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Media 1 v Benitez 0…….

On Thursday 3rd June 2010 the somewhat inevitable happened at around 4pm that afternoon, Liverpool and Rafa Benitez parted company. Although I had expected something big to happen to our club this summer ( http://wp.me/pMjI6-1f) it still came as a shock to me whilst driving home from Liverpool that evening. When I heard Rafa’s statement being read out on the radio I felt quite emotional especially when at the end of it he said ‘ I have no words to thank you enough for all these years and I am very proud to say that I was your manager. Thank you so much once more and always remember: You’ll never walk alone’ My emotions would then quickly turn to anger after I started to listen to the phone-in shows on Talksport (I know but I couldn’t help myself and I was driving and couldn’t tweet) when so called ‘fans’ started ringing in all slap happy and quoting rubbish. This together with the obvious delight of all the Talksport presenters started to send me over the edge. After last season and the outrageous anti-rafa agenda in the media this in reality was the only outcome during the summer. The issue I have is that the so called fans ringing in to radio stations and posting on various websites have bought into the media set agenda and have forgotten what has happened under the management of Rafa and how much we have progressed. When Rafa took over in 2004  we had limped into the Champions League position finishing 4th on 60 points (which shows how much other teams have caught up the big four since then) and a squad made up of players that Rafa clearly did not like. However if you had said to me then that during the next 5 years you will win the European Cup, FA Cup, Super Cup, get to another CL final and semi final, Carling Cup final and finish on 86 points in the Premier League (which actually won the league this year) then I would have chewed your arm off. Having been a Liverpool supporter for over 32 years I have seen many highs and quite a few lows and in my opinion Rafa’s reign at Liverpool was a high. So why did the media turn on Rafa? Your guess is as good as mine and I wish I knew. One bad season does not make you a bad manager and all you have to do is look at his managerial record to see this but all they can say is ‘he has been dining out on Istanbul for the last 4 years’ or ‘he is not very inviting when talking to the press’. Do they mean he is  the same as the god that is Capello? The reasons for the ‘Rafa bashing’ are astonishing when you think that Wenger hasn’t won anything for 6 years now (so what has he been dining out on) and Ferguson only speaks to the press that he wants to speak to – there is no consistency with the media! I am not saying that Rafa was perfect – some of his decisions made me bang my head against a brick wall but all managers make silly decisions but are never slated as much as Rafa was. We all know that there are far greater problems at our football club and that i believe these are the main reasons for what has happened. Until these are sorted out we will not be able to keep up with the likes of Chelsea, Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal and even Spurs so whoever comes in as our next manager will have to accept that and try to over achieve during next season to regain that 4th spot. So who will be our next manager? That is the burning question we all want to know as soon as possible. Whenever I am asked this I always answer with a question ‘find me a manager who has a better record than Rafa and is available and would come to Liverpool now?’. Its a difficult one to answer because quite simply there isn’t anyone. Whoever it is the main priority is to try and keep Torres, Gerrard and Mascherano to stay which is going to be the toughest job during the next few months but a job that has to be successful. So I say to all of you ‘Rafa bashers’ remember exactly what has been achieved over the last 5 years and check all your facts because now that you have got your wish it may just come back to haunt you! In the meantime and unfortunately the final score is Media 1 – Benitez 0 YNWA

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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

Comments (3)

I believe Mascherano making himself unavailable for the Citeh game had a massive negative effect on the team, meaning Roy had to shuffle his pack. Had he been available I’m pretty sure Roy would have played the same shape as against Arsenal. Mascherano let himself and LFC down badly there.
I too was impressed with Meireles and given time looks like he could be a very handy player for us. I’d like to see him and Steve Gerrard play in the middle together with Joe Cole behind Torres and Babel/Jovanovic on the left. On paper that looks like a fairly creative side! So keep the faith the goals will come!!!

Again thanks for reading and your comments – i agree that Roy should give Babel a chance now otherwise we might as well sell him! I hope you are right mate and that the goals start coming – hopefully Thursday night! I wish the press would lay off Torres though!!

The press need something to fill their papers with! He didn’t look disinterested and diobolical the other week when he volleyed a shot past Scott Carson did he? One bad game and everybody wants to critisize him looking for any signs he wants out. (form, body language etc etc). Bit boring now isn’t it!
Great blog by the way.

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