<
>

Jamie Carragher: I've never known why Rafa Benitez went on his 'facts' rant

play
Tactical Analysis: How Liverpool can beat United (1:21)

Don Hutchison discusses the three main things Liverpool will need to do in order to beat Jose Mourinho's Manchester United at Anfield. (1:21)

Jamie Carragher has told Sky Sports that he could not understand why Rafa Benitez felt the need go on his infamous "facts" rant in the midst of Liverpool's 2008-09 Premier League title race with Manchester United.

In January of that season, then-Liverpool manager Benitez used a news conference to direct a five-minute rant at United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, pulling out a piece of paper in front of reporters listing "facts" intended for his opposite number.

Liverpool were seven points clear at the top of the Premier League in January before United went on to lift the title.

"To be honest, I don't think Ferguson had got in his head and he thought he had to say something," former Liverpool defender Carragher said. "I think it was actually started by Rafa, I don't think it was something Ferguson had done.

"Rafa, on the Friday, mentioned to me he was going to say something in his press conference before it happened -- so it was premeditated. It wasn't a reaction to something.

"I didn't know what he was going to say. Still to this day people always say it affected us, but I don't think it did because we only lost two games in the whole season. It wasn't like we completely went off the rails.

"I just don't know why he did it. The only thing I'm thinking of, if I'm being totally honest, is we were going for the league and it was Rafa sort of calling it on with [United]."

Gary Neville, meanwhile, says Benitez's comments made it look like the pressure was getting to him.

The former United defender said: "I remember being at home that day, watching Sky Sports News and thinking: 'What's he done?'

"It was reported that 'he's cracking up,' and then the fans start singing 'Rafa's cracking up,' and it did feel like the pressure was getting to him. You can imagine Sir Alex being at home being like, 'I've got him.'

"If you're going to call it on with another manager you've got to be sure to win. He was taking Sir Alex on on his own patch -- mind games. Everyone had talked for 20 years about mind games, even if it didn't exist -- and then all of a sudden it looked like he was cracking up."