Vlog on the pitch – Drogba gets the last laugh with Benitez

May 1, 2008

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez said Didier Drogba was a diver ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final, but the Ivorian had the last laugh with two goals in Chelsea’s victory.

Vlogonthepitch regulars Owen Wyatt and Jon Bramley are joined by Tony Donovan to discuss Drogba, Avram Grant’s future, Frank Lampard’s courage and the amazing Stamford Bridge atmosphere.

Leave your comments below or make your own video, load it up to youtube or wherever tagged “vlog on the pitch”, and if we like it we’ll put it up here.

NOTE: We fixed a typo in the headline… see the comments.


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Benitez has to leave Liverpool if they want to progress as a club. Benitez lost his head last night and inevitably the match. Firstly he fires up Drogba by slating him in the press, then he doesn’t start Babel, takes off Torres and leaves Crouch on the bench – just plain stupid! After spending £50m Liverpool will end up with no trophies and fourth spot in the league this season, which just ain’t good enough for a club like Liverpool. Benitez has let the club down with silly decisions and his non effective rotation system.

Posted by Luke Goddard | Report as abusive

‘Luke Goddard’ needs to look at the bigger picture – It was Benyoun (in the side for Babel) who created the Torres goal, and Babel (on for Torres) who scored that fire cracker goal which gave Chelsea a scary last five mins. Great tactical selections! Any fan with half a brain cell knows that the individual errors by Riise and Hyppia, and the refereeing decisions (hint of offside for goal three, 1 minute of injury time(??!!)) were the real reasons for defeat – not Rafa.

Posted by Riley | Report as abusive

And great debut from Tony ‘The Don’ Donovan today. Even if he is a Chelsea fan.

Posted by Riley | Report as abusive

Riley is right. Again, Rafa’s tactics in the champion’s league were spot-on. When the going goes bad, it’s all too easy to blame the manager… look how many were sacked this season?

For the record, I am also frustrated with Rafa’s ‘rotation’ etc. But I must look at it from a neutral point of view and weigh in the facts.

First, let’s address the Drogba outburst from Rafa. Rafa is usually reserved with not so flamboyant comments like Mourinho or Ferguson, so why did he suddenly give some strange comments that were out of character? My guess is it was purely tactical for 2 reasons.
1) To psychologically stop drogba from diving. It worked, from what I saw, he dived only once.
2) To take attention away from boardroom struggles and back to football. Sort of sacrificing himself, getting himself mangled by the press instead of Liverpool FC. Again, it worked. Scant mention of warring owners in the press.

Of course it was a gamble, pumping up Drogba to put up a great performance. Chelsea played with more conviction, the better team won.

Next, addressing to all Liverpool fans calling for Rafa to go. You are not seeing the big picture. It has been proven in Man-U and Arsenal that given time, a manager will deliver the goods, more so a manager with the pedigree of Rafa. Liverpool’s youth team is doing well, reserve team is doing well, senior team is doing decently with a few good buys, EPL points gap has been cut from 20pts to 11pts. Is there improvement? Or are you looking for computer game football manager-like improvement? Maybe with DIC’s billions we might do it, just like how Mourinho did with Abramovich’s money.

Who is available and can replace Rafa and not rock the boat?? Mind you, be prepared to lose Reina and have Torres, Maschareno etc performances to drop for 1-2 seasons. Ranieri? Mourinho? Rijkaard?

All these cries for Rafa to go but no constructive suggestions on who might be a better manager? Believe me, if there’s a better manager who’s available out there, I’m all for it, but there’s none.

Rafa should and MUST stay for at least 1 more season. The boat has already been rocked to the point of capsizing with the shennenigans from the boardroom. If Rafa goes, the boat will sink and from fighting for a champions league spot, we will be fighting for even a chance to play in Europe. Kudos to the footballers and manager for soldiering on and producing decent improvement. Step by step, sort out the boardroom first then there will be finances and stability to sort out the football.

Posted by Five Times | Report as abusive

Who’s Droga???

Posted by Didier Drogba | Report as abusive

That’s what I was thinking. I thought it might be a clever nickname. I think I’ll fix the headline on the assumption that it’s not. Thanks, Didier…

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

The only reason Chelsea are facing Man Utd in Moscow and not Liverpool is because Skrtel went off injured. Over the two legs Skrtel had Drogba in his pocket. So much so that Drogba dived constantly in the first leg because he could not get the better of Skrtel, hence Rafa’s outburst and annoyance. In the second leg Drogba again was getting no joy UNTIL he injured Skrtel. Within 10 mins of Skrtel going off Drogba got the space and time to score, something he would have been denied if Skrtel had been able to carry on. We were purely unlucky! In the first leg again an injury cost us dearly. Riise who hasn’t played well for ages had to come on for an injured Aurelio. He would have no problem clearing that dangerous ball with his right foot. I totally agree with Riley, I only differ to say that I would keep Benitez for at least another 5 years, if we haven’t won the Premiership by then that perhaps look for someone else. It would be a disaster to continually chop and change managers. Look what happened to Man Utd in the 70s, they had a succession of managers and ended up getting relegated. Consistency of management is essential if Liverpool are to win the Premiership again. Rafa is not far short of a team to beat the best in England and Europe. Believe!!!

Posted by Stevie G | Report as abusive