Liverpool FC: Rafael Benitez Seeks an Answer

Jonathan ManleyCorrespondent IOctober 9, 2007

IconThe current international break could be just what the doctor ordered for Liverpool.

Rafael Benitez must use the time off to decipher his team—and find the strongest lineup from the vast array of talent at his disposal.

Arsenal's consistent form and Manchester United's improved play mean that dropping points early in the season could prove fatal come year's end.

Rafa's rotation strategies have proved unwise to this point. To challenge for league honours, Liverpool need to settle on a consistent first 11.

Perhaps the two-week break will allow Rafa to do just that.  Or perhaps he'll stubbornly continue to do stick with the ineffective status quo.

Thinking optimistically, Daniel Agger is on the mend and could return to face Everton next Saturday. Agger and a rested Jamie Carragher could reinforce the central defense—a trouble spot of late—when EPL action resumes.

Up front, Rafa would do well to stick with the combination of Kuyt and Torres while letting the likes of Leto and Aurelio gain experience away from the demands of the Premier League.

Steven Gerrard, meanwhile, needs to emerge from England duty fit and confident. Ryan Babel could well introduce some badly-needed pace to the club—whilst still coming to grips with English football, Babel has shown flashes of brilliance.

As it stands, murmurs of discontent haunt Anfield. While most fans aren't calling for their manager's head, they do expect vast improvements sooner rather than later.

Could this short break in the schedule be a spark for re-ignition?

For Rafa's sake if no one else's, let's hope the answer is yes.