Gerard Houllier - RIP :-(

12 May 2009

Change the record, Rafa – The buck stops with you

Rafael Benitez has once again cited Liverpool’s lack of spending power as the reason the club cannot close the gap on Manchester United. I’m sorry, but the use of this lame excuse needs to be outlawed because - as this season proves - money has absolutely nothing to with Liverpool’s league success.

In a recent interview, Rafa stated:

"It [Winning the league] is still very difficult when you analyse the financial power of Chelsea, United and Arsenal with the money they can spend."

This kind of defeatist thinking needs to stop - it is the ultimate cop-out and allows the manager to relinquish responsibility for the reality of the situation, which is that Liverpool have failed to win the title because of avoidable human error.

Let’s look at the facts:

1. Second in the premiership on 80 points
2. Only 3 points behind what Alex Ferguson calls his ‘greatest squad ever’
3. Top goal-scorers in the league
4. Least number of defeats in the league (2 less than Man United)

5. All of this achieved despite Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres being injured during the season.

6. As a follow on point to #5 above - Gerrard and Torres have only starting 12 league games together this season.

Pretty good showing despite allegedly not being able to compete with Man U and Chelsea financially!

With the above points in mind, I really fail to see how supposed lack of money has affected the team in any way this season.

Surely it proves the opposite point – that weaker spending power doesn’t really make that much difference at all.

The question of whether the club is *actually* in a weaker position financially is a question for another article, but as last summer’s farcical transfer activity proves, throwing money at the team is not always the best solution.

The title was there for the taking this season, and make no mistake, Liverpool *should* have won it. The team’s probable failure to stop Man United equalling our league record has *nothing* to do with money and everything to do with mistakes made by Rafa and the players.

Once again, let’s take a look at the facts:

1. Eleven draws in the league this season
2. Seven draws at Anfield alone equalling 14 points dropped
3. Rafa’s January rant, after which followed a barren run in the league

Many of this season’s eleven draws *could* have been turned into wins if Rafa had dropped his cautious approach a little earlier in the season.

Indeed, I would gladly trade the 4-1 hammering of United at Old Trafford for wins over Stoke City, Fulham, Hull, Portsmouth and Wigan.

Yes, it’s true that we’ve been treated to some fantastic attacking football over the last two months - and it's been a joy to watch - but it’s all too little too late.

Excessive league draws is an ongoing problem under Rafa’s reign and it needs to be addressed. Last season, the club drew 13 games in the league; this season it’s eleven.

Instead of moaning about lack of spending power, Rafa should be focusing on cutting these figures by 50%.

Consider this: If Liverpool had converted 5 of last season’s 13 draws into wins, we would’ve finished on 86 points, only one point behind Man United.

And if just 3 of this season’s eminently winnable draws had been converted into victories, the club would be on 86 points right now, 3 ahead of United with superior goal difference.

It’s sickening to think we came so close to the title but blew it because we couldn’t beat Stoke City and Hull.

Again, I ask the question: What exactly does money have to do with failing to beat the poorest teams in the league at Anfield?

Nothing.

The current squad is still lacking flair and pace in some areas but it’s clear that if you get the best out of this squad it is good enough to win the league.

The sad reality is that before March 2009, Rafa was not consistently getting the best out of this squad. He is now, which is great, but it will all be moot if the positive approach of the second half of this season does not continue next season.

Ultimately, I think we should be honest here: Rafa has had plenty of money to spend – he has bought well on occasion but he has also scandalously wasted money on players who were never going to fit in.

It’s time for Rafa to stop passing the buck and moaning about what other teams are spending. He should take his own advice (as repeated over and over in his infamous press conference last season) and start focusing only on his team and *consistently* getting the best out of the squad.

If that happens for an entire season, Liverpool can and will win the league.

If money really *is* such a huge reason why Liverpool haven't caught Man United this season, I’d be really interested in hearing examples of exactly *how* our alleged lack of transfer funds has had such a negative impact.

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68 comments:

  1. Is there more to these comments than meets the eye though I wonder?

    I totally agree that on the surface we do not need these seemingly defeatist comments but for once I actually think Benitez is saying the right things.

    If you take the comments on face value then yes they are out of place but if you compare and contrast them to other comments made by Benitez this season post "rant" then a clearer picture becomes visible.

    Benitez is not saying what he believes anymore, he is now saying what he believes we need to hear.

    For the first time as Liverpool manager there is no way he can claim that this is not completely his squad full of players he wanted to sign. He is also smart enough to know all that which you have stated and has in fact proved this point by saying that he is happy with his squad and belives "1 or 2 additions" are all that are needed. Again I completely agree with Rafa which is not something that has happened all that often in the past.

    So if Rafa knows more than he is saying then why this outburst about money AGAIN? I think the answer is as simple as he wants us to remain the underdogs and is merely trying to manage expectations.

    Personall my expectations of LFC have never been higher. I believe we are in the best position to not only win the league next season but to then build on that success if we do. So is it possible that Benitez is merely trying to temper the expectations of fans like myself? I actually believe it is, he knows what he has and he knows how close he is.

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  2. Progress has been good this year and there is always one negative doom merchant who really should be working on talksport.

    You are looking into things too deeply mate. He's only stating facts, that the league is difficult to win because some clubs can spend more on top players than us.

    And I can't fathom why a 'cautious' team are top scorers in the prem??????????

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  3. What world do you live in? United can have players of the skill of Ronaldo on the bench and have players like Rooney on the field. We've got Ngog as a replacement for Torres. Good player with potential but not on the level of Rooney or Ronaldo or even Tevez, Berbatov. Where United can spend £30 mil on 2 unproven youngsters (Nani, Anderson) we can only have wet dreams about spending that much on youngsters. If you recall, we had the deal for Ronaldo done at £6 mil but United came in, doubled it, and we couldn't compete.

    Are you honestly saying that money has no effect on league position? Facts are that United or Chelsea have won the league in the last 5 years, and guess what? They spent the most!

    By your logic, teams like West Ham, Portsmouth, Villa, etc should be challenging for the league because they have had managers in the past who have got the best out of the players. Harry Redknapp should have at least won one European cup cos he gets the best out his players and lack of money is not an excuse

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  4. Anon there is no doubt that in certain games where we have drawn we have not done nearly enough to at least try and win those games.

    We have been a far better side than United in general however their willingness to risk a point to gain 3 will more than likely be our undoing.

    Love them (doubt many on here will) or hate them they know what it takes to win the title and we quite simply for too long have not known.

    If Rafa sticks with his new attacking mentality then sure we may lose more games but conversely I believe given the quality we have we will pick up more points and that is all that matters.

    Cautious Football has its place but West Ham and Fulham at home are not that place!

    I'm more than willing to put Stoke down to "one of those days" and that was actually a game we won if the officials had done their job.

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  5. Excellent article, Jamie - and you're completely correct.

    In the next week, I'll be sending you an article (finally) expanding on some of the same themes - but you're right on the money here.

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  6. Hey Richie - I'm with you in that my expectations for LFc are higher than they've been for a long time. Interesting point about us remaining underdogs but based on Rafa's history - both here and in Spain - I really believe that he actually still feels he doesn't have enough money to compete. It's like he won't be happy until he has the same money Fergie et al have, even if it's not really needed to be successful.

    If the current squad remained fit for a whole season, I personally think it could go close to winning the league next season, without any further additions.

    The level of cash Rafa has had during his reign is more than enough in my view. No one forced him to spend £20m on Robbie Keane last year - he could've spent that on a top class creative mid/winger and the team would undoubtedly have been better off.

    I have a nagging fear that this season could be Liverpool's best ever chance under Benitez - next season, Man U, Chelsea and Arsenal will strenghten; Chelsea will be more settled; Arsenal can only improve and United will have another cash bonanza after (probably) winning both the league and the Champions League.

    It will be much harder next season, which is why throwing the league away this season is such a bitter pill to swallow.

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  7. Man Utd have had a lot of games they could have drawn at home this season but have usually had £100 million on the bench compared to our £20 million.

    They have pulled £50 or £60 million worth of talent on for the last 30 minutes. We have had to bring on sloppy seconds.

    Rafa will have money to spend in the Summer but chances are he will spend a lot less than Fergie who already has a stronger squad. Chelsea will outspend him as will Man City and Arsenal. Chances are clubs like Aston Villa, Tottenham and a couple of others may well spend similar amounts.

    Rafa has taken a lot of stick but he has done a lot more with a lot less than his counterparts.

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  8. You can state logic as an arguement then ignore the fact that two of the richest sides in europe sit below us.

    Money is part of the equation certainly but I believe we have more than enough to compete, and what is more Rafa knows it.

    As for United, it always amuses me about how people talk about how much they have spent but never seem to acknowledge that they have been able to spend that kind of money by consistently being the best side in England and supplementing their big purchases with youth and squad players, something we need to do more next season with the likes of Darby, Nemeth, Insua (who i've been saying for ages is the best LB we have) and perhaps even Pacheco.

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  9. Look at the Man Utd bench yesterday, the fact is they have a squad that can deal with injuries better than us. World class strikers Berbatov, Rooney, Tevez. We have one, if Keane had worked out it might have been different.

    The problem is us missing Torres is fatal, Man Utd could loose Rooney for the season and still have support.

    When Rafa buys he has sell players first, so you are clearly talking s**t if you think money is not an issue.

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  10. Jaimie I know where you are coming from and perhaps some of it is that Benitez wants the owners to know the cash still needs to be spent BUT I don't think for a minute Rafa is a manager who needs or particularly wants a botomless pit of cash.

    If you look at the players he has identified before they were priced out of the market he has a definite eye for talent.

    If you look at the Barry debarcle I would suggest he dodged a bullet but that is only my own personal feeling and he may not have been forced to sign Keane but he was not his first choice either. Right or wrong he was not in the position that Ferguson has enjoyed from DAY ONE at United which is anyone he wanted he at least got the CHANCE to sign.

    Had Benitez had this luxury/basic requirement (depends how you look at it) we could have had the likes of Villa, Higuain, Alves et al but he didn't and this is where I believe the crux of the matter lies.

    As for your opinions on the rest of the "top 4" well I have my own and they will become clear with my first article later this week, not to give too much away but I'm not of the same opinion. :P

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  11. Cheers Nidge - I'll look forward to your article :-)

    @Anon - yes, I am arguing that money has had no effect on our league position this season. How can it have? We're second in the league with 80 points; top scorers with the least number of defeats! We practically have the best record in all areas for the entire league, and all this has been achieved with a supposed lack of spending power.

    So I ask you - how exactly has money had any positive or negative impact on our league position this year?

    We had money to spend last summer and with the arguable exception of Albert Riera, we blew it.

    My point is that there is no causal link between lack of transfer funds and the success of this team. get the best out of this squad and it will win the league.

    It's not even a case of catching Man United - We caught them! We were 7 points clear at one stage but the same old frailties that have plagued us over the last 10 years predictably sabotaged us again.

    United may have a slightly better sqaud than us at the moment but that is not the be all and end all. If the squad was the only thing that mattered then it would follow that we would be nowhere near United right now, would it not?

    That's not the case - we're right at the top still and that's because our squad is performing at its highest level.

    If it had been this way since the start of the season we would be out of sight right now.

    As Richie said above, if Rafa sticks with this new attacking mentality then we will have a brilliant chance next season. We might lose more games, but we'd win more too.

    The ultimate proof of this is United: they've lost 4 games in the league and we've only lost 2 but they're still ahead of us with a game in hand!

    Why? They've won more games than us - it's that simple. 16 wins at home to our 11. A pretty big difference and one that needs to be rectified next season if we are to actually win the league.

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  12. Mr Lunt, it maybe that 2 of the top sides are below us, but we're still not top and haven't won anything. those 2 sides went further than us in all cup competitions. Are you honestly saying £20 mil net is enough to compete at the highest level? cos thats approximately how much Rafa has spent each season. If that is what you're saying please let me know what you are smoking cos it sounds like some good shit.

    We, as Liverpool fans, should be supporting Rafa, cos he has done a lot, our 1st proper challenge on the league. The true villians and the 1s we should be criticising are the yanks.

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  13. He's taking the pressure off his team, and diverting the attention to the other teams you moron.

    What a garbage site this is. Your opinion is pathetic.

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  14. @Anon - your point about missing Torres is a valid one, however, it is not really borne out by the facts this season. Liverpool have done just fine without Torres and Gerrard this season. Yes, we need more back-up for Torres but Rafa *could* have bought adequate support for Torres but he blew it by spending £20m on a player who obviously wouldn't fit into the team.

    Rafa could have spent £10-12m on a striker who perhaps wouldn't expect to start every game and who would not mind deputising for Torres, but he chose the wrong option.

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  15. If you can't see what difference having quality squad members represents then you've clearly got the same analytical brilliance of Andy Gray

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  16. Why is it the people who have nothing to say always give short replies and usually include insults?

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  17. I don't understand what the writer here is trying to do. He is saying that Money is no reason for Liverpool not winning the league, then uses his 'facts' of Gerard and Torres being injured for large parts.
    Isn't that the arguement against? With more money Liverpool would have had other world class players to come in instead. If this was Utd's bench then Gerard and Torres would be replaced by Berbatov and Tevez. That bench is purely down to money for strength in depth!
    I'm not sure if the author has made a mistake here, is stupid or is just a young kid (Appologies for the stupid thing if you are just a kid).

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  18. The only reason Arsenal went further in Europe is they played significantly weaker opposition. Villarreal were struggling to get 11 players on the park at the time and they still gave Arsenal a decent game.

    If as you say Rafa has spent 20 mill net and that is not enough to compete, then why are we doing exactly that?

    Money well spent is better than more money wasted and Rafa and Wenger prove that point.

    United are not top just because they have more money, one of their main men this season has been Darren Fletcher a player hardly out of our price range, another has been Ji Sung Park once again well within our budget. The money they spent on Berbatov has been a spectacular waste thus far and Tevez was not bought but loaned for a price we could have afforded.

    Rafael and his brother Fabio were bought for relative pennies from Fluminese and are both excellent prospects with Rafael showing more at the moment due to playing time in his area of the field being more readily available.

    Van Der Sar was hardly megabucks nor Vidic though this is an example where United's superior budget won out.

    Rooney and Ferdinand are the only example in the United side where their superior budget has won out.

    What about Ronaldo? Well if we had more nouse and had worked quicker to secure his signing then we could have got him for less than half of what United paid.

    The players are out there and you don't need a bottomless pit of cash to compete you just need to make the right signings at the right time and supplement those signings with squad players be they youth players or otherwise and United have been doing this for years.

    If it were all about money then Chelsea would be top, Real would have won La Liga far more than they have including this season, Bayern would still be unbelievably dominant in Germany, Lyon would not have lost their title this year and AZ would not be the dutch champions. Look even further afield and Ruben would not be the Russian champions.

    FOOTBALL IS NOT ALL ABOUT MONEY and teams below the champions (top half) are closing the gap now more than ever with their scouting networks and scientific approaches to the game improving by the season.

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  19. I think the problem is that at the highest level of football you get what you pay for. We spend £25 mill on Torres and get a match winning player. We spent £7 mill on Riera and you get a good solid pro who might have a moment of inspiration now and again but generally is just a squad player. The mancs have know that for years, hence them shelling out £30 mill for Rooney, £30 mill for Ferdinand, £32 mill for Berbatov etc. Also Chelsea - their best player, the ones who generally win matches for them, have been Essien (£25 mill?), Drogba (£27 mill) and Lampard.

    The problem Rafa has is that he cannot afford a superstar. If he were to spend £30 mill on Villa or Silva, thats his entire transfer budget for the summer gone in one go. So we will end up again with 3 or 4 average players and hope that one ends up punching above his weight.

    Yes - we need a new striker, but we can't afford £25 mill on Tevez, because we also need a couple of wide players and perhaps cover for Areboloa at right back. Rafa has spent money, but he has done it by selling on players at a profit, and completely overhauling the squad in small steps rather than chucking say £80 mill on a midfield such as Carrick, Hargreaves, Nani and Anderson.

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  20. @Richie - Superb points. You're absolutely right - success in football is not just about money; it's about buying the right players that fit seamlessly into the system, irrespective of the price.

    Liverpool of old made an art of doing this - just look at the signings of the likes of Keegan, Toshack, Rush, Hansen, Dalglish, Souness, Barnes, Beardsley, Aldridge etc. Rush came from Chester; Hansen came from Partick Thistle (!).

    And it doesn't always follow that spending shedloads of money = success. There are numerous examples of this over the years across all top 4 clubs so I don't even need to provide examples.

    @ Anon - Rafa is once again using the excuse that not having the same spending power as Chelsea etc has hindered LFC's ability to win the league. I think my point is very clear: *Not* having the same spending power has had arguably no impact on the club's ability to win the league, so it is not a valid excuse.

    If we were langushing in 6th place right now about 30 points behind Man U then perhaps it would be valid, but when you are only 3 points off the top with 2 games to go; have the best goal difference; least number of defeats; all without having the spending power of CH and MU, money clearly doesn't come into it, especially when the loss of the league can be traced to some very specific points in the season.

    As I said in the article, the irrefutable fact is if we had converted 3 of the 11 draws into wins, we would be top of the table now with 86 points, with superior goal difference and most definitely in the driving seat.

    And this is not a gargantuan task we're talking about here - it would only have meant beating Stoke, Hull and Wigan, something that we should be able to achieve comfortably without spending £50m on world superstars.

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  21. Jaimie, regarding your last comment (Liverpool made an art of doing this...).
    You're comparing apples and pears. Back in the day, players were often plucked from obscurity based on huge potential. You're quite right, though, that there was a very special art to doing this. That said, if you look at two of the very best managers that this country's top flight has ever seen - Clough and Shankly - they knew only too well that in order to compete, you had to have money. Back then, there were lots of very accomplished talent scouts vying for the top talent. If someone spotted a gem in one of the lower divisions, it took time and money to convince them to come to Derby/Forest or Liverpool. Big 'Ed often got into trouble for splashing the cash, while Shanks was instrumental in getting the Moores family to spend big.
    The more contemporary issue of whether Rafa can rightly blame lack of financial firepower next to the Mancs... well, yes, of course he can. Liverpool undoubtedly have stand out players, but it's when one, two, or three of them have been out at a time that we have struggled. The Mancs don't have that problem because they have had years and years to build a very solid foundation, onto which they have been able to add piecemeal (and very expensive) new additions. Rafa has been here for a few seasons now, and this is probably the first (arguably) where he's had his own team. Now, if we give him a little time to start adding to this great foundation, then I guarantee we will be back on top soon enough.
    So, let's stop looking for every excuse to Rafa-bash (you quoted the best stats we've ever had in the Prem, yet still you complain), and let's get behind the man. This is the Liverpool family, after all.

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  22. @Billywhizz - this is not Rafa-bashing at all. It's valid criticism in my view, but I can see how you would interpret my post in that way.

    I have to disagree with you re the impact of Liverpool struggling when major players are out. Take Steven Gerrard for example - I categorically proved in a recent article that Liverpool do not struggle without him, and this has definitely been the case this season:

    http://www.liverpool-kop.com/2009/04/revealed-ultimate-proof-that-liverpool.html

    And we've done fine without Torres this season too. Gerrard and Torres are clearly important players but they are not the be all and end all. As is usually the case, other squad members have to step up when they're out, and they have done so admirably this season.

    I agree with you re the current squad though - this is Rafa's squad now and if he adds to the foundation smartly and effectively then there are bright times ahead.

    Whether Rafa will buy the right players to move the team up a level remains to be seen though. I have to admit I don't have the utmost confidence in his transfer market dealings.

    Rafa can't get it so wrong 2 years in a row though...can he?

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  23. It seems that the only reason all these points are now being discussed is because Rafa has definitely closed the gap on United this season. As the man says, "Watch what I do, don't listen to what I say!" Of course it's disappointing if Liverpool doesn't catch Utd., but if the 'Pool finish on 85 or 86 points, only a few behind Man. U., that's real progress. Let's remember that not long ago lots of nay sayers (wasn't Jamie Kanwar one of them?) were saying that Liverpool would never win the league under RB--he was too obstinate and didn't learn from his mistakes. This season has proved that view wrong. It's always possible he might not end up winning the PL (though I think he will)--but it won't be because he was "incapable" of doing it. Look at the Leeds team of the 60s and 70s: they only won the league twice, but came second umpteen times. Some of those seconds might obviously have been firsts--they didn't come second only because they were incapable of coming first (just like the Dalglish team that lost the title in the last game to Arsenal never lost it because they were "incapable" of winning it).

    RB has changed everything in 5 years and put Liverpool back in a position to challenge strongly on every front for the next 5 years. I would really like to hear JK come out and say "Thanks Rafa; like everyone else, you've made a few mistakes along the way, but on the whole you've done a terrific job."

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  24. Sorry, I wasn't clear. I agree that we are good enough to cope without the individual absences of Gerrard, Torres, Masch, Alonso etc. But when we have two or three out at a time, we struggle. Chelsea and Man U don't have that problem, because they have enough big name players to cope (Chelsea were without Essien for a large part of this season, at times without Carvalho too, and then add a sprinkling of other injuries into the mix; Man U have played most of the season without Neville, while they had a recent pile up of concurrent suspensions). If you take Torres, Alonso and Gerrard out of our team, for example, then I believe we would struggle a bit.

    I agree with your point that we have one of the best teams in the league - proven fact! However, I still believe that the squad isn't quite there. Rafa needs to bring in those key big name players to compete fully, and I can see why he's a little worried. But, if he does manage to get it right this close season (especially now that Parry is out of the way), then we may be in for happy days.

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  25. @Anonymous 4:00 PM, MAY 11, 2009

    Good points. I think you need to bear in mind that Mr Kanwar is a very good Devil's Advocate. I think his views are there to stir up comment from the rest of us. It does work, though he does sometimes go a little too far to the right for my liking. Still, I'm very much looking forward to seeing Rafa prove him wrong :)

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  26. @Anon - My view has not changed; I still do not think Liverpool will win the title under Benitez and I have been consistent with that view from day 1. This season is *precisely* why I feel that way - arguably the best chance since 1995-1997 to win the league; ahead of United by 7 points and *still* we somehow conspire to throw it away, and Rafa is mostly to blame for this.

    I try and be positive and hope that Rafa will maintain this attacking philosophy, but I just can't see Liverpool winning the league next year.

    And if a manager repeatedly fails to win the league then it is fair to say they are incapable of winning it. Gerard Houllier's team came 2nd in 2002 but never progressed beyond that; thus, he was incapable of bringing Liverpool the league.

    The Leeds/Dalglish examples you mention are not really valid since both Leeds and Dalglish's Liverpool actually won the title, so they were obviously capable.

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  27. I recall in our match against Stoke the commentator saying something very significant - "When you look at Liverpool's bench they don't have any match winners they can bring on.That is the key. Man Utd has that 2 or three players on their bench that could be brought on to change the game.

    Look at what the introduction of Tevez did to a Tottenham team that were in full control of the game. I liken Liverpool's pursuit of the title to a basketball team down 20pts heading into the 4th quarter. They have to expend alot of energy($$) to close the gap but must expend even more energy ($$) to take the lead. We've had to spend alot of money to get the right players in to close the gap but to actually get the lead we have to spend a little more.

    At present the squad is built well and nicely balanced to compete but to get over the top we need that extra quality to deal with the absences of a Gerrard or Torres or Alonso etc. What one must keep in mind is that the rest of the top 4 are definitely going to strengthen in the close season. Everton are going to get stronger, so too Villa, Tottenham and Man City. We too have to strengthen and the question is who do you go and get. Based on reports the amt of money being put forward would only be able to garner 1 really quality player at best when most of us agree we would need at least 2 (striker and winger).

    I think the manager is right in saying that yes we have spent money and yes we have closed the gap but to get over the hump we have to get that quality player or 2 and that costs money.

    I haven't been reading the articles on this site for too long now but from what I have read Jaimie you're not really objective. Your anti-Rafa slant is very evident and clearly clouds some of your conclusions. Not saying that the man hasn't made mistakes along the way, which manager hasn't but u seem to be looking for point of contention where none really exist.

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  28. @Garvin - thanks for your comments. I don't hold myself out as being objective; I don't profess to offer a balanced view; what I write is my own personal opinion, just like every other writer on the site. Why do I need to be objective? Football is all about opinion. If you want objectivity, you should go and read the BBC website.

    I agree with your basketball analogy, but the thing people seem to be ignoring is Liverpool *could* have that extra match-winner this season if Rafa had spent last summer's transfer funds wisely.

    He didn't - he spent £20 on Robbie Keane and tried to change a winning system. Anyone could see that was going to fail. Just imagine if Rafa had bought some other player for £20m who *did* fit the system...it's conceivable we'd be ahead of Man United right now.

    We didn't have any matchwinners on the bench at Stoke because Rafa made sure we didn't.

    And re the Tevez example - he is not happy at Man U and will leave in the summer. We don't need a similar situation at Liverpool where we have a first team player always sitting on the bench; it just breeds resentment and bad feeling.

    This is why building a squad is such a complexe science; you need to buy the right players at the right stage of progression and be 100% sure they'lll be happy with their role in the team.

    I don't think Rafa has done this very effectively at times.

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  29. Hindsight is very much 20-20 isn't it regarding Keane. I'm not sure that anyone at the time would have thought that that would have gone the way it did but so be it. And for the record I think Rafa didn't give the guy enough consistent opportuinities to prove himself. Show me the manager who is 100% right in the transfer market. Mistakes will be made but i think he's done well in the transfer market.

    I see u miss the point regarding the Tevez example. At Man Utd u have Tevez, Rooney and Berbatov battling for one maybe 2 striking spots while at liverpool all we have is Torres. Furthermore the only reason Tevez is griping is not so much the bench time but the fact that he hasn't gotten a contract offer from the club. With the amount of games to be played especially with World Cup Qualifiers and the World Cup on the horizon players are going to get injured. Torres is insistent on playing in the Confederations Cup meaning very little rest and healing time for him this summer. Have no doubt there will be ample opportunity for another top class striker to get games.

    The bottom line is that what we need are 1 or 2 more difference makers in the squad and to get these types u have to spend the $$. Rumor has it that Rafa will get $20M (pounds) for the transfer market. What difference maker(s) would you get with that alone? Who are you gonna sell to supplement the amt of $$ u have in hand? This is y I agree with the manager in letting ppl know we have closed the gap yes but there is still alot to be done to overcome the obstacle in front of us.

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  30. "The Leeds/Dalglish examples you mention are not really valid since both Leeds and Dalglish's Liverpool actually won the title, so they were obviously capable."

    So if he does win it in the next 5 years, then that will prove everything you've said so far to be wrong? My suspicion is that if he does win it, you will change the goalposts and say he was "lucky", there was an absence of "opposition", etc. Presumably the fact that he has won the CL means that he is capable of doing that--though I would certainly admit that he and the team had amazing fortune on that occasion. On the same theme, do you remember Brian Clough winning the old D1 sat on his backside while Liverpool and Leeds failed to win their final games and leapfrog Derby. I think no one was more surprised than BC himself. Also, Clough never won the FA Cup--so are we supposed to assume he was "incapable" of winning it because he never did? I would rather believe that he never won it because he was unlucky or came up against great teams at critical times. No doubt if he'd had the fortune to play Sunderland in the final--as Graeme Souness--did, he WOULD have won it. Finally, let's not forget that a great Liverpool team that included Billy Liddell couldn't win the FA Cup either (though they did win the league). Does that mean they were "incapable" of winning it? I don't think so. It merely means that, though a good team, they didn't do so. Let's also not forget the giant killers and minnows who actually have done amazing things in cup finals (Sunderland comes to mind again against Leeds in the 70s winning 1-0 at Wembley.

    The point is that RB has already proved himself a fine manager and--as in other cases--if he wins the PL one time he's likely enough to win it several times. It was also RB who saw the potential for a Gerrad-Torres partnership--or maybe you don't rate that either, JK?

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  31. On simple mathmatics rafa is correct.

    Liverpool have had 26 players that have made at least one appearance for the 1st team this season (and are still in the current squad - so this doesnt include pennant, voronin and keane). Those 26 players cost £129.8mill. ( average cost per player is 4.99mill )

    Manu have used 30 players this year which cost £209.6mill to assemble.( average cost per player is 6.98mill )

    So fergie has spent £79.8mill more than rafa assembling their current squads. Not an insubstantial amount of money.

    imagine the team rafa could have assembled if he had players in his current squad worth an extra 80mill.

    I know people will say " but rafa has spent a gazillion pounds since he has been at the club"

    I dont care how much rafa is supposed to have spent over the last 5 years I am just pointing out his CURRENT squad cost far less to assemble than fergies.

    Fergie also has 8 players in his current squad that cost more than 11mill, Rafa has only 3.

    Manu also rake in loads more money than liverpool every home game due to their much larger stadium.

    When was the last time fergie had to sell to buy? Never.

    So rafa is correct ,it is hard to compete finacially with manu.

    However, all that aside, rafa has assembled a squad that has been challenging for the title nearly all season and should be applauded for doing so.

    Jaimie - as you say we only needed to turn a few of those 11 draws into wins to be sitting above manu now.

    Out of those 11 draws, gerrard and torres only started together in 2 of them. In the other 9 one or the other was missing.

    I know you have already glossed over this point by saying we dont really miss our two most potent attackers but thats just silly.

    Out of the 12 games they have started together this season they have scored 16 goals .
    39 goals between them in all competitions.

    Its not too much of a stretch to think that if they had started together in a few more of those draws the results would have been different.

    Yes the squad players have stepped up the last few months but everyone has to admit that we stand a better CHANCE of winning games when both of them start. They score goals far more freely than any other players in the squad.

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  32. If Rafa goes on to win the league in the next 5 years then I will simply admit I was wrong give praise where it is due. I truly hope I am proved wrong because obviously I want Liverpool to win the league.

    I accept your point about Derby winning the league, but irrespective of how they ultimately won it, they deserved the title. They won the most games that season, lost the least and scored 112 goals along the way. So, whether Clough was surprised or not, he was clearly capable of winning the title.

    Perhaps incapable is the wrong word; whatever word you use to describe it though, the fact remains that managers are judged on trophies and if Liverpool do not win the title under Benitez it means that, for whatever reason, he was simply not able to push the team to the required level.

    Re Gerrard/Torres partnership - it didn't take prodigious footballing intelligence to figure that one out - it was a natural progression, especially since Gerrard had tried practically every other position and not really settled effectively.

    Of course I rate their partnership; however, that doesn't mean it's infallible. Liverpool still need a plan B, and as we saw against Chelsea (CL semi 1st leg) when Gerrard was marked out of the game Liverpool had no plan B.

    I do not dispute that RB is a fine manager - he undoubtedly is but he should've won the league this season. When the dust has settled and people can see this season a little more objectively, they will realise how badly the club blew the best chance in years to win the title.

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  33. Chelsea had spent far more than Manchester United ahead of the 06-07 season. United were 8 points clear on the day the title was won that year though.

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  34. Jamie reread what you wrote and tell me again money doesn't matter..
    "I have a nagging fear that this season could be Liverpool's best ever chance under Benitez - next season, Man U, Chelsea and Arsenal will strenghten; Chelsea will be more settled; Arsenal can only improve and United will have another cash bonanza after (probably) winning both the league and the Champions League.
    It will be much harder next season," Kinda contradicts your whole article doesn't it.

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  35. I don't for a minute buy this idea that you need multi million pound superstars on the bench.

    No one is saying money doesnt matter that's just stupid what we are saying is that we now have enough and this is evidenced by being able to sign a player like Torres and us being told we will have money to do likewise next season as well as being able to waste money on Keane and still compete.

    As for the idea of Shankly being a better manager than Paisley? Not a chance. People say Shankly was a better leader and motivator but I don't agree. Just because Paisley was quiet it doesn't mean he didn't motivate the players, you only have to hear the story from the players about how he told them he was the Liverpool manager.

    "I didn't even want the bloody job".

    Shankly gave this club an identity which you can never underestimate and for that reason he will always rightly have his place in our hearts and the history books but anyone who thinks he was a better manager than Paisley, well let me politely say I'd love them to explain that one to me especially since I see Paisley (as many do) as the greatest club manager the game has ever seen.

    Where does this idea come from that if you spend more money then that automatically makes for a better player.

    Shevchenko anyone? Veron? Want an up to date example, I'd take Benayoun in our squad over Nani every day of the week yet look at the difference in price.

    Xabi Alonso was cheaper than Anderson and again I know who I would rather have.

    When Houllier bought Hyypia did his price make him any less of an Anfield great?

    People seem to look at things very much in black and white when it comes to money and especially in football this is very rarely the case.

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  36. richie - you cant say its "very rarely the case " that the more money you spend on a player the better he will be.

    You quote a couple of well known expensive flops and a couple of cheaper players that turned out good. That is hardly overwhelming evidence.

    Especially since most of the expensive flops you quote were bought by fergie who has overpaid for years to make sure he gets his targets ( as did chelsea when they were splashing the cash and something rafas never had the luxury to do )

    Of course there are no guarantees but I would say more often than not you do get what you pay for. If that wasnt the case why isnt every team challenging for major honours every year?

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  37. "I do not dispute that RB is a fine manager - he undoubtedly is but he should've won the league this season. When the dust has settled and people can see this season a little more objectively, they will realise how badly the club blew the best chance in years to win the title."

    That may be true if he never wins the PL over the next 5 years. If he does, then this season will just be seen as having been a stepping stone along the way.

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  38. Was 16.9 out of our price range for Arshavin? Clearly not as we bought Keane for more and for anyone who bothered to watch England v Russia, the UEFA Cup last year or the European Championships it was obvious where the money was better spent!

    Luka Modric is another superb player who could have easily been acquired for less than we paid for Keane.

    We have more than enough money to compete and also the way Liverpool fans (of which I am one) cry about finances all the time makes me sick.

    Reina - 6m - decent price for a keeper and money well spent.

    Dossena - 7m - but remember you get what you pay for..... (Insua will go for double this when he moves on and Aurelio was free so money didn't matter here)

    Agger - 5.8m - money very well spent

    Skrtel - 6m - if he could learn to head a ball he would be the perfect foil for agger in the future again proof that it isnt what you spend it's the way you spend it

    Arbeloa - 2.6m - absolute bargain and a quality player who continues to improve


    So a look at the back 5 (minus homegrown players) shows that having less money has not hurt us in any way as a unit which is what matters.

    Mascherano - Undisclosed but believed to be around 17 mill but remember we have no money....

    Xabi Alonso - 10.5 - For me the best buy Rafa has made and if he had 5 times the amount he couldn't have done any better an exceptional player so you don't always need the outrageous cash.

    Lucas - 6m - certainly haven't had what we paid for in this case (sorry chris) although he is improving so maybe one day hopefully.

    Bennynoon - 5m - think we got a bit more than we paid for here wouldn't you say? Think Rafa certainly would (hold my hands up didn't think he could ever be as good as he has turned out to be despite liking him when he played for Racing)

    Babel - 10.5 - perfect example of how again we have not had anything like what we paid for, again hopefully he will turn it around.

    Riera - 8m - not a bad mid season buy when you just spunked 19m on a player you drove out of the club, again though we never get any money ....

    Kuyt - 9m - how important has he been this season?

    Fernando Torres - 26.5m - well yeah certainly got what we paid for here

    So I have to ask, who of these players who have come so close to the title, won trophies and are improving as a team by the day would we be swopping and which multimillion quid strop artist would we be pissing off by leaving on the bench?

    We have the money to compete ..... hence why we are competing.

    Now add Carra and Gerrard and supplement them with youth like Darby, Insua, N'gog, Nemeth and in the not so distant future pacheco and tell me how it is we are not competitive!

    If we don't sign two or three top class players next season then I would agree we aren't competing but we will and those targets have already been identified.

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  39. It must be really hard making up all these different personas to agree with you, Jamie. I mean, it's like talking to yourself, since everybody who disagrees is deleted from posting. And that must mean everyone.
    I can't even begin argue your points, mate, sorry, if you think buying good players for small amounts is proof that Rafa should shut up do it. "Here's 5 mil to find us a right back, Raf. And I want one twice as good as Arbeloa, because he only cost 2.5 mil" That's brilliant, man. If you think so, you should be supporting Aston Villa and hoping to god for fifth.

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  40. Yes, because I have the time to make up multiple accounts and post all these message...

    The only posts that are deleted here are those that do not follow the posting policy, as highlighted above the comment box.

    And I think you'll find that 95% of comments on this site disagree with me in some way - why have they not all been deleted? Because that's what this site is all about: debate, irrespective of whether people agree with me.

    It's all opinion at the end of the day, and I freely admit I probably get as much wrong as I get right.

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  41. richie - I am not saying we dont have *some* money to spend but it would have been easier if he had had as much as fergie so he could land his 1st choice instead of gambling on cheaper players.

    Youre list just proves how well rafa has done to buy quality players for lowish figures and even then he has had to go through 5 years of making do and trading up to get to the squad he has now.

    he has always had to sell to buy, something fergie has never had to do. If he only gets 20 mill this year who are the "two or three top class players" that he could buy that would improve the squad enough to take them to the next level?

    Glen johnson is being quoted as 15-18mill
    David silva nearer 40mill.

    If fergie really wanted these players he would just go out and pay whatever to get them, rafa can not do this. So in that sense rafa cannot compete with fergie.

    Look at all the 1st choice players rafa has missed out on in the past for the sake of a few million more -

    ronaldo, alves, simao, vidic, barry and thats just the ones I can think about off the top of my head.

    I just love the way you say we wont be competing if we dont buy "two or three top class players" for next season as if these players are growing on trees and rafa can just reach out and pick them.

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  42. For every Berbatov(£32M), there's a Park(£3M) every Ferdinand(£20M), an Evra(£5). To say Man United just bomb money at players is hiding from the truth - the books still have to balance at the end of the day. As for Liverpool not having any money, take the Gareth Barry on-off saga at the start of this season. Rafa/Parry were unwilling to pay the extra £3M of the £18M asking price yet they went and got Keane for £20M and sold him for less than half 6 months later! All that after spending £17M on Mascherano and £5M on Benayoun!
    Change the record.

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  43. mate, get your facts straight before spouting off.
    Ferdinand cost 30mill, only a paltry 10 mill out,
    and lfc will only lose about 5 mill on the keane deal.

    How much is manu in debt again? Hardly balancing the books.

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  44. All i read from this is that if we had 3 more 30mill guys we would have 105 points right now???

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  45. Ok, Jamie, fair enough, people should debate regardless of what their opinion. You have every right to start this Rafa-bashing site (don't deny it, please) and prove your ideas.
    The problem most people have with you is that you don't sound like a Liverpool supporter, of any kind, even a critical one. It's harder to imagine you celebrating a goal, than to see you with a smirk on your face after any result against us, just because than you can say, "See, told you Rafa was no good."
    I've always been fairly critical of Benitez on many subjects as transfer policy, chances for our youth players and tactics. But every single time we get to the field I hope in all my heart that we win and next time I say anything about Benitez, it's something good.
    You just keep on going, regardless of anything, and only point out the negative aspects rather mischievously and manichaesticaly. Always!
    There's a line between critical realism, as you call it, and simple and relentless bashing. Maybe it's a thin line, but you should really start looking for it.
    And your interview with that Manc site was just betrayal, man. You don't ever talk shit about your own in front of adversaries/rivals. Ever. You defend them outside no matter what and then do what you have to at home. That was simply unforgivable. I won't call you a Manc supporter or anything because you'd have to be a really sad person to go through all this just to make Liverpool look bad. And I can't believe any one would do such a thing.
    I don't have time to point out and try to argue every single criticism you write. And had promise myself to just ignore you, like most supporters do. But I'm a pretty fair guy and would love for you to prove me wrong and show me that you're able to be fair to Benitez too. Because that's what real supporters do, man. They don't have grudges against our own, they disagree, of course, but not to your level.
    And they forgive and accept and walk side by side and use whatever reason at hand to forget everything that happened and start anew, even if it's an illogical reason. It's called love and it's illogical.
    Really, hope we can all be friends, but on present terms, mate, you might as well walk alone. And that's not the Liverpool way.
    Cheers,
    CB.

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  46. @anon - Thanks for your comments.

    This is not a Rafa-bashing site, and any impartial observer can see that. I've written plenty of positive Rafa articles, and if you click on 'Rafa Benitez' in the label cloud you will see that this is true.

    Your assumptions about me not being fan are ridiculously wide of the mark - you and many others just cannot seem to comprehend that there needs to be balance; the relentless bias and blind faith needs to be balanced by criticism and accountability. It is perfectly possible to be a passionate fan whilst trying to achieve this aim.

    Re the interview with the Republik of Mancunia. Betrayal?! Don't be daft. The idea that rival fans should hate each other and always be adversaries is stupid - I prefer to promote harmony between rival fans. And I did not 'talk shit' about Liverpool in the interview - I told the truth as I see it; plus, I was very complimentary about many aspects of the club, but you conveniently ignore that.

    I'm not going to change my approach because that would be fickle and weak-minded. If people don't like what I write, they don't have to read it. If people want to think I'm a manc in disguise/not a fan or whatever, so be it. Makes no difference to me. The points I make are valid and need to be made, even if you don't agree with them.

    Everything I write is underpinned by something bigger than individuals currently running/playing for the club; I view everything in the context of the Shankly/Boot Room philosophy, which is why I'm so harsh on Rafa/Gerrard etc when they - as I see it - betray the best traditions of the club.

    Liverpool FC is defined by this philosophy - football may has changed but it doesn't mean the principles that define the club need to change too. Some things are non-negotiable, and the day we lose site of what makes the club unique is the day LFC as we know it disappears and becomes another greedy, soulless, homogenised, corporate non-entity.

    Like Chelsea.

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  47. Ok, first of all, Shankly did not define Liverpool. Yes he was probably the most important Liverpool manager of all time. But Liverpool existed for many years before him and still exist after his death and we never forgot him. But he is not Liverpool philosophy, neither is boot room. Shankly simply reinstated something that already existed. And it is quite easy to say you're Shankly's pupil because then you immediately assume a high ground that your words do not prove. And I'll assume you're not old enough to have lived the Shankly years and everything you know about that period is through our history books. And that's quite different, mate. I'm not saying Shankly is not all that's said about him, I believe it is, but I, like you, were never there to experience it. It's like saying Pelé is the best player ever without ever seeing him play. I'm not saying he isn't, but youtubing and statistics only gets you so far.
    Hard to imagine Shankly saying anything bad about our club, even our manager, on another club's media. And I never said we should hate the mancs, but if you think they're not our adversaries you simply don't understand football, mate. They are. They are our rivals. We don't play them to be friends. We play them to beat them 10-0 and brag. We are Liverpool, they are Man United. Any harmony there is among ourselves comes from them and us being the best clubs in the country and competing for all titles and the respect that evokes amongst ourselves. Not anything else.
    And the balance you seek? You won't ever get it the way you approach your criticism. You excuse yourself with this near hateful criticism of almost everything we have today on our club, because you see everybody else as sheep calling Benitez the messiah. So your balance is overcritical. A bit childish, if I may say so.
    I really don't expect you to change your views, as your whole rhetoric is based on an overcritical "realistic" balancing approach. But if you think changing your opinion is the same as being weak-minded, you're unable to be a critic. Of any kind. Because with this approach you just can't be proven wrong and you're always right, mate. Sounds like a bad critic to me. Or just a minor stubborn one.
    I'm off to work now. Just had this stuck on my throat when I got up today. Feeling much better now, thanks.
    CB.

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  48. Richie, how many of those more expensive players could be bought in the same season though
    Anon why aren't we competing for these £32m pound players then, its because Rafas money has to go further, He has had to buy potential, whereas utd have mainly bought the finished articles in their £20m+ players. The chavs bought a league title etc etc. Large amounts of money spent wisely often leads to success.
    Oh and by the way Rafa never wanted or signed Keane, it was not his decision.

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  49. Shankly instilled an ethos in Liverpool Football Club that was simply not there before his arrival and he developed techniques on and off the pitch which were well ahead of their time and are still being used today by all the top clubs and are being built on.

    To suggest Shankly merely "reinstated something that already existed" is miles wide of the mark.

    And before you ask no I was not around but I have spoken to many people who were and went to the game and still go and they all say the same. The ethos which exists around Liverpool today is based on Shankly more than any other component of our history.

    One such example of his brilliance was to put our players in all red and make the kits smaller so our lads would look bigger, a technique he brought to the fore based on how collosal he wanted his players to look none more so than Ron Yates.

    Chelsea most notably have put Cech in that ridiculous orange kit to make him look bigger and also make the attacking player up against him panic.

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  50. get martin o'neill in....










    not

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  51. Feels good to have a smart manager... UNITED! UNITED!

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  52. richie - Back to the topic of the article

    I am not saying we dont have *some* money to spend but it would have been easier if he had had as much as fergie so he could land his 1st choice instead of gambling on cheaper players.

    Youre list just proves how well rafa has done to buy quality players for lowish figures and even then he has had to go through 5 years of making do and trading up to get to the squad he has now.

    he has always had to sell to buy, something fergie has never had to do. If he only gets 20 mill this year who are the "two or three top class players" that he could buy that would improve the squad enough to take them to the next level?

    Glen johnson is being quoted as 15-18mill
    David silva nearer 40mill.

    If fergie really wanted these players he would just go out and pay whatever to get them, rafa can not do this. So in that sense rafa cannot compete with fergie.

    Look at all the 1st choice players rafa has missed out on in the past for the sake of a few million more -

    ronaldo, alves, simao, vidic, barry and thats just the ones I can think about off the top of my head.

    I just love the way you say we wont be competing if we dont buy "two or three top class players" for next season as if these players are growing on trees and rafa can just reach out and pick them.

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  53. Pranjic - quoted at 9m euros and cheap at twice the price I reckon. Don't bother looking at youtube because all you will see is his goals and that part of his game will dwindle big time if he comes here. Nothing to do with the prem or his ability to score the goals but more to do with the fact a lot of his goals come from setpieces.

    Fast, strong, good on the ball, skillful and has vision and is a great passer of the ball with a workrate very rarely seen in a player of his position, so tidy and tenacious is he I have seen him play left back on many occassions.

    I really have a lot of time for those players coming from easter europe thesedays, they all seem to be very technically gifted but with a determination to suceed as well as a bravery and tenacity that allows them to adapt to the prem.

    Arshavin, Modric, Rosicky, Kranjcar (very underrated imo), Vidic, Skrtel (sort his heading out!) and I think Pranjic could easily be added to this list and in due time I'll bet anything Dzagoev makes his way to the prem as well.

    Personally I wouldn't buy Silva and not for the tired cliched "too small for the prem" crap but because I don't feel he would fit in our side despite him being a very talented player. Another player I am a massive fan of and would look at before Silva is very much like Pranjic and given Sevilla are reportedly looking at Pranjic could even be available if that is true: Adriano (not the stroppy tall lad who played for inter but Sevilla's left sided player who as with Pranjic has played left back and left wing excelling in both but can also and has also done so on the right, fantastic player and one all too readily overlooked for me).

    As for strikers I have loved watching Negredo this year and can see why we are linked with him but as I say it seems only a pipe dream with Real not stupid and wanting to get a Spanish feel back in their side and with RVN no spring chicken it seems very likely he will return to the Bernabeu.

    If Sunderland go down we could do a lot worse than Kenwyne Jones, if newcastle go down I think Martins would be relieved to be a squad player at Liverpool, if Hull go down I'd love to see Michael Turner here and if Boro go down then Boateng would be an immense stand in, and please don't tell me we have Lucas!

    As I say I don't believe we need superstars, just the right players for the right positions for around the 10-15 mark and some cheapos who will add stability to an already excellent squad. The only reason I mention Turner is because his price, the fact I believe he is BETTER than Skrtel already and will continue to improve and losing someone like Hyypia is not something you should take lightly.

    Johnson is a good player but the idea of paying 15 mill for him is laughable! 10 at a push or no deal. Pompey are in no position to be demanding 15-18 mill for a player who is clearly destined for better and will want out when the big boys come knockin. 15-18 million? I wouldn't even pay that for Ramos who is a much more talented footballer in my eyes.

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  54. You get what you pay for

    Hyypia 2.6m
    Babbel free
    Henchoz 3.5
    Gary Mac free
    Hamann 8m
    Gerrard free
    Carra free
    Fowler free
    Garcia 6m
    Alonso 10.5m (I don't care what anyone says that was one of the best pieces of business of the last decade)

    It is usually what you DON'T pay over the odds for that matters most, legends are far more often made than bought for stupid fees. Torres is the only real exception I can think of from Liverpool.

    When Liverpool has spent massive in relation to the market it very rarely works out in the long term

    Collymore
    Diouf
    Heskey

    The thing people overlook is that big players who carry big fees usually carry big egos and that doesn't fly at Liverpool.

    I still honestly believe that had Ronaldo signed for us for that 12.5m (hardly out of our price range is it?) he wouldn't have made it here because we would not have put up with his antics which would have had an adverse affect on his game, or maybe I just WANT to believe that?

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  55. @Richie - spot on re Shankly. Of course Liverpool were around before Shankly arrived but he transformed the club, crafted and cemented a socialist philosophy in all areas of the club and gave Liverpool the pride and belief that is sustained to this day.

    Take Shankly out of Liverpool history and the club would probably be...Everton. Or Spurs!

    Also agree with you re the money issue - Liverpool buying big and it working out is the exception, not the rule. The majority of successful LFC players over the years were acquired for comparatively small fees.

    The idea that we need more money to make us successful is just utter nonsense and is not supported by the facts.

    Buying the *right* players to fit into the team is what's needed.

    Arshavin for example; it sickens me that we did not pull out all the stops to sign him. He is exactly the type of creative force Liverpool need - a real Liverpool-type player.

    The club could've afforded him no problem. Even last summer; I'd rather we spent £17m on him than £20m on Robbie Keane.

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  56. ritchie -

    Pranjic is only 5 foot 6 which doesnt sound that strong to me and would be a gamble even at 9m. Who is to say that he would even be better than Rierra, dossena etc. Especially if you remove a big part of his game - scoreing set pieces.

    Glen johnson is exactly the sort of player we need to be looking at - he would make a real difference in tight games with his attacking qualitys and would actually IMPROVE the team we already have. But we cant afford him.

    Boateng - really? filling the squad with substandard cheapish players is not the way forward.
    I would rather save the money and play spearing instead. Yes even lucas - he has played well in several big games ( manu, madrid etc) and doesnt get the credit he deserves, people only focus on the penalty and his sending off. Nobody has said a word about alonso and carra scoring own goals earlier in the season ( as they shouldnt anyway).

    Negredo - has already voiced his concerns about coming to lfc and not getting enough playing time. Even Crouch couldnt take sitting on the bench and wanted regular 1st team football,he just wasnt good enough to start ahead of torres.

    Martins - sulked at newcastle when he has been left on the bench.

    We really need at least 1 player that is going to make a difference, actually improve the team and help us turn some of those draws into wins.

    Someone who can unlock a packed defence and either score or create something from virtually nothing on his own.

    We certainly dont need any old crap just to make up the numbers.

    That is where we are behind manu, they just have a few more players ( including on the bench) with that killer instinct, who can come on and turn a game on thier own.

    You said yourself in a previous comment " we wont be competing if we dont buy "two or three top class players" for next season .

    None of the players you have listed really fill that criteria. ( you cant really list home grown tallent such as gerrard and carra as examples of bargains becuase both would have cost a fortune if we hadnt have been lucky enough to have them in the youth setup. Hopefully we have a few more of these that are almost ready to make the break through from the current crop).

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  57. @Anon - height has nothing to do with it. Many great players in history were/are 5'6-5'8, including: (LFC) Kenny Dalglish, Kevin Keegan, Peter Beardsley, Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, Luis Garcia...for other teams: Zola, Romario, Messi, Pele, Maradona...and the list goes on.

    Height is irrelevent. Body strength and balance is what matters.

    'Top class players' does not have to mean expensive - it means top class players in their positions. In Richie's list above you'll find examples of this: Alonso, Hyypia, Hamann, Reina (undisclosed but rumoured to be less than £10m)...

    There are *plenty* of players in world football who could be bought for £10-£12m and be superb in their positions.

    Arshavin was one before we let him go to Arsenal. Joaquin is another; dedicated right winger who would cost less than £10m and would do the business for us, especially surrounded by other spanish players.

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  58. Anon there are so many areas in which I disagree with you and you will forgive me but from your posts I would suggest you have been swept up in this modern myth that money = great players.

    Let's look at United shall we.

    Oh and before I start let's have something right, it has not always been down to money, sometimes players just prefer United to Liverpool as Torres prefered us to United.

    Who came to Anfield and did the damage 2 seasons back? O'Shea, a former Liverpool fan who was well within our budget but we weren't on to him.

    After that it was who? Tevez, a confirmed United fan who has cost United very little.

    Who is their player of the season according to the United players pundits and manager himself?
    Darren Fletcher. Brought through the youth.

    Who comes in to steady the ship and make the difference? Scholes and Giggs.

    How much did United spend on Nani and Anderson?
    It was believed to be around over 10m a piece easily and yet neither have been even close to as influential as the 4m park ji sung.

    5.5m for Evra or 7 for Dossena?

    United's big money buys in the past 2 seasons have been no where near as influential as players we have spent less on.

    Berbatov, Nani, Anderson - not one has justified the money spent on them whereas Torres is better than all 3 and in fact id rather have him than all 3.

    Is Ronaldo any more influential than Gerrard?

    Is Rooney any more important to United than Kuyt and Benny have been to us?

    It is swings and roundabouts and despite us probably going to lose the title this year, this is the first year I would say we have lost it as the BETTER side. Now is the time to consolidate what we have and add smart first team players to it not fantasy football signings who will disrupt what we have built.

    Pranjic is strong as are Tevez, Anderson, Messi, Arshavin etc Height and strenght are not mutually exclusive. Is crouch a powerhouse would you say?

    Boateng is gettin on (33) but is still a class player and IF he were prepared to see far less playing time and be rotated he would be an excellent addition. Still one of the best tacklers in the world with great positional sense.


    Negredo for so many reasons seems unlikely but would be perfect to play with and in place of Torres.

    Martins was once one of those 15m players you so desperately crave but he made a big mistake in going to Newcastle. Get him in a big team challenging for things with a good mentality and his talent which attracted the best in the world will shine through again, I all but guarentee that. Newcastle are a joke and Martins "sulking" at a team ran like a hidden camera show wouldn't put me off in the slightest. I saw Bennynoon sulk at Liverpool in far less trying circumstances and yet look at him now!

    Oh and I said we "arn't competing" meaning that to compete in this league you can't afford to stand still and rest on your laurels... can you Mr Wenger?

    I think you need to watch more of Pranjic if you think he can't unlock a defence by the way.

    Oh and I can list our youth players who came through because that is part of Football and great teams sustain greatness by producing players as well as buying them.

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  59. ^ constructive post thanks for the input but isn't their a bridge you should be waiting under?

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  60. Anon's post above is referring to a deleted post, not your post Richie ;-)

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  61. richie - o shea joined manu at 17 so yes he probably was within our budget :)

    tevez has cost manu 10mill + his wages for 2 years on a LOAN agreement. It will cost them another 20 odd mill if they want to keep him and even they are baulking at that.

    Hardly what I would call "very little" money
    Could rafa afford 10mill on a loan player?

    When you answer this consider rafa only has 4 players in his entire squad that has cost more than that.

    Hindsite with dossena is a wonderfull thing. He was highly regarded in Italy, challenging for the national team and has all the attributes required.

    Ok his 1st season hasnt been that great but neither was evras. I think you are being a bit harsh as next season he could improve no end ( as evra did)and 7 mill might seem a bit cheaper.

    Pranjic is probably a fine player, i admit I havent seen enough of him to form a proper opinion.

    But , like all players of any cost, is a risk coming from the much weaker dutch league. ( i know kuyt is dutch but his all action style is not the norm in holland).

    Do we really need another left sided player anyway? Would he make that much difference to our team? I really dont know.

    Boateng at 33 will probably want to play as many games as he possibly can ( as hypia does) before time runs out on his carrer.

    One of the best tacklers in the world? really? If he was so great , even in the role you propose, why is he playing for Hull? ( even there he has only started 21 times)

    JK - what makes you so sure we would get Joaquin for under 10 mill?

    He was bought in 2006 for €25.0 million and has a release clause of €40mill.

    He is 27 so approaching his peak, I know valencia are hard up but they arent stupid. The latest transfer news I can find for him is about Juve preparing a 15mill bid in novenber last year.

    If we could get him for less than 10 I would say snap him up but its never going to happen. Valencia are going to want as much money as they can possibly get for anybody they are prepared to let go. Bidding wars ahoy.

    Anyway we are getting bogged down in discussing individual players which is too much a matter of opinion anyway.

    I feel my original point, way back when, still stands - it is still hard for rafa to completly compete with manu/chelsea/man citys etc. spending power.

    JK wrote - If money really *is* such a huge reason why Liverpool haven't caught Man United this season, I’d be really interested in hearing examples of exactly *how* our alleged lack of transfer funds has had such a negative impact.

    Rafa didnt actually say that lack of transfer funds had cost us the league this year ( i believe this is what lead JK to write the original article).

    He just pointed out that it is difficult to compete financially with other clubs, making the league in general difficult to win.

    Lets say we bid 8/9 mill for Joaquin or even Pranjic but chelsea or man city decide they need a new winger also ( which isnt too far from the truth).

    Could rafa win a bidding war with any of these clubs? Not likely.

    They wouldnt even have to bid silly money, only a few million more would price us out of many deals ,as it has done in the past.

    That is what I mean about not being able to completely compete finacially.

    I DO know its not all about spending a fortune on every player but other clubs are going to be trying for the same players and in a lot of cases we cant compete if the price does go up.

    Richie - you listed several expensive players that fergie has bought and havent quite worked out yet .

    At least he was allowed the luxury of spunking all that money on his 1st choice targets ( wether they have actually worked out or not).

    Rafa wanted alves ( cheapish back then) and had to make do with a josemi.

    rafa wanted a torres and had to make do with a bellamy.

    rafa wanted simao and had to make do with a zenden.

    The list goes on.

    Fergie has never had to sell to buy.

    rafa has had to do just that constantly for the last 5 years.

    This year it ( not competing finacially)
    obviously hasnt been that much of a problem as we are looking to finish at least 2nd ( come on wigan hold on!!).

    But in the past (and maybe in the future) it HAS heavily effected who rafa has been able to buy.

    How many players do you think we need to help us win the league next year?

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  62. Tevez did not cost 10m, after the debarcle with West Ham Kia paid them 2m (probably took an under the table mill for himself off United) and he signed for United on a free.

    I am well aware of the fact O'Shea came through United's youth and thus was easily affordable and once again he has been a big part of their squad.

    From a lot of sites I visit I have picked up a lot of "contacts" if you like from all kinds of places and everyone of the people who know the Italian league who heard we were signing Dossena, well the responses varied from "why?" to "ahahahahahah" and it isn't hard to see why. He can't tackle, he has a touch like a JCB, he was clearly not fit enough when he got here and he is the single worst header of a ball I've ever seen in a red shirt. Not hard to see? The scout who recommended him should have been shot. Oh and anyone who knows anything knows MOLINARO and SANTON are the only possible choices for Italy's next LB after Chiellini was moved in to the centre.

    Robben did alright as far as players from Holland go, Bergkamp wasn't too bad either...

    I agree with what you say about Boateng wanting to play as much as possible but if there was any chance of him coming here I just think he would make a fantastic squad player.

    The reason he is playing for Hull is because he chose to play for Hull, simple. He had offers from all over Europe as I say with the biggest interest coming from Seria A and Milan in particular. Boateng is quite simply a class act and while I respect his loyality at certain clubs, I think it is a crime he never signed for a really big club and if it could be Liverpool that changed that I'd be well on board if they believe he is still capable physically.

    Pranjic wants to come to Liverpool, he has already said that. He is our player IF we want him and it seems we do, expect him here next season I reckon.

    Why are you talking about the past, we are talking about NOW.

    He got a Torres and a Keane so the money when we need it certainly seems to be there. Much as I am not a fan of the two americans I believe they were not just refusing to sign Barry on a whim, they were listening to US, THE FANS and they were right as far as I'm concerned. If Rafa had his way we would have just sold one of our best players to Juve and replaced him with a jobber.

    Simao had nothing to do with our reluctance to spend it was Benfica taking the piss.

    You speak of Alves a man who when he heard Liverpool were after him basically said "is right I'm gonna get paid." People talk of Ronaldo and how much they hate his antics, Alves is worse! I'm glad we didn't get Alves. Oh and another thing Sevilla kept raising the price despite agreeing on a price (same as Benfica)and Alves was never coming here anyway as far as Im concerned he merely used us to put himself in the shop window and say come and get me Real/Barca.

    Higuain is another one, Rafa would have probably got the money but at the end of the day Higuain clearly had his heart set on real.

    Not every player we don't sign is as simple as being down to money.

    We can compete financially as much as we need to. I'm glad we can't just go out and outspend everyone because as with Torres all this shows is the players we do get are the ones that REALLY want to be here for the right reasons, and you can't put a price on that!

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  63. Ritchie - tevez did not sign on a free - United paid between £6 million and £10 million to sign him on a two-year loan deal -
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/premier_league/manchester_united/article5151390.ece

    "Meanwhile Manchester United have signed Carlos Tevez on a two-year loan deal of £10 million" - http://carlostevez.net/

    It is widely reported as being 10mill.
    Looks like your "contacts" let you down there.

    forgive me if I`m not that impressed by the opinions of your mysterious "contacts". Who do you think you are anyway - an expert football pundit with a network of profesional scouts all over the world? That is the impression you seem to give with your comments.

    I trust Rafa and his scouts far more than "Richie Lunt" and his "contacts" when it comes to judging player abilities.

    I know - why doesnt rafa sack ALL his scouts and let you take over. Youve got the network set up already so we are good to go.

    Article from may 2008
    http://www.ilrecalcio.com/2008/05/andrea-dossena-local-boy-done.html

    "there arguably wasn’t a better left-back in the Serie A last season."

    Why should your "contacts" opinion be anymore trusworthy to me than the article above?

    He had just made his debut for the national team. I never at any point said he was going to be the regular left back. I was just pointing out the fact that he had the qualities required to be considered and called up for that level of football.

    I cant believe he was as bad as you make out before rafa signed him, he wouldnt have even been considered for Italy if he was.

    I was just saying he hadnt had a great 1st season and could maybe improve considerablly in his 2nd as did evra and vidic.

    You replied in a very supperior fashion as if your opinion was fact. I notice you have recently had a go at someone in another thread for doing just that. Its ok when you do it then?

    I cant really take much of what you say seriously anyway whilst you keep
    insisting that Boateng is still a top class player ( I had asked who you thought were the "top class players" , your words, that lfc needed next season and you included Boateng ).

    Boateng was linked with Milan but that was back in 2006 and was only ever speculation. Rangers and celtic also had a sniff but obviously didnt fancy him. Hes playing for Hull because no one else wants him now.

    If you asked all lfc fans to make a list of 50 or even 100 transfer targets that they think would help lfc win the league next season. I bet 99.9999% of them wouldnt have even thought of Boateng let alone included him in their list.

    They would probably want to save his wage bill and either buy someone that is going to actually make a difference next season and/or promote spearing.

    I was talking about the past, because in the past rafa has been denied his 1st choice targets, and the effects of this, in small ways, are probably being felt NOW.
    Simple really.

    The Barry saga is a perfect example of rafa not being able to compete with fergie and others.

    If fergie had wanted barry he would have paid the 18mill without batting an eyelid AND would have kept alonso as well.

    Just like he was allowed to pay 18mill for carrick one year, 17 for hargreaves the next and yet another 17 for anderson, all for the same position.

    Rafa can not do that. He has tough choices to make.

    This particular choice was compounded by alonsos lack of form that year. Yes he has been fantastic again this year but he wasnt showing anywhere near that form then.

    That is why rafa may have considered it .
    (I have never seen rafa say that he actually would have sold him anyway)

    The board should have backed rafa and not put him in the position where he has to sell some of his best players to buy others.

    They know little to nothing about "soccer" so should have trusted rafa and his choices. They certainly shouldnt listen to the fans, if the manu board had listened to thier fans back in 89/90 fergie would have been sacked. Actually maybe the manu board should have listened.

    I dont care that you dont rate alves , rafa wanted him. Same as simao. If fergie had wanted these players they would have just offered above what the clubs wanted so they wouldnt have got in a position to be messed about. See how we cant compete properly?

    I cant beleive that you think rafa has been given enough finacial support through his tenure.

    We could have already lost him , the best manager we have had in years, sacked by the board because the same fickle fans you want them to listen to thought he wasnt doing a good enough job.

    If he had been able (more often than not) to get his 1st choice players we would have probably been in a position to challenge sooner.

    Yes he has managed to get torres and mascherano but these are the exception not the rule.
    Was keane even HIS 1st choice? Rafa says not ,nobody knows for sure.

    Its not even a question of me wanting to "outspend everyone" ( I never said that anywhere) I just want rafa to be given the same level of support his peers enjoy. Not hard to see?

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  64. Anon - it is brave to sit there and ridicule people behind your keyboard without stating who you are so well done for that.

    The "contacts" was put in inverted commas to show exactly the point that they weren't contacts, please don't make assumptions on my personality based on your poor understanding of english.

    You clearly have problem with Boateng and that's fine but using it as a stick to beat my opinion with is just poor. Would Senna have made many people's top 100 list a few years back ? I highly doubt it. I'll tell you now if you did stop 100 people I'd hope one would be smart enough to realise that Boateng is at Hull by choice and has always been a very good player and done a job wherever he has been, unfortunately for you they don't show much of him on showboat.

    When did I ever say you shouldn't trust Rafa? Please put the tired internet warrior handbook away and stick to the football if you can.

    Go and ask your 100 fans about Dossena and get back to me on how many think he has or will ever be a roaring success. Rafa has always shown a willingness to admit he was wrong with players in the past and hopefully that continues with Dossena as he is one of the worst left backs I've ever seen.

    My "contacts" are just friends who like myself watch football in different leagues and happen to have been born in different countries. You seem ready to ask 100 strangers to back up your point yet get pissy when I cite just a few examples of how they reacted, hypocritical perhaps?

    You have never seen Rafa say he would have sold Alonso? Brilliant, so I take it you only refer to the papers when it suits your case because Wally Karue could see Rafa was selling Alonso to raise funds for Barry who WAS his first choice. According to a few trusted people from a respected Liverpool site (won't advertise here just incase) Rafa went with a list of players and Keane was on that list.

    The board should have trusted Rafa despite the fact it is clear that Alonso is every bit as important to our side as Gerrard which is seen every time Gerrard is out and he does the job or when we need to settle a game that has is getting out of our control and he comes in and does exactly that. Since you love the media's opinion so much how about ANDY GRAY of all people suggesting Liverpool's XABI ALONSO should be in the player of the year vote, if that doesn't tell you how wrong Rafa would have been to sell him then nothing will!

    Did I say he has been given enough financial support through his tenure or did I say we now have enough to compete and don't need massive financial backing to keep up, read it again.

    So we shouldn't listen to the fans, just the media right? Got ya.

    You do realise that Ferguson has not always got his first choice as well right? Or is that not important?

    The same level of support is something I hope Liverpool NEVER get. You may want to buy the title, me, I'm happy right where we are with this equilibrium we have found where we can spend 20m plus every now and then but we can't then afford to sit that player on the bench and tell everyone he is world class.

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  65. ritchie - What difference does it matter who I am? What are you going to do? track me down and beat me up because I dont agree with your opinions?

    I was only answering in a similar fashion to how you had replied to my opinions. I too thought you were ridiculing me, so well done to you too.

    What else am I supposed to think other than you are trying to impress me with your "contacts"?
    Why even mention them?

    I didnt say that Boateng hasnt EVER been a good player, did I?

    I was just saying that many, many lfc fans wouldnt even consider him as a player that could take us that little step closer to the title.

    Please dont make assumptions on my football knowledge based on your inability to read properly.

    By saying the scout should have been sacked and dossena was so crap before rafa sanctioned the deal implies that you dont trust Rafas descisions when it comes to choosing players.
    I think its you who are trying to be the internet warrior not I.

    I never said Dossena had been a roaring success.
    I just said that he has the abilities ( as shown by playing for his national side) to MAYBE improve next season.

    Evra and vidic were both crap in their 1st seasons, did fergie sell them?

    Dossena was brought as an attacking full back and has scored more goals this season than all the full backs at all the other big 4 clubs ( and others).

    Not bad for such a crap season.

    I think he has shown enough even this season to be given until jan next year. That would mean rafa can use his LIMITED funds elsewhere. If he doesnt improve by then, fair enough, get rid. That, of course, is only my opinion so dont get all huffy if you dont agree.

    I didnt say I had never seen a quote in the papers saying rafa wanted to sell alonso. I said I had never SEEN rafa make such comments, ie. the words coming out of his mouth in a tv interview. Big difference there.

    Your inability to read properly lets you down again.

    Yes Barry was rafas 1st choice ( again I didnt say he wasnt, a pattern seems to be emerging here) and he couldnt afford him without having to sell one of his better players to get him.

    So you not only dont trust rafa but you are now calling him a liar as well. He has said ( not in the papers , in a tv interview) that the club bought Keane not he. I again will believe rafa over even the most respected site in the world.

    Rafa wanted Barry because he thought he would offer him more options than he currently had. I fully realise how good and important alonso has been THIS season again, but last season he struggled for form after an injury layoff and didnt look half the player he had in previous seasons.

    rafa didnt really want to sell him but , as i have already said ( but you failed to read again)
    he had to make a tough choice - does he sell a player who was APPEARING to go backwards for a large fee he MAY never warrant again or miss out on one of his top targets.

    It has all turned out for the good, but no one was to know that for sure back then.

    Where have I said ,again!, that I rely on the media such as andy gray for my opinions?
    I just posted an article that had a different outlook on Dossena to what your " contacts" thought of him. My point was why should I trust their opinion , or yours, any more than some random article off the net?

    We dont have enough to compete PROPERLY on a level playing field. You didnt read what I said again. We can not win bidding wars for players that will help us win the league . That is a bad thing.

    I said the BOARD shouldnt listen to the fans
    ( but I keep forgeting you cant read properly). Rafa would have been sacked already if they had done that. What is so difficult to understand there?

    What players has fergie not been able to get?
    Torres is probably one ( but he didnt want to leave his home town club when fergie came sniffing round)
    shearer is another and maybe superstars such as kaka.

    But none of these has been down to the board refusing him the funds. He just went out and brought someone else of equal quality.

    This is completely different from rafas situation where he would have had to buy someone of lesser quality.

    But you ignore that to try and make a point. Never mind try again.

    where again did I ever say I wanted to buy the league?
    I said - Its not even a question of me wanting to "outspend everyone" - let alone buy the league. LEARN TO READ.

    So you hope rafa can NEVER compete properly?
    You would be happy for all of rafas adverseries to be able to improve thier squads exactly as they like whilst rafa makes do with constantly having to sell to buy?

    So in other words you would be happy for rafa to be sacked as he just falls short again because he has been denied the support that is required ( and given to others) to win the most competitive and richest league in the world.

    Strange thing for a liverpool fan to say.

    I must say it has made me chuckle to read your last comment.

    Nearly every point you bring up is incorrect because you simply failed to read what I had written.

    You accuse me of many things that just arent true to try and be clever. Instead you just made yourself look a bit silly . Sad really.

    I notice you didnt comment on Tevez signing on a free ( as if) , find out you were wrong again and just arent big enough to admit it? Sad , sad , sad.

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  66. Grow up.

    I am not here to have stupid net fights I am here to give my opinion and I feel I have done that.


    This has nothing to do with trying to be clever it has to do with the tone of your posts which are trying to lead to something I don't wish to be a part of, so take that however you wish. I would say I was done responding to you but as you don't even have the common decency to sign your posts in any way other than anonymous I'm sure you will be along to argue for the sake of it sooner rather than later.

    "Sad, sad, sad."

    Indeed.

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  67. Ritchie - My name is Mr Brand for all that matters.

    I`m sorry but it was you that started with the shitty tone . So get off your high horse please.

    I was making reasonable comments originally and YOU responded in a pompous way, stating your opinions as fact.

    I am not argueing for the sake of it.
    If you had read my last comment you would have seen I was just correcting you in all the ways that you had twisted what I had said previously and copying the way you had tried to insult me.

    I perhaps shouldnt have kept on with the "not being able to read comment" but I feel you brought it on youself with some of the comments you had made earlier.

    Nice way to dodge the issues though.

    Grow up

    Indeed.

    See Im just repeating your insults again.

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  68. petty arguments11:31 am, May 19, 2009

    One thing that needs mentioning. In todays prem, managers are under pressure to produce the goods in a very short time frame as the expectations are so high. For instant results you cannot rely on bringing players through the youth system as it takes too long, and that is why money is so important, so you can go and buy the players you need now, not in 5yrs time. If you soley depend on the youngsters we will be waiting a long time for that title.

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