7 Feb 2009

£130m wasted on cut-price, 'creative' cack - the real reason Liverpool have not won the title for 18 years

A dispiriting policy of buying cut-price, inferior creative players is the principal reason Liverpool have not won the league title for 18 years.

An examination of Liverpool’s ‘creative’ signings since Kenny Dalglish left reveals a disturbing tendency to buy cheap, substandard squad-fillers. This is indicative of the decline of the club’s attacking philosophy, and until this changes, Liverpool will not win the league.

In the 70s and 80s, one thing remained constant in Liverpool's unparallelled success: Top class creative players and fearless attacking philosophy. When Ian Rush left in 1987, Kenny Dalglish didn't waste money on dross - he went out and bought the best creative players within Liverpool's budget: John Barnes, Peter Beardsley and John Aldridge.

It’s a sad thing to acknowledge, but since Kenny Dalglish left in 1991, the attacking philosophy of the club has slowly been eroded and replaced with an increasingly defensive-minded approach.

This has been painfully apparent throughout the reigns of Gerard Houllier and Rafael Benitez, where Liverpool’s woeful attacking play has been exposed time and time again.

The most recent example of the club's creative paucity came in the recent Everton trilogy, wherein Liverpool failed consistently create chances for 300 minutes of football.

It's a trite observation, but League titles are won by the SCORING AND CREATING OF GOALS. Defensive stability is obviously important, but goals win games, and without the quality to consistently break down stubborn defences and create/score goals, it is impossible to win the league.

Every Liverpool Manager since Dalglish has squandering MILLIONS on mediocre creative players. For far too long now, there has been a maddening unwillingness at the club to spend big money on top class attacking wingers and link men.

The huge list of pedestrian 'creative' signings over the last 18 years reveals the following:

1. Too many low grade creative players bought on the cheap.
2. An unwillingness to invest in proven creative talent.
3. A preference for young, unproven creative talent, most of whom inevitably fail.
4. A preference for tireless workhorses who run all day but are short on craft and guile.
5. Misuse of genuinely creative players who could have made a difference.

Below is a list of so called ‘creative’ players bought over the last 17 years.

Sean Dundee (1.8m)
Nigel Clough (2.2m)
Erik Meijer (Free)
Karl-Heinz Riedle (1.8m)
Dean Saunders (2.9m)
Paul Stewart (2.3m)
Mark Walters (1.2m)
Oyvind Leonhardsen (3.5m)
Michael Thomas (1.5m)
Titi Camara (2.6m)
Danny Murphy (1.5m)
Hakur Ingi Gudnasen (150k)
Mark Kennedy (1.5m)

23m (approx)

Emile Heskey (11m)
Vladirmir Smicer (3.7m)
Bolo Zenden (Free)
Bernard Diomede (3m)
Salif Diao (4.7m)
Antonio Nunez (1.5m)
Bruno Cheyrou (3.7m)
Florent Sinama Pongolle (3m)
Anthony Le Tallec (3m)
Craig Bellamy (6m)
Nick Barmby (£6)
El Hadji Diouf (10m)
Mark Gonzales (1.5m)
Fernando Morientes (6.3m)
Harry Kewell(5m)
Jermaine Pennant (6.7m)
Dirk Kuyt (9m)
Ryan Babel (11.5m)
Andriy Voronin
Lucas Leiva (£6m)
David Ngog (£1.5m)

£110m (approx)

In my view, none of the above were/are good enough to be first team regulars for Liverpool. Many of them were not even good enough to be mere squad players. The club needed to invest in proven creative talent, not squad-filling journeymen.

Players like Danny Murphy and Craig Bellamy may have had their moments but when it comes to creating a team capable of winning the league, such players are far below the creative level needed to consistently mount a league challenge.

It’s even more depressing if you contrast the players above with the club’s purchases in the 70s and 80s, or the creative players bought by Arsenal, Chelsea and Man United over the same time period.

The list above represents over £130m of money wasted, with Gerard Houllier and Rafael Benitez the biggest culprits, wasting over £100m on cut-price, ineffectual dross.

Just imagine if Liverpool had managers who were truly focused on attacking football, and went out and bought smartly - choosing the best attacking players they could find for the budget.

It’s no secret that Gerard Houllier turned down the chance to sign Cristiano Ronaldo and Rivaldo amongst others. Who knows how many other great creative players were turned away in favour of dross creatively inept players like Emile Heskey and Bruno Cheyrou?

Houllier’s aversion to creativity can also be found in Rafael Benitez, who has wasted millions on creative players who were just not good enough or just didn’t perform.

Roy Evans made his fair share of mistakes (Sean Dundee anyone?) but, in his defence, Evans’ teams were a joy to watch, and played the best attacking football in the country during the mid 90s.

Liverpool under Evans had superb attacking players like Steve McManaman and Robbie Fowler mixed in with the brilliance and experience of Ian Rush and John Barnes. Defensive frailty was the team’s problem, something Houllier and Benitez fixed at the expense of Liverpool’s attacking play.

I would argue that the club has bought only 9 worthy, effective creative players in 18 years:

Patrik Berger (3.2m)
Stan Collymore (8.5m)

Luis Garcia (6m)
Milan Baros (3.2m)
Peter Crouch (7m)
Fernando Torres (20m)
Robbie Keane (£20m)
Yossi Benayoun (5m)
Djibril Cisse (14m)

Of those, Robbie Keane and Djibril Cisse were completely wasted and misused by Benitez, which brings the total amount of money squandered on creative players to £164m.

£164 Million!!

Two other notable players who could have made a difference were Jari Litmanen and Nicolas Anelka, both of whom were brought in for free. Both were fantastic acquisitions with bags of quality, superb technique and real ‘Liverpool type class’.

Of course, they were scandalously wasted by Houllier, who preferred the technically inept likes of Emile Heskey. Milan Baros was another exceptional player who had the creativity choked out of him by Houllier and later Benitez, who persisted in playing him as a lone striker.

Rafa has at least brought in Fernando Torres, but El Nino alone is not enough. Liverpool need 3 or 4 creative players of similar quality if they are going to seriously challenge for the premiership.

Liverpool are lucky to have been blessed over the years with homegrown creative talent like McManaman, Fowler, Owen and Steven Gerrard; take them away and the last 17 years looks even bleaker.

And where are the homegrown creative stars of the future?! There are none, because Houllier and Benitez have invested in cheap rubbish instead of developing homegrown talent. Indeed, there are seemingly dozens of youngster languishing in the reserves at the moment, many of whom were bought to the club by Benitez. But what was the point? None of them ever seem to get any kind of run in the first team, and many of them end up on loan or sold for peanuts after a couple of years.

Liverpool need a complete change of philosophy and emphasis; attacking football and creativity needs to be the priority, and the club needs to go out and buy the best creative players within the budget AND start PROPERLY developing academy players who show creative potential.

Rafael Benitez is clearly not the man to drive through the necessary change. The team should be built around ATTACKING players and an attacking philosophy. At the moment, the team is shaped around defensive players, i.e. players like Dirk Kuyt, the living embodiment of Benitez's footballing philosophy.

This has to change.

If the transfer ineptitude of the last 18 years continues, and Liverpool persist in buying cheap/ineffective creative players, the Premiership will continue to remain out of reach.


  1. how much did the managers get back in return for these "wasted" players?

    minus the selling cost, how much $$$ was actually spent / earned?


  2. i would agree with that list of players above who were not good enough with the exeption of 2, morientes and kewell, who were 2 highly class players, which for various reasons didnt work out, i an rush was rubbish in italy if you remember came home and was great, which is what happened with morientes, he went back to spain and banged them in, in kewells first 5 months at the club he scored 12ish goals in all comps and looked to be an awesome signing, he then got injured just before xmas and the rest is history.

  3. You quote gross figures there, what is the net spend, come on kanwar you can do better, twisting the facts to your own devices is a goof demonstration that your pathetic rants have no foundation has you always leave some key points out to suit your needs

  4. What is the point of highlighting net spend? The issue here is money being wasted on ineffective, sub-standard creative players. Just because we were able to con clubs into paying money for some of these flops doesn't make their original purchases any less wasteful.

    Let's take Robbie Keane as an example, using approximate figures: Bought for £20m. Sold after 6 months for (rumoured) £16m. Overall loss £4m.

    Just because Liverpool managed to recoup a large part of Keane's original fee doesn't make the purchase any less of a fiasco. It's a waste of £20m - money which could have been spent on players who actually fit into the system.

  5. Come on kanwar be real, net spend is highly important don't kid yourself. Bringing in any new player has a risk element as not all players work at all clubs/managers. Therefore there re-sale value is highly important. The debacle of salif diao is a prime example we paid 4.7 mill according to your figures and recouped none!!! We have just like other clubs bought excellent talent and some have failed some have succeeded!!!
    The purchase of keane was never a fiasco it was a wise transfer, his use in team was the fiasco and his treatment by the manager, his subsequent sale was not a such a fiasco as LFC could not get the best out of him and got the best money they could for him, that's what usually happens when a player does not quite work out you know, or has that passed you buy. See jap stam at united for similar details on how he was suddenly moved on after something happened.
    You are yet again grasping at straws to sustain your vitriol, grow up and move one

  6. Gee I think you and Benitez have more in common than you think.

    You're both Stubborn!

  7. Interesting read, thanks.
    However, your list of players who were 'not good enough' relies very VERY much on hindsight. At the time a lot of these guys were not cut price alternatives and were generally in high demand.

    The signings of Dean Saunders, Nigel Clough, Emile Heskey, Ej Hadji Diouf and Harry Kewell, to name but a few, were applauded at the time and were big signings.

    Yes, a lot of the others were as you say cut price bargain basement signings who worked out that way but not all

  8. As is traditional when players are listed, I shall give my critique. Of the players you dislike, who signed during the '90s, I agree with all with hind-sight. I did think at the time that Clough and Riedle would work out, but they just didn't. Morientes was a signing I thought would be great, as he was a goal-machine, and Barmby was a Beardley-esque player worth a gamble, but neither really got it going. I was delighted with the acquisition of Kewell too, but he started brightly but injury plagued his time here, and he turned into a effigy hate-figure. The rest are spot-on as not being LFC type, or quality, with Zenden and Diouf being particularly bad transfers. Though Pennant is a player who gets way over-the-top, unjust criticism. I think he has played three times this season, but has two assists. Not a bad ratio, and missed almost a whole season through injury when it seemed he had improved dramatically from the CL Final onward.

    You mentioned in one of your articles that you thought Babel was just a more skillful version of Heskey, and admittedly at the time I read it, I thought it was harsh, but on reflection, and with many more 'performances' since, I think he's actually a less skillful player than Heskey is/was.

    I have a hunch (admittedly, based on very little) that Rafa will be gone this summer, regardless. If he doesn't win the title, he'll have an uphill struggle to convince even die-hard Rafa fans he deserves more time, and if he does somehow manage to take advantage of unlikely Manu slip-ups, and take the EPL, I believe he'll consider it mission accomplished, and head for Real Madrid when Ramos' current six month contract is up.

    You champion the replacement of Rafa with Martin O'Neill, and there is a lot to be said of the man. I do like and respect him. He is quite quirky and direct in his manner, and can back it up with good pitch-sense, he also cheers when his team scores, which something an LFC manager has been seen doing in five years. But is it so outrageous, and asking too much that a K.Dalglish might dust off the his tracksuit to take the job, with Gary Mac in tow. Two surly Scots to bring the glory days back. I have read between the lines in interviews with KD that he would take the job again. He had no break from football when he retired as a player, and that took its obvious toll. He is better qualified to take the job now, than when he first did. He had a great eye for a player. I can hardly think of a bad signing the man made (Jimmy Carter?), but also his football wasn't overly tactical. Just the best players he could get, in their best positions. He has been back with us in some capacity for some time now (I'm not sure what that is exactly) and seems to me to be sitting under our noses. Has been one of the only men able to out-Ferg Fergie (Wenger just doesn't bother anymore). And I bet he considers his work to be undone at LFC. I don't buy the out-of-the-game-too-long argument, as I don't think you lose that intuition. Am I dreaming?

  9. Net spending only matters in terms of financial solvency and turnaround. If Liverpool kept buying and selling crap players while balancing the books, or even turning a profit, we'd be no closer to the title than we were in years past. We'd just be an unsuccessful club with a clean balance sheet.I.e. how we've been paddling around for the almost the past two decades.

    It's not so much money wasted as it is time wasted. Every year we waste tinkering with Benitez's awkward plans is a year closer to an injustice like a Liverpool legend of Jamie Carragher's quality never lifting the Premier League title becoming a reality.

  10. Just to further the argument being made...

    Since taking over at Liverpool, Benitez has spent £189.9 million (http://www.lfchistory.net/stats_transfers_by_manager.asp?list=Get&manager_id=20&InOut=1) on 51 players.

    In that same time period, Ferguson has spent £170.35 million on 13 different players.

    It's quality not quantity that wins titles, apparently.

  11. Your suggestion that Baros and Cisse were "worthy,effective creative players" is absolutely ludicrous.

    During his time at Liverpool, Baros exhibited occasional skill and competence, but for the most part he was inconsistent and at times his form was abysmal. He simply did not fit into Rafa's plans because he could not play as a lone striker (inability to hold the ball up) like Torres can.

    Your posts on TIA cite his form in Euro 2004 as testament to his undoubted ability. Superb form in one tournament does not necessarily mean he was an excellent player. In fact, your argument is akin to the arguments advanced by those who claim that Gerrard can be labelled a world class player because of his performances against Milan, West Ham, Olympiakos etc. It is rather ironic, then, that you take every opportunity to virulently castigate these people as "blind-faith fans" and propagators of media hype.

    Granted, Baros exhibited form consistently in one tournament (i.e a series of matches) but unfortunately for him, that was the pinnacle of his career. Even your beloved Martin O'Neill was unable to elicit anything approaching decent form from Baros during his time at Villa. He is currently flourishing in the Turkish league but I think even you would be loathe to compare the standard of that competition to the Premier League.

    Cisse was a deplorable waste of money in my opinion. He lacked techical proficiency (with a first touch worse than Kuyt's - that's saying something) and was ostensibly unable to adapt to the team dynamic. His one redeeming quality was his pace, but that was rendered ineffective by his consummate lack of footballing intelligence. He may very well prosper in the French league or at Sunderland (no disrespect intended) but to assert that he was worthy of Liverpool is fallacious.

  12. Fowler's Left Peg - I disagree with you re Baros and Cisse. They both had the potential to be effective creative players for Liverpool, but like most flair players at the club they were WASTED.

    You cite the fact that Baros failed because he couldn't play as a lone striker - well, that is not his failure, it is Benitez's. As usual, it's just another example of Rafa playing players in the wrong position. Given Baros's superb ability when playing ina strike partnership, Benitez should have played that way to get the best out of him and the team. After all, the alternative was a failure was it not? You just need to look at the points total in Benitez's first season for evidence of that.

    If Baros had been used *consistently* and *properly*, he could have ben great for Liverpool.

    Re your tenuous comparison between my praise of Baros' tournament performances and Gerrard's allegend world class ability - I never stated Baros was world casll, so the comparison is irrelevent,

    Cisse is another player who could have scored goals for the club but he was not utilsied properly either.

    Anyway, even if I agree with you about those two, it just reinforces my overall point, which is Liverpool managers wasting money on ineffective creative players.

    Add Baros and Cisse to the list and the total amount of money wasted just increases!

  13. Scott the Red - you're absolutely right - quality not quantity is what counts. Benitez has bought in so much dross over the years it's unbelievable. And now today, Liverpool are linked *another* cut-price nobody from the Spanish league, Oscar Sielva. How many more Voronins and Degen's do we have to put up with?!

  14. as much as u hate gerrard, (for some unknown reason)
    r u honestly saying he isnt a worthy signing, he is liverpool's heart and soul
    and i repeatedly read u critizing gerrard, did he cheat on u or cut in front of u at the supermarket, u are not even a true fan of liverpool

  15. First time I have come across you Jaime. You are a disgrace.

  16. So I guess you won't be interested in a subscription to my fan-club?

  17. You have a fan club? A manc fan club over on RoM you mean?

  18. Clearly, you've never heard of irony...

  19. Your risible suggestion that Benitez should have adapted the team framework in order to play a strike partner to complement Baros' strengths patently contradicts your previous arguments about Gerrard and his position in the team.

    In your article "Why Liverpool cannot (sic) and should not sign David Villa" you allege, in a now tiresome and predictable invective aimed at Gerrard that "the Liverpool team has been chopped and changed in every conceivable way over the years in an attempt to accommodate Gerrard; the 4-2-3-1 formation that Liverpool currently plays is the only formation that suits him".

    Just to clarify, Rafa should have played Baros with a strike partner in order to "get the best out of him and the team" but where Gerrard is concerned, the mere notion to use him to his strengths and in order to get the best out of the team is anathema to you, correct?

    Might I point out two Benitez-esque facts then:

    1. Admittedly, Baros played with strike partners in Benitez's first season in charge. This was an oversight on my part and I am correcting myself. Cisse, Mellor, Sinama-Pongolle, Morientes, even Garcia (although he played slightly deeper) all partnered Baros. He was still mediocre.

    I would like to point out that you adeptly avoided my assessment that Baros was crap even under O'Neill. That, in itself, is a stark indictment of his ability, or lack thereof.

    You may very well consider my contention "tenuous", but you can't cite Baros' Euro 2004 performances as an example of his putative "superb ability" and then at the same time denounce fans for giving Gerrard the appellation of world class because of indomitable performances against Olympiakos, Milan, West Ham, Real Madrid, United. That sort of reasoning is unequivocally hypocritical and self-serving. Your arguments, therefore, are rendered null and void.

    Cisse, as I stated earlier, has one redeeming quality and that is pace. As Gabby Agbonlahor has so ably demonstrated of late, pace is merely one component of a quality striker's arsenal. For the rest of the prerequisites, please watch Fernando Torres. Enough said.

    Again, you were unable, or unwilling, to refute my arguments about Cisse in my previous post. Rather, you pitifully capitulated by arguing against I claim I never actually made.

    In case you hadn't noticed Jamie, I never argued with your assertion that we have spent money on some veritably average creative players over the years. I was simply contending your claim that Baros and Cisse were effective, creative players.

    Fowler's Left Peg.

  20. Fowler's Left Peg

    Yes, Rafa should have played Baros with a strike partner *consistently*, to allow an understanding to develop. He never did this. You mention that baros played with Strike partners in Benitez's first season, but this was the exception, not the rule. More often than not, Baros was forced to play a lone striker role, which crushed his confidence and did nothing for the team.

    I mean, look at the league points total in Rafa's first season - pathetic. We were almost 40 points off the top!

    When it comes to Gerrard, playing to his his strengths did nothing for the team - look at Liverpool's woeful performances in 2003-2004 - Gerrard played well, but the rest of the team was crap.

    The question is, what is best for the TEAM? In my view, the best thing to do in Rafa's first season was play Baros with a strike partner as often as possible, not try and turn him into a lone striker.

    There is no conmparison between me saying Baros had 'superb ability' in Euro 2004 and fans proclaiming Gerrard is world class, despite never performing for England when it mattered. I've never claimed that Baros is world class! Reall, I fail to see your point.

    And re Baros at Villa - by the time he got there, Benitez had destroyed his confidence to such a degree that it was hard for him perform to a high level. And Benitez has form in this area - just look at the way he's treated Crouch, Keane, Babel etc since. Benitez is ruiner of attacking players.

    I think it is clear you have missed the point I've been trying to make about *potential*. I agree with you that the money spent on Cisse was excessive, but once he's at the club what do you do? Waste him or try and get the best out of him?

    This is the problem with Benitez: He WASTES potential and does not get the best out of his players. Baros and Cisse - if utlisied correctly - could have been very effective players for Liverpool. The fact that they were not is Benitez's fault, not theirs.

    Again, things that have happened since have proved this to be the case. Robbie Keane is a prime example: A proven goalscorer who scored more goals than *any* premiership striker in 2008. Always been a model profession. What happens? Like with Cisse and Baros, Benitez MISUSED Keane, played him out of position, completely messed him around and WASTED the talent and potential that could have been good for Liverpool.

    This is Benitez's trademark, and Liverpool have suffered for it.

  21. Your assertion that "more often than not, Baros was forced to play a lone striker role..." is a yet another example of the ridiculous myths that you perpetuate, most of which have little bearing in actual fact. In Baros'26 Premiership appearances during the 2004/2005 season, he played with a strike partner (Cisse, Mellor, Pongolle, Morientes, but I have excluded Garcia on the grounds that he was not an out-and-out striker) on 21 occassions - 81% of all his appearances. If you are going to spout utter drivel, Kanwar, then at least substantiate them.

    Your claim about Benitez destroying Baros' confidence and thus rendering him incapable of playing well for Villa is desperate at best, and fatuous at worst. In his first season at Villa, Baros (partnered by Angel, I might add) scored a serviceable 12 goals in 30 appearances. His 2nd season was an unmitigated failure, with only 2 goals in 21 appearances. Even your beloved Martin O'Neill's exhortations at Baros to prove himself proved futile. Are you seriously suggesting that a full season after leaving Liverpool, the "creative, effective" Baros confidence was still shattered by his ostensible misuse by Benitez? Come off it, Kanwar, this is nothing more than trumpery.

    Citing Gerrard's performances in 2003-2004 has no pertinence whatsoever because we are discussing Benitez's putative penchant for destroying attacking players. Hopeless argument, honestly.

    You allege that Benitez is a "ruiner of attacking players"

    Gerrard scoring record pre-Benitez: 28 goals/ 240 games (0.12 goals per game)

    Gerrard scoring record under Benitez: 86 goals / 236 games. (0.36 goals per game)

    Torres scoring record at Atletico: 91 goals/ 243 games (0.37 goals per game)

    Torres scoring record at Liverpool: 44 goals / 74 games (0.59 goals per game)

    Baros scoring record pre-Benitez : 14 goals/ 58 games (0.24 goals per game)

    Baros scoring record under Benitez: 13 goals / 47 games (0.28 goals per game).

    Crouch scoring record for Premier league teams before arriving at Liverpool: 22 goals / 76 games (0.29 goals per game).

    Crouch scoring record under Benitez: 40 goals/124 games (0.33 goals per game)

    Benayoun scoring record at West Ham: 8 goals/72 games (0.11 goals per game)

    Benayoun scoring record under Benitez: 15 goals/80 games (0.19 goals per game)

    Ruiner of attacking players, you say? I could cite more examples, but for paucity of time. Obviously, not all of Benitez's attacking purchases have been consummate successes - Morientes (couldn't adapt), Bellamy (disturbing proclivity for brandishing golf clubs and whining) and the others you have mentioned above.

    As I have stated elsewhere on your website, I would prefer to reserve judgment about Keane until the end of the season. This is not a cop-out, merely an admission that my perspective would possibly skewed by my interpretation of the season's trajectory thus far.

    In conclusion, I categorically disagree with your asseveration that Benitez "wastes the potential" of attacking players. Nevertheless, I recognise your need to disseminate fantasy in order to sustain your pseudo-iconoclastic style of discourse.

    Fowler's Left Peg.

  22. Snide tone aside, an excellent post :-)

    Before I respond, please provide the following:

    1. Your source for the statistics used.
    2. Whether you are including ALL appearances (International/All domestic sup comps) or just league/CL games.

  23. The source for my statistics was the much-derided, but accurate wikipedia.org. The statistics for each player I cited above are available on their respective pages on this website.

    I include all league, League Cup, FA Cup (or equivalent) and European scoring records. Admittedly, I did not include the international scoring records for these players. My reason for omitting their international statistics are as follows:

    1. The possibility that friendly games and competitive qualifying matches against part-time teams might distort the statistics somewhat.

    2. The often inexplicable disparity between a player's performances at club level and those in the international arena. This apparent dichotomy is exemplified not only by Steven Gerrard and Milan Baros (both of whom could be used to argue in your favour) but many other players such as David Healy, Frank Lampard, Andy Cole etc are afflicted with the same curious duality.

    In order to justify my position, might I offer this link:

    On this list, it is evident that so many players with exemplary scoring records would struggle to match those achievements in top tier club football.

    Even if we were to only consider international tournaments, Jamie, I believe that comparing international football to club football does not effectively legislate for discerning patriotic motivations (or lack thereof) that are integral to a player's performances at the international level. There are so many vagaries in International football that do not exist at club level. For instance, the struggle to establish a team ethic in relatively short periods of time (notably an element that has affected England teams); the predicaments that confront managers who seek to impose their own philosophy on a team; the fragmented and sometimes conflicting support from fans who are not amenable to supporting players that are on the teamsheets of club rivals etc.

    In my estimation, these fundamental differences are not conducive to comparison. Nevertheless, if you deem them to be pertinent, then I would not begrudge your using them to advance your argument.

    In response to your compliment, I might also register my regard for the resolution with which you espouse your views. Undaunted as you are by the existence of veritable facts to thoroughly discredit your stance, it is still admirable that you persevere with them in the face of abuse and tasteless insults.

    Fowler's Left Peg.

  24. Actually, I've decided not to respond to your post. I saw your personal attack on me on Paul Tompkins' blog (http://tomkins-blogs.typepad.com/paul_tomkins_blog/2009/03/the-worst-lfcrelated-newspaper-article-ever.html), wherein you displayed your true colours. You are very articulate but it appears you are merely a more eductated version of the fans I so despise. When you can actually start acting like an adult and cut out all the childish insults then perhaps we can debate.

    To be clear: I couldn't care less when people slag me off - it's the principal. Why should I waste my time debating with people who can't stop themselves reverting to the 'he's a cunt!' stereotype?

  25. I apologize if you were offended by my calling you a "cretin". But by the same token, I could take umbrage from your unfettered contempt for fans like myself whom you characterise as "lowest denominator types, rabid sycophants etc. As far as my assessment of your arguments as "vacuous drivel", this is no different from what I state on this website. Also, I never engaged in any subterfuge by using an anonymous profile or anything of the sort. Nevertheless, I understand your ire, and, as is your prerogative, the decision to respond is ultimately yours.

  26. Howevwr just to reiterate, I realize that my personal insult was unwarranted, and for that I am sorry. Sometimes, as you might appreciate, football elicits passions that eschew respectable debate in favour of crass insults.

  27. Mr Kanwar , i would like to see your comments on the points mentioned by Kais-Sabir .


  28. Kais Sabir


    My assertion that Baros was played as a lone striker 'more often than not' is entirely accurate. You can't just look at a team sheet and see Djibril Cisse and Baros in the same team and *assume* they played as a strike partnership.

    Remembering the games that season very well *and* having recently watched the season review video, I can confirm categorically that in most of Baros' games he was played upfront alone. Cisse was usually played on the right/left OR Baros was shifted out of position to accommodate Cisse.

    The Mellor/Pongolle point is irrelevant considering Baros only played ONE game with each player for the entire season, and against Newcastle that year, Baros played predominantly on the left or off Mellor.

    And when it came to playing with Morientes, it was either Baros supporting Mori or vice-versa.

    In any event, this is Benitez we are talking about - he does not favour playing 2 upfront, and this has been proved in the last 5 years.

    Furthermore, it is not *just* Benitez to blame here - Baros was misused by Gerard Houllier too.

    Once again, you are completely missing my point about *potential*. Benitez could have gotten more out of both Cisse and Baros if he'd used them correctly. Instead, he played both players repeatedly on the wing and upfront alone, which is neither player's favoured position.

    Just look at the points total in 2004-2005 - pretty appalling, and that is down to mismanagement of available resources in my view.

    Re my point about ruining attacking players - using Gerrard and Torres as examples is ridiculous. Did I say ALL attacking players? No. AGAIN, You deliberately gloss over my underlying point about potential and mis-using attacking players.

    I fail to see how using goal scoring statistics proves anything. Is creativity solely confined to the scoring of goals?! No.

    Peter Crouch scored goals IN SPITE OF Benitez, not because of his influence. Benitez did everything he could to ruin Crouch - regularly dropping him after scoring, repeatedly using him as a sub *despite* Crouch being our top scorer; incessantly subbing him etc. What exactly is your point about Crouch anyway? It is a credit to the player that he did not allow Benitez's mismanagement to affect him.

    And Yossi Benayoun? Another player repeatedly messed about by Benitez; barley granted a regular starting place despite having more to offer creatively that the likes of Dirk Kuyt - Yossi is another player who has scored goals in spite of Benitez, not because of

    My point about Benitez being a ruiner of attacking players is based upon potential and used of that potential. The following players had/have great potential but have been misused:

    Ryan Babel: Never given a fair chance. Never given a run of games. Always benched after scoring. Never allowed to flourish. Never trusted.

    Craig Bellamy: Played out of position, including being played as a lone striker. Not allowed to fully express himself. Discounting Benitez's negative influence just because of the Riise incident is ridiculous.

    Dirk Kuyt: One of Holland's top strikers pre-Liverpool. Scored goals for fun. Benitez gets his claws into him and suddenly all his creativity and goalscoring prowess is gone. Instead of just being allowed to score goals, Benitez forces him to run 50 miles a game, focusing on defending rather than scoring. A waste of a striker.

    Peter Crouch: I've written extensively on this site about *how* he was mismanaged. I can't be bothered to repeat myself.

    Harry Kewell: World beater pre-Benitez. Double figure goal return in his first season (pre-Benitez). Massive form dive with Benitez. Coincidence? I think not.

    Fernando Morientes: Superb, experienced player. Excellent season in the French league prior to joining Liverpool. Arrives at Anfield and the curse of Benitez strikes again. Just like with Dirk Kuyt, Benitez forced Morientes to do more defending than attacking and ran him ragged, subjugating his creative.

    Robbie Keane: Subbed/on the bench for 28 of his 33 Liverpool appearances. Completely and utterly mismanaged; always benched after scoring; played out of position, i.e. played on the wing/as a lone striker. Keane is yet another prime example of how Benitez can completely misused talent and waste obvious potential.

    Torres aside, anyone who cannot see a pattern emerging with regards to the failure/mismanagement of Strikers under Benitez is being deliberately blinkered.

    Jermaine Pennant: Has this guy *ever* been given a proper chance to flourish? NO. He has talent and is an actual winger, but has he ever been given a run of games to prove himself? NO. Once again, a complete waste of potential.

    The fact is, all of the above players PLUS the likes of Yossi Benayoun have been misused. Another Manager could've gotten more out of these players; Benitez just choked the creativity out of them - or, in the case of Crouch, tried his damndest to stifle him.

  29. This article was another example of you changing the goal posts to make negative points .

    You make a list here of attacking players that you descibe like this - "In my view, none of the above were/are good enough to be first team regulars for Liverpool. Many of them were not even good enough to be mere squad players. The club needed to invest in proven creative talent, not squad-filling journeymen."

    This list includes nearly every attacking player rafa inherited.

    In another article discussing rafa and fergies early years you say rafa inherited "a squad full of excellent players" and he had an easy job just to add a couple and win the league.

    So are they excellent or rubbish?

    The only player you say was good enough is Baros.
    You describe him as having "superb ability " and put forward the notion that rafa should have based his whole formation and tactics around this "fact" to get the most out of him.

    When others have suggested rafa should do this with gerrard you laughed in their faces. Why build a team round anyone as good as Gerrard ( before torres arrived) when you can build round baros?

    I know you dislike Gerrard for other reasons, but he has proved over the last few seasons that his goal scoring prowess and creativity ( for lfc) far exceeds anything Baros has ever achieved anywhere.
    I know Baros is scoring quite freely in Turkey but how many would Gerrard score in that far inferior league?

    I asked in another thread -
    what were your REALISTIC expectations of rafa when he 1st took over? ( still waitng for an answer)

    You say here all the attacking players he inhertited where crap yet seem to insist he should have almost easily won the league with them.

  30. Alot of the players mentioned came with promising futures and where sought after by other top clubs or so we were led to believe. I remember 'the Echo' headline saying Baros the Czech Maradona, or something to that effect. Cheyrou was labelled as 'The next Zidane', Mark Kennedy came with the world at his feet, but there were some shocking buys and a terrible amount of money wasted. Dundee, Meijer, Diomede, to think we paid 11m for Diouf, ahh the lists you have provided are full absolute shockers, bad buys indeed. What about Kozma, Piechnik and Jimmy Carter. Thats twice now in the space of  a week that i've mentioned Jimmy Carter!! Might have to see someone about that.. ;)

  31. Kozma, Piechnik and Carter were indeed disaster buys.  While we're on the subject, what about Bjorn Tore Kvarme?  What a nightmare he was.  I remember a particularly high profile mistake he made against Everton, losing the ball to Danny Cadamarteri, who went on to score. 

  32. Lost interest in this article when I read <span>Kuyt wasn't good enough to be a squad player and </span>that you though Cisse and Baros <span>were effective creative players. Possibly the two worst players I have witnessed at Anfield in 25 years.