Tuesday, 1 September 2009


IT'S not often Liverpool and Everton fans are thinking the same thing – but that was the case at the weekend.

After deflating starts to the season, both sets of supporters will have looked at their fixtures – home to Wigan for them and away to Bolton for us – and thought "we've just got to win".

Sometimes results are more important than performances - this was one of those times.

Thankfully, Liverpool got the result.

And the added bonuses - another good performance from Glen Johnson, a decent return to the side for Albert Riera and quality finishes from Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres - were just the icing on the cake.

Now we can all take in some air during the international break and hope our boys come through their games unscathed.

After Bolton, like any game, the whys and wherefores were discussed and discussed until sane fans beg for mercy or lock themselves in a dark room - whichever comes first.

And the same old criticisms of Liverpool were wheeled out like an overweight former referee on Sky Sports.

Hackneyed 'observations' are about as entertaining as an ex-official with a crap tan enjoying his five minutes of fame – and when it comes to Liverpool there's plenty: zonal marking, over-reliance on Steven Gerrard, two-man team, missing Xabi Alonso....Zzzzzzz

Why this is trotted out over and over, I don't know. Who benefits from it? Who nods knowingly and silently thanks the reporter for this 'wisdom'?

Not me, anyway.

One group of people notable by their absence right now are the people who questioned Rafa Benitez's signing of Johnson - stand up Tony Cascarino, Paul Merson and the rest.

In case you missed it, Merson said: "The Premier League is not blessed with 15 world-class left wingers so I don't see how a right-back can affect a game that much...I just don't think you should be spending that amount of money on somebody who plays at right back."

And Cascarino added: "For me, they paid a hell of a lot of money for a right back who was unconvincing the last time he played for a big club."

Well it's a bit early in the season for humble pie but I'm sure there's a hefty slice sat in their respective fridges now, a bit of cream on it, cling film over the top and a shiny spoon next to it, ready to eat.

If Merson hasn't seen a right back affect a game he should watch Johnson. Speed, skill and a hell of a shot have already brought the England man two goals and two assists.

So pretty convincing at a big club so far, eh Tony?

And just to ram home the point there's further excellent statistical analysis of Johnson's contribution on Paul Tomkins' blog (don't pack it in mate!).

So not too many people complaining about the £17m fee now for the former Portsmouth defender. Meanwhile, 30-odd miles away, what about Antonio Valencia?

Pricier at £18m, signed as an attacking player and what's he delivered?

One assist.

I know who I would rather have in the side yet are people questioning Alex Ferguson signing the former Wigan man? Not that I've seen.

Finally, a further observation from the Bolton game regarding Gary Megson.

The Wanderers boss decided the reason they lost was "Liverpool chucking themselves all over the pitch".

Granted Lucas kicked up a fuss when Sean Davis (normally such a sportsman) clipped him so yes, maybe his red card was harsh.

But people in glasshouses and all that...Match of the Day highlighted Bolton's Jlloyd Samuel playing the ball out for a throw before waiting for Dirk Kuyt's challenge to arrive, falling to the floor and claiming a free kick - so not far shy from what Megson claimed Lucas did really.

Of course, Megson will haul Samuel into his office this week and give him a warning for this cardinal sin, won't he?

Maybe not, he's probably too busy dreaming up some new excuses for Bolton's next defeat.


Sam said...

I love comments from Liverpool fans who watch the game, who dont get stuck into all the media hype and actually give a balanced view- I go to the game with my Dad and we have long thought that there is a vendetta against all things Liverpool in the media and in the uppermost ranks of the game. I appreciate that the media are London and Manchester based but the positive crawling to all things Sir Alex and the blown out of proportion way that Benitez is treated really makes me sick. Everytime he defends his players or has a go at someone in the media it is plastered across the back pages and Benitez is lambasted as a buffoon and a fool. It was a useful 3 points this weekend, games at Bolton have always been tough and when you concede 2 silly goals you are always going to struggle but we knuckled down, got 3 points. Burnley up next and a chance to actually show we mean business with all our players fit. As for the hysteria surrounding the Davis sending off, what a joke. The BBC fail to mention that he got his 1st yellow for kicking the ball away, the 2nd because he clipped Lucas when we were breaking away. Clumsy, maybe, cynical, definitely. Then they state that Lucas waved an imaginary card, I have seen it a few times and Lucas just gets up and talks to the ref, never do I see a waving of an imaginary card. I just want us to knuckle down, get the points on the board and show people we can win this bloody league to shut all the so-called know it alls who spout out the same tripe and rubbish about Alonso this, Gerrard that, Torres this. Why cant we rely on our matchwinners? We paid for them and trained them, why cant we rely on 2 of the best players in the world? They are ours and we can use them- with us, they may win what we all so desperately want....YNWA

Anonymous said...

Absolutely true Sam. If we r a 2 man team, what the hell other care? Torres and Gerrard both r getting high pay to do that. All this media slating Liverpool is absolutely bull. No matter we win the league or not, we Liverpool fans will always support the team.

Gavin said...

I agree Sam, that we should rely on match winners. What I find astounding, is that the press at large critcise Liverpool for relying on their match winners but don't criticise the likes of Utd for relying on Rooney and Chelsea relying on Drogba. In fact praise them!

Dave Molyneux said...

Spot on as usual mate

There’s no doubt Rafa is ‘going for it’ a bit more this season and the inevitable result will be us conceding goals. There’s absolutely no doubt about that. It doesn’t really bother me as long as we obviously score more.

Bolton for fucking years have continually kicked the absolute shit out of us with their negative tactics and negative football so I have no sympathy what so ever for them and, old cliché that it is, the table never lies. Ginger Mourinho? My fucking left bollock!

As for Johnson, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many Fantasy Footy teams with him in in my life. The man is absolute quality. Great to watch and rightly England’s first choice.

Pundits: don’t you just love them? My personal favourite is Robbie (or is it Wrobbie) Earle. How the fuck can this tit give expert analysis when he used to play for fucking Wimbledon??? And all this one man team bullshit that the likes of Paul ‘I’m secretly back on the ale’ Merson and other wankers like Andy ‘I can’t walk as I’m weighed down with tonnes of medals’ Townsend is really starting to wear thin. What about Little Mascha? Yossi? Agger? Skrtel? Reina? Johnson? Kuyt? All three, on their day, outstanding players who all seriously contribute towards Gerrard & Torres. Change the fucking record eh?

And finally I’d like to mention something about the zonal marking system Rafa has employed = do any of these dick head pundits talk about it when it goes RIGHT? Er … no they don’t.

Anonymous said...

Once again, you are spot on with your analysis.
Who needs Merson and Cascarino when Robbo is on his perch!

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