Never mind derby day injustices or controversial substitutions, the burning question on everyone’s lips is Rafa’s tongue. Why was it so red last Saturday?
Has he been sucking on Cherry Menthol Tunes or some other red fruit based sweet or is it something more unusual? Perhaps he’s been licking freshly painted post boxes? Maybe his kids “painted it”, with Mrs Benitez’s lipstick, while he was asleep in front of the TV open mouthed, the little tinkers! Or, is it something altogether more sinister? Blood?
Before you dismiss the last item as bul*shit consider this. Have you noticed that since Rafa took over Harry Kewell seems to be permanently injured? Perhaps his recovery has been hampered because he’s been sapped of his energy because he’s anaemic. Barely a football boot raised in anger yet Rafa keeps him on the books and on the treatment table … “hmm still injured Harry, I think we need another blood sample!” Also consider this, only recently Rafa was moaning about midday games. He maintained it was to do with team preparation but could it also be because he doesn’t like bright sunlight! And why is the new away kit black? I think we should be told!
A bit more fallout from Saturday. David Moyes has my sympathy but he is slowly, with help from the media, beginning to use it up as he attempts to build up his own fanciful conspiracy theory involving us and Mark Clattenburg.
“This is as tough as I have ever had it from a referee in a big game… Just incredible. They (Liverpool players) were always in there with him (Clattenburg) and maybe he wants to be friendly with them. Didn’t he go to Asia with Liverpool for the Asian Cup this summer?”
Add to this a quote from Monday’s Guardian
“Clattenburg courted accusations of enjoying an uncomfortable pal’s act with Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher….Moyes, whose mood will not be helped by the two pages in Gerrard’s autobiography in which he eulogises Clattenburg and Graham Poll as “the best refs around . . . top drawer . . . never influenced by the occasion”.
When do Everton next play Fulham? It’s only a matter of time before Moyes, having talked to Mohamed Al Fayed, starts accusing Benitez of being involved in the Diana “murder conspiracy”. Gerrard wasn’t alive when man first walked on the moon but, had he been so, no doubt Moyes would say that the shots were not of the moon but of the sand pit in his back garden!
For us it’s time to forget about Saturday and concentrate on Champions League matters and erasing the memory of the Marseille game as today when we face Besiktas at their place. Ideally we should be going into this game with four points having secured three at home to Marseille to add to the one we got in Porto. However, we all know what happened at Anfield and we now find ourselves having to make up lost ground.
Although this is in Istanbul, the city of the 2005 triumph, our record in Turkey isn’t good, we have never beaten a Turkish team away, recording one draw and two defeats. Time to put the record straight or we will really up against it for the remainder of the Champions League campaign? Says Rafa…
“We made a mistake …against Marseille which was a bad night for us. We need to repair that mistake against Besiktas. It’s clear we need to go to Istanbul and try to win. If we don’t do that we know it will be difficult for us but all we are thinking about is the three points. The players know how important it is for us to win this game.”
It looks like Alonso, who has said this game is more important Saturday’s points, will travel however Torres, Agger and Arbeloa will be left at home. We cannot afford to rest anyone ahead of Arsenal, our next game, because of situation we have put ourselves in this competition. Luckily that game is on Sunday which gives us and extra day to prepare but I don’t think this is the time for rotation and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the starting line up mirror Saturday’s, although I’ve a feeling Pennant may feature.
I know nothing about Besiktas. Last Saturday they won 3-2 at Trabzonspor and lie second in the Turkish league behind Galatasaray. We never played them before but their record against English clubs is poor, only one win from eight games. The atmosphere, as always seems to be the case in Turkey, will be hostile although the usual “welcome to hell” greeting has, over the years has lost much of its impact.
Prediction? I’m sure Benitez has done his homework but it’s a bit of a voyage into the unknown for me. I’ll be brave and positive and suggest that we will really go for it and end up winning 3-0. However, I’ll take anything at the moment, so long as we get the points!