Remember the crazy Rafa who listed out all of Ferguson’s shortcomings in that little tirade which began Liverpool’s decline last season, the one where we let the Premiership get away? Well, watching him in person at Liverpool’s first press conference in Bangkok today got me thinking, in between trying to stifle my laughter so the other journalists wouldn’t stare at me, that he really is quite a funny guy. And the art of dodging questions with well-appreciated witticisms has been mastered pretty damn well too. Move over Mourinho!
Oh yes, it is pre-season, all relaxed, travelling to countries where each step induces a million people scream to out your name in obsessive adulation, spreading the Reds name to faraway lands, and well, you get my drift. When the real business begins, in around a month, that’s when the claws’ll come out, we can be rest assured. The only thing I wish for is that Rafa keeps his marbles, and uses them to flick over our esteemed rivals in England.
On Monday, the talk was all Xabi Alonso and David Villa and when The Title would return to Anfield, all of which the Spaniard dodged with as much skill as is contained in the feet of our silken Basque midfielder. “Of course we’ll talk,” he said, talking about Alonso’s possible move to the sunny shores of Spainish. “We’ll talk about strategy, the match coming up, and all that,” he concluded with a wicked grin. That’s it then, all the information he would volunteer.
The subject of David Villa was dealt with quickly, too, and he won’t be putting on the shirt with the Liverbird anytime soon.
There was Ryan Babel and the heart of LFC, Jamie Carragher, sitting on either side of him at the press conference table, but the questions were all falling into Benitez’s net and he probably felt a bit bad that his players were being ignored. “No questions for the players? They are the ones who will be playing,” he smirked, and laughed, along with everyone in the room.
Carragher spoke in for Stevie, who is in England at his bar brawl hearing, and made all the usual noises about how he would’ve loved to be in Thailand, etc etc, and Babel was thrown a question about the swine flu that’s doing the rounds, and boy, did that faze him. I mean, what’s he supposed to say, should’ve just laughed it off, he needs to learn from Rafa. But maybe he was all happy with the praise the gaffer had just dealt him. “He’ll be more settled now, he is a much stronger player now than he was before.”
All the talk done, questions dealt with, photo-ops done, the players got up to leave. There was this girl who stood behind all the cameramen and stealthily moved to where the players would leave from. She positioned herself just right so Carra would just HAVE to pass by and then thrust her book and pen and said what would probably be the most important words of her life: Can I have your autograph? He didn’t look like the happiest person in the world, but whatever, signed it and moved on. It made her day. Yes, that was me.