What would the Premiership be without Rafa Benitez? Pray we never have to find out. The man might frustrate Liverpool supporters with his transfer-market decisions sometimes, but when it comes to post-match interviews he is irreplaceable.

Speaking after his side’s 2-0 defeat away to Portsmouth this weekend, which saw Javier Mascherano get sent-off and several of his players booked, he had these warm-hearted words to say about the referee:

Benítez: “I have seen the replay and for me it is not a sending-off, but anyway the referee was perfect. He didn’t make any mistakes. Now Javier is injured, and I will say again the referee didn’t make any mistake.”

Press: “We don’t understand? You say the referee didn’t make a mistake?”

Benítez: “No he was perfect. Perfect. He was perfect.”

Press: “So why was it not a sending-off?”

Benítez: “I have seen the replay, for me it’s not a sending-off, but anyway. Perfect.”

Press: “Was there any particular reason why players like Gerrard or Torres couldn’t get it together and perform?”

Benítez: “No, the referee was perfect so Torres, he didn’t have any problems.”

Press: “You were a goal down before the sending-off, the average observer wouldn’t say you were controlling the game at half-time. Why do you say it turned the game when you were a goal down already?”

Benítez: “If you see we created a couple of chances and we have plenty of possession in the first half I was convinced we could change the game.”

Press: “Can you just explain what you said about the referee?”

Benítez: “Perfect. No mistakes.”

Press: “But you say he made a mistake with the sending-off.”

Benítez: “Perfect.”

Press: “Don’t you think Torres was fortunate to escape being penalised for that elbow?”

Benítez: “The referee was perfect.”

Never change, Rafa.

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