Thursday, 29 January 2009


BE positive, look on the bright side and leave it to the national newspaper snides to drown our hopes in a sea of negativity.
That seems to be the unwritten rule if you're a fan and you dare to express your opinion in the public domain.
And it's the same if you write for a paper local to the team you're covering - only that's worse because you need them more than they need you.
But in Internet world, if you are at all negative, if you point out a shortcoming, a failure or a mistake you risk being shot down in flames, or worse, being labelled a knee-jerk (oh, the horror).
Well, this ain't knee-jerk. I try to be positive, look on the bright side, do the maths and dream up scenarios where we romp away with the title.
But right now if you flew me to the sun and shone a torch in my face I wouldn't be able to see the bright side.
And so the negatives...where to start.
I'll kick off with Rafa Benitez.
Love the guy, he's brought me joy, provided me with one of the most treasured moments of my life in Istanbul and undoubtedly moved the club forward.
He's made progress year on year, he's bought some great players and he seems like a genuinely nice fella.
But he makes inexplicable team selections and substitutions, seems obsessed with the next game before the current one is won and has a blind spot to certain players.
He was at it again tonight at Wigan.
The moment I heard the line-up I feared the worst. Lucas in, Alonso out. Kuyt out, Benayoun in.
OK, Benayoun had a go - he scored a decent goal. But he's not good enough for a title-chasing team. End of.
Lucas let the side down - again. Three decent games ever is no use to anyone. Not just a dozy tackle tonight but another missed chance - his football is worse than his haircut - and that's some going.
And Ryan Babel. Well how he got anywhere near the first team after his performance against Everton on Sunday, I'll never know. If Rafa is trying to make him play his way into form, it's not working.
We all know Rafa likes to freshen up the team. But the squad is limited. And we're at the business end of the season.
So let's have a go. Play the strongest team. And if they are tired, they are tired. At least we had a go.
While we carry players like the trio mentioned the draws will continue. And they could easily start turning into defeats.
We lack matchwinners. I hate to agree with the outsiders looking in who say we are a one man team. We're not, but when it comes to inspirational figures who can turn a match you are talking two men - Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres.
And Torres is struggling. He's not putting away the chances and only showing flashes of the brilliance we know he possesses. He is of course coming back from injury.
So fingers crossed the real Fernando Torres stands up - and soon.
In the meantime it's down to Stevie. And he was substituted the moment Wigan equalised tonight. Why? He was tired, according to Rafa. So tired he couldn't play another seven minutes and try to pull us out of a tight spot. Please.
With our two best players off the pitch we looked a shambles. We couldn't even get a decent ball in the box.
Earlier in the season Dirk Kuyt hit a purple patch and moved into the matchwinning class. But his goalscoring touch has deserted him (or should that just be 'his touch' has deserted him?).
So what other matchwinners did we have out there? Robbie Keane? If he had a Spurs shirt on, maybe. In the red of Liverpool - not yet.
Mascherano? Well he'll try his heart out - but that's not his game.
So anyone else? Nope...
It's that lack of players to step up and take the game by the scruff of the neck that will cost us dear.
It's horrible to say - but look at Manchester United. Wayne Rooney, Ronaldo, Dimitar Berbatov, Carlos Tevez. All can make the difference.
And even their fringe players can step up and do something when need be. Yes, even Darren Fletcher. Even John O'Shea.
For Liverpool to have a chance of the title, we have to play our strongest 11 more often than not from here on in.
Torres has to hit form, Stevie has to stay fit and Lucas has to sit in the stands.
And players like Albert Riera, Kuyt and even Xabi Alonso need to add goals to their game - fast.
A shock world-class signing before the transfer window closes wouldn't go amiss either and failing that, what about the lads in the reserves? Are they really that bad??


Dave Molyneux said...

Mate, good points, totally spot on

I’m a massive supporter of Rafa, but is has to be said that I’m seriously losing patience with him and his craaaaaaaazy substitutions. For fucks sake you do NOT take off Steven Gerrard with 7 fucking minutes to go if you are drawing a game!!! Madness!! Would Taggart take off Ronaldo (fit or not) if they were drawing? Would Moanrinhio take off Lampard or Terry (fit or not) if they were drawing?

Next game my fucking arse!!!!!!!!

Babel, Lucas, Bennyoun, Kuyt = all simply not good enough!

Our season so far: like jumping into a massive pool of champagne and swimming around for 45 minutes then surfacing into a rubber ring and staying there for the last 45 minutes!!

And as for Rafa’s excuses after each game, it has to be said, they have the hallmarks of a desperate man who simply can not motivate his team!!! He needs to sit down and have a long hard word with himself on how to motivate his players

I was trying to think of the positives last night to see if they out weight the negatives

Positives: 2 points behind top spot in January, champions league to resume soon

Negatives: Rafa losing it, Gerrard court case, no investment, Torres lack of fitness, Lucas, Bennyoun, Kuyt, staling on Agger’s contract, no possible signings in January and horrible fucking thought of another title for that gang of rapists down the M62!!!

Richard Buxton said...

Brian Reade wrote a harrowing summary on the power struggle at Anfield in yesterday's Mirror.

This bit in particular rang very true:

"I’ve been a staunch supporter of Benitez and I still believe he can make Liverpool great again. I even think he can win a trophy this season.

"But right now he seems so hell-bent on winning his own personal battles he’s alienating everyone around him."

He's starting to alienate our support to a degree too. Even the most vocal of the 'In Rafa We Trust' crowd are becoming disillusioned with his tactics and media antics. I've been of that opinion since the Fulham match and with the exception of Bolton and Newcastle my opinion hasn't changed.

Like Reade, I believe that Benitez can make us great again and things were looking promising until late November when the wheels came loose. The future is looking rather uncertain at Anfield. I mean, what happens if we don't win number 6 or bring home number 19? What happens if all is lost tomorrow and we fall apart in the cups? What's the manager's position and if it's untenable who do we replace him with?

robbohuyton said...

Agree mate. All the in-fighting is a joke and it highlights one thing I don't like about Benitez - he's a stubborn bastard!

With Keane, it's like he's saying 'I know what you all think I should do - but I'm not doing it'. It was the same with Crouch - there was obviously some kind of fall out so he wouldn't play him - even when the team was crying out for what he could offer.

If the Yanks do one, and take Parry with them, I think we can wipe the slate clean and let Rafa get on with it.

If they stay, I don't see Rafa doing the same.

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