Allardyce steps up war of words with Benitez
LONDON: Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce took another swipe at Rafael Benitez on Thursday by claiming Liverpool have blown their bid to qualify for the Champions League.
Benitez mocked Allardyce after Liverpool's recent win over Rovers at Anfield and joked that European champions Barcelona were going to model themselves on Blackburn's rudimentary style.
But Allardyce, who has been involved in several bust-ups with Benitez in previous seasons, insists the Spaniard had a go at him to divert attention from how badly Liverpool played against Blackburn.
"It was a good cover-up by Rafa because he knows how bad his side were and that was repeated against Wigan on Monday," Allardyce said on Thursday.
"He's got personal with it for many, many years now. That's why I don't like him and the feeling is probably mutual.
"I don't get personal with him; I get into him and under his skin, yes, but that's all part of the game.
"The tit for tat between me and Rafa will probably go on until one of us is no longer a Premier League manager."
Allardyce poured more scorn on Benitez as he suggested Liverpool's dismal 1-0 defeat at Wigan on Monday could cost the Reds a place in the Champions League next season.
"The last time one of the big four didn't finish in the top four it was Liverpool and I think this time it looks pretty difficult having lost against Wigan," Allardyce said.
"They are having to rely on other teams slipping up now. I think it might be more difficult for Liverpool this time around because there are more teams involved.
"There's Manchester City, Aston Villa and Tottenham in there and if Everton keep rolling on you might be surprised to see them making a late run."