Kop legend Smith blasts Reds boss Benitez
Legendary Liverpool defender Tommy Smith has launched a stinging criticism of Reds boss Rafael Benitez after his side were knocked out of the FA Cup by Barnsley. Brian Howard's injury-time winner at Anfield dumped Liverpool out of yet another competition, leaving them with just the Champions League - in which they face Inter Milan this week - to contest. And Smith, who captained Liverpool to the 1971 league and UEFA Cup double, has hit out at Benitez's controversial rotation policy and decision to rest several key players for yesterday's visit of the Coca-Cola Championship side. Smith told BBC Radio Five Live: 'In the programme for yesterday's game Benitez said cup competitions are always dangerous if you think you can beat teams easily. So why on earth didn't he put a strong team out against Barnsley?' Smith admitted Reds fans may finally start to run out of patience with the Spanish boss. 'I should imagine so. At the end of the day Bill Shankly used to tell us you're only as good as your last result. How on earth does Benitez think he's going to win stuff if he puts a second-class team out? 'Because Liverpool's squad is not as strong as I think he thought at the beginning of the season. I don't think he's even got a strong first XI. 'How could he leave (Jose) Reina, (Steven) Gerrard and (Javier) Mascherano out?' Smith admitted the last-16 European tie with Inter is now do-or-die. 'I'm afraid so,' he said. 'He keeps going on about winning four cups and all that but at the end of the day it's not even entertaining at Anfield at the moment. The crowd keep it going but they booed everybody at the end of the game and quite rightly. 'The first person you put on the team-sheet is Gerrard. How on earth could he sit on the bench for 75 minutes and watch that...then he (Benitez) talks about chances. Well, they've gone. You can't score after the game finishes.'