Three points from 3 games makes Rafa a dull boy

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Liverpool 1-3 Aston Villa [Match Report]

What a well taken goal from Lucas. A towering, clinical header, rising above challenging players, straight down towards the goal-line where it’s most difficult for a keeper – right into the bottom corner of the net. Let’s see a bit more of this please Lucas, except perhaps next time do it at the right end of the pitch!

We seriously need to start asking questions about this guy. The thought-process involved in him conceiving to head a ball in this fashion during defensive play is the kind of thing that would keep Charles Darwin burning the midnight oil. He cost us three or four points last season with his inept decision-making and the fact that he is completely incapable of making up for a mistake at the other end of the pitch when he makes them, makes him, in my opinion, an overall liability.

Rafa has asked for fans to be more patient and not get on his back, but in my mind it is not Lucas’ fault that he’s getting this much stick, but the gaffer’s. We’re not playing Nemeth, or Pacheco, or any number of other reserve-team players yet because they’re ‘˜not ready’ and it’s too risky to throw these young, developing kids into the mix. If they fail, they may be maligned by the fans and media and this may have a detrimental effect on their progress. Lucas fits into this category perfectly, unfortunately, because he’s clearly not ready and if we are to believe that he does have some spectacular qualities ready to bubble through the soup of mediocrity we have been served for two seasons, let him develop them in the reserves because I’ve had enough of the guy.

LucasOn the flipside I don’t believe it is Lucas’ fault that we lost the game today. As a team we actually played with a lot of passion and drive and there is very little to complain about in terms of the effort we put in to win the game. We should have won. And my blinkered perspective argues that had one of the many early chances gone in it would have been a trouncing on-par with last season. Unfortunately this was not to be and the first conceded goal seemed to signal a change of demeanour that left us hurriedly, frantically passing the ball around to try and get back on level terms while leaving us horribly exposed at the back.

Quite why Liverpool FC gets so much stick for not attacking enough I don’t know. If the pundits at Sky Sports or any other of a number of lazy sports journalists knew anything about the sport they’d be criticising us for not having enough composure, when things go wrong, to calmly swing a game back our way.

Despite numerous ‘˜goals-scored’ records being broken over the last three seasons some quarters still argue that Rafa is too defensive. I say it’s gone too far the other way ‘“ perhaps catalysed by these false accusations, as we need to show more quality and control in these sorts of games. Sure, sometimes, we’ll get an early goal (as we should have today) and will go on to trounce a team. But sometimes we’ll hit the woodwork three or four times and it’ll look like it’s not our day. Frustration builds, bordering on panic, and given a series of incidents similar to today we’re left with bringing on players like Voronin, who was shocking beyond belief, in order to try and claw something back.

In terms of the other goals this was the second time in three games we’ve been denied a penalty after having a player barged over in the box, with no intent whatsoever of winning the ball, and for the life of me I can’t work out why this shouldn’t be a more clear-cut decision. Take the penalty we conceded, for example, where there was no contact, and similarly the offensive player had no chance of winning the ball, yet because the defender (Gerrard, in this case) goes to ground it’s a spot kick.

The low-point for me last season was undoubtedly the loss to Spurs at White Hart Lane; a game in which we could have feasibly reached double-figures but somehow lost. This was on-par, and though it is so early it is heartbreaking to consider such promise for this season potentially dashed after just three games, it is difficult to work out exactly what is going wrong at Anfield and since I can’t criticise the work rate or effort the players put in today I’m left with one of two scenarios ‘“ either we don’t have the quality to win the premier league, or Rafa isn’t the manager to do it. I’m gutted to have to say that, and welcome the inevitable lambasting, but logically there doesn’t seem to be any other argument.

We can only hope to get back on track against Bolton, but Jeykll and Hyde performances do not a Premier League win, certainly not in today’s money-centric times, and if we’ not careful we may end up being the team that made room for money-bags City, come the end of the season.

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