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When New England Sports Ventures finally bought Liverpool in October new owner John W Henry did not have to wait long to understand the enormity of the challenge he faces to turn around the fortunes of England’s most successful club.
Just days after the deal was clinched and a wave of optimism swept through Anfield, Liverpool’s inadequacies on the pitch were laid bare in a 2-0 defeat at Merseyside rivals Everton.
More than two months later manager Roy Hodgson, recruited by the former regime, has managed no semblance of an improvement on the pitch and his call for the Anfield faithful to show his team their “famous support” is likely to be seen as a backhanded compliment at best.
So as the transfer window starts to creak open, the so far quiet Henry will find himself in the spotlight with some important decisions to make.
World, European and Italian champions Inter Milan have been stunned by coach Rafael Benitez’s attack on their lack of ambition.
The Spaniard, after just six months in charge, has called for signings in the January transfer window or else he will speak to his agent about his future.
A lack of fit players, lack of effective training, lack of buys, lack of hunger, lack of Jose Mourinho.
The possible reasons for Inter Milan’s troubles, which leave coach Rafael Benitez clinging to his job, are widespread and not all his fault but the treble winners have to do something to reverse their steady decline.
After months of speculation, Liverpool have confirmed that coach Rafael Benitez has left the club.
Disagreements with the owners and a poor season for the Reds have led to the decision to part company by mutual consent. Do you think it was inevitable?
Madrid-based correspondent Martin Roberts writes:
One anniversary Liverpool fans will not be celebrating this summer will be the 20 years since their side last won a league title, a long wait that not only frustrates supporters but must dent any team’s claim to be more than also-rans.
It must be humiliating for those supporters who can remember when Liverpool had the League trophy ready and waiting if a home win sealed the title – all they had to do was fetch it down from the trophy room and give it a quick polish.
“For 25 years Liverpool were Britain’s most successful and consistent football club. For four of those years we were also the most successful club in Europe. No one has an automatic right to success but you can be sure we will all be doing everything in our power to achieve those levels again. We owe that both to our own supporters and our own history.”
The above quotation* is from the statement released by then Liverpool chairman David Moores following the resignation of Graeme Souness in January, 1994 after an embarrassing defeat to a second division club in a third round FA Cup replay.
After our (rather unsuccessful) attempts to convince you of Raymond Domenech’s appealing qualities, our thoughts turn to that much-maligned manager from Madrid, Rafa Benitez.
Liverpool went out of the Champions League on Tuesday night despite a 1-0 win over Debrecen, as Lyon failed to bite in Fiorentina.
Liverpool hopes of one more great Champions League escape were dashed on Tuesday night, as Fiorentina sealed their place alongside Olympique Lyon with a 1-0 win over the French side, leaving the English team’s 1-0 success against Debrecen irrelevant.
Liverpool, of course, only have themselves to blame for leaving their fate in the hands of a team that had already secured their own qualification.
It seems almost beyond dispute, though, that whenever the Spaniard is unavailable Liverpool look ill equipped to challenge for the title, a situation hardly helped by the sales of Xabi Alonso, Robbie Keane and Alvaro Arbeloa in the past year.
Much has been said and written about the verbal jousting between Rafael Benitez and Alex Ferguson and at the moment the Scot is losing both on and off the field.