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Pennant criticises Benitez: Gerrard was the player-manager at Liverpool

Published on: 22 July 2021

Jermaine Pennant doesn't have good memories of Rafa Benitez from his time playing under the Spaniard at Liverpool.

The winger played had Benitez as his manager between 2006 and 2009, and he has discussed their poor relationship during that period.

"He's a legend at Liverpool for that famous game, coming back from 3-0 down in the Champions League [final against AC Milan], which was [Steven] Gerrard-driven 100 percent and I know that," Pennant said on talkSPORT, claiming that it was Gerrard who was the real leader in the group.

"Look, it's different for every player, different players will react differently with Rafa.

"But in my eyes, he wasn't a great man manager. His skills in that department were lacking.

"Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher have also made this publicly known as well, that they felt it was difficult.

"I felt it was difficult to approach him, have a conversation and maybe talk about certain situations on and off the pitch.

"He wouldn't come up to you, he wouldn't grab you by the side and have a chat about whatever you need to discuss. He kind of left it to Gerrard.

"Especially to big games, at half time if things weren't going very well, it wouldn't be him pointing fingers and shouting instructions and telling you what needs to be done to win this game.

"It would have been Steven coming in giving you an effing and blinding.

"Playing back then, I wouldn't want to annoy Gerrard first, and then my manager. Steven was the player-manager. I think every player will take it differently with him."

Pennant doesn't expect Benitez to have a successful period at Liverpool's city rivals Everton.

"Is he going to light it up at Everton? Is he going to take them to the next level? Personally, I don't think he will. Sorry, Everton fans," he added.

"After Liverpool you look where he's been... [At] Newcastle he didn't really set them alight, he kept them afloat.

"I just feel he's going to be a little bit stagnant at Everton."


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