Is Rafael Benitez's Time at Anfield Nearing Its End?

Salaar Shamsi@SalaarizationSenior Writer IMay 2, 2010

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 22:  Rafael Benitez manager of Liverpool checks his watch during the UEFA Europa League Semi Final first leg match between Atletico Madrid and Liverpool at the Vicente Calderon Stadium on April 22, 2010 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Dumped out of the UEFA Champions League, knocked out of the Europa League, struggling to hold on to even fourth place in the Premier League: To say that this has been a disappointing season for Liverpool would be an understatement.

An away defeat to Spurs on the opening day of the season wasn't the start the Reds would have hoped for. They started off as title contenders, but even before Christmas it appeared as if their season was beginning to fall apart.

Not surprisingly, Rafa Benitez has been heavily criticized for Liverpool's pathetic performances, and the regular absence of injury-prone star striker Fernando Torres hasn't helped matters much for the Merseysiders.

Benitez, who guided the Reds to a miraculous Champions League final victory against AC Milan in 2005, has been heavily linked with a move away from the Anfield club, with Juventus being tipped as his most likely destination.

The former Valencia coach is quickly losing supporters amongst the Anfield faithful, and reports suggest he has already fallen out with the owners.

However, Benitez has again refused to commit his future to Liverpool amid mounting speculation that his reign at Anfield could end.

Benitez watched his side suffer a 2-0 home defeat by Chelsea on Sunday to finally extinguish any lingering hopes they had of achieving the fourth-place finish which was "guaranteed" by the Spaniard earlier in the season.

The Reds have endured a dismal campaign by their own high standards, with Thursday's Europa League semifinal exit at the hands of Atletico Madrid cutting off their final route to possible silverware in the continent's second-tier competition.

Benitez, who has completed just 12 months of the five-year deal he signed in 2009, has refused to answer any questions regarding his future with the club.

"Now we have to talk about the game, it is better than to be talking about the speculation."

"I understand really well [concerns over his future], but the speculation is something we cannot control. So we have to talk about the games, the football and what happened today on the pitch."

It’s appears to me as if Rafa Benitez’s time with Liverpool is up, and if it happens, it might just be exactly what they need. A change in the system could be the answer to Liverpool’s woes.

Do you think Rafa Benitez will still be at Anfield next season?


(quotes courtesy of Sky Sports)



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