Liverpool’s defeat to Blackpool brought new lows for Reds fans watching at Anfield on Sunday. Pre-match protesting against the club’s ownership issues was followed by a well under-par performance that showed no signs that any joy will come to this club in the near future.
As pressure grows on Roy Hodgson, fans were calling for immediate replacement in the form of Kop legend Kenny Dalgish, whilst there were some sections of the Kop singing Rafa Benitez’s name at full time.
Ian Herbert The Independent
“The lowered horizons seem to have permeated the club, from the public utterances to the unambitious outlook of the sides Hodgson has fielded.
“Raul Meireles (£11.5m), Paul Konchesky (£5m) and Christian Poulsen (£4.5m), plus the £90,000 per week which persuaded Joe Cole to choose Anfield over a reunion with Harry Redknapp at White Hart Lane, represent a substantial investment – and certainly no worse than Sir Alex Ferguson’s at Manchester United. The tragedy was that Liverpool’s covert attempts to approach Rafael van der Vaart, behind Benitez’s back, earlier this year came to nothing, but Hodgson does have new players and a fair few of his predecessor’s.
“The new manager’s prosaic style has allowed the impression to take root that he is a caretaker, at Anfield as a two-year stopgap at most, to keep the ship afloat until proprietors Tom Hicks and George Gillett can be pushed through the door and a new financial framework can be put in place.”
Andy Hunter Guardian
“It is Saturday, 16 October, and the eve of the first Merseyside derby of the season. There is a collective hangover in the red half of the city in response to the Royal Bank of Scotland ending the toxic reign of Tom Hicks and George Gillett the previous day and Roy Hodgson is invited to meet Liverpool’s ambitious and solvent new owners. This is all fantasy. He is asked why he should continue as manager if his side lose at Goodison Park. This is not fantasy. This is the question legitimately being asked by Liverpool supporters right now.
“The Kop’s call for Kenny Dalglish towards the end of Sunday’s home defeat by Blackpool represented a seismic moment in Liverpool’s history. A support that prides itself on patience and loyalty humiliated its manager after 14 matches in charge. This is a position treated with reverence at Anfield and has prompted outright revolt only once – against Graeme Souness – since Bill Shankly “made the people happy”. There is no connection with Hodgson, and Hodgson has offered nothing to warrant the affections of Anfield. Quite the reverse in fact, and the tide may feel irreversible if Liverpool endure further misery at Everton.”
Rory Smith The Telegraph
“The debate last year, the reason for Benitez’s dismissal, was that he had failed to build a squad capable of challenging for the Premier League title. This was eminently fair. What he had built, though, was a squad not vastly inferior to those at Tottenham, or Manchester City, or Aston Villa, and better than those at Sunderland, Birmingham and Everton. Liverpool had, and have, the look of a team that should be challenging for Europe. After all, the majority of the side is the same as that which finished second just 18 months ago.
“What the debate never used to be was whether this Liverpool squad was good enough to stay in the Premier League. Or, if that is a little knee-jerk, whether this squad was good enough to finish in the top 10. Of course it is. It boasts the best goalkeeper in England, if not Europe, Pepe Reina, one of the totems of the last decade, in Steven Gerrard, and, when fit, arguably the finest striker in the world, Fernando Torres. That it is failing is not testament to a dearth of quality. The players are not performing to the best of their abilities. That is the fault of the manager, and no-one else.”
Alan Hansen The Telegraph
“Now is the time for everybody at Anfield to come together and throw their support behind the team, even if that means forgetting about the protests against the owners. It is vital that that issue gets resolved sooner rather than later because the club needs investment and a new stadium, but we can talk about that until the cows come home.
“Liverpool’s managers have had money to spend, but the club’s record in the transfer market in recent seasons, barring the odd exception, has been abysmal. Liverpool have bought players who cost more than the £8 million that Tottenham paid for Rafael van der Vaart, so it can’t all be the owners’ fault. What about the scouts?
“The team and the results are all that matter, but there is no defence for anybody at Anfield, be it the owners, the manager or the players.
“To get out of this mess, everybody has to pull together and that has to start happening straight away.”