13 Nov 2009

Regroup. Recover. Reflect. Then LIVERPOOL FC must show some real pride

Usually an international break would be met with trepidation, but considering the horrible run and sub-par performances lately, JODY DANIELS is relieved that we can all have a break from what has truly been a rollercoaster season so far.

Another international friendly break – and I’m relieved. 1 win in 9 games - that’s a statistic I never thought I’d see this season, especially from a club that declared its title challenging aspirations when the season began.

But maybe it will prove to be a fortuitous break – time for the players and manager to regroup, recover and reflect on their performances, (revising) their goals for the season, and perhaps reconsidering tactics (and strategy?).

Time to Regroup

The last international break was at the beginning of September, after 2 wins out of 4 Premier League games and a ghastly pre-season run (an omen of things to come for the following weeks perhaps?).

However, after that particular break Liverpool FC returned stronger, going on a 5 match winning rampage scoring 15 goals in all competitions. Confidence was high, players were stroking each others’ egos in the press...and then the rot began.

2 straight losses in the Premier League, 2 defeats in the Champions League (not necessarily in that order but you get the point); kicked out of the League Cup by Arsenal’s reserves; a total capitulation at Fulham, and under-delivering against Lyon and Birmingham. after that, players then were then speaking about a lack of confidence and bad luck. Maybe time to take some responsibility boys?

(I deliberately excluded the win over Manchester United as that was the one game of the last 9 where Liverpool played and delivered to their potential).

The draw against Birmingham at Anfield was very disappointing, but hopefully it's the nadir for this season and will bring to an end a string of horrible results. After an insane amount of possession and shots on target, its difficult to explain how we managed to contrive a draw after taking a well deserved lead so early in the game.

Liverpool FC is not about any individual – its about a team of players who play as a cohesive attacking and defensive unit (or at least they should be). But during the Birmingham game, this was not the case – Riera, Mascherano and Johnson were trying to win the game on their own. Although, undoubtedly, Johnson was definitely the best player on the night – its best the players remember to play as a team.

Time to Recover

The erratic performances could arguably be ascribed to all the injuries the Liverpool squad has suffered over the last few months. With 10 or 11 injured players (according to a Benitez's statement to the press), it would definitely be difficult for any team to maintain a consistent winning run.

So as I mentioned before, this international break could not have come at a better time – it provides our injured players with an opportunity to recover. Though, this does beg the question: Why are so many Liverpool players getting injured?

Of late, it seems Liverpool players are becoming increasingly injury prone, and this is where the coaches and physios need to take some responsibility – they need to manage our players better.

I’m not saying its all their fault that players get injured, but surely its part of their job to ensure players are match fit and available for selection as often as possible?

Besides the number of games players are involved in for both club and country, perhaps arduous training schedules and inaccurate fitness assessments are also having a role to play in this injury crisis at Liverpool?

I’m only speculating here, but we have not really been given a reason as to why so many players are getting injured at the same time – there seems to be a common factor at play here, and that factor could be the backroom staff at Liverpool?

Considering all of the above, this season has already proven to be physically, emotionally and psychologically taxing on the entire team. Let’s hope Liverpool emerge stronger after this international break as we head into the strenuous Christmas fixture list.

Time to Reflect

Two and a half months into the 2009/2010 season and Liverpool have already played 18 games, only 12 of which were Premier League encounters, and hopes of winning any silverware are hanging by a thread.

The season is delicately poised, and importantly there is still much to play for.
The Premier League is not won in October by any means, so the next two months will prove vital if we have any hope of keeping our Champions League spot, let alone confidently challenge for the title (any title).

Its time for Liverpool FC to get their house in order. Everyone at the club needs to reflect on what has happened over the past few months – and put all egos aside.

Rafael Benitez, as The Boss, needs to seriously re-evaluate his tactics, squad selection and management. It cannot be business as usual, and it is obvious that the tactics he has been employing since the start of the season are not working. The proof is our position on the Premier League league - Liverpool has played badly at times and thoroughly deserves to be where they are at the moment.

However, there has been enough evidence during certain games to indicate that this squad has the potential to achieve great things. The players need to show their quality more consistently, and they need to display more hunger when playing every single game. To say some of the individual (and team) performances were lacklustre is a gross understatement.

Time to show some real pride in wearing the red shirt, and start showing one of the basic qualifications for being a Liverpool player, as summed up by Bill Shankly:

"For a player to be good enough to play for Liverpool, he must be prepared
to run through a brick wall for me then come out fighting on the other side."

Glen Johnson and Emiliano Insua have been quite vocal on the official website recently about sticking together and believing in the ability of the players. These statements are most likely in response to the criticism against Rafa and the team for their poor run, and also probably to keep the fans believing. I agree with them, mostly.

The best ways for Liverpool FC to silence their critics and appease the fans, is by doing their business on the pitch.

Let’s hope that starts on the 21st of November 2009 at Anfield, where a resounding statement can and must be made against a team that constitutes a potential threat to Liverpool's position in the Top 4.

“We’re Liverpool!”

We're better than this.


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  1. Good article.agree wholeheartedly!

  2. Agreed.  And solidarity should extend to the fans too - in all public forums

  3. for much of the season, the players and staff have been saying all the right things but somehow they have not been able to translate that to the field. i too hope Rafa does, as he has said, take the opportunity to do a top-down evaluation of everything including himself and make the necessary corrections.

    Like u have said.......all is not lost but everything in terms of titles hangs by a thread. For that kind of success we'll need alot of things to break our way. Isn't it like that for every team? Yes it is.......just a case of some needing more breaks in the season than others. I still think there is alot of success still to be had this season. the first step is at Man City.

  4. Jamie needs to learn from you