I hope you’re sitting down because this is totally the most shocking thing you’re going to hear today or any other day for the rest of your damn life.
Rafa Benitez is leaving Liverpool. I’ll give you a minute to collect yourselves.
As The Gaffer notes, Benitez had some major successes with the club, but this past season was not just “not as good” – it was a major downturn (as our own Marc has woefully said). They barely squeaked out a 7th place finish and missed out on all of the goals Benitez threw out there (We’re going to win the league! Okay, well…we’re going to win the Champions League! Okay, well…we’re going to win the Europa League! Okay, well…I made some awesome peanut butter cookies! Except they’re kind of stale and I forgot you’re allergic to peanuts.) Obviously something wasn’t working well anymore, and whether it’s a manager issue or a player issue or both (I always lean toward the last option) it’s not really something you can keep ignoring for the sake of sentimentality. There are injuries to contend with, there are players who seem to lose interest or ambition or ability, and rosters can be reworked and revamped. But eventually you have to make a bigger change, and I would have been quite surprised had this not come about this summer. I would honestly, though, be interested in hearing arguments against his departure, taking everything into account.
The interesting bit in this news to me is the speculation that he’s apparently headed to Inter Milan to take over the manager’s seat, recently vacated by my fantasy Portuguese football manager husband Jose Mourinho. I have to wonder how Inter fans feel about that, the joy of the treble still fresh in their minds as they peruse Liverpool’s results table.