Monday’s Back Pages

One year ago this week, Liverpool Football Club was bought by two wealthy Americans who promised that their expertise in owning sports clubs before along with their passion for the club would bring a bright future to Anfield. They promised a fantastic new stadium, money to fund squad growth and success. One year on, and although another Champions League final for the Reds, the arrival of £22million Fernando Torres and the stadium plans put into action, the Americans have failed to live up to expectations with lies and deceit persuading Reds fans to call for their heads. Where did it all go wrong?

Andy Kelly of the Liverpool Daily Post asks just that in this morning’s edition.

The empty seats next to Rick Parry and David Moores in the Anfield directors’ box, presumably left deliberately clear, speak volumes not just about the absence of the co-owners but the current absence of leadership at the club.

As a city Liverpool has a history of warmly welcoming needy new arrivals. The difference when Tom Hicks and George Gillett came to town was that here were two men who did not need help but could provide it.

Kelly’s report is interesting and in-depth, looking at the remarkable transformation in Liverpool fans confidence in the club’s ownership over the last year. It’s definitely worth a read, and can be found online, here.

Mark Ogden of The Telegraph makes a brilliant case for why Peter Crouch should be starting every game for Liverpool. And personally, I couldn’t agree more. It’s time Benitez played his strongest eleven, every game. And this includes Peter Crouch, who has scored in the last three games he’s played in. On Saturday, when he started against Sunderland, he scored the breakthrough goal before assisting in Fernando Torres’ goal to put the Reds two-up.

Crouch may lack pace and prove too one-dimensional to trouble Liverpool’s more adept opponents, but he has been deemed able enough by Fabio Capello to warrant a place in his first England squad. So why had he not been called on to start a Premier League game by Benitez between Liverpool’s defeat at Reading on Dec 8 and this encounter with Sunderland?

And James Ducker reports that talks have begun between Gillett/Hicks and the DIC over a potential takeover in his match report for Liverpool 3-0 Sunderland:

It was difficult to overemphasise the importance of this victory for Liverpool, their first in the league since Boxing Day. After four successive draws and a 1-0 defeat away to West Ham United on Wednesday, anything less than three points on Saturday would have dealt a serious blow not only to their hopes of finishing fourth but also to the players’ fragile confidence ahead of a critical few weeks.

Supporters stayed behind to register their support for BenÍtez and opposition to George Gillett Jr and Tom Hicks’s continuing ownership of the club. Informal talks have taken place between the Americans and Dubai International Capital, with the private-equity investment arm of the Arab state thought to be keen to step up attempts this week to take control at Anfield.