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.

West Sham United: England’s most farcical club

The signing of Keiron Dyer has done little to shed West Ham’s reputation as the the most farcical club in the country.

Dyer is just the latest piece of a badly behaved jigsaw puzzle including Anton Ferdinand, Lucas Neill and Lee Bowyer – not the best to way divert controversy away from the club.

However, it’s not just disciplinary problmes that have dogged West Ham.

There are still serious doubts over whether they should even be allowed to compete in this season’s Premier League.

The Tevez and Macherano affair has hogged the football limelight for the last few months and will still not go away, even though the players have gone on to pastures new.

Still, in classic West Ham fashion, they did their utmost to get a fee for a player they clearly didn’t own. Surely the sensible thing to do would have been to let him quietly slip through the back door.

But it is the legal warngle with Sheffield United that encapsulate all that is wrong with the Hammers.

The Blades are, rightly or wrongly, trying to sue the Upton Park club for £50 million. Whether or not it is just sour grapes, I found West Ham’s comments strangely ironic.

If you missed it, they called them ‘desperate’.

What can be more desperate than signing Matthew Upson, Luis Boa Morte and Nigel Quashie on £100,000 a week and illegally acquiring two Argentinians to help you beat the drop?

I pity West Ham fans – they get more excitement outside their ground then they do in it.