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, 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.