Discontent at Liverpool
There has been much talk in the media from ex-professional football players and pundits about the possible departure of Gerrard from Liverpool in the Summer. He almost joined Mourinho's Chelsea in 2004, but the anticipated backlash from Liverpool fans and his love of the club stopped him leaving.
Gerrard has always been quiet in public, he tends to shy away from the limelight and he never airs his grievances in public. However at Liverpool, there is now the small matter of the skipper having an attitude problem. He was visibly angry with Rafa for substituting Torres and he looked dejected as he trudged off the field at the final whistle.
Dissent has been a character affecting many within the squad this season. Babel and Riera have both voiced their dissatisfaction with the Anfield regime and only this week Benayoun has claimed that the team are de-motivated by only challenging for fourth.
The change of ownership has failed to materialise this year and although the in-fighting between George Gillet and Tom Hicks is being masked, it is common knowledge that they cannot stand each other.
The challenge for a top four position in the league is faltering, Manchester City looked immense against Burnley and they are in the ascendency.
A positive for Liverpool is the return of fitness and form of Torres. The Spaniard is likely to start and if you are betting over 2.5 match goals at 10/11, be sure to check the hapless Ngog is not playing alongside him.
Should Liverpool not overturn the 2-1 score line from the first leg in Lisbon, it will yet again be another trophyless season. Liverpool have failed to record a victory in their last five games away, the only positive for Benitez is that Liverpool are back at Anfield where they have won their last eight matches.
Benitez cannot afford to haul Torres off in the must-win game with Benfica, tactically I cannot understand Rafa and it would not surprise me if the score was locked at 1-1 with five minutes remaining and he substituted him.
Liverpool have both Babel and Insua suspended, Rodriguez is ineligible and Skrtel, Aurelio and Kelly are all injured. Benfica are without Saviola, the Argentine international is nursing a broken toe.
The Eagles are currently on a twenty seven game unbeaten run in all competitions. The Benfica draw no bet is priced at 11/4, it is great value considering their run of form and the lack of morale in the Liverpool team. I would not back Liverpool to win in 90 minutes at 8/13, the 2/1 for Cardozo to score anytime is tempting and Benfica will be playing a counter-attack style of football. Carragher and Agger certainly seemed to have problems containing Oscar Cardozo at the Stadium of Light.
Liverpool cannot allow Benfica's time wasting to frustrate them. They must attack from the off, if they are in the right frame of mind, they can qualify. However, I would rather side with Benfica on current form.
It could be a late night for Benitez and possibly Torres or Gerrard's last appearance for Liverpool in Europe.