Would his return to Liverpool be a good move?

Tactical Conflict

Another risk that would be introduced along with Benitez’s return is the substantial conflict in the tactical style of Dalglish/Clarke and that of Benitez. For much of his time during the second managerial return, Dalglish has adopted an offensive, adventurous 4-4-2 formation, though he has also shown enough flexibility to vary the formation as required. On the contrary, Benitez has stubbornly stuck to the cautious 4-2-3-1 formation. This is not to say that the formation is not effective. After all, Benitez was the only one able to break the Barca / Real monopoly of the La Liga in the past decade, and that is on two occasions, in addition to transforming Liverpool back into European giants. The 4-2-3-1 formation requires top class attacking players, something Benitez desperately lacked during the absence of Torres and/or Gerrard. It was his stubbornness during these circumstances that Benitez failed to adopt a different approach to the game.
However, one thing that could play in Benitez’s favour is his exceptional ability to find a perfect balance and cohesion between the attack and defence, something that Dalglish and Clarke and yet to find and instill into the Red side of Merseyside this season. After all, 2 of Reds 4 wins come against a 10 man opponents while their win against Wolves was unconvincing. Their midfield weakness was harshly exposed against Spurs.


One of the established facts regarding Benitez’s professional personality is his demand of control, be that control of player movement on pitch or player movement in and out of the club. It is the demand of control of the later that would be a matter of major concern for John Henry & Co. should Benitez eventually succeed Dalglish as the manager of Liverpool. One of the first changes made by Fenway Sports Group (FSG) upon its takeover was the appointment of Damien Comolli and empowering him to oversee the recruitment of players to the club within an agreed methodology and policies. As García Pitarch (former Director of football at Valencia), Hicks & Gillett (former owners of Liverpool) and Moratti (owner of Inter) would all confirm, one thing Benitez is guaranteed to do to obtain the control his desires is to publicly air his views (remember the sofa / lamp outburst at Valencia). This would perfectly contradict with the efforts being exerted by Liverpool’s hierarchy to instill the old Liverpool way of doing things, which does not include washing the dirty laundry in public.

Final Verdict

Though the return of Benitez as a co-assistant manager has many advantages, I believe that the risks it brings along does not justify his appointment, not the least at this moment of time where club appear to be politically stable. However, Kenny could consider his introduction at a more limited role, such as a football strategy advisor, in case Liverpool continue to struggle in finding the required balance and cohesion on pitch as the season goes along.

Article courtesy of Ali Jaffar Ali at Live4Liverpool

18 responses to “Would his return to Liverpool be a good move?”

  1. Nick says:

    of course it great to have him back. if we got a great owner to back him up in the past,got the first choice players we needed and not forced to sell our star players, we already had the 19th and 20th and much more also. English media was negative about him so much even till now he is not longer the manager of the team. he is a great manager… even we got such a bad team on paper compare to man utd he was still did managed to outplay them so many time.

  2. kay says:

    I like your analysis,its nearer to being fair. People normally say Rafa was defensive,then how did he finish two seasons with LFC outscoring everyone else? I hate the appointment of Kenny because it comes with too much emotional attachments. Its like giving the wife a job,how you ever going to get rid of her at the office and still live with her(tricky). Never seen Fergie happier,that was never the case when Rafa was in charge. Kenny & Steve have got no strategy what so ever,by the time we sack them, Fergie will at least be 3or4 titles ahead(too sad to image). I bleed from the inside as i write this,wish Kenny was man enough to acknow that the game had taken a few strides in his absence. YNWA(my only true consolation)

  3. REGHAN says:

    Rafa ranks among the top 10 best managers of the world, so yes I’d definitely welcome him back. Under his management we won the Champions’ league signed the likes of Torres, Garcia, Reina, Alonso, Mascherano to name a few and but for bad luck and poor ownership we should have maintained our record number of championship and European domination. I certainly would prefer having him back rather than going for Didier Deschamps, Jurgen Klinsmann or even Mr Mourinho. He comes in second only to Kenny Dalglish though.

  4. McLEO Nigeria. says:

    FSG should appoint him as a chief scout in Europe, we need prospects in every departments of the field of play, i think he would perform in that aspect without causing confussion.

  5. steve says:

    i preferred Rafer than Daglish,when Rafer was at liverpool,we play with speed.pace creat more chances at goal,mount a serious pressure against opponent,dominate every match,known as championship contenders.Rafer is a good coach what killed him is bad ownership(YOU MUST SALE BEFORE YOU BUY PLAYERS) Above all there is only one Rafer he is the true gaffer RAFER BENITEZ.YNWA

  6. nelson says:

    i hope he cums back,we wil buy better an play much better

  7. kagutsuti says:

    Why not give him the academy?
    He did well at Real

  8. poo hed says:

    Imagine, had rafa had been in charge and had the financial backing that kenny has had, all of the foreign greats we could have had, i wonder if we would still have suarez (i would like to think so), i wonder if rafa would have gone for aguero.

    What a legend for sorting out the entire youth system.

    Although, it was hard to watch the end of his tenure, painfull, i think he needed a BIG break, harsh on him at inter too,

    What a legend, my only ever gripe was zonal marking, although i think that may have been a combination of the tactic and the players not fully knowing where their respective “zones” began and ended ?

    rafa is AWESOME, i would love to have him back, hopefully when we have a new stadium and are raking in the money so he can fully implement his tactics with the right players and also the dressing room politics may have retired.

    the futures bright if the future is rafa benitez.

  9. timadog says:

    Quality piece and comments. The academy overhaul could well be his masterstroke at LFC in a few years.

  10. badnews says:

    i fully agree with kay. for the amount
    we paid for downing, carrol and
    henderson, esp for carrol and
    henderson, rafa would have
    done better. but for now we
    are stuck with kenny. so im
    urging k.k. to splash the cash
    for world class talent. i doubt
    we will get hazard. but eriksen,
    marko marin and damiano would
    be great prospects.

  11. Dan says:

    Is Rafa paying you? Take a look at some of the words by Carra, that he had lost the support of the dressing room. I thank him very much for bumbling to the CL trophy with a squad largely composed of Houlliers players, where due to his defensive tactics we went 3-0 down. Steven Gerrard himself has always implied Rafa didn’t have anything to do with the halftime talk in the sence that he wasnt motivational at all. And who can forget his lapses of judgement? Alonso for Barry? We would never live that down. According to many of his former players he had the man management skill of a potato, and alienated half the players in the squad. By the end you could tell he had given up on the club already and was simply waiting for compensation. Please dont compare him to Hodgson, who makes even Rafa look good. I wouldn’t want him back ever, to play defensively (albeit scoring a lot) and to make the wonder buys like Morientes and his Spanish amigos. Once again I thank him for his time but I’d rather not be destroyed like he did to Inter.

    • BILLYNWA says:

      “to play defensively (albeit scoring a lot)”
      That’s desperate Dan!

      • Dan says:

        You see, he’d tell us to pass the ball backwards, until someone got fed up or Reina decided not to have the most possession of all of our players, and went and scored. I don’t remember a single match where he told us to go overrun our opponent. Though we had games where we could have. I remember getting cupset because we played defensively. Who was it that drilled the idea of the Lucas-Reina backpass into Lucas’s head? As soon as he learned to run up the pitch and look forward once in a while he’s become twice the player he was under Rafa. He never looked happy when we scored and that demoralizes the team. So yes, we’d often score 4 but usually we shut up shop and that really got on my nerves. Another thing, if he cared so much and was concerned about our club and it’s glory, why did it take a multimillion pound payoff to get him to leave? Surely he knew the financial state we were in?

        Rafa is a great cup manager (though not in England since 2006) but over the PL season not good enough to win the league.

  12. Gavin Christie says:

    i hope use are all fucking joking!!…kenny won 5 trophy’s while in charge, rafa won 2…catch a grip was one of our worst managers we ever had!!

  13. kopitefromkali says:

    Love rafa…..but long live the king. Some of you are delusional a bit I think. Down with the scum Saturday!Ynwa.

  14. i agree with gavin christie rafa might have 1 ole big ears….for the sake of lfc please dont let rafa go back to lfc as manager…the only way he should get back as manager is 2 go on a tour of anfield and sit in the managers seat 4 a few mins its only 9 pound he can afford that as he took 6 millon off our club…..the greedy bastard….you would of thought with all that money he would of shaved that stupid fucking goatee off i have the upmost faith in king ken to bring back the glory days ifor 1 cant wait…would also like 2 say good luck 2 the boys 2mrw agaisnt those horrible dirty red batards from the dreggs of the east lancs road

  15. Conrad Lodziak says:

    Rafa and KK are both great. Rafa made Torres the best striker in the world. Rafa signed some great players and some that did not work out. Rafa also got KK back in. KK managed the best ever LFC. KK bought Barnes and Beardsley. This time around his signings apart from Enrique and Suarez have not come good, but there is time yet. They are NOT gods – they are human, and they make mistakes. We all do. But Rafa’s need for autonomy, and possibly KK’s also, means that they can’t work together now. But when KK jacks it in get Rafa. Remember our best ever football was when KK was in charge first time AND that half season spell under Rafa when we unluckily came second to a team we had thrashed.

  16. redmirkop says: