Is Rafa really going to go?

The stories linking Rafa Benitez with a summer move to Juventus still won’t go away.

Rafa had chances to commit his future to Liverpool over the weekend, but stopped short of saying that he is staying. His agent though, has since said that he definately wants to stay at Anfield.

It’s hard to know what the truth of the matter is. My original view was that Rafa wanted out, but didn’t want to leave without a golden handshake to compensate him for what he could get if he waited for the sack. That was why I thought he was stalling.

Now I’m not so sure, as all the signs coming out of Anfield are very confusing.

Is Rafa refusing to commit himself because he is waiting to see what his transfer budget is? Or is he delaying so that he can see what new chairman Martin Broughton’s plans for the future are?

And should we read much into the fact that apparently Benitez has cancelled two proposed meetings with Broughton lately, in fairness to Rafa that could have been down too circumstances.

If the scheduled meetings fell around the time Liverpool had to take two days travelling to Madrid, then it’s no wonder Benitez couldn’t meet him.

All these things add to the intrigue.

Another view to throw into the mix is Broughtons. For all we know the new chairman might not rate Rafa and might make his feelings clear at the proposed meeting. He might feel a clean break is best for all parties.

One indication as to the outcome of this saga could come from the bookmakers. Bookies don’t normally get much wrong, and Sky Bet are 1/5 that Rafa WON’T be Liverpool manager at the start of next season. Read into that what you will.

The way I look at it is that it looks like a deal that suits all three parties, Juve want him, Rafa wants to go, and Liverpool want shot of him. So why they don’t they all just get on with it.

Rafa – A man of few words!

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.