Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has rejected criticism of his methods at Anfield and suggested that any complaints about recent below-par performances should be aimed not at the manager or players, but at the club’s board.
Benitez was speaking in the wake of Tuesday’s humiliating 6-3 home defeat to Arsenal, a loss the Spaniard attributed to the failure of the Liverpool board to back him in the transfer market.
“If Arsenal can play nine reserves and score six at Anfield, people should be asking why,” said Benítez.
“It’s not because of one game, it’s because of many reasons. There is a lesson for the whole of our club. That lesson is that if you want to compete at the top level you must be able to spend a lot of money – not only on your first team but on the young players and the reserves.
“My scouting department has done an excellent job but sometimes we go too slowly as a club to make signings we need. We need to work quickly. And when we do, there is not a lot of money.
“Arsenal spent £4m on Abou Diaby, £4m on Denilson, £8m on Theo Walcott and Julio Baptista is a £22m player. We had seven players with first-team experience and still we could not win.”
Benitez believes Liverpool have fallen behind Arsenal in terms of development and made it clear Liverpool would not be able to compete at the highest level unless the board backed him in the transfer market.
However, Benitez’s basic complaint that he lacks the resources to compete do not stand up to close scrutiny. Liverpool have spent £77.8m in transfer fees during his 2½ seasons as manager – more than any other Premiership club in the same period, apart from Chelsea and Manchester United.