Benitez faces must win Portsmouth clash; West Ham in serious relegation trouble

Benitez faces must win Portsmouth clash

Liverpool’s 2-1 midweek victory against Wigan at Anfield may have gone some way to easing the pressure on Rafa Benitez but anything less than all three points at basement boys Portsmouth on Saturday will spell trouble for the Spaniard.

The Kop have already lost six games this season (having lost just two for the entire campaign last time out), including four on their travels and a further defeat could see them slip below the top eight.

The majority of critics are adamant that Benitez will be kept at Anfield as the American owners – Tom Hicks and George Gillett – can not afford to sever his contract.

But with Guus Hiddink and the increasingly disillusioned Jose Mourinho rumoured to be seeking new posts Benitez will have to turn things round if he wants to save himself.

West Ham in serious relegation trouble

Last September Gianfranco Zola and Steve Clarke rode into Upton Park on the crest of a wave with West Ham fans believing they finally had the dream management ticket.

With the help of a decent squad inherited from Alan Curbishley, the duo were able to guide the Hammers to a respectable ninth placed finish.

But what a difference, 15 months makes, with Carlton Cole injured and the team leaking like a colander at the back, they are in the relegation zone and are playing like a team bereft of confidence.

While they are clearly a club with very little money, the sacking of Curbishley – much like Charlton’s sacking of the same man – looks even more ridiculous in hindsight.

Lay off Rafa the rotator

Football fans are the most fickle in the world.

You would think that after Rafa Benitez brought the first serious piece of silverware to the club in almost two decades, the 2005 Champions League, that he would be secure in his position for years to come.

Think again.

A number of Liverpool ‘fans’ have been calling for the head of Benitez after a series of disappointing league and Champions League results.

The reason for their discontent – Rafa’s rotating.

Most fans of the game would agree that Benitez needs to select his best first eleven and stick with it.

Rotation in itself is a good policy – if you have the squad to it. Liverpool, unlike the Manchester United sides of the early 90’s, have a lot of players that just aren’t up to the task.

But that should not course a knee jerk reaction. Lets not forget how erratic Liverpool were under Gerard Houllier and Roy Evans before him.

Benitez is aiming to build a new dynasty at Anfield and these things don’t happen overnight.

So how about a little patience Koppites?