The man who is the happiest that Luiz Suarez's overgrown chompers stole the headlines is Rafa Benitez because it hid his display of terrible management. For a man whose reputation is based on tactical nous and a rotational policy, he allowed sentiment to guide his team selection and failed to react after Daniel Sturridge's introduction. Here are the key decisions that affected today' s game.
Fernando Torres had to start against Liverpool. A striker whose shown a streak of petulance in his time at Chelsea, he would have thrown a colossal tantrum had he not started at Anfield in front of his former team. Rafa knew it, especially since the singular reason Roman Abrahamovich brought him to Chelsea is to get the best of Torres. But knowing that and the fact that Torres would have to start against FC Basel on Thursday, as Demba Ba is ineligible, why start Torres on Wednesday? It backfired as even the all powerful Zorres put in a tired and ineffective shift today.
2) Failing to react to Daniel Sturridge's introduction
Of course Chelsea fans were keenly aware that Daniel Sturridge was in the game, but it seems like Rafa had no idea as Sturridge consistently got free of Chelsea's defense to score the first goal and create the second goal. In defiance of Rafa's rotational policy, this was David Luiz's seventh straight start and Ivanovic's third. They clearly tired and it showed as they forgot to mark Suarez in extra, extra-time the referee added. The situation was screaming was for a defender to be introduced, but instead Rafa ....
We know that Rafa doesn't start John Terry and Frank Lampard for the most important games because he feels Chelsea has better options. But its clearly obvious that Yossi Benayoun should be playing in the Championship and has no business playing in a important tie in a hostile Premier League environment. To throw him on against his former team reeked of sentiment, as he didn't provide an outlet and or help shield the defense.