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John Aldridge slaughters Rafa Benitez ahead of Liverpool v Newcastle

4 years ago

John Aldridge has launched an astonishing attack on Rafa Benitez ahead of the Boxing Day match at Anfield.

The former Liverpool striker putting Rafa’s Champions League trophy win simply down to luck.

Aldridge says that Benitez had ‘large slices’ of it on the way to the final in 2005 and then got lucky in Istanbul after picking the ‘wrong team’ against AC Milan.

Well, whatever luck Rafa Benitez has had in his career, it ran out when trusting Mike Ashley and taking the Newcastle job in March 2016.

Believing he was coming to help rebuild a club that had been brought to its knees thanks to lack of investment in the squad and overall disastrous running of the club by Mike Ashley.

Instead, after being supported to put together a Championship winning team in his first transfer window, which also delivered a £40m profit on deals to the owner, the NUFC owner has starved the manager of funds ever since.

So going in to face leaders Liverpool, Rafa has that team he had in the Championship with the addition of a couple of loan signings and the odd bargain addition.

John Aldridge says he is hoping ‘Rafa Benitez does not succeed in his attempt to ruin a game of football at Anfield today.’

The former Tranmere boss accusing the Newcastle boss of ‘deploying a flat back ten’ when losing 2-0 at Anfield in March.

Obviously there are a lot of former Liverpool players trying to make a living in the media and so it is no surprise that somebody like John Aldridge feels the need to go so over the top to get some attention. However, he should stick to talking about Liverpool rather than slaughtering the club’s most successful manager of the last 20+ years.

It is especially laughable when you consider that John Aldridge hasn’t been able to get a job in football management these past 17 years, since leaving Tranmere in March 2001 as he relegated them to the third tier.

It isn’t the case that Rafa Benitez goes ultra negative in every match against the better teams, the game at Old Trafford was proof of that in October.

However, whatever formation he might put out today, the reality is that his players will have to defend pretty much all game, plus the refusal of Mike Ashley to allow any realistic spending on creative and goalscoring players, makes it very difficult/near impossible to threaten much at the other end.

John Aldridge taking to The Herald:

‘Rafael Benitez will get a warm welcome at Anfield this afternoon – and will then proceed trying to bore us all to tears in his effort to ensure his Newcastle team are not on the end of a hammering.

Benitez was Reds manager on a night when he rode his luck after initially picking the wrong team and finding himself 3-0 down at half-time in Istanbul. Yet the history books will forever confirm that the European champions that year were Liverpool.

All winning managers need a stroke or two of good fortune en-route to victory and Benitez certainly had a few large slices during the Champions League run that season, but he is one of the managers who brought the biggest prize in club football to Anfield and, for that, the fans will always be grateful.

Benitez will argue he has no choice other than to park the bus and try to keep the score down at Anfield against the Premier League leaders and believe it or not, I reckon he would be happy to get out of this game with a 2-0 defeat.

He’s working with very limited resources at Newcastle and has done a good job to keep them in the Premier League. But I find the negativity he employs in the games against the top six to be a little over the top.

Liverpool beat Newcastle at Anfield last March despite Benitez deploying a flat back ten in a bid to stop the home side and I remember him telling the media after the 2-0 defeat that he tried to change things and show more ambition when his side fell behind.

Well, I was at that game and all he did when Newcastle were trailing is make changes designed to ensure his team were not overwhelmed – as he sees these kind of games as crucial in protecting his side’s goal difference. A heavy defeat at Anfield could mean Newcastle end up going down by a goal or two on the final day of the season, so Benitez has to do what he feels he needs to in a bid to survive in the Premier League.

It can be frustrating to watch a match featuring just one team trying to win, but I would back Jurgen Klopp’s team to get the job done in what may be a scrappy affair.

Forget the Arsenal and Manchester City games for now and make sure that Liverpool old boy Rafa Benitez does not succeed in his attempt to ruin a game of football at Anfield today.’


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