23 Oct 2007

Gerrard 'hurt' by 'Rafa The Merciless'

So Steven Gerrard is feeling 'hurt' and 'disappointed' by his substitution in the 70th minute of the recent Merseyside Derby...?

Boo hoo. He deserved to be 'hooked' as he called it. No player is bigger than the club, yet Sir Steven of Gerrard has the audacity and arrogance to question Rafa Benitez's decision in public:

'I'll be speaking to the manager about it just to find out why I was substituted', whined Gerrard.

And therein lies the problem: Gerrard actually believes he has the right to demand an answer. Instead of taking it like a man and accepting the decision, his rampaging ego rears its ugly head again...

Pandering to Gerrard's ego

But this is nothing new. The sad fact is, Steven Gerrard IS bigger than the club. David Moores and Rick Parry have made sure of that with their constant pandering to Gerrard's ego. Incredibly, despite Gerrard's traitorous flirtations with Chelsea, Parry still got down on his hands and knees and puckered up, subjugating the club and elevating Gerrard to status 'the untouchable'.

As a result of this, Rafa's first act as Liverpool boss was to make a humiliating trip to appease the golden boy during Euro 2004. Would Alex Ferguson have done this? More to the point, would Bill Shankly have stood for this? No - both would have told the board to get stuffed and Gerrard would have been put in his place.

Times have changed though, and Liverpool's enduring legacy, founded upon the Shankly ethos of hardwork and humility, is disappearing fast.

'We needed to play with our brains'

Rafa got it spot on with Gerrard's substitution; as he said after the game 'we needed to play with our brains' - something Gerrard singularly fails to do.

Lucas Leiva entered the fray and offered a 20 minute masterclass in how to play with footballing intelligence: keep the ball; pass and move; slow things down; stretch the play. It was a joy to watch and miles away from Gerrard's aimless brand of 100mph ‘I’m the man so I’ll do it all myself’ huffing and puffing.

Hordes of Liverpool ‘fans’ will scream about how regular whipping boy Momo Sissoko should have gone off instead. However, in their desperation to defend their idol, they have missed the point. Sissoko and Mascherano stayed on to take care of the defensive side of things. This allowed Lucas to play higher up the pitch, where he could influence the attacking side of the game in a calm. intelligent manner.

And it worked! Liverpool WON THE GAME as a *direct result* of Rafa's substitutions. Babel passed to Pennant, who crossed for Leiva to strike the ball home. Well almost, anyway. Three substitutes combined for the chance that led to the penalty. Yet the Gerrard apologists will ignore this fact and blather on about the injustice of it all.

All hail 'Rafa The Merciless'

Rafa should be applauded, no, knighted (!) for his strength of character in removing Gerrard from the game. Liverpool fans should be rejoicing that we now have a Manager who is not afraid to make the hard decisions; a man who is strong enough to deflect the misguided criticism of sheep-like fans and clich├ęd, agenda driven media and do things his way.

Every league winning Manager of the last 30 years has had this quality: Clough, Ferguson, Graham, Wenger, Dalglish, Paisley etc. That 'my way or the highway’ ruthlessness is what wins titles, not fawning over spoiled, egocentric primadonnas.


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