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Results not Excuses…….

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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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

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