RAFA BENITEZ has some big decisions to make in the next week or so.
Of course, the priority is the make-up of his team for the Champions League final against AC Milan.
But the dilemma for Sunday’s home finale against Charlton is: Does he pick a ‘squad’ team, or does he play some of the stars who will face the Italians, and risk injury?
While the Reds will want to finish third, it’s not the end of the world if they don’t and relegated Charlton will have pride to play for but little else.
In fact, if the truth be known, it’s a fixture Benitez could probably do without, but the manager also has to face the difficult decision of whether he plays skipper Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher for at least part of the game.
Both players missed the defeats at Portsmouth and Fulham. They are absolutely crucial to the outcome of the Athens showdown, so the risks of them playing might outweigh the benefits. But, come May 23, it would mean that the pair had not played a competitive game for three weeks – since the win over Chelsea.
The two recent defeats were disappointing and there is still work to be done to bridge the gap between the Reds and United and Chelsea.
That will be addressed during the summer but, overall, it’s been a more consistent season and Benitez has the complete backing of fans and the owners.