'We will finish fourth': Rafa Benitez and the worst football predictions ever!

Liverpool gaffer Rafa Benitez is red-faced after his guarantee that the Anfield club would finish in the top four has been left in tatters after their ever-so-faint hopes of snatching fourth were dashed by Sunday's defeat by Chelsea.

The best they can hope for now is sixth, but don't worry Rafa, if it makes you feel any better you're not the first to be caught out by hasty predictions.

Here are 10 other times when football's great and good caught foot-in-mouth disease...

10) “Buster will be the first British £10 million pound player” Manchester City manager Alan Ball on signing Martin 'Buster' Phillips from Exeter for £500,000 in 1995. Bally was only two noughts out - when the spindly winger did move on, to Portsmouth in 1998, it was for £100,000. Phillips later cost Plymouth a princely £25,000.

9) “If Dwight Yorke makes a First Division footballer then my name is Mao Tse Tung”
Chairman Tommy Docherty greets the cultural revolution, 1995.

8) “Quickly Kevin, you know him best, will he score?" "Yes" 
No, actually. Brian Moore and Kevin Keegan's live ITV double act as David Batty stepped up to take his shoot-out penalty to keep England in the 1998 World Cup.

7) “We'll terrify the cowards of Europe”
Manchester City assistant manager Malcolm Allison contemplates the European Cup after winning the league in 1968. City lost in the first round to Fenerbahce and have never played in the competition since.

6) “Messi is wonderful on the right but Ronaldo is terrific on the right, the left and through the middle as well. He also scores goals with his head, which Messi couldn't do even if they put a top hat on him"
Terry Venables dismisses Messi before his brilliant headed goal - sans titfer, alas - to kill off Manchester United in the 2009 Champions League final.

5) "Have a flutter on us climbing out of relegation trouble and into Europe"
Mystic Mike Ashley in the Newcastle programme, December 28, 2008. Epic fail.

4) “He will be a winner. He has great skill and some of the things he does remind me of Zidane"
Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier on the great Bruno Cheyrou, October 2002.

3) “I detect a shift in the balance of power in English football to us' Arsene Wenger on completing a second Premier League and Cup double with Arsenal in 2002. The Gunners have won only three of the 25 trophies available since, and nothing at all for the last five years.

2) “You'll never win anything with kids”
Alan Hansen on Manchester United's youthful squad after a 3-1 opening day defeat by Aston Villa in August 1995. Beckham, Scholes, Butt and the Nevilles won United the double.

1) “How are England going to win in Germany? It hasn't happened for 100 years. I have no doubts whatsoever that Germany will quite clearly thrash England. They will easily qualify for the World Cup with this match”
Former international and Bayern Munich general manager Uli Hoeness before the 5-1 romp in Munich on September 1 2001. Gott in himmel!

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williamhill.com

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