13 Mar 2008

Please, God. Spare us another Chelsea-Liverpool ‘shit hanging from a stick’ snorefest!

I fear Chelsea in the Champions League quarter final. Not because they are a threat to Liverpool’s chances, but because Liverpool-Chelsea games are always, without exception, mind-numbingly BORING, or as former Real Madrid legend Jorge Valdano put it, the footballing equivalent of ‘shit hanging from a stick’.

Every time Liverpool play Chelsea, the game is hyped up beyond all recognition but invariably always turns out to be as exciting as watching steam evaporate.

Six Champions League encounters over the last 3 years, totaling almost 600 minutes of football have created a grand total of…3 goals, and even one of those was hotly disputed.

Three of the games have been 1-0 victories and three have been 0-0 draws. All have been dull and uneventful to the extent that I cannot recall one memorable passage of play from any of them.

The only thing that has been memorable about any of these stupefyingly dull games has been the tremendous noise made by the crowd at Anfield.

Okay, Jose Mourinho’s sour grapes at being knocked out of the competition twice in the semi-final stages was also highly enjoyable (!) but if you want scintillating, exciting, edge of your seat football, then Chelsea-Liverpool is not going to provide it.

This seems strange considering the number of supposedly world class players on display, but the truth is, both teams just cancel each other out with their ultra defensive approach and ultra-negative tactics, creating anti-football of the most depressing kind.

After last season’s tedious Anfield encounter, former Real Madrid coach and World Cup winner Jorge Valdano attacked Rafael Benítez and Jose Mourinho, arguing that they were ushering in a bleak future for football and likening the Champions League semi-final between the two as "shit hanging from a stick".

He observed: "Chelsea and Liverpool are the clearest, most exaggerated example of the way football is going: very intense, very collective, very tactical, very physical, and very direct. But, a short pass? Noooo. A feint? Noooo. A change of pace? Noooo. A one-two? A nutmeg? A backheel? Don't be ridiculous. None of that.

"The extreme control and seriousness with which both teams played the semi-final neutralised any creative licence, any moments of exquisite skill”.

“Football is made up of subjective feeling, of suggestion - and, in that, Anfield is unbeatable. Put a shit hanging from a stick in the middle of this passionate, crazy stadium and there are people who will tell you it's a work of art. It's not: it's a shit hanging from a stick".

He’s absolutely right, which is why I sincerely hope, for the sake of football, that Liverpool get Manchester United or Arsenal in the quarter-finals.


  1. Hmmm...Jorge Valdano referred to the football as ‘shit hanging from a stick’. Is that why he has been trying to lure Rafa to Madrid? Sometimes the occasion itself is more important than the game, as is the result. If you are the fan you claim to be, you could well attack in a similar way most of the teams Liverpool have put out historically. Boring? v Bruges '78; v Madrid '81 etc etc. A bit too self righteous for me. Wanting attractive football and results is all very well but if I had to choose 1, give me results every time and the fancy stuff might follow but not always when so much is at stake. Manure v Chelski (Wembley) '07 ring any bells? I think a Liverpool vs Manure draw would be equally dire (eg Anfield this season!). Its the occasion that determines the state of the game, not the teams. God, you would be so depressing to sit next to at Anfield...or even Moscow. I think, to quote Mr Valdano, your article is the journalistic footballing of ‘shit hanging from a stick’. Try smiling...and enjoying.

  2. "Every time Liverpool play Chelsea, the game is hyped up beyond all recognition but invariably always turns out to be as exciting as watching steam evaporate."

    Isn't steam already in vapour form?

  3. Good spot ;-) I should change that to 'watching water evaporate'. Having said that, if steam doesn't evaporate, then you could watch it for hours and nothing would ever happen, so it's pretty much the same as watching Chelsea-Liverpool games anyway.

  4. Lucky for you that it is Arsenal that LFC meets. But it is funny that you do not get the 'rush' of LFC winning a team no matter how boring the game is (which is subjective, or wait, you don't really know how to appreciate or judge a football game)...which got me thinking you might not be a fan(atical) supporter of LFC. Just because some so-called football expert says that one way of playing the game is 'beautiful' you immediately quote him. Geez...

  5. I found about this site recently and have been coming here ever since to read what you have to say about things.Sometimes I agree and sometimes I don't and as far as this article is concerned I agree completely,Liverpool-Chelsea games are probably the most boring games involving 2 English clubs that can be and I disagree with a poster that said "Its the occasion that determines the state of the game, not the teams" because it might be the truth for some other clubs but when it comes to Liv-Che games it just isn't because it doesn't matter in which competition they are meeting(league,CL,FA Cup,League Cup)whenever the 2 teams play against each other you can be sure it's going to be a fuckin boring match.

  6. Thanks for reading the site, Davor. I agree completely with you regarding the contention that 'the occasion determines the state of the game, not the teams'. As you say, whatever competition the two teams meet, the game is always amazingly dull. Even the so-called creative players don't turn up.

    As I see it, part of the reason is the horrible defensive trend 'pioneered' in the premiership by the likes of Mourinho and Benitez, with use of the holding player and 2 opther central mids making up a midfield three.

    I hate the way football is moving towards a situation where the defensive midfielder is the most important player in the team. It shouldn't be that way, but look how people rave about Mascherano and makalele.

    Liverpool have never had a holding midfielder as such. Even Graeme Souness was not a typical holding player - he could do everything, and didn't just defend, yet even now people have the gall to suggest that Mascherano is on a par with him.

    Knowing our luck, the Arsenal game will be just as dull. I doubt it though, as Arsenal are just not set-up like that. Hopefully they'll play their normal game, which is always a joy to watch, and hopefully Liverpool will follow suit instead of shutting up shop and defending for 90 minutes trying to get a draw to take back to Anfield.

    Mark my words, that will be Liverpool's game-plan.

  7. Jaimie I agree with you when you say that it's a tragedy for football when the defensive midfielder is the most important player in the team.Don't get me wrong,I absloutely adore Masch(and don't agree with you that we shouldn't have bought him as you said in one of your articles),I personally think that Torres and Masch are 2 Rafa's best signings cause every team needs a player like Masch in it,but we cannot win the league if Masch is constantly MOTM.