Download e-book for kindle: Above Us Only Sky: Liverpool FC's Global Revolution by Paul Tomkins

By Paul Tomkins

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Luis García was a gem who, for every minute of football played, had been the most prolific midfielder in the Premiership from open play for a number of seasons. The trouble was accommodating him for something even remotely approaching every minute of every game; something Benítez did not feel was possible. Then, in January 2007, came the injury that ended the little Spaniard’s season, and, it would prove, his Liverpool career. Then there was Harry Kewell, who still averages a goal every four games in club football.

And unlike super-rich clubs like Chelsea and Manchester United, Liverpool weren’t able to be persuasive enough on that score prior to the arrival of Gillett and Hicks. The cheques the club’s officials were able to write were not as big as those signed by the chiefs at the only two English clubs to better Benítez’s league record between 2004 and 2007. 2m, both signed by Gérard Houllier. 46 Budget is perhaps the only true way to judge managers these days; the ‘weighting’ used to even out disparate achievements.

The reason Steve Coppell was voted Manager of the Year was for what he achieved –– namely finishing 8th –– on a miniscule budget. Coppell’s financial clout was taken into consideration when awarding him the ultimate managerial gong after a fine season. While Liverpool are clearly a much bigger club than Reading, and have spent much larger amounts by comparison, it’s also the case that Benítez hadn’t had anywhere near the resources of the top two teams, whom he was expected to usurp. So if Reading did exceptionally well to finish where they did, can it be said that Liverpool had done well to finish 3rd and at the same time reach another European Cup final?

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