THE row over Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez’s squad rotation system continued to rumble on Wednesday as former Anfield goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar said lack of continuity was at the root of the Premier League club’s ills.
One day after current striker Fernando Torres had supported his boss’s policy of switching the first team around, Grobbelaar hit out at the controversial method.
“We played three times a week too,” the former Zimbabwean international said. “But Kenny Dalglish never changed five players without reason.
“Rotation should be natural and changes should be made only when there are injuries and suspensions.”
Grobbelaar, in Singapore as a pundit for sports TV station ESPN Star Sports, said he was frustrated that Liverpool had started the season well before things appeared to wrong when he chopped and changed the team.
Liverpool lie fifth in the 20-team Premier League, 19 points behind leaders Arsenal after 26 games.
Last week they were beaten by second division Barnsley in the FA Cup fifth round but on Tuesday they beat Inter Milan 2-0 in a Champions League last-16 first-leg match.
“The ex-players are all hurt – Ian Rush, Sammy Lee, Gary Gillespie, John Aldridge, Alan Kennedy, David Johnson . . . When we get together, that’s what we talk about,” he told the Straits Times broadsheet. “The rotation simply has to stop. Bob Paisley once said ‘football is a simple game made complicated by players and coaches’. It’s all about picking the best team and letting them get on with it in the park’.
“And the best team? It’s Jose Reina, Steve Finnan, Jamie Carragher, Daniel Agger, John Arne Riise, Javier Mascherano, Xabi Alonso, Steven Gerrard, Ryan Babel, Peter Crouch and Fernando Torres.
“Don’t tell me that these players are not fit enough to play three times a week. An injured Gerrard is still better than many fully-fit players.”
Grobbelaar played 627 first-team matches for Liverpool between 1981 and 1994. He won 13 major medals including six league titles, a European Cup, three FA Cups and three League Cups. – Reuters.