Earlier today I responded to Rafael Benitez’s latest comments about Manchester United. In the past week, this is the third time our club has been spoken about by them, with Carragher and Agger already ‘taking their hat off’ to us.

“Manchester United make €65m a year more than we do and buy three £20m players a season,” said Rafa. “Chelsea must have spent £500m in five years. We have built a team but economically we are way below them and yet we have still managed to compete. In the five years I have been here I have spent less than £40m on Torres and Keane. How are we supposed to compete with them?”

I raised the point that if Benitez had spent his money wisely, then Liverpool would have been easily able to compete over the past few years. As it is, Benitez has wasted millions on total dross.

My observation brought a lot of Liverpool fans over to the blog talking about net spend and money spent and saved. I thought I’d investigate in to their claims. My findings were rather pleasing.

Liverpool Players In Since Summer 2004

Josemi Rey (£2,000,000)
Antonio Nunez (£1,500,000)
Luis Garcia (£6,000,000)
Xabi Alonso (£10,700,000)
Mauricio Pellegrino (Free)
Fernando Morientes (£6,300,000)
Scott Carson (£1,000,000)
Antonio Barragan (£240,000)
Boudewijn Zenden (Free)
Jose Reina (£6,000,000)
Mohamed Sissoko (£5,600,000)
Peter Crouch (£7,000,000)
Godwin Antwi (Unknown)
Miki Roque (Unknown)
Jack Hobbs (£150,000)
Besian Idrizaj (£190,000)
Mark Gonzalez (£1,500,000)
Paul Anderson (Player Exchange)
Jan Kromkamp (Player Exchange)
Daniel Agger (£5,800,000)
David Martin (£250,000)
Robbie Fowler (Free)
Craig Bellamy (£6,000,000)
Gabriel Paletta (£2,000,000)
Fábio Aurélio (Free)
Jermaine Pennant (£6,700,000)
Dirk Kuyt (£9,000,000)
Nabil El Zhar (£200,000)
Jordy Brouwer (Undisclosed)
Francisco Durán (£66,000)
Ronald Huth (Undisclosed)
Álvaro Arbeloa (£2,500,000)
Lucas Leiva (£5,000,000)
Mikel San José Domínguez (£270,000)
Sebastian Leto (£1,800,000)
Fernando Torres (£20,200,000)
Andriy Voronin (Free)
Yossi Benayoun (£5,000,000)
Ryan Babel (£11,500,000)
Charles Itandje (Undisclosed)
Emiliano Insúa (£1,300,000)
Martin Skrtel (£6,500,000)
Javier Mascherano (£17,000,000)
Philipp Degen (Free)
Andrea Dossena (£7,000,000)
Diego Cavalieri (£3,500,000)
David Ngog (£1,500,000)
Robbie Keane (£19,000,000)
Albert Riera (£8,000,000)

Total spend: £189.866m

Liverpool Players Out Since Summer 2004

Markus Babbel (Free)
Danny Murphy (£2,500,000)
Michael Owen (£8,500,000)
Stephane Henchoz (Free)
Vladimir Smicer (Free)
El Hadji Diouf (£3,500,000)
Mauricio Pellegrino (Free)
Alou Diarra (£2,000,000)
Mark Smyth (Free)
Paul Harrison (Free)
Richie Partridge (Free)
Patrice Luzi (Free)
Gregory Vignal (Free)
Igor Biscan (Free)
Jon Otsemobor (Free)
Antonio Nunez (£2,000,000)
Milan Baros (£6,500,000)
John Welsh (Player Exchange)
Josemi Rey (Player Exchange)
Zak Whitbread (£200,000)
Bruno Cheyrou (Undisclosed)
Robbie Foy (Free)
David Raven (Free)
Fernando Morientes (£3,000,000)
Dietmar Hamann (Free)
Antonio Barragan (£675,000)
Djimi Traore (£2,000,000)
Carl Medjani (Free)
Neil Mellor (£500,000)
Jan Kromkamp (£1,750,000)
Chris Kirkland (£3,500,000)
Darren Potter (£250,000)
Stephen Warnock (£1,500,000)
Salif Diao (Free)
Florent S.-Pongolle (£2,700,000)
Danny O’ Donnell (£100,000)
Jerzy Dudek (Free)
Boudewijn Zenden (Free)
Robbie Fowler (Free)
Luis Garcia (£4,000,000)
Djibril Cissé (£6,000,000)
Craig Bellamy (£7,500,000)
Mark Gonzalez (£3,500,000)
Gabriel Paletta (£1,200,000)
James Smith (Free)
Mohamed Sissoko (£8,200,000)
Lee Peltier (Free)
John Arne Riise (£4,000,000)
Harry Kewell (Free)
Anthony Le Tallec (Undisclosed)
Peter Crouch (£11,000,000)
Danny Guthrie (£2,250,000)
Scott Carson (£3,250,000)
Steve Finnan (Undisclosed)
Robbie Keane (£15,000,000)

Total sale: £107.075m

Net spend: £82.791m

Manchester United Players In Since Summer 2004

Tosic (£17m)
Berbatov (£30.75m)
Nani (£17m)
Hargreaves (£17m)
Anderson (£18m)
Kuzczak (£2.5m)
Carrick (£18.6m)
Foster (£1m)
Vidic (£7m)
Evra (£5.5m)
Park (£4m)
Van der Sar (£2.5m)
Rooney (£30m)

Total spend: £170.35m

Manchester United Players Out Since Summer 2004

Nicky Butt (£2.5m)
Luke Chadwick (Free)
Diego Forlan (£2m)
Bojan Djordjic (Free)
Eric Djemba-Djemba (£1.35)
Roy Carroll (Free)
Daniel Nardiello (Free)
Phil Neville (£3.5m)
Kleberson (£2.5m)
Roy Keane (Free)
David Fox (Free)
Neil Wood (Free)
Phil Picken (Free)
Tommy Lee (Free)
Jonathan Spector (£500,000)
Eddie Johnson (Free)
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake (£200,000)
Quinton Fortune (Free)
Ruud van Nistelrooy (£11m)
Luke Steele (Player exchange)
Paul McShane (Free)
Liam Miller (Free)
David Jones (£1m)
Tim Howard (£3m)
Kieran Richardson (£5.5m)
Giuseppe Rossi (£6.6m)
Daniel Rose (Undisclosed)
Alan Smith (£6m)
Gabriel Heinze (£8m)
Phil Marsh (Free)
Adam Eckersley (Free)
Ryan Shawcross (£1m)
Phil Bardsley (£2m)
Kieran Lee (Free)
Gerard Pique (£5m)
Michael Lea (Free)
Ritchie Jones (Free)
Chris Eagles (£1m)
Mikael Silvestre (£750k)
Louis Saha (Undisclosed)

Total sale: £63.4m

Net spend: £106.95m

When taking in to consideration the money spent on players and the money recouped, there is a difference of just £24.2 million between United and Liverpool since the summer of 2004.

The season before Benitez took over, Liverpool were fourth in the league. United finished just one place above them that season.

Liverpool trophies since summer of 2004: 1 Champions League, 1 FA Cup,
Manchester United trophies since summer of 2004: 2 Premiership titles, 1 Champions League, 1 League Cup.

So, there is a difference of just £24.2 million, an average of just £6 million a season, and Benitez wants to know how he is supposed to compete with United? The diffence in spending between United and Chelsea was far greater in the years leading up to our title win in 2007, with Abramovich splashing his cash at a rate United simply couldn’t compete with. That didn’t stop us from competing with them for honours though.

Excuses, excuses from Mr. Benitez.

“He’s crackin up, he’s crackin up, he’s crackin, Rafa’s crackin up!”