Monday, 2 February 2009
IT'S easy to say so after the event - but I fully expected us to beat Chelsea.
We're unbeaten against top four sides this season and I didn't expect the Londoners to threaten that record.
And once the game kicked off there only ever looked like being one winner - Frank Lampard on the pitch or not.
In the crazy world of "right now" that we live in these days, that will mean Liverpool are title contenders again, Rafa Benitez is no longer "cracking up" and Fernando Torres (surprise, surprise) hasn't become a bad player over night.
But for me it changes very little. We're still outsiders for the title and as Roy Walker so famously said (well, near enough) things are 'good - but not right'.
Forget blaming the press, radio or TV, as so many fans like to do - Liverpool FC is a shambles right now.
And if newspapers choose to magnify (and exaggerate) that fact and radio phone-ins stir up a 'crisis', let them.
Because you know what? It means nothing to the men on the pitch.
I heard two very telling quotes in the last week or so that backed up what I had long thought - while fans work themselves up into a frenzy over-analysing and hunting out bias, the players and managers, on the whole, don't give a flying.
The first interview I heard was with Ian St John. He was asked if the now tediously labelled 'Rafa's Rant' had affected the players.
Safe to say that radio reporter didn't need a wash after that question as he was covered in Scottish gob spraying from the puffed out cheeks of a stunned legend.
The Saint's argument was simple. It's a game of footie. Why would something the manager said in a press conference make one iota of difference?
Could you imagine Jamie Carragher half pulling on his boots, then stopping, slumping into his seat, sighing and saying 'I can't believe what the gaffer said - I just can't face today's game.'
Me neither - and that was exactly St John's point.
The second telling quote was from Rafa. He was essentially asked 'So, ARE you cracking up?'
Again, what is the scene these people are imagining? The Spaniard slumped over his desk, sporting a five o'clock shadow, swigging a scotch and playing football manager searching for a bargain buy at three o'clock in the morning?
Benitez said: "There is no extra pressure on me. I can guarantee that I have not read a newspaper, listened to radio or watched TV since the Wigan game.
"I spent Thursday enjoying some time off with my family because I knew there would be a lot of people trying to talk about things they do not know about."
Quite right, don't blame him. I do the same on my days off - including sometimes snubbing the media - because it does become boring, especially when you work in it.
So back to the shambles (you thought I'd forgot, right?). It's a shambles off the pitch. And it's a shambles because for the people in the middle of it - Rafa, Rick Parry, George Gillett, Tom Hicks - it's all about money, power and saving face.
For the fan, for me, it's embarrassing, boring and detracting from what we are all here for - football.
Look at the latest catalogue of drama - Robbie Keane becoming a political pawn (Rafa wanted him but not for £20m, Parry wanted him more so paid it, Rafa got a cob on because he couldn't get Gareth Barry etc etc yawn, yawn).
Then there's the all too public contract negotiations for the manager and several key players.
And don't forget Hicks and Gillett at opposite ends of the director's box (some fart that Tom!).
That's what is all wrong right now and I'm fed up of it. Not one of these people can kick a ball or make a tackle yet they are never off the sports pages.
All are at fault - including Rafa - for conducting the whole thing so publicly. In fact that approach come back to bite the Yanks on the arse as the Kuwaitis said 'thanks, but no thanks' after their interest in the club was leaked to the Press.
My advice to all of them is if you're going to have a battle do it properly.
Don't snipe to the media. Don't play games with players. And don't refuse to sit with each other.
Nope, get on the field at home time and all have a big scrap and the winner can stay.
I'll hold your coats...
At least that would be worth watching...who's your money on?
Posted by robbohuyton at 01:01