Wednesday 1 March 2017

Rafael Benitez highs and lows

It has been a real rollercoaster ride for Rafael Benitez since taking over as Liverpool manager back in 2004. Here we look back at the highs and lows of his time with the Anfield outfit.

Highs

December 2004 - Liverpool have to win by two clear goals in their final group match to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League. They were 1-0 down at the break but staged a stunning comeback which had Anfield rocking, with Steven Gerrard scoring the crucial goal four minutes from time.



February 2005 - Another memorable Anfield night with Luis Garcia's controversial first-half goal securing a 1-0 win over Chelsea and a place in the Champions League final.



May 2005 - Benitez produces an inspired half-time team talk with Liverpool 3-0 down in the Champions League final against AC Milan in Istanbul. The rest is history, an amazing comeback and then Jerzy Dudek's heroics in the penalty shoot-out give Liverpool the trophy.



May 2006 - Another penalty shoot-out in the FA Cup final at Cardiff against West Ham with the scores level at 3-3 after extra time. Gerrard scored an injury-time equaliser and Jose Reina did the rest.

December 2007 - Liverpool had to win in Marseille in their final group match to reach the last 16 of the Champions League. They did it in style, winning 4-0 with goals from Fernando Torres, Gerrard, Ryan Babel and Dirk Kuyt.

February 2009 - A 4-1 Premier League win at Manchester United, a result which means more to Liverpool fans than most. Torres terrorised Nemanja Vidic and has done so ever since. Even Andrea Dossena scored.

Lows

January 2005 - Benitez totally misunderstood the importance of the FA Cup and sent out a weakened side at Burnley, and paid dearly. Djimi Traore's comical own-goal said it all on a night which saw Benitez accused of disrespecting the world's most famous cup competition.

May 2007 - Liverpool reached the Champions League final again, this time in Athens. But Milan gained their revenge with a 2-1 win. Kuyt scored in the final minutes of a game the Reds played well enough in to have won.

November 2007 - Benitez falls out with the club's American owners, launching weeks of bitterness, and is told by Tom Hicks to "concentrate on coaching." The differences have never really been healed with the club locked in a boardroom war for months.

October 2009 - A beach ball bought from Liverpool's own club shop is thrown onto the pitch at Sunderland and helps deflect Darren Bent's winner past Pepe Reina.

October 2009 - Liverpool have Jamie Carragher and Philipp Degen sent off while losing 3-1 at Fulham. Torres could not be risked for more than an hour, Gerrard was not fit and the pressure reached boiling point for Benitez.

Press Association

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