liverpool 2-1 blackburn

Benitez steps up his feud with Allardyce

February 28, 2010

The long-running spat between Rafael Benitez and Sam Allardyce showed no signs of ending after Liverpool's 2-1 victory over Blackburn at Anfield.

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Rafael Benitez, Sam Allardyce
GettyImagesSam Allardyce recently had a spat with Rafael Benitez

Neither have been complimentary about each other in recent years, stemming back to the Spaniard's first match against Bolton in August 2004 when Sami Hyypia sustained a broken nose in the opening minutes.

Prior to this match Allardyce claimed his opposite number had turned Liverpool into a side scrapping for results, akin to his former Wanderers team.

Benitez responded after the game by ironically suggesting Barcelona - regarded as the best footballing side in the world - were considering copying Allardyce's style.

When asked about Allardyce's claims that his side dominated long periods, Benitez said: "It doesn't matter - we won. It is really important (the way to play) but sometimes we cannot play football. We try to do our talking on the pitch. If they are pleased with the way they play under this manager it is their decision.

"They have a style and they are a team that plays this way under this manager. We won so we they have to be thinking about whether the style is good or not. Some people have to talk before the press conference or after because it is more difficult for them to do a football job.

"I think it is a model for all the managers around the world, their style of football, his behaviour. It is the perfect model for all the kids and I'm sure all parents will enjoy this model and encourage their kids to be the same.

"The style of football, I think, Barcelona are thinking of copying.''

Liverpool found themselves on the receiving end of a number of robust challenges and had only one player booked compared to the five of Blackburn.

Rovers could easily have also had Steven Nzonzi, who pushed Lucas Leiva in the face, and Pascal Chimbonda, who kicked Maxi Rodriguez in the chest, red-carded in off-the-ball incidents.

"Nzonzi was very clear, touching the face of Lucas, and the rules are the rules,'' added Benitez. "We have had four of five players with problems, bleeding, and Maxi with stud (marks) in his abdomen. Interesting - but we won.''

Allardyce, obviously, saw things differently and said of his pre-match criticism of Benitez: "It was only because Liverpool have a go at me and because I am entitled to respond when I get criticised by Rafa Benitez.

"If you don't understand that over the last few years you must be deluded. Not this time but many other times I have been criticised personally by the manager - all I said was they got six bookings at Manchester City away so they are digging games out now rather than the flowing football they played last year.

"We had five bookings and 25 fouls given against us which was, for me, a wrong reflection on how we played. We haven't come here and hung on, we've dominated the game for long periods.

"If you want to criticise us for the fouls we have given away and the bookings we have got that is entirely up to you.''

Allardyce prickled when questioned about the behaviour of former Liverpool striker El-Hadji Diouf - who seemed intent on winding up the crowd - and directed his anger towards journalists in the press conference.

"I won't answer that question because I think it is a diabolical question,'' he said. "Diouf has always got the crowd to contend with because of the problems he has caused himself in the past but I don't see any real problems - he has gone out and played like everyone else.''

The off-field row overshadowed a goalscoring return for Fernando Torres, who marked his first start since January 13 by scoring the winner.

Torres scored his 13th goal in 17 Premier League appearances a minute before half-time, having seen Keith Andrews equalise from the penalty spot after Steven Gerrard's 20th-minute opener.

Allardyce, however, felt his side should have had more from the game.

"If we had had a goalscorer we would have won the game on chances created,'' he added. "It is not very often you come to Liverpool and create more chances than they did.

"We failed because we didn't have a goalscorer and they have Torres and Gerrard who are top quality players and they get half a chance and score.''