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Lagging behind

Lagging behind

The gulf between Manchester United and Liverpool looks set to increase even further, says Geoff Shreeves.

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Comments (118)

Dave Jones says...

SAF is the most succesful manager in British football, the fact that he has managed to remain a great manager at a big club like United is a credit to him, managing big players and remaining competitive in transition periods is his trademark. United probably should have won more Champions leagues and probaably would have done in the old format of only having champions of respective countries taking part when you could end up playing the Romanian or Polish champions in the quarter finals. As for the relative success of Rafa and SAF in the first few years, you have to compare the state of the clubs when they took over, United were a mid table club with nothing but a few FA cups to show for the previous 20 or so years when he took over, Liverpool had just qualiified for the Champions league, had won the famous 'Triple' 3 years before and had just spent 13 million on the supposed best striker in France. As for the lack of support shown to Rafa in terms of money, his net spend in his time at the club is greater than United and Arsenal, the current 1 and 2 in the league. If you choose to spend 20 million on a midfielder nobody has ever heard of with an injury record like aquilani, or 8 million on a left back like dossena then that is nobodys fault but your own. In 6 years LIverpool are no closer to winning the league than they were in Houlliers last season, in SAF's 6th full season - he won the league.

Posted 12:45 23rd March 2010

Shuja Ahmad says...

To Philip Battison: I know you may be a die-hard liverpool fan but it would help if you checked your facts before making rash comments in support of Rafa. In Rafa's reign, he has spent more money on transfers than Man United and Arsenal (both in total amounts and in number of players purchased/sold). So you can't blame the owners for the lack of funds. Under Rafa, LFC have won 2 significant trophies (FA cup & Champs Lge) in 6 years. Fergie did only win the FA cup but how does 2 trophies versus 1 count as "Far Superior"? Plus Alex was building from a team that was languishing in mid table with old berr-guzzling players in the 1980's whereas Rafa took over a team whic won the champions lge in his 1st season! Sir Alex improved the team, Rafa is destroying his! I do hope you hold on to Rafa as you may win cups with him but you won't win the lge with him!

Posted 12:44 23rd March 2010

Sean Morrison says...

Geoff you may know a little bit of everything about a lot of subjects, but believe me you dont know Liverpool Fans!!!! Premier League, Championship, League 1 or wherever we and our team are, who ever it contains ,or whatever it achieves, Never will and never has walked alone........ How many titiles has old red nose won in european leagues??? how many european cups has he won???? Form is temporary, History is forever.

Posted 12:40 23rd March 2010

Daniel Malone says...

I just dont understand how other Liverpool fans can still chant Rafa's name, and fully support him. I wonder if these same people actually know anything about football, do they watch other teams play, I dont think so, the on the field display this season are awful! Forget the results, look at the actual football, we dont play it, I dont know what im watching week in week out, but it aint football, we have become an NFL team almost, its cautious defensive tactical static positioning, that Rafa has over-coached them to do, and then one of the defenders hoofs a long ball upto our only striker, with no support for him within 20 yards and he is expected to get us as far up the pitch as possible. Its horrible, just a total lack of movement, predictable passages of play, I cant stand to watch it anymore, and I refuse to judge any of the players at my beloved Liverpool with Rafa and his regime in charge. Lucas is a great example, ANYONE that watched any of that fantastic Gremio Copa Libertadores Cup run will tell you how amazing this young Lucas Leiva was, a real box to box brazilian, teams just couldnt cope with his direct play and tempo, and what has Rafa coached him into, a defensive minded midfielder, hmmm, would he still be like this under the guidance of Wenger, I think not. But I do feel that the off the field issues this season have improved drastically and from what I can tell its down to one man, Christian Purslow, Liverpool signing of the season. We finally got rid of Rick Parry, and Purslow has stepped in and made this happen, we finally have a sponsorship deal comparable with the best in the world, transfer are happening a lot soon, beating top teams for players like Milan Jovanovic, but the off the field ongoings are something to take as a huge positive. But the only way things on the field will get better is if Rafa is no longer our manager, we need to play football again, pass and move...

Posted 12:36 23rd March 2010

Al Meehan says...

phil. if you remember it taking SAF 5-6 yrs to win a trophy, you should also remember that the club only finished 11th the yr he took over, as the club had been struggling badly. However when rafa took over liverpool were getting into the champions league or at least uefa cup. So a comparison is ridiculous. And i would love to see rafa at pool for 20 yrs, would probably have the relegated the way hes going, were as i believe SAF brought united forward in his yrs with the club, as geoff says rafa has literally brought the club backwards.

Posted 12:36 23rd March 2010

Mark Wildman says...

Well, another deluded Liverpool fan steps forward. You have made but one valid point in the entire ramble. Benitez has indeed won more in his 6 years at Anfield that Fergie did at his first 6 years, but lets establish what Benitez has actually achieved.....one incredible comeback in the European Cup, ! incredible comeback in the FA cup and......wait thats it. In fact Liverpool are now in a worse position than when he took over. As for the money, its a joke to suggest he has not had the funds. Yes the owners have shafted you and yes there isnt as much as he once had but then is that not a good thing- As of Oct 2009 he has signed 76 players at a cost of £229million. How many of them players at still in the squad? Examples, Keane Bought 20m, Sold 12m (6months later) Doessna 8m, sold 4.5m, Bellamy, Croach, Nunez, Morientes, The success stories are few and far between for a manager buying this many players. And before the usual United bought there success, Beckham, Giggs, Scholes, Neville Brothers, Fletcher, O'Shea, Gibson, Evans, Butt, Da Silva, All brought through the ranks. Notice a pattern for long term success? He is a bumbling idiot who cant communicate to his players, Has no man management skills and is tactically inept.....I genuinely feel for Liverpool and there supporters, Out of respoect for the stature of the club you should not be where you are. you should be challenging for the League with us. The sooner ppl realise that the Spanish waiter is not the way forward...the better

Posted 12:36 23rd March 2010

Michael Kendry says...

I would just like to afree fully with what Philip Battison says; after reading far too much Rafa battering on this website for my liking, it is rather refreshing to read someone who shares exactly the same opinion as myself and many other Liverpool fans. I agree that Liverpool have had a very poor season this year, matched by the weight of expectation after how well we played last year, but this does not warrant sacking Benitez.. What will happen if we do? Players will leave at the same time, we will bounce back next year.. With regards to the basis of this blog, the difference between the clubs is marginal, in the second half both teams had one chance a piece, Park took Uniteds and Torress missed Liverpools.. YNWA

Posted 12:33 23rd March 2010

Christopher Micallef says...

What do Liverpool offer you these days as a player? The opportunity to maybe win the Champions League (which happened once for as long as I can remember!), and some minor trophy such as the Europa League (or UEFA before that), League Cup or maybe the FA Cup (which hasn't been won a great deal of times)? Liverpool offer nothing...

Posted 12:23 23rd March 2010

Bryan Bryan says...

Don't talk about the past Mr. Philip. When Ferguson came into United he was at a club in turmoil that were languishing at the bottom half of the table. Within 2 seasons he won them their first ever title. Benitez came into Liverpool who were a top 6 team with quality players already at his disposal. And about top clubs sacking managers for 'supposed' failures, it is all down to how inept the board of directors are. The Glazers kept faith in Ferguson when we had a barren run from 2003-2006. What about Real Madrid infamously sacking Vicente del Bosque for winning La Liga and not the Champions League? I would really like to visualize your reaction if Benitez gets sacked for winning the Premier League. Then again, your're just bitter that we're one of the best teams around now together with Arsenal and Chelsea. Liverpool are just not good enough. The premier league seasons don't lie. Live with it.

Posted 12:23 23rd March 2010

Matthew Cartwright says...

I am sick of Liverpool fans saying Rafa Benitez is a good manager. Does a good manager buy Robbie Keane then give him back and play David Ngog instead? The answer is no. Does a good manager play Gerrard one of the greatest centre midfielders the world has ever seen on the left and then the right when chasing a draw at OT on Sunday with ten minutes to go. The answer is no. Does a good manager play Dirk Kuyt on the right wing week in week out? The answer is no. What does he bring to the team? Babel is much better but he never gives him a game. Does a good manager buy Aquilani for ¿20 million and never play him. The answer is no. Does a good manager buy an aging Rodriguez and expect him to be a great player. The answer is no. What exactly was the point in buying him. The fact is the longer Benitez stays there the further Liverpool will deteriorate. Thats a fact and being a Man Utd fan it saddens me that the board can't just bite the bullet and make a change before it's too late.

Posted 12:22 23rd March 2010

Hafiza Ali says...

To be expected, the way the season has gone..every time we lose, the vultures come out. Been a great season for the meida vultures. Rafa is allowed to have one bad season. and if he really felt he couldn't do the job, he would resign. It is what it is, a bad season,so all we can hope for is 4th at best. Beginning of last season, the experts perdicted we would struggle for 4th...we didn't we finished second. Beginning of this season, many said we would finish first and Gunners would struggle for 4th...again many have been proven wrong. So everyone will perdict the doom and gloom for next season based on this season...so called expert. Glad in the day of 24 hour news, Rafa and L'pool have given you plenty to write about.. If Rafa leaves, thanks Rafa for number 5! If he stays, we lose together, we win together. Sacking manager's has really helped Cheslea hasn't it? The revolving door means the special one's team has not been developed like the way Fergie always has at Man U.

Posted 12:03 23rd March 2010

Andy Gilmartin says...

Gerrard might kiss the badge but he'll probably hand in another transfer request at the end of the season, and Torres will want to ply his trade in Champions league. The financial implications of not getting in the champions league may force Liverpool to sell. Liverpool fans may well have to keep talking about their history, rather than what they're going to win. Even if Utd don't win the league this year they've certainly got more of a chance than Liverpool of extending their haul of trophies. It won't be long before Utd win 6 European titles. I wonder what Liverpool fans will sing then.

Posted 11:55 23rd March 2010

Jack Bob says...

lol phillip . u r just jealous that manchester united is a successfull club . unlike liverpool . 20 years 11 league title ? 2 european cups . thats enough said . benitez 1 european cup ? lol . . mourinho . 1 european cup ? lol . face it . SAF e best manager there is . n will ever be . a legend

Posted 11:38 23rd March 2010

Nigel Selenky says...

Philip its funny how you haven't mentioned the amount of League titles won in the same amount of time. You're going on as if the Champions League is the only trophy cared for by owners. Sir Alex has taken United to the very height of English football by winning so many league titles, something Liverpool have not done for many years now. Liverpool overachieved last season tbh, they won't reach those heights for a while now.

Posted 11:37 23rd March 2010

Pat Cairns says...

As a sunderland fan with no particular interest in Man Utd or Liverpool I think that it's quite obvious Benitez has to go. In the 5 years he has had at liverpool he has bought a lot of rubbish players, spent a lot of money (which he tends to forget) and its seldom good value, £18 million for a right back who can't defend, £20 million for aquilani - who doesnt actually look good at anything in particular. Admittedly Torres was one of the best buys the league has ever seen but the man is taking Liverpool backwards as Geoff says. I can't understand how or why the Liverpool fans have been so patient with him, its admirable, but bordering on ridiculous now. The thing that struck me as a neutral watching the game on saturday was team spirit. Fergies current team have been together for about 4 - 7 years and there is so much spirit in his team, you can tell when you watch them play they would do anything for ferguson, they respect him and want to work hard for him. Look at the Liverpool team and the comments players current (Reira, Torres) and past (Pennant, Voronin - all of whom are glad to have left) have said Benitez is very difficult to get on with and you see the difference. The Liverpool team is a broken team where as Man Utd are a driven bunch of individuals who detest losing, the Liverpool team have no such character and the buck stops with the manager.

Posted 11:36 23rd March 2010

Keith M says...

to philip who seem's to think rafa is better than Fergie look at the real situation when Fergie took the united job they were at the bottom end of the league with no money for players and there was a european ban for english clubs,and the rest is history now when rafa took the pool job he got a team in the champions lge and fighting for the prem +he has spent a fortune and the rest is history like liverpool

Posted 11:29 23rd March 2010

Will Blackburn says...

Was this being said last year? 1 bad season does not make you a million miles away. Torres, Gerrard, Yossi, Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Riera, Babl all suffered injuries at one point or another and the first 4 players were all out at the same time, not exactly a great help. Take Rooney out of Utd and you would have a team who would be along way off top spot. People bemoan Liverpool for being a 2 man side, when further up the Lancs you have a 1 man side, solely reliant on Rooney. If he doesn't perform then you dont get the win (i.e Goodison Park lost 3-1, Anfield lost 2-0). If we get the investment Man Utd and Chelsea have had over the last 10 years we would be winning titles as well. Chelsea have a net spend of £260 million over the last 7 years, Liverpool have a net spend of around £70 million for the same period. Man Utd have had an advantage of being the best club in the country for the last 15 years before Benitez arrived and already had a very string squad who were winning titles, not to mention unlimited funds. Let see how both get on next year, when it looks like they both need to invest badly. Lets compare how Liverpool spend and how Chelsea and Man Utd do it, you will see a big difference because we do not have the investment needed to compete at the top. If LFC got money to spend, big money like Man Utd have in the past, then we will challenge for the league no dobt.

Posted 11:28 23rd March 2010

John Walton says...

The longer Benitez remains at Liverpool the better as far as im concerned, they will NEVER win the league with him in charge...hes thinks he can treat the league like a cup...the longer hes there the further us mighty reds can get ahead of the scousers

Posted 11:16 23rd March 2010

Tom Nolan says...

Geoff I aboslutely agree with you.the standard of player is very bad at liverpool over the years,cisse,diouf,luis garcia,phil babb,zenden,pennant,gonzalez,heskey & biscan come to mind.phillip battison:you know NOTHING about football,fergusen roasted the liverbird and ate it 10 years ago.fans like you are the reason liverpool are hated so much,you are in denial mate.questioning SAF is the stupidest thing you could do.SAF has made fools of liverpool for the last 20 years now.what was liverpools reaction?houllier & benitez,that makes me laugh. liverpool will not make the champs league spot and will have to sell torres. Liverpool have been a smaller club to united for a long time now .Liverpool were the dominent team at the time fergie came in and look now.Liverpool keep whinging in you bitter red world.Liverpool brought in guys like houllier and benitez and the best thing is the stupid Liverpool fans always back them..SAF will go down as the greatest in history.Liverpool will ALWAYS be second best to man utd,how many trophies has liverpool won since he came to united?thought so.man utd are no.1,liverpool are no.8!

Posted 11:15 23rd March 2010

Simon Williams says...

Over twenty years and Fergie's only won two European Cups, fair point (although given where Utd were prior to his arrival I'd take it). In the last twenty years Liverpool haven't lifted the top flight trophy (and recently haven't really threatened to). Great club, great history, but not doing enough at the moment. They need to be looking over their shoulder at Man City, Spurs, Villa and Everton, if they're not careful they could be looking at 8th not 4th over the next few years.

Posted 11:13 23rd March 2010

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