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Changes Must be Made at Liverpool

150px Liverpool FC logo Changes Must be Made at Liverpool

If you had just walked into the room and didn’t know the score of today’s game between Aston Villa and Liverpool and saw the way Peter Crouch wheeled off to the corner after scoring an 88th minute goal, you’d probably think that he just won the Premier League for the Reds. In reality, the 6’7″ striker simply levelled the game for Liverpool at 2-2.

This, in a nutshell, is what’s wrong with Liverpool right now. The players and fans are satisfied with draws when they should win and losses when they should pick up a point. I’m not seeing any killer instinct from this team; they play the exact same way in the 17th minute that they do in the 81st minute, and quite frankly, that’s an uninspired style of soccer.

Rafael Benitez is–and here’s that word again–one of the most uninspiring, boring managers on the face of the earth. Every time the camera pans to him on the sideline, he’s bringing his arms closer together and screaming the word “compact” at his players. Hmm, compact. Compact like Steven Gerrard going out to play right back or left wing like he did today? No, I think not. That’s how you know something has to change. I think Rafa has lost the team in many respects. Liverpool’s fans will tell you that it was Rafa who won the Champions League for them in Istanbul a couple seasons ago, but they’re wrong. It was Steven Gerrard who led Liverpool to their fifth European Cup (…”18 leagues, that’s what we call history”…you’re right, it is HISTORY, it certainly isn’t the present) by putting the team on his back and carrying them to that historical comeback.

Say what you want about Liverpool’s American owners, say that they’re a huge distraction and that they don’t have the club’s best interests at heart, whatever. Here’s the reality of the situation. The owners have NOTHING to do with what happens on the field. Last time I checked, and I can go back and watch the game again, but Mr. Hicks and Mr. Gillett weren’t playing for Liverpool when they drew with Wigan at home, drew with Birmingham at home, drew with Spurs at home, and lost at Reading. Notice a theme here? A championship-caliber team like Liverpool and their fans claim themselves to be don’t draw in those type of games and they certainly don’t lose. I could care less what you have to say about the owners as it relates to Liverpool FC on the field because these are professional players, they get paid very handsomely to play a GAME, to play 90 minutes. When they’re between the touchlines, they don’t have the club’s owners in their minds; the only thing they’re thinking about is the game itself.

The owners aren’t going to leave even though that’s what most of the fans want (they want DIC apparently, good for them). Fans in England and across Europe don’t seem to understand the concept that owners don’t actually have to support their club. That’s not to say that the owners don’t want what’s best for the club, but the club isn’t like a childhood team that they rooted for; the club is a business enterprise in which they can make money, nothing more. Things aren’t like they used to be in your parents’ generation when clubs truly cared about their fans and the owners and chairmen were diehard supporters.

There’s something in the Red section of Merseyside when a draw at home against Aston Villa is considered to be a good result. Don’t get me wrong, Aston Villa are an impressive young side but a team as good as Liverpool say they are would win that game. Manchester United throttled Villa 4-1 earlier in the season. Liverpool simply aren’t good enough this year, that’s just a fact. It’s no anomaly that after 22 games, more than halfway through the season, that teams are where they are in the standings. Liverpool are the 5th best team in the Premier League but when you look at the actual talent on the roster, they should be no worse than 4th and possibly even 3rd.

This is why I believe Rafa has to go and I can’t put it any simpler than that. Liverpool have enough talent and capability to be so much better than they have been this year, and I put that squarely on Rafa’s shoulders. When a manager can’t blend a roster and shape it in a style that allows for the most possible success, he isn’t doing his job. I don’t believe for a second that the players enjoy playing for him because he’s one of the most unpleasant, distant managers I’ve ever seen. There’s a reason you hear Aston Villa’s players come out publicly and sing the praises of Martin O’Neill and that’s because they like playing for him; O’Neill takes the time to forge a relationship with his players beyond the soccer field and they respect that, whereas I’ve never once seen a Liverpool player back Benitez in that same fashion. There’s a reason you hear players at Manchester United talk about what a joy it is to play for Sir Alex Ferguson and players at Portsmouth do the same about Harry Redknapp, but you don’t hear Jamie Carragher or Steven Gerrard talk about Rafa in such a positive light.

If you’re a Liverpool fan, take a step back from the Rafalogy cult you’ve subscribed to and look at the situation your club is in. In a season that held high hopes and one in which Benitez stated that the Premiership title was his main goal, you’re in 5th place, 14 points behind Manchester United. You’ve crashed out of the Carling Cup and have been fortunate to draw the teams you’ve drawn in the FA Cup. You’ve got a tie against the second most impressive team in Europe this season in Inter Milan in the Champions League coming up and I’m not you’ll come out of that and advance. You’ve got a captain and center midfielder in Steven Gerrard who clearly, clearly isn’t buying into the system Rafa wants to employ.

Someone has to go, changes have to be made. It’s not going to be the owners and it’s not going to be Steven Gerrard, which means Rafa’s head is on the chopping block and the switch could be pressed at any moment.

Something has to be done, what’s it going to be?

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54 Responses to Changes Must be Made at Liverpool

  1. lee says:

    here here!!rafa your playing too negative, we are the same level as villa pompey and blackburn, fighting for tenth at best, what happened to the challenge??? rafa please go and join the yanks at another club, ynwa. in rafa we collect dust

  2. IdiotSpotter says:

    What an absolute pile of shite you have written. Kept this one in the filing cabinet waiting for your moment?

    Put simply your interpretations on all the issues are incorrect. You are a fool with an agenda and that is to stir up trouble.

    Go away fuckwit

  3. MrFool says:

    Oh dear, another crap article.

    Go get a life.

  4. What an arsehole says:

    Are you serious?

    Only a vindictive person with no genitals would write something like this.

  5. Lee talks shit says:

    Go away lee, you fairweather fan

  6. Michael says:

    It’s interesting you talk about fairweather fans, Lee talks shit. When Liverpool was leading 1-0, all I heard was “Rafa, Rafael, Rafa, Rafael” chants. When Villa took the lead, I heard nothing from the Liverpool supporters.

  7. G’day mate,
    I agree Rafa has to go, but at season’s end. For the moment, HIcks and Gillett remain the first culprits to oust, as their core business plan has gone to shit within a year. There remains a chance for them to profit from all this, and I hope they take it. Hicks is too brash, and Gillett is Mr Magoo. Neither of them seem to have found the middle ground, in terms of how to treat a football club as a business.

  8. Kartik says:

    What I don’t understand is the sense of entitlement. Since I have been following English Football closely both Leeds United and Newcastle have come close to winning a league title than Liverpool, and Blackburn has actually won a league title!

    It’s funny but in the context of American Soccer when we do our show weekly on CSRN and we discuss “big clubs” on and off the air Liverpool NEVER comes up. Real Madrid is the most popular European club in the states. Arsenal is second. Man United, Barca, Juve, Milan and Chelsea all have large constituencies here but Liverpool is becoming more and more irrelevant although their small fan base is very vocal and bitter. This decline started in 1990 not with Rafa or Hicks/Gillett.

  9. King Kong says:

    Some ppl say that we should give managers time to build something. It took Alex Ferguson 7 years to do that. In modern football, that is not the case. We are in the 4th season under Rafa. Winning the FA Cup and CL is something I call lucky which don’t often happens all the time.

    This season has been a reality check for us. Ok the Americans screwed us, but hey so did Man U and their debt is somewhat double I think.

    I’m ok with the first few draws when you say our team is short of confidence. But this is our 4th successive draw in BPL. We have not won a single BPL match this season!!! We are not getting out of the rot!!! Something must be done/change.

    I know Rafa is a tactical genius but there are times that football are won not by tactics but by passion. I simply can’t see the passion of the team (bar Mascherano).

    I sense that Rafa is going end of this season and I won’t be crying if he does. I’d be crying if Klinsman comes in.

    But having said all this crap. I’ll support the team as long as it’s from LFC…no matter what. The last time Everton finished above us, we went on to win the CL. Wouldn’t it be nice if that just happened?

  10. OK says:

    Firstly, the CL victory – who decided on the tactical switch to push Garcia and Gerrard forward?

    Second, the result tonight was a fluke. Satisfaction does not come into it – wait for the post match interviews.

    Third, Liverpool are short in terms of quality compared to the other big 3. More investment is needed, a net spend of 26M in the summer is not enough – and realistically we were never going to win the league this season.

    Fourth, boring football? Do you remember Valencia? At anfield that year? We need consistency in our game, but the invention is there for all to see – the ‘compact’ thing you refer to is a defensive tactic, did you not know that?

    Fifth, you fail to mention Villa almost beat Chelski at the bridge and beat them at home. It isn’t a good result, but that is football sometimes, you do everything right and the opposition get lucky – very lucky today.

    And before you bring up the other draws – Pompey, B’ham, Wigan all played deep and we couldn’t break into them – not for want of effort just lacking that finishing touch.

    And for the personal attack on Rafa – its a media illusion. Many players come out and back him, Riise and Torres in the last few days. Gerrard has said publicly he stays out of that side of things, but you can add Sami, Carra, Kuyt and Alonso to the players who pay tribute to Rafa.

    I know you have an agenda but lets have some balance.

  11. lfc norway says:

    i like raffa, but he most go

  12. SeeSense says:

    Rafa to go? No way, another 5-6 years of rebuilding. The manager needs backing financially with big bucks, another striker and a quality midfielder should do nicely.

  13. lfc norway says:

    up front torres and crouch or torres and babbel
    sell kuyt he wont score for the next 1oo years

  14. Dom says:

    You are a prat and that’s all I have to say to you.

  15. uppergulliesfc says:

    agreed. the plain truth is that whatever rafa’s doing, it is not working. why, oh why, does he continue to put dirk kuyt in the starting 11, with ryan babel and peter crouch on the bench?

  16. King Kong says:

    we must be objective about things. I hate the owners Hicks and Gillet because they are the sons of Satan. however I’ve never seen an owner being sacked from a club…although I’ve seen Maximus (Russel Crow) killed that Emperor of Rome in the Colleseum.

    5 years from now, when the stadium is built some of us will be worshipping the sons of Satan on the field.

    by the way, should DIC take over, Rafa is also a goner…either way he will go. Sad to see a genius leaving but we need to get a coach who can actually win it.

    I hope King Kenny (Daglish) can just opt from reitrement and help us through next season. He has passion and mind.

  17. lfc norway says:

    raffa goth no passion ,he is a dead duck.in whit dic and me as mannager^^

  18. SeeSense says:

    Look, idiots, we need some better quality players not a new manager. A win ratio of 57% is not to be sniffed at. Its the same as Fergie and better than Wenger!

  19. lfc norway says:

    whe have god player such as crouch and babbel but insted raffa use`s veronnin and kuyt lol

  20. SeeSense says:

    A new manager will need time to rebuild, bring his own players in etc. So if you want that to go on for the next five years while we turn into Leeds and the other teams run away from us thats what will happen.

    It’s amazing how quick some people will turn on a manager after all he has done. Realistically, we were not in the race for the title this year but expectation – that is the expectation Rafa created after the GH years, got us carried away.

    We press teams now, not just sit back and try and counter attack. We are rarely outplayed, but we are a little short up front. Give Babel time and he will grow into the striking role alongside Torres – this is evidence of Rafa nurturing his players too.

    2 CL finals, an FA cup, CC final, Euro Super Cup victory, Record points haul and two seasons finishing above Arsenal…… and you want the guy out????

    And remember, a win ratio of 57% is as good as Fergie – and Fergie had years to develop a team before winning anything.

  21. King Kong says:

    Look it’s not us who decides whether Rafa stays or goes. It’s the yanks…sons of the devil himself.

    Rafa has to make do whatever he has got to win it. Wenger certainly didn’t spend as much as us this season and his past investment is working wonders.

    I hope the next season we won’t have to buy anybody. We have bought more than 10 youngsters last 20 months and we should be using them like Arsenal who were building the stadium at that time.

    The next 5 years will see us winning nothing really but the battle will be won when our stadium is bought.

  22. Michael says:

    “OK”, you bring up some very good points, but here’s my response to each of them:

    Say what you like about it being Rafa’s decision to push Garcia and Gerrard up in the CL final, the truth of the matter is Gerrard plays wherever he wants to play and we saw that today; he doesn’t follow Benitez’s instructions and I can’t say I blame him.

    Was the result tonight really a “fluke”? It’s not a fluke when you’ve also drawn with the teams I mentioned in my post, Liverpool was fortunate to get that equalizer tonight.

    Liverpool are NOT short in terms of quality compared to the other teams in the “Big Four”. In my opinion, they have the second best goalie in Reina out of those teams, the best center back in Carragher, the best pure striker in Torres, and the best center midfielder in Gerrard. If anything, Chelsea are short in terms of quality but they’re still getting it done.

    Yes, it is boring soccer, but Chelsea are playing boring soccer and again, they’re getting it done. The style of soccer itself isn’t important as much as the players’ commitment to it. Liverpool have a bunch of freelancers on the team, not just Gerrard. Personally, I don’t agree with Benitez’s system but he’s the manager and the players should buy into it. They don’t buy into it, and that’s why something needs to be done.

    You’re right, Villa did almost beat Chelsea but you know what, Chelsea were missing a few key players due to either their African Cup of Nations commitments and injuries. Liverpool had a full strength lineup today, no excuses.

    Riise has come out and “backed” Benitez simply because he wants to stay at the club. He knows he won’t have it any better than at Liverpool because honestly, he’s a mid-to-bottom of the table caliber left back. Torres did the same because he’s Spanish just like Benitez, and knows that if Benitez leaves, he’ll follow him.

  23. Michael says:

    SeeSense, a 57% win mark is nothing to be laughed at, you’re right.

    I see you’re big on numbers, so would you be able to tell me what Benitez’s record against the “Big Four” is?

    It doesn’t take a top-quality manager to beat the minnows of the Premier League, but it does take a great manager to outclass the best teams in the Premier League.

  24. lfc norway says:

    no the club is alredy all most complete its just wrong formations f.eks why is gerrard playing as a wing? and why is crouch on the bench and kuyt playing?? and why tha ffff is babbel playing as a wing when he is one of thr best stikers in the world !!! its just stupid. a blind man whould mannage bether

  25. Oh Dear says:

    What an absolute load of rubbish. Please make sure you understand what underpins a club like LFC before you attempt to analyse it. Otherwise just keep quiet or stuff your face full of popcorn you idiot.

  26. Michael says:

    Then please, Oh Dear, analyze it for me. I’m interested in hearing your views on the club.

  27. Richard says:

    Most lfc fans already knew at the start of the season that we were not going to be good enough to win the EPL, Simply put the thing that is most lacking is quality, the money spent in the summer ( Not forgeting what he also bought back in ) does not guarantee that we have sundenly caught up with utd, arse or chelski.
    Sure Rafa gets it wrong sometimes, but because of the lack of funds needs to rely on players of the caliber of Beni, Aurelio or kuyt.
    It would be nice if we could spend £29m on a defender , or £30m on a striker like two of the above mentioned teams , in Arse’s case wenger has built it over many years and been both lucky and very astute in the transfer market but has spend money.
    We have the foundations for a very good side in pepe, agger, gerrard, torres and hopefully masher, but realistically to reach that next level Serious money has to be invested.

    YNWA

  28. King Kong says:

    The building of the stadium is a priority…winning the premier league comes hand in hand.

    Cups are won on the pitch not in the board room. However there must be ample support from the latter. This system must be in place to be successful.

    At the moment, in Liverpool now, the board room is in disarray, the players are not performing on the pitch. Things need to be changed to establish a stability in the system. In other words, there is a systemic dysfuntion in LFC.

    Somebody must do something…Rafa can’t do anything about it, Tom and Gerry isn’t doing anything about it, DIC is trying…

    Whether it’s the Yanks going, DIC buying or Rafa going, getting the loan…whichever can establish the stability…

  29. Dan says:

    Ryan Babel had a great game against Luton, yeah it was only Luton but you don’t drop players when there playing well. It should have been Torres and Babel up front against Villa not a bloody goal shy lacking in confidence Dirk Kuyt, Kuyt works hard alright but so does the bus driver that drives buses around city centres monday – friday. He doesn’t have the quality to play for Liverpool, that said we had feck all cash when we bought him and Moores had to dig into his own pocket to buy him. I think the c**t that should get most of the blame for all thats bad with LFC is Mr Rick Parry. He sold the idea of little and large to us and now were stuck with the two greedy fuckers.

  30. Dan says:

    Why don’t LFC Fans protest against Rick Parry – the bloody cheek he had to attend that match, I feel sorry for Moores but not Parry. Not one bit

  31. Dan says:

    LFC Norway you are so right, just reading your comments about Kuyt, I completely agree. Must be the worst striker playing for any of the big four

  32. Dan says:

    Personally if I was Rafa I would have sold Crouch for £10m , Sold Sissoko for £8 – £10m , sold Carson to Villa for £10m, got rid of Risse for about £6m and got rid of either Voronin or Kuyt, then I would have bought Mascherano and brought in two decent players.

  33. Dom says:

    Listen to Seesense above. The truth is that some of the players are seriously underperforming such as Kuyt, Alonso and Reina and to make things worse others just simply aren’t good enough i.e Risse, Aurelio, Arbeloa, Voronin. When you look at the players that aren’t good enough how many of them are Rafa’s first choice? Rafa wanted Heinze to be left back this season rather than Risse or Aurelio and as for Arbeloa that should have been Alves if Rafa had had the funds he deserved for winning a Champions League final. Could you see United or Chelsea signing these players? We also would have had the finished product right and left wings with Simao and Malouda rather than what Rafa settled on with Pennant and Babel (I love these 2 guys but they aren’t as experienced as the former 2 and do not have the same ability to be matchwinners). Kuyt and Alonso should be playing so much better and this is not down to Rafa, they are not leaders and once their heads went down they were unable to have the strength of character to get over it. Rafa could not have foreseen this.

    I do not understand why tonight’s loss is Rafa’s fault. The team played well but we are not getting any luck at the moment. How many times have we seen this kind of thing happen this season? A lot. Our defence has been shambolic so far with Hyypia, Risse, Reina, Aurelio all to blame at different times – again this is not the fault of Rafa.

    Rafa does have flaws and I think it is a mistake to keep signing mediocre La Liga players. I think he has to look at some more dogged and determined uk based players such as the likes of Sidwell and Lescott but we all know how much they cost and Benitez is like Wenger in this regard. Still Arsenal have been able to bring in more high profile players over the years (Henry, Pirres, Viera, that little Spanish striker guy, Van Persie,
    Rosicky etc.) when we have only
    recently acquired our first three, being Cisse, Mascherano and Torres.

    Get hold of yourselves people. Rafa is still Boss and knows what he is doing but he has a much more difficult job than anyone else without funds and has had to start completely from scratch after Houllier aoart from Gerrard.

  34. King Kong says:

    Dan, lend me your spanner and I’ll smack that bastard Parry’s head.

    I can see the smirk in his smile. Must be 2-3 million richer for arranging that deal. I hope there is such a thing as Hell.

  35. Richard says:

    Parry does need a good smack.

    The thing that really exites me ( Except for Rachel stevens ) Is all the new youth players, most have signed because of one man, good times lie ahead, who knows if 2-3 become quality.
    What would be the point in sacking Rafa, out of acorns Oak trees grow.

    YNWA

  36. lfc norway says:

    smack raffa but dont fire him.smack tom and jerry and kick them out of anfield whit rick gayrry!! in with dic ,quresma and villa

  37. eplnfl says:

    No one seems to mention that it appears that the American business model may result in a very large and very quick profit for the current owners of Liverpool. Last I looked Communism has failed miserably?

  38. wanderer_abroad says:

    I think people are right to criticize Benitez because of his poor record in the transfer market. Torres and Agger are probably the only two real quality players that he has signed (excluding Mascherano because his deal isn’t permanent yet). People keep calling for him to be backed with more money, but do you want Liverpool to go broke for some more Kuyt’s, Voronin’s, Pennant’s and Sissoko’s? It is perfectly right to call Benitez a tactical genius, because he is, but tactics can only save your butt so many times. There is a time when you need real quality to do the speaking, and I’m afraid Liverpool don’t have that. They definetly don’t have the quality of Arsenal, Man Utd and Chelsea, yet they should be doing better than the likes of Villa, City and (I’m sorry TT but…) Everton. If Liverpool don’t sort themselves out soon, the prospect of serious investment and improvement at City, Villa and Everton really threatens their place as being Englands best 4th placed team.

  39. timmyg says:

    Here’s EVERYTHING you need to know about Rafa and why he needs to go:

    1) Liverpool fans wanted the premiership this season. Argue all you want scousers but deep down you know its true. Rafa couldnt even deliver contention come October. Additionally, the closest he’s been come the new years is 11 points off the pace — and that was last season.

    2) Rafa cannot defeat the other members of ‘the big four.’ In 21 matches against them his squads have only acquired 15(!!) points.

    3)Despite the lineup changes, he constantly sticks with Dirk Kuyt and Riise.

    4)His remarks about Gillette and Hicks not understanding the transfer market several months ago were wholly classless. He maneuvered himself between the fans and the owners, and somehow the fans got his back.

  40. timmyg says:

    ps good article gaffer!

  41. Michael says:

    Actually timmyg, I wrote this article, but thanks for the kind words anyway.

  42. Shakira Graham says:

    May the Liverpool implosion continue. Karma is a bitch and it’s coming back to bite the vermin.

  43. Jazzdocent says:

    Name calling Liverpool fans are a good sign why the club’s luck is down. England football fan culture cracks me up sometime.

    “Our team is playing terrible..It’s not the players who underperform and are paid millions of dollars, it’s not the manager, who picks the players and draws up the tactics..no no no..It’s the owners!”

    Benetiz is a poor manager. Liverpool has become a boring, inept team. I would rather watch Bolton hack the football around, at least they aren’t suppose to be a huge team.

  44. timmyg says:

    oops, sorry michael. gotta go wipe the egg of my face now!

  45. Michael says:

    Haha it’s ok, no problem; as I said, I appreciate the compliment anyway.

  46. NotaPhonein says:

    This has become a football phone in and you have to pick through the comments to find any sense of realism and knowledge.

    The author has his own agenda which is fair enough. Some of the ‘fans’ here have theirs.

    There is a suggestion that Gerrard ‘does what he wants’ – now correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t that what Rafa wants him to do. And don’t let the other poster forget, he scored 23 goals from the ‘wing’ (or for the more observant – the ‘free roaming role’) two seasons ago!

    If Liverpool were fortunate to get a well worked equalising goal – what was Villa’s second? Well worked or a fluke? No argument!

    So because Villa beat chelski and drew with them, then Chelski were understrength? Liverpool dominated the game – Villa were lucky from a badly defended set piece and a fluke. Other than that, Liverpool bossed it. The issue is in the penalty box – chances are not being converted at present.

    In Michael’s world, the players are not playing for the manager so he obviously has some inside information or a unique gift that other pundits in the media have not spotted. Didn’t Torres, Mascherano, Agger, Alonso, Pennant, Benyoun, Babel etc all join Liverpool BECAUSE of Rafa ….. check the records mate!

    Sure our record against the other big 3 is crap, but what does that tell you. We have beaten all of them at some point though – in the CL and FA cup, we’re just not at that same level of consistency yet.

    Re: Funding, the first summer Rafa was allowed to buy big and he bought quality in Torres and Babel. The owners won’t sanction any more spending so his hands are tied, but you can see the difference in the players he bought last summer – they were a notch above the transfer level we have been at for years. He needs more backing!

    Remember Valencia as a previous poster said!

    I’m guessing Michael is a Chelski/Everton fan. Bitter and loving it that Liverpool are not at the races at the moment.

  47. Michael says:

    Read my profile Notaphonein, I’m not a fan of any particular team in the Premiership, especially not Chelsea or Everton. I’m an American with no rooting interest in any one team, I just appreciate entertaining soccer and look at it from as unbiased a perspective as I can.

    The suggestion that Gerrard does what he wants is correct, and that’s NOT what Benitez wants him to do. Benitez’s system really doesn’t allow for a midfield player to have a free role; it’s all about discipline and staying in your position, not freelancing anywhere you want to go.

    When Villa beat Chelsea the first time, that was a full-strength lineup for the Blues and my hat was off to Villa. This most recent draw was against a much-weakaened Chelsea side; go back and look at the lineups from that game and you’ll see what I mean.

    Look, “bossing” a game doesn’t mean anything, it’s the goals on the scoreboard that matter. That’s why the possession % stat is useless, it’s a false indicator of who’s in control of the game.

    Your record against the other teams in the “Big Four” is crap, you’re right about that. What that tells me is you can beat the minnows of the Premiership and the teams not quite at your level simply because you have more overall talent on the roster than those lesser teams, which is something I’ve said all along. It also tells me you don’t have a manager who’s as tactically skillful in the Premiership to get the job done. Rafa is great in Europe, but poor in the Premiership.

  48. NotaPhonein says:

    Your view of Rafa is clearly distorted and I’d be interested to know how much you actually know about the guy’s footballing philosophy.

    I know a fair bit as I used to watch Valencia after they impressed at Anfield when Gerard Houllier was manager. I was impressed by their fluency and movement and exactly the opposite of what you said – the fact that players were passing and moving – not unlike the Liverpool of old.

    I also know Rafa has said recently that Gerrard is a key player but that he has to judge when to burst forward. When you see Gerrard roaming in games – this usually comes with dialogue between him and the bench (you don’t always see this on TV!!). When he does ‘roam’ you will see other players adjust their positioning slightly.

    If you look back at Valencia – Aimar used to play in the midfield and get forward too!

    I guess you are only interested in results – you have made that clear but you do have to look at the bigger picture. The Villa result was a fluke and Villa know they got out of Liverpool with a fortuatous point. Villa played poorly all over the pitch except defence. Liverpool played well apart from converting chances.

    Between the other top 3 – as I said, we have beaten them all – just not in the premiership every time. We’ve beaten Arsenal twice, Chelski 3 times, Man Utd once since Rafa arrived. Not ideal but the games are often close and settled on one isolated chance or incident (not that you would be interested as you only consider the results).

    I will also say that since November since the owners started meddling and leaking press stories about Rafa, this has affected the team. It is still affecting the club – it has to stop. The owners for all their initial promise are showing their complete and utter ignorance of the English game. By approaching an inexperienced club manager they have made themselves a laughing stock.

    Ask anyone round these parts (yes, Liverpool) and you will know Rafa has the support of the fans on the terraces – not the internet or phone ins.

  49. Michael says:

    Ask anyone around any parts, the only thing that matters is results. If you don’t get them, you’re not doing your job; if you get them, you’re doing what you’re supposed to do. Simple as that.

  50. NotaPhonein says:

    But you do have to acknowledge that you can prepare a team, have confidence but still give silly goals away or miss chances. That is what football is about, that is what makes the form book sometimes go out the window.

    Also consider the fact that when you draw or lose you analyse why. If you play bad it is easy to analyse, if you play well and lose it feels like an injustice – and it is times like these that you look beyond the actual scoreline.

    It is obvious you dislike Rafa, but I think your personal dislike of him is clouding your vision. He needs more time – just as Ferguson and Wenger have had. And he also needs money to spend on quality players.

    I have watched ‘pool since the 70′s and the key thing is always stability and continuity. That is what we need now, another manager will take years again to rebuild. Rafa has overhauled the youth system too – but this will take a few years to produce top players (like Arsenal – who also let many go in the initial stages).

    This is what I mean when I say look beyond the results. In England the manager does a lot more than just coach the team. Rafa has done a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes – which would all be undone were a new manager to come in.

    Interesting that you fail to even comment about Valencia.

  51. NotaPhonein says:

    And you obviously missed my comments about Gerrard and the comparison with Aimar at Valencia.

    Presuming you do know about these facts – then you should be able to see Gerrard ‘roaming’ at different times in the game is part of the plan, as is the wingers swapping flanks etc.

    Surely you do your research before you slag a team off.

  52. Shakira Graham says:

    Liverpool havent been in the title race for almost 20 years now, like this season is any different.

  53. Michael says:

    Listen, I don’t care about Valencia! This is a different team in a different league with different players; what Rafa did at Valencia doesn’t matter!

    I have no personal feelings toward Rafa, I don’t either like him or dislike him. What I see is a team with a lot of talent and is clearly underachieving, and when that’s the case, it has to go on the manager for not motivating his players and not putting his players in the best position to win. When he consistently sticks with Kuyt instead of Crouch up front and Kewell and Benayoun on the wings instead of starting Babel and Riise at left back, that’s on the manager. Liverpool are a much better team than their place in the table indicates, and someone has to be accountable for that. Would you rather get rid of all the players or get rid of the manager?

  54. NotaPhonein says:

    I was using Valencia to make a point that Rafa is not an advocate of what you call boring football. He had success there.

    You also fail, again, to pick up on the ‘compact’ remark as a defence tactic when the opposition have the ball – and the fact that Gerrard is meant to burst forward at different times of the game. When you are at the ground you notice these things!

    Also, the really big problem with ‘he should play and he shouldn’t’ is that how do you know it will work? Hindsight and speculation is a wonderful thing but it doesn’t necessarily mean the results will change does it?

    Truth is, Babel is being groomed into the English game gradually. At the moment he gives the ball away more than Kewell and is sometimes pushed off the ball too easily – that is why he is being brought in gradually. Riise is having a shocker this season – then again, Aurelio isn’t the same player as last year either, so it’s 50-50 on that. Benayoun has been quietly effective and has scored some important goals.

    The other thing to note is that if the manager goes now – so will several of the players. Cue another several years of rebuilding. Rafa needs at least another 2 players who can win matches and after one summer that he has been able to spend on a level with Utd and Chelski – he needs more time.

    If you were a fan you would understand where I am coming from – but as you aren’t it’s easy to just look at the results and not realise the extent of the work that Rafa has put into the club.

    Interesting you mention motivation…. thats apparently why the ignorant owners sounded out Klinsmann as they thought he could motivate the players without them having to spend any more money. Absolute idiocy of the highest order – the guy is untested at club level and there would have been riots in this city had he been appointed.

    Continuity and stability – Fergie had it (won nothing for 7 seasons), Wenger has been backed (after two seasons finishing BEHIND Liverpool), Rafa needs it!

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