It was a decision that could have finished off Liverpool’s chances of finishing 4th. With Spurs slipping up and Man City winning, surley Liverpool had to win against Birmingham on Sunday to keep the pressure on in the race for 4th place.
If Man City now win their game in hand they will be 7 points clear, with only 5 matches remaining.
The decision taken by Rafa Benitez to sub Torres after 65 mins, had the Liverpool fans booing, skipper Steven Gerrard looking bemused and annoyed, and the man himself, Torres, coming off shaking his head in disbelief.
It showed to me that the senior players have little, or no confidence left in Benitez.
No wonder Torres keeps losing his head, the story that Benitez had to calm him down at half time against Manchester United was ironic, as Benitez is probably the reason why Torres has been so worked up lately. Also, should that not have been kept in house?
Is he also starting to lose the fans? In my experience of following football, the away following are the hardcore fans. They are the ones who see the bigger picture, and tell it as it is. Their booing of the decision to sub Torres was quite telling, and contradicts the generous chanting of Rafa’s name, regularly heard at home matches.
Maybe Sunday was a turning point in the fans feelings towards Rafa.
I actually felt a bit sorry for Benitez during the week. His comments about Aquilani and his sore ankle were probably right, it showed a frustrated man who is being let down by some of his players.
The problem is though, that he signed Aquilani. When the likes of Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson talk about signing a player, they comment about how they look beyond the players talent, they look at what kind of a character he is.
In the case of Aquilani, it would appear Rafa didn’t do his homework too well.
Torres may well have been tired, as he did put in a shift and a half against Benfica on Thursday night. At least he will be fresh for this weeks return leg in the Europa League, he might as well play in the match and get used to this competition, as under Rafa’s guidance he will be playing in it a lot more.