1991/92 – UEFA Cup 4th round (lost to Genoa)
1992/93 – Cup Winners Cup 2nd round (lost to Spartak Moscow)
1993/94 – Not in Europe
1994/95 – Not in Europe
1995/96 – UEFA Cup 2nd round (lost to Brondby)
1996/97 – Cup Winners Cup semi final (lost to PSG)
1997/98 – UEFA Cup 2nd round (lost to Strasbourg)
1998/99 – UEFA Cup 2nd round (lost to Celta Vigo)
1999/00 – Not in Europe
2000/01 – WON UEFA CUP
2001/02 – Champions League Quarter Final (lost to Leverkusen)
2002/03 – UEFA Cup 5th round (lost to Celtic)
2003/04 – UEFA Cup 4th round (lost to Marseille)
2004/05 – WON CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
2005/06 – Champions League 1st knockout phase (lost to Benfica)
2006/07 – Champions League Final (lost to AC Milan)
2007/08 – Champions League Semi Final (lost to Chelsea)
2008/09 – Champions League Quarter Final (lost to Chelsea)
2009/10 – Champions League Group Stage (knocked out by Fiorentina and Lyon)
Have a good, long look at the above records. Look at what we’ve achieved under Benitez. Before he came to the club we’d only ever progressed passed the Group Stage once. Since the ban after Heysel, we’d only once got past the group stage. Read that again: only ONCE had we got past the Group Stage.
Now have a look at our record in the competition since he’s been at the club:
We’ve reached two Finals, winning one of them. We’ve reached a semi final and another quarter final, each time losing to the richest team in Europe with a squad put together with no expense spared; in complete contrast to the budget Rafa’s had to work to.
In this season of poor form, injuries and having the financial rug pulled from underneath the manager, meaning he couldn’t replace the striker he lost in January etc – we’ve dropped out in the Group stages for the first time in his tenure.
Now people want him sacked for it? Absolute fucking madness!
Because of what Rafael Benitez has done to this club, you’ve now become like spoilt little brats. He’s given you something you couldn’t have dreamt about 5 years ago, but now you want more. Greed, greed and more greed.
Take a step back, look at who we’re competing with, and try to realise the size of the task we’ve got. We’ve massively overachieved over the past few years, mainly due to his brilliant signings (although they are ignored so people can criticise free transfers like Voronin – also ignoring the fact he’s only still at the club as the money Rafa had lined up for a new striker was taken out of his pocket in the summer).
In The League, we’re now competing with Chelsea, United, Man City and Tottenham; all of whom have assembled a more expensive squad than our own and have a higher wage bill than ourselves. Aston Villa and Arsenal aren’t far behind.
Man City and Tottenham have been underacheiving due to poor management and underperforming players in recent years; ourselves and Arsenal have been overachieving – mainly due to good management. United and Chelsea are doing what’s expected of them.
Not only do people expect us to win The League with the 5th most expensive squad and 5th highest wage bill, but they also expect us to win The European Cup as well. Not asking much are you?
“But we’re Liverpool”
Not anymore we’re not. Not as you once knew it. We haven’t been for over 20 years.
Were we “Liverpool” throughout the past 15 years before Rafa came to the club, when we didn’t have a sniff of the league and were regularly knocked out of the UEFA Cup in the early rounds? If we’d even qualified for Europe at all.
The current media frenzy surrounding our manager has whipped up the hysteria so much that everyone you speak to seems to view Rafa Benitez as a figure of ridicule. Fans of every other club are in on the act, but it’s not even close to listening to our own fans buying into it and being caught up in the media storm. Nobody seems to have a mind of their own anymore and are taken in by the media machine, sometimes without even realising. Look at the hysterical reaction to him bringing on Aquilani last night. Hysteria over a time wasting substitution in a game we’d just won!
You’re disappointed we went out last night because of the high expectations our manager has set over his previous 5 years at the club. Before that it was deemed as a massive success to even qualify for the Group Stages, never mind qualify from them.
Under Roy Evans we broke the British transfer record. Under Houllier we spent big money on players. So while Benitez has spent around the £20m on Torres, Keane, Aquilani and Johnson, the bar has been raised to a completely different level by the likes of Chelsea, Man City, Man United etc.
We’ve been left behind financially due 20 years of mis-management, but it’s been made ten times worse over the past few years due to the leeches we now have as owners of our club that are slowly bleeding us dry.
Do you really think Rafa wanted to go into this season with one striker? Do you really think he wanted to sign an aging Greek centre half for £1.5m instead of Michael Turner for £4m? Do you really believe he didn’t want to sign David Villa or David Silva in the summer?
In January Chelsea will go out and spend big money on new players. Man City will go out and spend big money on new players. Man United will go out and spend big money on new players.
Meanwhile, we’ll just be hoping and preying that the players we have to sell don’t go to one of the above!
It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee for a lot of fans; time to wake up to the real issue and realise why we aren’t going to be winning League Titles or European Cups for the foreseeable future.
The reason is not Rafael Benitez.