Change for change's sake? - ESPNSoccernet
Breaking away from the tabloid newspaper's sensationalism, Soccernet's journalist, Norman Hubbard provided sort of an alternate view on Rafa's tinkering.
And as one of English football's most enduring clichés is 'never change a winning team', any subsequent setback can be attributed to Benitez's inability to present the same teamsheet. The realities of defeat are often more complex, but the school of lazy punditry finds fault with the Liverpool manager; that his tinkering contributed to eventual victory in Istanbul is currently being ignored.
But as Benitez approaches an unlikely century, there are five facets to his ever-changing team selection. The first is a methodology that is the polar opposite of, say, Arsene Wenger's: a concession to the opposition in his thought process.
Then there are the merits of squad rotation. Benitez's thesis - that it is impossible for a club with aspirations to succeed to play 65 games a season while fielding the same 11 players throughout.
Then a summer recruitment drive left Benitez with a squad size commensurate with Liverpool's status among the biggest clubs. The dynamics of the modern transfer market and the absence of a billionaire backer, however, are contributing factors in the Spaniard's decision to split his transfer budget several ways. Lacking any galacticos means there are few automatic choices.
Fourthly, there are the options at Benitez's disposal which, given the adaptability of many of his players, are more than Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho or Wenger have to ponder. Versatility is an asset Benitez values; the addition of Fabio Aurelio and Boudewijn Zenden, providing an alternative in three and four positions respectively, shows at much.
If Gerrard and Luis Garcia, each deployed just behind the main striker, are included, Benitez has six options in attack and 15 possible partnerships.
Yet, where the squad system was abandoned, the result was despondency for Robbie Fowler; even the substitutes' bench has been beyond his grasp for the last five games. For five of them, Bellamy and Dirk Kuyt were united, providing an indication that they may be regarded as a long-term partnership. For Benitez, the consequence was criticism because of the omission of Peter Crouch.
Even the central defensive partnership, largely untouched last season, has been altered, the result of a rare injury to Carragher and evidence of the admirable Hyypia's decline which, coupled with Daniel Agger's precocious performances, means another significant decision every match for the Spaniard.
Whether a lack of consistency in team selection at Anfield equates to a lack of consistency in results is another matter. And in the meantime, whenever Liverpool next win because of a substitution or surprise selection from Benitez, it could be seen as a reason to carry on tinkering.