So a brace from Sturridge and one from Henderson, finally a goal from a defender at a set piece, even if it was in “the 2nd phase of play” (whatever that fuckin means) and a “classic toe-nog” from SuperSub Fabio Borini (you’re cursed now lad ) was just what the doctor ordered.
Our season was in slight jeopardy of petering out like a 50 year old without his Viagra.
Two somewhat dull 0-0 draws, were followed by “that incident” in what ended with a 96th minute 2-2 draw.
Predictions of 3 draws from our final run of games fulfilled.
… then we went to Newcastle… and prison-raped them.
For all the plaudits they received last season, I felt it was inevitable that Newcastle would fall away this season. The extent to which they did so though, has shocked me.
They’ve had to contend with a lot of injuries to key players. And they lost Demba Ba, which was always gonna hurt them.
But the fact they are in a relegation battle is as surprising as last season’s “challenge for 4th” to me.
I watched Papas Cisse chasing down every lump “towards” him, with an energy that was matched only by the frustration that seemed to build with every goal we scored, and every minute that passed by, as his teammates seemed to just capitulate to the circumstance…
… and I thought… “If he were Uruguayan, Jamie and Danny would be on the menu here.”
(What? too soon?)
I think Newcastle will survive the drop. We seriously screwed their goal-difference, with OUR 6-1 THRASHING OF THEM, which has added to their woes, but with trips to West Brom & QPR, I’d expect them to get 3 points from one of those games, (and that should be enough, if only just, to see them safe,) before they have to host Arsenal at home.
And as much as they’ve struggled this season, provided they don’t lose their nut over the summer, (keep their best, add a few,) I’d expect them to get right back among the 2nd tier bracket (fighting for 6th to 10th) of teams next season.
But who cares about Newcastle (other than the notion that if they did go back down, there’s a few players there that could possibly be pilfered)?
I only mention them because WE BEAT THEM SIX-NIL!
Positive enough for youz?
Then let me rinse and repeat… we BEAT THEM SIX-NIL???
It was like an 80’s flashback… I was tempted to root out my old leather kecks and rising sun t-shirt…
…And BEATING THEM SIX-NIL (ahh… it never gets old does it?) was important!
You could say crucial (go on I dare you) for more glaringly obvious reasons than that we host our cross-town neighbors this weekend.
I know there are those among our fanbase that no longer see the fixture against Everton as “the biggest game of the season”.
…To some extent it isn’t.
Games against the Mancs… and even to some, the games against Chelsea have a much bigger bite! (oh no you di’n’t)
Our rivalry with Everton was unrivaled through the 80s… but through the 90s, as the Mancs morphed like the alien in “The Thing” into the Leviathan Juggernaut they now are… our rivalry with them grew to rival our rivalry with Everton.
Jose Maurinho and a couple of CL semi-finals saw to it that the Chavs grew close to that level of rivalry also.
… and as Everton fell from their heights of the 80s, to the Dogs of War relegation scrappers they became for much of the 90s and into the 00s… the game became less significant for some.
Not for me… I have relatives that are Blues.
Thank God, Yahwey, Allah, Buddah, Krishna, or even Jupitor’s cock… my Mum married a Red… coz her whole family are Bitters.
(I’m not sure a sentence containing the words “my mum” should have a “Spartacus” reference to the word “cock” in it… in fact I’m sure it shouldn’t, but I’m on a roll…)
(wait… roll… that’s just so wrong )
So for me, the game against Everton is still a BIG one.
…and to that end, (wait… cock, big one… that end??? Hmmm?)
… to that end this particular season, the game has some of the added spice it once held in the past… with Everton sitting unusually, 5 points above us in 6th.
As though any game isn’t a “must win game” … this is a quintessentially pundit’s “must win game” … for all the clichés… setting down a marker, showing intent, blah, blah,
… but simply for the old cross-town rivalry that still burns as brightly in EVERY Everton Heart, even if that flame dimmed some in Red Ones.
(I was going to make a reference to our season being like a visit to a dim-sum restaurant, but I’ll forgo it)
Win at the weekend and we close the gap to 2 points. (and we’ll have a better than +11 goal difference, which may come into play?)
Everton have put a good season in. They are capable of putting together some fast, free flowing, passing football.
But they’ve stumbled a bit too and have weaknesses to exploit.
We’ve displayed our weaknesses to anyone who fancied exploiting them this season.
… they were there for all to see (even if they weren’t taken advantage of by West Ham and Reading)…
… but the games against Chelsea and Newcastle showed what we are capable of.
With Everton to host West Ham, before ending their season at Chelsea…
…Liverpool will visit Fulham, before hosting QPR…
… if I was a betting man, (I’m actually expecting us to bag all 9 points in style,) I’d bet on us breaking those Everton Hearts.
I fancy a “classic” THREE – NIL!
Who knew Branislav Ivanovic was finger lickin’ good?
Personally, I’d have never guessed it. He doesn’t look it.
But then again, I’m not gay, so I can’t really profess to be the best judge of which professional Premier League footballers, “look a bit tasty”, and which don’t …
…The Girls of SkySports? …Sure, I have my opinions on just how tasty each of them is… but footballers?
(And fuckin Chav footballers at that?)
I can’t even imagine what was going through the lad’s mind to be honest.
I’ve played a lot of football in my years. I’ve been on the receiving end of some fairly rough treatment by lads bigger and stronger than me. And I’ve wanted to crack a few of them… but I can’t ever remember wanting to eat one.
The Girls of SkySports? Well, I’d like to eat most of them…
I’ve defended Suarez in the case of what I still believe were spurious allegations made by Evra, and Fungus, and the English media in general…
I’ve defended him in regards the diving accusations… Sure he has gone down dramatically, but for every dive, there are 3 clear-cut, and often dangerously “take-him-out” tackles that refs have waved on…
(in this very game David Luis and Ivanovic gave the lad some very rough treatment.)
… but for me, I draw the line (personally) at biting!
Maybe its as the TAW guys suggested today… it’s a perception thing….
…biting is just so childish…
…like pulling hair is considered girlish.
If Suarez had hauled off and punched Ivanovic in the face, I might be well behind him (as I said, its not like defenders don’t dish it out).
If he’d toe-nogged him in the testicles, so hard it drove his nads up into his intestines, I’d likely have written it off as nothing more than a Chav really deserved.
… but it was a bite… and a rather daft, lame, petulant, and not-even-blood-drawing one.
(If you’re gonna bite the fucker Luis, at least leave him looking like Griffin Dunne in the movie theatre scene from “American Werewolf in London”… it’s not like you haven’t got the fuckin teeth for it after all.)
So here we are again… Yet another Luis Suarez Controversy.
I feel a bit daft writing a whole blog about it to be honest… but there is a larger issue at hand in my opinion…
I suppose if nothing else, the one thing you can count on is that LFC fans (fans everywhere) have an opinion one way or the other on this guy… no fence sitting where our Luis is concerned…
… but therein lies the problem for many of us…
… “our” Luis.
We like to take possession of our “best and brightest” at Liverpool.
It’s why the likes of Owen, MacManaman, and Torres are so vilified.
We get behind these talents to such an extent…. we support them unconditionally… so when they “betray” us… Hell might not have fury like a woman scorned… but The Kop sure does.
So along comes a player who, at his best, is more unplayable than the aforementioned 3 players rolled into one… and of course, we love him.
… but at his worst, draws not just the ire of opposing players, managers and the media, but colours all those who rush to his side in support, (at least outside of the LFC fanbase) as racists, as cheats, as thugs…
… and none of those descriptions fit with our hard fought reputation as Liverpool fans.
There are those among our fanbase who have written this guy off. They did so following the Evra affair, so this is hardly even the last straw for some.
(My own nephew views him as a “stain on the City” in the aftermath of Evra, and would welcome his sale.)
There are those that see this as just another funny incident in the story of a mad bastard of an entertaining footballer, and continue to be fully supportive of him (provided he seeks some counseling.)
… but as was asked on TAW… can such inexplicably pushed-over-the-edge, blow-your-top behavior be “counseled” out of Suarez… without also dulling down that clearly deep-seated, win-at-all-costs mentality that contributes so much to what makes him such a terrific footballer?
The first is almost an emergency “need” for LFC right now.
The latter could be “yet another self inflicted wound”.
It is almost universally accepted at this point, that he will be banned for the remainder of the season.
If that is the worst outcome, perhaps there could be a silver lining in the incident.
He was on course to miss the Asia Tour due to his other summer footy commitments.
Maybe we should just send him on holiday now… (but err, send a psych counselor with him)… and let him get some much needed rest and recuperation… prior to those commitments… so he can join up with the tour following his National commitments.
It is, however, also being suggested in some quarters that he may just have played his last game in a red shirt… (if Fungus has his way, the FA will push this agenda.)
I know Ian Ayre has stated that we have no interest in selling Luis… and let’s be honest a word from Ayre is like divinely scribed stone tablets… so not to worry, then…
(… and without blindly walking into the trap I’ve so oft been accused of… while not “reading between the lines”, or “taking him out of context”, I personally don’t trust such statements for a minute.)
There are those that have suggested we “take 50 million for him” in the summer and rebuild.
I don’t think that is at all realistic, even if he were saintly.
The more oft talked about 35 million sounds closer to what I’d expect to see offered.
But it’s worth reminding people that part of the reason we got Suarez for only 22 million, was a slight devaluation in his “worth” following his earlier flirtation towards cannibalistic tendencies in Holland.
How long the anti-Suarez fervor remains in the press (and we could get lucky in that the Mancs’ 20th and developments in the tight race for 3rd and 4th should occupy most of the guttersnipes,) and just how severe the FA opts to be towards him…
… will I think determine whether or not there is any devaluation from that 35 million.
But he also has a FIFA charge pending against him for punching an opponent while on International duty (now your talking Luis lad, that’s more like it, Scousers can get behind that, now back to yer corner and wait for the bell,) and the combination of the two charges, and their subsequent punishments, could very well limit his suitors and/or any offer they’re willing to make.
My money would be on it lowering his valuation… but Henry still having had enough of someone who brings bad press to a brand he’s trying to build…
… so I’m quietly betting… (he says publicly on a blog,) (and not that this is what I want, but more, what I expect to happen) …on us selling him for about 25-to-30 million…
… and Henry (in an attempt to “Andy” his sale in the same way they did Nando’s) spunking that 30 million straight up on a player they hope will be a direct 30 goal replacement.
…Time will tell I guess.
There is a wide array of opinions about all of this… among my close circle of Reds friends… among the wider LFC community… no doubt on Kopblog… so let the comments commence…
“Liverpool are much better under Brendan Rodgers.” …So says Glenn Johnson.
…and he would know right? He’s on the inside after all.
“He’s like the English Messi.” …and so said Steven Gerrard (rather embarrassingly in retrospect) about Joe Cole…
…so errr… you know… what players say ain’t exactly indisputable gospel.
I’m glad the lad is enjoying his football (maybe he could put a bit more thought into what he does on the field if that’s the case, like,) but Glenda’s opinion is one I’ve been reading quite a bit lately, so I know there are a fair few Reds fans out there that hold the same opinion.
Me… I’m just not one of them.
Which is not to say that I am definitely and intractably in the opposite camp.
I personally find myself in a weird sort of “limbo” area, where I’m occasionally pleasantly surprised, more often particularly frustrated, but just mostly a bit like Kelly McGillis in Top Gun… having “Lost That Lovin Feelin” (and hoping a bunch of Navy Fighter Jocks don’t start suddenly singing to me.)
(yeah right… like that’s just me?)
I still troll a bit of Reds news on a daily basis…
I still watch LFC games every week…
..but this week, for the first time, I saw the scheduled 5:30am kick off and thought “fuck that, I’ll DVR it and watch it when I get up.”
It is the first time I’ve not gotten out of bed regardless of kick off time, and watched the match live.
And frankly I’m pretty glad that was the case given the tepid performance against a West Ham side that parked a bus and said, “go on then, show us what you got”.
(Don’t get me wrong, it was no Southampton debacle… far from one of those far too oft quoted “worst performance I’ve seen from the Reds”… though Southampton was close as fuck to earning that distinction…. but the game was pretty “meh”, considering the opposition.)
Is Liverpool Football Club making progress?
Maybe that’s not really the right question to ask?
Maybe we need to be asking, “What is progress”?
Who defines it, after all?
For me… “progress” has to be quantifiable.
There’s no doubt you can point to certain areas and say… haha, there it is, right there… progress!
Last year we hit the post 40odd times.
This year we seem to have developed a serious aversion to wood and are tucking them away.
Last year at least 5 goalkeepers that I can think of just off the top of my head, faced Liverpool and put in the performance of their careers to rob us of points.
I can’t honestly think of a single keeper that has done that this season.
So we’ve scored 59 goals as a result… compared to 47 last season… with 6 games left to play.
Yes obviously its progress to score more goals and therefore put a few more points on the board…
… but I don’t know that I agree those stats indicate a “clear improvement in our attack” which is what I’ve read a lot of comments say recently.
They show an improvement in goal scoring, but not in attack in general, since last season we were creating hatfuls of chances every game (that’s attack) but just not converting them.
Last season we finished 8th on 52 points
This season we are in 7th on 49 points with 6 games remaining (essentially 18 points to play for, to add to that 49)
So again… that looks like progress of a sort, and we’ll know in May by what measure of progress it is.
Last season we won 14 games… so far this season we have won 13.
Last season we drew 10 games… so far this season we have drawn 10.
Last season we lost 14 games… so far this season we have lost 9.
So with 6 games left, there is likely to be an overall improvement to those stats… but again, one that is only really marginal (unless we win all 6?)
And then we come to “goals conceded”.
…40 last season.
…40 (to date) this season. (so… 6 clean sheets required then.)
…and yet there’s a fair groundswell of opinion that defensively we are considerably worse this season???
And of course… there are the cups.
Last season: Played for 2. Won 1. Runners-up in the 2nd.
This season: Played for 3. Exited (early) in all 3.
I know some don’t want to be bothered with these pesky cups… and would prefer to stick their fingers in their ears and chant “la, la, la, la” to those that would suggest this is regression… but that’s what it is whether you like it or not.
If you add cup games played to the above stats, it reads like this
Last season: Won 25 Drew 11 Lost 15
This season: Won 21 Drew 15 Lost 11 (with 6 games to be played)
I guess my point… if I have one… is simply… statistically… for me, any progress is marginal.
“But we’re playing lovely possession football”
Are we? Are we really?
Coz I’m seeing as many 50 yard Hollywood balls from Stevie G this season as we saw from both him and Charlie “the King of Hollywood Balls” Adam last season combined.
… and speaking of Stevie G.
Big Kudos to the man for soldiering into an age-defying season after several injury blighted seasons. He’s made some of his teammates look like Championship material this seasons…. But…
… For Fucks Sake Lad… go practice how to take a fuckin corner will you?
… or pass the duties off to someone who can.
There was quite the long-running joke regarding the “value” of Charlie Adam corners last season…
…but if Stevie G. twats the ball into one more defender’s nads…
… or takes one more corner that resembles Maverick doing a fuckin low altitude fly-by, 50 feet off the deck, causing a norwegian tourist in row 13 to spill his coffee all over his new replica shirt, before cashing and burning into the opposing corner flag…
… I’m taking fuckin hostages!
(attn: NSA internet monitor…. I am not actually going to take hostages, so please don’t sent the FBI or ATF or Blackwater strike team to my house.)
So, does it simply come down, for some, to “we have a better squad” than last season.
Sturridge and Coutinho are clearly quality signings.
Assaidi and Borini have added little to the squad.
Hendo and Downing have improved on their past season.
Carra has been a revelation, while Skrtel has been a capitulation.
Joe Cole has been sold.
But for all of last summer’s discussions of who could “fit into Brendan Rodgers style of playing” and who couldn’t…
… there’s this little tidbit from LFC.tv
“Jamie Carragher was the best passer on the pitch against West Ham on Sunday with one of the season’s highest accuracy rates.
While the only stat in football that really matters is the final score, Carragher’s figures make interesting reading. An impressive 54 of the Scouser’s 56 passes found their man – and the 35-year-old played a higher percentage of long passes than his fellow defenders too (12.5 per cent).
Carragher’s overall accuracy of 96.4 per cent was the sixth highest in the Barclays Premier League this weekend behind Papiss Cisse (100 per cent), Steven Taylor (97.62), Antolin Alcaraz (97.44), Arouna Kone (97.14) and Steven Caulker (97.14).
However, Carragher played significantly more passes than any of these players.
And Opta stats show Sunday’s game was not a one off – with our No.23 dropping below 85 per cent only once in his 10 full Barclays Premier League games this term.”
… not bad for a guy who was “past his sell-by date” for the vast majority of Reds fans last summer.
Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned there about other players who’ve experienced slumps in form. (or got bombed out, perhaps??)
(Progress? Hard to quantify since he’s retiring.)
Anyway… you all have your opinions.
I’m not gonna say, at this point, that anyone’s opinion is right or wrong.
Some will read what I’ve written and take it as anti-Brendan…
… its not…
… and that I have both feet firmly cemented in the “we haven’t progressed” camp.
… I don’t.
I’m just not in the “we’ve progressed and I’m happy with it” camp.
For me this season has been a very mixed bag of shit and shinola.
…some good stuff, some not so good stuff, some bad stuff.
I’m not suggesting that there are not signs of encouragement…. there are.
… but a “season in transition” suggested has been very much THAT…
… and the coming summer will be part of that… a BIG part if we are to “transition” to something truly better next season.
Somewhere in West Gloucestershire and Sumerset a pilot program has been authorized to kill 70% of the badgers in each area.
“Environment Secretary Owen Paterson told farmers at the National Farmers’ Union conference in Birmingham that he was committed to making sure the pilots went ahead.
He said tackling bovine TB had cost the taxpayer £500 million in the past 10 years, and costs could reach £1 billion over the next decade if the disease was left unchecked.
He said that research in the UK had shown that culling badgers, which can transmit TB to cattle, could reduce the levels of the disease in herds, and that Britain had to learn from experience elsewhere that the tuberculosis could not effectively be curbed without tackling the problem in wildlife.”
So what the fuck does that have to do with LFC??? …I hear you ask.
The Culling of 5000 Badgers would have been a great Album Title for an 80s Heavy Metal Band… but for an LFC Blog?
Maybe I just wanted an excuse to use the word “badgers” in a title?
Maybe “The Culling of 5000 Badgers” was just more interesting than any of the alternative titles I’d thought up?
Maybe… there is actually a parallel for LFC in there somewhere?
If it please the jury, your lordship, I would contend that we’ve been seeing a bit of the old Badger culling going on at Anfield over the last few years…
For “bovine TB” read “lack of success” and it has become a worrisome disease that LFC has responded to by culling: first owners, then executives, then managers and about 5000 players by last count…
… but in the case of LFC… I’d suggest it is the actual culling, rather than the perceived “lack of success” that has been the self-inflicted disease which has “cost the taxpayer (LFC) £500 million in the past 10 years”
Warning! History Lesson Alert!
One of the proposed titles for this blog (prior to stumbling across an excuse to use the word “badger” in a footy blog) was…
“The first rule of Italian Race Car Driving: What’s behind you does not matter.”
(anyone who can name that movie gets a cookie)
Some of you have taken umbridge to my “constantly staring into our past while ignoring the present” and probably quite like the first rule of Italian Race Driving.
…but as a part-time dabbler in History… and while that was one of my fave movies and sayings back when I was the teenage owner of a muscle car, (cookie hint) …I also know that the saying “those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it” is so very, very often true.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
David Moores owned an LFC that carried a perfectly acceptable and manageable £70 million in debt…
… He sold LFC to A Pair of Cowboys…
…The sale price: £270million
Within 12 months… LFC was £350 million in debt.
… now if Moores had taken out a loan for £270…
… not only could he have paid for the construction of a new stadium…
… but that loan would be mostly paid off now…
… and with Rafa still at the helm, I’d argue we’d be considerably better off on the field as well. (certainly no worse off than Arsenal… the trophyless, Top 4 Benchmark?)
Instead… Moores culled himself. Then G&H culled Parry. Then Purslow culled Rafa. Then the Banks culled G&H. Then FSG culled Purslow… then Hodgson… then Kenny…
…and a list of players that ranged from world class to wide-arsed along the way.
…all to the tune of countless millions in defaults, in Architectural drawings, in severance packages, down the drain.
Thus endeth today’s history lesson.
We have a worldwide fanbase and that makes it diverse…
…and as such, the opinions of fans, on any number of LFC topics, are equally diverse.
There used to be a standard though… a benchmark if you will… that established what was acceptable discussion and what was simply “crazy bastard on a sopbox”.
I no longer see that “standard”.
Take offense at that if you will… some will feel compelled to, some will leap to it just to disagree with me.
… but at the very least, that “standard” has been lowered.
When G&H flirted with Klinsman and the news leaked… fans marched on Anfield.
When their financial shenanigans were laid bare, it prompted a fan-based, multi-fronted campaign to oust them that was unprecedented in football.
I doubt that Would have happened at any other club…
I doubt it Could ever happen again at “ours”.
Now that’s not to say “all is lost”… on the contrary… its just to ask the question…
Who and/or what is Liverpool Football Club?
It’s a complex question… that elicits a different response among those who’ve followed the club for 3-5 decades, let alone between those fans and those newer to the club.
(For those who’ve been around a good long while… do you still recognize your club?)
I read a lot of comments around the web about Brendan Rodgers and his “new system of possession football”.
There are those who pointed to the Zenit game and said, “there it is, that’s what we’re building towards”.
… but that wasn’t “death by football”.
What we’ve been playing for about 2 months now, bares little resemblance to the footy we were playing in September and October.
StevieG is launching more Hollywood Balls in any given game lately, than Charlie Adam in a wet dream.
That’s not a slam on Rodgers… just a call for those who feel the need to vehemently support him to do so honestly and fairly. (and likewise for his critics.)
Too many fans have already made up their minds about our current Manager.
I’m at a loss to understand fully where the evidence is to support such a decision…
… on either side of the fence.
We’ve seen his team against Zenit and Swansea, and even both games versus the current Champions, but we’ve also seen them against Aston Villa. We saw them at the start of the season, and we’ve seen them since the New Year.
It has been suggested that Brendan Rodgers is the New Shankly.
I don’t think he is. I think Rafa was that…
…and given all that has occurred between his departure and Brendan’s arrival…
I would suggest that “the next Shankly” is not even remotely what we need right now… …what we need right now… is the next Gerrard Houllier.
…and maybe Brendan Rodgers is (or can be) that?
“We are in a season of transition,” we have been told.
That is what Houllier gave us… (although it was actually several seasons rather than one for the transition to take hold)
We have been a “team in transition” for a long time…
..from Evans team that won a Cup, to Houllier’s team that won a Treble, to Rafa’s team that went to 2 CL Finals, winning one, 2 CL Semi-Finals, a League Cup Final, an FA Cup Final…all in just 6 years…
…and since Rafa left… for 3 seasons we’ve been transitioning…
(maybe its been even longer than that?)
…It was clear to see what we were transitioning from and to between 2000 and 2008…
…so we didn’t have to ask…
…But for a while now, when anyone has suggested a “season in transition” we should all have been immediately asking, “transition FROM WHAT… TO WHAT”?
The more recent culling of the squad to “balance the books” might very well have been necessary… but was the way we did it necessary?
And if it was necessary, one has to ask oneself if what the owners were looking to achieve with it in that time, is the same thing we fans were looking to achieve?
We’ve absolutely rid ourselves of high salary/low return players like Jovanovic and Cole and mediocre players like Poulsen and Konchesky…
… but we’ve also shed promising players like Meireles and Insua. (and that’s without the experienced/and/or/class players we’ve lost recently)
We challenged for the title in 08/09 and by all rights we should have won it…
…even falling short, it should have been the stepping stone to the title…
… instead, since then, we have floundered in the league… finishing outside the “venerated Top 4” spots 3 years running… with a 4th most likely.
That seems weird when you stop to think about it. So much has happened since Rafa left, that it can’t be only 4 years ago we had THAT team???
Archaeologists search for fossils and artifacts.
“Fossils” are the mineralized remains of plants and animals, whereas “artifacts” are man-made objects, such as stone tools, or pots.
BUT… the environmental setting in which these archaeological materials are found is called a “context”.
The things we all find argument with… Downing is shit. Stevie is a legend. Jovanovic was a waste of space. Cole was a waste of money. Hodgson was an idiot. Rafa was a genius…
…these things are the “fossils” and “artifacts” of LFC discussion.
All that bollox that happened between Moores selling the club and now, (and yes… certainly there is plenty of context prior to that time also, like Parry’s lack of marketing savvy.)… that was the “context”.
… and its important to remember, or at the very least give fleeting thought to the context at play when forming any judgment of Brendan Rodgers, or where LFC currently is.
It is a context that must include the dire decisions of summer 2010… to fire Rafa, to hire Hodgson, to buy the likes of Konchesky and Cole.
…A stable and football-knowledgeable Anfield hierarchy would never have even remotely considered any one of those decisions… let alone all 4… at once!
We were sold Hodgson as the safe pair of hands that would stop the freefall.
Problem was… we weren’t in anything even remotely like a freefall.
We’d stumbled slightly as a result of lack of investment to “take the next step”.
Under Hodgson though, we immediately went into what was almost a catastrophic freefall, and it was in fact Kenny Dalglish that proved the “safe pair of hands” that not only arrested that freefall, but restored us to the “minus one” mark that we’d stumbled to in the final year of Rafa’s tenure.
But the context for all of that was absolutely the boardroom farce that saw an all-in cage-match Battle Royale between G&H, their own MD, the Royal Bank of Scotland, John Henry …and some Chinese bloke who owned a pizza chain.
And it is for all those reasons, that I find it hard to compare LFC to Man United, Citeh, Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, or even Everton… let alone teams in other countries.
I understand why people want to, I just don’t see the comparisons as legit…
Those used to be the teams that compared themselves to LFC, but they aren’t the teams we can compare ourselves to right now… maybe some day soon we can again, but not now or in most recent times…
We have always considered ourselves to be the most “unique” of clubs… but to a very large extent since 2005 for all we’ve done right, we made ourselves “unique” for All The Wrong Reasons.
… and our travails of the last 3-7 years more closely compare us to the likes of Portsmouth and Rangers, rather than any Top, or even Middle Prem Club.
So here we stand at yet another Crossroads.
Another season without silverware (coz you know, last season’s silverware was only pewter )
Likely to finish yet another season outside the top 4
We are Bill Murry in Japan, Lost in Transition, hoping that Brendan Rodgers looks good in pink knickers.
(you’re never gonna get that image out of your heads, no matter how hard you try. Your welcome. )
But that’s the thing about the “context” and where we’ve been…
The “transition” back into the Top 4 isn’t going to take 1 season. It can’t when we are constantly selling to buy.
Our squad just isn’t big enough or strong enough… and the competition have a headstart.
We desperately need a quality left back.
We desperately need a big, strong midfielder (in spite of having about 97 midfielders)
We need another striker.
We need a quality center back.
We need… We need… We need…
We need a quality left-winger, and a quality right-winger.
We need… We need…
…We need to ADD all of those to what we currently have, and not bring them in as replacements for the selling of Skrtel, or Agger, or Pepe, or the retiring Carragher, or ….. heaven forbid the Beyern rumors are true…
… that is the “transition” we are in.
And before we start contemplating replacing Brendan Rodgers “coz 8th isn’t good enough” we better spare a thought for the “context” of such a decision…
… that FSG will not bring in a manager of the sort of steel and nerve the position requires, a Special One, a Rafa, a “insert your fave name here”…
… the “context” of firing Brendan Rodgers one year into his contract is that in all likelihood his replacement would be “a 2nd tier” Manager…
We know what Brendan Rodgers HAS been capable of.
We do not yet “know” what he IS capable of.
But I’d suggest we give him time to show us…
…and that the Owners provide the proper context” for him to “achieve” it…
… or the alternative won’t be another “season in transition”, it will be a BADGER…
…err… no it won’t be a badger of course, that’s just silly and an obviously shameless and blatant attempt to use the word “badger” one more time before signing off…
…it might be yet another “season in the wilderness” though…
Given the recent discovery in Leicester, and the general accusation of my being a negative miserable cunt, I was gonna title this blog “Now Is The Winter of Our Discontent, Made Glorious Summer…blah, blah, blah…”
… but it seemed the calls for me to stop being such an unbelievably miserable bastard, who must also be a rasict twat if I can’t clearly see how fuckin BOSS Danny Sturridge’s cock is, never mind his obviously innate abilities on the dance floor…
… I felt compelled to just change my outlook, turn that frown upside down, and go with the above title…
Some people seem invested in taking what I write and insisting that I’m anti-FSG, anti-Brendan Rodgers, and even on occasion, anti-LFC.
To clear things up, let me categorically state something I’ve categorically stated before (not that it’ll make a blind bit of difference to some people, but as a reminder to the rest of youz… )
I’m neither pro, nor anti FSG.
I don’t really give a fuck about John Henry, or Warner or anyone else that might be part of their financial group.
I am not an “FSG Supporter” I am a Liverpool Supporter… and that’s how it should be.
I haven’t bought a new rope with which to hang them.
I have zero agenda either for, or against them.
I want them to do right by my club… PERIOD… and that’s about as far as my thoughts on them take me.
As such, I think everything they’ve done since purchasing the club (and that includes the manner in which they bought us… be that “saving us from administration” or simply “capitalizing on a very undervalued investment with a very broad and strong International Brand with an untapped revenue potential” … depending on your point of view,) is up for discussion.
They are not here to carpetbag us like G&H were.
But neither are they lifelong reds that came to our rescue out of a deep-rooted love for LFC, with a heart-held desire to see LFC WIN at all costs.
… and in the long run, maybe that position between the two extremes, isn’t such a bad thing?
But, Their Record is there to be discussed…
…they’ve done some good things and made some good decisions…
… and they’ve done some not so good things, and made some very questionable decisions.
Maybe the problem arises simply because I think it is “THEIR job” to “get behind” and “support” all of US… not our job to “get behind” and “support them”.
… and some seem to be suggesting the opposite… I dunno?
They have said they want to take LFC back to the top… and some of their actions seem to support that claim…
They have not said they want to do it in 2 years, 5 years, 10 years…
… and maybe that is where some of us part ways in our opinions of them, when judging some of their actions that do not seem to necessarily jive with those statements.
I feel some of their statements (and even actions since purchase) have been made as PR exercises to appease, and get us the fans on board with them and their regime… and to some extent, I can understand their need to do that, following on from the last lot…
… but really… some of their statements and actions have not (to date) really shown a dedicated adherence to making that happen…
…and some were simply ill-advised from the off. (the Nando-Carroll deal most notably.)
My making such a statement seems to prompt some people into suggesting I think they are the Devil incarnate, here to asset strip us … which is not only NOT even remotely what I’m suggesting… but is frankly a pretty stupid position to take.
They have purchased LFC… they own the club… and some day, be it a year from now, 10 years from now, whenever… they will sell LFC…
WE… ALL of US… we’ll still be here.
So I’ll watch what they say, and I’ll watch what they do, and I’ll judge them on both…
… We are Liverpool Football Club, not Fenway Sports Club.
I’m neither pro, nor anti Brendan Rodgers.
He is Liverpool manager and as such he has my support… but if you think that means his actions or statements can’t be questioned, then we just think differently about our job as fans.
I am not calling for his head, never have done… in fact, I’ve said clearly and definitely more than once, that to do so is bang out of order… coz he simply hasn’t been in the job long enough to make such a call or judgment.
But equally, I will not blindly support his every decision… that is as big a recipe for disaster as writing him off.
Again… Brendan Rodgers exists as LFC manager to serve US … not the other way around… and you know what… He himself has said as much.
Some people seem to have a problem with the notion of calling him a “mid-table manager”.
I get it… it is a phrase that can be used as an insult.
But I’ve not used it as such.
Simply put… the best Premier League finish Brendan Rodgers ever had as a football manger was last year when he took Swansea to 11th place in the Premier League.
For a club of Swansea’s stature that was a terrific accomplishment.
The previous season Brendan’s Swansea finished 3rd in the Championship. They didn’t win the title, they finished 3rd, gaining promotion to the Premier League via wins against Forrest and Reading in the play-offs.
Now I don’t say that to diminish the accomplishment. Gaining promotion is hard, however you achieve it.
And for Brendan Rodgers, both achievements were terrific accomplishments.
…but I’m sorry, the highest he’s ever finished is 11th…
…and he did it once…
… the greatest accomplishment on his CV to date is 11th place in the Premier League…
…so he IS by definition, a mid-table manager.
Now none of that is to say he can’t achieve more than that, particularly at a bigger club like LFC.
Now none of that is to say he can’t achieve more than that, particularly at a bigger club like LFC.
Now none of that is to say he can’t achieve more than that, particularly at a bigger club like LFC.
(I’ve typed that 3 times, coz you just know someone is gonna try to twist that into “you’re anti-Rodgers” )
I’m just trying to be objective here… as well as supportive.
Fact is, Gollum has finished higher in the Prem… and more often than once.
So has Steve fuckin Bruce and Tony fuckin Pulis.
I wouldn’t want any of them at LFC, and rate Brendan’s ability to eventually match and then supercede their “achievements”…
… but right now… just yet… he hasn’t.
Now brace yerselves… …here comes the bit where I talk about Rafa and Kenny… probably coz I just can’t help myself and am a broken record… stuck in a time warp, unable to look forward… but maybe, you know, its coz it might actually having some fuckin bearing on the subject.
People have accused me of some strange man-love for Kenny and Rafa.
Kenny has won league titles, as a player, as a manager, as both. (and a few cups too)
By definition, that makes Kenny a Top Manager.
Now yes, that was some time ago… but I see what he did in 18 months as “stopping the rot” that was the end of G&H’s regime, and the CP/Hodgson debacle.
I see taking us from relegation spots to 8th, as a positive, and not falling below 10th, while taking 2 Cup runs and dealing with the January fallout, as “treading water” rather than failure or steps back.
I’m not blind to people’s criticisms of his 2nd tenure… I just draw differing conclusions on where it suggested we were headed.
As for Rafa… well he wasn’t even a mid-table manager when he went to Valencia. They took a bigger gamble on him than I have suggested we took on BR.
But he proved himself THERE… and when he came to US… well given who he had to beat to win those Spanish titles… he was unquestionably a Top Manager.
There are those that love to point towards him and say, “if he was any good, why has he been mostly unemployed since he left us?”
… as though no teams have offered him the job…
… this just displays ignorance of reality… the man has been offered countless jobs and turned them down… he didn’t need to work, so he was choosey about where he went.
(although his judgment of where to go, when he did make a choice, is certainly questionable, coz both Inter and Chelsea were “hidings to nothing” in their own different ways.)
Now Brendan Rodgers… by definition of his career so far, is a mid-table manager.
And it would even be fair to say, that given LFC’s slips in the table over the past 3 seasons, LFC are, by that same criteria of definition, simply a mid-table team.
So maybe we actually are the perfect match?
…And he may very well prove himself as more than “a mid-table manager” this season… and in doing so, prove that he was a very good choice to replace Kenny Dalglish.
(the logic though, does not “prove” that Kenny would not have achieved a similar mark had we stayed with him.)
That’s the thing about where we are right now….
In-spite of any shortcomings LFC has right now, be they the result of past-foolishness, FSG’s mistakes, Brendan’s mistakes, poor buys, whatever…
Liverpool Football Club currently sit quite comfortably in the league… upper mid-table, but capable of so, so much more.
It’s not where most of us would want… … but as always, a bit of luck here and there, and we would be higher.
It’s not a position that was even remotely acceptable 4 or 5 years ago.
And that’s part of “the problem” … for us, for Brendan, for FSG…
If we are no longer a Top 4 team… then by what means and on what schedule are we planning on getting back there???
(It hasn’t clearly been stated, and hints of intentions have been mixed.)
4th seems a bridge too far…. But 4th is actually quite achievable.
We’re hitting a bit of form.
We’ve just hired a striker who looks the biz (let me just decode that for some of youz so you don’t have to get out your decoder rings and that magic marker that makes invisible ink visible again – Sturridge is shit and a waste of money.)
…and he really could make the difference for us… maybe…
Given the fixtures that are left…. And the fixtures that “our competition” have on their roster…
…. Put a good run together and 4th really is ON.
… well my blogs are like MTV Rap videos… you knew there had to be a “but” didn’t you? (negative, glass-half empy cunt… just when we were popping corks and toasting each other)
…we’ll have to face “lower” opposition with the same sort of swagger we faced Citeh this past weekend…
… (and if it wouldn’t be asking too much, do it for the full 90 minutes, eh lads.)
Do that… and Brendan Rodgers can prove he is more than a mid-table manager.
Do that… and Brendan Rodgers can silence his doubters (well, you know,) and prove he was a good choice last summer… maybe even go some way to, (I wouldn’t say prove, but at the very least,) fully justify the decision made by FSG last summer.
Maybe then… we’ll be able to all hold hands, sing cumbayah, (or, you know, YNWA, since we actually do have our own song) and all be Happy, Smiling People…
… abask in the afterglow of “a successful” campaign…
… unified in the opinion that we have re-amassed at the bottom of the hill boys and are about to commence charging back up the fucker.
“Made glorious summer by this sun of York; And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house.
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried. Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments; Our stern alarums chang’d to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visag’d war hath smooth’d his wrinkled front; And now,–instead of mounting barbed steeds. To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber… To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.”
(a lute???? Now that’s fuckin Cheery!)
… you know…
… until the transfer window opens and we can all start arguing about who’s Shit, who’s Ace, and how much money we should be spending, and what a cunt John Henry is…
… even though I haven’t read a single opinion from any source even remotely suggesting such a thing. (though “There was always something, if you remember, in Willoughby’s eyes at times which I did not like.” … I’m getting literary as fuck on youz now.)
… but until that happens… have a read of Tomkins latest blog, a listen to the latest TAW episode (and the “Gray Area” blog) and a read of some of the latest offerings from the TIA lads…
… and realize that “definitive opinions” of where we are, and what we are, are a fool’s game, as nothing is as yet “proven”…
… not even Sturridge’s unbeatable, unplayable, amazing awesomeness!