Did Liverpool try to “tap up” Gabriel Heinze? It’s a fair question to ask, considering how far Rafa Benitez went in his attempts to secure the defender’s services and then chastised the Premier League for favouritism for deciding against Liverpool (because of course, any decision that goes against Liverpool must be wrong and made because of bribes or an agenda or something similar).
“I would like to ask the Premier League a number of questions. How can a player with a signed agreement be treated like this?”
Because the club always comes first, and Heinze moving to Liverpool would directly harm United’s interests by making them weaker AND making a title rival stronger.
“He has a document which is clear but the Premier League prefers to believe the word of someone else who made a mistake. I know there were accusations made against Liverpool in the hearing which were unbelievable. How can this be allowed?”
The Premier League backed the club over the player – it wasn’t a case of Manchester United vs Liverpool, it was United vs their own player. Whatever you views on the issue, I’m sure you will agree that if this was your club and your player, you wouldn’t want him signing for your title rivals, signed agreements be damned. United made a better argument, had the recorded conversation that forbade Heinze to go to Premiership title rivals AND had to their advantage the fact that Liverpool had pushed so hard for Heinze.
As for the accusations against Liverpool – this is what you get when you go after a club’s player and help him to go to court, especially when you know that you have no shot at getting this done amiably. It’s tantamount to hijacking, and no club appreciates that (and as a fellow member of the Premier League, it’s not a move in good faith either).
Rafa isn’t done though – he then takes another leaf out of Chelsea’s book (or should I say Mourinho’s book?) and bitches about Liverpool’s fixtures, while fully knowing that it’s a random process that is then re-arranged manually in case there are clashes (or for TV obligations).
“I would like to ask the Premier League why is it that Liverpool always plays the most fixtures away from home in an early kick-off, following an international break? We had more than the top clubs last season and we have four already to prepare for this season.”
Other teams will be jacked the same way over the course of the season, and if there’s anyone to blame, it’s the TV deals, not the Premier League fixtures.
“It’s going to be very difficult for us to win the Premier League because the other teams are so strong but I want our supporters to know that despite the disadvantages we have, we will fight all the way. We will fight to cope with our more difficult kick-off times and all the other decisions which are going against us.”
Just like you were fighting at the end of last season, where second-string squads were sent out in the last few games causing Liverpool to drop several points? Who cares, right, because you still got 3rd place?
In fairness, Rafa’s right about the Styles decision, but it’s hardly one to raise a battle-cry over. The rest is just whining, and it’s not something that a manager of his stature and talents, at a great club like Liverpool, needs to resort to.