I’ve been hesitant to pile onto the owners, partly because I hadn’t been convinced that all the fears were valid and partly because I want to see the Americans do well by Liverpool. Now there’s no way not to. This is utterly embarrassing to the club, and Benitez deserves far, far better.
It’s one thing to privately question the manager when results are as sub-par as they’ve been over the past month. I’m firmly not in the ‘Benitez out,’ camp, but after the last 4 underwhelming draws and ostensible lack of progress, I understand the concerns.
But I can’t fucking believe Hicks has come out with this statement now.
Yes, there have been rumors that Klinsmann was approached when he took the Bayern job, and people have been saying all along that if the owners/management would make statements supporting Benitez or clearing up the concerns, we’d all be better for it.
This wasn’t a statement that should have been made, and the fact that Gillett and Hicks were lining up Klinsmann is ludicrous in and of itself.
"In November, when it appeared we were in danger of not advancing in the Champions League, weren't playing well in our Premier League matches, and Rafa and we were having communication issues over the January transfer window, George and I met with Jurgen Klinsmann to learn as much as we could about English and European football," he explained.
What has Jurgen Klinsmann done to be linked with Liverpool? He has no experience managing at club level. He’s never managed in England. His sole managerial experience was taking the host nation to the semifinals of the previous World Cup; South Korea made the semis the year they hosted the tournament. And he lives in California, removed from the game on a day-to-day basis.
Also, Hicks does realize that in November, Liverpool was unbeaten in the league, which lasted until the Reading match on December 8th? November saw results like 8-0 Besiktas (November 6th), 3-0 Newcastle (November 24th) and 4-1 Porto (November 28th).
And I’ll say now as I said then: after Benitez’ success in the Champions League in his first three seasons, a failure to qualify from the group stage for the first time in 4 years would have been reason enough for his sacking? That’s sheer lunacy.
"He is a very impressive man. We attempted to negotiate an option, as an insurance policy, to have him become our manager in the event Rafa decided to leave our club for Real Madrid or other clubs that were rumoured in the UK press, or in case our communication spiralled out of control for some reason.”
More complete and utter trite. Benitez to Real Madrid is a non-starter, and has been for ages now. And even if, I still fail to see how Klinsi is a satisfactory insurance policy. Nor does the fact that Hicks frequently referred to Klinsmann as solely an “insurance policy” reassure me.
Plus, I was of the belief that Klinsmann, whatever his lack of experience, was a manager cut from the same cloth as Benitez. A devout believer in fitness and modern training methods, a desire to have 100% control from top to bottom, and a willingness to rotate to compensate for fitness and fatigue. If you’re firing Benitez, which I still can’t believe, I just can’t fathom hiring Klinsmann. That’s the main reason I’d been silent on those rumors until now. I was sure they were just rumors.
At least the statement pretends that Benitez has the full support of the owners now, finally, but after this, I don’t know what that’s worth.
But Benitez is still making signings, evidenced by £6.5m for Skrtel, and as of now, I reckon his position is safe. At the end of the season, we may bear witness to even more drama, but for now, the team has to focus on the field. And the players have to get behind Benitez, as they may well be playing for his job. No half-assing and heads dropping like we’ve seen during this recent sticky spell.
I sincerely hope Hicks is just trying to quash concerns instead of create more, and unfortunately, we’re still in a ‘wait and see’ mode, but the more Hicks speaks, the more detestable he looks.
This is a sad day for Liverpool FC.
Tom Hicks: We lined up Jurgen Klinsmann [Liverpool Echo]
Jurgen Klinsmann talks rock Benitez [Liverpool Echo]
Liverpool reveal Klinsmann talks [BBC]