I have never been impressed with Benitez, ever. Wenger is excellent, Mourinho a genius at deflecting attention to himself and the pressure away from the players and even Old Purple Nose has, I will admit, the ability to build a squad. But Benitez is a different story.
My opinion of his two Champions League finals has been something I commented on before. Saved by Gerrard in the first and tactically lost the second before a ball had even been kicked. But look at the players he has discarded, Owen, Crouch, Morientes, Bellamy and Alonso obviously jump to mind but with Torres on the sideline you don't think that they would welcome Keane up front at Anfield these days? Anelka too for that matter, but that one you can lay at the feet of Houllier.
Obscure Spaniards and Hungarians joining while the depth is shockingly thin. Benitez has tended to speculate on youngsters with some success it is true, but also there has been a lack of the club's highly rated own youngsters coming through. What you end up with is a lot of pieces, acquired at reasonable prices but not enough pure quality at the top of the squad. Essentially the players that should be Liverpool's depth are instead playing regularly in their first team. Lyon was a result not only waiting to happen, but fairly inevitable.
Benitez is of course blaming an injury crisis for the problems which is convenient but overlooks the fact that this is a squad game these days and Liverpool should expect to have players out through injury and/or suspension.
Which brings me, finally, to the City angle. While not confirmed specifically that City made the bid, it has been said both by Benitez and certain sections of the press that this summer a bid of 70 million was made for Torres and was rejected.
The next manager of Liverpool, because that's where this is heading, is going to have to rebuild the club with little significant additional financial investment from the current club owners. As the Kaka and Messi situations have shown, money is not an issue for City. So what price Gerrard and Torres?
And before Liverpudlians completely foam at the mouth... think it through. At say a combined 180 million or more for the pair, Liverpool could literally rebuild their entire team. Wouldn't be pretty I admit and Merseyside would be apoplectic for sure. But is there another solution for Liverpool? Benitez's moves in the transfer market have created a club that has two superstars, one useful midfielder and an under rated winger and that's about it. Even when the club had Alonso and Keane the squad was woefully thin, but now that squad is worse than Sunderland, Villa and ironically Keane's Spurs never mind City and the other Big Three.
Last year Liverpool had the best starting 11 in the Premier League, not the best squad, the best starting 11 and that should have been enough to win the title. It wasn't. With Torres and Gerrard on the sidelines would you name a single Liverpool player in a Premier League starting 11? No, neither would I and that is the point. The next Liverpool manager is going to have to start over and at the moment there is only one way to raise the money that will be needed.