One win in nine matches tells a story. And it should be a horror story as far as Liverpool supporters are concerned. Yet their faith in their manager remains strong. Monday night's 2-2 draw with Birmingham will be chiefly remembered for David Ngog's winning of a dubious penalty yet there were far stronger undercurrents at play.
ESPN pundits Kevin Keegan and Danny Murphy made great pains to remind the watching audience of Liverpool fans' propensity to never boo a manager and also the tradition the club has of never sacking managers. It is often said that Don Welsh, back in 1956, is the only Reds boss to have been fired by the club. That however, does not take into account the enforced departures of Graeme Souness, Roy Evans and Gerard Houllier.
Souness was roundly booed and perhaps rightly so. He eventually walked after making the grave mistake of selling the story of a heart-bypass operation to The Sun newspaper, the publication that infamously sullied those who were killed and injured at Hillsborough. Performances on the pitch hardly helped his cause and he was replaced by Evans, the final graduate of Bill Shankly's "Boot Room". Evans' team played a brand of entertaining football the club have rarely been associated with since yet failed to deliver anything but a League Cup.
Evans was eventually shuffled out after having Gerard Houllier inserted as a "co-manager", a set-up from which there are very few examples of footballing success ever being delivered. Having sidled in, Houllier, backed rapturously by the Kop choir after recovering from a serious heart condition but who ultimately failed to deliver glory to Anfield, left via a somewhat cloudy "mutual consent" when most accepted his time was up.
Rafael Benitez, given the lack of any adequate or available replacement would seem to have until the end of the season to try and escape the fate of his three immediate predecessors. A lucrative contract, signed only in March 2009, means being sacked by co-owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks can make him a rich man, financially independent to make his own choices in the game. It has also protected him from any imminent dismissal by the cash-concerned duo.
There is little suggestion that he is in any way eyeing the Anfield exit door, and those silly jungle-drummed rumours which have twice had him walking out on the club and had bookmakers stopping taking bet have not reappeared of late.
However, there was a hint on Monday, in pre-match, that he knows he has other options. When asked by our very own Rebecca Lowe on ESPN, Benitez made pains to point out his love for the fans of the club, and his appreciation of their loyalty towards him; this devotion had caused him to turn down many other opportunities at other clubs. It seemed an odd time to place such information, neither widely reported nor previously confirmed, into the public domain. Was Benitez introducing the caveat that should the fans turn against him then he will leave? Real Madrid, where he once learned his trade, may covet his comfort with the disciplines of the Champions League.
He currently has the public on his side. Banners stating in "Rafa we trust" are still highly visible as he retains Scouse hearts and minds. Some might say they are often easily pleased, considering one recent fanzine writer's assessment of Andriy Voronin as a "mixed success" and a banner which welcomed Alberto Aquilani, £20m of barely-playing replacement for Xabi Alonso, with the optimistic legend " Il Principino, a hero will rise".
Benitez has often played to the gallery, his "facts" outpouring about Sir Alex Ferguson - perhaps the man most loathed by the Kop - led to his name being bellowed to the rafters while his team's title challenge faltered. He has also allowed himself to be portrayed as a victim of the club's ownership set-up, thus appearing to be on the fans' side while at the same time also using the Americans to rid himself of old foe Rick Parry. As represented by his team's style of football, "Rafa" is ever the pragmatist.
Liverpool's manager likes to keep himself controlled, and it is said he rarely shows emotion to his players. At present, he has control over the vocal majority. But their emotions may not always stay well-disposed to a manager whose team have failed to match their own ambitions. Injuries, finance, officials, other managers, and various other excuses will not always paper over the cracks.
With no games to be played and points to be dropped, the ongoing international break, with many of his players staying on Merseyside to work on their various knocks, could yet be the key period in Benitez's entire Anfield reign.