Gerrard getting restless is bad news for Benitez

February 29, 2008

Gerrard in trainingLiverpool’s Steven Gerrard just made life worse for manager Rafa Benitez. The club captain and England midfielder recently aired his frustrations at the team’s inability to challenge for the Premier League and in doing so may just have burst Benitez’s bubble.  

Up until now the Liverpool manager might not think it, but he has been a lucky man. It’s true the Spaniard lives with endless media debates over his future, his team are 17 points behind league leaders Arsenal and his club faces uncertainty over its ownership but he has been able to count on unwavering support of the fans.

This may seem a simple statement, but in football it is quite the novelty. Clubs with far lesser ambitions consistently lack patience, often crumbling to supporter pressure. Anybody remember Paul Sturrock? You would be forgiven for having missed his 13-game stint as manager of Southampton back in 2004. More recently Lawrie Sanchez arrived at Fulham in April 2007 only to be sacked in December the same year. Sam Allardyce was shown the door after eight months in charge of Newcastle United.

So why has the former Valencia man enjoyed such a state of grace? Benitez joined the Reds in 2004 and yet almost four years on his expensively assembled squad are no closer to making an impact on the competition the club and fans wants most: the Premier League.

The simple answer is the night in 2005 when Liverpool became European champions for the fifth time but Gerrard expects more and the captain’s comments may test the fans’ resolve for sticking by Benitez.

Benitez is clever man — just look at the political skill of his comments saying he shared Gerrard’s frustration — but the trophy cabinet gathers dust nonetheless.

What do you think? Could Gerrard’s comments signal the end for Benitez? Or do you expect him to back at Anfield preparing for another shot at the title next season? Let us know in the comments.

PHOTO: Gerrard stretches during training at Anfield. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez


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All I know is that at the end of last season, I thought liverpool would be first or second in the league..

Posted by clement | Report as abusive

Clement, I think everyone expected them to be top two or three — certainly not scrapping it out with everton and man city for fourth.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

The problem no is Stevie G is not as dynamic as he might have seemed a few years back. Dont get me wrong he is a a good player but for liverpool to compete they need a world class midfielder, one who has two feet, to build the team around. He is holding the team back. Liverpools game centers too much on him being the hero, big mistake.

Posted by bill | Report as abusive

Stevie G is not as dynamic? You dreaming Bill? He is the only player in England team who plays as if he is fighting for his life (may be along with Terry)..

Posted by GunnerForever | Report as abusive

stevie is a good player, everybody knows that. the thing is, he doesn’t have a partner in midfield with the same quality. alonso is still struggling following his injury and mascherano, well, is not that good. he can’t pass the ball right. the champions league title 3 years ago is a curse. after that night in istanbul, people expect more from rafa and put too much pressure on him. let’s face it, liverpool squad is not the best in england now. they don’t have world class defender beside carragher (while mu do have ferdinand and vidic, chelsea with terry and carvalho). liverpool wingers are also mediocre players. we can’t compare them to ronaldo or nani.

Posted by european football blog | Report as abusive