Friday, November 6, 2009

Alonso backs Rafa to put Reds back on track

Xabi Alonso today backed Rafa Benitez to transform Liverpool’s season as he insisted there is nobody better to manage the Reds.

Benitez’s decision to sell Alonso to Real Madrid has been cited by many as the reason Liverpool have struggled but the midfielder says nothing could be further from the truth.

Though now settled into life in the Bernabeu, Alonso has been keeping in contact with his old team-mates and watching as many of their games as has been possible.

It is clear that Alonso is as upset as Liverpudlian at present but, in a timely show of support, he maintains Benitez has the experience and quality to turn the tide.

"It’s not the Liverpool way to sack a manager after a few bad results early in the season. They have full confidence in him and he is the right man for the club," said Alonso.

"I think he’s a great manager. He’s capable of managing the squad he has got right now. He has been making decisions for a long time.

"It wouldn’t be a good decision to change the manager. I still have great respect for him. I’m very grateful to him for the five great years I had at Liverpool.

"He knows the squad very well and works with them on a daily basis. The situation isn’t the best right now but he knows how to turn it around."

Alonso, inevitably, has heard all the theories regarding his departure and Liverpool’s poor form but none sit comfortable with him.

"Everyone knows in football, whenever things aren’t right, the best player is always the one that isn’t there," he said. "It’s a new season, they still have a lot of good players.

"(Alberto) Aquilani will hopefully be fit soon. I know what’s going on because I keep in contact with my former team-mates and hopefully things will be ok."

While Madrid will be assured of a place in the knockout stages should they win their two remaining group games, Liverpool’s Champions League destiny is much more fraught.

But Alonso knows from personal experience how well-versed the Reds are in fighting their way out of tight spots and is keeping his fingers crossed they will do the same again.

"If they had not had these problems this season, you never know," he said. "They’ve had different setbacks with injuries and some bizarre moments, like the one at Sunderland.

"It’s looking like a difficult situation right now but hopefully they will get a good result in the next game and that will be a turning point.

"It’s a difficult situation, especially in the Champions League. They could be out if things don’t go for them in the next game.

"But hopefully they will turn it around like we did in Marseille two years ago and like we did against Olympiakos in the season when we won the Champions League."

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