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Did Liverpool miss the bus with Rafa Benitez?

Nothing divides Liverpool fans quite as much as the subject of Rafa Benitez.

There are those who see him as one of the best around, and believe that Liverpool getting rid was a huge mistake.

The other side of the argument could not get him out fast enough.

The pro-Rafa clan point to a fifth European Champions success, followed by an FA Cup and then another Champions' league final, all achieved with a very average team inherited from his predecessor.

The anti-Rafa brigade point out he nearly blew the first final by his team selection, only making changes at 3-0 down; and claim he did lose the second CL final by not playing Crouch.

Rafa critics point to what they see as many mistakes in the transfer market - letting Alonso go, buying Aquilani, Morientes, Keane, Ngog, Kyrgiakos, etc.

His supporters point to the buys of Alonso in the first place, Torres, Mascherano, Lucas, Skrtel, Kuyt and others.

His defenders also point out he had to wheel and deal in the transfer market because the club was in the hands of arguably the worst owners in the history of the Premier League; and that it was Benitez who created the current youth setup that is producing players such as Suso and Sterling.

Perhaps the argument may be resolved. He is now at a club with the resources to buy the players he wants. It remains to be seen how much time he will be given, but it could turn out to be a marriage made in heaven for both Chelsea and Benitez.

Whichever way, here is a man considered to be good enough to take over the European Champions. He was living in Merseyside, and available. For some reason, Liverpool chose not to even consider him for the vacant manager's post.

This not to say he should have been made Liverpool manager, but he should at least have been interviewed.

Why he wasn't considered, we'll probably never know. Perhaps the board felt he wasn't good enough. Or perhaps they wanted to drive down costs and knew he would not simply remain silent while experienced forwards such as Kuyt, Bellamy and Maxi (and, to stretch a point, Carroll) were allowed to leave without any adequate replacements.

Right now Liverpool are left looking upwards at Benitez from a lowly 10th position. Will his recent good results at Chelsea continue, and if they do does it prove a point that the Reds should have brought him in when they could?

image: © k1ngk0ng

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