Rafael Benitez was forced to defend his record to reporters amid suggestions that his team's Champions League round of 16 series with Inter Milan could represent his last stand as Liverpool manager. "I am surprised I am being asked a question about winning the Champions League to save my job," said Benitez, who guided Liverpool to the Champions League title in 2005. "How many managers have won the Champions League once? Tell me? How many have got into the final twice in three years or won it twice? Think about the top managers in the Premier League and their record."
The "top managers" Benitez refers to would be Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United, who's been competing in the Champions League since 1993, and Arsenal's Arsene Wenger, whose first Champions League game was in 1998. Both managers have made it to the final once, with Ferguson winning the title in 1999 and Wenger losing to Barcelona in 2006. But the reporters pointed out that Benitez was originally appointed to win the English Premier League, a feat that Ferguson and Wenger have each managed several times.
"When I arrived here it was 21 years without winning the Champions League and 15 years without winning the Premier League," Benitez fumed, adding that under him, Liverpool had reached seven finals in three years - which is true if you include the World Club Championship, the European Super Cup and the Community Shield. As the Telegraph says, Liverpool's European record only emphasizes that "on their day they can beat any team in the world, while dropping points consistently against the also-rans of English football."