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.

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.