The Return of the Prodigal – Gerry’s back at Kopblog

28 June 2013

Kopblog editor and award winning blogger, Gerry Ormonde, makes a long awaited return to action, penning his thoughts on the summer so far.

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Well it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything and I may be a little rusty but I’ve really missed this place and it feels damn good to be back. For those who remember me from my previous posts, hello again mates and for those who don’t, hold on to your hats this could be a bumpy ride!

Just to address some of the rumours regarding my absence, I have not been held in Guantanamo Bay, been in a Roy Hodgson induced coma, suffering from an unpronounceable STD or been abducted by aliens (again). The truth is I’ve just been busier than a cross eyed kid at a three ring circus but these are interesting times for Liverpool and I’ve got plenty to say, so here we go again!

Good Luck Andy And Thanks For All The Fish

I see Andy Carroll has finally become a Hammer which I think is pretty appropriate as I’ve always considered him a bit of a tool! I don’t actually have a problem with the guy and genuinely wish him well blowing bubbles at Wet Spam but I’m just glad the whole sorry mess is over and we can put it behind us.

Carroll’s signing was a dreadful kneejerk reaction in response to the departure of The Traitor, which was the equivalent of swapping a Ferrari for a bread van! Not only did the club pay massively over the odds for the guy but the error was compounded by the fact that he had a knee injury at the time which kept him from making any meaningful contribution for the rest of that season.

So had the club not rushed into things they could have held off until the summer and got a lot more for that kind of money but that’s all water under the bridge now. Of course none of this is Carroll’s fault and as I said earlier I don’t really have a problem with the guy but I do have a problem some people whining about him not been given a chance or that he could have been kept as some kind of a plan B.

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In between his various injuries Carroll made about 60 appearances for the club and those yielded about 5 or 6 good performances from him. Outside of the games there would have been countless training sessions and all of this would have provided plenty of data for Rodgers to make an assessment of the player when we arrived at the club.

What would more games or “chances” have revealed that wasn’t already evident? Carroll has his talents. He is a big, strong bully of a centre-forward who would put his head on an airplane. What some people might refer to as an old-fashioned No 9, but “old-fashioned” are the operative words.

The game has moved on. Forwards in the modern game are all about pace, mobility and are very comfortable with the ball at their feet, all elements that Carroll does not possess and no amount of “chances” would change that. He was never going to fit into the type of football Rodgers wants the team to play and when the opportunity came to send him out on loan and get him off the wage bill for a while, the boss took it and I applaud his decisiveness.

I also believe keeping Carroll around as some kind of plan B, super sub would have done a lot more harm than good. When I was growing up in the 70’s and 80’s it was common practice among many teams, not Liverpool as it happens but a lot of teams, to send one of their centre-halves up front or have some 8ft tall knuckle dragger on the bench that they would bring on for the last 10 or 15 minutes of a game and hump the ball into the opponents box at every opportunity hoping for the best. It was a horrible “tactic” that occasionally worked but, thankfully, often didn’t.

Truth be told I think that’s more or less what most people had in mind when they spoke of Carroll as a potential “Plan B” and there is no way Rodgers would ever resort to such a tactic. The manager has come to the club with a clear football philosophy that he intends to employ not just in the first team but throughout the club. He totally believes in this philosophy and works to instil that belief into his players.

Each training session and each new addition to the squad is another step along that path. So for him to adopt a plan B that would basically involve throwing a big lunk on to the pitch and telling the players to forget all that other stuff and just hump the ball into the box would be a betrayal of that philosophy and potentially damaging to the development of the team.

So I think we’re well rid of Carroll but I’m sure he won’t be the only one to exit the club during this transfer window. In recent years our squad would often contain more deadwood than a lumberjacks skip! Things aren’t quite as bad this season but there are still several players I’d rather see moved on.

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As I’ve been writing this Liverpool have just confirmed the signing of goalkeeper Simon Mignolet who was impressive for Sunderland over the past couple of seasons but £9million does seem a lot. Now that this move has gone through it will be interesting to see what develops with Reina. I don’t buy the “competition” line put out by the club, you don’t pay £9million for a No2.

Anyway, as for other departures I think Jay Spearing found his level on loan with Bolton in the Championship and should return there. If a decent offer came in I also think we should offload Shelvey as well. He’s still quite young and there’s no doubt he’s got ability but his sometimes childish antics on the pitch and occasional rants on Twitter makes me think he may be developing into another Joey Barton and we could do without that. Ultimately he might be more trouble than he’s worth so I’d move him on if the price is right.

Jordan Henderson made some good progress last season and was quite impressive at times, particularly in the latter half of the season. I know the club tried to offload him last summer but he’s come on a lot since then and I think he could be very useful to have in the squad next season.

Joe Allen had the kind of season that Alton Towers would be proud of! He started his Liverpool career in excellent form but his form dipped dramatically in the second half of the campaign. Even so, I can’t believe the amount of stick I’ve seen thrown at him in certain quarters. I was at a couple of those early games and he really was excellent, in fact I remember coming away from one game thinking we’ve got an absolute bargain, this guy is truly World Class.

His loss of form coincided with a shoulder injury he’d been carrying and that has since been operated on. I have no doubts about Joe Allen, once he is medically cleared I think he will recapture his early season form and get even better. He will be a very important player for us next season and in the seasons beyond. It’s great to see some exciting young attacking talent coming into the club but someone has to get the ball to them and Joe will play a big part feeding the ball to these guys.

Another player I’d be very happy to see the back of is Stewart Downing. How on Earth someone could have valued him at £20million is beyond me. He finally put in a handful of reasonable performances in the second half of last season but even a blind squirrel can occasionally find an acorn! For me Downing has always been an average player who occasionally plays good, rather than a good player who occasionally plays average.

But Downing has become an easy target for supporters ridicule and I don’t want to resort to such things. So I’m not going to mention the fact that if the Romans had to rely on Downing for crosses, Jesus might still be alive today! Nor that he is the only footballer I’ve ever seen who is neither footed and I definitely won’t be saying that he is the type of guy I’d like to see donating their body to medical science, preferably now!

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I try to keep myself above such pettiness. But with the new players that have come in and some of the other players in the squad surely there is no place for Downing, unless the tea lady retires!

Anyway, I’ve got to save some stuff for next time so I’ll leave it there for now.

Keep the Faith


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