Fergie wins the mind games yet again
By Gareth Freeman
Ahead of Liverpool’s league tie with Arsenal there was a notable absentee at the press conference – Rafa Benitez. Alex Ferguson has always been a bit of a master at the old ‘mind games’ or whatever you want to call them. He made Kevin Keegan snap, he has sparred with Arsene Wenger on numerous occasions and now it looks as if Rafa has fallen by the wayside in his latest, and probably most bitter, feud.
Earlier in the season when Liverpool were way ahead in the league and looked well on course for the title Rafa launched a bizarre outburst, under very little provocation, aimed at Fergie. After that Liverpool’s form dropped and they fell way behind United. They’re finally getting themselves back on track to at least challenge for the title and yet again the ‘feud’ flares up.
After Liverpool’s 4-0 mauling of Blackburn Ferguson and Rovers’ boss Sam Allardyce claimed Rafa was making gestures to ‘humiliate’ Allardyce and he criticised the Anfield boss for calling Everton a ‘small club.’ The Liverpool team obviously knew how Benitez would react and decided not to put him in front of the media ahead of their tie with Arsenal.
Ferguson’s ‘mind games’ seem to be working again. Benitez has either decided, or been told, not to go out in front of the media and that would signal he perhaps is a bit rattled. The more impressive thing is that Fergie started the latest feud, then ended it. His latest comments on the feud are: “I don’t want to go on about it anymore. I made my point. There is no point carrying it on. It’s plain for everybody to see now. I have made my issue about it.”
Benitez didn’t even get to reply to Ferguson’s comments, assistant manager Sammy Lee did instead. It would seem that as it gets to crunch time and the betting odds are shortening on Liverpool nicking the title, Ferguson has played his trump card with maximum effect. We’ll just see how it works out in the remaining games but I wouldn’t go betting on Liverpool claiming their first title in nearly 20 years this season.