5 Dec 2009

BLACKBURN vs. LIVERPOOL - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Despite having an (almost) fully-fit squad to choose from, Liverpool dropped yet another two points amid a further lack of creativity, and more mind-numbingly frustrating decisions from Rafa Benitez.


Fairly positive line-up

Well, aside from the excruciatingly anti-football partnership of Lucas/Masch, the line-up was pretty good.

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

Johnson --- Agger -- Carra --- Insua

----------- Lucas -- Masch

Benayoun ----- Gerrard ------ Riera

--------------- Kuyt

To be honest, this was the most attacking line-up we could hope to get from Benitez.

Dirk Kuyt not playing on the right

Hoorah! I goal and 1 assist in over 20 hours of football on the right? Time for a change; and time for an even bigger right-sided change in the summer.

Daniel Agger staying fit!

Agger started his third game in a row without incident. Hopefully this is the start of a long spell of unbroken fitness.

Almost a fully fit squad from which to choose

No more injuries today, and apart from Fernando Torres, Liverpool look to have a fully-fit squad for the first time in months. Not that it made a blind bit of difference to the performance though...

Early substitution

David Ngog came on for Albert Riera in the 52nd minute. Rafa clearly did not like what he was seeing and decided - for the first time in months (years?) - to make a substitution before the 60-70 minute mark. Amazing! (Okay, I'm clutching at straws here)

Great attacking performance from Glen Johnson

Johnson continues to be a great attacking threat down the right. Some great runs today, and almost created a winner with his pass for Ngog late in the second half.

Another clean sheet

That's three in a row now. Perhaps Liverpool's defensive worries have subsided for the time being...?


First half fiasco

Liverpool failed to create a single goal-scoring opportunity in the first half. The closest the team came was a Gerrard half-chance that didn't even test the keeper. Given the fact the club is fighting to make it into the top 4, the first half 'performance' was diabolical.

What makes it worse is that Liverpool had a full week's rest prior to the game, so were fresher than Blackburn, who had a tough midweek encounter against Chelsea.

Anti-football midfield partnership

How many times does this point need to be made? The Lucas/Mascherano partnership is simply not good enough. Playing two defensive-minded holding midfielders in *every game* is suffocating the team and providing no play-making impact whatsoever.

And let's be clear here: Lucas and Mascherano are not bad players; that is not the issue. They are both effective at what they do, but their style of play is not what Liverpool need right now!

The team needs a playmaker; someone who can start attacks; spray passes about; link midfield to attack; join attacks and chip in with assists/goals. (Hmmm. Remind you of anyone?)

Lucas and Masch provide none of that.

Everyone can see that their partnership is not beneficial to the team but Benitez pigheadedly refuses to change or adapt, which is one of his biggest weaknesses.

As I've argued from the start of the season, Gerrard - when fit - should be playing in CM alongside either Lucas or Masch, with Yossi playing in the hole. When Liverpool HAVE played this formation, the team has won and scored lots of goals (Hull, for example).

Dirk Kuyt a passenger once again

What did Kuyt contribute to the performance in an attacking sense? Absolutely nothing. As usual. Still, he continues to start and finish every game while players who contribute (i.e. Yossi), are regularly subbed off.

No pace in the team

Without Torres, is there a slower first XI in the entire league? Watching Liverpool's players struggle to run is really quite painful. And forget about counter-attacks; what is the point when our players are too slow to take advantage?

Return of the draw?

Draws have been a major problem for Liverpool over the last two complete seasons, with 24 league draws alone between 2007 and 2009. This season, it looked as though the team had overcome that problem, but this is now the 4th draw in the last 6 games, which is a concern. Still, beats losing I guess.


Yossi taken off for El Zhar

Utterly ridiculous decision by Benitez. And people wonder why I (and many others) want Benitez to leave at the end of the season? There is absolutely no logic to decisions like this, which makes it all the more infuriating.

So - it's a must win game; 20 minutes to go and you NEED to score. What do you do? Ensure you have the most attacking line-up on the field? Bring on attacking players to increase your chance of winning the game?

No. In Benitez's mind, the best thing to do is remove one of Liverpool's most consistent and effective attacking threats and bring on a player who hasn't played in the first team for almost 8 MONTHS.

Can someone please explain this utter lunacy to me because I just don't get it. Why?! Why take of Yossi?! Liverpool were in the ascendency - how was this a positive substitution in any way?!

Did it increase the chance of winning the game?! NO. All it did was negatively impact the team’s ball-retention, and probably demotivate Yossi a little bit more. He's a professional; he wants to win the game; he must have been annoyed to come off with Liverpool still in with a chance of winning.

And please don't use the 'protecting him from further injury excuse'. The same applies to Gerrard, Agger et al, but they stayed on the pitch.

Benitez has been making these kind of damaging decisions ever since he arrived at Anfield. He will never learn; he will keep making the same mistakes over and over, which is why he has to go at the end of the season.

Fabio Aurelio?

Aurelio was not in the squad - what does this mean? Is he injured *again*?! If he was fit, he surely would have been in the squad. Aurelio has some quality but he is a joke of a signing in my view. What is the point of having him if he is always going to be injured/unfit. Liverpool should sell him in the summer.

Aquilani left on the bench once again

Not much needs to be said here as it's all been said before. We needed to win the game, and Aquilani could've made a difference. Once again though, Benitez plays it safe to the detriment of the team. I'm so sick of hearing him justify his stance over Aquilani. His latest excuses:

"Before, it was because of the ankle injury. Now he is in full training sessions with no problem.

"But when you are not winning games easily and they are very tight matches to play in, to play a player who is not fully match fit is a risk for the player and the team.

"We are trying to find the right time. If we can do it on Saturday then that will be good, but if we cannot then maybe Fiorentina is the target now."

How many more me excuses? JUST PLAY HIM FOR GOD'S SAKE! He's fit! The only way he's going to increase match fitness is by playing. Would it have killed his career to play 10-15 minutes against Blackburn?!

In what kind of deluded world does a manager persistently keep a FIT and potentially world-class marquee signing on the bench when the team is going through its worst run in 50 years?!

Gerrard dive

I've viewed the footage of the incident over and over again and there is only one conclusion: Steven Gerrard dived yet again. Like the Ngog dive earlier in the season, it is unacceptable, especially for a captain of Liverpool FC.


Same sh*t, different week. Another two points dropped, this time against a team with one of the worst defensive records in the league.

Another nail in Liverpool's Champions League coffin.

Cue the 'Rafa Can Do No Wrong' brigade coming up with endless hollow excuses for yet another poor result.


  1. Either we're not hearing something about Aquilani's fitness or Benitez really has lost the plot. Benayoun can play on one leg, Gerrard and Torres have been continually risked at less than full fitness all season and Agger can play shortly after suffering a concussion.  Meanwhile a fully fit Aquilani sits on the bench while our midfield makes tedious work of these inferior teams.  If Aquilani is too fragile to be risked against Blackburn then he's not up for the Prem period.

    This is a Blackburn side that shipped three goals to Chelsea's reserves in midweek and we can't even generate a decent chance in a half of football?? 

    If Barcelona want Masch so bad, I say we sell in January.  Lucas is cheaper and can probably do the job in the hole.  We need the money to buy a player with a shred of creativity.

  2. Being honest Jaimie, today was the nadir in Benitez's reign as Liverpool manager. You have it the nail on the head today with that article, El Zhar for Kuyt would have being a better option. I thought El Zhar did okay, I hope I am wrong but of Rafa is at this stage putting his own ego and stubborness over the clubs results...its time for us supporters to say this is not good enough for LFC. Some of the players actually look on the pitch like they don't care, Riera for example going through the motions again.

    I have disagreed with some of the articles written by yourself Jaimie but today you have it the nail on the head.

  3. i think he just showing favouritism towards lucas. lucas is a passenger in almost every game he has played but benitez has started him in every premier league match this season. baffles me.

  4. if rafa does go at the end of the season, who will come in? we will end up with klinsmen. and if you think its bad now, its goig to get a whole lot worse.

  5. of course yossi isn't 100% fit yet. if he was he would have finished the game. he deffo faded as the match went on. not hard to see, really.

    as for your example of the hull match, it was a mix of yossi behind torres and drifting out wide, with kuyt playing slightly deeper up front.

    can't think of a game where yossi played the whole match in the hole was was as effective as being out wide and drifting in.

    i agree with you on the centre midfield set up though. i really like both holding players, but some variation in the line up and tactics would be good, and would put the opposition on the backfoot a little.

  6. As far as I'm concerned I don't care who we get in at the end of the season as long as we get rid of Rafa. Could not agree more about Dirk Kuyt. Undroppable and complete rubbish.

  7. i see you didn't mention about the dive by Gerrard

  8. Good points jamie.

    I do believe Benayon and Riera, are worries for Rafa, due to their hamstrings. Considering this horse placenta treatment is not really truely scienticfically proven, you dont want to risk hamstrings.

    Kuyt was not great, yet it was either him or tired ngog, or a useless voronin, then we go into the reserves. I can see the tactical thinking, wait till blackburn get tired and put in ngog for more pace. IT did work, ngog had a couple of chances but missed.

    El Zahr, was rated the third best player in the world under 20 world cup, behind Messi and ahead of Babel and Silva and playing for a small country. He clearly has talent, and he does make things change. 

    anti football partnership - that is a bit strong. Attacking wise not the best especially with through balls. In terms of getting into the box, i think they have been told by rafa to not do it, cause this is Lucas's strength of running into the box.

    At the end of day, we should have won the game, had chances and created chances.

    We need bigger players. I would sell masch and bring in yaya toure.

  9. Great article ...the more I watch che, Ars , ManC and Tottenham , the more our game look slow and dull. Our attack lack pace and creativity .

    Next transfer window is near and signing of last summer has not played single league game yet .... I was initially neutral about Rafa but now I think he is being stubborn.

    Today was our best chance to break into top 4 but we missed it and ManC and Ars win made it worse for us.

    Forgettable season so far !

  10. The first of four giants to fall.

    Liverpools position at the top table is over for now and unless major backing and a new stadium is created we better get used to the Europa league. 

    The problem at Anfield Is that we cannot just blaim Rafa. The board and old board have to take responsibillity. We were sold out by a previous board who saw a larger profit margin more important than doing their due dilligence on a set of new owners who have mortgaged the club to the hilt! 

    With no progress been made in building the new stadium which would give us an long term opportunity to gain revenue or enable the club to have a asset which would increase the sale prospects of the club. 

    Unfortunately with the change of the economic climate the Americans business model has failed badly, one which is based on cheap credit and putting very little liquid cash on the table to run LFC.

    The worry for liverpol now is that this high risk sale has exacerated a number of flaws within the club.

    The lack of a good replacement for Hypia has had a major impact to our season. once. The cheap signing of Kyriagis has been a poor signing. A ok player but not a player a team hoping to challenge for top honours should sign. 

    Lack of cash and also poor decision to buy Aqualani. Rafa has been very clever to mislead the fans with regards to his fitness. He gambled on being able to sign this player as he hoped that existing players would have kept him in touch for honours when Aqualani finally got fit. This has been a very bad gamble that has blown up in his face. 

    Lack of a back up for Torres! Selling of Keane was the right move but selling him and not investing in a suitable backup striker and gambling on  the missfits voronin and babbel coming good this has been a fatal error! It was blatantly evident neither of these two were going to cut it. 

    The loss of Paco in the backroom team! Despite the Confederations cup it's clear that the teams fitness and conditioning were very poor before start of the season. Look at our results in preseason. Question has to be asked have we replaced this positive link in rafas back room,

    If I was the banks rbs and watchovia I would be watching the events between now and the end of the season very carefully. We maybe 
    Forced into two corners either the bank asks hicks and gillette to put a higher deposit down or the banks may force the club to cash in on torres or the two if them could be forced to sell up. I have a feeling the club will be forced to sell torres at the end of the season to allow funds to improve our financial position and to enable player transfers for the new boss.

    Barring a miracle rafa is finished. 
    Liverpools form will improve this season as I have noticed a slight improvement in the team over the last three games and feel that with Agger, torres, aqualani and gerrard all coming back to form I see a definate prospect for improvement of form but the likes of improving villa and big spending man city and spurs will make it too tough to gain the min 5th place. 

    We have to give some praise under Rafa as we have punched over our weight! Seems like a lot of problems have cropped up in a squad which lacks real depth. Without major investment to keep pace with the new order challengers (spurs man city and villa) Will mean we are no longer gaurenteed a top 4 place!

  11. Spot on Eldon, Rafas been pulling rabbits out of hats with signings like, Reina 6m, Agger 5m, Skirtel 6m, Benayounn 5m, Garcia 5m, Sissosko 6m, Alonso 10m, Bellamy 6m and Crouch 7m. We need top draw signings to compliment our current team. Reina,Johnson,Aurelio,Carra,Agger,Masch,Aquilani,Benayoun,Kuyt,Gerrard,Torres and Skirtel gives us a very good top 12. Rieara and Cavalieri good squad players. Lucas,Insua,Kelly and Ngog are good prospects. If we had the money to buy 3 maybe 4 top class players we could push Chealsea and MU all the way. Sissosko left back(Lyon), Silva (valencia) and Dzeko (Wolfsburg). Maybe Upson.
    Johnson         Carra                Agger           Sissosko
    Kelly              Skirtel               Upson           Aurelio
    Darby                                                        Insua
    Benayounn       Masch             Aquilani         Silva
    Kuyt                  Lucas            Spearing         Rieara
    El Zhar


    This gives us a 25 man squad quality in depth. Youngsters wouldn't be pushed in the deep end. What would it cost Sissosko15m, Dzeko 20m, Upson 10m and Silva 20m. Total 65m, sell Babel,Degen,Kyriarkos,Dossena and let Voronin go. This would hopefully bring in 15m. Net cost 50m. Villa,Spurs,Chealsea,MU,MCity,Sunderland and Arsenal are going to spend, some of them more than 50m net. If we want to keep up we have to spend. Shankley,Paisley,Dalglish,Souness, Evans and Houllier spent every season. Some were British record signings.
    Dalglish,Collymore and Heskey. We have always competed at the top end of the market. As for Aquilani, he's set for the next match and we all have to support him all the way.        

  12. unfortunately i was working so didnt watch the game, but from the commentary i agree with everything you have said here, i will agree that rafa should not have taken benny off, however, from what i heard, el zhar came on and provided a lot of zip and pace and atacking intent, i might be wrong i can only go on what i heard but what i heard was he played very well?? i could be wrong please tell me if i am?

  13. i listened on the radio btw

  14. good post - raised all the right issues - especially regarding the 2 defensive midfielders.

  15. I normally like to argue against you JK, but today you are totally right, in particular regarding Yossi.  Anyone remember Fulham last year?  They guy can play to the 90th minute and is by far our best player at the moment, Gerrard is clearly not fit enough or in form enough to carry the team currently. I always like to argue against post match knee-jerk reactions and generally support Rafa and the longer term objectives, but the short-term decisions that continue to baffle are really starting to cost us.  If we'd picked up 3 points today, with Chelsea losing we would have chipped 3 points off the lead.  But instead, no urgency, no attack, and no hope.  Tell me why is El Zar more conditioned to play than Aquiliani? Put the guy on for 20 minutes, what's the harm, especially if you take Yossi off.  Instead we're left with  Ngog and El Zar, a flat footed Kuyt, half fit Gerrard and two midfielders that get nose bleeds in the attacking third.  It's really mediocre at best.  The sooner we have Torres, Aquiliani, Yossi and Gerrard all on the pitch and all playing well at the same time the better.  But knowing Benitiez, this is unlikely to happen.  Shame.   

  16. <p><span>I've resisted commenting on your articles Jaimie, but i cannot on this one, so here goes:</span>
    </p><p><span>The Good:</span>
    </p><p><span>- Yeah, that was about the most attacking team that could’ve been fielded, the only exception being whether or not Ngog or Aquilani could get into it…but fully agree with your point, except the “anti-football partnership” comment. But I’ll cover that in a bit….</span>
    </p><p><span>The Bad:</span>
    </p><p><span>- Yes the first half was dire…but I think your bias shows in your inability (or reluctance) to see WHY it was so bad. In a word: RIERA. He was useless today. He got the ball in good areas and instead of taking players on, he cut inside, then gave the ball away. Funniest thing, you’ve been slagging rafa over his “treatment” of riera, then when he plays him, the lad does terribly….and you blame it on masch/lucas pairing?! What more must they do than get the ball to riera in a position for him to do something? They both did that, and riera wasted every opportunity. </span>
    </p><p><span>-<span>  </span>“anti-football partnership” nonsense is just that. Masch got the ball back when the attackers wasted possession; Lucas made a number of passes to attackers in good positions that either went begging (gerrard’s into the left channel where his poor control let samba in), were well/luckily defended (lucas’ ball to gerrard on his deflected shot in the first half), or totally squandered (lucas’ ball into the left channel that went between gerrard, kuyt, and yossi in the space of about 6m, that NONE OF THEM COULD BE BOTHERED TO RUN ONTO). As I said, it’s a nonsense argument, and had no bearing on us not scoring today.</span>
    </p><p><span>The Ugly:</span>
    </p><p><span>-<span>  </span>Yossi off, el zhar on….added pace, and the lad created a couple of chances. That’s the idea of a substitute, isn’t it? To change the direction of the game? That’s exactly what that sub did. I see your point about yossi’s attacking ability, but it wasn’t happening for him today, <span>and if it comes down to a last kick I’d rather he be off the pitch than gerrard</span>…and if you think making a sub that changes the impetus of the game is a reason why rafa should go, then you should be gone before him.</span>
    </p><p><span>- Aquilani on the bench….yes everyone wants him to play, but 1) the position he would be playing didn’t need to be improved upon (unless, of course, you just hate the masch/lucas partnership, no matter what the positively contribute to the team), 2) Blackburn would’ve kicked the life out of the boy – not ideal for someone with a history of injuries, 3) it’s not exactly a setup for success, whereas a good showing in a lower-pressure game (fiorentina) followed by an important game that he matches up well with (arsenal) creates an environment where he can start off on a good foot and move from strength to strength.</span>
    </p><p><span>You might say its hollow excuses, but I’ve tried to logically opine on everything you’ve written. I actually agreed (in some fashion or another) with much of what you've said, yet I don’t think it’s as bad as some say – the last half hour was more like what I want to see from us, which is a sign that we are improving in the places we need to. We’ve still got 20-odd games left to get something out of this [...]

  17. you do realise that you miss a lot of the off-the-ball stuff when you're not watching the game? yossi wasn't moving off the ball much at all by the time he was subbed....go find a replay and actually watch the 90mins, then form an opinion

  18. the ugly:

    Riera. utterly AWFUL. he deserves a zero match rating for no show if there was one. we were playing with 10 men in the first half! he was useless in attack (Gerrard filled his position, got into dangerous positions and defended like a bruised lion while Riera looked on and contributed nothing to the defence). 

    i too fail to comprehend the lunacy of NEZ for Yossi. 

  19. Why oh why Rafa you didn't play Aquilani? I just don't understand his tactics. God yesterday Liverpool play like the 3rd tier-league team. I can understand when we were at the back foot when we go up against Everton, because they're good team, but against Blackburn????

    Come on!! I just couldn't believe it! some of the "in RAFA we trust" brigade will crucify me (of course they will) and will say, "hey blackburn just beat Chelski In League Cup, so they're dangerous"...all I can say, GO TO HELL all you "brigadeers"...I have to agree with Jamie this time.

    Why must you play Aquilani in Fiorentina game? HEY WE ALREADY KICKED OUT OF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE!!!! WHO CARES IF WE EVEN WIN THAT GAME??? For confidence??? F**K that!! if we win against Blackburn, we will have more CONFIDENCE!!!

    Champions League is out of the story now! we need to fight in the League! So, can you "brigadeers" please explain, why RAFA wanna put Torres, Aquilani in a game that WE ALL KNOW that WONT CHANGE A THANG???? what's that for? is that good management...and please don't say that "he protect his players"  you blind C**T !!

    Chelski lost! Spurs won, Arse Won, and we? Dammit! what the hell for we wanna put a strong team against Fiorentina? Put in El Zhar, Pleisseis, Pachenko, Spearing, Cavalieri, Martin Kelly. if we lost, then who cares? we are already doom & gloom & bye bye in the Champ League anyway.

    But Rafa was too stubborn and keep riding on his "first year Champ League Winner" bullcrap all this years!! YES, Istanbul was special...but if we keep think about that, don't be surprised if next year we will have to FIGHT FOR A PLACE IN EUROPA LEAGUE.

    Rafa?? Samme Lee has to pour ACID of Rafa's head to crack that bullheaded moron's head stubborness.

    Yesterday's game? Verdict: CRAP

  20. Haha Jamie,

     i just couldnt restrain myself from laughing at your final line: "Cue the 'Rafa Can Do No Wrong' brigade coming up with endless hollow excuses for yet another poor result." As it is with your articles day by day, (or should i say, match by match) you've been cueing yourself up along with the rest of your anti-benitez "Rafa Always Does Wrong" homeboys and 'critically' (or so you call them) ANALYZE and critisize Benitez' weaknesses as detailed as you think you can (yeah right, as if you can do better in his shoes. Honestly.). You see Jaimie, i think u think these pro Benitez (for all you know they're pro Liverpool and that includes gettin behind everyone in the team) are pathetic people who cant see the 'truth' or who refuse to see the problem, weaknesses etc etc that Benitez has. well that should be fine as you yourself know whatever you say or 'critically' write wont change who they are and what they think right? or do you? anyway, sarcasm aside, if you think so, dont you think you yourself are guilty of being pathetic as liverpool's games in terms of your writing? seriously man, you commenting negative things on Benitez as if it was you who bought those players, it was you who trained them, it was you who checked their fitness ( i know you love that word FIT) and injuries, it was you who's responsible for their wins or losses, it was you who the players respect (well maybe your beloved Babel does). Who do you think you are? Do you really think you have gained any such right to comment somebody who has achieved so much more than you (by the  way the world knows who Benitez is. the world doesnt know who this Jaimie writer is)? Well of course you think you do, dont you? heck you might even reply my comments with your rubbish 'facts' of 'statistics' or 'critical analyses' just to prove me wrong. frankly speaking, i dont want you as a liverpool fan (or so you called yourself) just as you dont want Benitez to be liverpool manager anymore. but i dont think he'll resign (no matter how much you try to influence readers' minds with your writing) any time soon; so i guess you wont either. Haha. Chiou Jaimie.

  21. Why wasn't ngog played from the very beginning, when it's very clear that he's a much better striker than Kuyt? Aren't you supposed to start with your best options?

  22. Why wasn't Ngog played from the beginning? He's a much better striker than Kuyt (provided Kuyt can be considered a striker). Aren't you supposed to start with your best options?


  23. to "haha Jamie", christ on a bike! did you take it hook line and sinker! or what? just like JK said, outa the woodwork comes the worms. lets get this straight, JK knows nothing but you do? and you are? a serious fool thats who, a so called fan who thinks this situation is just dandy if the "gimp of limp" is still in charge!. well you stick to your guns fool cause this team/organisation is gonna need your ticket $ in europa league and to where ever else they fall. love yur work JK, the one voice of reason in this madness of doctor dour and the boring factory

  24. thats right redneck... i mean redhed... they are gonna need my n all our other tickets.. its stupid arrogant foolheaded imbecile like you n your sweetheart JK who doesnt think so.. "a serious fool thats who, a so called fan"... yes im d fool for becoming a fan... n you're d sh*t dat comes out of every fa*t JK puts out. gud on u mate. Liverpool will be much better with people like you. (dats sarcasm by the way. Just in case you are really stupid.)

  25. That was mainly Chelsea reserves they beat.

  26. of course, thats fair enough, but like i said im only relaying what i heard, and what i heard was el zhar played well, maybe kuyt should have the one to go off, yossi is always dangerous and can instantly do something, kuyt offers nothin offensively

  27. i imagine kuyt was played from the start instead of ngog cos he can handle himself better in a physical situation.

  28. "Champions League is out of the story now! we need to fight in the League! So, can you "brigadeers" please explain, why RAFA wanna put Torres, Aquilani in a game that WE ALL KNOW that WONT CHANGE A THANG???? what's that for? is that good management...and please don't say that "he protect his players"  you blind C**T !!"

    why would he play aquilani and torres in a meaningless game? to improve thier match fitness in a game which will be a little bit less physically demanding than a league game. this is completely obvious, a football basic.

  29. i thought if you buy a player for 20 million he must be good enough to play a part in a game against blackburn who played 120 mins midweek.
    rafas comments about it being hard for the player to make a difference
    when he is not fit, joke. what have we bought, the manager has been saying he is quality so play him. Will people on this site please stop saying lucas is good enough for liverpool fc because he isnt.

  30. The true is that Aquaman will never play any crucial game until the end of season because Rafa has always claimed:  “With Gerrard, Lucas and Mascherano we now have balance in the midfield.”
     Are You seriously Boss? Balance?
    We conceded to karalic a clear chance for winning the game just before the end of the match..
    Balance? We conceded the control of the ground & possession of the ball To Man CIty at Anfield in the last 20 minutes of match and We seriously have got the risk of losing with Man City.
    I firmy believe that Aquaman will never be a first choice in the Rafa's formation: the fact is that  Rafa spent all the profits from Xabi Alonso's sell for signing a player Who will remain behind Lucas in the Rafa's plans.
    I quote all the questions about lack of the ambitions of our owners, but that doesn't means that Rafa is a manager good enough.
    Rafa is not a good enough and I Hope that many LFC supporters will finally wake up & and open their yes when They will see Lucas starts against Arsenal while Aquilani will sit on bench.

  31. <span>
    <p><span>Our squad has looked terribly thin at times this season. However, we have also had one of the worst run of injuries for a long time. In fairness to Rafa he can only work with what he has. He could have gone the Houllier way of doing things by buying what were predominantly average players at the £5 to £14m range. You then end up with a more equalised squad so injuries aren't felt as badly.</span>
    </p><p><span>However, this didn't work for Houllier (or Roy Evans for that matter), we were always the 'nearly men'. With a limited budget Rafa has tried to bring in players who can make a difference over a season and any of them over say £12m (Torres, Masch, Johnson) have had that affect. We came very close last season and the loss of Alonso together with injuries and the delayed full debut of Aquilani have all had a detrimental affect. But the ingredients and long term strategy is right in my opinion.</span>
    </p><p><span>I think Aquilani is a key figure and will re-balance the attack/defence. It isn't working with Masch and Lucas but they are the best fit pairing at the moment in my opinion, especially given our<span><span> defensive</span><span> lapses!</span></span></span>
    </p><p><span>Realistically we don't have the budgets of the top 2 (or some other teams), or the youth development set up of Arsenal. Rafa has recently taken over matters with youth development and some patience is required in this regard. He is having to stage bringing in the star players who can make a difference. Look at what the hacks at the papers say. A few seasons ago we were a one man team (Gerrard), then we were a two man team (Gerrard, Torres) - hopefully towards the end of this season or next we'll be a three man team (Gerrard, Torres and Aquilani). But circumstances dictate this slow progress, not Rafa. Unless of course you want a team filled with average players?</span>
    </p><p><span>People continue to take a short term view at a time when a longer one is required. Time for additional quality players to be 'staged in' and the youth development to be overhauled is needed. There is a reason why Rafa was signed for 5 years.</span>
    </p><p><span>In relation to Aquilani I think Rafa is being ultra cautious with him. In fairness I dread to think what stories will be written if he is crocked in his first full debut. None of us know the full state of his fitness and we need to bide our time for someone who could be an imperative player in the future.</span>
    </p><p><span>The man eats, sleeps and drinks football. I'm sure he is fully aware of what needs to be done, starting with another striker to 'fill in' when required, once resource is available.</span>


  32. i think this is the 1st time jaimie, you get more comment supporting you rather than condemning you.

    people call rafa 'the master of tacticians'. i'd been wondering why people gave him that title. for the CL title he won? or FA Cup? i was really thrilled we won those 2 finals, but not really impressed with the tactics & the games. we should be on par with milan, & beat west ham quite easily. i thought we were lucky. but a win, is a win, luck also part of the champions.

    i think 5 years, 6 seasons is enough for a manager to prove his worth. it's fine if we're improving but looking at the current states, clearly we're not. we don't have enough quality, depth in the squad. 5 years should be enough for you to get the right players, but rafa just try & error with too many error signings. his tactics is too cautious, with so many wrong & unexplained decisions.

    i might be wrong, im no pundits or professional critics. sir alex took how many years before he won the 1st league title. so maybe rafa can emulate that too?

  33. I have been arguing the same points for years - people have just refused to face reality. The truth hurts, which is one of the reasons people give me such abuse. As Jack Nicholson said in A Few Good Men: "You can't handle the truth!" People are now beginning to wake up and see that Benitez is not the long term solution. Better late than never.
    Blind faith is a dangerous thing, and it is blind faith rom fans that is (partly) responsible for putting Benitez in such a powerful position. He has engineered a situation where he is all powerful at Anfield; he's filled the club with his own people at all levels, and he has a contract that makes him unsackable.
    Quite simply, Benitez has engineered a coup d'etat with the full backing of the fans.
    Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

  34. Spot on, Jaimie! On all accounts, except for the sacking part. Benitez is so full of himself it isn´t true. Sack the Spanish waiter now so a new manager can implement his ideas for the rest of the season and have the team ready come next August.

  35. "he's filled the club with his own people at all levels"

    just like any manager would
    how on earth has he "engineered a coup d'etat"this is a pretty ridiculous thing to say.

  36. Well, JK is garnering some support here just as the naysayers on official boards always do for a period after each disappointing result. However, it doesn't take long before a more long-term supportive view kicks in. Losing hurts--and Liverpool haven't done it very often under RB (cue trot out the stats time).

    The bottom line is that Liverpool are doing fine under RB, considering that from a financial sense they are far behind the top clubs. It could have been different if Moore's had had more guts and less greed.

  37. Keep calm Jamie.
    Keep calm please, and don't forget our anthem: at the end of the storm there's a golden sky.
    We have good solutions in the backroom (I'm especially thinking to King Kenny) for replacing him during this campaign or at the end of the season.
    There are many good manager to fill in the vacancy: Kevin Keegan, Martin O'Neill, Sam Allardyce, Hiddink.. 

  38. No not any manager would do that. Wenger kept pretty much all the Arsenal backroom intact.

    You need a core of staff at the club that are independent of the manager not dependent on him as Benitez has got them. What happens when he goes? Where is there loyalty, with him or the club?

    The Academy especially needs to function beyond the manager like Barca's does. They have had 10 managers in a decade but their youth set up doesn't revolve around them. It functions independently of them and that's what we need. Instead we're getting a little Rafa world where him and his yes-men run it all. We are not a Spanish enclave.

    We are Liverpool not Rafapool, despite what certain deluded people might think.

  39. Hitzfeld, Cappello, Lippi, Rijkaard, Mourinho all might be available next year.

    Even Roy Hodgson i think can do at least as well as Rafa.

  40. There are many good manager to fill in the vacancy: Kevin Keegan, Martin O'Neill, Sam Allardyce, Hiddink.. 

    Hitzfeld, Cappello, Lippi, Rijkaard, Mourinho all might be available next year. 
    Even Roy Hodgson i think can do at least as well as Rafa.
    people parrot out lists of names like these, and you lot have the cheek call rafa's supporters blinkered and deluded???

    i can respect mentioning hiddink or hitzfeld, but the rest of this mob?


    keegan - he has won NOWT as a manager. so he likes to play all out attack without a semblance of tactical nous...suggest keegan if you'd rather lose games scoring 4 but conceding 6....

    martin o'neil - i cannot understand why people are so up his backside. when i think of o'neil what comes to mind is his embarassing capitulation in europe - apparently to solidify their chase for 4th, which ended just as embarassingly....and their fade - due to his inability as a manager to see that heskey playing was killing their team. and this is with randy lerner as an owner - someone with far more to spend than our owners and less reluctance to spending. if he wasn't british or didn't only buy englishmen (no matter how much they resemble bollocks) nobody would give a toss about him, because he has done nothing to compare to the best managers....

    allardyce - the same one who managed bolton and the apparently shite blackburn team that we should've walked over? amazing how when people slate the result of the game NOT ONE SOUL BETWEEN THE EARTH AND THE STARS has attributed it to anything remotely related to allardyce....

    Capello - not coming...you can forget this, unless england do so horribly that he is sacked, he will not be available as a manager next summer....

    Lippi - personally don't rate him but at least he's won something respectable....but has he not already stated that italy is is last job as a manager? DID HE NOT COME OUT OF RETIREMENT TO COACH THE CURRENT TEAM? the man is ancient...what would be the sense of hiring a manager to rebuild our team who could croak of old age within 5 years, nevermind simply get tired of doing the job?

    Rijkaard - never rated him either. the fact that we absolutely bossed barcelona over two legs, with the disparity of talent between the two sides at the time (messi/eto'o vs. bellamy/crouch?!?!) says tons about his ability as a tactician. there is a reason he has not found work since he left barcelona, because there is no place with as much talent....
    mourinho - people really need to think about this for a second. i know he apparently has a secret crush with liverpool, and he won things with chelsea. but he did that having bought the following: ferreira - 13m, drogba - 24m, robben - 13m, carvalho - 20m, SWP - 21m, essien - 25m, shevchenko - 30m, malouda - 15m, anelka - 15m....this was in THREE YEARS, and doesn't mention the players bought for 7, 8, 9, 10, 11m, nor does it even factor ashley cole - who if they had not paid 5 mil PLUS gallas would have surely needed more than we spent on johnson.....that is 176m on nine players. ONE-HUNDRED SEVENTY SIX MILLION POUNDS spent in THREE YEARS to acquire NINE PLAYERS. i want to find the man who thinks that 1) our owners would be willing to provide that amount, 2) our owners would EVEN BE FINANCIALLY ABLE to provide that even if they wanted to, 3) that mourinho would have the same level of success NOT having that level of support in the transfer market. if you are that individual who believes these three things, please send me your address - i will fly out to wherever in the world you live. come knock on your door, and promptly and politely eat not only the shoes on my feet, but every shoe i own, because the prospect of any of those [...]

  41. lol i was so incensed by people's lack of sense that i forgot to even address hodgson....

    can someone remind me what he has done in his managerial career to suggest that he can cut it at a club like liverpool?

    oh yes, how can i forget his championships with Jerkwater FC in Sweden back in the 70s....

  42. hei hei, we need to be realistic here. i wish we can play more attacking football like barca or arsenal. maybe rijkaard will do. hey rafa, come on, try something else. play more attacking football so we can love you.

  43. hei hei, we need to be more realistic here. king kenny? hell yeah!! i wish we can play a more attacking football like arsenal or barca. maybe rijkaard will do? hei rafa, come on, try something else. play more attacking game so we can love you.

  44. How did we boss Barcelona? We beat them once they beat us once. We went through on away goals. The fact you call that bossing shows how delusionally blinkered you are. Rijkaard won 2 leagues and the Champions league without spending the mega money that Madrid spend and his teams play quality football. So Mourinho spent a lot at Chelsea but fail to acknowledge his other talents. He's a top coach regardless of what you think You do know that he was first choice for Liverpool ahead of Benitez right? And Chelsea with all their money could have picked any manager including Rafa yet they went for Jose. I suppose that's luck is it? Get real he's a top coach.

    You've met Cappello and he told you this personally did he that he's not going to be available.

    I suppose Hitzfeld phoned you and told you he's not available too? Calm down and grow up. There are many other managers in the world that can manage this club. That is all people are saying. Do you seriously think only Benitez can get us in the top 4 each year and hoping for a cup run. That's all he has done.

    You can rant all you want mate but the fact is there are numerous top coaches in this world other than your saint Benitez and many of them would do at least as well as he has done. Only your blind faith prevents you from seeing that.

  45. What had Wenger won? Who had heard of him? Who thought a complete rookie like Guardiola could manage a club like Barcelona? I suppose you're one of those that thought Fergie couldn't manage in a proper league as his achievements in Scotland don't count do they?

    Hodgson has 25 years coaching experience all over the world. i'd suggest if you gave Fulham's squad to Benitez he'd struggle to get them above 15th. Hodgson got them 7th.

    You know what disgusts me about people like you is your blind worship of Rafa yet your lack of respect for the achievements of other managers. It's like you hate them in order to further your love for Benitez. It is frankly pathetic. if you actually had some intelligent reason to your viewpoints i might take you seriously but as it is your whole arguments are basically based on "he's crap him." Which makes them laughably irrelevant. Jog on.

  46. So Should We believe that except Rb the rest of World is shit?
    Seriously man You've got a problem..

    MON has won a League Cup with Leicester: maybe it could be the only Trophy of the whole Leicester's history..
    Benitez won his trophies with Valencia and LIVERPOOL FC: it's different, maybe......

  47. Where's your evidence that the backroom staff are not 'independent', whatever that means? Are you suggesting Dalglish, the Academy Ambassador is one of these 'yes-men'?

    Are you suggesting that our Academy didn't need reforming? Who has it produced recently?

    Do you know where we got the current Academy Technical Manager and Academy U18 coach....yes you've guest it, Barca....so your so-called example of an independent academy is now part of ours.

    Also, only two (from 12) of the current Academy staff appear to be Spanish, so stop with the sensationalist 'spanish-enclave' rhetoric.

  48. Sorry but your argument is totally flawed from the outset, because you don't know this 'master plan' do you...nobody does. I utterly disagree that we were a 1 man team before. Was Owen average? Was Fowler average? Oh and what about Hyypia and Caragher. Utter rubbish.

    The thing you're also missing is that this 'master plan' is surely now 5 years into its life - and still we are nowhere near the title, and have quite clearly gone backwards since last season, in which if everyone is honest, we over-performed in.

    Rafa is, as I've said before, is so stubborn that he cannot be objective. It seems his modus operandi is to cut his nose just to spite his face. Hopefully Aquilani will bring some relief to the weekly tormet.

  49. Rafa has never built a succesful team, he's always done it with someone elses players.

    Rafa decimated Valencia in his tenure and he's doing to the same to us

  50. HAHA what a tool you are!! You don't rate Lippi, the world-cup winning multiple Champions league finalist manager LOL. Ok you don't rate him at all. Rijkaard is in a job so shows what you know and all he done was build the best team in Europe in 3 years lol. But a clown like u doesnt rate him..he's not losing any sleep.
    Mourino didn't sign Anelka, didn't even want Sheva..you are full of crap!!

  51. hmm...where to start??

    <span><span>“</span></span>How did we boss Barcelona? We beat them once they beat us once. We went through on away goals. The fact you call that bossing shows how delusionally blinkered you are. Rijkaard won 2 leagues and the Champions league without spending the mega money that Madrid spend"
    it was close in spain although we came out on top, but i thought it was pretty even....when they came to anfield it shouldve been done and dusted within the first half hour:
    - riise hit post
    - momo hits crossbar
    - riise effort cleared off the line by puyol (or marquez)
    - i think there was another effort off the frame that half too, but the great barcelona - with messi, eto'o, ronaldinho, iniesta, deco, xavi, etc. were getting embarassed by the likes of sissoko, riise, bellamy, and kuyt. how you can not remember that game is beyond me....

    as for FR not spending money, he bought ronaldinho for 24m, deco for 10m + quaresma (who i think was bought for around 10m the year prior), eto'o for 22m, zambrotta for 13m, gudjonsen for 11m, henry for 20-odd million, and milito for 18m.

    to say he did a wenger and won all of that with no real outlay is not consistent with the truth....and, like with mourinho - do you think H&G will fund this sort of outlay to get his types of players in? probably not...

    ...and i never said mourinho is a poor manager, i simply said that his success at chelsea was due in large part to something he wouldn't have if he came to liverpool (i.e. MONEY)...they whole point about who went where means nothing really, especially when chelsea fire grant to bring in scolari, who was absolutely dire (a shock, i know, given that he's won more as a coach than anyone on here bar lippi (maybe) and he won a world cup)....

    which brings me to a point on lippi. as i said i dont rate him, despite what he has done in his career (and i'm a massive Juve fan). ITS SIMILAR TO YOU LOT NOT RATING RAFA DESPITE WHAT HE'S DONE. i never liked the way his teams played....yes they won, but people are on here saying we want flair and flamboyance - lippi should be one of the last names you think of if thats what you want. and when you say "oh he won a world cup...." SO DID SCOLARI.

    - i said hitzfeld was one of the few good shouts....
    - you cannot convince me hodgson could do better than rafa, because there is nothing in his cv to suggest it. at least with lippi you could say he's won the cl, world cup, etc. hodgson hasn't done that. if you're saying making fulham 7th is enough to have him replace rafa who got us to 2nd in the same year, we as fans have a problem. you say rafa couldn't get fulham that high, but if hodgson were at liverpool last year would he have won the league? because if the answer isn't yes (and i dont think it would even approach that) he's not the guy to replace rafa - since the idea is to IMPROVE ON WHAT YOU'VE GOT.

    and as for mourinho not wanting 30m man sheva, it really highlights my point: that he could have a man on his bench for 30m that he didn't want, while rafa couldn't get just over half that sanctioned to buy a player that was intended to be integral to his team (18m for barry)....

    im not trying to smash these guys, but there's no sense in getting rid of rafa if its not going to move us forward. someone said something abuot there being "tons of managers who can get us top-4 and a good cup run"....frankly i don't want any from that lot - i want the guy that gets us first in the prem and a CL or FA cup. rafa has proven that he can get that and actually win a thing here or there....if there isn't someone who can do better - in the same circumstances - then what's the point in paying off rafa's contract, his backroom staff, and the [...]

  52. how did rafa decimate valencia? a lot of the players he had in his time there were there from cuper's days, and he left the summer after winning la liga and UEFA cup....two leagues and a european trophy in three seasons isn't decimation by any means....

    and - truthfully, hand on heart - you think the team rafa got when he came in 04 is better than the team we have currently?

  53. i never said everyone else is shit...i just don't see many people doing better than rafa has.

    i will say this though - i dont like martin o'neil. im not sure why but he gets on my tits in a major way.

    and it's one thing to get leicester city to the league cup....it is something entirely different trying to get liverpool to win the prem, cl, fa cup, etc.

    the expectation level is not even within the same region of the universe, let alone on the same planet. and so far the only time he's had high expectations that i can think of he's not been able to meet them.

    despite the SPL being considered a big leage and celtic being a big club, the expectations are pretty limited....honestly who other than the old firm can do anything in that league? so, win a coupl eof one-off games vs rangers and you're made up for the league.

    he made it to a uefa cup final i think, but didn't win it....

    he had a goal to get into the top four last year, sacrificed villa in the most embarassing fashion in europe to cupposedly achieve that, and then fell well short of the mark anyway.

    he had one of the smallest squads in the league last year, yet one of the richest owners, and a guy who has always backed him when he wanted it.

    he's bought the likes of sidwell and heskey, when he presumably had more money to spend....which means that he either had no idea of the level they are capable of, or has no insight into continental players. neither of those are qualities your manager should have if you're trying to win the league AND the prem.

    and he's always seemed arrogant....like mourinho, but without the good looks, italian suits, and silverware....

  54. "kuyt offers nothin offensively" - except 15 goals in all comps last year (making him third behind gerrard and torres)

    besides, i think the reason kuyt stayed on was because kuyt made a habit of coming up with important (timing-wise) goals near the end of matches (i know yossi did as well, but someone had to come off and yossi wasn't doing much in the game as it was)

    definitely glad el zhar got a run...we've needed someone like him more than we have needed someone like aquilani....the lad's a real livewire

  55. im going a bit mental on the rafa defense, but when you're on a roll....

    yeah yossi plays to the last like he did at fulham, but kuyt did the same against city and liege, and scored lots of important goals last season. we can't just throw on all our attackers and hope to win a game....

    as for the whole aquilani/el zhar bit:
    - nabil's a winger, and all our best attacks were coming down the flanks (making it reasonable to think that adding a winger to exploit this is the right idea)
    - aquilani had never played a team like blackburn, whereas el zhar has actually played blackburn before
    - i think aquilani's been hurt since the springtime (march, right) and el zhar got hurt in the preseason

    lastly, i dont think creating chances was our problem in this game. the stats wont tell the whole story either, as it won't list the 3-4 balls that went through the 6yb box but weren't put onto goal, nor will it show Ngog's shot against the crossbar as a shot on target (why is that, anyway???). we simply needed to to better with the chances we had.

  56. Jaimie,

    why has this post not been deleted, and this user not been pilloried for disparaging other site patrons with a differing view from his own (and yours, incidentally)???

    calling people who see things as rafa does "blind C**Ts" and telling us to "GO TO HELL" is not on, ESPECIALLY AS PEOPLE HAVE SAID LESS TO YOU ABOUT YOUR OPINIONS, AND GOTTEN REPRIMANDED FOR IT....

    uphold your own standards, mate.