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Simply Not Good Enough………

The 8th January 2011 saw the return on King Kenny to what he and the majority of Liverpool fans see as his rightful place, manager of Liverpool Football Club. It also signalled the end of Roy Hodgson’s reign and my self imposed blogging ban which I installed back in November last year. The reason...

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Excited but Realistic…….

Posted by Spencer | Posted in Liverpool FC | Posted on 09-08-2011

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So here we are on the eve of another season in the Premier League and in stark contrast to last season it is one that as a Liverpool fan am looking forward too greatly.

Cast your mind back 12 months and look at how during this time the club has changed. I for one wrote this time last year that only time would tell if Hodgson was the right man to take us forward and sadly by the time it was proved he wasn’t the season was basically over as far as competitions were concerned. Add to that the board room troubles that had the club on it’s knees these were times that none of us wanted to see at our club.

So here we are 12 months on with new owners, financial stability, money for new players and more importantly a new manager in Kenny Dalglish. The combination of all these factors have enabled Liverpool Football Club to move forward in a way that no one could ever have imagined and so far it would be hard to argue against it all being positive.

So as as fans what can we expect this season?

The thing I have found with my time on Twitter and writing this blog is that some fans can have unrealistic views on where the club should/will finish at the end of the season and last season I received tweets from fans that were expecting big things after the signings of Joe Cole and Raul Mirelies even predicting finishing as champions! But with clubs like Man City, Spurs and Chelsea all spending much more than us last season we were always at best looking at a top 4 finish and that in my opinion was always going to be difficult based on the previous season under Rafa Benitez. So after a dreadful first half of the season the 6th place finish that was finally achieved was in all honesty better than we all hoped.

Should we expect better this season?

During the close season the management team of Dalglish and Cammoli have brought in good quality players such as Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson, Andy Carroll, Luis Suarez, Stewart Downing and as I’m writing Jose Enrique all who have good Premier League experience and all who should offer something that has been lacking during previous years.

Having been one of Stewart Downings fiercest critics over the years I have to admit that his time at Aston Villa has matured him into a good reliable and consistent performer who I believe will not only benefit the team as a whole but also benefit Andy Carroll immensely by hopefully providing numerous opportunities for him.

Charlie Adam is another player I am happy is at Liverpool as he proved last season that he can be influential, creative and score goals from midfield which is also something that has been missing from previous seasons, albeit under Kenny’s style of play last season goals from midfield became a more regular occurrence. I believe he will also provide us with other alternatives for set pieces and free kicks, taking the pressure of our captain.

I have to admit I don’t know too much about Jordan Henderson but he was obviously well respected at Sunderland and can only be a good prospect for the immediate future for Liverpool. As with many Liverpool fans I am very keen to see what he will offer Liverpool this season and hope that he will be a great success and with Kenny’s backing I am confident he will be.

This is the season that I believe we will see the Carroll – Suarez partnership blossom into the kind of strike partnership that will cause defences many problems and provide the return of goals that we are all expecting. Suarez has already proven that he is a major threat in the Premier League by being at times unplayable and a nightmare for defenders. Carroll seems to have recovered from his injury problems of last season and has started to look a real threat during pre season and I believe the midfield that Kenny has assembled will not only score goals but also create goals for him and I am very much looking forward to seeing this develop during the season.

However a slight concern I do have is in the defence.

The one thing I am hoping for this season is that Daniel Agger can stay fit. He is a defender in the Hansen mould that provides calmness across the back four and can start attacks from defence and when he plays the team look a far better and balanced side. I am concerned however that we could be left short in terms of centre backs as in my opinion I cannot see Jamie Carragher being the main stay of our defence during this coming season. I fear that he will struggle against teams when we are away from home who play with quick attacking players.
In my opinion we need a full time pairing of Agger and another proven Premier League defender, such as Gary Cahill, with Jamie being good quality cover in case of injuries. I don’t believe that Skrtle and Kyrgiakos are good enough cover as pre-season has shown us leaking too many goals against far weaker teams we will be facing in the Premier League.
Jamie Carragher has been a great servant to the club over many years and still has a lot to offer but I fear that his best is now past him and that we should now be concentrating on developing a new centre back partnership that can be the mainstay for the next 5 years.

I am not trying to be critical for the sake of being critical I just have concerns that unless the defence is strengthened this could be the main weakness of the team this season. I am confident the team will score plenty of goals this season and as Liverpool fans that is what we want to see but I don’t want to see us compared to the Newcastle team of 1996 who scored goals for fun but couldn’t stop leaking them which in the end cost them the league title that season.

I also need to remember the position of the club 12 months ago compared to today and be grateful to the new owners because under FSG the club has already progressed further than any of us could have imagined and therefore are we in a position to really criticise at all?

As fans we all have our own opinions of how the team should be improved and the players we want to see come in, but I for one believe that this is the best squad of players the club has had for 20 years.

I cannot remember looking forward to a season as much as I am looking forward to this one and believe that a top 4 finish is well within the teams grasp even though in my opinion I don’t think we will win the league. So for me this season is all about excitement but staying realistic…….

YNWA

My Interview with ‘What a Fantastic Run’ – The Return Match

Posted by Spencer | Posted in Liverpool FC, You'll Never Walk Alone | Posted on 13-05-2011

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Well its been a while since I have posted anything on my site and apologies but the last few months have been rather busy. However we have all enjoyed the return of King Kenny and what he has done for our club. I have a few ideas for some new blogs and will start writing them in the next few weeks.

In the meantime I have recently been interviewed again by the Spurs blog ‘what a fantastic run’ (www.whatafantasticrun.com) for our upcoming game on Sunday. Thanks again to Dom from What a Fantastic Run

WFR: It would appear Liverpool have had the mirror image season to Spurs. How has it been for a Liverpool fan?

This season has certainly been a down and up season. 35 years as a fan i have never seen a Liverpool team so disjointed and lacking in confidence as seen the first half of the season. What has happened since January has been in some ways a miracle and now we all don’t want the season to end!

WFR: Obviously there has been an upturn of results since Kenny took over. What do you put this down to? A change in tactics? A better motivator?

The upturn in results has exceeded in my opinion most Liverpool fans expectations. At the time of Kenny’s appointment we were just all happy that the king had returned. What Kenny has done is change the way we play. Over recent weeks in particular you have seen the team pass and move like the old teams of the 80′s. He has played players in their ideal positions and played to their strengths but in my opinion he greatest asset has been his man management skills and his ability to get the best out of every single player at the club with a smile on his face. Lets not forget the very important role Steve Clarke has played in our resurgence. The players have commented publicly how training has improved and become more enjoyable. This in turn has been carried out onto the pitch.

WFR: Jay Spearing has done a great job while Gerrard has been injured. What do you think will happen when your captain returns in the new season? Should he still walk straight in to the team? Has his absence shown that he is in fact very droppable?

What the absence of Gerrard has proved is that Liverpool are not a one man team, something the media and “experts” have labelled us for years now. As you say players like Jay Spearing have come in and performed to a level that we haven’t seen prior which is a testament to them and the new management. Giving players like Jay Spearing a run in the team and him performing to a high standard has also proved that our squad wasn’t as bad as first thought. Obviously having Gerrard back next season will be a massive boost and in my opinion it would be difficult to leave him out but what recent weeks has shown is we have a good strong crop of local youngsters coming through the system and able to step into the team if our best players are injured which is only a good thing. And more importantly Kenny has the faith and belief in the youngsters to come in a do a job.

WFR: Spurs fans are currently spilt on whether they want the club in the UEFA Cup next season, is this a game that neither sets of fans would fancy winning?

I can understand why fans are split on this subject as over the past few years the competition has become very poor. I think if the prize was a place in the Champions League next season then you would see an improvement. In the case of Liverpool fans the majority would like to see us in the competition next season especially after not having a chance in hell of qualifying 4 months ago. I personally think that it’s a winnable trophy but also think it’s an opportunity for the squad players to perform and gain experience which in turn helps the first team. In Spurs case it’s a trophy there to be won and surely that’s what a football team aim is, to win trophies.

WFR: After your win over Birmingham I commented on my Twitter feed that Liverpool fans were telephoning TalkSport to claim they are true title contenders next season – do you believe this is the case?

The are stats flying around at the moment that say that since Kenny has taken charge we have scored more goals and are second to only Chelsea in the number of points achieved in the Premier League so do i think we can challenge next season……yes i do. With more additions likely to be added and the style of football we are playing we have to be seen as a challenger for the title next season. Remember we have outplayed Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea and drawn away at Arsenal in the last few weeks and not many teams have done that this season. The appointment of Kenny and Steve Clarke has given the whole club the belief and that has been transferred onto the pitch. I also believe that Chelsea, Arsenal and even Man Utd have to improve their squads with, in the case of Chelsea and Utd, having too many older players past their prime. It’s going to be very interesting.

WFR: Tottenham fans a a little annoyed at the club for not taking the same gamble as Liverpool on both Suarez and Carroll, many feel this has cost us dear in the latter half of the season. Just to rub it in further, how are they doing in your eyes?

I personally think that the reason for your decline after January was the fact Harry didn’t go and spend some money. When you are in the champions league and wanting to ensure you stay there the squad needs improving at every opportunity. Im not sure what the finances are like at Spurs but did they have a spare £50m to buy both? In the case of Suarez i think it would have been difficult for you to buy him as he had indicated his desire to move to Liverpool and was holding out for that move. However I believe he has been the buy of the season. At times he has been unplayable and if you are a defender it must be an absolute nightmare to mark him as he is always on the move especially when he hasn’t got the ball. To be honest we haven’t seen too much of Carroll yet due to injuries but what he did show in the Man City game recently was how he has the ability to score goals from anywhere and also bully defenders. I think the partnership of Suarez and Carroll will an exciting one next season and I cant wait to see them play more games together.

WFR: You also have Daniel Comolli within your ranks, a man who was very much in the firing line at Spurs. With rumours abound that Kenny is due to take over Liverpool on a full time basis, how do you see that relationship panning out?

That’s an interesting question and as i write this Kenny has signed a new 3 year contract along with Steve Clarke which is the only news we have been waiting for. In terms of Comolli’s relationship with Kenny i think it will be a good one. I’m not an expert on Comolli but didn’t he buy some of your better players at the club? What he has shown so far is that we are looking at the right kind of players who are the right age and will fit into the way Kenny wants to play the game. I’m confident it will be a success.

WFR: Who has been your player of the year for Liverpool?

Without a doubt it has been Lucas Leiva – he has improved dramatically over the past 2 seasons and has now shown what a good quality player he is. I am not afraid to admit that during his first 2 seasons I thought he wasn’t good enough but now happily admit i got it wrong. Under Kenny especially we have seen a side to his game which means he gets forward more and also provides killer passes to the front men. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Lucas is one of the first names on the team sheet as he has now become a very important part of Liverpool FC.

WFR: Do you think there will be many comings and goings in the transfer market this summer? What areas need to be looked at?

I believe it will be a busy summer for us. There are obviously players that are surplus and will be moved on but what the new owners did in January by spending £50m on 2 players (albeit they received the same from the Torres sale) was their intention to spend money on the right players. In my opinion we will be looking at 2 wingers, a midfielder, a left back and a centre back with names such as Ashley Young, Jose Enrique, Charlie Adam and Gary Cahill being talked about as possible signings. I’m sure there are other names and im sure that we will sign at least 2 marquee signings. In all the summer looks like it’s going to be very exciting for all Liverpool fans and for once it will be all about who is coming in rather than star players leaving!

WFR: What has been your stand out Liverpool moment of the season

There have been 3….The appointment of Kenny as caretaker manager, Liverpool destroying Manchester United at Anfield and the appointment of Kenny as full time manager. If you had asked me this question back in December I wouldn’t have been able to think of any….

WFR: And the worst?

The worst moment for me as a Liverpool fan this season was the period between August and December – I have never seen a Liverpool team play so badly on such a regular basis and as a fan going into every game thinking that we will lose was very depressing times, but thankfully that period is now far behind us.

WFR: And finally, lets get some score predictions

As you know from the last game at White Hart Lane I rightly predicted a 2-1 win to Spurs (proving my point above) but this time it will be different. So i am going for a 3-1 win to Liverpool on the basis that Anfield has become a fortress again and the type of football we are playing will be too good for Spurs on the day.

Same Players, Different Team……

Posted by Spencer | Posted in Liverpool FC | Posted on 24-01-2011

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Remember the date, 22nd January 2011, the day all Liverpool fans thought would never come again not alone this season, but always lived in hope of seeing again that our beloved club was not only winning away from home but playing football again, the Liverpool way.

 I’m sure that although it was great to see a 0-3 scoreline away from home most fans (including me) would admit the most pleasing aspect of the match against Wolves was indeed the performance as a whole. It wasn’t perfect and I am not ignoring the fact that we are a team that is still miles away from the levels seen  2 seasons ago but in comparison to what we have seen so far this campaign it is a massive improvement (and that is not an exaggeration).  

So why the huge improvement?

An obvious question gives an obvious answer, Kenny Dalglish.

If Roy Hodgson was going to be replaced during the season then the one person  the majority (if not all) of Liverpool fans would have wanted was ‘king’ Kenny Dalglish. As a fan who used to watch The King play andalso watched his Liverpool teams play I for one think his appointment as manager for the second time is a stroke of genius by the new Liverpool owners. They have clearly listened to the fans and quickly understood how the club should be run and the importance of having a manager that understands the roots of Liverpool FC. There is no better person in my opinion than The King.

What he has achieved in a matter of two weeks has certainly surprised the ‘experts’ in the media who were very quick to point towards the fact he had been ‘out of the game’ for far too long. What they failed to report was that Kenny Dalglish had been around the club for the last few years as an ambassador, he was also a regular fixture in the Liverpool crowd for home games and of course still heavily involved within the club generally. I am not sure that is the correct definition of ‘being out of the game’.

However the improvement since his appointment has been clear to see. The team are now showing more passion, commitment and self belief which has been significantly lacking all season, the work rate of every player has improved 100% and that includes Christian Poulson! The 4 games played under ‘The King’ have all showed this with the best being the recent game at Wolves. Simple things such as players playing in their correct positions (apart from Glen Johnson who has had to play at Left Back) has made a huge difference. We only need to look at Raul Meireles for example - bought as an attcking midfielder but deployed on the right of midfield for the majority of the season, has now been given the chance to play behind Torres which has also allowed him to roam and as a result able to get more involved and deliver that much missed creativity.    

His man management skills have also made a significant impact – we only have to look at Torres for this example. Here is a world class striker that this season has looked frustrated, unhappy and unable to control a football. Within the last 2 weeks we have seen hunger, desire and glimpses of his undoubted quality that have previously terrorised defences. Yes the player should be giving his all week in week out but when a player is out of form and quite obvioulsy down then they need to be told how good they are, given a hug and that it will all come good in the end. The evidence of this is for all to see and the team are now benefiting with 3 goals in 2 games.

The most obvious reason in my opinion for the improvement is the tactics that are now being employed. For most of the season and especially away from home, the team has been set up not to lose with a five man midfield protecting the defence and Torres left alone up front to chase down the scraps he may be fed. Now we see  a system being adapted which looks like 4-1-3-1-1 with the the 4 players in midfield interchanging when the team is attacking. What we saw on Saturday was the midfeld players getting beyond the striker and threatening inside the opponents penalty area which obvioulsy meant a bigger threat in front of goal. The system has also allowed the team to play to individual players strengths  including Torres and as a result we are starting to see the qualities of the players we have.  Pepe Reina is another example,  he is being allowed to pass the ball out of his area instead of ‘hoofing it’ like he was instructed to previously and as a result is now creating more attacking opportunities for the team. 

As I have said previously we are not at the levels seen under Rafa Benitez quite yet but in the short space of time Kenny has been in charge we have seen the potential of whats to come in future games.  We are still shaky in defence but I believe this will improve and we are still in need of additional quality players to join the squad but with the appointment of Kenny and that of Steve Clarke, which is also a shrewd move by the owners, I believe such improvement will continue to happen in the coming weeks.

We have been told previously by football experts and the media that we don’t have good enough players to compete at a high level, and that the reason Roy Hodgson had such a poor record was because of this, but in the short time Kenny has been in charge and his ideas being adopted by the players, it appears that this may indeed not be the case. 

What we all know is, yes we do have the same players, but are now a completely different team………

 Y.N.W.A

Simply Not Good Enough………

Posted by Spencer | Posted in Liverpool FC | Posted on 10-01-2011

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The 8th January 2011 saw the return on King Kenny to what he and the majority of Liverpool fans see as his rightful place, manager of Liverpool Football Club. It also signalled the end of Roy Hodgson’s reign and my self imposed blogging ban which I installed back in November last year.

The reason I decided to stop blogging was I had started to re-read my previous blogs and had noticed I was writing the same things over and over again. I couldn’t find anything new or positive to write and knew this was never going to change until either Roy left his post or was removed.

So now I am back and more importantly so is King Kenny.

Once the news became public knowledge on Saturday I immediately felt relief and then overwhelming excitement. I felt relief because our beloved club was in real danger of sliding into the abyss – our players looked like they couldn’t be bothered, our manager looked like he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown because he was quite clearly out of his depth and in my view AND more alarming, we as supporters had started to stay away from the games with the last home game only reaching 35,000 as an attendance which for a Saturday afternoon game is unheard of.

The feeling of excitement for the majority of fans completely took over the weekend and whatever the result was to be against our rivals across the M62 we knew that from this point on our club under King Kenny would take a more positive direction and help bring pride back to the club and to all of the fans. From a personal point of view I wanted to see more passion and pride in our play and for Liverpool Football Club to start playing football again. From what we saw at the weekend the signs are there (even if we had to contend with the obvious Manc loving Howard Webb and his even more predictable decisions) and that’s even before Kenny had a chance to work with the players.

We all know Kenny Dalglish will demand respect and we hope him being in charge will put at end to the problems within the dressing room that has so obviously effected certain players. Gerrard and Carragher are no longer the Mr Liverpools within the camp because Mr Liverpool is now in charge. Kenny will not be scared to drop or substitute players whether they are senior or not and we saw a glimpse of that when he substituted Torres after seeing him have another ineffective game. But he will also encourage those players and help them to regain their form and make them into better players.

These are certainly exciting times.

However since the appointment of King Kenny we have already started to see the anti-Liverpool media sharpen their pencils because they feel ‘media friendly Roy’ wasn’t given enough time. What they don’t seem to understand is that however much time the new Liverpool Board were to give Roy it was so bad that it was never going to work.

Since results started to decline early on in our season the media were very quick to place the blame on Rafa Benitez (and still continue to do so) for leaving Roy with such a poor squad, the same squad (apart from a couple of players) that finished 2nd only two seasons ago. Apparently players such as Gerrard, Reina, Carragher, Torres, Agger, Kuyt, Johnson and Mascherano were not good enough. Yes the squad needed improving but was it really as bad as the media were leading us to believe?

Facts speak for themselves and that is why I cannot understand the media and fans of other clubs when they continually defend Roy Hodgson. Apart from a few league titles in Sweden and a cup in Denmark he hasn’t won anything significant in his managerial career especially when he has been at successful and big clubs like Inter Milan and Blackburn (after they won the EPL). So why do the media and ex-players all want to keep proclaiming he is a good manager? This is the one thing about the media that baffles me the most. The only conclusion I can come up with is that because he is a genuine and nice man the ex-players and media associate this as the main credential to being a top class football manager.

They fail to see that his only tactial method is to hoof and hope and that when you are dealing with world class players this will always be destined for failure. They fail to see how if his plan A doesn’t work there is no plan B. They fail to see that his man management skills are poor at best as seen by how he continually criticised certain players such as Agger and Johnson and they fail to see that you cannot criticise your own fans and then demand support.

Since the sacking of Roy some parts of the media have insinuated that us fans are to blame and that we didn’t give him enough time. After 20 games in which you could count on half a hand the number of times the team actually performed well I think we are all intelligent enough to know when things are not working out and when there is no sign of improvement. Liverpool fans have always backed their manager and even though the majority of us were uneasy when Roy was appointed we were all prepared to give him a chance. The fact is in all my 33 years as a supporter I have never ever seen a Liverpool team play so poorly on such a regular basis as they have done this season and that is why I believe the majority of fans wanted the change. However the most outrageous reason I have heard and read in the media is that we didn’t want Roy as our manager or give him a chance because of his London roots!! Coming from so called professional journalists writing such rubbish is an utter disgrace!

So whilst Liverpool FC enter the second Kenny Dalglish era where our hopes and dreams have been reborn the one message I want to give to the media is this:-

You can continue to blame Rafa Benitez and us fans, you can re-start the anti-Liverpool agenda but the fact of the matter is and it is a fact, Roy Hodgson was just simply not good enough…….

Y.N.W.A

My Interview for a Spurs Blog……

Posted by Spencer | Posted in Liverpool FC | Posted on 26-11-2010

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I was recently asked if I would be interviewed for a Spurs blog for the upcoming game on Sunday – for those of you interested he is what I said……. Full blogging will return when I am back from Florida…… :)

Thanks to Dom at What a Fantastic Run (www.whatafantasticrun.com) for the questions….

WFR: Welcome to What a Fantastic Run, Could you introduce yourself to our readers? (name, age, occupation and all the other interesting stuff)
My name is Spencer Gower I am 38 years young and am a Chartered Surveyor. I am married to Alex and have an 8 month old son William and a 13 year old son Raihan from a previous marriage. I am currently on holiday in Florida :)

WFR: How did you land up supporting Liverpool?
I have been supporting Liverpool for 33 years and ended up supporting them due to my uncle who unfortunately died in his early 20′s. He was a mad Liverpool fan who persuaded me to support the reds whilst my mother was trying to get me to support her team Manchester United. I definitely made the right choice!!!

WFR: Well, where do we start with Liverpool this year? Who in your eyes  is at fault for your poor start to the season?
Hmmm – where do we start….. I have blogged about the issues this season (www.spencergower.co.uk) and the main reason in my opinion is Roy Hodgson. Yes the ownership situation was a factor but I believe that those issues shouldn’t have affected the players who are on huge salaries and are paid to do a job regardless of who the owners are. If the players were not getting paid then yes this would have been a major issue. The fact is that situation was never even close.
Roy Hodgson is a nice guy who has done reasonably well in his career but right from the start I wasn’t convinced by his appointment (‘mixed feelings’ on my blog). It has become clear over recent weeks that he is trying to imprint his ‘Fulham’ style on Liverpool and what he needs to understand is that we are not Fulham we are Liverpool FC. He doesn’t have a plan B when things go wrong. Tactically he is very poor.  The thing that has concerned me most Liverpool fans this season is the performances as a whole. We have been poor, very poor in fact and that is me being kind as a Liverpool fan. Our football has been similar to what Fulham played last season with the midfield being bypassed in exchange for hoofing from the back hoping that Torres will get on the end of it. Until Hodgson realises that he is dealing with much better players than he has ever been used too and that they like to play football in a certain way then our performances will continue to be mediocre. Can I put it like this – if Rafa was still in charge then do you think he would still be in charge now or would the media be as kind as they are being to Roy? So in conclusion and in my opinion Roy and his tactics are mostly to blame for the poor start to the season.

WFR: There has been a lot of talk and accusations about Torres. Is it that he doesn’t want to be there or is he just out of form?
The talk as you have put it has all been media talk – Its only a few months since the media were hyping him up and saying he was going to sign for Chelsea or Man City but ever since he came out at the start of the season and committed himself to Liverpool the media have changed towards him. Yes he has been out of form but the media have forgotten that he had an operation before the world cup and shouldn’t have gone really. He also hasn’t had a summer break for the past 3 years because Spain have been in various tournaments. He has also suffered this season from the type of football we have been playing and Roy using him as a lone striker and hoofing into the channels. Torres is a player that needs service to feet or in front of him. I would be very frustrated if I was him too. I think you have seen in the last 3-4 games he is starting to get himself back to full fitness and his goals against Chelsea prove he is still world class.

WFR: I think Spurs fans owe Liverpool a huge thank you for pipping us  to Joe Cole – I am sure if he had signed for us we would not of bought Van Der Vaart. How has he been getting on?
Joe Cole was viewed and still is viewed as an exciting signing for Liverpool – he was unfortunate in getting sent off in the first game of the season against Arsenal and then picking up an injury and he has also tried to hard to impress which has also hampered his game. Roy has also used him in the wrong position in my opinion – he didn’t like being used on the left at Chelsea and Roy said he would use in in the ‘hole’ behind Torres which is his best position. But he has played the majority of the games on the left and the way we have played he hasn’t been able to get on the ball too often. I still think he will come good for us. Remember Harry took a pop at Joe because he signed for us and not Spurs……

WFR: This next question consists of just two words. Feel free to expand  as much as you like……Robbie Keane?
Robbie Keane…… I thought at the time he was a good signing and would have worked well with Torres. I also think his signing was an ‘owners’ signing and therefore became political and that’s why Rafa didn’t use him as much as he would have done before selling him back to Spurs in the January window. Its a shame because I think he would have been good for Liverpool used in the right way. The one thing that makes me laugh however is that Rafa got slated by the media and ex players for not playing Robbie but Harry, who has done the same and even loaned him out, doesn’t get a mention.

WFR: We are nearing the crucial Christmas period, what are your expectations for Liverpool this season?
I wrote a blog at the beginning of the season ‘Only time will tell’ which highlighted my expectations for the season. I am a passionate fan but also a realistic one and I try to air balanced views. My expectations this season were low in comparison to previous seasons and I was hoping that we could try and sneak a top 4 place but also know this would be much harder because of Spurs and Man City now in the frame. A good UEFA and FA Cup run would be the best I would expect this season unfortunately…..

WFR: What are your general thoughts on Tottenham?
I think Spurs have improved dramatically under Harry but in honest they should have given the money he has spent over the last few seasons. They play some really good football and the signing of Van Der Varrt will prove to be the best signing of all. I like Bale since he has moved into a midfield position and this is where I would like to see Glen Johnson play for us too as I believe he would be more effective going forward. I still think Harry needs to come to terms with playing CL midweek then PL on the Saturday as teams will always struggle after a CL game which has been the case this season. This is where the benefit of having a large squad comes into play.

WFR: If you could pick a player from Tottenham’s past or present team  to play for Liverpool who would it be?
From the past it would have to be Glen Hoddle – absolute quality and would have fitted into the Liverpool team in that era perfectly. Today would be Van Der Varrt as he is the type of player Liverpool are missing and in truth have missed since Alonso left a couple of seasons back.

WFR: And finally, give us a score prediction….
Hahaha – my heart says we sneak a 2-1 win but my head says a 2-1 win to Spurs…… From my point of view it will be a difficult game for Liverpool and unless we improved dramatically away from home then realistically I can only see one outcome and that is a spurs win – and I hate admitting that!!

Too Blind to See it……

Posted by Spencer | Posted in Liverpool FC | Posted on 18-10-2010

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Another game ANOTHER defeat….

It seems after re-reading them, my recent blogs have had a depressive and negative feel to them but in all honesty that is how I have been feeling whilst writing them and yesterdays result did nothing to help this but only contributed in making it worse.

After the euphoria of finally being free of Hicks and Gillette and now in the hands of what we all hope are good stable owners with the best interests of the club at heart, I think we were all hoping that these feelings would transmit towards the players and manager alike ready for the Merseyside derby on Sunday. Unfortunately this did not happen on any front….

Although the sale of the club was as important as anything to happen in its recent history I believe that we have used this as an excuse to take our eyes off the team and its current predicament in the league.  That is in no way wanting to patronize fellow reds because the events of last week did require our attention but in the same time the events of last week would never have, in my opinion, made any difference to the problems that are currently being faced on the pitch. When I tweeted these concerns last week I received a lot of comments saying that players and the manager alike will now be able to play with confidence and free of worry and this would be shown against Everton. I was never going to be convinced by this argument. My previous blog ‘Results not Excuses’ was based on the theory that the problems upstairs were not the fundamental reason for the problems on the pitch and I still stand by this view.

The performance on Sunday was as predictable as the Liberal Democrats selling out their principles for a taste of power. No passion, no imagination, no commitment, no flare and no idea. Sadly this isn’t new and has been the standard all season (Arsenal apart) and it was never going to be any different. We have finally had a change of ownership and it is now in my opinion time to change our manager. I never like talking and now in this modern age, writing such views about any Liverpool manager as this is not our way but we are in serious danger of being cut adrift at the wrong end of the table if things don’t change sooner rather than later.

Robbie Fowler stated yesterday on Sky that Leeds were a much better team than the current Liverpool side and they still went down so lets not kid ourselves about the situation we are currently in.

Unfortunately our current manager continues to see things differently. His post match comments after the game on Sunday were quite staggering. ‘This was the best we played all season and we were unlucky to lose” “I was pleased with the 2nd half performance and thought we totally dominated them”. Now if he had quite simply said that the performance was not good enough or expected from any Liverpool team then I would have had some respect for him but to come out with what he did just confirmed what I had already thought – Roy Hodgson is simply not good enough for our club.

Any non-English manager would have now been sacked on the back of the worse Liverpool start to the season for 57 years but we are faced with a situation where we have a manager who is loved by the media managing a team that is not and they (media) are finding it very difficult to balance their views and reporting as a result. Most sections of the media (Sky mainly) continue to blame Rafa Benitez for the current performances and it is quite staggering the ‘facts’ they reel out. He has left a squad that is the poorest ever at Liverpool (whilst forgetting the Souness era and the end of Houllier’s run), he is responsible for the debt the club had, he spent millions of pounds (whilst forgetting he recouped est 80% in sales) etc etc. What they don’t comment on is that he also won the Champions League, FA Cup, Super Cup, reached another Champions League final, 3 CL semi finals in total, Carling Cup final and a record points tally of any post league winning Liverpool manager. Not bad really…

However whilst the media continue to blame Rafa for the current performances and ignore the facts, they need to understand it is Roy that picks the team and sends them out to play the way HE wants them too.

As a passionate fan I do not want to see any Liverpool manager sacked but at this time of new ownership that gives us glimmers of hope, the Liverpool board need to be strong and make the right decision because I want to see my Liverpool team play with passion and commitment and also start to play football again. I want to start writing and talking again about the positives of our great club as that is far more enjoyable but until the required changes are made then my blogs will continue in this fashion. The players are quite clear in their views of the manager by the way they are going about their jobs on the pitch and in particular the body language so Mr Henry please do that right thing and change the manager before its too late.

Unlike the media we as Liverpool fans are not too blind to see it……….

Results not Excuses…….

Posted by Spencer | Posted in Liverpool FC | Posted on 10-10-2010

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So the news we have all been waiting for may have finally arrived this week with the ever increasing possibility of Hicks and Gillette being forced out of the club after the board agreed a sale to another American J W Henry owner of the Boston Redsocks. But as with all things Liverpool these days it isn’t going to be as simple as everyone would hope with the High Court deciding within the next few days.

With all things regarding the sale I am not going to be convinced it will happen until it happens because there has been too many false dawns over the past few months. I hope and pray that it does even if it does mean we get forced into administration and take a 9 point penalty. Hicks and Gillette have proven this last week that they will do anything to keep a hold of the club so if administration becomes the only option to get rid of them during the next few days then so be it.

However the events of the past few days have also distracted attention away from the team, manager and players following the awful start to the season and especially the defeat at home to Blackpool. In my opinion the current form and confidence of the team is just as worrying and needs to be addressed with the same importance as the ownership soap opera.

Most of you who read my blog will have seen that over the past month or so I have been questioning the teams tactics and style of play adopted by Roy Hodgson and how it has effected the players on the pitch. The loss to Northampton Town at home and then Blackpool have continued to highlight in my opinion whether we have got the right man in place? There is nothing I want more than for any Liverpool manager to be successful and win trophies but as every week passes I am becoming less convinced that this particular manager will fall into that category. At the moment I am struggling to see where the next win is coming from although I hope and pray it comes at Goodison Park in our next match, but the performances on the pitch if we are honest are dreadful.

So is the goings on in the boardroom really an excuse for the performances on the pitch or do the players and manager need to take a good look at themselves?

Personally I don’t buy into the theory of the boardroom soap opera having a negative impact on the players. If the players and management staff were at risk of not being paid then I could understand but as a football club Liverpool are not in that position. In my opinion the manager and players are paid to do a job and as there is no risk of them not being paid I would expect all of them to focus on playing football and trying to win matches, after all that is there job. For the past year the company I work for has been up for sale and as an employee I am expected to come to work and perform to the best of my ability and continue to do the job I am paid to do. At the end of the day there is nothing I can do to influence if and when the sale is going to happen which means therefore I just have to get on with my job. I would expect as professionals all the playing and management staff at Liverpool to have the same attitude and continue to do what they are paid to do.

And this is where, in my opinion the main concern is – since the Arsenal game the players have not shown any commitment, ability or passion and the results and performances back this up. However even more of a concern for me is the manager – his tactics seem naive, defensive and the players do not seem entirely sure of their jobs on the pitch. Players are being played out of position, Torres is being isolated up front and when was the last time a Liverpool centre back was used as a centre forward on such a regular basis? I am looking to Roy Hodgson to inspire the team, I am looking to him encourage the team and I am looking to him to make Liverpool a team. Sadly I am not seeing any of this instead hearing him say we have performed well when we quite clearly haven’t.

The home game against Blackpool highlighted just how poor Liverpool are as a team at present where we saw Blackpool continuously open us up and play by far the much better football. But this performance unfortunately isn’t an isolated one. We are seeing week in week out teams like Blackpool and West Brom playing much better football than us and in my opinion this issue is just as important as the ownership situation. If we continue to keep playing as poorly and show no improvement we will end up in a very precarious position come the end of the season. And this will become even more of an issue if the unthinkable happens and we incur a 9 point deduction.

I know some fans reading this will say that the ownership is the main issue and needs to be concluded – I agree – but we cannot afford to take our eye off what is happening on the pitch because when the soap opera is finally concluded and we focus back on the team it is fair enough to state that we could be in even more of a dire situation than we are currently in.

If we do have to take a 9 point deduction which is a real possibility and end up on -3 points after 7 games then can we really be confident that the current manager can lift the players and get us out of this position and avoid relegation? Yes we can all say the team is too good to go down but at present the performances suggest otherwise and I believe there is a real danger that this could happen. Some fans will say this is too negative and as a fan I shouldn’t even be saying or contemplating such a thing but as regular readers will know I want to be realistic and in my view I am being that. Of course my views are always up for debate.

I never enjoy talking or writing about the need to change Liverpool managers but in my opinion I think that if we continue to give Roy Hodgson more time we will find ourselves staying in our current position. However in this case I would be delighted to be proven wrong…..

In the meantime we await the High Court decision this week and hope that it goes the way all Liverpool fans want but that aside I believe the players and manager should concentrate on the football issue because in my opinion its all about results not excuses……

#YNWA

A Little Concerned…….

Posted by Spencer | Posted in Liverpool FC, You'll Never Walk Alone | Posted on 13-09-2010

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We are now 4 games into the Premier League and already there is a familiar pattern and feel to how we are playing, predictable, slow and lacking of any imagination in the final third.

After the first game against Arsenal where the team showed passion and commitment there has been a complete lack of the same since then. In my previous blog ‘Return of the Mojo’ I praised the team and in particular Mascherano so before I go on and following the events of the Argentine midfielder moving to Barcelona I want to make it clear that I want to retract the ‘legend’ status I attributed to him and in my eyes will only be known as a someone who used to play for Liverpool.

So since the Arsenal game what has gone wrong?

The senior players have come out and said they are enjoying what Roy Hodgson is bringing to the club so is it the players not performing or is it the tactical awareness of our new manager?

I have written previously that I had ‘mixed feelings’ about Hodgsons appointment and wasn’t sure if he was the ‘right’ person to manage our club but with some good signings during pre-season and how we played during the Arsenal game he had started to win me round. However since then the signs have been less than encouraging with a heavy defeat to Man City (where no substitutions were made until the last 10 minutes and even though the system clearly wasn’t working the shape was never changed), an unconvincing win in Europe, a very unconvincing win at home  to West Brom and a grateful draw away to Birmingham on Sunday.

We have only scored 2 goals in 4 games and have conceded 4 which again is a worrying sign and the way the team played on Sunday we only ever looked liked adding to the conceded column. Is this the fruits of Hodgsons tactics or simply players off form? Well for England Gerrard has been in great form but in a Liverpool shirt he hasn’t been able to recreate that form so far. So therefore is it the tactics?

The game against Manchester City concerned me, yes because of the result and poor performance, but more so because even though it was clear to everyone watching that the tactics were not right and City were controlling the midfield the management did not feel (even after 2 nil down) the need to change it or bring on substitutions. It felt to me that after going 2 nil down the management conceded there was no chance in coming back and that a defeat was the only outcome of the game. Something on the same lines that Fulham would accept….

Since that game the team has been set up with 2 holding midfield players who between them seem to struggle to find a forward pass and therefore limit any creativity through the midfield area. Don’t get me wrong I think that Lucas and Poulsen as players do a good job but in my opinion should never play in the same team together. Admittedly Hodgson has been without Joe Cole who if had been available may have meant only one holding midfielder being played. We will find out in the next game at home on Thursday in the Europa League if that theory becomes reality.

The lack of goals is also a concern – Torres is becoming increasingly isolated and because there is a lack of urgency and creativity in our play he is also becoming frustrated. If Torres (or Gerrard) isn’t scoring then the team struggles. There is a distinct lack of goals from the rest of the team and I don’t see that changing any day soon. However I was impressed with Miereles when he came on against Birmingham – he maybe the player who will get into the positions to score goals but can only be accommodated if we stop playing with 2 holding players

As a passionate Liverpool fan I want Hodgson and more importantly the team to succeed but I am worried that we are becoming a a clone of Fulham and comments such as ‘I am very pleased with a point at Birmingham’ is not what I want to hear or expect from a Liverpool manager. We are Liverpool Football club not Fulham FC.

Being realistic I am not expecting us to be challenging for the title come May but I do expect us to be and perfom better than a mid table team so for the moment and even at this early stage of the season I am a little concerned……

YNWA

Return of the Mojo…..

Posted by Spencer | Posted in Liverpool FC, You'll Never Walk Alone | Posted on 16-08-2010

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The new campaign has finally started! Since the departure of Rafa Benitez and appointment of Roy Hodgson this has been one of the most anticipated starts to a season in a very long time.

When the fixture list was announced in July and we knew Arsenal were going to be the visitors we all wondered what kind of Liverpool team would run out on to the Anfield turf on the 15th August, which players would still be at the club and who (if any) would be our new signings? At the end of last season I felt depressed and was frightened for the well being of our club and even more so when Rafa left us after what I would describe as a successful time at the club. I was also frightened that the club would also lose the spine of the team such as Gerrard and Torres and I wasn’t overly excited by the appointment of Roy Hodgson. The club in my opinion had lost its ‘mojo’.

However events over the last few weeks seem to have sparked optimism amongst the club, fans and even media alike with the signings of Joe Cole, Milan Jovanovic, Christian Poulsen and most importantly Gerrard and Torres committing themselves to the club they love. Even though I was a strong supporter of Rafa Benitez and had mixed feelings about Roy Hodgson, the new manager has in fact been a breath of fresh air, his approach to the players, media and fans has been impressive and this has gone a long way in starting to win me over.

The change was there to see under the first 2 ‘competitive’ games in the Europa League – two solid wins and signs of a more fluent attacking approach especially during the second leg at Anfield. But the true test was always going to be the first Premier League game at home against Arsenal.

After a pretty even first half with Arsenal having plenty of possession the game suddenly came to life with the somewhat harsh sending off of Joe Cole on the stroke of half time. My first thoughts were that we were going to struggle to get a draw and that surely Arsenal would punish us with their quick passing game especially against our 10 men. What followed in the second half was a team reignited with passion and commitment throughout and a complete desire not to be beaten which in all honesty wasn’t there last season. This was a game we would have gone on to lose in similar fashion to the game at Fulham where there was a distinct lack of passion.

All 14 players used yesterday gave there heart and soul to the cause and aside from another freakish incident similar to those seen last season Liverpool would have secured all 3 points. Although Mascherano has clearly stated he wants to leave the club (for family reasons) he showed what a true professional he is by giving a man of the match performance in the heart of midfield. After that performance alone for me he has cemented his place as a ‘true red’. Many other players wouldn’t have given their all but I believe that out of true respect for our club and fans he felt that he couldn’t give anything less. Another player showing true passion and commitment was Daniel Agger.  After receiving a direct blow to the face it was clear to see that he was seeing three of everything and was clearly struggling. But knowing that all the substitutions had been made he insisted on continuing even though it could have been a serious risk to his health. Again last season for whatever reason I am not sure he would have done that.

So is this new found passion and never say die attitude the results of the management style under Roy Hodgson? I sincerely hope so and I hope that this attitude stays with the players all season long. I still think we are short of challenging for the title as described in ‘Only Time Will Tell’ but after the events of yesterday I am increasingly becoming more optimistic for a good season.

If the team continue to show the passion and commitment shown yesterday then there is one thing we can all ascertain, that the ‘mojo’ has returned…..

YNWA

Only Time Will Tell……

Posted by Spencer | Posted in Liverpool FC | Posted on 02-08-2010

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Roy Hodgson has been in is job for little over a month now and at the time of his appointment I wrote ‘Mixed Feelings’ (see previous blog) which explained my views and emotions at that time. I tried to explain about how I wasn’t as excited as I should be by his appointment but as Liverpool manager I would be giving him my full support as I would do with any manager.

I have to admit so far I have been impressed with the way he has conducted himself with the players and media and following our first competitive game this season, the way he has backed our youngsters by giving them a chance to prove themselves in the first team. He has also made some good positive signings with Joe Cole on a free being the stand out one.

After a conversation I had on Twitter recently I wanted however to raise with Liverpool fans what true expectations we all have for the forth coming season. One particular fan confirmed to me that he was expecting Liverpool to be challenging for the title and maybe win the FA Cup and that the Europa league wasn’t important. This was in response to me highlighting that the Europa League was a trophy (even though a somewhat annoying distraction) that Liverpool were capable of winning with their current squad, but prior to the game I was concerned about where the goals would come from and if in fact we were capable of winning that particular game with the team Roy Hodgson had available. (Of course my fears were short lived and we went on to win the game.)

However the response I had on Twitter got me thinking about whether winning the Premier League this season is a realistic expectation and if not what is?

Those of you that read my blogs on a regular basis know that I try to have a balanced and realistic view on events surrounding our club be it on or off the pitch, however winning the Premier League this coming season is in my opinion is one thing sadly I don’t think will happen. Some fans will jump on that statement and say that I am being too negative and that I am not fully supporting the club. Those of you that know me know that is just not the case. One thing being a Liverpool supporter for over 30 years has taught me is to be passionate yes but also the need to be realistic too.

So why don’t I believe we can win the league this year?

The main reasons for this are in my opinion quite obvious – we lack quality and depth to our squad and that together with the obvious lack of money available in the transfer market, is there for all to see. Last season we saw that when we had injuries to key players such as Gerrard, Torres, Agger, Johnson we didn’t have similar quality to come in. The lack of striker cover was an issue (and still is) with no direct replacement for Torres. So when Torres was injured for large parts of last season it fell to David Ngog to take on the responsibility of scoring the goals. In fairness to Ngog this was always going to be too much of a responsibility for him but as main cover  and the second ‘preferred’ striker to Torres he was and in my opinion still is never going to be good enough. I am not trying to solely pick Ngog as the main reason but am merely trying to highlight the above point.

As things stand we cannot compete with the likes of Man Utd, Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal and now Spurs who all seem to  have at least 2 quality players for each position. This is a luxury that Liverpool at present cannot afford but you don’t need me to point that out.

So is it then realistic for Liverpool fans to expect the team to be challenging for the league title knowing all of this? Yes we can dream and hope that come May 2011 we are challenging for the title but surely we also have to be realistic don’t we?

With the news today that a Chinese consortium have put a serious offer in to buy the club this may change everything but until (if) that happens then the best I am hoping for this season is a good solid run in the Europa League and a 4th spot finish in the Premier League.

But with almost everything only time will tell……….

YNWA