By Ollie Irish
Rafa Benitez criticised his players publicly after their lifeless performance at the DW last night. It’s not a good sign. I have long suspected that Steven Gerrard doesn’t really want to play for Benitez anymore, and you have to wonder about the manager’s status when he fails to stir any response from his team at half-time. Losing the dressing room is a horrible cliche, but I don’t think Benitez is the type to inspire loyalty when things go bad.
Perhaps the most damning indictment of the current Liverpool side is that they play horrible, cynical, unimaginative football, as stodgy as Wigan’s pitch. I can’t believe for a second that it’s any fun to be a Liverpool player right now – there is no joie de vivre at Anfield, and that’s down to the manager, who stifles creativity and can’t seem to develop players if they don’t instantly adhere to his tactics (see Alberto Aquilani).
Benitez’s overall record at Liverpool shows that he is – or was – a very good manager, but surely this summer is the time for Rafa to move on.
As for the consistently inconsistent Wigan, who scored via Hugo Rodallega after a mistake by Dirk Kuyt, these three points – which they fully deserved – are invaluable. They won’t go down, nor do they deserve to. Roberto Martinez is a fine young manager and his teams play proper football that is great to watch. Rafa, take note.
The best photos from the DW: