To put it delicately, the situation at Liverpool with respect to the current owners is something you wouldn’t wish on your enemies. It is a nightmare come true, except that it is perhaps worse than what you’d imagine a nightmare to be.
However, manager Rafael Benitez has done the right thing by publicly insisting he will not be distracted by the boardroom turmoil engulfing the club as he prepares for a run of four matches that could make or break his season (although they’ve been saying that all season now).
But all the talk at Anfield yesterday was about American co-owner George Gillett’s revelation that his relationship with partner Tom Hicks had broken down beyond repair against a backdrop of alleged death threats from disgruntled fans.
Benitez’s position was undermined by Hicks earlier this season when the American confirmed he had held talks with Jurgen Klinsmann about the manager’s job.
But he refused to comment on the substance of the latest development in the saga over the club’s ownership.
“I have been told about the comments (from George Gillett), but my response is to be really focused on the derby, that is all that I am concerned about.
But if we win everything will be happier, particularly if it is against Everton.
Whatever comments are made there is nothing I can do but concentrate on the game and prepare properly.
I will just be thinking about Everton. I put it out of my mind by working on the games, analysing our opponents and I do not talk too much with anyone. All I want is to have 11 players fit for the game.”
I think it’s a bit disgraceful for Gillett to air his dirty laundry with Hicks in the public, although to be fair to the old man, Hicks has pretty much done the same. Gillett still needs to learn how to deal with the press and he’s made the same mistakes as Hicks has made. So far, both owners have talked to local press and not to the English press.
Liverpool will be without influential midfielder Javier Mascherano, who is banned as a result of his sending-off in the defeat by Manchester United last weekend. Brazilian youngster Lucas is set to step into the Argentinian’s boots.
“Lucas can come in for Mascherano. He played well against Inter Milan, so why can he not play well against Everton? He can do the job.”
Liverpool go into the match looking for a win that would extend their advantage over fifth-placed Everton to five points and effectively kill their chances for making next season’s Champions League.
Question is, where will Liverpool and Rafa be next season themselves?