With Brendan Rodgers struggling at Anfield at the moment and Rafael Benitez pining for a move back to Merseyside, the media have put two and two together to come with stories of the Spaniard returning to Liverpool. Although it looks like the outcome of this sum may indeed be five rather than four, there are some reasons that this ‘managerial swap’ would make sense for the Kop side.
After all, Benitez is a hero among sections of the club’s supporters, while Rodgers has failed to win over some, despite the rollercoaster that was last season. Although a little unlikely, here are FIVE reasons an emotional comeback for ‘Rafa’ may make sense…
Despite his reign having ended in disappointment, Benitez is very much loved on Merseyside. The Spaniard brought the ‘glory days’ back to Anfield after a period of decline at the club had seen them slide some way from European glory and title challenges. The 2008/09 season was, arguably, the peak, with the double act of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, at the time, one of the best attacking pairs around.
Kopites still have fond memories of ‘Rafa’, as some have been illustrating in Twitter…
Would Love Rafa benitez Back At #LFC ..Such A genius Coach And Knows How to build Strong Defence
— Bad News Gift (@Bad_News_Gift) November 18, 2014
It amuses me when people compare Rodgers to Benitez. One’s a winner, the other has never won anything. That’s the way it’ll stay…
— Sir Bob (@BobtheRed1) November 18, 2014
Benitez coming back? Would fancy it, but think Rodgers needs time tho. If we fail to qualify to go to UCL’s knockout then bye Brendan…
— Pedro Henrique (@hnrqpdr) November 18, 2014
The Champions League success of 2005 is, for many Liverpool fans, the best night in the club’s history. A true underdog story, the Reds trailed AC Milan… hang on, everyone knows what happened! The Istanbul night has spawned movies, books, and rambling tales between friends, and is widely hailed as the best final in the history of the competition. Repeating such a feat would be almost impossible now, but with Benitez at the helm there is much more chance of doing so than there is with Rodgers – whose ‘attack at all costs’ mentality has already proven t be a little naïve this season.
One of the big criticisms aimed at Rodgers is his use of the transfer market. Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge aside, the Kop boss’ exploits during the windows he’s been in charge have been disappointing, with vast sums having been blown on players not quite up to the level needed. His first signing, Fabio Borini, rather set the tone, while the likes of Lazar Markovic and Dejan Lovren also appear off the pace in his fluid, attacking set-up.
Benitez made some mistakes, but when money was spent – Fernando Torres, Javier Mascherano & Xabi Alonso – top class players were secured.
Leading on from the last point, Benitez’s Liverpool were a different animal to that they are under Rodgers. We’ll compare the managers’ two best seasons to get an idea, starting with the Northern Irishman’s 2013/14 campaign. Okay 100+ goals was spectacular, but leaking 50 at the back ultimately cost them a first ever title. In Benitez’s best campaign – 2008/09 – the Anfielders let in only 27… just over half. Second place was the result each time, but Rodgers’ penchant for forward thinking football has been a problem this term.
Okay, Steven Gerrard was at his peak under Benitez, but the Spaniard really did know how to get the best from his skipper. The Merseyside idol was virtually unplayable through the mid to late 2000s, with his heroics securing points and silverware while cementing him as one of the club’s all-time heroes. Rodgers is finding it difficult to get anything from his ageing captain right now, so maybe a gaffer familiar with ‘Stevie G’ may have a trick up his sleeve? Just an idea.