columnist Rob Facey wonders whether getting rid of wantaway
stars, such as Yossi Benayoun and Jermain Pennant, is the best way for Benitez
to raise funds in order for Liverpool to sustain their title challenge?
Yossi Benayoun is the latest player to warn Rafa Benitez
that he will look to leave Anfield if he does not feature in the Spaniard's
long term first team plans.
The Israeli midfielder, signed from West Ham for £6m, has
finally spoken out of his frustration at being a fringe player, who is often
played out of position, just a month or so before the January transfer window
"If the situation remains the same over the next
few months, and I'm not getting more time in the middle, I will not want to
continue as a Liverpool player," Benayoun said, as reported in The
Man City have expressed an interest, as have Spartak Moscow
and Ajax, and the tight financial situation at Anfield is well known; if
Benitez wants to buy anybody in the future, he will need to sell first.
Martin O'Neill is already bracing himself for another
Liverpool bid for England midfielder Gareth Barry, but it is this sort of
competition that Benayoun is wary of as he looks to re-establish himself as a
first team regular.
"I hope it changes for me, because I want to stay
and prove myself, but it won't be easy," he continued.
"There seems to be more competition for places
this time, and if I continue to be on the sidelines, I would not want to stay,
even though it is Liverpool."
But is this a
dangerous tactic by Benayoun?
Benitez is not
one to suffer fools gladly and is not opposed to selling fans favourites (Peter Crouch, anyone?) in order to fund
his latest purchase.
As far as the
manager is concerned, he knows that any signings in January could be the difference
between keeping pace with Chelsea at the top of the league and falling by the
gather the Anfield deadwood – starting with Benayoun and Pennant – and use the
money gained from these transfers to add more strength to his squad?
The weak second
string available to him was horribly exposed at White Hart Lane in the League
Cup last week, so having strength in reserve is paramount for the club's
So are these
fringe players, who keep highlighting their unhappiness in an attempt to force
themselves into the first team, simply unwittingly booking themselves a one way
ticket out of Liverpool?
Who else can be sold
by Benitez? Where are the reinforcements most needed and, more importantly,
where will they come from?