Real Madrid 0-1 Liverpool: Paving Over The Cracks
In ordinary circumstances, a win at the Bernabeu for an English team would make every back page in the country. Liverpool's 1-0 win against the Kings of Europe tonight was a historic one, and one that stands them in good stead for the second leg.
However, the headlines will inevitably be about the ongoing and seemingly never-ending Rafa Benitez saga. Earlier today it was reported that bookies had stopped taking bets on Benitez leaving Liverpool after a sudden influx.
It was rumoured that the Real Madrid board would be using tonight's match as a test to see whether Benitez would be suitable for a role at the famous club.
But why would Benitez leave? He currently manages a team sitting second in the table, and looking likely to head into the quarter finals of the Champions League. It is a team that has improved significantly every year Benitez has been at the helm.
There is just one reason: the Liverpool board.
For some reason unbeknownst to the fans, they aren't giving Benitez what he wants in his contract. One of the major talking points is the freedom of transfers. Well, the proof is in the pudding.
Let's look at a small sample of the list of players Benitez has tried to get in his time at Liverpool, but hasn't been able to due to lack of support from the board:
- Cristiano Ronaldo - Now officially the best player in the world.
- Nemanja Vidic - One of the best defenders in the world and widely regarded as the main reason for United's continued defensive success.
- Gonzalo Higuain - A player who has highly impressed since joining Real Madrid.
- Gareth Barry - Imperative part of the Aston Villa side who look like qualifying for the Champions League next season.
Now, I'm not one who usually comes out and complains about the board, as we don't know what is going on behind the scenes. A lot of the time, all we know is what is reported by the media, who usually get half the story (if they're lucky) and then make up the rest.
But if the rumours are true, and Benitez has been forced to the brink of resignation, then they are clearly in the wrong.
If they can't see the progress he has made then they shouldn't be involved in football. I get the sense they have been trying to get rid of him for quite a while, stretching all the way back to the Jurgen Klinsmann affair.
Personally, I think all Liverpool need is another goal-scorer. Another match-winner. I completely disagree when people say Liverpool are a two-man team, but we do only have two players who are likely to come up with something special, whereas the likes of Manchester United have at least four or five.
We are clearly hard to beat, as just one league loss this season shows, but our main problem is not being able to turn draws into wins.
Give Rafa his desired contract, and give him £25 million or so to buy a world-class striker. I don't care who, in fact, I'd even disregard Ruud van Nistelrooy's past and welcome him with open arms.
Just do whatever it takes so, after Liverpool beat Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, we are talking about the famous events on the pitch, not the infamous events off it.
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