What Does Benitez Think He's Doing
Only a fool or an Everton fan (often the same thing) would dare to suggest that Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is a bad manager.
After all, since the turn of the century, he has won Primera Liga twice with Valencia and won the cup and league double in Spain. Since moving to Liverpool as manager, he's won the FA Cup and, of course, the Champions League.
As part of all that, he's made Chelsea's Jose Mourinho look ridiculous on more than one occasion - which, in my eyes, should be worth extra Premiership points for his side.
Having said all that, Benitez never really looked like he was focusing on a genuine challenge for the Premier League title. Until now.
Backed by Liverpool's new American owners, Rafa has been spending big this summer. Fernando Torres; Ryan Babel; Yossi Benayoun and a whole bunch of East Europeans clearly indicates that - this season - Benitez is aiming to win it.
The problem is: it's not going to happen. Bringing in 6 or 7 new faces all at once is not the recipe for Premiership football glory.
Torres may, like Morientes before him, find the pace of Premiership football too fast and, consequently, have to spend six months adapting.
The same goes for bedding players like Voronin and Benayoun into a big squad. It's not going to be an immediate thing. Both will have to fight to get starting places against some high quality and illustrious opposition.
The intent from Benitez is clearly there, but he's bought too many players. An incremental approach that would address weaknesses in his current squad (ie: bringing in Torres and Babel only) may have paid dividends.
However, that's not what has happened. Liverpool will be third again this term.