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Rafa Benitez: All we want is a fair deal

Rafa Benitez: All we want is a fair deal

Aug 24 2007

by Chris Bascombe, Liverpool Echo

Rafa Benitez

LAST week’s visit of Chelsea was regarded as the first true test of Liverpool’s title pretensions.

For Rafa Benitez, tomorrow’s trip to Sunderland is a greater barometer of what’s achievable in the league this season.

Motivating and preparing his team for a high profile clash isn’t a problem.

Gritty away days in the North East, where the pressure is on Liverpool more than the hosts and when the manager feels circumstances are conspiring against his players, are a different matter.

To say Benitez has enjoyed happier times in English football ranks alongside ‘Rob Styles struggles in big games’ or ‘Richard Scudamore doesn’t like upsetting Sir Alex Ferguson’ as possible understatements of the season.

His Wednesday rant against the Premier League was considerably toned down by the time he met the national press yesterday, but his anger was still apparent.

The problem he faces outside Merseyside is convincing an unfavourable audience he’s not getting too many excuses prepared early in the event of a Liverpool dip.

Benitez is aware of this, but argues it’s convenient for his dissenters to ignore the facts which prove his case.

“It’s not been the best week for us,” reflected Benitez.

“I’ve seen a lot of things I don’t like.

“You know I always try to be positive and I know people will be saying we’re just making excuses. But if you look at our situation it’s clear.

“Last season we played over double what our nearest rivals played in early kick-offs. This year we have four already.

“People just need to check how many games United, Arsenal and Chelsea must play at these times compared to us.

“I don’t want to be seen as looking for excuses, but as someone who just wants equal treatment.

“If you compare our early kick-offs, especially after international breaks, it’s really surprising.

“People can analyse this for themselves and see it’s clear.

“I don’t want Liverpool to get special treatment from the Premier League, I just want all of the clubs to be treated in the same way.”

The curse of the international break is hardly a new phenomenon.

You can set your calendar by Benitez repeating his concerns.

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