Thursday, 13 November 2008


TO be honest, it's not going out the Cup itself. Of course, it would have been nice - another trip to Wembley, another honour on the list.

But, despite what anyone argues - it's the poor relation, the one you least want to win. It's the pair of Gola to the pair of Adidas that is winning the league.

But for me, the worrying thing, the sobering thought, is the quality of our squad. Earlier this week I wrote an article for underlining the quality of Alavaro Arbeloa and Fabio Aurelio.

Well after our second dose of White Hart Pain this month, I'm down on my knees praying that these two can stay injury-free. Because on the evidence of tonight, our defence will be as safe as a Gillett and Hicks promise if Philipp Degen or Andrea Dossena get anywhere near it.

Degen takes the phrase 'attacking full-back' to the extreme. OK, he deserved a penalty. But, at times, he was ahead of the strikers - and that left the Reds exposed at the back with the spotlight cruelly falling on big Sami Hyypia.

The man's a legend, no doubt. But he needs a bit of help these days. And what he doesn't need is to be dragged out to cover the flanks because his fellow defenders want to see their name in lights.

As for Dossena, he's gone from jury's out, to jury's decided - not good enough. He was a shambles at Spurs. Ignore the usual time to settle in, new to the Premier League cliches. He was off the pace and out of position.

Rafa Benitez has shown in the past he is not scared to hold his hands up and admit he's made a mistake with a signing. I suspect when it comes to Dossena, he will be holding his hands up very soon.

Which brings me on to another transfer mistake - Lucas Leiva. Against Atletico Madrid at Anfield, a boy on the Kop stretched on to his tip toes and screamed at the midfielder 'You don't deserve to be Brazilian'.

Now that might be a bit harsh, but I know what he means. What does Lucas bring to the team? He doesn't seem to excel at anything, be it shooting, passing or tackling.

For him, the Spurs game tonight should have been an opportunity to shine, a chance to grab the game by the scruff of the neck, dictate the play and shout loud to Benitez that he wants to play regularly.

For me, he did nothing. And when Xabi Alonso came on as a substitute, the gulf in class between him and Lucas was wider than Jan Molby's arse.

The point is, and heaven forbid this, Liverpool could be relying on these players a few months down the line to keep us in the hunt for the Premier League.

We've probably all been guilty of getting drunk on dreams of winning a 19th league title - this performance by the squad's underbelly was like waking up to Bella Emberg slapping you in the chops with a wet week-old fish and ordering you to drink a vat of coffee.