After the abysmal display against Reading you’d think the least Liverpool fans deserved was an apology from their manager.
Did it arrive? No chance. Not that Liverpool fans would have expected. Most those leaving Anfield last night knew what they were about to hear; something about ‘controlling the game’, no doubt some bizarre responses to questions and no acknowledgement of the poor performance the manager’s team had just put in.
It arrived too, just like Gerard Houllier became so predictable and embarrassing in his final season:
“We started the second half better with more control of the game but after this we were making some mistakes and they had chances.”
“We played a strong team and we tried to win the game. Sometimes you don’t play as well as you can and sometimes the other team plays well.”
“Everybody has been talking about me but I’ll keep working hard with my team.”
“From the beginning of the season we have been a little bit frustrated but we have to carry on. When you are in the race you need to keep going.
“We are not in the competition [FA Cup] any more. If the critics are fair, then it’s OK but it’s been the same for three months.”
Somebody should tell Rafa we are no longer “in the race” – not for the title, not for the Champions League, not for the League Cup, not for the FA Cup. Only for the wonderful prize of fourth place – and we have a hell of a tough job achieving that after 7 defeats in 20 league games.
As The Liverpool Way’s Dave Usher put it in his match report today:
“Rafa’s train wreck of a post match interview merely added to the sense of despair. I want to feel better after hearing him talk, I want to get the impression that he knows what is wrong and he will fix it. Instead we get him trying to be a smart arse and not answering questions properly.”
At least Jamie Carragher was man enough to admit the performance wasn’t good enough:
“It was a very bad night for Liverpool and we can’t disguise that – we had to do more against a side from a lower league. We have to apologise for the way we performed. We have to give credit to Reading, hold our hands up. We all like to win but when you don’t, you have to be a good loser.
“We have to accept they deserved it. But, at the same time, we have got to look at ourselves and the way we performed was not acceptable. We’ve got a massive game coming up against Stoke now. It will be very tough, as we played extra time and we have got to show enormous character to come back.
“But that’s what we have got to do. We have got to move on but, at the same time, we have to say sorry to the fans who came to Anfield and all those watching on TV.”
Houllier ended up leaving the club with his dignity still in tact. I doubt that will happen with Rafa. He has reached the end of his road. It’s a huge shame, and he has brought many positive things to the football club but he can no longer be defended, not by me any way.