My favourite manager of all time (no, not Ernst Middendorp, he is my 2nd favourite) Rafael Benitez visits Anfield this afternoon (I am not kidding when I say he’s my favourite by the way). In his stint with Liverpool from 2004-2010, the Spaniard, had been one of the club’s most successful managers in the last two decades.
He comes back to Liverpool, a club he apparently has close to his heart (‘apparently’ because a couple of the players he managed said he had no heart to begin with), needing an all important three points to keep his Newcastle side’s chances of escaping relegation alive.
Even though Rafa was a bit distant. Especially to Steven Gerrard who had this to say about Benitez in his autobiography [which I haven’t read yet because I’m waiting for the asking price on Amazon.com to drop] “Any conversation with Benitez is football, football, football,” and “I’m not sure he’s interested in players as people,” But, being cold to his players and fans does not mean he isn’t a Liverpool legend.
Now, he is at Newcastle.
In their last two games, the Magpies have improved immensely under the tactical nous of Benitez. At least the players are listening to his instructions which always a good thing.
We have Rafa in the black and white corner and we have Jürgen Klopp in the red corner.
Jürgen Klopp is the new charming, charismatic, and clinically insane Liverpool manager. They have been comparisons to Liverpool’s recent Europa League quarterfinal comeback win against Klopp’s former side, Borussia Dortmund [click here if you have been living under a rock for past four weeks and you missed it] and Liverpool’s 2005 UEFA Champions League triumph in Istanbul against a Kaka lead AC Milan side.
Let me think about this one..?
It’s a tough one… [scratching my head]
AC Milan or Borussia Dortmund?
Pre-Ballon Dór Kaka or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang never in his life Ballon Dór?
Carlo Ancelotti (3-time Champions League and a bunch of other things Winner) or Thomas Tuchel (0-time nothing winner)?
Final of the UEFA Champions League or Quarterfinal of the UEFA Europa League?? (I had to double question mark that one.)
I’ll let you decide which one was the bigger achievement.
Liverpool has been in, excuse the pun, red hot form lately. Brushing aside weaker teams as they should.
If the Newcastle players have any respect for Rafa they will play their best for him.
Not only because they need the three points but to prove a point. Newcastle is one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League and shouldn’t be in the position they are right now. If they can give Rafael Benitez the opportunity to coach them again next season, in the Premier League of course, they will finish top half I can guarantee that.
Article by: Thabang Kgeledi @Chiz_ZoBoSportz