Rafa Benitez has explained why winning the Premier League with Liverpool was such a difficult task.
The Spaniard, who now manages today’s opponents Newcastle, has claimed that trying to compete against multiple billionaire clubs was a thankless task.
He told Sky Sports: “When I arrived at Liverpool, the budget was £20m gross. When I left, it was £17m, but still people said I must win the title, I must compete.
“(Manchester) United had around £50m more every year, but people said I had to compete against them every year. After, there was Chelsea.
“At that time, it was Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United. Now you have Manchester City and Tottenham, as well as PSG and the others. But it’s always been similar.
“There are massive clubs with massive amounts of money and Liverpool were always a little bit behind.
“How can you win trophies? You have to create a good team with a great atmosphere and work hard and then you can get there.
“The reality is, the teams that have won the title, probably 90 per cent of the time, are the teams with the most money.”
Benitez came closest to title glory in 2008/09, when we narrowly missed out to a arguably United’s greatest ever Premier League side.
We had Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, but our rivals had Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez and Paul Scholes, to name but a few.
His achievements shouldn’t be underestimated, though.
Benitez won the Champions League, FA Cup, Super Cup and Charity Shield during his stint on Merseyside and is fondly remembered by supporters as a result.
We hope he doesn’t put on a classic defensive masterclass today, mind, with Liverpool in desperate need of a win at St. James’ Park.