Benitez decisions 'bizarre' says Redknapp

Former Liverpool star Jamie Redknapp believes Rafael Benitez's "bizarre" decision-making has shattered the Reds' hopes of claiming a first championship since 1990.

The Spanish manager has been subjected to fierce criticism this week after his team made it three straight draws with a disappointing 1-1 stalemate at Wigan on Wednesday night.

Benitez's cryptic post-match dissection of another mediocre performance was greeted by widespread ridicule, while he has also been accused of destabilising the club recently with a rant at Manchester United rival Sir Alex Ferguson, his refusal to sign a new contract and with his marginalisation of striker Robbie Keane.

The net result has been that red-hot United have surged clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League, and Redknapp does not believe Benitez's side will be able to make up the gap.

"Liverpool are going backwards," he wrote in the Daily Mail.

"The decision to take off Steven Gerrard - who was not injured - at Wigan is confusing. What message does it send out? Gerrard will win you a game standing on one leg, so I don't understand what was behind the change.

"The manager has started tinkering with the team again and the body language of the players is not good.

"The destabilising of Robbie Keane is bizarre. He has not performed as well as many expected - me included - but he is better than he is being treated.

"Many clubs would like to have a player of his ability. Keane is a strong personality and a popular player in the dressing room, so the management of the Irishman can only have a negative impact on the squad."

Another ex-Anfield player, John Aldridge, believes the club's problems have been building over the course of the season.

And he has warned that far from claiming a first title for 19 years, Liverpool could end up missing out on the Champions League places altogether given Aston Villa's emergence as a genuine force.

"You can't blame the rant he had at Fergie. That's nothing to do with it," the former Republic of Ireland striker told the Daily Mirror.

"In fact, what Rafa said about Fergie was right but it put him under pressure if things went wrong, and they have."

He added: "Too many draws all season have cost them, not just the last three games.

"If things don't improve soon, then it's really possible to see Villa breaking in and that would make it a real danger for Liverpool not to be in the top four at all."

Defender Glenn Hysen played alongside Aldridge in the championship side of 1989-90 and he believes the buck for Liverpool's recent downturn must stop with Benitez.

"He is a big part of what's gone wrong and the way he's behaved recently proves it," he said.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy