It looks like it’s going to be a love-in at Anfield this afternoon between Liverpool fans and their returning former manager Rafa Benitez, who is now miraculously Newcastle’s manager.
And even Jurgen Klopp, the new very successful and popular manager at Liverpool since only last October, has joined in the praise and doesn’t mind one little bit about the fans’ adulation of the man who took Liverpool to their 5th Champions League (European Cup) success.
Rafa Benitez – when he first arrived at St. James’ Park
That was in Istanbul in 2005 when Rafa conjured up a miracle after the team were 3-0 down to AC Milan at half time.
We watched that game live on TV and it looked all over at half time but then Liverpool came surging back for an emotional win – it was fantastic to watch it – simply amazing.
Steven Gerrard was unbelievable in that second half – one of the all time greats at Liverpool football club – a fantastic football club.
Rafa managed the club from the summer of 2004 through the summer of 2010 and managed 350 Liverpool games with a win percentage of 56%
Jurgen Klopp has told BBC Sport he has no problems with fans praising the 56 year-old today:
“I like Rafa,” “We met each other a few times at a UEFA meeting. He’s a very successful manager, nice person, and I really like him.”
“From my point of view, if somebody wants to celebrate Rafa – he was one of the most successful managers ever at Liverpool – then they’re very welcome.”
“I don’t care about this. If they want to be louder than they’ve ever been then that’s absolutely okay.”
We have been surprised how Rafa seems a really nice person after all the publicity about him at the Reds when he was said to be cold and aloof from his players.
But he’s already formed a bond with his players on Tyneside – and the Newcastle fans too – who just love him.
So there will be a real love-in this afternoon at Liverpool but we need the points – all 3 points.
A win at Anfield today for the first time since back in 1994 is just what we need to help avoid being relegated for the second time since 2009.
That would be a complete disaster.
So here’s hoping for another Rafa miracle – this time the Miracle on the Tyne.
Howay The Lads!!
Note: It’s exactly nine years today since I started this blog on 23rd August 2007 – mainly for those fans away from Newcastle around the world. It’s a one man blog so go easy on me in my retirement.