A bad start, but keep the faith

The doom and gloom merchants will point to the results and suggest that one win and two draws is not good enough and I’m already hearing murmurs from people about giving up on the season already. Well I personally think that this is ridiculous talk for anybody to just give up already, no real Red would be saying that knowing the history of the club and the many fight-backs we have made in the past.

On Boxing Day 1981, Liverpool were in tenth place after a defeat to Man City. Nobody gave up back then and the team ended up winning the league with games to spare. I know that was nearly thirty years ago and the game has drastically moved on, but my point remains that no true supporter should be counting out their team after just five games.

I am not a blind optimist, I am aware that the likelihood of us closing an already ten point gap on Chelsea is slim, but I will never give up even if I get down in the dumps about the performances and results from time to time.

Statistics do not always give a complete picture to a situation and it is so in the case of Liverpool’s present circumstances. First of all we are only three points off the top four and six points off second place in the league. As we all know this is a situation that can be drastically changed within two or three games, so giving up now is extremely premature. Also don’t forget who we have played in those first five games. Draws against Arsenal at home and Birmingham away are good results on paper.

I agree that we were pathetic away to Birmingham but that is still a decent result when you consider that Birmingham are a difficult team to beat at their own ground. Not to mention the fact that Birmingham have been a bogey team for us in the last six seasons or so, with the only victory that comes to mind being the hammering in the FA Cup back in 2006.

There are a couple of things bothering me though about the start of the season. The first one is the exclusion of Danny Agger to the starting lineup in the league. I believe he’s easily one of the best footballers at the club, when he has the ball at his feet, but is being overlooked too often. He is not injured so the question is why isn’t he playing?

Danny has given an interview this week where it is alleged that he isn’t keen that Roy Hodgson prefers a long-ball style which means there is no need for a defender who likes to pass and play the ball out on the ground. I know I’m not the only person who is getting sick to the back teeth of seeing the ball constantly hoofed up the pitch. That tactic combined with the horrendous final ball into the box we’ve had to endure is not going to win us enough games in my opinion. Is there any wonder Torres isn’t doing a great deal (and looking totally irritated) when the service he is receiving is beyond pathetic. So far this season the only great pass I can really recall him receiving is the one from Joe Cole that led to the penalty against Man Utd.

The performances of Maxi Rodriguez are really bothering me as well. I cannot understand how on earth he is a regular for Argentina based on his displays in a Liverpool shirt. While he was on the pitch at Old Trafford we may as well have only had ten men. I’m sure that the experts will point to reasons why he is anonymous, but in my opinion it is a lack of desire as well as a lack of supreme ability that is a cause.

With Dirk Kuyt out injured this was Maxi’s chance to cement his place in the side but he has blown it in my opinion. If it was my decision, he would be out of the side for the Sunderland game and Ryan Babel deployed in his place. The idea of playing a right footed player that likes to get the ball and run with it on the right wing isn’t rocket science.

Despite my concerns and grievances with the start of our league campaign I will not be giving up. The next month will probably give us a more accurate estimation of our league chances. After the difficult hand we were given in the fixture list we now have two home games before the derby at Goodison after the international break.

The goals from David Ngog, the return to form from Steven Gerrard and the signs that Mereiles will be a real force fill me with optimism that we can still improve on last season and have something to cheer about by the end. There are still thirty three league matches to play as well as three cup competitions that we have a shot at winning, so keep the faith and don’t give up. I know I won’t.

Ste Speed

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