The dreaded vote of confidence?

Rafael Benitez‘s job is safe, according to reports in the press, despite Liverpool’s season going from bad (out of the title race before the end of November) to worse (out of the Champions League with a group game to spare) last night. Whether this is a good or bad thing for Liverpool is up for debate, but it’s probable that if the financial position of the club wasn’t so precarious he wouldn’t be quite so secure.

‘This will have no bearing on Rafa whatsoever,’ Christian Purslow, Liverpool’s managing director, said. ‘He signed a new five-year deal four months ago and in those terms he is four months into a five-year journey. You don't deviate from long term plans for people and the way to take the club to the next level because of two late goals against Lyon, and that's what it boils down to.’ Benitez was equally sanguine at his team’s exit at the group stage, which had in truth looked likely after their 2-1 home defeat to Lyon.

‘You have to be disappointed,’ he said. ‘We knew we had to win and we did. We can't change what happened in the other match (Fiorentina beat Lyon 1-0 in Florence, which knocked Liverpool out), but at least we did our job. If you look at the games, two late goals made a massive difference. We were not any worse in them than others but we paid for the two late goals against Lyon. It's part of football but it's difficult to control.’

Elsewhere, Arsenal cruised to a 2-0 win against Standard Liege at home, Barcelona beat Inter 2-0 in a group that all four teams can still qualify from, and Rangers suffered another humiliating defeat at home, being humped 3-0 by Stuttgart.

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