It was yet another cautious decision by Rafa Benitez that could have finished off Liverpool’s chances of finishing 4th.
With Spurs slipping up and Man City winning, surely Liverpool had to win against Birmingham on Sunday to keep the pressure on in the race for 4th place.
The decision taken by Rafa Benitez to sub Torres after 65 mins, had the Liverpool fans booing. Skipper Steven Gerrard looked bemused and annoyed. And the man himself, Torres, came off shaking his head in disbelief.
Rafa Benitez just can’t help being cautious
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, 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.
It is possible Torres was tired, he put in a major shift and a half against Benfica on Thursday night.
At least he will be fresh for this week’s 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.