Featured Matches
Previous
Celtic
KR Reykjavik
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
FC Levadia Tallinn
Sparta Prague
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Skenderbeu
BATE Borisov
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Debrecen
Cliftonville
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
VMFD Zalgiris
Dinamo Zagreb
6:15 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Sutjeska
Sheriff Tiraspol
3:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
F91 Dudelange
Ludogorets Razgrad
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
FC Levadia Tallinn
Sparta Prague
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
FK Qarabag
Valletta
4:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Santa Coloma
5:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
T.N.S.
Slovan Bratislava
5:45 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
HB Torshavn
Partizan Belgrade
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Skenderbeu
BATE Borisov
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
VMFD Zalgiris
Dinamo Zagreb
6:15 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Debrecen
Cliftonville
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Celtic
KR Reykjavik
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Zeljeznicar Sarajevo
Metalurg
7:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Sarpsborg FK
Aalesund
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nacional
Defensor Sporting
12:15 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Olimpo de Bahía Blanca
Atletico Rafaela
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Figueirense FC
Bragantino
10:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
Icasa
Portuguesa de Desportos
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Goianiense
Oeste
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Next
Sep 11, 2012

Benitez: Ex-owners blew title chance

Rafa Benitez has accused former Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett of destroying the club's best recent chance to win the Premier League title.

• Rafa expected Reds approach

Benitez guided the Reds to second place in 2009 and said he believed the addition of three key players over the summer could have brought the title to Anfield in 2010.

In his new book, Champions League Dreams, he accused Hicks and Gillett of wrecking the chance for Liverpool to claim a first title since 1990 by tightening the budget and forcing him to be "a bank manager".

Benitez had planned to sign either Sylvain Distin or Matthew Upson to provide centre-back cover, as well as Fiorentina forward Steven Jovetic, but was unable to land any of them and lost his job in June 2010 after the club had slipped to seventh in the Premier League.

"For five years I had been a football manager at Liverpool. By the start of my sixth, it was clear I had become something else entirely. I was suddenly supposed to be a bank manager," he wrote. "Decisions were being made to appease the banks, not the fans. That is how serious the situation with the owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, had become.

"Attempting to work in the transfer market that summer was almost impossible. We knew we would need cover and support for Fernando Torres, as David Ngog was still developing, and we had raised the cash to find it. The player we identified to fill that role was Stevan Jovetic, a young Montenegro forward playing for Fiorentina in Italy.

"The funds we thought we had available would also have stretched to another central defender, to provide cover for Jamie Carragher, Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger.

"The two players we had identified were Sylvain Distin, then with Portsmouth, and West Ham's Matthew Upson, both boasting abundant Premier League experience. Signing one of those two, plus the tall, powerful, intelligent Jovetic, would have given Liverpool the squad we needed to build on the previous year's title challenge.

"Liverpool, though, was no longer a football club. It was a business. The money, which we wanted to use to take Liverpool on to the next level, was all gone."

Benitez wrote that Liverpool "would be punished for the disappearance of that money - and our failure to sign Jovetic - again and again that season".

He said what had been supposed to be "our year" had instead turned into a "long, hard campaign, a battle from start to finish".

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.