Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Only Rafa Benitez Can Have The Brillant Idea Of Playing Aquilani and Torres In A Meaningless Champions League Match

The Official Liverpool club site reported that Alberto Aquilani will start tonight against Fiorentina in a meaningless Champions League match. Fernando Torres is also expected to be named on the substitutes bench. The initial reaction from me when I was told by a Red Devils fan was, "why oh why? Rafa has got things wrong yet again!"

But when I sat down later and calmly thought about this bit of news, I understood what Rafa wanted to achieve on Wednesday evening.

Rafa's decision to finally play Aquilani will be warmly received by all fans who have suffered as Liverpool's season fell apart in recent weeks. So in a meaningless Champions League match, Rafa stumbled upon the ingenious idea of finally unleashing the playmaking skills of Alberto Aquilani. Playing him in a no-pressure but still competitive match can definitely ease Aquilani back into fighting condition necessary to help Liverpool's cause for FA Cup and Europa League glory.

It's hard to argue with the mindset of Benitez as he sought to improve firstly, Aquilani's and Torres' match fitness and secondly, allow Aquilani to build his own match confidence by pitting him against familiar Italian opposition. If everything goes according to plan, Aquilani should be in contention for a first Premiership start against Arsenal. Fiorentina and Arsenal are ideal opposition for the playmaker who is regaining his stride after a long lay-off. Thirdly, if Torres comes off the bench in the 65th minute, there will be ample time in the match for Aquilani to develop an understanding with 'Nando. Rafa hopes to reap the benefits come Sunday when Arsene's team come to town.

So now, does starting Aquilani and naming Torres on the bench against Fiorentina now seems like a masterstroke to you? It sure does smell like Rafa is thinking ahead yet again, this time towards getting three points against Arsenal! So, the Gunners had better watch out this Sunday as Rafa seems to have a plan cooking in the Anfield oven.

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