Monday, March 29, 2010

Rafa hits back at ex-Liverpool captain

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has hit back at the continued criticism aimed at him mostly by ex-players who are now pundits.

Plenty of former Reds stars have secured work in the media and Benitez has had to listen to them giving their opinion on what has been a disappointing season.

However, he felt the need to respond to the comments of former Liverpool captain Jamie Redknapp after the 2-1 defeat at Manchester United.

Redknapp, a close friend of Steven Gerrard, criticised Benitez for moving the England midfielder to different positions as they chased an equaliser late on.

To back up his assertion that Liverpool were a weaker team than the previous season he referenced the influence of Xabi Alonso, sold to Real Madrid in the summer, in the 4-1 win at Old Trafford last March. That finally prompted Benitez into a response.

"I was surprised to see some comments by some experts talking about how they could see Alonso playing in the 4-1 win against United - he didn't play,'' Benitez said, referring to the fact the Spain midfielder was injured.

"This expert said he (Gerrard) cannot play on the left but he is playing with the national team on the left. He was playing here on the right and scoring 23 goals so Gerrard can play everywhere. It depends on the team.

"I told him before the Sunderland game he was playing in the middle and he was happy. He can help the team and that is the main thing.''

Despite the praise for their first-half performance in the 3-0 win over Sunderland Benitez said his tactics had not changed much. Playing Gerrard in a more orthodox central midfield position is something he has done before this season but yesterday was just one of those days when all the players hit top form.

"With the same tactics we scored more goals than anyone in the Premier League last year and more goals than anyone in England two years ago,'' Benitez said. "It is a question sometimes of accuracy, pass completion or just a little bit of luck.''

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