Albert Riera’s astonishing attack on Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez seems to confirm what a lot of us have thought for a long time.
While I except that Riera is obviously a frustrated and annoyed player at the moment as he is not playing, some of the criticism goes beyond the usual ‘the manager should pick me because I’m great and I’ve a big ego’ rhetoric we are used to hearing.
Riera gives an insight into life behind the scenes with Rafa. In claiming that Rafa “has never sorted out a situation with a player by talking to him” and that “his dialogue with the players is practically nil,” Riera is basically saying that Benitez has no man-management skills, something I’m sure Robbie Keane could confirm.
Just for good measure he also said that Liverpool resemble a “sinking ship.”
For a long time now we have seen the sight of Benitez celebrating a goal by looking stern faced and writing some notes on the back of his fag packet that he seems to be scribbling on all the time. He always looks an uninspiring, unhappy individual, and this season his personality seems to have been adopted by his team judging by their appearance.
They don’t look a happy bunch to me, I’ve previously wrote about Steven Gerrard’s poor body language, as far back as last December. We have also had Fernando Torres looking frustrated, he seems to be getting involved in more niggly incidents this season, and then last week he came out and made a veiled threat that he expects to see the club moving forward next season.
Now we have Riera who seems to have gone much further with his criticism, the main point for me is that it actually looks to be an accurate reflection on what we see almost every week, not just a bitter player lashing out.
Liverpool resemble an unhappy team with a bad team spirit, with a lack of empathy towards their manager, which is pretty much what Riera seems to be saying.
“When the coach says nothing to you and you are well, with no physical problems and training well, you cannot help but think it must be something personal”.
“If I’m doing something badly and you are my boss, and you value me, then you are going to come and tell me what I have to do to play again. This is what hurts me”.
“You see that the team are not doing well and there are no changes. It’s a little frustrating because you see that you can help.”
“I’ve been here two years and I know how he (Benitez) is. He’s never sorted out a situation with a player by talking with him. He thinks he’s in charge and everything else falls on deaf ears. His dialogue with the players is practically nil.”
All in all pretty damning stuff.
I personally don’t think Benitez will still be there next season, he has recently been linked with Juventus and Real Madrid, it could be said that his stock is falling and the end of the season could be the time to move on before it falls any further.
Can’t see the Madrid faithful taking him to their hearts, but it could depend on if they are prepared to watch negative dirge all season as long as they can win the Champions League. Juventus looks the ideal fix for me.