Venables hits out at Liverpool over Benitez deal

Venables admits Benitez did a good job when he first took over at Anfield, but the Spaniard’s luck seems to have changed.

Venables wrote on his blog at The Sun: “When Rafa signed a new five-year contract in March, he not only won the Lottery, he won the Boat Race and Grand National as well.

“There is no doubt he did a stellar job after taking over in June 2004. He breathed new life into Anfield, persuading the Chelsea-bound Steven Gerrard to stay and winning the Champions League in unforgettable circumstances in Istanbul in his first season in charge. Wow!

“He followed that up the following year by beating West Ham on penalties in the FA Cup final and then, in 2007, he guided his club to another Champions League final – this time losing to AC Milan in Athens.

“No trophies followed the following season nor the one after and, in between, they also failed to land Gareth Barry from Aston Villa.

“But last term, on their way to finishing second behind Manchester United, Liverpool ‘rewarded’ Benitez with his new deal that ties – or rather handcuffs – him to the club until 2014.

“I am all for clubs sticking by their managers. Stability and continuity are a sure route to success if you do not have Roman Abramovich’s spending power.

“But you have to question the Liverpool board’s decision to give a five-year contract to a manager who has failed to deliver a league title and, arguably, blew his club’s chances of landing that elusive crown last season with his infamous ‘That’s a fact’ rant.”

He added: “The club are said to be struggling off the field as much as on it but they cannot afford to get rid of Rafa.

“Gillett and Hicks know it. Rafa knows it. We all know it.

“I am not advocating his sacking. But why did they not give him a shorter deal? To give him such a long one was madness.

“It is not only the Liverpool defence who are tied in knots.

“We have a situation now where the club probably cannot get rid of their manager even if they want to. They are stuck with him.”