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Only Time Will Tell……

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

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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

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