5 Oct 2009

Once again, Rafa Benitez’s illogical decisions condemn Liverpool to defeat

Liverpool’s depressing defeat against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge could have (and should have) been avoided, but as is so often the case, Rafa Benitez’s decisions conspired to adversely affect Liverpool yet again.

The most galling thing about the defeat is that the game was definitely winnable. Chelsea are not the force they once were, if Rafa Benitez had taken a different approach, the game could've been salvaged. In my view, Benitez he got it wrong for the following reasons

1. Persisting with the Gerrard/Torres partnershi

When is Rafa going to acknowledge that the Gerrard/Torres partnership rarely works against top defences? With very few exceptions, this has been proven countless times over the last two years. A prime example of this was the Liverpool-Chelsea game at Anfield in the CL last season – Gerrard was man-marked by Michael Essien, which left a huge creative gap behind Torres, who struggled up front on his own.

That is the way to defeat the partnership, and the best defences in the land know this. Nullify Gerrard in that role and Liverpool’s creative thrust is gone.

Consider this: what do all 4 defeats this season have in common? Exactly. The Gerrard-Torres partnership was utilized.

I have made this point time and time again, and it is an obvious point (!). So why does Benitez not see it?

2. Failing to play Gerrard alongside Mascherano

I argued right at the beginning of the season that until Alberto Aquilani is available, Liverpool should play Gerrard in central midfield. Indeed, every time he has started in that position this season, Liverpool has won, the last example being the thrashing of Hull City. Furthermore, in almost every game Gerrard has started behind Torres, he has reverted to midfield anyway at some point! The solution is simple:

Play Gerrard in central midfield every game!

I just find it incredible that Benitez persists with the partnership against better teams when it’s clearly better for the TEAM if Gerrard plays in midfield.

And it’s not like we do not have anyone to play behind Torres; Yossi Benayoun was born to play that role, and whenever he does, he produces. The most recent example of this was the two assists he provided for Torres in the Hull victory.

3. Not starting Yossi Benayoun

This issue is increasingly frustrating (!), but once again, Yossi Benayoun was relegated to the bench, despite (arguably) being one of Liverpool’s star performers over the last six months.

It just makes no sense to me. How is this logical? Lucas starts every game, yet Yossi regularly finds himself on the bench, despite the fact his actual impact on the team is far superior.

There is no excuse for this at all. Benitez’s favouritism is beginning to have an adverse impact on the team, and this needs to change.

Unlike so many other Liverpool fans, I have nothing against Lucas; I think he’s progressing okay and could turn out to be a decent player in the future, but blindly playing him every game at the expense of what is best for the team is, quite frankly, managerial negligence.

The question here is who is better in the central midfield role – Lucas or Gerrard? The answer is obvious; so why is Gerrard not playing there when it is blatantly obvious that this is his best role for TEAM at this moment?

4. Starting Insua ahead of Aurelio

This again is another example of Benitez failing to adapt quickly enough. Insua is progressing well but in against Fiorentina, he was caught out a few times, and his failure to adequately track-back directly led to an opposition goal. Given the importance and magnitude of the Chelsea game, Insua should’ve made way for the more experienced Aurelio.

Such a change also has another benefit – Carra and Skrtel have had to bed-in two new full-backs this season, and this has clearly affected the solidity of the defence. It’s clear that Carra does not fully trust Insua, and this has been evident from the cover he has had to provide throughout the season. Carra is far more comfortable playing alongside Aurelio, which would’ve been beneficial against Chelsea.

5. Playing the wrong line-up/formation

As I argued in my pre-match post, the line-up should have been as follows:

----------------------------- Reina

Johnson ------------ Carra --- Skrtel --------- Aurelio

-------------------- Masch ---- Gerrard

Kuyt ------------------- Benayoun ------------- Riera

---------------------------- Torres

This line-up has the following advantages:

1. Solidity, pace, creativity and power in midfield. Lucas is bullied off the ball far too often, and doesn’t have the range of passing or ball-retention skill to adequately replace Xabi Alonso. Also, with Gerrard further up the field, opposing teams can cut him out of the game when they counter-attack, leaving him too far up the field to be in a position to help the midfielders defend.

Who would opposing teams rather come up against in midfield: Lucas or Gerrard? Gerrard offers much more creatively than Lucas - As we’ve seen this season and in previous season, he can start attacks and get into scoring positions.

2. Defensive back-up for our faltering defence. For whatever reason, our defence has been suspect this season. Having Gerrard in midfield provides an extra level of much-needed protection.

3. Natural width on the left. Like him or loathe him, Albert Riera is the only natural winger in the team, and this is vitally important for stretching the play and bringing balance to the side.

4. Dual threat. Gerrard is harder to pin down when he plays in midfield but if he plays behind Torres, he is easily isolated. Playing Yossi behind Torres creates more creative options; if teams man-mark Gerrard, they still have Benayoun to worry about.

5. Set-piece expertise. With Fabio Aurelio in the team, Liverpool’s impact from set-pieces improves dramatically.

I truly believe that if Liverpool had played the team above, the game would not have been lost. Chelsea were not outstanding by any means, and the game was there to be won. Instead, as a result of Rafa Benitez’s illogical decisions, Liverpool were condemned to defeat.

At the end of the day, the facts are simple:

1. Liverpool have lost 4 games in which the G+T partnership has been utilized.
2. Liverpool have won every game in which Gerrard has started in CM.
3. Gerrard is a more effective central-midfielder than Lucas.
4. At this moment, Gerrard’s best position for the TEAM is in CM
5. Yossi’s record from starts is superb, so he should start most – if not all – games.

With the above in mind, serious questions need to be asked about why Benitez:

1. Persists with playing Lucas instead of Gerrard in CM.
2. Persists with playing the G+T partnership even though it’s ineffective.
3. Regularly drops Benayoun to the bench, despite his excellent creative record.

Liverpool have now lost 4 out of 11 games this season. Yes, the title is still a possibility and it would be madness to write off Liverpool at this stage, but any way you slice it, that record is not good enough.


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  1. "<span style="color: #990000; font-weight: bold;">Liverpool-Kop</span> is now the highest ranked, non-forum-based, independent LFC site on the net!" - what about This Is Anfield or Anfield Online?

  2. Having watched the game on Sunday i'm not sure I share all of your criticisms of Rafa. Up until Chelsea scored Liverpool were playing well and in fact in the first half should have had a penalty given drogba's pull down of Skertel. The chelsea goal came about because Mascherono gave away the ball and for the first time Chelsea were able to break down the middle. Not sure that having Gerrard in the middle of midfield would have prevented this...

    Once we went behind I felt that Rafa acted postively he brough on benoyoun for riera and about 10 minutes later brought on babbel for Skertel. To be fair Benoyoun did change the game and bring a bit more energy but I think the reason Rafa went with Riera first is because he felt Riera would provide more defensive cover for Insua so I agree with your point that perhaps if Aureilio had been used then Riera would'nt have been needed.

    At the end of the day we have an awful record against Chelsea at the bridge and Torres was kept quiet by Terry and we just couldn't find a way through it happens!

    Three looses are not the end of the world. Man U drew and I can see Chelsea dropping more points especially during the African nations. Also your point about Gerrard/Torres partnership I think is a little unfair it needs time to gel given that Alonso is not there to provide the pin point passes. Perhaps when Aquilani comes in he might be able to provide the passing and attacking nouce we need in midfield to allow Gerrard to be more effective behind Torres.

    I think we were a bit unlucky yesterday as a fair result would have been a draw.

  3. Read that again:

    <span style="color: #990000; font-weight: bold;">Liverpool-Kop</span> is now the highest ranked, non-forum-based, independent LFC site on the net!"
    <div id="TixyyLink" style="border: medium none; overflow: hidden; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; text-align: left; text-decoration: none;">
    <div style="border: medium none; overflow: hidden; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; text-align: left; text-decoration: none;">TIA and AO have message board forums, which generates a shedload of traffic.  Take that away and their rankings would not be as impressive.</div>
    <div style="border: medium none; overflow: hidden; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; text-align: left; text-decoration: none;">
    <div style="border: medium none; overflow: hidden; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; text-align: left; text-decoration: none;">This site relies on solely on original content to generate visitors, not message boards.

  4. Having watched the game on Sunday i'm not sure I share all of your criticisms of Rafa. Up until Chelsea scored Liverpool were playing well and in fact in the first half should have had a penalty given drogba's pull down of Skertel. The chelsea goal came about because Mascherono gave away the ball and for the first time Chelsea were able to break succesfully down the middle. Not sure that having Gerrard next to masch would have prevented this...  
    Once we went behind I felt that Rafa acted postively he brough on benoyoun for riera and about 10 minutes later brought on babbel for Lucus. To be fair Benoyoun did change the game and bring a bit more energy but I think the reason Rafa went with Riera first is because he felt Riera would provide more defensive cover for Insua so I agree with your point that perhaps if Aureilio had been used then Riera would'nt have been needed.  
    At the end of the day we have an awful record against Chelsea at the bridge and Torres was kept quiet by Terry and we just couldn't find a way through it happens!  
    Three looses are not the end of the world. Man U drew and I can see Chelsea dropping more points especially during the African nations. Also your point about Gerrard/Torres partnership I think is a little unfair it needs time to gel given that Alonso is not there to provide the pin point passes. Perhaps when Aquilani comes in he might be able to provide the passing and attacking nouce we need in midfield to allow Gerrard to be more effective behind Torres.  
    I think we were a bit unlucky yesterday as a fair result would have been a draw.
    <div id="TixyyLink" style="border: medium none; overflow: hidden; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; text-align: left; text-decoration: none;">


  5. Once again, Jaimie Kanwar writes another patronising and pessimistic blog entry.

    FFS have some faith in the manager for a change.

    Are you sure you're not a closet Evertonian or a Manc running this site as part of some elaborate wind-up?

  6. Joke of an article!

  7. Instead of spouting cliches, why don't you argue against my points if I'm so wrong.

    And it's not pessimism: it is critical realism.

    Benitez keeps making the same mistakes over and over again, sabotaging Liverpool's chances in the process.

    This should not be brushed under the carpet; it should be discussed.

    No one likes to hear the truth, especially when it hurts.

  8. Some good points and yet Chelsea were clearly no better than us, we should have had a pen and 0-1 at half time is a different shooting match. Agger and Aquilani will be very positive on the ball linking with Gerrard , we need to sort it out and quickly.

  9. We surely shouldn't be relying on penalties to win the game though, no?

    Chelsea may have been no better than us but our shots on target record (2 I believe) was pitiful.  Did we actually make Hilario work at all in the game?

    Gerrard, as is so often the case against Chelsea, was anonymous, and the G+T partneship was a non-starter.

  10. I agree.
    As I said and I say it again, Pool will never win the league with Rafa as manager.
    Benayoun is always relegated to bench and this really beggars belief.
    The premiership title is already beyond pool's reach.
    And the one thing good that came out of yesterday's game? We allowed Chelsea to win, and hopefully, this will go a long way in preventing ManU to win the next premiership title (since Liverpool is already looking so incapacitated).

    But there are other problems.
    1. I note defence is really poor at clearing high balls. Skrtel and Carragher are constantly losing out on the high balls. I think we need to bench Skrtel soon and bring in Agger.
    2. Gerrard is looking abit lethargic and out of sorts.
    3. Riera is also playing fairly poorly.
    4. Kuyt looked really tired in the Chelsea game. Usually full of running til extra time, he looked really tired towards the end.
    5. Our 18mil right back Johnson is really looking ordinary. So is Insua.
    6. We have no wingers
    7. We have no reliable subs!

    The bright side is, Benayoun is quite good , when he gets to play, that is.
    Nemeth is looking quite sharp. Unfortunately, he has been loaned out .

    Maybe, just maybe, King Kenny will be on his way back. I wouldn't bet agst it now. Imagine, the last Pool manager to ever win the league for pool, might be the next manager to win it for us again!

  11. <span>"It’s clear that Carra does not fully trust Insua; a prime example of this is Chelsea’s second goal. Where was Insua?"</span>

    Insua was on the bench, Jaimie. 8-)

  12. I 100% agrre with u. Thats what liverpool needs right know .We  belive in that as bing liverpool fan since 1990 in Africa ( Ethiopia)

    Thank you      <span><span>Jaimie </span></span>

  13. this is the first article from yourself I have read and it is TERRIBLE!  Benitez lost 2 games last year, 2 games.  how can he get it continously wrong with statistics like that.  YES, he can make a mistake, he is human, but to bash him just when we lose is the behaviour of a Manc not a Red.  Yesterday Liverpool were better overall than Chelsea (if only slightly) but 2 bad mistakes cost us the game.  Is it Benitez's fault that Mascherano dribbled with the ball and lost it in Midfield?? That was the only real chance Chelsea had until the late second goal.  not many teams will be able to say that at the Bridge.  Tactically we were possibly Spot on.

    Some of your points may be correct, but it's easy to say things afterwards.  Starting with Benny may have been a good idea but you don't know unless it happens.

    In summary, I don't think I've be reading one of these articles again as they are pretty pointless.

  14. No - Insua started and was subbed in the 83rd minute.

  15. Yes you're right on that one but the second goal was in the injury time wasn't it?

  16. Once again here you go with your negative nonsence about Rafa. Do you remember when he came to Liverpool, we where finishing 30 points behind the champions. Yes 30 points behind. Last season we finished 4 points behind with the most points we have ever finished with in the premiership, most other years it would have been enough to win it. With all the crap he has had to put up with off the field, and the lack of funds. Just try to think what he would achieve if he had the money Chelsea had or what Man City have got now. He is the best manager we have had since Kenny, you should be thankful we have him. God knows where we would be without him.

  17. Have faith in the manager? After six seasons and no title and 3 defeats in our first 8 league games is it not ridiculous that some fans are not finally questioning whether Benitez will ever win the league? 

    Is he ever responsible for results or is the Americans to blame for buying Lucas and playing him every week when he offers little or nothing to the team? Playing Gerrard beside Mascherano is only common sense; something our manager always lacks.

    Why should people not question him and his tactics/ selections etc when we have lost 3 of 8 games? Indeed we have lost every tough game we have played and only beaten poor opposition this season. Things simply have to improve or heads have to roll. 

  18. Wake up and smell the coffee - you're in denial. Rafa is a good manager, but he is stubborn, and his refual to adapt quickly has and is costing Liverpool.  Last season was much the same as this season aprt from the last 3 months. and 3 months does not make a season.  Instead of defeats, it was draws, and the same old mistakes were being made.

  19. When the f**k are you gonna wake up. Jaimie is try to explaine you the problems we have in the team and I am reading his comments and he is absolutely 100% right. You instead try to fool around and say that he is an evertonian or manc. Personally I cant beleive what Im seeing. We have nothing against BENITEZ but he is making the pies one after another. I live in malta I cant do what you can do in there. If I was there I will building a group and protest against you stupid supporters. We are supporters better than you are, Im totaly mad about Liverpool but when I see this thing I hurt and I am losing my passion. keep it up jaimie we need people like you. 

  20. YET ANOTHER NEGATIVE ARTICLE REGARDING LIVERPOOL! are you sure this isnt an Undercover Man Utd website?
    lets go through your points to hopefully try and shut your yapping up.
    1. gerrard and torres is and was the best strike partnership last season. they plundered in goals for fun. as opposed to small teams they battered.. i wouldnt call Utd, Real Madrid Chelsea (at home in the league) small teams mate....
    2. see point 1. gerrard is better as a 2nd striker where he does more of his devastating work.
    3. yossi didnt start for 2 reasons.. he was very disappointing vs fiorentina and was guilty of not trackin back to support insua - a reason why kuyt and yossi switched positions during the 1st half for a while. this naturally leads me to my 2nd point. chelsea's only width comes from cole and whoever their right back is. nullify them and they play into teams hands through the middle... and it was working for the 1st hour! shows to me rafa knows what hes doing there mate!
    4. insua has been our starting left back this season and has been a revelation.. he always wasnt even on the pitch when chelsea scored their 2nd so get your facts right!
    Your point 5 makes me laugh the most... erm.. dont we already play that formation?!?!?

    sort yourself out mate.. get behind the team or get lost. YNWA... u need to learn the meaning of those words!

    enough of your negativity and SUPPORT the team ffs!

  21. I agree certain points mentioned by kanwar. Until Aquilani is available and can prove to be a worthy player, I feel that Rafa should pair up Masch with Stevie G (at least you have the balance of a defensive midfielder and one who can create alongside him). Unfortunately, gone are those days where we have Alonso to defend and be able to pick out a pass in a split second (aka Febragas in Arsenal). In any case, the whole team has got a great deal to be sorted out from the 2 Yanks, to the manager's team selection at times and to the team players themselves. They certainly have carried on their pre-season form right into this stage of the season. Lack of stability, confidence, penetration, creativity and finishing.

  22. I completely agree with Jaimie. All you who stick with Rafa will regret at the end of this season and for the many seasons to come if Rafa is not removed. He will never win it for liverpool. He has a gigantic ego to start with thinking he is of the same managerial level with SAF.

    SAF can be egoistic and can get away becoz we wins title  but Rafa can't. The team selection sometime is mind boggling and I can agree with Jamie that the 1st 11 for the game against Chelsea should have counted in Aurelio and Yossi. Well...I have given up this season...lets wait for another one or two more trophyless season and get a manager in that can win us titles not some dimwit who is blinded by his gigantic ego.

  23. I agree 3 losses out of 8 is not good, but bloody hell take it easy. We lost
    to Spurs and Chelsea away, two of the hardest away fixtures in
    the season. At the moment Chelsea are top and Spurs are third, Villa was a
    bad result but if they win thier two games in hand they will be in the top
    four. It's not like we are loosing to Hull or Portsmouth, I watched the manx
    just about scrape a draw at home to Sunderland. You still ignored the Points
    we got last season, I still believe he will get it right sooner rather than

  24.  What is wrong with that? I will be optimistic if Rafa can win 2 EPL titles in 3 seasons like Jose M and and SAF. He has not won any for goodness sake. Are you so blinded by Istanbul? 

  25. is he stubborn because he doesnt listen to you - "I have made this point <span><span style="background-position: right -1650px;"> </span><span style="color: #940f04;">time and time again</span></span>, and it is an obvious point (!). So why does Benitez not see it?" thats quoting you exactly...last week you criticised rafa for not playing riera..then he does and you criticise him again...make up your mind jaimie...you say rafa is stubborn, at least he knows his own mind as yours seems to change every day you write something

  26. obviously a manc as reds dont call him saf...

  27. Is beintez Given you money to support him. Whats wrong with you man. Are you a great supporter or what. do you want to have fun and win some trophies or you want to defend benitez everytime he is wrong. are you aware whats going on or what. Benitez maked the impossible in the first season and then he became big headed and thats all end of the point. does im look like a utd fan. you should know  me and see who I support. LIVERPOOL is my religion man.

  28. to be honest your line up is correct, and i agree.

    but i still hate you

  29. we dont play with wingers...we never will, we never have...lfc have always played with attacking fullbacks and a pretty fluid attack, players will get wide but they are not traditional wingers, you 'so called' fans dont seem to realise that rafa is continuing a tradition of liverpool play...we have some areas that need tightening up but were pretty sound at the minute, and the league aint won or lost in october

  30. 1. You're living in the past.  What happened last season is irrelevant to this season.  Liverpool need to adapt, not stick with something just because it woked last season.

    With very few exceptions, the G+T partnership DOES NOT WORK against better teams.  it has been proved YET AGAIN this season, with 4 defeats against better opposition, and in all 4 games we utlised the G+T partnership.

    Against the poorer teams it will work.  But against the better teams, it's a bust.

    2. Gerrard is good in that position, but it's not about what's best for him, it's about what is best for the TEAM.  And at this moment, Gerrard in midfield is best for the team.

    3. Everyone was disappointing against Fiorentina.  besides, this arguemtn doesn't hold water.  Lucas and Kuyt start every game irresepctive of how well they play.  Yossi brings immense creative impact from starts, yet he is constantly benched. It is not fair and makes not ligical sense.

    4. Insua needs a rest.  Besides, the main point here was that Aurelio is more experienced, and in a game as intense as Chelsea, you play your best possible team.

    5. You've missed the point - the formation is the same but the personell are different.

  31. classic...proves how little you know, did you even see the game yesterday jaimie?

  32. Haha. At least you're honest ;)

  33. You are spot on Jamie. I don't always agree with  your analysis but I think you got the point right. Yesterday when i watched the lineup first thing that struck me was why Benayoun benched? He played so well in his other outings. Second thing Gerard played better for the team when in the middle of the field in the place of Lucas next to Monster Masch. I dislike Benitez stubborn nature and stick with players not worthy of wearing the shirt. Lucas and maybe soon El Zhar... Benitez you are destroying our dream to get no.19. Please see common sense and play to our strengths rather than play defensive for a draw. Else pack up and go...

  34. He is stubborn because he refuses to see logic.  I'm sure thousands of Liverpool fans share my views, it's not just me.

  35. I don't think that the points you made had that much to do with the defeat. 

    It was a tight game and two mistakes led to two goals. Rafa can do absolutely nothing about that. Nothing. It's more or less the same story in all our defeats so far: mistake after mistake after mistake after .... you get the idea.

    However, I do agree that SG should be the one to replace Alonso until others are fit. Letting SG parade about as a link/in the hole/support striker pretty much gives him the excuse to not get involved and if the going gets tough he disappears. I cringe when I hear pundits/commentators say 'oh rafa shouldn't break up the striking partnership/ Liverpool lose out when SG is in CM'. Quite frankly it's reconditioned ballacks. He was destined to be the best box to box player of his generation and now settles for the limelight upfront. I wish our favourite magician (SG: wonderous goals and incredible disappearing/diving tricks in equal measure) got the criticism Lucas gets. Needs a toe in the arse.

  36. I don't think that the points you made had that much to do with the defeat.   
    It was a tight game and two mistakes led to two goals. Rafa can do absolutely nothing about that. Nothing. It's more or less the same story in all our defeats so far: mistake after mistake after mistake after .... you get the idea.  
    However, I do agree that SG should be the one to replace Alonso until others are fit. Letting SG parade about as a link/in the hole/support striker pretty much gives him the excuse to not get involved and if the going gets tough he disappears. I cringe when I hear pundits/commentators say 'oh rafa shouldn't break up the striking partnership/ Liverpool lose out when SG is in CM'. Quite frankly it's reconditioned ballacks. He was destined to be the best box to box player of his generation and now settles for the limelight upfront. I wish our favourite magician (SG: wonderous goals and incredible disappearing/diving tricks in equal measure) got the criticism Lucas gets. Needs a toe in the arse.

  37. Your points...

    1. Persisting with the Gerrard/Torres partnership??  "The Gerrard/Torres partnership rarely works against top defences? With very few exceptions ...." Yeah mate really good point that. You obviously didn't watch LFC play last season - Like Man Utd 1- Liverpool 4 or Liverpool 4 R Madrid 0?

    2. Failing to play Gerrard alongside Mascherano - <span>You dont need to tell us the Gerrard is a better midfield player than Lucas because we are already aware of that (thanks anyway though).  Besides I don't agree with point 1 of your argument, and the big man cant play in 2 positions at the same time </span>

    3. Starting Insua ahead of Aurelio
    Clearly Aurelio is not match fit yet - so I don't see why you have a major issue with that to be honest.  I have a feeling that had Rafa started with Aurilio then point 3 of your argument would have been "starting Aurelio ahead of Insua”.

    If you want to blame anybody then blame the owners. Had the £60M they paid back on interest on the loan they promised they would never take out, then Rafa could have added to the squad. His hands are tied.

    EDIT: Guest - I've edited out all your sniping.  Please stick to the issues, as you make some valid points.  If you persist with posting bile, I will ban you from commenting.  Thanks, JK

  38. I have to agree with the main points of the article. The answer to any problem is "Always Play Your Strongest Team with Individual Players in Their Strongest Positions". This means Gerrard in CM with Mascherano, with Benayoun or Kuyt behind Torres and RM.
    Lucas is not better than Benayoun or Gerrard so why is he played ahead of them? We heard Pennant saying this week that he was baffled that he couldn't get a game due to the favouritism shown to other players ahead of him, sounds familiar?

  39. I think jamie made a good point. Rafa did not utilize his squad wisely. If Rafa does not play babel regular than he has no right to play lucas regular too...If we compare babel and lucas...babel has done an excellent job compared to lucas.. I know they play for different positions but if Rafa is so strict with babel then he has to do the same for Lucas. He has to make lucas earn his spot like babel or benayoun(who has already proven that he is capable to be a first 11). If Rafa wants to act stubborn and place his ego above the club than he is not fit to be the manager. I appreciate the way he has lifeted the club even due to the financial crisis but still he is not fully utilizing the squad. Or, he is not assigning positions to players where they are best fitted at. I strongly believe that Gerrard has to play along side Mascherano, Benayoun a regular and kuyt upfront with Torres. And either babel or riera should play left wing.

  40. Jaimie...i can't believe i am going to say this...but yeah, I agree...infact, I wrote pretty much exactly the same comments to a friend earlier this morning...why he sticks to Lucas alongside Mascherano I cannot understand - either or, but not both together, and preferably always mascherano...and Gerrard and Torres worked for a bit, but Gerrard is far more effective when playing in the centre, and when he is cut out of the game like he was yesterday, both become ineffectual.

    And even though i am Palestinian, I have been forced to put politics and occupation aside and accept that Benayoun actually deserves a place in the starting line up and positively contributes to our performances...there was a considerable improvement in our play once he came on yesterday. 

    Anyway, hoping that his stubborness will give way and that he will move Gerrard back into the centre until at least Aquilani is fit...and keep the faith - there is a long way to go...and we all know that we are not going to win our next title the easy way - by Christmas we will look like we are out it, and then come roaring back winning every one of our games starting January and end up pipping scum to the title on the last day of the season!

    That said - I still think you are overly critical and pessimistic and don't give Rafa enough credit for getting us to the point where we are actually title contenders :)

  41. Liverpool should play 4-4-2. Yes, Gerrard and Mascherano should be mid-fielders. Torres and Kuyt strikers. Riera and Benayoun wingers.

  42. this has a comments system which is just the same as a forum, generating shedloads of traffic! alexa's ranking stats are based on visitors anyway, not pageviews.

  43. I don't believe any manc would waste so much time talking about Liverpool, If Jaimie is one then he hides it well. Rafa does make crazy selections and sometimes it has hurt us, he is still the man for me as ultimately he does love the club and city. We have no need to panic as everyone will drop silly points this season, Liverpool have more experience and it should help us now.

  44. I seem to remember the Gerrard Torres partnership working well away from home to the champions last season.  It is easy to talk after the point, maybe Rafa would play it differently given the benefit of hindsight.  I'm sure your aware there's more to being a manager than picking the team.

  45. Some of the points have validity but many of the arguments swing from one extreme to the other. Our team before Rafa, was going nowhere. He inherited a poor group of players, we were on the edge of the big 3 and were nowhere in Europe. He has rebuilt the squad to the point where we have many players that are coveted by the opposition, we are feared domestically and in Europe and we are contenders for any competition in which we participate. Has he made mistakes along the way? Of course he has but who never makes a mistake..there are no infallible managers,they all have their fave players, strange lineups etc

     As for yesterday,so much of the analysis is driven by the result or people's prejudices,that it's hard to say how objective the comments are.
      Gerrard and Torres have have good matches together against big teams but also poor ones but it's hard to argue against how effective they generally are. Benayoun,s performances now demand a 1st XI place, however his favoured position is also SG's and he doesn't always provide the width of a natural leftie like Riera( although he really is poor at the moment). One solution is to play SG at cm instead of Lucas and this probably makes sense at the moment. Lucas has been nowhere near as bad this season as people like to make out but a)he's not Alonso b)lucas,masch,carra and skrtel in the middle,down the centre are hopeless at playing a decent pass and this is making life difficult for Rafa and SG, whose role is much harder to define as a result. Aurelio is obviously a better player than Insua but is he 100% fit-we just dont know..
      WE're missing Alonso for the balance he gave us, Rafa seems unsure which way to take the team forward. Either commit more wholeheartedly to attack or stick with 4-2-3-1 with 2 holdind midfielders. Lucas does not have Alonso's range of passing though so SG drops back anyway in frustration. Rafa is not brave enough yet to really let rip at the big teams and yet our current personnel suggests maybe that's the way for us. None of the big teams look especially secure at the back, when yossi and babel came on yesterday we were able to make inroads without playing especially well. Personally I think Agger will be a key player, a calm player able to distribute well, step into midfield or even join the attack.
      Finally for me, Rafa is still the likeliest manager to bring us the league. The Prem is extremely competitive and we do not compete financially with the big boys and yet we are now within touching distance. Will he do it is another matter..and frankly anyone who thinks we are out of contention already is a moron, there are 90 points still available and we are 6 behind. I don't believe for 1 minute that any of the top teams think we are out of it by a long way

  46. no its just you and a few so called fans...can you answer the point about your opinion changing from blog to blog please?

  47. Aurelio was not match fit so that is pretty much y he was left on the bench. Don't point to the CL game because u cant compare a CL game to the cut and thrust of the EPL. I agree with u that i would have preferred starting Gerrard and Masch in the midfield as in the previous games but just note this. The manager has explained many a time before that SG for all his good is not tactically disciplined @ CM and maybe he felt that with Chelsea's strength in the middle he needed more defensive minded players there to protect the back 4. If u watch the games Mr. kanwar u'll see that Gerrard doesn't get as stuck in in the middle as he used to as a younger player. So to say that he would provide much better protection is a farce. that was the old SG.

    As I have mentioned many a time before, watching the games is imperatvie as opposed to solely depending on stats. Can anyone say that Chelsea over ran us during the game? no. People act as though we were playing Hull @ Anfield. This was Chelsea @ Stamford Bridge folks. Put that in perspective and you'll realize that yes we wuld have liked to win the game and yes it sets us back but we didn't lose the game yesterday to tactics or man-management. Its 8 games in and we have lost to Spurs, Villa and Chelsea.

    As long as we could stay within 6pts of the top at the end of October we'll be fine. Agger will be back. Aquilani should be there and Aurelio will be back to full fitness

  48. Firstly Benayoun wasn't 100% and only just made the bench, secondly last season Gerrard and Torres were the best around, third take a close look at the financial muscle (wage and transfer budget) given to the top five and you will see a pattern amerging which is not very palatable. Finishing out of the top four could hasten the departure of our despicable owners.

  49. My views do not change day by day at all - I am completely consistent with what I think and have been for years.  Please provide examples to backup your contention.

    Re your Riera example - , yes I criticised Rafa for not starting him, but how does my criticism of the Chelsea game have anything to do with that?!  Did I argue that Riera shouldn't have played?  NO.  So what exactly is your point?

  50. This is not the same as a forum at all!  We have to generate original articles every day; forums don't do that.

  51. Last year is last years - it doesn't matter now!

    Chelsea had more shots on target than Liverpool and created more clear-cut chances; how does that make Liverpool better overall?

  52. We don't have time allow the G+T partnership to gel!  We should be adapting NOW and playing the team/formation that works NOW. 

  53. I agree with you Jamie however Benitez just cannot see that the obvious move is that SG plays in midfield with Benayoun playing off Torres.  Lucas is crap and alway will be.  Whats the betting that when Aquilani comes into the team Lucas will stay and Benayoun and Reira will be dropped. The acid test of any player is what does he bring to the team.  In Lucas's case absolutely nothing and all those that say give him a chance really haven't a clue.  He can't tackle without fouling, cannot pass, his shooting is a joke and is useless in the air.  Its a shambles and Benitez must take most of the blame.  Why spend £18m on a RB when there were other areas that needed beefing up especially when he knew Alonso was off in April.  The PL title is already gone and CL qualification is now looking more difficult. We needed a like for like replacement for Alonso but we got a potential sicknote thats a different type of player.  Pathetic.

  54. Chelsea may have been no better than us but our shots on target record (2 I believe) was pitiful.  Did we actually make Hilario work at all in the game? 
    <div id="TixyyLink" style="border: medium none; overflow: hidden; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; text-align: left; text-decoration: none;">=========================</div>
    <div style="border: medium none; overflow: hidden; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; text-align: left; text-decoration: none;">
    <div style="border: medium none; overflow: hidden; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; text-align: left; text-decoration: none;">....THAT is why we lost the game. we created enough GOOD CHANCES to score at least 3 goals (not to mention the penalty we should've had), but torres missed an open net from 10 yards, yossi missed an open net from 8 yards, torres missed a free header from 10 yards, etc....</div>
    <div style="border: medium none; overflow: hidden; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; text-align: left; text-decoration: none;">
    <div style="border: medium none; overflow: hidden; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; text-align: left; text-decoration: none;">now, tell me with all the "facts" you can muster, how benayoun missed his open goal because rafa didn't play him from the start?</div>
    <div style="border: medium none; overflow: hidden; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; text-align: left; text-decoration: none;">
    <div style="border: medium none; overflow: hidden; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; text-align: left; text-decoration: none;">....or how torres missed his open goal because gerrard was playing just behind him rather than in midfield alongside mascherano?</div>
    <div style="border: medium none; overflow: hidden; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; text-align: left; text-decoration: none;">
    <div style="border: medium none; overflow: hidden; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; text-align: left; text-decoration: none;">....or how torres missed his free header because aurelio should've played from the start due to Insua's weaknesses and his own set play delivery?</div>
    <div style="border: medium none; overflow: hidden; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; text-align: left; text-decoration: none;">
    <div style="border: medium none; overflow: hidden; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; text-align: left; text-decoration: none;">....or how carragher was 3 steps behind anelka for the first, got turned too easily by drogba for the second, because the formation/players were wrong from the start?</div>
    <div style="border: medium none; overflow: hidden; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; text-align: left; text-decoration: none;">
    <div style="border: medium none; overflow: hidden; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; text-align: left; text-decoration: none;">you can't because the reasons you've given as to how Rafa lost this game for us are not congruent with the reality of it. the players did not do what they are paid handsomely to, even though they were put in a ideal situation to do so. and that is why you will always be called a Manc WUM or closet evertonian, because all you do is whinge and criticise with only your personal bias as a foundation for your argument, and without the slightest shred of basis in reality.....</div>
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    <div style="border: medium [...]

  55. Hi Jamie,

    I must admit, a lot of the times I think you just write a load of rubbish to get fans wound up and generate traffic to your site by everyone having a good argument about it.

    However I do still keep coming back to read what you have to say becuase in between some of the nonesense you right.... you tend to make some very good points.

    This article was spot on. I personally think what Rafa has done for us has been close to a miracle.... however he does tend to be stubborn about some things. Everything you wrote above makes so much sense. So why can't Rafa see it? 

    Anyway, let's get behind the team and hope the international break will give Rafa some time to ponder some of his tactics and give Aqua man some more time on the training ground.

    Keep up the work... good and bad

  56. couldnt agree more that defnitly should have been the starting lineup how anyone can disagree is beyond me!! benyoun behind torres would work perfectly and gerrard back in cm with javier. Also insua is fat slow and hopeless aurelio is by far the beter player

  57. One of your better articles Kanwar. Some very good points well made. I may not agree with everything you write but you are spot on here. After 3 or 4 seasons of real progress I fear that this season may be a case of a step back. Let's hope we're not heading for a repeat of 2002-03 season; a crushing bringing back down to earth after another false dawn. Still, Aquilani's still to debut!

  58. Jaimie, u are absolutely right about team selection. But Rafa loves Lucas too much to put him on the bench. Rafa will only put a winning team once we go 1-0 down. We were poor before benayoun came in and gave room for Chelsea to attack more. I notice some liverpool fans are always talking about history and maybe thay want the club to remain a history. Jamie, i am always with u and we only want to see the better liverpool today and not yesterday. I really hope Rafa can read your articles. A premiership winning team should always focus on getting 3 points home or away.

  59. Picking the right team is the most important thing a manager should do. probably he was trying to get 1 point which didn't work out. Tell me what has lucas offered so far compare to benayoun?


    How about Torres missing a easy header or Gerrard not being able to handle Essien?

  61. Guest - I am very sure you have never played soccer before. We are talking about Rafa not choosing the strongest team available to him which is obvious. What is the point of having SG and FT up front when there is no one to supply the ball. Tell me what does Lucas offer the team at the moment? accurate passes, nice through balls, good tackles or sharp heading balls. He is a liability at the moment and the asset is sitting on the bench. Thats Rafa

  62. I see you have edited your sentence on Carragher having to provide cover for Insua which led to Chelsea's second goal & deleted my post for exposing your failure to support your argument correctly. It's shocking that you watched the exact same game as us & yet you didn't even know that Insua wasn't on the field when Chelsea scored their second goal. You even had the cheek to 'blame him' for being out of position to support your 'Carra <span>had to provide cover for Insua.......'.</span>

    If it's a mistake just take it on the chin, admit it & do your homework properly the next time you want to blame some players.

    I'm sure you're not going to delete this post are you? Why delete when it is about pointing your inaccurate 'fact' or argument.

    "This should not be brushed under the carpet; it should be discussed. No one likes to hear the truth, especially when it hurts." - Jaimie Kanwar
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  63. last year we complained when we were drawing with the poor opposition. This year we are beating the teams we are supposed too but still we complain. Rafa can't win.

  64. yeah..Liverpool is your religion and Rafa will lead us to the promised land.

  65. by calling football soccer you just lost all credibility mate.

  66. Losing Alonso is clearly making more of an impact to the team than seems to be realised. Has he been adequetly replaced?

  67. I make mistakes sometimes; big deal.  Anyway, that aspect of my post is not very important, nor does it chance my point one iota. It's still true, even though that example was incorrect.  I deleted the post because it has nothing to do with the ongoing discussion.

  68. Fully Agree!! Rafa has to leave and go back to Spain and be a waiter! Maybe King Kenny should come back. Rafa has poor man-management skills and refuses to reward good performance. He has thrown away many good players (Crouch, Keane etc) with his messing around with the team. The team cannot function well as a coherent unit with his silly tinkering. Not starting Benayoun is another huge example. Remember he even got Benayoun cheesed off at one stage?  

    Jaimie Kanwar is a very astute observer, and his comments are all spot-on

  69. Exactly, he should start players who perform. He continually refuses to start Benayoun - a proven performer. Benayoun is tricky with his footwork, and creates openings. Look how the Chelsea defence wobbled when Yossi came on. Unfortunately, he was only available for a short while and don't have time to make his impact. Rafa makes the same mistake over and over again.  

  70. whatever@whatever.com5:14 am, October 06, 2009

    Well said Janmie. It was the formation that I expected. Yossi should play instead of Lucas. And if Torres or Yossi managed to knock in a lucky goal, the 2nd half, I would put Lucas in to replace Riera, and move Yossi to the left to neutralize Chelsea's midfield.

    In that way, we may have a lucky win or a draw. Chelsea's midfield just bossed the game the whole time.

  71. I have to say that I think this is a pretty well thought-through article. You may or may not agree but Jamie has given all of these issues much consideration and I think that at the very least from a fans perspective his view is as valid as others on the issues he's outlined here. I don't agree with his assessment of Gerrard and Torres, I think Gerrard is currently playing in his best position. I don't agree that Yossi is an automatic start in that position behind Torres, he's not strong enough or consistent enough to play a more central role and he needs that space that has him working wider. I think Lucas is a far better player than most pundits give him credit for. I also think that Benitez is consistently giving the team he has the best chance they need to perform. Very few of his decisions leave me bewildered or confused. I usually see exactly what he's trying to do and how his expectations of his players are simply extraordinarily high. I have a strong hope in my mind that one day all of his plans and ideas will finally click with the players he has and Liverpool will be virtually unbeatable.
    All that said, it's great to see an article from Jamie that is well thought through, not over the top on the anti-Benitez comments and in fact quite balanced and moderate. I hope that this is something we see a lot more of on this site. Blogs don't need inflammatory headlines and relentless rhetoric to be interesting and popular, just a good information base from which we can have a solid discussion. 

  72. good points jaimie. but what about carra? he's too slow already and should be benched. i think skrtel is superb, won most tackel during the chelsea match and he should be paired with agger instead of old carra! and we should try aurellio in CM.

  73. I think Jamie's line-up and the rationale behind it is sound. As much as I am a Rafa supporter, I'm astounded at his restraint in using Benny. Surely, this defeat will spell the end of Lucas's starts and we'll see more of Benny. Benny brought to the pitch the one element that could have won us the game: creativity.

    In the best of all worlds, though, none of the Chelsea goals should have happened. Not because of errors or even pitch-perfect defense. It's because, in the best of all worlds, Drogba should have been issued a red card for delay of game and diving. How long is the league going to put up with this nonsense? His circus sideshow is a distraction to the all players and the officials. Remember the champions league game last year? Same thing. It's his personal strategy against Liverpool. I was amazed that only 3 minutes of stoppage time were added. Drogba's antics should have added 6 minutes alone. I would have been happy if Skertl would have given Drogba a good beat-down and taken a red card. It would have been worth it.

  74. The verdict is out..the team loses the balance with LUCAS...he's offered so little and i suspect he would'nt be able to start for norwich,newcastle let alone aston villa or everton.

    Gerrard and Masch must play in the middle to have the balance of destructive and creative elements which LUCAS offers none.Perhaps the only way for Liverpool to revive is for LUCAS to get long term injury so that Rafa is forced not to play him.

    Against the lesser teams which Liverpool managed to win the games so far,they were achieved in spite of and not due to LUCAS.

  75. I'm baffled, year on year liverpool have improved and yet the media, previous players with no management experience and supposed supporters are constantly having a dig at both rafa and the team.
    I dont get why......... alright rafa does put out some very bizarre line up at times but we win a lot more than we lose, yes we haven't started particularly brilliant this season we never do, we sold alonso who 1 wanted to go and 2 finally had a good season after 2 poor seasons, lack of funds from the owners, bullshit comments from the owners. we can all give our opinions &  thoughts but unless you work at Liverpool see and work with the players all your comments are a waste of time and effort.
     We have no idea what goes on at liverpool but come the end of the season we will be there or there abouts guaranteed.
     from a fan who is sick of all the negativity and bullshit.

  76. Yes everyone makes mistakes. Some admit it but some edit & delete it! :-P
    What do you mean by nothing to do with ongoing discussion? Aren't you bringing the issue of Benitez starting Insua instead of Aurelio as an example of him failing to adapt <span> quickly enough?</span> And you support that issue with Carra has had to provide cover for Insua which led to Chelsea's second goal which you now have changed to 'has had to cover Insua throughout the season' & didn't provide any example to support your point. No example is better than an incorrect one I guess eh?

  77. Jaimie, I think that maybe you're more like Rafa than you'd like to think. I happen to think that this article is very good, and I tend to agree that Rafa's stubborn streak is getting in the way of LFC's progress. However, as much as I'd like to hear Rafa say "Sorry guys, I've been getting it wrong. Lucas is crap and I'll drop him from here on in," I'd also like to hear you say "Sorry guys, I think in retrospect a couple of my points were ill conceived, such as my criticism of Insua." Indeed, in the case it would be nice to hear you say that you actually got it wrong (which is what, I believe, Guest is trying to elicit).

    That said, I do sense a greater degree of positive critical analysis creeping into your writing. For too long your analysis has been overly negative, so to hear your measured critique of the Lucas situation is very encouraging.

  78. And before you say "I admitted I make mistakes," what I think we'd all like to see is just a little more humility. So rather than the pithy "big deal" comment, perhaps a more critical and humble acceptance of the mistake is in order.


  79. Guest - I always admit when I make mistakes, and I also do so in a humble manner...to those who highlight them in the right way.  The site has been going for nearly three years and there are definitely examples of this.

    The fact is, there are many people who scour the site hoping to find mistakes I might make, and when they do, their response is usually: "You're a cun*, look at this mistake'.  In that situation, why should I apologise to them?

    And I've never said to someone 'I made a mistake - big deal' or words to that effect.  I say that when people slag off the site/me.

    And I don't want to hear Rafa apologise for anything. he is in charge and he makes his decision, and that's fine.  however, he has to live with the consequences of his decisions, and if they're wrong, they will atrract criticism.  I just want him to do things the right way, but he's still doing the same infuriating things he was dloing 5 years ago.

  80. You are clueless, pal. And blogs are, as a whole, a massive waste of the short time we have on this planet. Go and kick a football. Or learn a little about the game.  

  81. it's easy just to make dismissive posts like that - why don't you explain why I'm clueless?  Are you able to do that?  Surely it would be more effective to highlight how I'm apparently clueless, no?

  82. Truth : All the points, less one, are fair critisisms.

    I <span style="font-weight: bold;">do not</span> want to see Liverpool again chasing a 12 or 15 point defecit.

    Rafa failed in this match, with some mediocre performances from Riera and a few others who needed to step up in a big match scenario.

    It is unfair however, to site the Gerrard - Torres partnership as ineffective.

    The plain truth is the whole premiership is devastated when the 2 are firing, and on their day, they can destroy <span style="font-weight: bold;">ANY </span>defense, Chelski, are just another to be shot down if G&T came out all guns blazing.

    I do believe we lost the game in the midfield with the Gerrard and Masch pairing gagging for a materialisation.

    We sorely need Yossi up front as well as we were so one dimensional in attack and creativity.

    I hope Benitez adapts cause we do not have time to lose 5 or 7 games and then say " We need x, y or z"

    With this squad, IT HAS TO BE DONE!

  83. Didn't see Chelsea fans asking for their managers head when wigan beat them, stop complaing and try supporting your team!  Comparing playing against Hull to Chelsea is simply blind and stupid.

  84. this is the fact not negative view. If we lost playing the same team against hull, we can accept that we are unlucky or outplayed. But look, how many times we played the lucas and masch combination trying not to lose and we lost... statistics. And we lost the league title last season and our one of the best player, Alonso, because of that illogical rafa's decision. Surprisely, Lucas had joined the untouchables, is he as gd as babel? yossi? Alonso? Spot on jaimie!

  85. I believe you have deleted my post yet again. There's no sort of "You're a cun*, look at this mistake' kinda reply so why delete? I did make a bit of 'funny remarks' about it though! LOL!
    In fact I made a good point, pointing out that 'mistake' which is in fact a very bad & clueless one. I don't usually point out people's mistakes as in general people don't like to be pointed out but your supporting evidence to prove that Insua was 'liable' for the second goal was really bad. If it was one of us making that kinda 'mistake' you would have crucified us!

  86. Guest - I deleted your post because it has nothing to do with the discussion.  if you wish to continue this, please do so in the correct thread, which is here: http://www.liverpool-kop.com/2007/01/general-discussionquestions.html (as per the comment policy).

    I have moved your comment to that thread.

    Any more comments about this issue in this thread will be deleted.

  87. JK - so what's the solution?

    Serious question. If you were the owner of LFC, what would you do?

  88. gerrard and torres the best strike partnership
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    with alonso in midfield.

  89. gerrard and torres was the best strike partnership
    with alonso in midfield

  90. Armed with facts, statistic and evidence, I would sit down with Rafa and demand answers to the following questions:

    1. Why is he persisting with Lucas in central midfield when it is patently obvious to everyone that Gerrard should be playing therre.  Facts back this up: G+T partnership = 4 defeats. 

    2. Given Benayoun's creative threat and all-round superb form, why is he regularly dropped to the bench. This is even more illogical given the fact Lucas starts every game.

    3. Why does he not play his best team every game.  Why does he keep changing things needlessly? (Aurelio in CM v Fiorentina, for example)

    4. Why is he persistently playing square pegs in round holes (Babel/Benayoun/Aurelio etc)

    5. Given the torrid form of Liverpool's defence at the moment, why has he not given Kyrgiakos a chance?  What was the point in wasting 2m on him if he never plays?

    6. Why does he display favouritism towards certain players instead of picking the team on merit?

    7. Why has he failed to get the best out of Ryan Babel, who is in his third season and still doesn't know his best position.

    8. Why did he choose to buy Aquilani instead of buying someone who was available from the start of the season.

    9. Why did he not stick with the team that thrashed Hull against Fiorentina? Why drop 8m signing Albert Riera?  What was the point? 

    Rafa needs to answer these questions because he is not doing what is best for the club. I would listen to his justifications, which I'm sure would make sense.  However, I would point out that even if it seems to make sense, the proof is in the pudding: the team is not performaing on the field, and is losing to any team that is half decent.

    I would suggest possible solutions to the above nine questions, basically along the lines of what I have argued in my posts.

    I would leave it there and allow Rafa to get on with it, hoping that he'd taken some of my points on board.

    If after our meeting things persisted in the same manner (i.e. same mistakes being made) I would have another meeting with Rafa, and this time I would demand that he starts doing things in the right manner, i.e. making the obvious choices.

    If he refused, I would start looking for a new manager.  Then, at the end of the season, when Liverpool finish 3rd/4th and make it 4 seasons with a trophy, I would sack him.

    Sorry - harsh I know, but there is no room for sentimentality here.  We're 6 years into Rafa's reign and he is still making the same mistakes he made in his first season.  If he blatalty refuses to do the right thing, then he's doing that for selfish reason, and is not doing what is best for the club.  Thus, he has to go.

    Please not, I am NOT saying I want rafa out - I am merely answering the question.

    I should also not that this whole hypothetical is clearly complicated by the fracturous relationship between Rafa and the owners.

    What would you do?

  91. i hate that the fans keep blaming the owner for not splashing out cash for transfers when it was rafa to be blamed. Don't get me wrong, i'm not siding with the owners, I HATE THE YANKS TOO. But I agree with jaimie's points. Do you seriously think that not getting D.villa or D.silva is the main reason why we couldn't win the title last season? This is just an excuse, the main reason was because of rafa's stubbornness. Last season was history but this season rafa is still making the same mistakes... Just to remind, 3 trophyless seasons under rafa's reign

  92. If you are such the tactical genious why aren't you out there coaching a youth team and doing something positive with your wealth of footballing knowledge itstead of constantly bashing someone who has 2 La Liga titles and a Champions League title to his name?

  93. I don't profess to be a tactical genius.  The points I've made are not rocket science - there are thousands of Liverpool fans who hold the same views.  They are obvious points, which makes it all the more frustrating that Benitez doesn't do the right thing.

    As I always say, understanding football tactics/formations etc is not difficult.  People seem to ascribe some level of amazing intelligence to football managers that they just don't deserve.  Putting managers on pedestals and worshipping them like they're the football version of Einstein is dangerous,, as it gets to the stage where anyone questioning them mus be wrong because they are incapable of understanding the vagaries of football.

    As I said above - understanding football is not difficult.  Managers like Benitez make it difficult.

  94. Well articulated and i dont read it by saying that you want Rafa out.

    I believe the issue is whether twofold:
    (a) the owner should be getting involved in the minutae of team selection - think of other situations when this has happened (Sheva/Chelsea/Abramovich); and
    (b) how he would react tothis line of questioning. It could be interpreted as micro-management.

    A very difficult balancing act indeed!

    The reality is that if you did go in and stamped your foot like this, there is a risk that he would walk and I am not sure if there is another option out available NOW that could be better than Rafa. A bit of a dilemma!

    Personally, I am not a massive taking this sort of action. The manager is hired by his team selection and strategy and is entitled to be execute as he sees fit. What I mean by the last part of that statement is that he needs to set up the infrastructure to enable him to make that decision effectively (fitness trainers, stat monkeys, etc. etc). I believe a more effective way is to ensure that he gets a whopping bonus on winning the league and cut his basic salary down. That way, he will be motivated by achieving what we want. :-D

  95. My point was more to do with why not put your passion into something more constructive than playing fantasy football all the time.

    Still if I'm not happy with your comments then I and others who feel the same can vote with their feet and not bother visiting the site.

  96. It's all very well and good saying that Rafa has made us title contenders, and to a point I agree - but lets not forget the Yanks have ploughed millions into the club. They bought Torres, Masch, Reina, Johnson, Aquilani et all the rest. For me, Rafa has been neglectful in the transfer market when it comes to putting together a competitive squad, and that's what's needed. Our main 11, when fully fit will challenge anyone, but look past that and we're decidedly average.

    Back to the article however, I disagree with some of your points. I really like Insua, and I personally think Aurelio is overrated so I'd much prefer Insua in when both are fit.

    For all the slating I give him, Kuyt had a good game by his standards. Produced a great cross Torres should have scored from.

    In all honesty, I think a draw would have been a fair result. If we'd have got the penalty and Torres stuck away 1 of the 2 golden chances he had then we wouldn't have this doom and gloom. Let's realise though that it's only 6 points defecit with 90 points still up for grabs!

    Two changes that need making though to me are so blindingly obvious. Carragher needs dropping. His performaces simply aren't good enough, and a player of his 'standard' should be able to get the better of Drogba at least once, but every time we play them Drogba bully's Carragher. He needs to front up and put a few decent performances in and fast, because he's becomnig a massive liability.

    The second is that damn zonal marking. If Ballack had controlled that header Reina would have had no chance. He walked in unchallenged to the front post and got a totally free header away. This is the same Ballack who's one of the best headers of the ball in the game. It doesn't work, and for me that was a perfect example. I know we didn't concede from it this time, but we were mighty close.

    I don't think we're far away though. I can't see Utd. beating us unless Rooney dominates Carragher. And I think Chelsea will win it if Essien can stay fit so all in all there's not massive problems. Bring on Aquilani and lets see what he can do.

  97. With respect, how do you know I don't put my passion int something more constructive?  There are tens of millions of football fans debating their team on the net; this is the way of the world these days; it doesn't mean everyone is wasting their life, does it?

  98. With respect, you spend so much time writing articles and replying to posts how could you!

  99. Good article and I agree with most of your points. G+T up front is a one trick wonder. We are too one dimensional and too easily stopped. Ancelotti said as much post-match - Stop Gerrard stop L'pool. I've been watching Lucas very closely recently hoping to see something positive but I hate to admit he is just not good enough. He doesnt have any presence in the middle and too easily pushed off the ball. At the end of the day Chelsea just has better players and thats it. We just need a bigger budget and buy quality players.

  100. Some of the points made by <span style="">JAIMIE KANWAR are correct from his stats but i feel he's too critical of the manager and feel we had a better game than chelsea if it wasn't for the goals coz i thought they were more defensive than we were. as usual our OPPONENTS scored crazy goals that we should have prevented. i was SURPRISED to see  riera in the team but the manager spends most of the time with these players and if one of them shows that they can perform a particular task better than the other,they are in the starting 11. if skrtel's penalty was given maybe we would have been WRITING about some other issue round about now. we lost but for me the positives are there and thats all i saw from the game. i didn't hear u say nothing about carrager's loss of CONCENTRATION allowing drogba cross that ball. if carrager doesn't trust insua i DOUBT insua does trusts carrager from the goals we've CONCEDED of lately from set pieces. but we don't have to put any blame on individuals here coz i think as a team we are very good and we will still beat lots of teams 4 goals and above including the top teams. </span>

  101. Totally agree - it is a delicate balancing act, and with the friction between Rafa and H+G, it becomes almost impossible.

    I agree that owners shouldn't get involved in team decisions, but I feel that if things are going wrong, they have to communicate their problems to the manager.  This doesn't mean saying 'you must do x, y and z' - you can highlight the problems, get the manger's view, and then let them get on with it, hoping they will start to do the obvious things.

    if they don't, what do you do?  Allow them to keeping going along the same path indefinitely, even if it's at the expense of the team's success?

    Sooner or later, you have to get involved, and things can then turn messy.  For me though, it's a necessary evil.

    Take Gerard Houllier - he didn't walk of his own volition; he was made to leave because it was obvious Liverpool were going backwards. it wasn't nice, but it had to be done, and the same will inevitably happen to Rafa (IMO).

    When the time comes for Rafa to leave, I have no doubt it will be messy.  He will probably walk out, citing Hicks and Gillett/lack of money as the reason, and the fans will side with Benitez, and H+G will be demonised even more.

    it would, of course, be far easier for the owners to approach Rafa if they had a football background.  if, say, Kenny Dalglish owned the club, he could easily approach Rafa with problems he sees because he's been there and done it.  The fans would also respect Dalglish's view for the same reasons.

    With H+G, it's the complete opposite.

  102. I work from home and set my own schedule, so it's easy for to work/write/respond to comments.

  103. Jolly good, although its interesting that you didn't say debating football is being constructive.

  104. Not everything in life is constructive.  Is watching TV constructive?  Listening to music?  Not really, but we do it because we enjoy it.  Ditto debating about football.

  105. There you go, you just answered your question 2 of point 2!

  106. Its far too easy to make Rafa the scapegoat again on this occasion I think. Last season we played Chelsea home and away with a very similar team/formation; in that Riera played on the left, Kuyt on the right, Gerrard behind the striker. In the game at the bridge it was behind Keane as Torres was injured and at Anfield it was Gerrard behind Torres. We won both games. So in an attacking sense we played a very similar team/formation. defensively we were different and we also had Alonso playing. Apart from the enforced changes, Arbeloa and Alonso have left and Agger is not back to full fitness yet, there was only one change that Rafa made and that was Insua played in place of Aurelio. Insua didn't have a bad game. The first goal came from their left, a perfect cross, and Anelka got between two defenders (Carra and Insua) like all good strikers should do. If anyone should have been marking Anelka it should have been Carra. Insua was't even on the pitch when the second goal was scored. Aurelio is more experienced but I don't think it would have made much difference if he has started or not.

    The Gerrard - Torres combination; interesting that you should say that it doesn't work against the bigger teams. Lets have a look at the top 6 plus Spurs from last season:

    Chelsea away - Gerrard in hole behind Keane; home - Gerrard behind Torres. Won both games.
    Man Utd home - neither played - Keane and Kuyt up front; away - Gerrard behind Torres. Won both games
    Arsenal away - Gerrard behind Keane; home - no Gerrard, Kuyt and Torres up front- match drawn
    Everton away - No Gerrard, Torres and Keane up front - Match won; home - Gerrard played in CM, Keane and Torres up front - Match drawn
    Villa away - No Gerrard - Torres and Keane up front - Match drawn ; home - Gerrard behind Torres - Won 5-0
    Spurs away - Gerrard behind Keane - lost ; home - Gerrard behind Torres - won 3-1

    So what does this tell us: nothing conclusive to be honest, so it is also not possible for you to say that the partnership doesn't work. In the four games that Gerrard played behind Torres we won. When Gerrard played behind the striker, whether it be Keane or Torres we won 4 games, drew 1 and lost 1. We won two game in which Gerrard didn't play at all, and one game in which both Torres and Gerrard didn't play. I don't see how you reach the conclusion that the partnership doesn't work.

    Again Lucas seems to be getting stick when against Chelsea he was the better of the two central midfielders. Macherano made the mistake that lead to the first goal. Mascherano gave away the freekick which lead to our second goal. So why is Lucas getting the blame when he did very little wrong. Again easy to make a scapegoat. If Gerrard had played in central midfield why would it be at the expense of Lucas. I think so far this season Lucas has had a better season than Mascherano. Which leads me to the point on why Gerrard shouldn't have played in the midfield in this game. He likes to wonder. When you play a team like Chelsea away you need to have solidity in the middle - Lucas and Masch sitting back. In every game against the top 4 last season, it was 2 of Lucas, Alonso and Mascherano always sitting in central midfield. I don't believe that Gerrard can do this for the full 90 minutes. He will inevitably go forward as that is what he does best. If he does that from the central midfield position it would leave one central midfielder back against Chelsea's 3 midfielders (diamond formation of Deco, Ballack and Lampard) which would have left us wide open.

    Games like the one on Sunday basically come down to who makes the least mistakes, not usually who plays better. Last season at the Bridge we made no mistakes and got a lucky deflected goal. This season we made two mistakes; [...]

  107. Yes by providing clueless evidence to support your criticism of some players & delete replies pointing out that you're wrong. I won't name what clueless evidence/argument you provided in this article because it's no longer there as it's been 'corrected'. Oh and you will delete the replies anyway.

  108. Jamie your spot on. Benitez has many problems - his main one is a ego thats too big and stubborness. How many times did Maurinho (who had a massive ego) make a change at half time? Lots of times, so does Ferguson.

    Why do they do this? because theyre brave, theyre not afraid of people turning round and saying 'your starting 11 was wrong if you make a change at half time'. Benitez wants to always be right. So he doenst make substitutions till the end - and then he makes the OBVIOUS substitutions!! Why are his substitutions sooo predictable?? reira off and benayoun on. even Andy Gray predicted it for sky. Benitez is too defensive, too predictable and too stubborn.

    Playing lucas in a 4-2-3-1 formation was spotted as a mistake after the 1st game this season - but Benitez doesnt want to be proved wrong so he sticks with him. Lucas has poor passing, poor heading, poor tackling, poor tracking back and he's weak. All the things that are needed in a central midfielder and he hasnt got ANY of them!!

    Benitez has been making the wrong decisions for years now - we drawed 11 games last season - remember the ultra defensiveness against weak sides!? The best thing that ever happened to Benitez was inheriting a team with Gerrard, and the fact that Torres loved Liverpool as a child and wanted to play for them.

    It isnt too late for Liverpool to win the league, but its impossible to win it with Benitez as manager. any team that is ok will give liverpool problems. any team that is better than ok will beat us.

    The solutions are soo simple but Benitez refuses to act. Instead he criticizes his best players, rotates the ones that are performing, and sticks with the poor players. Liverpool need a new manager, because this current squad is capable of playing better, but not when Benitez picks the team.

  109. Pple seem to hev been missing the point and wat Jaimie mentioned is wat i hev been saying as well from my own analysis. I am jus going to comment on 1 issue tht i think Rafa is not getting it right. Stevie G shld play mid until Aquilani is in form. Alonso had pinpoint passes tht wld feed the ball to Gerrard and Torres. Lucas cannot do tht and because of tht, Stevie has to play mid until Aquilani is bek. I wldnt hev any problems with tht formation if a creative mid like Aquilani is in the team bt until then (hopefully he'll be in the team after international break) he shld just play Gerrard mid and the statistics summaries everything...everytime Stev has started mid, things hev been so favourable bt wen he hasnt, its been disaster. Game ws gd but only 3 shots on target leaves a lot to be desired

  110. You know, Jaimie's got a point. Regardless of whether the Gerrard-Torres partnership works against top opposition, it doesn't matter now with no one supplying the ammo. Lucas is never gonna be able to do that, it's just not his game. If we had good wingers, then it still might work. But let's face it, our wingers just aren't good enough. This basically let's people gang up on Gerrard, which also suppresses Torres. So pull Gerrard back in midfield and have Benayoun take his place behind Torres. Besides, we all know all the amazing goals he can scoring charging up from midfield.

  111. Apologies. I was unaware of the combustible nature of Guest's initial comments.

    And when I said I wanted to hear Rafa say he'd got it wrong... I was talking more about him speaking with actions (i.e. dropping Lucas). It takes a big, big man to admit that he's got it wrong. I think that's the crux of your argument, to be honest. That Benitez isn't big enough to admit (to himself at least) his mistakes and move on to bigger and better things. That's essentially what stubbornness amounts to.

    And I maintain that you have a very stubborn streak too ;)

  112. Jamie, what can I say? If people disagree with you, even with examples you just ignore what they say and reiterate your own comments again, Your obvious dislike of Raffa comes through in every article that you write. If Raffa won everything in sight you would still moan and say that tactically he was wrong or lucky.
    There are plenty of people who might take more notice of what you say if you took a more objective view.
    One thing for you to consider is that perhaps Raffa knows what you know but bases his decisions on things that we DO NOT know like whether a player is nursing an injury, suffering an illness or anything else that might hinder a players performance. So instead of saying "why didn't he do this or that" ask yourself "why did he do that"

  113. I agree with most of that until the last point. Ironically, I think coming from a non-Football background would, ironically, be easier (Less of the "you are trying to control my style" type of rebuke).

    Personally, I have more belief in Rafa's style and management than you do -- I think he has done an amazing job so far. Credit due where it is rightly deserved! However, I am not entirely convinced he is the right person to win the league - but I havent written off this season's chances... Not until Feb.

    It is a fun and frustrating ride!

  114. When we lose it's rafa's fault.. when we win it's coz we r playing poorer teams or coz gerrard and torres have rescued us..
    Rafa can do no good in your eyes Jamie.. You r getting boring at this stage.. I know u don't want rafa to win the league for us but based on sundays performance (which was heading for 0-0 at worst until usually dependable mascherano's mistake), i think we have a chance to make u eat your words..
    Viva Rafa

  115. Please provide examples of where I have 'ignored what people say'.

    of course I'm going to reiterate my comments - that is the nature of debate! Everyone on this thread has a POV, and they're not just going to drop it because someone disagrees with them, are they?

    And why should I be objective?  What is this magical rule that everyone who writes about football must be objective?  There are NO objective football writers; everyone is biased in their own way.  In fact, I challenge you ti find ONE example of a truly onjective football writer.

    I await your response with interest :-)

  116. Conversely, is it not he case that when we win it's because of Rafa's tactical genius? Managers have to take the rough with the smooth; they lap up the praise when it's due, so they have to be prepared to take the criticism when it's warranted, and with Benitez, it is often warranted.

    Whatever you say, the bottom line is we have lost 4 games in 11, all 4 of which could have ben salvaged if - imo - the right formations/personell/approach were employed.

  117. And if my aunty had balls, she'd be my uncle

  118. Actually, she wouldn't - she'd be your Aunty still, just with a set of balls.

  119. :)
    2 clever for me jamie

  120. Pool dun play with wingers?
    Er...John Barnes? Peter Thompson, Ian Callaghan, S Heighway?

    Surely u know that there are a few other teams with good wingers that have cost us so much damage over the years??... Ronaldo, Giggs, Kanchelskis, Ljungberg.

    Dalglish plays with wingers, not half wing half backs...
    He knows the game.
    We've gotta bring him back

  121. Cheers mate!
    Football does unite!

  122. Its not as easy as you make out Jaimie. As I said to you last week, we played exactly the same team and formation against Villa and West Ham. We lose one game and win the other. Same team and formation so how did we lose one and win one? Can you answer me that? Its all very easy to say this player should have played, we should have played this formation etc. We're all armchair managers. But then when you do play the same formation and team in two different games but you get differing results then what's your answer? You look at how individuals played, where errors and mistakes were made, which players played well and which played badly. This can only be done in hindsight. Rafa picks a team which he thinks will compete based on how he wants to play that game but he cannot stop players making mistakes during a game. Could he have stopped Masch giving the ball away the other day? Could he have stopped Gerrard charging in and giving away a penalty against Villa? No.

    Against Man Utd last year we played the same front six as we played against Chelsea on Sunday; Masch and Lucas in CM, Kuyt right, Riera left, Gerrard behind Torres. I've chosen this game in particular as it was a hugley impressive performance and we thrashed a top 4 team, but also because Alonso was not involved. Much has been made of Alonso being missed but in that game he didn't play and yet we had enough going forward to score 4 goals at Old Trafford. So on Sunday we play the same front six in the same formation. And we lose 2-0. How did that happen? How did a team that beat Man Utd 4-1 at Old Trafford last season then lose to Chelsea 2-0? If you can answer this question then you are a better man than me.

  123. I agree. Rafa needs to be sacked, The mindless loyalty of Liverpool fans towards him is...mindless!

  124. We need to have some changes and soon before the Mancs win another title.
    I think Benitez has had enough time to prove himself and am kind of losing my patience. Somethingt is wrong and clearly alot has to be done at this great club.
    Down here in My Country Uganda, we are reffered to as "loser fools"..... Benitez and the Americans should just leave.
    Benitez shouldnt forget to take Lucas, Dossena and Degen with him. Guys do you think Ottomar Hitzfield could be of use to us if the Kuwaiti's or Saudi Arabians bought the club??? 

  125. Agree with you but would like to point it out that we shouldnt be just contenders anymore!!! We need to be tittle Winners!!!

  126. and we drew against wigan, fulham, stoke, west ham last season playing the same team you mentioned

  127. Gary - when analysing whether the Gerrard/Torres partnership works against better teams you have to a wider overview, that means CL games and also the 2007-08 season. You will find that the pertnership is rarely successful against top defences.

    Re West Ham and Villa - Liverpoo struggled in both games; the only difference against West Ham was the brilliance of Fernando Torres. 

    Liverpool should be able to adapt, not keep doing something because it worked last season.  Against poor defences, Gerrard/Torres rule; this season, tougher defences have foound them out - this waqs obvious from the first couple of games of the season, and instead of adapting and moving to plan B or C, benitez persists with something that isn't working NOW.

    Then, when Gerrard DOES play in midfield, we suddenly look better and win games, but Benitez disregards this and goes back to the failing line-up.  Prime example: Hull - Gerrard in Midfield ---> Fiorentina - Gerrard behind Torres.

    I have to disagree with you about Lucas too.  Gerrard is indisputably a better central mid than him.  With mascherano in the team, Gerrard doesn't have to be as disciplined in that role as in the past when he payed alongside Hamann.  Back then, the formation was different; 4231 allows Gerrard to roam more from a central mid position.

    Benayoun is being scandaloulsy wasted by Benitez, - he should be playing the Peter Beardsley role behind Torres; he was born to play that role, and the fact the he isn't is affecting the team's creativity in the final third. 

    Yes, we lost the game because of mistakes but this does change the fact that we created next to nothing in the entire game.  if I recall correctly, Hilario didn't even have to make a save during the game.

  128. we can't really defend rafa on this one, it's mostly his fault. same for forentina, why did fabio play as CM??

  129. Question: 
    If Rafa is the wrong man for the job, who then is the right man? 

  130. I really want Rafa to be the right man for the job; i want him to win the title with Liverpool.  If he doesn't though, there is always a replacement out there.  I massively disagree that it's Benitez or bust.  Options out there are the moment include martin O'Neill, Jiminez of Sevilla; Guus Hiddink; David Moyes (take away the Everton bias and it's clear he is a superb manager); Michael Laudrup; Jose Mourinho (not my choice but he is a definite option): Frank Rijkaard; Didier Deschamps.

    I don't profess to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of world football, but I'm sure there are other Managers out there who could come in and be successful.

  131. once again another piece of nonsense

  132. Yogi - see the debate JK and I had on this and feel free to add/contribute.

  133. Torres and Gerrard as a partnership destroyed Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid in games last year and when Essien marked Stevie out of the game in the CL at Anfield Stevie was carrying an injury. This argument is therefore clearly flawed - Gerrard and Torres is our best attacking partnership and the stats in terms of goals and assists and results show this.

    The difference is the absence of Alonso - but once Aquilani is fit there will be no justification for playing Gerrard in midfield, but in the meantime Stevie should start there against weak sides at home.

  134. Martin O'Neill?! David Moyes?! Are those managers going to turn us into world beaters?! Two managers whose teams play appalling football to get results who have won no major honours (in major leagues) in their careers?! What are Laudrup's credentials? Mourinho is struggling at Inter in a virtual one team league despite spending a fortune and has won something like two out of 12 CL games, Rijkaard couldn't maintain success with the best collection of players in the world and was outwitted by Rafa and Deschamps was a flash in the pan.

    The only managers you list there worthy of comparing with Rafa are arguably Mourinho, Jiminez and Hiddink. 

  135. G+T did not 'destroy' Man United.  That was a team effort, and Gerrard/Torres did not combined once to create a goal in that game. 

    The argument is not flawed - if you consider ALL games in which the G+T partnership has been utilised (CL/FA/Premiershp) then it is clear that against top defences, it is regularly found wanting.

  136. I agree totally with Jaimie. It was nobody elses fault the other day apart from Rafa's. The side he picked was wrong, the tactics were right just the wrong players! I have backed Rafa the whole time through the sorry Hicks and Gillet era, but on Sunday there was nobody else to blame but the boss himself. We can blame the Americans but even they couln't pick the team the other day - the most frustrating thing about Sunday is that a poor Chelsea performance was still better than ours. We were well beaten.

    Rafa's fault - he needs to fix it fast.

    Lucas out - Gerrard in.

    Benayoun or Kuyt in for Gerrard (Babel or Benayoun to replace Kuyt).

    Riera to stay on the left wing for 90 mins.

    Aurelio at left-back.

    Great article - no blind support of Rafa - he is big enough and well paid enough to take the criticism.

  137. you are never consistant at all in your articles. I cant be bothered to look but in the past you have written at least one article stating that gerrard cant play centre midfield because of his "lack" of positional sense ( and other reasons). You now say that is his best position!

    Youve also talked at how effective the G+T partnership has been and now want to break it up!

    I wrote a big reply to one of your articles ages ago where you were slagging off the players for being too cocky in interviews. I found several of your articles where you said exactly the opposite. You just like to bash for the sake of it.

    So it is pretty safe to say you are pretty much all over the place with your opinions as long as you can put a negative spin on it.

  138. you bang on about rafa not giving the youth a chance and then want to drop insua! You are priceless.

  139. he had to save from rieras cross/ shot free kick.

  140. You've actually reinforced my point by stating this. This goes to show that you can choose the same team and formation and you get differing results. Its therefore nonsense for Jamiie or anyone else to sit there and say If Yossi had played and played in this positon we would have won. Or if Aurelio had started we would have won. What about all teh what ifs? What if a player makes a mistake. Which happened twice. What if we gave away a penalty. Not part of teh plan fro the game but it happens.

    As I've said, it very easy for us all to sit and pick a team like we're playing Championship Manager but in reality its not as easy as that so I don't think you can give Rafa too much grief. If one day a team are world beaters but the next week that team can only draw to Stoke then it is the players we need to talk about more than the actual manager. Once he puts them on the pitch it is their job to get the job done. Yes responsibility inevitably comes back to the manager but to call his decisions illogical doesn't make any sense in my view.

  141. That's just not true Jaimie. You cannot say that the G+T partnerhsip doesn work against the bigger teams. In the 12 games last season against the other "big clubs": Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal, Villa, Tottenham and Everton last season, when Torres and Gerrard played together we won.

    Beat Chelsea (h), Man Utd (h), Villa (h), Spurs (h)

    No G+T
    Beat Man Utd (a)

    G in hole but no Torres
    Beat Chelsea(a)
    Drew with Arsenal(a)
    Lost to Spurs(a)

    No Gerrard
    Drew to Arsenal(h), Villa(a), Everton(a)

    G in CM with Torres and another up front
    Drew with Everton(h)

    Everytime G&T played together we won. We won one game without either. And we only won one game when Gerrard played but Torres didn't.

    This shows me that we were better (last season at least)with both up front. Had they played together in the other games we may have got better results, we don't know that.

  142. No when analysing the Gerrard Torres partnership you can only look at last year. In 2007/08 Gerrard played mostly in midfield but a lot of that was on the right hand side. But we can look at it anyway.

    2007-08 - PL - G+T played together 27 times. Gerrard never played in the hole behind Torres. He played in either CM or RM. 17 wins, 3 lost, 7 draws. In all the games against the other "big clubs" (Man U, Arsenal, Chelsea, Villa, Spurs, Everton) they played together in 9. We won 3(Villa, Everton, Spurs), drew 4 (Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal, Villa) and lost 2 (both Man Utd).

    2008-09 - PL - played 14 ganes together. We won 11 and drew 3. In 9 games G played behind T we won 8 and drew 1. In 5 games G played in CM with T up front. We won 3 and drew 2.
    Against the other big clubs (Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal, Villa, Spurs, Everton) G+T only played together 5 times. We won 4 where G played behind T and drew when G played in CM behind T.

    From these statistics I can't see how you think the G+T partnership doesn't work. Against the tougher defences our record is much much better in 2008/09 than the previous year. I admit that we haven't been able to match that yet this season, losing to Villa, Spurs and Chelsea, but I dontl see how you can make any sort of correlation between this and the G+T partnership.

    So Torres is the only difference between the West ham game and the Villa game. That's Stan Collymore analysis. That's pretty shocking Jaimie I thought you were better than that. The point is that in both games we played the same team and formation, yet in one we lost and in the other we were just good enough to win. And that the main point I am trying to make. Its not about how well you play but that with the same team you can win and lose, so for you to say this player should have played and this formation should have been played is a futile exercise as it does not take into consideration how they will play on the day.

    Please don't compare Hull and Fiorentina. Yes we can play Gerrard in midfield when we play the poorer teams because we won't have to defend so much. Gerrard can roam, attack as much as he wants, because between our defensvie midfielder and our defence we should be able to contain them. But when we play the better teams we play with two holding midfielders to keep it solid.

    I did not say that Gerrard wasn't a better midfielder than Lucas. I said that in games of this nature, ie against Chelsea, Arsenal, Man Utd etc we will play with two holding midfielders. That's the way Rafa likes to play it and to be honest last year it worked; we beat Chelsea twice, Man Utd twice and drew with Arsenal twice.  The year before when we played a 4-4-2 or Gerrard played in CM we drew with Chelsea, lost to Man Utd twice and drew with Arsenal.

    As for Plan B and C. Did Rafa not try to change it after they scored? Gerrard was put back in midfield, Yossi was brought on. You look at this as admitting that he made a mistake. I look at it as Plan B and Plan A which had worked perfectly last season wasn't working this year.

    Benayoun is not wasted and it is not scandalous to put him on the bench. Against Fiorentina when Yossi played on the left, Insua was exposed. Rafa actually swapped him with Kuyt to help out Insua. Now playing Chelsea you want to be as solid as possible. You watched the game; it was actually pretty dull. Two teams sparring rather than a proper scrap. It was a matter of who made the first mistake and unfortunately it was us. Let's say Yossi had started. What would you say if we had still lost. Its a hypothectical question I know, but this is what you wanted. What excuse would you make? What if Rafa had played the same team you wanted and we had lost. What would your excuses be then or would you just [...]

  143. jaimie kanwar is one of the best liverpool fans we could need... he gives criticism but he gives praise too.... benayoun definitely needs to play gerrard needs to go into the middle and riera has to play with his skill he could cause any defence trouble just against chelsea he didnt have a great game... who always has one?? gerrard provides defensive cover aswell as creativity and attacking options remember he used to play alongside alonso in midfield??? Jaimie i really enjoy your articles, come on here every day to see your fair criticising of players and what should have been done!! Well done keep them up! No.19 is a possibility..

  144. look we have to give criticism otherwise how do ppl  learn from their mistakes..... lucas cannot play there he is learning but for big games, he is not ready at all!! Jaimie keep the articles coming! No.19 is a possibility

  145. firstly i dont know why some fans are calling for rafa's head, he has done a pretty good job. the last 2 seasons have seen us really improve  in the league (07/08 11 points behind the winners 08/09 4 points behind the leaders) but i suppose some people have short memories. back to the points jamie raised on this thread, to a certain extent i agree with parts of what you said i.e. playing gerrard in cm however i would play him alongside lucas rather then masch who seems to be losing form rapidly. lucas has improved a hell of a lot. he has taken his chance due to the injuries we have had. yossi has pretty much started every game for us this season apart from spurs & chelsea. yossi is a form player, but he can have some serious off days and they normally happen against the bigger teams. the opposite to riera who seems to play well against the better sides and worse against the lesser sides. anyways rafa wasn't to blame for the loss on sunday masch was, why on earth did he try and take on 3 players only he and god will know. torres should have scored with the left footed chance, yossi missed an absolute sitter at the end....anyways a loss against chelsea at the bridge isnt the end of the world. personally i think as long as we beat the teams we are supposed to be beating home & away (i.e. the boltons & west hams) and win our home games against the mancs & chelsea etc,, we will have a good chance of winning the league.

  146. I suggest you read this article from a real Liverpudlian.


    Oh and the meeting with Gillett didn't take place and the world is FLAT! 

  147. is it just me or is jamie and the majority of people agreeing with him using words such as "soccer", "EPL"?!!!??? explains a lot me thinks! ;)

  148. Agree with everything you just said and is the same thing I have been thinking all season.  The results speak for themselves.  Gerrard needs to play with Mascherano to solidify the midfield without reducing the creativity upfront because of Benayoun.  Insua is a good player because he's 19.  If he was 25 he would not make the team.  Aurelio is a class above and needs to stay fit.  If he is, he should be our first chocice left back.  Games against smaller teams should be when we play the younger lads but keep the seniors in the bench for back up.