Has Rafa Benitez Lost His Mind?

Kevin O'ConnellCorrespondent IJanuary 28, 2009

So much for a chance at the Premier League. If things continue this way, Liverpool won't be playing in Europe next year. I know I've been ripping on some of Rafa Benitez's decisions of late, but in today's game against Wigan he went too far...

First he leaves off Keane and Alonso for Babel and Lucas. I can forgive him for leaving of Keane in favor of Babel who played well last game, but Lucas? Lucas can barely lace up his own boots, let alone control the central midfield. He fouls players more often than he wins tackles.

Then, mid-game, Benitez takes off Torres in favor of Riera. At this point, Liverpool led only 1-0. This leaves Babel up front on his own to fend for himself, which is usually a losing formula.

Next Benitez puts on Kuyt for the injured Benayoun. I can live with this decision, but it would have been nice to see Keane out there.

Going back to Rafa's decision to start Lucas in place of Alonso, what does Lucas do? Gives away a penalty in the waning minutes of the game. Nice. Very nice. Mido puts away the spot kick and Wigan are level at 1-1.

So, now us Liverpool fans are praying for our Captain Fantastic, Mr. Steven Gerrard, to save us once again from another crushing blow.

Wait, what's that? Benitez is finally throwing Keane out there? Great! We'll at least have another goal scorer out there. He's surely taking off Lucas at this point, right?

No, that would be too easy.

Instead Benitez calls off Gerrard—the one man who scores late goals for Liverpool with any consistency. The one man who any Premier League team would want on their side when in need of a last second wonder-strike.

Of course the game ends in a 1-1 draw with Gerrard on the bench, leading me to ask the following question:

Rafa Benitez, have you lost your mind?