoun.

But Liverpool are hamstrung by lack of finance to get rid of Benitez even if they want too.

Fans will be hoping that the club will be sold by the summer and a fresh injection of investment will come. If that proves successful, it would pave the way for Jose Mourinho who should be backed to be the next Liverpool boss (7-2). But it would would be unwise to loose total faith in Benitez and Liverpool not finishing fourth. One thing is certain. There is no-one better available at present to justify his removal until at least the end of the season.

Belfast Telegraph