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Same Players, Different Team……

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

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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

Comments (2)

Mixed views from me.
At least for the neutral (and to be blunt, the Spurs fans..) it has meant the “Sky 4″ is broken and makes the league actually interesting – if we can keep Chelsea out this year all the better.

I think Roy was found out a bit, and could not understand why he left Fulham really.

I hope for your sakes that Dalglish does not dissappoint, but do feel that you will be in the chasing pack (with Spurs) for a few years to come now, and I think that if you accept that as a club and keep the manager (be it Dalglish or not) you will be OK.
If the as yet unproven US owners take the Newcastle approach, it could be a long time of mid table finishes and managers at the speed of light.

Cheers for the read again mate. There does seem to be mixed views from non Liverpool fans on this but i do believe it is the right choice for right now. As i mentioned Kenny will bring some passion and pride back to the club and us fans and we all know it’s going to be a hard slog to start competing again for top 4. Hopefully the new owners will give whoever is in charge the money to buy players without having to sell first and the appointments being made from coaching to scouting seem to be positive moves.

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