Sam Allardyce has taunted arch-critic Rafa Benitez by claiming that Liverpool are turning into the new Bolton.

The pair’s long-running feud began in August 2004 when Liverpool lost 1-0 in a bruising encounter with Bolton — their first defeat under Benitez.

The Spaniard attacked Bolton’s strong-arm tactics then and the managers became embroiled in another spat last season. That time, Allardyce, by then in charge at Blackburn, was furious at a Benitez hand gesture he interpreted as signalling that the game was all over when Liverpool had taken a 2-0 lead at Anfield.

Benitez tried to clarify the issue by claiming that he was jokingly telling his players not to listen to him after they had ignored his orders and gone on to score.

Allardyce’s anger still simmers, though, and ahead of Sunday’s clash he declared that Liverpool’s recent run of hard-fought results had been achieved with the same uncompromising style about which Benitez was once so disparaging.

‘I watched them at Manchester City and they got six players booked, so he’s brought the physical side out as well.

‘If it’s a good physical challenge on Sunday then I’ll be more than happy to go down that route — although I don’t really have the players to do that like I did at Bolton.

‘But they’ve had to go back to basics and the pretty stuff goes out of the window until you start winning. They have been professional and dogged enough to slowly improve over recent weeks.

Allardyce also revealed that, at the height of the pair’s dispute, he discovered Benitez had gone to referees’ chief Keith Hackett with evidence against Bolton.

Allardyce added: ‘He went as far as putting a DVD together and sending it to Keith Hackett. He doesn’t know I know that, but I do. I got on to Keith Hackett and told him I didn’t want it to influence what refs do because it was all a load of rubbish.’

There was a blow for Benitez  when it was confirmed that defender Martin Skrtel suffered a broken toe on his right foot in Liverpool’s Europa League win over Unirea Urziceni on Thursday. Scans showed he cracked a metatarsal.

‘Martin has had X-rays today, and they have confirmed he has a broken metatarsal,’ said the Liverpool manager.

Read the article on Mail on Sunday

Blackburn Rovers boss Sam Allardyce goads Liverpool counterpart Rafa Benitez: You’ve created the new Bolton!

Sam Allardyce has taunted arch-critic Rafa Benitez by claiming that Liverpool are turning into the new Bolton.

The pair’s long-running feud began in August 2004 when Liverpool lost 1-0 in a bruising encounter with Bolton — their first defeat under Benitez.

The Spaniard attacked Bolton’s strong-arm tactics then and the managers became embroiled in another spat last season. That time, Allardyce, by then in charge at Blackburn, was furious at a Benitez hand gesture he interpreted as signalling that the game was all over when Liverpool had taken a 2-0 lead at Anfield.

Benitez tried to clarify the issue by claiming that he was jokingly telling his players not to listen to him after they had ignored his orders and gone on to score.

Allardyce’s anger still simmers, though, and ahead of Sunday’s clash he declared that Liverpool’s recent run of hard-fought results had been achieved with the same uncompromising style about which Benitez was once so disparaging.

‘I watched them at Manchester City and they got six players booked, so he’s brought the physical side out as well.

‘If it’s a good physical challenge on Sunday then I’ll be more than happy to go down that route — although I don’t really have the players to do that like I did at Bolton.

‘But they’ve had to go back to basics and the pretty stuff goes out of the window until you start winning. They have been professional and dogged enough to slowly improve over recent weeks.

Allardyce also revealed that, at the height of the pair’s dispute, he discovered Benitez had gone to referees’ chief Keith Hackett with evidence against Bolton.

Allardyce added: ‘He went as far as putting a DVD together and sending it to Keith Hackett. He doesn’t know I know that, but I do. I got on to Keith Hackett and told him I didn’t want it to influence what refs do because it was all a load of rubbish.’

There was a blow for Benitez  when it was confirmed that defender Martin Skrtel suffered a broken toe on his right foot in Liverpool’s Europa League win over Unirea Urziceni on Thursday. Scans showed he cracked a metatarsal.

‘Martin has had X-rays today, and they have confirmed he has a broken metatarsal,’ said the Liverpool manager.

Read the article on Mail on Sunday

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