25 Oct 2014

'We broke them': €55m star explains why Madrid beat LFC so easily. Gerrard to blame?

Prior to Liverpool's 3-0 Champions League defeat to Real Madrid, Reds boss Brendan Rodgers challenged his players to earn 'legendary status' by getting a 'result' against the European Champions. Well, as it turned out, that was wishful thinking in the extreme on Rodgers part; after a decent 15 minutes of pressing, Madrid totally dominated the game, and midfielder Luca Modric has offered a simple reason why Los Blancos barely broke a sweat on their way to an emphatic victory.

Reflecting on the game, €55m-rated Modric told The Independent:

"We have looked in great shape and we showed our top form in this iconic stadium [Anfield]. The first goal broke them. They lost enthusiasm. Then in the second half we were saving a little bit of energy for Saturday".

For me, this highlights the alarming lack of leadership on the field, which is a serious concern that goes to the heart of Liverpool's poor form this season. The team should not basically give-up after conceding one goal, and if that's the case, then there's obviously a major failure of fight, passion, and leadership on the field.

Rodgers is responsible for motivating the players, and clearly, he did a questionable job mentally preparing the team for Madrid. When it came to the crunch, LFC were sabotaged by the mental frailty of the players, and all the pre-game rhetoric about 'amazing' European nights and 'legendary status' ultimately counted for nothing.

The game started fairly well for the Reds, but for some inexplicable reason, Liverpool basically abandoned their pressing game after 15 minutes against Madrid, which allowed Ronaldo et al the space to turn up the heat, and create the chances that ultimately led to defeat.

What happened? Where was the on-field organisation?

In my view, Gerrard and Henderson need to take some blame here. As captain and vice-captain respectively, they - along with Rodgers - are responsible for leading by example, and ensuring that the players are motivated and giving their all on the pitch.

I saw precious little 'leadership' (vocal or otherwise) from either player, and when - as Modric suggests - heads go down, it's imperative that team's alleged leaders make the difference. That didn't happen against Madrid, and it's a problem that needs to be solved.

How, though? Looking through the team, there are no leaders. Lovren? He's already admitted that he's struggling with that expectation, and for now, he needs to focus on his performance above all else. Skrtel? He's not really the type. Toure is a leader, but he never plays.

Obviously, everyone looks to Gerrard, but he is (IMO) too caught up with LFC's problems, and that is affecting his self-belief, and ability to be a truly inspiring captain. Just look at his public comments this season - a general trend of negativity, including publicly criticising the team. He may be right, but if the players sense that Gerrard is worried/giving-up etc, then that attitude can infect the whole team.

Gerrard has a tendency to go down with the ship, though, and that's definitely a feature this season. He appears to be a little jaded, and that's a problem. If he's not capable of inspiring the players, then perhaps it's time for someone else to be given the opportunity to lead?

Ultimately, the minimum requirement of any LFC player is to fight for the shirt; that is not happening enough right now, and I don't see anyone at the club - either on or off the pitch - capable of changing that.

Author:



94 comments:

  1. Real Madrid are simply at another level to us
    no need for an inquest

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  2. I think this highlights the importance of one man who we dream of having a eleven of. Carra.. How many times would you see him bark orders when we were under the pump? Arguably, he was a better leader than Gerrard. Hyypia and him left a big hole in the defense which has still not been fixed.

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  3. .......................................sterling
    lallana............................coutinho...............henderson
    ...............................allen...........can
    moreno...................lovren.........skrtel...........manquillo
    .......................................mignolet


    balotelli has been poor
    gerrard has played 2 games already this week
    henderson and manquillo have a nice partnership

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  4. BR is never gonna rest Gerrard

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  5. we were pressing so high so when we lost that goal we were knackered
    and by pressing too high with a goal down we would only concede more

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  6. Suddenly what happened to the great Glen Johnson? I thought Manquillo was the weak link in our defence.

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  7. if we play hendo right hand side he has a better partnership with manquillo
    him and johnson are always on different wavelengths

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  8. Have the people who think Balotelli is being scapegoated actually watched him play for anything other than the 45 minutes versus Madrid this season?

    Every other mail is a numpty who doesn't watch Liverpool every week thinking all the blame is being put on Mario to deflect from Rodgers, the defence, the transfer business etc. Balotelli was a gamble, everyone knew it. The gamble isn't paying off. He's 'working hard' but he's also working stupid. The number of times he elects to shoot from ridiculous positions when Henderson or Sterling have busted their butts to get into the box is infuriating. The number of times he drifts wide, passes the ball and then fails to get into the middle of the box is equally annoying. What is most frustrating is that his failures function like clockwork, like watching someone make the same mistake over and over again while somehow hoping for different results. You don't have to be a professional defender to predict what Balotelli will do next.

    The Madrid game was probably his best, he ACTUALLY had interplay with Sterling et al in the final third. No one is making him a scapegoat for that loss, the common consensus is that we were clearly outclassed on the night. The blame for Balotelli has to do with all his performances thus far, not just one night and definitely not because he swapped shirts at half-time.

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  9. Always a need to blame is a trait unfortunately too many people appear to have in life, whether in sport or elsewhere. What's wrong with saying that Madrid are and were vastly superior to us, as they clearly were IMO. Steven Gerrard has shown, over the years incredible leadership IMO.

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  10. I've always thought that Gerrard is a little overrated as a captain

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  11. If it was not for our mediocre defending then maybe we could have got at least a point from the Madrdi match.


    1st goal, Ronaldo strolling past Lovren and Skrtel. 2nd goal, Johnson ball watching as usual, 3rd goal, Skrtel misses ball in the air then fails to clear it.


    It is common knowledge that our defence is the biggest problem.


    If Gerrard is stripped of his captaincy then who should take over from him? Skrtel? Ha Ha.

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  12. There have been iconic tines when Gerrard has dragged the team through but as a leader I think he fails. Post Alonso he seemed to decrease in effort and belief and I think this was part I'd the reason we were so bad that season. I agree with Jaimie here in that he didn't do enough. But I expect me and Jaimie to get some stick for this.

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  13. I was just saying that Gerrard is an overrated captain. He got us through Istanbul via his sheer skill rather than being a wonderful captain. Because he just happened to be captain that night, people are pointing towards leadership. But if he wasn't captain that night, no one would be talking about what a great leader he is. I don't think he comes close to a leader like Vieira or Keane.

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  14. Some of us have watched every game. The Madrid game was one of his best performances. Non good enough. I am sure I have read most of your post on a different website.

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  15. It same the same scenario with Man City, good 30 or so minutes then when the first goal came, LFC crumbled. The worst part was Real was also not playing good the 10-15 min, then the goal came and it was 'how many can you score' time.... I would also like to add the referee made a wrong decision when Sterling was brought down by Arbeloa, plus Mario made poor judgement in passing the ball right in the beginning when again Sterling was (almost) free but he decided to do it himself and failed. 2 decisions that *COULD* have done something to lift LFC and make Real bit anxious, or maybe me with this Deepak Chopra book is making me believe in the positive things of life....... ???

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  16. Mario? When Suarez got the arm band for the Tottenham game he looked like a changed man...? I am sure BR would show solidarity in supporting Mario with one game with captaincy?

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  17. You did indeed sir. Just seems as though it has got to the point where lots of people are denying the evidence that is there for all to see. He isn't the player for us. He needs to have a team built around him and I can only see a side like Newcastle being prepared to do something so ridiculous.

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  18. I have to say Jaimie, the last few articles you have written have been absolutely spot on in their assessment of our current woes. Leadership is a hard characteristic to quantify because it is not directly amenable to statistical analysis. The lack of leadership explains only part of our current troubles, but an important part. It also explains partly why Arsenal have struggled in recent years to go that extra step.


    So what is the solution? You can't automatically turn followers into leaders although you can improve leadership skills. However, this comes right back to the transfer market. It's all about acquiring top quality players who are willing to stand up and be counted. Liverpool just hasn't done that. Such players are 'world class' because they thrive under pressure and with added responsibility, not just because they have pace or foot skills. Until our transfer policy improves we will always be a work in progress, looking up to the likes of Chelsea and Man City.

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  19. no, our defending is not the problem. lack of quality up front and midfield is the issue. Solve that and we wont need to defend. we can keep spending massive amounts on defenders but until we solve the problems in the attack and midfield our defence will always be a problem due to the fact that they are having to defend for most of the game.

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  20. When you weigh up leadership it is not only on the pitch but off it i will say in Stevies defense i have no doubt he has been a great leader and set a great example off the pitch.
    He is well known to be a hard worker in training and offers the younger players plenty of encouragement.
    On the pitch well he has always been a great leader by example though not a great talker or organizer people can decide for themselves but overall i am proud to have had such a great leader and player represent the club.

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  21. It is sickening to see West Ham play the football which we played last season. Are you watching Mr Rodgers?

    City will most probably win but still, Sam Allardyce putting our football to shame :-o

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  22. Our defending is not the problem? Ha ha. Have you even seen how absolutely sh!te we are at set pieces?

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  23. Agree. With everything. Sigh..

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  24. It is said that seventy per cent of all sporting performance is between the ears . Mental strength and footballing intelligence can only be coached to a certain extent most of it is down to the individual . Regardless of his flawed personality Luis has this as well as his unique ability . He is a fighter and never gives up and leads by example and as well as his goals that is what we miss so much this season ..... A lot was said about Lovren's leadership and presumably that was one of the reason's we persevered and payed 20 mill for him . Where is it ? We don't even have a commanding GK . I agree with Jaimie I can't see it at the moment on or off the pitch and until we get a grip I can only see things getting worse ....

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  25. 4eva LFC, LFC 4eva1:08 pm, October 25, 2014

    I personally think that this is utter rubbish you people want to attack SG now when he has given everything for our club and he is coming to the end of his tenure.
    SG has lifted our club on a number of occassions as for Istanbul mate he was a leader you should watch that game again once Haman came on he was free to play.
    This is rubbish SG has been a fantastic captain/servant/player for this club it is funny how when someone mentions maybe he shouldn't be captain you all jump on the band wagon. As for Hendo taken the reins PLEASE STOP KIDDING YOURSELVES he is no where near what SG was at his age.
    But have your dig cause this is what you supporters do when we don't play well. What you are forgetting is that we have bought mediocre players and now we want to blame SG WHAT A DISGRACE.

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  26. Yep and he nearly went as well ........ let's hope BR has the same ability to turn things around

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  27. Playing 1 up front and 2 holding midfielders. FORGET IT.

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  28. And Big Sam getting the best out of Downing !

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  29. 4eva LFC, LFC 4eva1:21 pm, October 25, 2014

    Everyone talks of a leader well can i just say that a leader is defined by his/her follwers and i challenge anyone to find me a footballer who would not follow SG onto a pitch.
    Granted he ia not the footballer he used to be, but i have read plenty on what other great footballers have said about him leading liverpool. A leader will lead from the front, a leader will be respected and he will be the first in and the last to leave.
    What an absolute disgrace to a man that, could have gone on to other clubs but chose to stay and fight when it was tough.
    I will apologise on your behalf if he actually reads this nonsense.

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  30. The amount of individual mistakes would suggest the defence IS a problem.

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  31. Oh shut up, I've criticised Gerrard's leadership a number of times before, even during last season. Being a great LFC servant does not make him unwarranted of any criticism.

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  32. Some of us have been saying this for years. The overly emotional can't separate Gerrard the legend from Gerrard the captain. Where is hus organisation? Where is his vocal motivation? I don't doubt he is a great mentor to younger players off the field but on it he lacks some of the qualities that a great captain needs. If you had read my post that Nick was replying to you would have seen I mentioned the iconic times of driving us forward in his play. All great but that is not necessarily the job of the captian and now without that ability his lack of leadership can be more apparent. Think of the Chelsea game. The slip happened and I can't blame him for it. An accident, it happens. But then Gerrard tried the only captaincy he knows how. Tried to get the goal back on his own. We needed to keep our heads. We needed to work a way through their defence. We needed someone on the pitch telling the players that. Gerrard instead kept shooting poorly from outside the box. More than he had done in any other game. It kept giving them the ball back and didn't help us one bit. Your attempt to defend him is admirable but you havev totally missed the point.

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  33. We are talking present and future ... no one has more respect for Stevie than me but if we haven't started to think about his replacement by now It's about time we did !

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  34. Too caught up with LFC problems, so true, I think. What we need is a turning point, and a clean shit win by two or three today might be just that. Scoring within 10= or 15 minutes today would do miracles for our season in general. Win today and vs Newcastle, do not dissapoint against world`s best, do not lose to chelski and build momentum for Studge`s return. In the meanwhile City and chelski will drop points and we will have last season spirit again with at least two out of Lovren, Can, Markovic and Mario hitting the form.
    Toughest match so far today..

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  35. Can't remember last time I had a clean shit ;-)

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  36. I pressed the edit button, but maybe this way is more fun?

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  37. I will be wearing my brown trousers this afternoon anyway !

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  38. A top club should not be in a position where it buys a player and immediately thrusts leadership on him. We talked about his leadership before he'd even played. Players either lead by example or vocally and he has not been integrated into the group long enough to do either. Vincent Kompany became city captain fairly quickly but you can see the respect people have for him both as a man and a player. Lovren may have been a leader in the Saints dressing room but that was a completely different dynamic - different people and a very different club and set of expectations.

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  39. And a shirt with sleeves sewed one to another...

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  40. We should have bought Song...

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  41. We should have bought a proper CB.

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  42. Mignolet, Manquillo, Moreno, Skrtel, Lovren, Can, Gerrard, Allen, Lallana, Sterling, Balotelli

    Subs: Jones, Toure, Johnson, Henderson, Coutinho, Markovic, Lambert

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  43. Liverpool and Arsenal will continue to look foolish all season as long as Alex Song continues to dominate midfields. Our defence would be a whole lot tighter with him sitting in front. Don't get me wrong, I like Chan but Song instead of Lucas or Allen would of been infinitely preferable. We need a strong, aggressive, athletic type of midfielder - which is just code for a big black guy :-). It's ok, I can say it for I am he!!!

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  44. Well at least Johnson has been dropped.

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  45. Good defenders have authority and I would suggest leadership . There is confusion in our defence through lack of this and someone must step up and take control . Goalkeepers should deffo have it !

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  46. And Hendo is apparently not Superman..

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  47. C'mon dude, 90% of LFC fans thought Lovren was the answer. He may still be eventually. But we need a powerful DM/B2B. It helps your side so much physically

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  48. Front three of Sterling-Balotelli-Lallana


    Quite happy wit that.

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  49. Me too, AND maybe Gerrard isn`t the deep lying whatever..

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  50. Sorry but Skrtel should have been sold instead of Agger. We could have had Agger and Sakho for LCB and signed a proper RCB. Oh I forgot, Lovren is right footed but apparently cannot play RCB.

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  51. I am assuming we will line up like this


    Mignolet
    Manquillo-Skrtel-Lovren-Moreno
    Gerrard
    Can-Allen
    Sterling-Balo-Lallana

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  52. Me too, but hoping for a flip of Can AND Gerrard,

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  53. The problem is that it's very harsh to sell Skrtel when he vastly outperformed Agger last season. Agger is also made of the same stuff Sturridge is made of. I honestly don't think he was going to last much longer.

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  54. Vs Real he was good defensevly but shit in the attack.

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  55. Not going to happen.

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  56. I`ve got 47 minutes of hoping it will.

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  57. But compare Lovren to Agger and we might as well kept Agger. You would think Skrtel would have taken it upon himself to show some leadership skills. That is enough to suggest that Skrtel needs to be shipped out ASAP!

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  58. Gerrard is the least of our problems. There are two very big elephants in the room. MS and DL.

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  59. Good defensively? Cough cough. He is a veryu good ball watcher.

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  60. mAYBE he got lucky, but Cristina didn`t get past him too many times..

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  61. Ronaldo was playing centrally. Johnson was nowhere to be found ;-)

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  62. He will come on when Stevie tires - BR finally got the message !

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  63. Damn... I was against his signing as he never seemed like a worldbeater to me and I watch a lot of Croatia internationals...

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  64. Yes, based on this season, but Skrtel was good last season, so there was no strong case to ship him out. If you compare Lovren to Agger, Lovren has been performing better in the last couple of years.

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  65. Ashley Cole - brilliant defender, not a leader at all.
    Talking a lot doesn't equal leadership.
    I agree with the need for authority and good decision making, particularly in goal and defence. Mignolet is terrible in that regard.

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  66. Saw them on the flank couple of times. One of them was that corner when we conceeded, but that is down to our defensive coach. Oh wait, we don`t have one, and don`t need one too..

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  67. And backs of backs off backs off

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  68. Skrtel was good last season? Our whole defence was a shambles and it is only getting worse. We will struggle to get rid of Skrtel unless there is another side from the Serie A that is willing to take on his services.

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  69. Mate he was the best of our centre backs

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  70. Basic defending. That includes ball watching I suppose.

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  71. Basics aren`t easy against world`s best.

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  72. Because he played 36 of 38 matches and was the least injured. Skrtel needs to be on his way.

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  73. I dont know hy the arguments going on we have quality C.B s it is just the disorganized manner and mistakes which are ruining our defense.
    There is numerous reasons for this but quality isnt one of them.

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  74. Then what is it against a very poor QPR side?

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  75. I am saying he is good option vs Real, chelski and manu, QPR and Swansea will kill him. Too old to be motivated and constantly good.

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  76. There is no excuses for the way we are defending at the highest level.

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  77. Agree. And it is down to our defensive coach.

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  78. Basic defending? That cannot be taught at the highest level I am afraid.

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  79. Lack of leadership? Well, I'll never take this guy seriously as a writer.

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  80. Just an irony regarding BR statement we don`t need him.

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  81. Then we do not need the players either.

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  82. Another top scalp for Sam

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  83. Care to elaborate ?

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  84. Song is having a stormer. LFC missed a trick!

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  85. 4eva LFC, LFC 4eva12:02 am, October 26, 2014

    No your right but being the one to lift the spirits of your team mates when everything is going wrong and it looks like its all over, oh sorry that was someone else all those times, and he isn't the most skilfull footballer so no im not basing this on his ability to play the game, it's his fight, when we were down and out, it's his passion, his work ethic both on and off the field, his love for the club, and his team mates. Now im not saying that his time as captain should go on forever but now that it nears the end out you guys come and say "if he never was the captain that night no one would be saying what a great leader he is"
    No mate YOU SHUT UP you are a fool and just by your comments you obvisouly have no idea what it takes to be a leader. God i wished he had gone to Chelsea when they were chasing him. But i guess our opinions differ.

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  86. Gerrard has never been a vocal captain, he has always led by example, unfortunately now in his twilight years he no longer has the legs to lead by example. So he is now a very ineffective captain but as it's been pointed out who else can step up and take the armband? I am hoping to see Gerrard rested more and the responsibility put onto Henderson, he is a strong athlete who plays with passion, maybe with Gerrard out the way he may come out of his shell more.

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