About Me

I have been a Red since I was about 6 or 7. My boyhood hero was Kenny Dalglish and I have an autograph from him while he was still at Celtic. Thanks Gran! As such I gravitated towards the team he played for. So I have been Scottish-South African- Scoucer for about 30 years now! I am extremely passionate about our club, and have felt the need to start this blog in the face of the abject nature of our performaces under Benitez and the Hicks/Gillett ownership.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Half Term Report

I haven't blogged for a while partly because I do get weary of moaning all the time and secondly to allow Brendan Rodgers to bed in and give the players time to adapt.

Unfortunately that hasn't really happened to much. Liverpool have always passed the ball so Rodgers is hardly bringing a completely new philosophy here. He hasn't turned up at Wimbeldon and told them that football is played on the ground and got funny looks. I think modern teams are over coached and Manager try to control almost everything that happens on the field. Sometimes you have just got to let the players do what feels right any a particular time or in a particular situation.

I think a lot of our performanceshave been like a bunch of 15 year olds trying to master a new way of pressing or changing to 3 at the back or something. Unfortunately the Premier League is not a place to try this out.The players dont look comfortable. All the foibles of last season are still evident. 

We still cant make the correct decision in the final 3rd.We have over 300 shots at goal  in the League this season but have scored a paltry 27 goals.Once again we are at a 1/10 conversion ratio. Not good enough.To say we are profligate in front of goal would be same as saying the Titanic had a small leak....... 

Our recent performances have illustrated that especially the debacle at home to Villa. Over 20-odd shots and 3 clear cut chances to be 3-0 after 20 minutes.1st one Suarez passes it behind Gerrard. 2nd one Shelvey waits to long to pull the trigger and the 3rd one Suarez shoots instead of cutting it back. What happens Pepe again doesnt cover himself in glory.Sure Benteke's opener was a decent strike but no pressure after a another Allen powder puff challenge.

We  just seem to always be getting caught out on the break.Spurs tore us to pieces. No idea why Downing was at left back against Lennon.Glen Johnson still cant defend for toffee.He never truly squares up to someone running at him or in a position to cross. As a right footed player I don't understand why he leads when his left foot when he does bother to try and stop a cross. even that he hang out like a wet rag. 

Tactically I think Rodgers is too rigid and sometime naive. there is no deviation from the same tactic. Pass the ball ad nausem. Over commit your fullbacks at all times.have none of your central midfielders show any positional discipline. That is roughly what happens. We seem to be most vulnerable when either have corner or  are in possession just outside the opposition box. 

Due to this over commitment of resources when we lose the ball all the other team has to do is pass it out wide into the acres where fullbacks normally live and have any of their quick players tear Agger and Skrtel to pieces. weseem to have no defensive shape.Its reckless pressing all over the place when we dont have the ball. No pressing when we should. We are letting in almost 2 goals a game. its rubbish.

This has bee compounded by his total devotion to Joe Allen (90-odd% pass completion  but its always sideways or backwards and in his own half) and refusal to play Enrique even when he was fit.Why? probably because he doesnt bomb forward aimlessly ad if there isn't a cute pass on he goes long into the channels IE proper defending.thankfully Rodgers has relented on the latter and Enrique is showing his worth. 

Yes we are playing well but it just isnt working consistently. I think the reasons are obvious. Rigid tactics, over-reliance on youngsters and lack of leadership from senior players on the pitch. Lets be honest Gerrard has been coasting this season. Yes he has scored in his last couple of games. Same goes for Downing, suddenly he looks like a winger. 

So where are we, sitting 8th (flattering) ahead of Stoke and Norwich on goal difference. 5 points behind the race for 4th,with an inconsistent bunch of players badly in need of reinforcements. Some might see that as positive but we haven't beaten a single team above us in the League this season and have struggled against most of the team below us. Other than Norwich, Wigan and Fulham yesterday we don't put the rubbish to bed.That has to change. we also need to stop being 'unlucky' against the better teams. City,the Scum, Everton and Newcastle were all games we should have taken more from. 

Personally I give Rodgers a D- as a mark so far.. 

On the plus side youngsters like Suso (lately), Sterling(briefly) Jon-Jo (more regularly) have stepped up to the plate. Suarez is scoring more regularly although he still misses loads and doesn't always look at other options. 
thankfully it looks like Sturridge's arrival is imminent. That at least gives us the option of resting Suarez. I wont go into the madness that 2 years after we were offered him as part of Torres deal we are now paying for him! Dalglish and Comolli have a lot to answer for on that front. A £100 million mess. 

We probaly need a another 1 or to in. We appear to be looking at buying Tom Ince back, begs the question why did we sell him in the 1st place???? Surely another season on loan would have been a better option.The lack of joined up thinking amazes me. They talk about investing in youngsters and themn sell all the best ones... 

Being Liverpool - A brave and bold decision by the powers that be to let us have a look at the club from the inside. Not sure what the target audience was. But 2 things struck me. We looked unprofessional (the chef talking about player diet - straight out of 1991!) and Rodgers came across poorly and a bit of an idiot. Especially the piece with the names in the envelope nonsense. Thats psychology 101 from 1984......

W are short of players points and consistency.January is never a very good time to fix these things and with a tough Europa draw with Zenit. Think it will be down the FA Cup to provide us with any joy. 

Other than Sturridge who can we get in. Firstly I would say recall Carroll. Yes he is injured (again) but surely he is better off with us. Could do worse than Snodgrass and Sessingnon. But those clubs wont sell in a. Maybe 2 for the summer. Not sure what Rodgers is doing with Assaidi.In the Cup games he looks good but doesnt even crack a nod for the bench. Worriyingly Henderson has been told he has a future at the club. I  hope its on the shop selling bobble hats! Joe Cole will surely go in Jan. even if its just for the £90k off the wage bill.

Not a lot of value and talent out there for us to exploit this window.

One a separate note great news the verdicts in the Hillsborough disaster have finally been overturned. Those families have been steadfast in their belief. The shocking thing for me is that most people werent really aware of the scale of the cover up until the independent tribunal made their public pressconference. Most of the facts have been know to Liverpool fans for years.....

Justice for the 96 may become a reality.


Oh Yes and BAH HUMBUG!   

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Gunned Down Again

I found it quite ironic last Sunday when a team that sold its crown jewel (RVP) had been widely criticised for letting him go and the quality of the replacements. Clearly the media had nothing to write about so as usual its either Liverpool or Arsenal bashing.

If you had watched any of Arsenal 1st few league game you would have seen, like us, they are creating chances and just needed a bit more composure to take them. With Podolski,Carzola and Giroud anyone with a brain would agree it was just a matter of time. Unfortunately that time arrived early on Sunday afternoon.

We were hopelessly outfought in every department. I haven't criticised Brendan  Rodgers' tactic so far but splitting up the midfield trio of Allen-Gerrard-Shelvey seemed odd especially when he was bringing in Sahin. A youngster from Real Madrid who hasn't kicked a ball in anger in over year. Needless to say the game passed him by and once we were 2-0 down did he bring on Shelvey. The young man immediately set about Arsenal with more vigour and purpose than the rest of the team. (Sterling aside). Sure Arsenal had taken their foot off the gas but he has 3 or 4 shots and did more than the other 3 combined.

We created almost nothing and got deservedly stuffed. We have shipped 8 goals in 3 games and with Sunderland and ManUre on the horizon I don't see many points there. So we will be bottom after 5 games and so 3 Managers in 2 and a bit years after parting company with Rafa we are far worse off than we have been since the mid-sixties when we we were languishing  in 2nd Division and constantly missing out on promotion (ala modern day Cardiff).

Steven Gerrard look totally disinterested, again....... He cant seem to pass 5 or 10 yards. He gave the ball away for the 1st goal when he was required to simply roll the ball into Surez's path on the edge of the Arsenal box,instead Podolski wins the ball and he and Cazorla tear us to pieces

Pepe Reina was again culpable for their 2nd, thats his 3rd clanger of the season sofar and we have only played 7 competitive matches!

As mentioned previously,we are threadbare.Only Chelski and Wigan have submitted similar size squad lists and thankfully we didn't let Pacheco go on loan in the end. Squad listed below with their homegrown status and there are 4 keepers in it and Lucas and Cole are injured!!!

1 Agger, Daniel Munthe No
2 Allen, Joseph Michael Yes

3 Assaidi, Ossama No

4 Carragher, James Lee Yes

5 Coates Nion, Sebastian No

6 Cole, Joseph John Yes

7 Marangon, Donieber Alexander No

8 Downing, Stewart Yes

9 Gerrard MBE, Steven George Yes

10 Gulacsi, Peter Yes

11 Henderson, Jordan Brian Yes

12 Johnson, Glen McLeod Cooper Yes

13 Jones, Bradley Yes

14 Sanchez Diaz, Jose Enrique No

15 Kelly, Martin Ronald Yes

16 Pezzini Leiva, Lucas No

17 Reina Paez, Jose Manuel No

18 Sahin, Nuri No

19 Skrtel, Martin No

20 Suarez Diaz, Luis Alberto No     

I can't see how the remainder of this bunch above plus the likes of Shelvey,Sterling,Flanaghan, Morgan and Borini are suppose to get us up the table at all.  

The Owners have seen fit to post an open letter in light of the outrage and despondency voiced by fans and media alike in the aftermath of  the deadline  day shenanigans and the abject surrender against Arsenal.  

They hold their hand up to admitting that it taking longer than expected to fix the mistakes of the past and indeed have compounded it by making some of their own. A clear reference to the appointment of Commolli and allowing and King Kenny to waste £140mill in 2 transfer windows.  

Unfortunately this has hamstrung Rodgers in what he can achieve this season. I seriously believe that Premiership survival is all we can hope for......  

I see almost no creativity in the above bunch and there isn't a goalscorer among them. But at least we now know that until we start to achieve success on the pitch, there wont be anymore money from the owners. So its self-funding and focusing on the youngsters already at the club and those we have brought in like Sahin.  

13 goals from Suarez last season wasn't good enough and from what we have seen so far he doesn't look like scoring even that many. Too many missed chances and he doesn't look for others in the box.No Bellamy,Rodriguez or Kuyt. That's roughly 20 goal there as well we need to replace. Henderson and Downing have dropped to subs which is again showing how overpriced and completely overrated they were.   

Rodgers is stuck with what he has until January and I would expect Henderson, Downing and Cole to go in that window.Hopefully we will see the sense of bringing Andy Carroll back by then.

As mentioned in my last post we have missed out heavily on some bargains which is slightly disappointing. I would have thought that Rodgers with his 180 page dossier would have had at least some knowledge of the like of Snodgrass, Michu,Rodellaga and Aruna Kone. All of whom would have strengthened our squad. I cant see how his preferred tactics can work with a squad so devoid of pace.Hopefully he realises he needs to modify things a bit. Everyone worked Swansea out for the most part in the 2nd half of last season so if all he is going to is exactly the same thing them we have no chance.  

Another long hard season of toil awaits us. No doubt we will rise to the occasion for some of the bigger games and continue to be clueless against the Wigan's of the League.

All we can hope for is that all our players return from the International break without injuries.


Saturday, 1 September 2012

Dealdine Day Dross - Part3

For Liverpool Football Club tranfer deadline day has become nothing but an unmitigated disaster since Fenway Sports took over the club. Its like watching The Blairwitch Project, alone in your caravan in the middle of nowhere.

Part-1 - January 2011. King Kenny and Commoli contrive not only to pass on £40mill and Sturridge to insist on £50mill. Why because it made good business sense to give £35mill of this windfall to Newcastle for their injured 6 foot 6 inch giant who had score a hat-trick against Liverpool in  the November League match.  Brilliant........

Part-2 - August 2011. Still armed wth some £15 from the Torres /Carroll thing rumours abound in March that we are looking to sign Enrique from Newcastle to solve our 6 year old leftback issue.IE we sold Riise for some reason and never really replaced him. See Warnock, Aurelio and Dossena (Another 8mill wasted).

So the season finishes and suddenly Charlie Adam,Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson are linked with the club. No real problem with the 1st 2. Adam would not be expensive and Downing solves another left sided problem. IE we dont have a winger. But things again start to get stranger. Some haggling over Adam and we get him for 8mill.  Initial offers of £12mill each to the other 2 are rebuffed.

So you would think that we would go and look elsewhere. After all we are LFC and can go get players anywhere and lots of clubs would take £12mill for any of their players. But no like the myopic sage at the Emirates we blindly plow ahead for 2 players who between them hadn't scored 5 goals in the 2010/20111 Premier League season. Result £20mill for each. Ashley Young a far better player than Downing goes to ManUre for £16mill????? Man City buy David Silva for £22.2mill we get Jordan Henderson for around the same????

While all this is going own we sell yet another player to Chelski in Raul Mierles because we decided to renage on gentleman's agreement between Hodgson and the player over a wage increase.(Player took a £20 cut to come to Liverpool). Then Kenny confirms in a press conference that Aquilani was our 'best player in pre-season' so naturally the next day he is loaned to AC Milan for the season!!! Next is Joe Cole is off to Lille as a wage refugee this finally allows us to sign Enrique.

Alarm bells should have been ringing already if e have send player out on loan just to make a gap in the wage bill what ridiculous salaries are we paying to players who finished 6th and spent most of the season not trying a leg and languishig in the bottom half of the table?

So we stumble through last season. Other than Enrique none of the otehr signings including a now fit Carroll really make any impact whatsoever.

Charlie Adam goes from running games at Blackpool and delivering set-pieces to drool over. To huffing and puffing aimlessly and suddenly can't beat the 1st man or wall with crosses, free-kicks or corners.

Stewart Downing proved what any of us with eyes and and brain knew all along. He cant beat an egg, cross a 'T' or pass water. He is so bad he has been usurped by a 17 year old and teh manager has told him he 'might' have future at leftback.

His Northeastern sidekick, Jordan Henderson, proved equally as ineffective and resembled a Duracell bunny with its head cut-off.

So we get rid to Kenny and Commoli and make the extremely brave decision to appoint Brendan Rodgers. A decision I fully support and still believe he is the right man.

He wasted no time sorting the wheat from the chaff. The ever reliable and loyal Dirk Kuyt lasted 3 days. Aurelio and, Maxi were soon to follow. Excitment started building would we actaully sig osme wingers and attacking players. During our pre-season tour romours abound about Dempsey and Ramirez.

Part 3 - August 2011. Rodgers decided he wants Joe Allen but he has a £15mill buy-out clause so surely we are not going to get burnt again. But no the money men throw the £15mill at it. I have o be honest I have actually been surprised by him and he looks decent, but £15mill???

So on Sunday we played a blinder against the Champions only for another defensive error to cost us all 3 points. Brendan Rodgers staes afterwards that 'the players here need help' and we are looking to sign a few more players. as we have not eve replaced the numbers that have gone out. So hopefully we would see a raft of newsignings but come Thursday nothing other than that Demspey is almost a cert.

So just beore the Hearts game news comes through that we are loaning Carroll to West Ham for exactly the same terms that were on the table 2 weeks before???  
On Friday it all starts to fall apart.

Charlie Adam is sold to Stoke. Spearing , Ecclestone,Pacheco and Wilson all leave.  So that's 6 out when the manager has already said we dont have enough! So who did we sign???? Thats right, not a single player!!! In fact Ian Ayres and Brendan Rogers left Melwood before 8pm!!!

More galling is the fact that we tried to haggle with Fulham over Dempsey. In the end he goes to Spurs for a mere £6mill. Are you seriously telling me that we did not have £6mill to spend on a player who can play in 3 positions and has consistently scored 10 or more goals almost every sesason he has been at Fulham??? Absolutely shocking.

I fully understand that the owners feel they wasted enough money last summer on duds and may have been reluctant to part ewith more cash and if Joe Allen was the 'marque' signing then why not sell Adam or Henderson sooner and at least give us a chance to bring Dempsey or someone else in?

It is completely unacceptable that we only have 1 misfiring strriker in the squad. On Thursday Suarez again had is clown feet and brain on. Do we really expect this guy to play 3 times a week from now until January with support from 17 year old (Sterling), a unproven 21 year old Italian (Borini) and young Adam Morgan.

Is that really going to propel us up the table?????

I look at all the team who finished above us and they are all stronger. I look at 3 or 4 of the teams below us (Fulham, Sunderland, Stoke, QPR, Swansea, WBA) and they are all stronger. I am honestly extremely concerned about where we are headed. You cannot go into a Premier League campaign with a squad this young and threadbare.

I cant see us finishing in the top half of the table unless Suarez learns to pass in box to others or suddenly starts to score every 2nd or 3rd chance he gets (at the moment its 1 in 10). I seriously believe that we are going to be involved in relegation battle..........

We lack quality, experience and depth. Unless Sahin and Assiadi are some kind of wonder kids who can get 15 goals each I can't see how we score.

I didnt think we could get worse than last season but really we have. Nothing to do with the Manager, I think he has agreed to sell players on the understanding others are coming in but nothing has come to fruition.

Its doing to be hard enough to bed in the new style without having any experienced players. Rodgers stystems relies on wide players with pace. We only have Sterling........ 

1) Lucas out for 4 months and we let Spearing go!
2) No replacement striker and we let Carroll go! 
3) No width or pace and we let Eccleston and Pacheco go!

If you made those sort of decisions on Champie Manager you would get the sack and relegated and thats just a game.

Look at the value that has been available this window:

Berbatov - £4mill. Michu - £2mill. Dempsey - £6mill. Hernandez - £5.5mill. Rodellega - free. Aruna Kone - £3mill.

The £12mill spent on Allen could have bought us Ramirez or Fletcher.........

We just dont seem to have a joined up approach to buying and selling. You only have to look at Everton and Spurs both of whom have strenthened their squad for a net profit in this window.......

I really fear for us we can only bring ina free agent, what money for an Anfield return for Michael Owen?????  I'd sign him tonight before someone else does........

I cant bring myself to type the usual ending to this post.......... As clearly we are walking alone into the abyss.......

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Jeckyl and Hyde

Well a mixed  bag in our opening 3 games. I have to admit I was expecting to right a wholly negative piece but today's performance against the Champions has give me heart. 

The fact that we are disappointed with a draw shows that we are moving in the right direction. Yes we have historically generally performed well against the big teams so its maybe premature to be judging anything at this stage. However the quality of what we showed today was impressive. More so considering that 6 of the team are under 22. (Sterling,Allen,Kelly,Coates,Borini and Shelvey).

I was really worried about today after last week's result at West Brom but having finally watched the game yesterday, I have to agree with the manager's assessment it was 'bad day at the office' and if we played that game a thousand times we couldn't have had a worse outcome. Again our lack of precision in the final 3rd after creating a plethora of chances was our downfall. Suarez had 6 or 7 chances, 3 of his own creating  the other 3 more clear cut. It has resulted in a outpouring of views on his scoring ability. Sure he does miss a lot and he probably needs to work o his heading!

A good article in Saturday's Independent where he speaks quite frankly in the interview about his general attitude and behaviour on the pitch. A quite refreshing and honest view. I think we do still need to strengthen in that department. Suarez, Borini and Carroll aren't enough for challenging in 4 competitions. Rodgers said as much in his post match comments today that would still be looking for a few players this week.

The Dempsey thing is still lingering and with Sahin in, it looks more likely that Adam will be used as a sweetener for Fulham. With regard to striker to a lot out there but in the spirit of the current policy of signing young British talent why not spend the £6mill and go for Jordan Rhodes? Or probably more controversially re-sign Micheal Owen on a pay as you play deal..... 

We certainly showed that we lack depth on Thursday night against Hearts when the 2nd string was totally outclassed by a a bunch of youngsters with Templeton in particular tearing us to pieces. We were fortunate to come away with a win and indeed to still even be in the tie. If Hearts had won 3-0 it wouldn't have flattered them.

Thankfully the tempo and commitment today was a far higher quality and you can see what Rodgers is trying to do. Man City knew they were in a game today and they looked more tired than us at the end of the match. They created very little and both their goals came from our mistakes. Reina and Kelly getting caught out for the 1st one and Skrtel was fast asleep with his blind backpass. He dawdled on the ball last week against West Brom.So he really needs to think about what he is doing in possesion and realise that sometimes hoofing it up the field is still an option. Other than that he was a candidate for man of the match.

On that subject Niall Quinn picked Joe Allen which I couldn't really disagree with. Thnik it was the 81st minute before one of his passes went astray! Young Sterling was majestic and had Milner and Kolo Toure in particular at sixes ad sevens.He got a few hefty challenges but simply got up and got on with it.

So although we still appear to be commiting the same transgressions that have plagued us over the last 18 months. I see a lot of positive signs. Think we are all realistic enough to see that Top 4 fiish is probably just a bit beyond us this season but certainly we can get another 15 to 20 points this season and get 5th or 6th. We have to be rational, almost all the teams above us have strengthened ad we have a shallow squad in comparison. So we ae going to struggle to compete.

Let hope we have a good performance on Thursday against Hearts and follow that up with a similar level we saw today and I reckon we can get our 1st league win ubder our new manager and really move the season forward.


Sunday, 12 August 2012

European Passport

Well, what difference 7 days makes. After a lifeless fortunate away win the 1st leg, we were treated to an exhibition performance in thw 2nd Leg at Anfield against FC Gomel. There was some personnel changes and most of the recognised 1st teamers back, that certainly made a difference built they still have to produce.

Luis Suarez was in one of his mercurial moods and was unplayable, yes it was modest opposition but I think any defence would have struggled with him.  Great home debut for Borini capping it with an excellent volley and 1st half performance that showed he is on the same wavelength as Gerrard and Suarez. He had a quiter 2nd half but that was more down to a tactical change which pushed him inside.

Shelvey looks better and better everytime he plays regardless of where or what role he is asked to play by Brendan Rodgers. He is certainly knocking on the door for a regular start, unlike some of his alleged betters (Henderson & Adam) who seem to knocking on the exit door. Alas I fear that Shelvey wont get the chance with the arrival of Joe Allen which I will discuss later. 

A consumate team performance on Thursday which also saw Dan Agger back sporting his new YNWA knuckle tattoo.He has also said he doesn't want to play for another Premiership club. Loyalty like that is to be admired. Lets hope the owners hold their nerve and dont bite on whatever sum Man City may offer. Lets hope they give him a nice new contract as centrehalfs of Agger's quality do not grow on trees.

I think we can all see the influence of Rodgers' philosophy already. We are more patient with the ball. Any longer ball in generally aimed directly at a player or where someone is making  run to. Which is ten times better than the headless chicken stuff we showed throughout last season in the final 3rd of the pitch. Sure we arent creating 20 or chances but we are starting to score the ones we do create.

Today saw a the welcome return of Sami Hyypia to Anfield a place that was his castle for the best part of a decade. Fortunately his defenders are ot quite of teh same ilk as Raheem Sterling's first 4 touches bamboozled 4 of them and curled into the far corner. 1-0 and barely 3 minutes on the clock!  He played the whole 90 minutes and form has done enough to be on the bench for the West Brom game.

We were even treated to a bit of freekick invention which turned into a farce but somehow the ball made its way to the completely unmarked Lucas for the easiest 5 yard pass into an empty net you could ever hope to see.

Halftime brought 5 changes brought Carroll, Spearing,Adam,Henderson and Robinson into the fray. As often happens we lost some of our momentum and pace of the game dropped.Shelvey again asked to play out wide now and did a great job. Carroll was excellent whether holding up the ball, closing downor tackling players by his own corner flag. He was rightfully rewarded with a left footer from outside the box that the keeper made a mess of.

On the whole I think we can look forward to some very entertaining football under Rodgers and hopefully a lot more home points that we saw last season. One person who has gone missing is Danny Pacheco which I dont undersstand he had 2 decent gamesin the States lets hope we arent letting him go.

On the negative side Adam really looks like he knows his days are numbered. Yet again his corners and freekicks were woeful, so much so that the crowd were groanng when he continually gave the ball away or gave poor delivery.The rumour is he will be a make weight for Dempsey at Fulham. Thats probably a deal that would suit both club,s they get a replacement for Danny Murphy and we get our wide left player who can also play up front on his own if required. 

So to the one thing that is realy annoying me. Joe Allen £15mill................
Have we not learned anything from Carroll,Downing and Henderson transfers?????
British 'talent' is over priced and almost always never delivers.  (Walcott, Bentley, Jenas, Dyer, Barry) The list goes on.

Sure we need more 'home grown players' and sure we obviously want buy younger ones that will someday have resale value (something the Academy has failed to do over the last 20 years) or will be a longterm servant of the club. I get that, totally. I just dont think I would include Joe Allen in top 30 British midfielders in the UK under the age of 23.  So why the persistance. Sure Rodgers trusts him.

If we were prepared to spend that kind of money why sell Aquilani? 
Is he really £7mill better than Adam and £14 mill better than Shelvey?  Never mind that Santi Carzola cost Arsenal only £12mill.

We always seem to pay over the odds for mediocre players and seem relentless inour pursuit once we identify our target.  I dont get this approach. ManUre make an offer, if the club refuses, they find another target and take their money elsewhere. We just seem to have tunnel vision.

I hope I am proven wrong like with Lucas, but Team GB's best midfielder at the Olympics was Ryan Giggs.........

Bring on West Brom next weekend and lets hope we get another 2 or 3 players in and get rid of the Joe Cole's in the squad.


Saturday, 4 August 2012

Manhattan Transfers?

So Brendan Rodgers has had a couple of months in the job and has over seen 3 pre-season games and 1 competitive match. Clearly too early to be passing judgement on him in any way other than what I have said already in previous blog.

He has already made some big decisions.Dirk Kuyt only lasting a few days before he was told he could go.Maxi followed shortly after and Aquilani has left yesterday for undiclosed fee. I have no issue with the 1st two and not surprised by the 3rd after a lacklustre pre-seaon tour from a player who alledgedly wanted to stay.

As mentioned would expect Joe Cole to follow and possibly Jay Spearing who struggled with the possesionpart of the game required by Rodgers on tour. The media abounds with Carroll and Agger rumours daily and until we see anything concrete cant really comment on the decision. Worringy Rodgers has come out on LFCtv and justified why Agger didn't play against Gomel so that might indicate there is some substance to some of the rumours.

I dont get the Carroll thing at all. Yes he was a waste of money, yes he doesnt really loook like he is ever going to be a Liverpool player but I dont see how loaning him back to Newcastle helps us? If he goes there and does well (he will their way of playing suits his style), we have assisted a direct rival to stay ahead of us by providing them a goal scorer.

Secondly, selling him makes no sense. We wont get teh £20 mill we are expecting at the moment. He still has 3.5 years on his contract to run. If we loan him then a team lower down the league must be destination. A team that isnt a direct threat. At the moment that the 3 promoted clubs, Wigan, WBA, Norwich, Swansea. Everyone else is a threat, everyone else has strenghtened their squad (Man City aside). I see no reason why he cant stay, we have Europa League this season and a League Cup to defend, plus he can be used as a plan B off the bench.  That should give him enough games and opportunity to build his confidence and increase his market value. If we are at this time next season and he still isnt performing then sell him and we might get more value than now.   

We also aren't blessed with strikers at the moment  with only Suarez,Borini and Carroll on the books. Thats not a top 4 strike force, Suarez gets injured and its barely Championship level.

Thats my one bugbear art teh moent we dont seem tobe getting anyone in Rodgers is talking to lots of players it seems but nothing at all. He has also when commenting on Agger mentioning he hopes to have few by end of August in. Not great to get new players in once season has started especially when we have 3 of the top 4 in the 1st 5 games. You want players bedded in.

To make Rodgers tactics work we need pacy wide players and another goal scorer. We have a plethora of central midfileders and appear to be looking to add Joe Allen for £12mill . Why? He isnt better than anything we already have from what I saw of him last season and the Olympics and the price is hugely inflated. Just looks like a Henderson/Downing type transfer - too much money for too little player.

I fully appreciate Rodgers has inherited a bloated, unbalanced squad from a wage and personnel point fo view and it will take time to weed out the chaf. He has certainly started that process but its thw lack of inward, sure I dont imagine their is much money after what Kenny and Comolli wasted.

Hopefully he has a few rabbits in his hat otherwise challenging for 4th is going to be improbable before we kick a ball. Everyone above and around us is improving, we are only shedding players and Borini is not Neymar so pinning everything on a 21 year old is not clever.


Yet Another Pre-season Without Reason

I think this is the 3rd time I have used this past heading and after it every season has been worse than the last.

My initial euphoria about Rodgers' apointment has been tempered by some realism. Nothing to do with Rodgers so much as the lack of transfers and also we seem to be making the same pre-season mistakes as teh last God knows how many years. 

We tend to view pre-season with total suspicion, arrange far too few games and them wonder why it takes us til late September/October to wake up. We always get a tough start as far as playing the bigger teams in the League go. Yet we only ever seems to have 3 or 4 pre-season games. While our rivals generally get through 6 to 8 games.

I fully appreciate the need to 'expand the brand' and go to the States. The MLS clubs are great and have accomodated several Premier League clubs in the middle of their season. But surely then we should be taking our better players?  Chelsea and Spurs did. Arsenal,Man City and the Scum have on their respective tours of Asia. Even Newcastle have played 4 or 5 matches already.

We seem to go on these tours with Academy/Reserves and fringe players. Which obviously gives them great experience and get them matchfit but what is the point when the reserve season is generally sporadic and not well organised and fringe players are just that ? Surely the point of pre-season is to get the 1st Team sharp for the Premier League season????

Only Skrtel played in all 3 games that you would consider a 1st team player. Shocking. City have had Toure, Agureo, Tevez, Kompany, Zabaleta and Kolorov all playing regularly on their tour. 

Our Euro contingent were given extra time off which is fair enough. Other than Stevie G, Johnson and Agger did the others actually play? Downing never got near the pitch in all 4 of England's games. Henderson and Carroll got a cameo or 2. So how can these guys need a rest or extra time off??? Suarez is coming back tomorrow after the Olympics and played in WC/Copa America qualifiers at the end of last season, where is his time off?

Reina not at all bearing in mind he doesnt actually play for Spain and had a desperate season surely he needs a proper pre-season? 

Enrique was his usual dependable self and looked really good when playing with Pacheco down the left in both games they played together. Yet against Spurs neither played and only Enrique played against FC Gomel on Thursday night.

Joe Cole and Aquilani did themselves no favours with lack lustre performances and has seen the latter go today to Fiorentina for an undisclosed fee, hopefully Cole will follow. He only lasted 22 minutes on Thursday, if its an injury lets hope its not too serious that we cant get rid of him. £90,000 a week for a clown who dribbles in circles and can't play wide or centrally in a passing team.

On the plus side Shelvey looks to be coming along nicely, he played centrally, out wide and in deeper continuity role Rodgers favours and looked good in all 3. At Least Roy did something decent by signing Jonjo!

Great to see Lucas back, never thought I would type that and have certainly had to eat humble pie over this one .He has turnout to be a very important part of our team and how we play. Otherwise Sterling looks very dangerous and we will surely use him sparingly as Spurs defenders tried to kick him to death  but couldnt cope with him and Ecclestone and that surely bodes well.

Charlie Adam was another disappointment on tour. Yet again his set pieces are shocking. Still can't get a corner or freekcik past the 1st man. I wonder if he even bothers to practice these anymore. Another that will struggle to play regularly under Rodgers.  

So onto FC Gomel and I thought Roy Hodgson was back. Quite a negative team and negative bench. No striker on bench, 3 defenders and Lucas. Clearly the object was not to lose but we certainly didnt dominate the game. Gomel had more possesion and 17 shots to 7 tells its own story. Still I suppose a result is a result and Stuart Downing boosted his huge goalscoring tally to 3 to add to his ones against Oldham and Stoke! Appreciate we are using this as pre-season prep but surely them take it semi seriously.

Appreciate we are trying to bed in a new way of playing but Liverpool should always dominate possesion, so from that point of view its isn't that radical a change. From the US tour our issue still seems to be decision making in the last 3rd. We really need to sort that out. Its not acceptable that we we dont understand how to play football in the opposition final 3rd. Suarez, Bellamy and Stevie G are the only ones who seem to have clue.

The Gomel performance appears to have been so poor that LFC TV have moved it twice in the scheduling and its on tomorrow lunchtime.

Transfer blog to follow.


Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Rave About the Rodgers

Firstly let me welcome Brendan and his back room staff to the club. An initial 3 year deal which we hope will be a start of a long a fruitful association with the club.

I believe Fenway Sports and Messers Henry and Werner in particular have made a brave, bold decision in choosing a young up and coming Manager to take the club forward. I do not subscribe to the rumblings on many message boards etc, that again like with Hodgson, there is unhappiness about who the owners have chosen. This myth that we are 'Big' club and require a 'BIG' name manager is nonsense.

Look at the candidates being touted in the media.
AVB - Failure within 6 months at Chelski other than that he won the Portugese League  with Porto who have all the money in a 2 horse race. I could win that league.
Martinez, actually interviewed, but really Wigan boss???
Other names mentioned de Boer,Rijkaard, Klinsman.

So where are the big names in that list? No Van Gaal, Mourinho,Huydink or Guardiola?

The truth is that there are not a lot  top managers not in work, as clubs try too rationise their finances and realise that time is needed to build something workwhile. We have generally done this and only the last 2 seasons have seem a Chelski like approach to managers.

Also are we really an attractive prospect for a 'Top' Manager? We have finished worse and worse with less and less points over the last 3 seasons. Last season we named the smallest Premiership squad with just 18 players registered. Even Everton had 23 players! The only 'top' names you are likely to attract is someone who has been out of work or someone looking to rebuild their reputation. Thats not really what we needed.

All the teams who finished above us have far better quality and strength in depth. Seriously compare the starting 11's and bench of the seven teams above us and you would be lucky to get anyone other than Suarez into the other teams.

Most of the teams above us have larger stadiums. Yes we are bigger global brand than everyone above us except Manc Inc. But managers are not their to sel brands they exist to take teams forward and win things.

I am reminded of a coversation Tom Sawyer (Liverpool Director not he of Twain fame) had with David Moores back in 60's. Liverpool had yet again missed out on promotion despite Shankly's best efforts. He was growing frustrated with lack of funds to improve squad o take Liverpool back into the top flight. In Sawyer he found an ally. Shanks wanted to sign Ian St John and Ron Yeats both were slightly out of Liverpool's usual price league. Sawyer said to Moores, there is no point having a nice shop if there is none of the right goods in it. This struck a chord with Moores and funds were provided.

I think that is roughly where we are at the moment. The infrastructure is there but the quality isn't  we are led to believe there is £50mill in the pot plus whatever Rodgers can generate from moving on those he deems surplus.

Rodgers has proven he can get more out of the parts to make greater sum. Remember this man was head-hunted by Jose Mourinho, that should tell you all you need to know. I hark back to Shankly himself. A modest managerial career by any standards until he came to Anfield. Carlisle,Grimsby,Workingham and Huddersfield. No promotions won. But it was his passion, inner steel and his vision of how the game should be played that got him the job.Liverpool became the vehicle for his vision lets hope we can provide the same platform for Rodgers.

I see similar things in Brendan Rodgers after watching his press conference. He spoke with clarity, passion and determination.Qualities needed is this modern man-management football era. If he can instill even some of that in the lacklustre clowns currently wearing and shaming our Red then that will be a job well done.

He has 3 years and I would expect a clearing of the decks this summer and addiions of the type of layers Rodgers likes and can work with. We may be surpised by some of the players he signs and lets go (Dirk has already gone) but I am sure they will produce.

There is a lot fo deadwood and I am sure he will sort that out. He also needs to decide what to do with Pacheco,Cole and Aquilani.If we could keep Aquilani that would be great. I am sure West Ham would take Cole off our hands.

As for expectations I think we have to be realistic and challenge ofr the top 4 - not necesarily achieve it. A lot will depend on Spurs and Newcastle. Can Spurs keep their best players now they are not in the Champions League. Also will Mike Ashley choose to cash in on Tiote,Ba,Cisse etc rather than allowing Pardew to build. Should these 2 clubs have a fire sale we have chance not only through them weakening themselves but also by picking up a few if their offcasts if possible.

Chelski are in transition as they move on and replace the last of the old guard with Marin and Hazard already on the way in .They too might be vulnerable. Arsenal may finally be forced to spend some of the vast sums Wenger has squirelled away over the years and will be out of our reach I think. If we finished 5th I wouldn't be disappointed in the 1st season under Rodgers. That would mean a 15 to 20 point improvment on this season.

We have to be realistic and get behind the new Gaffer. No more negativity.

Our Pre-season tour is in North America this year taking in a Game against Toronto, Roma in Fenway Stadium and Spurs at the end of July. Lets hope our vast over commitment of players to the Euros doesn't hamper our preparation too much.

I am looking forward to an exciting positive season.

Lets all Rave about The Rodgers!


Sunday, 3 June 2012

2011/2012 Post Mortem

Wow I can't believe I haven't blogged since November. My reasons have been varied. Work commitments over December the hectic schedule at the time and the whole Suarez affair. Of course the major reason being the abject season we have had.

I have just read my last post which covered the Swansea home game and it would pretty much just require a copy and paste for every game since then! Nothing really changed. 

That is probably why we ended in our worst League position since our 8th place in 93/94 and our lowest points total since the Evans/Houlier experiment of 98/99. Also the fewest home wins since 1956 and if we had not beaten Chelski's reserves after the Cup final the lowest home points since 1904! Lowest chance conversion rate of any clubs in 5 top European Leagues - 8.9% These are the shocking facts about our season.

Never mind the 30-odd posts we have hit and a couple of pens we didn't get. We managed to miss 5 pens anyway so getting one is no guarantee of a goal! The 85 million shots on target we had. These stats gloss over the problem. Our squad was/is not good enough. 38 League games do not lie. Creating chance is one thing but having the composure to take them is what separates the winners from the losers.

That's where our biggest problem has been  - decision making. From the top of the club to deciding whether to pass or shoot in the box. I said from the start that Kenny would be a stop gap. We were in free fall under Hodgson because basically the players didn't fancy his approach and most of senior players didn't try a leg. As result no-one tried and he had to go.

I find it quite ironic that 18 months later he is now the England manager and has picked 5-6 Liverpool players in his Euro squad.

So we leaned on King Kenny and for 6 months we moved from 13th after opening defeat away at Blackpool to more respectable 6th. Although that could have been better but we lost our last 2 games. The owners then had an opportunity over last summer to find a suitable manager to take us forward. Instead they stuck with Kenny and threw loads of money at Comolli and the King. This was slightly worrying when Comolli had engineered the Torres/Carroll mess. No problem getting rid of Torres but giving the Toon £35 mill for an injured lump???

So we spend money on Enrique,Adam,Doni,Downing and Henderson with Bellers coming back for a 2nd spell for free. This all looked like a good, if somewhat overpriced bunch of signings. Especially when you still had Joe Cole,Aquilani and Meireles on the books too.

This for me is when things started to go a bit wrong. clearly signing of Enrique was waiting for some wages to move off the books and Meieles was the one to go as he was promised more wages by Hodgson. Clearly that wasn't going to be honoured. Then we find that Joe Cole is to go as well but only on loan, another wage refugee.

Our pre-season tour of the Far East saw a worrying trend of conceding 3 goals in every game to bunch of minnow teams. It was marketing success but not playing one. Bizarrely at the end of it all Kenny stated in a press conference that Aquilani had been our best player on tour. So no surprise when he is being loaned to |Milan for a season then!

A reasonable bright start to the campaign with a draw at home to Sunderland (if only we knew that was going to be one of our better home results!) Win away at the Emirates against a decimated team and regulation 3-1 win against Bolton at home. Then the wheel stared to come off a loss to Stoke despite 24 shots at goal and the disaster at Spurs when we were reduced to 9 and lost 4-0. Yes we did go on a bit of a run of 8 games undefeated (4 wins 4 draws) but really papering over cracks. So late November and we now have a run of 6 games over the festive season against teams in the bottom half of the table.Result  - 2 wins , 3 draws and a defeat. So not enough points bagged.

This seemed to continue throughout Jan and Feb and into March culminated in 5 defeats on the spin including the surrendering of a 2-0 lead in the last 13 minutes at QPR. Just when we were poised to get back in the mix for a top 4 finish our players and coaching staff showed they are not up to it.

For me Kenny had to go, his tactics were poor especially when we and a 1 goal lead with 10 or so minutes left, the constant adding of another centrehalf smacked of desperation and for the most part didn't give us more control and tighter shape. His blind spot with Henderson was another reason. The guy is a headless chicken who wants to play centrally where he is competing with Lucas,Gerrard,Adam, Spearing and Shelvey.Seriously how is he ahead of these guys???? Sure a few games towards the end of the season he did look better but I still think all these others are ahead of him in the queue. I fear we have signed another Heskey/Babel who looks magnificent in training but never produces on a Saturday.

I know Dirk Kuyt is not everyone's cup of tea but clearly has positional sense works tirelessly in the correct way and was our top scorer in 10/11. But Kenny chose to let him rot on the bench. 

The new signings have not produced.

Enrique has been the most consistent but struggle toward the end of the season and that was probably down to fatigue as we have no real cover there. 6/10

Adam tried to do too much and his set pieces which were his trademark at Blackpool have been a non-event. Too often he barely cleared the 1st man. His passing in the last 3rd is also not up to scratch too often he makes the wrong decision. 5/10

Downing No goals, no assists and even hit the post from 23rd time against Chelski with a pen! For £20 mill that's not good enough. He has pace to burn and generally a decent cross but was used on the opposite wing far to often. Doesn't have the confidence to go past players on the outside and clearly cant shoot. at Villa most of his goals and assists were from free kicks. At Liverpool he is about 8th in line to take them!. 1/10

Bellamy Has been the most positive of our signings and I hope Brendan Rodgers offers him another year. He is quick direct and gives you goals and bit of the devil as well. 7/10

Henderson useless headless chicken fuckwit. 0/10

Carroll has got better but for me I don't see how he can start in team with Suarez,Downing,Bellamy,Gerrard etc. All these players are fleet of foot and thought.Carroll is neither. 4/10

 Again why did we sign him he doesn't fit our system or general style of play. Again Kenny and Commolli at work. We seemed to sign players because they were available rather than able to do a specific job in the starting 11.

The existing players in the squad so didn't perform either here is my assessments.

Reina  if his job was impersonating a statue then he had a 10/10 season. As a Premier league goalkeeper he has had a nightmare. Dropping balls that he shouldn't be not coming for crosses properly and generally being flat footed between the sticks. Seriously when last did he make save or win a 1 on 1????? Got beaten far to easily on his near post several times needs to work on his positioning and footwork. he cost 10-15 points on his own. 1/10  

Skrtel & Agger our best centrehalf pairing. They look calm and assured playing together. Agger get injured too much. 7/10 and 6/10 respectively.

Johnson always injured, rubbish at defending but he did score the winner at the Bridge! Needs to be Garteh Bale'd.Make him our right winger if we cant buy one. 6/10 

Kelly Best rightback at the club although probably morph into a centrback like Carragher. though he played well when called. probably needs to improve crossing but seems to know when to commit to attacking and when to defend. Looks vulnerable when faced with a pacy player who likes to cut inside. 6/10

Gerrard more injuries than God has sheep over the last 2 seasons or so at 31 clearly his lung busting days are over. MUST play the Alonso role from now on. Come from deeper, use the pace we have our wide and with Suarez though the middle. 5/10

Dirk and Maxi  cant rally mark either of these 2. Far too little of Kuyt seen and Maxi is Maxi he will have  spell where he scores loads but at his age will we keep him?

Spearing looks competent against the lesser teams but struggles against the big boys. 5/10

Suarez Racism aside a decent 1st full season but more goals required. 7/10

Its no wonder we did so badly with marks out of 10 like that. Not a single 8,9,10 in the squad and only a couple of 7's.

That needs to improve under Brendan Rodgers and I am sure it will. Kenny and Comolli ultimately paid the price for poor use of the owners money and lack of delivery on agreed target. Sure we won the Carling Cup but stumbling to a penalty shoot-out win over Championship Cardiff will not live long in the memory. Our damp squib performance in the FA Cup Final was even more disappointing. If the players cant get motivated for that sort of game, whats the point. Kenny again bungled the tactics and we only looked better once Carroll was on and we were lumping the ball at him.

I think Kenny tried his best but ultimately too many years out of the game at the sharp end showed him up.Yes we played some entertaining stuff in patches but lacked the guile and ruthlessness to put games to bed. The club have made bold decision with Rodgers and I will be blogging about that separately.


El Pistolero

I want to discuss the conundrum that is Luis Suarez.

As a footballer his is one of the top players in the World.His ability to wriggle round, through packed defences is amazing. I particularly enjoyed the multiple nutmegs against Chelski in which him and Carrol destroyed John Terry.

The only thing lacking is a consistent finish. For all that he creates there isn't enough goals perhaps he was starting to come right at the end of the season with that sublime hat-trick against Norwich. Clearly he also need a better supply and understanding for those around him. The biggest thing for us is will we keep him? 

That brings me to the unsavoury side of not only his game but also his character. The excessive diving when tackled is a joke he has been robbed of legitimate fouls and a couple of pens because he is getting a reputation. I would say that there was less of of that towards the end of the season so maybe someone has had a word. It might be acceptable on continent and part of a South American players make-up but at Liverpool have higher standards and expectations than that.

Now to the real nub of what I am talking about here. His character or lack there of as some of his behaviour this season has shown. Clearly the main talking point is the racist allegations made by Patrice Evra during the Anfield game last October. These were subsequently upheld and Suarez was rightfully banned . Liverpool immediately vehemently defended him. This must have been down to Suarez's version of events which resulted in the Club's almost zealous backing of him. This reaching fever pitch at the away game at Wigan the players all chose to wear t-shirts emblazoned with his image. In hindsight this was clearly a disaster as in effect Glen Johnson was supporting a racist!

Once the hearing's findings were made public the Club's defence of Suarez looked even more bizarre and seemed to be based on one-mans word (Suarez) versus another's (Evra). Clearly the club felt that Evra, a man who has cried wolf before regarding racism, had less credibility than Suarez. Unfortunately that turn out not to be the case.

Suarez is a man who lies doesn't mind who that affects or makes look bad. So reluctantly we accept the ban and surprise surprise, one of the 1st game he is eligible for is the return League match at the theatre of delusions. Assurances were given by both clubs in the week prior to the game that there was no issue. Evra was happy that punishment was meted out and had no issue shaking the hand of his abuser. 

We were led to believe that Suarez would do the right thing and shake hands showing some contrition for his actions. Lo and behold Suarez again went back on his word and almost caused a riot. It riled Evra so much that in the 1st 20 seconds he went to clean Suarez out and possibly break his leg and fortunately for all concerned caught Ferdinand instead.

The end of the game saw another flash point when Evra went to celebrate in front of horde of travellers from around England ( Sorry ManUre fans) and was basically jumping up and down directly in front of Suarez. Again thankfully nothing happened.

Unfortunately what happened next was disgraceful. King Kenny squirming under the questioning of Jeff Shreeves. He seemed unaware of the non-handshake and his usually prickly nature took over and stupidly made comments about Suarez having no responsibility for the events of the day. Bizarre.

One wonders why the PR people or Head of Comms or whoever hadn't spoken to Kenny at HT and made him aware of the storm that was brewing and that he would be expected to address in his post match interview. all of this led to to Kenny Dalglish having to make a public apology on behalf of the club and retract his statements. An utter disgrace that one players lack of moral fibre led to the greatest icon our club has having to humiliate himself in public.

Ultimately this whole affair is probably why the Media man was sacked.

Worse still this allowed our biggest rivals to claim the moral high ground. Something that has never happened before.

Sith Lord Ferguson's comments about Suarez being a disgrace and that we should sell him may have held some weight were they not full of hypocrisy and uttered by a man who's Glass House was full of broken windows from the stones he throws at others from inside.

Cantona assaulted a fan, did he sell him?
Roy Keane admitted deliberately breaking Alf Inge Haaland's legs in his book - again no transfer
(Alf Inge Haaland never kicked a ball again and still walks with a limp).
Rio Ferdinand - Drug Cheat - No transfer.

So for me Luis Suarez need a huge attitude adjustment next season (if he is still with us). Sure he has signed a longer term deal and says he is committed but as we have seen if he is willing to look Kenny Dalglish in the eye and lie what sort of 'man' as we dealing with?

As mentioned lets hope he shows some character and gets headlines for the right reasons.

 I do think it was a contributing factor in our disaterous season which I have discussed in my previous post.