21 Oct 2009

11 reasons why Liverpool FC is struggling this season

Liverpool’s crushing defeats to Sunderland and Lyon are undoubtedly devastating blows to the club’s trophy ambitions. Clearly, the recurring problems that have plagued Liverpool under Rafa Benitez are wreaking havoc once again. As such, if the club is to recover and salvage something from this campaign, it is imperative that important changes are made NOW.

The poor start to the season has nothing to do with fan-favourite excuses like lack of money; the influence of Hicks and Gillett or injuries - Benitez has simply failed to utilise the players he has in the most effective way possible.

I have argued all of these points in various articles, but here are the reasons (as I see it) that Liverpool have failed so far this season:

1. Failure to IMMEDIATELY replace Xabi Alonso

Liverpool needed to have someone of comparable quality in Alonso's position from DAY ONE of the season. When a hugely influential player like that leaves, there needs to be some semblance of continuity. There are positive examples of this from Liverpool's own history: Kevin Keegan left; we got Kenny Dalglish. Ian Rush left; we got John Aldridge.

Alonso's departure did not come out of the blue; after Benitez's attempts to offload him in 2008, the possibility that he might leave was always on the cards. The club did not react quickly enough, and Liverpool have suffered, mainly because the team is missing the impact and influence of a star player.

To be clear: if someone of comparable quality HAD been available from day one of the season then Alonso's absence would, in all probability, not have been so keenly felt.

2. Signing an injured FIRST TEAM player.

I do not dispute that Alberto Aquilani is a good player but it was absolutely fatal to sign him as Alonso's potential replacement. Two and a half months into the season and he has STILL not made his debut.

In the intervening time, Liverpool has lost 6 of the first 12 games in all competitions. If Aquilani (or someone else) had been available from Day one, the team would've benefited from having another top class player in the side, and there is every possibility things would not be looking so bleak right now.

3. Persisting with Lucas in midfield/Gerrard as the link man

It is utter madness to play Lucas in midfield ahead of Steven Gerrard. Everyone can see this except Rafa Benitez. To compensate for Alonso's loss and Aquilani's recovery time, Benitez should have moved Gerrard back into midfield from the very first game of the season.

Starting the season with an untried, untested midfield partnership of Mascherano and Lucas was, quite frankly, bordering on negligence, especially when Mascherano and Gerrard have played together *effectively* many times in the past.

Opposing teams fear a midfield that contains Steven Gerrard; does Lucas instill the same sort of anxiety? No. As such, the psychological battle is lost before the game even begins.

With Gerrard playing deeper, Alonso's loss would be mitigated by the Liverpool captain's playmaking abilities, i.e:

1. Expansive passing range
2. Linking midfield with attack
3. Ability to retain possession
4. Ability to bring others into the game

All were/are staples of Alonso's game, now conspicuously absent from the heart of the team.

I have nothing against Lucas, but the only questions that need/needed to be asked here are:

i) Who is the better CM: Gerrard or Lucas?
ii) What is better for the TEAM: Lucas or Gerrard in CM?

The answer is obvious, and it is backed up by this season's results:

Lucas in CM = 6 defeats
Gerrard in link-man role = 5 defeats
Gerrard in CM role = 2 wins (Burnley + Hull: 10 goals scored by team) Note: In most other games, Gerrard has been moved BACK into CM at some stage. Why? Because he's needed there!

What happened last season and in the distant past is irrelevant; this is NOW, and Benitez surely has to adapt to what works NOW, and that is quite clearly Gerrard in Central midfield.

4. Defensive problems: A new unit

Liverpool's defensive unit has undergone serious change over the last few months: Sami Hyypia has left; Glen Johnson has arrived; Emiliano Insua has begun to play more regularly and Daniel Agger has been injured. Consequently, all the upheaval has caused problems, which have led to sloppy goals being given away.

Bedding-in two new fullbacks is always going to be difficult; Carra and Skrtel need to get used to playing with them, and the defensive unit as a whole has to get used to each other and build up an understanding.

The brutal truth is Johnson and Insua have a few defensive weaknesses, namely positioning and tracking back effectively. This has led to Carra/Skrtel being pulled out of position to cover for them, which leads to gaps at the back.

Add Carra and Skrtel each experiencing a loss of form, and it's a recipe for disaster.

5. Defensive problems: the loss of Sami Hyypia

I believe Liverpool's defensive problems go deeper than just point 4 - Sami is a massive loss:

i) His experience will be missing in training, which means players like Insua and Johnson will miss out on essential knowledge and defensive tips.

ii) Sami's organisational skills and calming influence on the pitch are also sorely needed. There are no vastly experienced heads on the field for Liverpool anymore, and that - for me - is a problem.

iii) Liverpool now lack an commanding heading presence at the back. The club has scrappers like Carra and Skrtel but no one who is amazing in the air. As Sami prove against Man United at Old Trafford last season, having someone imperious in the air is essential.

Benitez bought Sotiris Kyrgiakos, someone who could've perhaps taken up that mantle, but even before he was injured (And despite the implosion of our defence), Benitez never played him.

6. Failure to play aces in their places

As well as playing Gerrard alongside Mascherano, it is surely also important to play our best players in their best positions. Benitez has simply not done that this season. Benayoun has been played on the left; Riera has been regularly dropped (even when he wasn’t injured); Fabio Aurelio has been played in central midfield (!) ahead of Steven Gerrard.

Has any of this worked? No. When the team is struggling/missing players through injuries, Liverpool must:

i) play the best team available
ii) Use players in their best/most comfortable positions.

There is no time for experimentation or trying to prove a point. It is the manager's duty to utilise the playing assets of the club in a way that benefits the TEAM. Has Benitez done that this season, or has he been trying to prove a point about Lucas?

7. Favouritism

Whatever way you look at it, Rafa has his favourites, and no matter how badly they play they are never dropped. This season, it is Lucas and Kuyt who are undroppable. I have no problem with either player; Kuyt has developed into an important player for Liverpool; Lucas is developing and doing his best. However, they should NOT be undroppable!

Liverpool have lost 6 games this season; the likes of Benayoun, Riera, Babel and Mascherano have been regularly dropped, yet Lucas and Kuyt - who have played in all 6 defeats - remain a constant in the team.

This is not fair; players should be played on merit, and both Lucas and Kuyt have had bad games this season. Is it beyond the realm of possibility that one or both might benefit from taking a game out every now and again, esepcially if they playu badly? Why is there one rule for them and another one for other players?

8. The knock-on effect of signing sub-par and/or underperforming players

Liverpool's squad strength in depth is poor, and for that, Rafa Benitez has to take the blame. Look at the players from which Benitez has to choose: Lucas, Ryan Babel, Fabio Aurelio, Andrei Voronin, Damien Plessis, Philipp Degen, David N'gog, Andrea Dossena etc.

These are all Benitez signings, and are they making any consistent positive impact? Arguably no. Are they going to contribute to a title-winning side? Arguably no. Just imagine if Liverpool had better players than this to come in and make a difference.

Liverpool are basically suffering the knock on effects of two (arguably 3) poor transfer windows.

9. Odd/ineffective substitutions

When things are not going well for Liverpool, Benitez either:

i) Makes changes too late
ii) Makes an overly defensive change
iii) Makes the wrong change


SPURS: Yossi Benayoun on for Babel (70): Too late to make a real difference. Yossi should've started.

FIORENTINA: Babel on for Insua (72): Too late

CHELSEA: Benayoun on for Riera (70): Why remove our only width?! Should've taken off Lucas, and much earlier

SUNDERLAND: Mascherano for Spearing (73): Why not make an attacking change and bring on Riera?

LYON: Voronin on for Benayoun (85): What is the point?! Why take off our main attacking threat WHEN WE NEED TO SCORE TO WIN?!

10. Use of unfamiliar formations

Prime example: the 3-4-3 against Sunderland.

WHY? Again, why not play aces in their places? Why subject the team to an unfamiliar formation, especially when the defensive unit is already struggling. Decisions like this make no sense.

11. Publicly criticising important players

This season already, Benitez has publicly criticised Gerrard, Torres and Carragher. His comments may have been correct, but given the fragile egos of modern players, highlighting their mistakes in public is not conducive to creating a motivated team!

Having said all of the above, I just want to reiterate the following:

1. I do NOT want Benitez sacked; I do NOT want him to resign. He should be given this season to turn things around, no matter how bad it gets. Changing manager mid-season is no good for anyone.

2. I do NOT think this season is over. I actually still think Liverpool could conceivably win the league (!), and I will be posting an article tomorrow explaining why I think that.

I am merely trying to point out what I perceive to be the main reasons Liverpool are struggling this season.


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  1. 12. People like you slagging the team off - go and get on sunday supplement and join in with the rest of the bell ends.

  2. Play Gerrard in CM but in the where to play Aquilani article you stated the following: '
    <p><span>On the negative side, using Gerrard as a defensive midfielder brings its own problems, positional indiscipline; roaming around and leaving gaps in the centre; tendency to waste possession with too many Hollywood balls; rash tackles etc. Plus, Gerrard probably doesn’t want to play there anymore, which would lead to the inevitable sulking.'</span>
    </p><p>yet this time your saying '<span>With Gerrard playing deeper, Alonso's loss would be mitigated by the Liverpool captain's playmaking abilities, i.e:
    1. Expansive passing range
    2. Linking midfield with attack
    3. Ability to retain possession
    4. Ability to bring others into the game'</span>
    </p><p>You also contradict yourself by stating in 1 <span>Liverpool needed to have someone of comparable quality in Alonso's position from DAY ONE of the season</span>
    </p><p>yet in point 2 you state 's<span>tarting the season with an untried, untested midfield partnership of Mascherano and Lucas was, quite frankly, bordering on negligence'</span>
    </p><p>Wouldn't a new signing need time to bed in/untested partnership.
    </p><p>Please explain???</p>

  3. thick skin and stubborn manager who doesnt want to resign.

  4. <p><span>10 random thoughts on the shambles that is Liverpool's season.

    1. Alberto Aquilani is like having a 'Z' in Scrabble. You wait forever for your chance to cash in, by which point everyone else is miles ahead.

    2. Given the entertainment on offer, you can see why Liverpool fans now take toys to games.

    3. David Ngog is not fit to wear the shirt. Or, in fact, sell the shirt in the club shop.

    4. Rafa Benitez plans all subs in advance of kick-off, rather than analysing and utilising his bench options to change its course. Why else would he take off Yossi Benayoun?

    5. Steven Gerrard pulls his groin so often because his team-mates aren't good enough to pass the bloody thing to his feet.

    6. Andriy Voronin's one meaningful role is to make Lucas' hairstyle look less awful.

    7. That gives Voronin one meaningful role more than Ryan Babel.

    8. Replacing Alvaro Arbeloa with Glen Johnson has ruined Liverpool's defence.

    9. Neither Tom Hicks nor George Gillett is powerful enough to sack Benitez.

    10. Liverpool will definitely beat Manchester United on Sunday.</span>


  5. Wow, you just said so many things that are 100% spot on. i dont know why rafa isnt playing

                      Ste G
    Kuyt                  Reira

    that team looks stronge, attacking but not weak. 

  6. 1. You need to look at the Gerrard comment in context - I was loooking at both sides of the arguemtn: positives and negatives.

    Despite the negatives of having Gerrard at CM, he is STILL a better option than Lucas.  And that has proven to be the case this season already: every time gerrard has played CM, we've won.

    2. Having a specialist central midfielder of comparable quality to Alonso would not be madness, would it?!  It's their job to fit into that role, therefore the risk is minimised.

    Lucas is not Alonso; he is nowhere near his level; furthermore, he is not a defensive mid, which is the role he's played on occasion this season. 

    You have to make the best of what you have:

    a) Gerrard or Lucas in CM: Gerrard obviously (proven in the past)

    b) New midfielder (top quality) + Masch in the centre - risk minimised because we have a specialist to take over Alonso.

  7. Great article, Jaimie. One of your best. Also, one of the things that has just struck me is why we let Sami go for free, and then paid 1.5 mil for Kyrgiakos. What does he bring that Sami didn't have already plus more? The only rationale behind that is Sami himself asked for a move to get more playing time. In that case, you can't blame Benitez really. Also, Kyrgiakos did play one game, if I remember correctly. 

    BTW, I mentioned you in the RAWK thread today, in case you're interested

  8. Do we want a manager who just walks away when the going gets tough i.e Keegan, i dont think so

  9. Love points 6 and 7, do you really agree with 8 though. Johnson isn't the reason carra and skrtel are playing so bad

  10. I agree with you in all the points you mentioned above.
    Hope Rafa would understand this !!!!!!!

  11. What are the odds jaimie doesn'r reply to my first post

  12. Good article - I agree with most of the points you make Jamie. For me the biggest problem is Benitz being unable or unwilling (but probably a bit of both) to address the problematic area in the squad, which is our wings. Yes he bought Johnson but that has contributed to the destabalising effect at the back. We needed a quality winger, who could beat a man and provide for Torres.
    The squad as a whole is totally underperforming, and I am getting increasingly tired of the likes of Kuyt and Carragher coming out the day after defeat and claiming they'll be better next time. It's time to put up or shut up for the entire staff, including Benitez. Sunday is massive, will be interesting to see what happens if we lose!

  13. Thanks Bikram.  Great point about Sami - I agree, why let him go and then buy Kyrgiakos?  Sami may have wanted to leave but I'm sure he could've been persuaded to stay.  We miss Sami big time. 

    And we paid the money for Kyrgiakos but never gave him a chance, even when our defence was falling apart.

    re RAWK - thanks for the mention but it'll just lead to 'Kanwar is C__t!' type posts!  That's up to them though; makes no difference to me.

  14. great article iagree with everything you say

  15. O actually Rossi, as replied about 10 minutes ago!

  16. lol! disagree with last point, not with the way we're going unless he plays riera and benayoun and gerrard in midfield we are gonna lose... and babel if torres is injured/not fit

  17. I dont get this specialist thing you say, name me 1 player in world football like alonso. Answer = nobody because everyone is different. You also didn't answer my other point about contradiction. I think i could have played in cm against burnley and hull and won both games also.

    I also think your negatives about Gerrard is exactly why benitez in the tougher matches likes him further forward with less defensive responsibility.

  18. Rossi have you never been aware of pre-season. That's when players and combinations are tested out ;)

  19. By specialist, I simply mean someone whose most effective position is central midfield; someone who can,  in their own way, make a comparable impact.  the player doesn't have to be the same as Alonso, but there has to be SOMEONE there who can positively contribute on the same kind of level.

    Aquilani may have been able to do this if he was fit from day 1, but we'll never know.  The point is, Lucas clearly cannot have the required impact, but Gerrard can.

  20. I am going to write to LFC direct and vote for.... Jamie Kanwar... as my first choice replacement for Benitez. I am sure they all read your column at Anfield and would welcome you with open arms. You could give all the team there a real moral boost and would be able to go through all the statistics you have been working on,

    or maybe they all think you are a sad, depressing hermit who sits in front of his lap top all day spewing out negative drivel

  21. Just making sure you did, but still what about the contradiction re untried partnership ie Lucas/masch and then stating we should buy a specialist for that position at the start who was fit. which would be untried and no guarentee of success.

  22. and wasn't the masch/lucas combo tested out in preseason nick. I was just pointing out in the article its supposedly untried + why am i not aware??

  23. great article. I agree. Rafa has taken us as far as he can and has no one to blame but himself. Its frustraing to watch Liverpool and we are truly one dimensional - no Gerrard and no Torres and we struggle. I guess its time to sit back and watch us struggle for mid table mediocrity - bar some miracle.  Carling Cup ( if we beat Arsenal) and qualifying for UEFA should be our targets now

  24. Crikey don't take it so personally, it's only football! But to quote you
    "Wouldn't a new signing need time to bed in/untested partnership." and I was jovially suggesting that this bedding in of a new (fully fit) signing would be done in pre-season.

  25. Raffa wanted Sami to stay but he decided to leave because he couldn't be guarenteed games. It's rubbish to say that he could have been persuaded to stay, unless Sami's told you differently.

  26. Also apparently Sami made 19 appearences last year. I disagree with him being the reason the defence has gone pete tongue. Also he wanted to leave because he still felt he had more to offer in the game before he retired

  27. I get wound up when everything is so negative. + supposedly for foreign players it takes 6 months to bed in or like babel never. exception of torres. Cant think of any in england as good as alonso for his role (specialist according to JK)

  28. Yes, he made 19 apearances, but the season before that he made 44.  he still had the quality to stay for a couple more years.  Anyway, I didn't say Sami's departure was the sole reason.  it's one of the reasons.  In those 19 appearances last season, Sami came in and did the business; his experience was vital, especially in the latter stages of the season.  Liverpool have lost an experienced head and positive influence on the pitch/training ground.  That is always going to have an impact.

  29. Whilst agreeing with one of your points about playing Gerrard in CM (I would like to see Benayoun in the Gerrard role for the time being), i find the rest just the usual stuff that is being written in all the papers today.

    You mention that players like Kuyt should be dropped if not playing well but who could replace him? Riera and Babbel have been terrible whenever they have been given the chance this year.

    Could you also suggest a player that is of comparable quality to Alonso that we could have bought and please don't say Lorik Cana who normally gets a mention in your articles!

  30. That is your problem right there, Rossi (IMO) - you should stop seeing criticism as 'negative'.  it is not.  it is necessary.  the whole world is founded upon analysis of everything and everyone.  Football is not different.  We analyse to highlight the problems.  Why? So they can be addressed to create IMPROVEMENT.  The ultimate goal is the improvement of Liverpool FC.

  31. I agree I think the Hyypia thing is a smoke-screen. Carragher is still there and he's an experienced guy, as is Kyrgiakos. The problem at the back has been inconsistency from last year to this due to injuries and new signings.

  32. Sami wanted to leave to get regular 1st team footy, which is rather ironic, as he'd surely be getting for Liverpool now!

  33. Steve G CM  for me every time.
    Steve is the best attacking CM in world football.
    We cannot afford to play with two holding CM players as I thought was proved last season in the number of draws we had, there has to be more goal threat than alonso and mash. So even with Agulani fit steve G should play CM with one of the others.
    As to strikers Michael Owen on a free to me was a now brainer, you could keep him for six months and sell at a profit if he did not fit in. I get the feeling this could come back to bit Rafa on the arse on Sunday. There was also Sol Cambel on a free and we payed 3m for a player to play in the resurves.

  34.  Jamie read the following:

    "By Zack Wilson
    Liverpool legend Ian Rush feels that Reds manager Rafa Benitez does not deserve to be sacked.

    Benitez's team crashed to their fourth consecutive defeat in all competitions last night when they were beaten 2-1 at Anfield by Olympique Lyonnais.
    That result makes qualifying for the knock-out phase of the Champions League very tricky indeed, but Rush thinks that the Spaniard should keep his job.
    "Liverpool is a special club, the supporters are special and I think the time is not right now," he told Sky Sports News.
    "I think it's the time to get behind the manager and the players as well.
    "I'm sure the suporters will do on Sunday. Then it's up to the players to respond."
    Liverpool welcome bitter rivals Manchester United to Anfield on Sunday, and Rush is urging a positive response to the current situation from both players and fans at the weekend.
    "The manager can only pick a team and it's up to the players to respond on the pitch against Manchester United, because there will be a good atmosphere against Manchester United.
    "Okay, we lost against Lyon and maybe the atmosphere was not quite what was expected. But, again, they can still qualify for the second phase of the Champions League.
    "We've got to get behing everyone and that, to me, is what makes Liverpool so special a club.
    "You go 1-0 up and you expect to go on and win the game. But I think the second goal was vital. We needed that second goal because things looked a little bit flat."

    Rushie has it right so stop the "holyier than thou attitude" and get behind the team.

  35. RednProud - read the end of the article: I said exactly the same thing.  And I have explicitl stated MANY times over the last week that I do not think Rafa should be sacked.  I've posted several articles supporting him over the last week too.

    So what exactly is your point?

  36. How is this going to improve liverpool fc. Do you really think Benitez is going to listen to you? (not meant in a horrible way that comment but lets be serious for a moment)

    I do analyse and i don't want people trying to paper over the cracks so to speak or speak positively just for the sake of it. Im just debating what you say.

    Going off the topic i do believe your overly critical of benitez and you constantly remind us of his shortcummings. You have suggested in the past different managers who could come in and do a better job when i don't believe they would. You have even compared some of these up and coming managers to pep guardiola, fair enough he won treble in his first season but christ he had a squad which includes Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Etoo, henry.

    I also don't believe you take into account circumstances. for example Alonso leaving was because Benitez wanted rid, the circumstances was because he performed poorly for 2 years before that last season. The reason he had a great year last year maybe was because he had a kick up the arse.

    Another 1 of your arguments against benitez is the fact hes spent 220+million. The circumstances though is that he had to sell to buy aswell as the money invested, which is no different to the amount David Moores used to invest.

    Also one last point is that a few years ago Benitez was criticized for buying quantity rather than quality, when he was reshaping the squad and now i hear everyone having ago because he's gone for quality rather than quantity.

  37. I agree about sol and michael, two proven prem stars

  38. Rossi - whether Benitez listens or not is irrelevant.  Why can't you see that?  Fans have the right to criticise, because without he fans there is no club.  There's no point coming on here and complaining that I'm too critical.  If you want a less analystical approach there are plenty of Liverpool sites out there that will suit you.

  39. You said 'The ultimate goal is the improvement of Liverpool FC.' thats why i said about benitez listening. How is this or any other site going to help improve lfc.

    + i like this site on a positive note because i get to vent out frustration instead of doing it towards the misses. theraputic.

    Also you say you are analytical but i only think you include points that back up your argument which is fair enough but all i am trying to do is debate the fact i don't think you take all points into consideration, which is what i meant when explaining why alonso had a great season last year.

    I only want to debate/argue :)

  40. Don't make me laugh. Owen is an injury-prone nightmare. Not to mention the fact that he wouldn't have fit in with our style of play. He likes to come deep more than Torres, much like Kuyt does when he plays up there alone.

  41. Also not that this has anything to do with your site but i keep hearing Benitez is stubbon, ok maybe he needs to see lucas isn't good enough to cover Alonso but he can cover for masch as JK has pointed out one of the best tacklers in prem. What i mean is its either Masch or lucas with someone. + going back to the stubbon part i like that in a manager, i dont want a yes man like Mclaren was for england. Remember when Beckham was dropped from the squad after the world cup, pretty much because all fans said he was past it, now look at him almost four years on and he comes on as a sub for england and shows his quality. Not saying lucas/benitez will work out like that though obviously Beckham has quality. Benitez would have stuck with beckham after 2006 world cup some say stubbonness isn't neccessarily a bad thing

  42. So what if Rush has said that. Anyone has the right to believe what they want to believe, and it has nothing to do with being fickle. I personally want Rafa to go because I think it's for the long term benefit of the club. He's had his time, and in my opinion we're not going to win the league with him in charge, bearing in mind the squad that he has built after 5 years in charge.

    Anyone has a right to their opinion, just like Rush has. Just because Rush is a former player doesn't mean he's right and I'm wrong.

  43. I would also like to add despite my critism of your feelings towards benitez sometimes, i do agree that someone more creative is needed in the middle to give the side balance, which will hopefully be aquilani, I should have got to this point when saying lucas can cover masch and so on in my last post

  44. I do agree about Sol though....doubt he'd have come though bearing in mind his wage demands!

  45. Excellent article, the interesting thing is that almost every single point comes down to one essential reason why Liverpool are only a shadow of last season.
    Rafa' does not have a clue what he's doing on the transfer market, I have said this since day one he signed with us. Every single player except Torres and Agger have been second rated players. There's just too many transfers where he might as well should've rolled down the window in his car and thrown the cash out instead.

    I'm not saying that Rafa should leave, I'm only saying bring in a consultant on transfers (Rick Perry wasn't much of a talentspotter either) wasn't he fired because Rafa wanted 100% control over transfers? biggest mistake made in a very long time.
    Rafa' is a tactical genius, but this season he has spent our entire transfer package on Johnson (good, but way to expensive) Aquilani (good, but my god! why pay so much for a player who has been injured half the season for the last 4 years?!! Did Rafa expect we had some kind of witchdoctor to cure him... he's only going to play 50% of games for us because he's a prone to injuries.

    Rafa should not have control over transfers, bring in someone who know what they are doing and make him a consultant for Rafa.
    How come Arsenal sign so many talents who ends up becomming great players? And we sign so many second rated players who decrease in value? Do I have to mention Robbie Keane...

    It's exactly the same with players, he might be the best player in the world but if he can't score goals, you need to have someone beside him who can, it's pure logic.

  46. <span>I'm with you Rossi, i disagree with virtually everything that Jamie ever writes and find that he is exceptionally critical and anti Benitez. When Rafa came in he had a very bad squad that needed completely rebuilding, he's slowly doing that and whilst he has bought his fair share of bad players at least they have been sold on quickly.</span>
    <span> </span>
    <span>Unfortunately Jamie, like most newspapers and media, reacts as though it is the end of the world and the season is ending next week. There's a long way to go yet and we're only seven points off the top!</span>

  47. 12 . The two Americans that bought the club , saddled it with debt, never built a stadium and cant stand each other. I believe this is the clubs biggest problem.  

  48. Well play owen off torres then, if we are so skint then, a pay as you play deal makes perfect sense

  49. It's all good and well being crtitical but there is a line.

    Especially considering you don't seem to be able to accept "criticism" of your own thoughts and opinions i find that rather strange.

    Everybody has their different views but a good example of constructive criticism is always balanced by accepting a positive view from another source.

    Your article also appears to be very "arrogant" in certain points e.g.

    "<span>The answer is obvious, and it is backed up by this season's results:</span>
    <span>Lucas in CM </span>= 6 defeats
    <span>Gerrard in link-man role</span> = 5 defeats
    <span>Gerrard in CM role</span> = 2 wins (Burnley + Hull: 10 goals scored by team)"</span>

    This answer is not obvious it is simply your opinion and to use the success of the Burnley and Hull game to support your argument for Gerrard's position is quite laughable.

    I've spoke to countless numbers of fans who have criticised the team, the board and the manager but i am usually able to hold down a conversation with these people as they don't feel the need to push thier POV and they aren't determined to be "right".

    Also you are very contradictive as "Rossi" pointed out on several occasions. Is this double standards or something?

    Thank god your not in charge of Liverpool ay? God only knows what would happen, you think Rafa is stubborn and always needs to get what he wants? Take a look in the mirror mate and read back through your articles. I've never seen a more resounding example of "I am right and that is that." 

  50. lucas should be a steward at anfield, not a liverpool player!!!!1

  51. I read a blog this morning ripping you to shreds Jamie. I have to say in all honesty sometimes I think you make little sense but...and it's a big but... you say what needs to be said and in this article you said what I' was screaming at the TV last night. We can blame owners squabbling and lack of money until we're blue in the face but after all that it is said and done it is the manager and players that get the results. That is the paramount place Liverpool need to be getting it right.
    Buying and selling players is one of the hardest roles of the manager but when I look at some of the 'squad' players we've let go who are now playing in the premiership and doing well eg.Stephen Warnock, and especially Craig Bellamy, all I see is the wasted money on buying rubbish and these two are just a couple of examples. Samii as you rightly put it could've served us well for another season.
    I hate saying this but Wenger and Moyes have little money to spend, one through choice the other through necessity and although they are not winning trophies granted, they're squad strength is superior. Rafa is just not picking the right players, and moral is in the toilet. I'd even go so far as to say that maybe the dressing room has gone. Gerrard looks down and tired already with the amount of pressure brought upon the poor guys shoulders. For once a good article Jamie and I will read you with more interest from now on. Can I please just say a massive well done to David Kelly last night. I thought he did himself proud and does not deserve to be slagged on the Red and White Kop site!

  52. 11 reasons? or just one? "Rafa Benitez"

  53. Hi Cez,

    There are a few Liverpool sites out there who regulalry slag me/this site off, but that's their right. Goes with the territory.  Does't bother me in the slightest. People will decide for themselves if I make sense or not, and those that disagree, that's fine too.  I'm just an ordinary fan with an opinion, just like every other fan out there. 

    Agree with you about Bellamy and Warnock - solid players who would add some fight to this current Liverpool side. Also agree with you about David Kelly - he had a great debut from what I saw; got some very good crosses in.  A bright spot on the night and clearly not to blame for the defeat.

  54. Fair point rolyrols, but how does the owners situation influence have benitez's decision to Lucas starting every game? 8-)

  55. Completely agree, Nick.  I hate the idea that former players somehow have a more valid viewpoint on football matters.  Football isn't rocket science; it is 11 men kicking a ball around.  Understanding football, tactics, the offside rule etc is not some mystical art that only those involved in the game are able to understand.  It's not like football is populated with highly-educated geniuses either, is it?! 

    If Robbie Savage is able understand the tactical reason behind why a team plays 352, then so can I!

    Rushie is entitle to his opinion, but like you say, it doesn't him right everyone who holds the opposing view wrong.

  56. Totally agree about the wing situation.  From Billy Liddell to Steve Heighway to John Barnes to Steve McManaman, successfull Liverpool teams have always had exceptional wide players.  Barnes has never been replaced; McManaman has never been replaced, and Liverpool have suffered.

    And I am also tired of Carragher and his 'but we'll bounce back next time' and Liverpool's Mr State the Obvious, Dirk Kuyt' spouting the same tired cliches after every game.

    re Sunday, I think we will win.  I just have this feeling. Things are terrible at the moment, and they can only get better.  Losing at home to Manure of all teams - and basically allowing them to completely stick the knife in and destroy our season - is unthinkable.  Forget Benitez -  I think Sunday's game transcends all the mistakes; the legendary spirit of Liverpool F c will not allow the United game to be lost!

  57. Oh dear, so you resorted to deleting my comment?

    Another example of you not being able to take "criticism" on your own "criticism".

    So it wasn't lies then you do delete comments...

  58. Read the comment policy: the link is to the left of the page. Threads that follow articles are for discussion of the issues.  I you want to slag me off/label me as x, y z, or generally spout bile, then there is a dedicated thread for that.  If your only goal is to snipe about ME as opposed to discuss the issues raised in the article, then your post will be deleted.

    If you have some observations about the issues raised in the article, please feel free to post them.

  59. But i raised issues within the comment, i clearly stated that i thought your comment within the article about Gerrard was of an arrogant approach.

    Could you not have copy and pasted that comment and put it in your designated thread then if apparently it wasn't suitable for this article?

    Despite the fact that in several stages in the comment i was linking to the above article.

    You truly can't take criticism on your own criticism can you?

  60. P.s i never labeled you, what i was spouting was not bile, it was my opinion but i guess you don't respect other peoples opinions unless they somehow fit with your own...

  61. Deleted another one already? Jeez. 

  62. 90% of the comments on this site challenge my views...but I can't take it. Hmm, yes.  That makes sense.  unless you're a regular reader of this site, you are not in a position to pass judgment.

    And as I said, read the comment policy: if you included valid points in your post but still waste time sniping, your post will be deleted. Sometimes people have to be forced to debate properly, and if deleting their posts is what it takes, then so be it.

    It's simple really: debate the issues; challenge views on the site in the strongest terms possible.  That is always welcome.  Resort to name-calling and lowest common denominator behaviour and your comment will be deleted.

    Like it or lump it.

  63. This little exchange between us is a prime example of what I'm talking aout.  i do not want good debates derailed by pointless exchanges like this.  I don't want readers to have to wade through crsap like this to follow the debate.  Consequently, this entire exchange will be deleted in 15 minutes.

    As I said before - if you have observations/arguments to make about LFC related issues, please go ahead.

  64. At what stage did i name call?

    Ok so the comment was mildly as you say "sniping" but in all fairness it was being said out of the frustration and disagreement that i had with your article.

    As for being unable to pass judgement you are doing nothing but defend what i have been saying, i should quite clearly be able to pass judgement on an article you have wrote.

  65. If you disagree with the article then state your case in the right manner.  Surely the best way to discredit me is to prove I'm off the mark, no?

    As the thousands of comments disputing my views prove, I have NOTHING against opposing opinion.  All I am interested in here is gathering the views of fellow fans into a coherent, readable debate.  Anything that gets in the way of that will be deleted.

    i don't take it personally when people slag me off - that's not the issue. it's purely about keeping debate on track.

    If people want to engage in name-calling and all that other pointless crap then there are plenty of LFC forums out there to satisfy them.

  66. Here is something i don't understand. Rafa has had inferior quality than Man U or chelsea (and maybe even Arsenal) IMO over the last so many seasons. Yet last season he did the double over Man U and was maybe a win or two from winning the league. How the heck did he do that? Did he over achieve last season and is now taking the flack for some more realistic performances given the squad depth? To illustrate my point, the only world class Liverpool players last season (again, no disrespect meant) IMO were Gerrard, Torres, Alonso & Gerrard+Torres missed so many games due to injuries. Yet the team were whiskers from 2 titles (Prem & Champs League).

    I am a life long Man Utd fan and i can't understand how Benitez has achieved so much with so little. Fine, you guys can argue that HE is the reason why there is so little with his transfer dealings and all, but looking at the squad and all their achievements demonstrates to me that Rafa is a very good coach who has been dealt a bad hand.

  67. I dont believe Gerrard will play in CM for liverpool, simply because he dosent want too and there is not much rafa can do about it. our hero the most liverpool of liverpool players wants to play off Torres. I like Gerrard and believe he is one of the best players to grace and pitch in england. but it is my view that he see's himself as an attacking player, we set our team up around him, keane suffered due to gerrard any top class striker will suffer as long as he is in that position. rafa is afraid of losing the support of the kop (liverpool fans) this is why he keeps playing Jamie C & Kuyt when they are out of form, a rest and a kick up the arse will do them good. unfortunatley rafa is stubborn and this is why Lucas plays all the time. Since the start of the season i have defended the team and i will continue too. every saturday evening i listen to a radio program on today fm (irish station) and it makes me sick to hear so called fans publicly slag of our players. Manure supporters are laughing at us!!!!. I enjoy reading you post JK even if i dont agree with all you write, but they do make you think.  

  68. I am a massive Liverpool fan n I was optimistic about Liverpool's chances of winning silverware this season UNTIL....THE TRANSFER WINDOW SLAMMED SHUT TILL JANUARY..I was hoping that Rafa wud sign 1 more player if not the 2 we would be needing as the season progresses.. a new CM and  STRIKER..
    REASON BEING- I knew for sure that like last season both Torres and Gerrard would get injured at some point of time..
    LAST TIME AROUND we had ALONSO and KEANE..SOME MIGHT raise an eyebrow at the mention of the latter but I will explain why I mention him..

    1) My reasoning would be on the borders of point 3 of this article where LUCAS and GERRARD have been compared with regards to defeats and wins..

    It wont require EINSTEIN to count the no of goals KEANE scored in his Liverpool career.. 2- CHAMPIONS LEAGUE; 5- EPL.

    How many matches did we lose when he scored? answer-none; agreed he didnt have the best of form but would it help u as a player if u keep getting subbed of after the 60 min mark? confidence is the key and Rafa didnt do him any favors in that regard..I could go on but this aint about KEANE but about LIVERPOOL in the bigger picture..

    He scored all of his goals except his 1st goal in the absence of TORRES..
    NOW the situation is same but no KEANE OR ANOTHER STRIKER to score the goals..
    I thought that a new striker was top priority after the sale of KEANE but somehow RAFA THOUGHT OTHERWISE-VORONIN..Is the guy actually a striker???? havent seen him score a proper goal since he arrived..WHO would rather have in the SQUAD- KEANE or VORONIN?

    2) After ALONSO left it was important that we buy a MIDFIELDER with CREATIVITY as our other 2 MIDFIELDERS lacked that- LUCAS and MASCHERANO.. GERRARD plays in AMF(or the hole as it is called)but is also capable of playing in CM..

    When REAL MADRID offered us VAN DER WAART we shud have taken him..would he have been worse than LUCAS? He is proven player having what we lack at present..how welcome it would ahve been if we had taken him..would have made OUR SQUAD STRONGER giving us options..
    REAL wanted to off-load him coz they wanted MEGA STARS IN THIER TEAM..who knows, maybe he would have been a hit at LIVERPOOL..

    JUST IMAGINE the options we would have.. OUR SQUAD would not be so thin or as the PUNDITS SAY-"LACKING IN DEPTH"....

    Even if we had taken NEGREDO, it would have been a strong move..as again we would have options

    BUT AS WE STAND..a sorry team with nothing to excite the fans and its supporters....


  69. Thanks for replying to me. One thing I'd like to add is at least here I can dare to  express an opinion. I will be following you from now on,I might not always agree but you say you don't mind that lol. There is a considerable element of fans at this club that insist things are done in the 'Liverpool Way' meaning we don't criticise the manager etc etc but jesus it's 2009 and even in the last 5 years the world of football has changed enormously. No we don't want to be seen as a cut throat 3 managers a season club but I do believe we need to move with the times. Rafa wanted full control of the reins and I think maybe he's dropped them or never really had both hands on them for as long as maybe 2 or 3 seasons ago. Yeah yeah I know where we finished last year but he's built a team without foundations. If the squad were a house it would fall down.
    The down side to my rantings is of course the owners and all the old chestnuts that go with it but hey if I had all the answers to that I'd probably be manager and I'm a woman! You'd really crap yourselves then wouldn't you lol!

  70. I want to know why Rushie is scouting in South America for ManCity? Nothing against him...I love the guy.. but what's going on there?

  71. So do I agree  with rolroys about that the biggest problem are the American duo which personally makes me really angry after that they promised the best and instead we had nothing back than debt but I think that Benitez is the biggest problem for our team he is so stubborn and sometimes I don t know how these formation come up to his mind,. I think it s time to have a change of coach in our club what about some like Kenny Daglish (which brought our last title in Anfeild  and  who might bring it back)

  72. Owen was willing to come to us for 20 grand a week.. We pay our reserves more than that and we hang on to Voronin.. Nah don't get it.

  73. Not all of us (Man U) fans are laughing....i am actually very scared of what a team that has been villified and pushed to the wall can do. If Liverpool need any rousing to give a world class performance, the thought of Last season's double over us might just do the trick

  74. Have to say mate.. far inferior teams than us have had you over the last few seasons. man City for one!

  75. Good point.  Owen or Voronin?  No contest really.

  76. Yossi to rule midfield7:47 pm, October 21, 2009

    <span><span>i saw liverpool's past few matches and one thing was shouting to the sky above all the rest: how the hell is a player in the caliber of lucas playing for liverpool???  </span><span>LIVERPOOL</span></span><span><span>!!! 
    it is embarrassing, seeing lucas trying to do what he does not have the gift for.
    nobody should forgive such a shameful performance, the brazilian had all the chances a player can ask for. 
    i miss alonso so much, even when he is playing bad in madrid, still, the difference is so huge... 
    how can we expect the team to compete with man u and chelsea when we have players in our line up who should be playing in Belgium??? 
    im not going to talk about JM and his thoughts about leaving or staying, i just hope alberto will recreate his good times with de rossi on roma's midfield...</span>


  77. All kinds of opinion are welcome here, and I can guarantee you will never get any abuse from anyone, no matter how 'controversial' your view might be.  There are lots of knowledgeable fans who post here, and alot of the arguments and counter-arguments they produce are top notch.

    Agree with you about the superfans and their insistence on uniformity of opinion.  It's perfectly possible to abide by 'The Liverpool Way' and analyse the club.

    And you're spot on - Rafa has dropped the ball.  It wasn't as if last season from superb from start to finish.  FromAugust to March it was the same old stuff; the last 3 months of the season elevated things, but three months are not representative of the whole.

    I think many people  believed that because we had such a good three months it was evidence that we were ready to go on and win the title. That could've been the case if things were done properly, but that hasn't happened.

  78. Thank you Jaimie for this very good article. I agree with all the points you mentioned. 
    There shouldnt be any untouchable players like Kuyt or Lucas..etc
    We need talented wings, CMs, and strikers. Why didnt Rafa include Sneider, Negredo, or VanDerVart in the Alonso deal with Real Madrid.
    Rafa can't continue to play Kuyt on the right wing and Babel/Benayoun on the left one.
    Rafa is probably the best manager in the world without a doubt, but he is not good at all in bringing quality players to the team.
    You dont need vast amounts of money to sign good players, you need to be intelligent, a talent-discoverer and to know who to sign. Look at Arsenal. Rafa spent far more than Wenger spent on players, and compare the 2 sides now, huge difference in the quality between the 2 teams. still tactically and defensively, Rafa is miles better than Wenger, and I am sure he can make miracles if he couches this Arsenal team. He did make a miracle with an ordinary Liverpool team in the CL in 2005.
    I really wish he can read your article, but he is SOOO stubborn.

  79. I get that...i was just trying to illustrate that Liverpool achieved great things last season with a thin squad.

  80. As I have seen Liverpool, indeed has nothing to do with last year's team. Alonso was a great loss. When Gerrard and Tores are not playing the team seems so weak to score.

    Lyon at the equalizing goal had 3 players within the goalpost line, and freely they had all the time of the world to shoot at Reina. There was NO deffender to get the ball, and they just stood watching Lyon players. This year our diffence has nothing to do with last years...

    There is a need of great improvement in all of our lines, deffence, midfield, attack. I would say that some choices of Rafa are not the best for Liverpool.

    Hopefully he will see the weakness of the Team and act urgently...

  81. same formation as i, and alot of fans were suggesting at the start of the season paul. We can dominate possesion with SG and mash in CM, yossi will put torres in or score himself and plenty of width with reira and johnson. 

  82. I think that's a key point, and one that makes a mockery of the idea that Benitez has not had enough money to spend. Surely last season's 2nd place finish proved that money is NOT the most important thing.   If Liverpool suffer becuase of lack of money, how could they possibly finish second?  And this was in a season where 20m man Robbie Keane was dumped in January, and no replacement was brought in.

  83. I don't have an opinion on the money issue..but other than Alonso leaving, Liverpool is still the same team as last season. Why are the performances so different?

  84. Liverpool's team to face the mancs if fit.....


         Kelly           Carra                              Agger               Aurelio


        Johnson                        Aquilani                                 Yossi
                             Gerrard                     Torres            

  85. In all honesty i think tactics, player placement and game decisions pale into insignificance compared to the psychological damage benitez has caused with his man management skills. Alonso had been a dead man walking for 2 seasons. The way he was treated because of poor form beggars belief, and then when he gets his form back and becomes perhaps second to Gerrard in the top Premier league midfielders he leaves. Can you blame him?? Not me!

    The public nature of rafa's desire to offload Alonso after the '07-'08 season is staggering. He is now reaping the rewards.

    Keane, Sissoko, Morientes, Crouch etc all dumped. Now im not saying that They were all capable of blossoming into world beaters for us, but would you work for someone who was intent on limiting opportunities/playing you out of position/dropping you for no reason, regardless of performance?

    Then Lucas, who may well turn out to be a good player and Kuyt (sweat and blood) must be made out of kryptonite, cos Rafa wont touch them.

    How can a group become close with this kind of man management? How can our squad attempt to improve if the manager seems pathologically intent of flogging some players with no particular criteria, other than he doesnt like them?

  86. Interesting article Jamie, I agree with some of your points. More interesting is the Man Utd fan that writes more sense than a great deal of us Liverpool fans on here, respect, if only more Man U fans were like you!

    I think we all need to take a good look at ourselves also this season. I've been at every home game this season and the lack of atmosphere at Anfield is frightening and embarrassing. Our passion and drive behind the team seems to have been replaced by tension, anxiety and criticism.

    The reason for this? Could it be that Benitez has got us to a stage where we genuinely believe we have a realistic chance of winning the title, and so every mistake, every goal conceded is received like this chance has slipped away. The tension transfers itself to the players, when what they need is more support.

    Many Liverpool fans wont like this but it really is the case. Id be interested to hear what you think of this JK

  87. reason no 12. Zonal Marking!

  88. Only Torres and Agger? What about Kuyt? Mascherano? Benayoun? Skrtel? Johnson? Crouch? What you say is nonsense.

    As for Jamie's backing of Benitez, it's like having the devil's backing. He's already said that he'd like him out at the end of the season EVEN IF HE COMES SECOND AGAIN. And why should any of the people he mentions do better than Benitez? Liverpool don't have any right to win the PL and at the moment there are other quality teams out there. Would the second or third rate Martin O Neil do any better than Benitez against Man U. or Chelsea? Not a chance. JK conveniently forgets that when Benitez took over the team was 30 points behind Man U. He's closed that gap dramatically. I could go on...

    But the truth is that this site is for would-be intellectuals who mostly just want to boost their own ego. Thankfully, neither Rafa nor the majority of fans have anything to do with it.

  89. Liverpool fans is another reason why liverpool is struggling. Liverpool fans are the greatest in the past.  But now, sad to say they are not.

  90. Yet again the fantastic 'Pacheco' is pulling up tree's in the reserves, deadly from free kick's. Time for this lad to be promoted to the 1st team squad, if your good enough you are old enough.

  91. Drop Lucas coz it's like playing with 10 men when he's on the pitch.  He should not be compared with Gerro as you can see how he was totally outplayed by Sunderland midfielders.  

    So drop him and we got a chance against MU, otherwise we WILL definitely lose the game.

  92. We need someone to run the ball, it's as simple as that. Yossi must play every minute of every game now, Aquilani does the same. Pacheco is another player who attacks defenders, get him in the squad for sunday. It's backs to the wall so we must have an ace up our sleeve, something different!!!!!!!

  93. I think you said it in your article - they over-achieved. They weren't a good enough suqad to finish where they did. I think a lot of last season was 'us against the world' mentality, and then at Christmas when people thought 'hag on they can win this if they keep going' the mentality changed. This is emphasised by the fact that we didn't win a single game in January 09! Ridiculous. And this all came about after 1 thing. Gerrard and his pub brawl.m That's when the mentality changed from backs againt the wall to thinking they were genuine title contenders.

    Same thing happened when we beat Utd. Everyone was saying they couldn't be caught, so we went back to 'us against the world' kind of seige mentality, and we went unbeaten to the end of the season (if memory serves). They over achieved last season because of the mentality.

    This season, you've got idiots like Kuyt, Babel etc. thinking they've got a right to challenge for the title. Fact is they don't and I think we may see some change now if they change their mentality.

  94. That is the biggest pile of rubbish I have heard in my life. Are you saying that the reason Benitez picks Lucas and Kuyt in midfield is because of the fans? Or his substitutions are because of the fans, or his rants, or his inability in the transfer market, or anything esle for that matter, is because of the fans? I don't doubt that when the players are out there they can feel the atmosphere, but so what? The atmosphere comes as a direct result of the players and the manager not performing to the appropriate standard.

    Yes we should get behind the players when it's going badly, but by the same token the fans have a right to express their displeasure when they see useless players playing week in, week out, and players with talent, ability and promise being dropped after they have a good performance.

  95. Are you saying Kuyt, Skrtel, Benayoun and Crouch are world class? If you are then I don't know what sport you're watching mate but it isn't football.

  96. Everybody loves to talk about the poor squad that Rafa inherited (and won't deny that there were some very poor players in there), but that is the squad that won him the CL, and the FA Cup the next year.  THIS is undeniably Rafa's squad now, and I think that it's debateable just how much stronger it is than the team that he took over.

    He has too many excuses made for him, when the sad truth is that he is nowhere near the manager that many Rafa apologists would make him out to be

  97. 6. That one meaningful role would equal Kuyt and Lucas' right?  "Run"

  98. I know it's beating a dead horse and most Rafa fans have long since given up on him, but Babel has shown when played on the right that he has the ability, strength and pace to beat a man and whip quality balls into the box.  Whatever you may want to say about his endeavour, Kuyt does not offer the qualities of a proper right-winger.  I don't understand how if Riera is not playing on the left, Rafa can still afford to go without any width on the rightwith Babel.

    This is where I totally agree with you Jamie, about favoritism and playing players where they are most comfortable/contribute most.
    Kuyt should be competing for a position upfront with Torres, not just handed a position on the pitch to accomodate him by any means necessary

    Masch - Gerrard
    Babel - Benayoun - Rieira

  99. Rieira and Babel are immediately put at fault for any poor team performance and dropped, whereas Kuyt is given an entire season to play himself into form - that is the difference.  Let's see them start and play major minutes for even 3 games in a row, much less be given the opportunity that Kuyt gets before writing them off as inadequate replacements...

  100. It was funny to see everybody write off Owen as returning to Liverpool on a free, and compare that to the excitement generated by the return of an older, even more injury riddled Fowler a few years ago...

  101. I'm tired of ppl picking out Babel for every ill in this team, when the man hardly even plays!?!?
    When did he talk about the title- HIS aim for the season, was just getting into the team on a regular basis!  If you want to quot names that have been going on about the title, at least pick out relevant ones like, Gerrard, Carragher, Kuyt etc.

  102. I would argue that Reina is world class, Glen Johnson is already proving himself to be world class (seriously, watch other RB performances and compare the play not the name), a fit Agger is world class, and Mascherano is apparantly also borderline world class. 
    That is obviously to go alongside the undisputedly world class Gerrard and Torres.

    Of course no team will be completely filled with world class talent, but unfortunately Liverpool carry too many players in the starting line-up/squad that are midtable caliber, rather than of a Top 4 level

  103. I would argue that on top of Gerrard and Torres, Liverpool have world class players in Reina, a fit Agger, and Glen Johnson (seriously, compare him to any of these so called world class full backs and he's right there with them).  Also, Mascherano is recognised as a borderline world class player.  That's 6 players, albeit mainly in defensive areas which aren't traditionally as recognised.

    No squad will ever be filled entirely of world class talent, but unfortunately for Liverpool, the squad is filled with too many mid-table caliber players ratherthan players that you'd expect to find in the Top 4...  :-[

  104. Unfortunately Liverpool fans have given up on Liverpool and assumed the role of Rafa Benitez fans nowadays.
    Any viewpoint that he takes up is assumed as gospel and defended to the hilt, he can do no wrong and anything that he achieves is more than Liverpool FC is worthy of.  It's pathetic...  :-[

  105. Jaimie give <span>r0w4n10
    </span> a regular acticle.

  106. Jaimie give r0w4n10 a regular column

  107. What the hell are you talking about Jay, even blind freddy can see that Babel has been crap.  He hasnt lived up to expectations.  And Riera has been injured for most of the year.  He has been on the bench as he is still recovering and couldn't last a full game.

  108. As I said 'Guest', Babel is the only viable alternative for a right wing position if Riera is not picked to provide any width on the opposite wing, due to the talents at his disposal, but has unfortunately not been given the opportunity to prove this. 

    Any impartial viewer would agree that Babel (and to a lesser extent Riera, who was not injured earlier in the season) has not been given anywhere near the opportunity to earn a regular starting berth, in much the same way that Kuyt, Lucas have.  Whereas Babel would be dropped after a maximum of two starting opportunities, Kuyt and Lucas are given innumerable opportunities to play their way into form. This despite the fact that even the best wingers by their very nature tend to be incosistent, drift in and out of games but have the ability to deliver a moment of magic with the ball at their feet.

    Any impartial viewer would also agree that Kuyt does not offer the characteristics of a good right winger - i.e. pace, ability to beat his man, ability to deliver a good cross etc.  Work rate and strength are not enough for a so called top team, especially one that is already utilising two defensive midfielders...

  109. Nick

    "Are you saying that the reason Benitez picks Lucas and Kuyt in midfield is because of the fans?" - Nope, i clearly didnt say that. I was adding another point to Jamies 11, some of which I agreed with. I think Benitez is very stubborn with his team selections and certainly isnt influenced by the fans, but I can also see why he picks a player like kuyt week in week out, especially now that Johnson is playing and getting forward like he does..imagine the amount of goals we would be shipping if we had an out and out winger on the right as well as Johnson going forward!

    "Or his substitutions are because of the fans, or his rants, or his inability in the transfer market, or anything esle for that matter, is because of the fans?" - No, no, no and...no. That would be ridiculous and I didnt say that. I am the first to question Benitiez's substitutions if they are suspect. Yossi's on Tuesday obviously upset a lot of people and I was dissapointed but I also think Benitez and the staff have a better idea whats going on than we do, maybe Yossi felt something and told them at half-time, or picked up a knock...who knows? Not us. But his decision clearly wasnt influenced by the fans.

    "I don't doubt that when the players are out there they can feel the atmosphere, but so what?" - Carra and Gerrard have constantly stated over the past few years the difference the atmosphere and the fans make to the teams performance, so I personally think this is important, obviously you dont.

    "The atmosphere comes as a direct result of the players and the manager not performing to the appropriate standard." - My point excactly, from the start of matches this season there has been very little atmosphere, and when we havent been performing, for example in the Villa game, we need to act as the  '12th man' and get behind the players...something we have done better than any other fans in the past but arent doing this season.

    Anyway, just an opinion mate, lets see what difference the atmosphere on sunday makes to our performance

  110. All of the above points to having rather shit manager.  Players played out of position, poor subs, poor purchases etc. All directly attributable to that fat man with the weird beard

  111. The reason they got rid of Hyppia was because it was his time to go, a player of his stature should go and play regularly somewhere else isntead of being on the liverpool bench. Ryan Shawcross was on Rafa's list. Kyrgiakos was then signed as a backup to Skrtel/Agger/Carra as they felt Ayala needed some more time... so that is why they let Hyppia go and get Kyrgiakos... Hyppia also played the least out of all 4 central defenders last season..

  112. Oh! and make that 12 points off the top. Out of Carling cup, out of UEFA CL. Even Reading in the FA cup is looking a tall order. If Liverpool end in top 4 I'll eat my scarf. Be realistic, this season is already over. If Rafa survives its a miracle

  113. he scores goals and wins games. hat-trick on wednesday

  114. After selling Alonso we were never going to find an out and out replacement for him because he is such a unique footballer and they are so rare, there is only one player who could replace him and that is Xavi from Barcelona, but hes is Barca born and bred and isnt going to want to come to Liverpool, weh had a fantastic world class player in ALonso and when Rafa tried to sell him two years ago and bring in Barry that unsettled him and now hes gone. I would love him back. 

  115. there is only one major reason, LUCAS... he is awefull.. very untalented player.. that all