Thursday, 17 September 2009

A LIVERPOOL LANDMARK - BUT NO LIVERPOOL LANDSLIDE

THERE have been many great nights at Anfield  - but Liverpool's 100th win in the European Cup wasn't one of them.

The Reds rarely hit top gear in Rafa Benitez's 300th game in charge but still cruised past Debrecen to get this season's Champions League campaign off to a winning start.

There were flashes of good play and with better finishing on the night a 4-0 scoreline would not have flattered Liverpool.

As it was it was 1-0, with Steven Gerrard and Yossi Benayoun both missing chances they would expect to convert, and Stevie also coming close to another blockbuster with a superb shot from outside the box that skimmed the top of the bar.

There was definitely a feeling of the Reds playing within themselves and, despite a couple of scares, you could never really see anything but a home win as the recent winning run was extended to three games.

Perhaps they are saving petrol for tougher tests to come but it would be nice for Liverpool to consistently show some drive, flow and purpose like at the end of last season.

Hopefully that's to come - there's certainly plenty of time to find rhythm, Alberto Aquilani is still to show us what he can do and let's not forget that Manchester United and Chelsea were far from convincing in their Champions League games.

Despite the hype, I can't help feeling that is partly due to the bubble, while not bursting, certainly starting to slowly deflate in terms of the current format of "Europe's premier club competition".

These early group games are too often a damp squib due to the format and seeding of the group stages.

There are many mismatches and the set up means clubs can afford one, even two defeats, and still progress to the lucrative, and ultimately much more exciting, knockout phases.

Add to that to the cost of the tickets (just shy of £40) and it was no surprise to see empty seats at Anfield tonight  - and a lacklustre atmosphere among the seats that were filled.

Still job done but, like the situation off the pitch, there is still room for improvement.

Everyone's got their own take on how things are panning out in the corridors of power at Liverpool -  I'm no different.

And I'm not being pulled in by the current surge in positivity emerging from the boardroom.

Yes, a £80million shirt sponsorship deal is a positive step. But a step is all it is. It does not change the situation regarding George Gillett and Tom Hicks.

They promised a stadium, there's no stadium. They have burdened the club with debt. And now, after all of a sudden speaking up about the "health" of the club's finances, they are scouring the world looking for a new investor. Well wasn't that their job, to invest?

And no matter how much spin there is from our new managing director, Christian Purslow about "enhanced" transfer budgets and the shirt deal "indirectly" improving the likelihood of a new stadium, the whole thing still stinks.

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1 comment:

Ian L said...

The bubble is already beginning to burst for UEFA for the CL.

Logically, it has to. Each year, they have to make the final bigger and better than the last one - the greatest show on earth.

It can't last, that's why I don't think it will be too long before we see a European Super League.

The CL was set up to maximise revenues and profile for UEFA through key sponsors, TV revenue etc.

So when that bubble finally bursts (helped by a global recession), they will look at the next step to increase that money/refresh the competition.

I noticed during the post match interviews that one of UEFA's key CL sponsors was called UniCredit or something like that.

Now someone will probably tell me they are one of the world's biggest financial institutions but they are hardly a top brand like Ford or Sony. A sign UEFA is struggling to attract a global name or that UniCredit offered more dosh?

Here's the rub. I reckon if there is to be a Euro SL it could well be without UEFA and its meddling ways, as the clubs see it.

What's to stop Madrid, Barca, Liverpool, Utd, Chelsea, both Milans etc leaving their respective FAs, ditching UEFA and forming a new governing body for their super league? Especially when they could fill it with yes men?

And then we'd wish tickets were £40 each!

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