12 Dec 2009

Is Alberto AQUILANI using the media to force Rafa BENITEZ'S hand? (If so, good!)

A few days ago I highlighted comments from Alberto Aquilani's father that seemed to suggest Liverpool's new signing was deeply frustrated at his lack of playing time. Well, in my view, Aquilani's most recent comments reveal that he is not only frustrated, but worried that Benitez will continue to use him sparingly.

Aquilani knows how to play the game, and over the last week, the Italian has been playing Benitez at his own game.

The comments from Aquilani's father (and the timing) were no accident - I have no doubt that he got his father to make those comments knowing that they would increase the pressure on Benitez to give him playing time.

Is this so far-fetched? Players and managers - Benitez especially - are always using the media to get their point across. And after 4 months of frustration on the sidelines, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if Aquilani decided that he needed to take the initiative.

And his latest comments are (IMO) another calculated attempt to exert pressure on Benitez, something that I have no problem with whatsoever! Aquilani should be playing more, and if this is what it takes to force Benitez's hand, then so be it!

After the Fiorentina game, Aquilani said:

“I feel good. I’m really happy to have come through my first game. My ankle is better, fully healed and there weren’t any problems after basically a year without playing. It’s great to have played so many minutes, because it means I can have more faith that I’m fully fit again".

“There’s no fear at all that it might flare up again, I know it’s better, so I’m not worried at all about that. I just feel really happy to have played again. It’s really important for me to have played, because the more I play, the better I’ll get and the fitter I’ll be.”

“The more we [Gerrard, Torres + Aquilani] play together, the more they will have faith in me and the better our partnership will be.

“I need to play, play, play because I’m in a new team. Now I need to work hard in training for my body. I hope I can play against Arsenal.”

Aquilani is clearly overcompensating here. Just examine what he says for a minute:

* His ankle injury has 'fully healed'. He stresses that there's weren't any problems, and makes it clear that there is 'no fear it might flare up again'. He doesn't stop there - he continues justifying his fitness by saying that he's 'not worried' about the possibility of his injury flaring up again, and that he 'knows it's better'

* And just look at how many times he says he wants to play:

"It's really important for me to have played"

"The more I play, the better I'll get and the fitter I'll be"

"The more we play together...the better our partnership will be"

"I need to play, play play"

"I hope I can play against Arsenal"

Read between the lines here: Aquilani's latent frustration is obvious - he is sending a very clear message to Benitez, and that message is:


There is absolutely no reason to drop Aquilani to the bench for the Arsenal game, which, incidentally, is at HOME. He has the self-belief, he desperately wants to play, and he is absolutely certain of his own fitness. Dropping him now would only frustrate the player even more and derail his forward momentum.

Benitez himself has admitted that Aquilani he needs games to build his match fitness, so what possible sense would it make to not play him against Arsenal?! Liverpool need Aquilani, and the game will represent another chance to build match fitness.

Unfortunately, unless there is some kind of seismic-shift in Benitez's approach, he will, in all probability, revert to type against Arsenal. Aquilani will be dumped on the bench, Lucas will return, and Liverpool will drudge along with their usual ultra-cautious tactic of two defensive midfielders.

And I reiterate again: Liverpool are at HOME. Playing two defensive-mids at Anfield is a sign of fear; playing Aquilani alongside Masch (or Lucas) would be a progressive decision, and a sign that Benitez really wants to go for the win.

Come on, Rafa - go for the WIN!

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. another excuse to have a go at rafa its the managers jop to manage not the players.its up to rafa to pick the team to play and id be tempted to play lucas who hasnt played bad this year.

  2. It's not having a go at Rafa at all.  God, the members of the 'IN Rafa We Trust' cult are so predictable.  Of course you would be tempted to play Lucas - YOU'RE BRAINWASHED.

    And this is not about whether Lucas is a bad player or not.  he isn't, and I have not said a bad word about him ever.

    it's about balance and what is best for the team, and playing two holding mids who are very similar is not good for the team.  Performances and results this season have proved that.

    Try and put your undying love for Benitez aside for a second and think about what decision is best for the TEAM.

    I really don't care who makes way for Aquilani to be honest.  I would be perfectly happy if masch was dropped and Lucas played the DM role.

    Either way, one of them has to go.

  3. Jamie that's a LFC press release. Alberto doesn't talk to the media except through a translator and you'll noticed his comments are rare and very controlled. So the club knew exactly what he was saying, they were the ones who release it. Unless there is some kind of inside coup in order it can't really be media manipulation. I'm sure Rafa is well aware of how he feels and, like most us, doesn't find it at all surprising. 
    What we need at this point is to do what is best for the team. That doesn't mean just playing Aquilani because he cost us 20 million quid. Sure, we know he has the talent but I haven't seen anything yet from him that shows me he'll play better against Arsenal than Lucas. So while it would certainly be better for Aquilani to play there is no assurance that it's best for the team. He admitted himself he's still not match fit and he's not yet got a perfect handle on how to play in the team. For all of his talent he still needs time to develop so there is a decent argument for continuing with Lucas. 
    Naturally you think this is a defensive approach but Lucas is not a defensive midfielder. He spends far too much time in the attacking half to be considered as such and, like Kuyt, is part of almost every well formed team attack. How often have we seen Lucas on the end of counter-attacks this season? Labeling him as defensive is just inaccurate. 
    So I think, in terms of doing what is best for the team, starting Aquilani is probably 50/50. The only way we can know if he is ready is if we see him in training and can see his fitness levels. It would help to have access to all the computer data from the last game to see how well he was running and how he stayed in formation. That's the kind of information you need to make that decision, not "he cost us heaps of money and he wants to play so he should play". It's just not as simple as that. The only person who has the right information and the experience to make that decision is Rafa. That's why many of us say let's leave it up to him. 
    That's not blind faith, for us it's just common sense. It's like when you don't prescribe your own medicine. You leave it up to the doctor who understands the blood tests and can interpret your symptoms. You might try and guess at that but the body is complex and it's often not just about how you feel. Football, although your ego doesn't want to admit it, is similarly complex. You need to respect the people who can see this and prefer to leave football related decisions to the professional. Your attacks against folks who chose this approach is getting petty and degrading.

  4. Yet another excuse to have a go at Rafa based on nothing but what you believe Aquilani to mean.  Your creating a divide between Aquilani and Rafa where there is none.  Aquilani is clearly itching to play which is a good thing but if the Fiorentina game showed anything other than glimpses of what he can do was that it showed he was not yet fully up to speed regarding match fitness.

    The question that Rafa has is whether to play Aquilani from the start and probably need to sub him around the 70th minute mark or look to bring him on to change the game if needed later on. 

    All that will be on Rafa's mind is whats best for the team to win the game (as much as you'd like everyone to believe otherwise) so will pick the team he thinks from seeing the players in training all week to do that. 

    On a side note it would be a superb time to take a win 2morro because other than villa all teams above us will have dropped points this week so far

  5. He should definitely start against Arsenal. I mean we are told that the likes of Blackburn and Everton are too physical for him to be risked against so if he can't be risked against the passing side that is Arsenal he'll never cope with this league. Everything negative said about Rafa will be reinforced if he doesn't start tmrw. It will be a shockingly negative ploy.

    And if Kuyt starts tmrw i'll be sickened. He's been absolute garbage for months now and yet plays every game. It's clear favouritism and no wonder other members of the squad express their frustration with it.

  6. And who pre-tell has shown frustration?  I'm sure you can show some evidence as you seem pretty sure of it.

  7. I have said for weeks that he should be playing, he should have had several games under his belt by now. The guy is fit and he is saying so.

    This is the time when we should be sending out a statement to the other teams both below and above us.  THIS IS OUR BEST ELEVEN NOW BEAT US IF YOU CAN!!!!

  8. Fraggs - you're becoming more and more of a cloying Benitez apologist with each passing day.

    First of all, Aqulilani's comments were not released in a press release.  I have every PR released by the club, and his comments are not among them.  Furthermore,  his comments are not even in the news section of the official site.

    In any event, it doesn't matter how the  comments are disseminated.  His words speak for themselves.  And LFC are not going to edit his comments, are they?!  I think it's clear to any person unencumbered by blinkered pro-Rafa feelings that Aquilani is making the same point over and over again for a reason.

    And your interpretation of my argument is (deliberately) simplistic.  I am not arguing we should play him because he cost lots of money; I'm arguing that we should play him because Masch/Lucas are too similar, and theiur partnership is overly defensive, lacking in dynamis, pace, guile, creativity and passing range.

    And when are you going to stop with lame argument that Lucas is not a defensive mid.  He may not BE a defensive mid but that is the role he is playing.  He spends 'far too much time in the attacking half'?!  Tell me, what has he contributed this season in an attacking sense?  What positive contribution does he make to the team's attacking play? Give me specific examples, not  generalisations.

    I enjoy your posts Fraggs but recently you;re really scraping the barrell with your refusal to question Benitez.  Another cliched argument of yours is 'the only way to know if Aquilani should play is to see his fitness levels', the implication being that we can't comment because we don't see him in training.

    Another cop-out.  No one is denying Aquilani needs to improve match fitness, but the only way to do that IS TO PLAY GAMES.  Benitez admits this; Aquilani admits this.

    If he's fit enough to start against Fiorentina he's fit enough to start against Arsenal.  End of story.

    If the likes of Gerrard and Agger can play two games in a row coming back from injury, so can Aquilani.

    Starting with him signals an attacking intent; starting with both Lucas and Masch signals a play it safe, play not to lose approach.

    You refuse to look at the situation logically:

    1. Aquilani needs games to improve match fitness
    2. He started against Fiorentina (thus improving match fitness)
    3. Ergo, he must be fit to start against Arsenal.  Why? 

    Pre-Fiorentina match fitness + playing the Fiorentina game = increased match fitness.

    You do not need to be a friggin' sports scientist to work this out.

    To further this example: if Aquilani's was 60% match fit against Fiorentina, playing in that game is not going to decrease his fitness, is it?! It will only increase it.

    Thus, if he was fit to start against Fiorentina, he must be fit to start against Arsenal because his match fitness has increased since that game! 

    You and oters desperately try and make football into some complicated art that apparently onlt an elite few can understand, but it's just not that difficult. It's simple: if a player needs match fitness, play them.  If they are important to your team, keep playing them.  if it is imperative to your season to get a win, you definitely play them.

    Anything else than that is just negligence.

  9. equally your hated towards Rafa, and all things Livepool blinds your failing attempt to be a hack.

  10. benitez might start with lucas and mascherano because i he thinks it's a better tactical decision against arsenal, rather than wanting to protect aquilani. you might have a different opinion on tactics than benitez, but does this make him 100% WRONG for choosing his line up?

  11. I'm not arguing about Aquilani's match fitness. I agree, as does everyone else including the player and Rafa himself. You don't need to repeat yourself over and over although you seem to be unable to do anything else.
    My point is that there are plenty of reasons to NOT play him against Arsenal. This has nothing to do with him as an individual player needing more games, it's purely in a footballing sense, relating to one single match. What we need to do against Arsenal is play the best team. That's quite simple indeed. Considering how vital that match is for us right now, how we need to gain more confidence and starting winning more games in the league I think Aquilani's match fitness can be considered a bit less important. We need results now and choosing a player who is not in great form and who is not completely match fit is not automatically going to be the best decision. Just because a few people think this way doesn't mean you get to label us as blind faith supporters. What aspect of what we're saying is not thought through?

    Your logic is baffling:
    "It's simple: if a player needs match fitness, play them. If they are important to your team, keep playing them. if it is imperative to your season to get a win, you definitely play them. "

    How does that last sentence even make sense? We need a win against Arsenal. Why on earth is it somehow imperative we play a player who needs more match fitness when we need a win? The only logical choice is to play the player who will allow the team to play the best football. Aquilani's need for game time has nothing to do with that. It's an important issue but it's also potentially counter-productive in terms of winning this match.

    All I ever tried to suggest is that it's not black and white. In fact, I specifically said that for me playing Aquilani is a 50/50 decision. You're the one making bold statements and declaring that Rafa is overtly defensive if he doesn't play a player who is not fit, out of match practice and doesn't yet understand the team dynamics.

    In the end all you're doing is labelling those who don't agree with you as "apologists" and "blind". It's absurd. We're giving you solid footballing reasons why Lucas might still get a start and you rant and rave about how we're all brainwashed and can't accept that Rafa isn't perfect. None of that is remotely true but you're so twisted in your defensiveness over these issues that you can't even see the massive flaws in your own arguments.

    It really does seem like your ego is unable to accept that there are just things in football that you don't understand. No one needs to desperately try and make football into something complex. It IS complex. At the highest level of managing and coaching it is immensely complex. There is a reason why every Premier League manager has a computer running stats for them and special software that records every player movement. You're the one who is blinkered and blind if you can't see that. It's fact, not opinion, not up for debate or discussion. Before shooting off your metaphorical mouth again perhaps you should take some time to actually talk to a top level manager and see just how much work goes in to team selection and tactics. Until you do that you're just making this stuff up.

    This decision on a team basis against Arsenal is obvious: you play the player who will give us the best chance to win that game. That ONE SINGLE GAME. Aquilani's fitness is important but if Lucas has shown that he is better prepared to play a better team game under Rafa's system then the best option is Lucas. Sacrificing team formation, tactics, combinations and everything else that Aquilani just can't have yet is not going to win the match. That's not being an apologist, it's just a few straightforward thoughts [...]

  12. Another example of someone who just doesn't understand Rafa's approach to the game. Do you honestly think this man who obsesses over football, tactics and every tiny little detail would play someone just because they're a "favourite"?
    There are many many reasons why Kuyt gets plenty of game time. It's also becoming quite clear that Kuyt is suffering in his form because he's the one adapting to cover for everyone else's mistakes. It's what he does and he does it very well.

  13. Here's a few things I thought would be obvious:

    1) Aquilani is still not fully match fit. He's in good shape but he himself admitted he was tired in the second half. While 70 minutes will have helped him it doesn't now mean he's suddenly going to spring into form and play well at the top level of club football.
    2) Fiorentina was a dead rubber, an ideal match to play someone who is looking to settle in to the side. His selection for that match doesn't mean he was either in great form or super-fit.
    3) Arsenal is NOT a dead rubber. It's a huge match for us and we need to play the absolute best team that we can
    4) Aquilani's fitness, at this time right now, needs to come second to our chances of beating Arsenal
    5) Lucas started and played 90 minutes against United, a big game that we won 2-0. This shows that when we play our best he is more than capable of being a big part of that.

    In my view this leaves the decision to start Aquilani as fairly balanced. If he has recovered well from the last game and seems perky and focused in training then I think he could get a start. If he pulled up sore and is still coming to terms with team tactics in training then Lucas will probably get the nod.

  14. The quotes from Aquilani are indeed on the official site under news, why don't you go check again. For someone who seems happy to trudge through the internet for information you're not very thorough. Do you have another source for the interview? No, you don't. That's because it came from the club. It's not a PR release, it's just a player interview. If you're so sure it's not from inside the club then please provide the name of the interviewer and the media outlet for whom he works.

    This is important because you suggest that Aquilani is using the media to force Rafa's hand. The club web site is not outside media and you can bet that it's carefully filtered to support the club. He's telling someone inside the club how he feels, not deliberately going behind the manager's back to vent. Your implication is that Aquilani is trying to manipulate media sources to try and pressure his manager into acting. All other arguments aside, that's the basis of this article and it's just rediculous. He's just said how he feels and the club has published the details. You're adding all kinds of subtext and suppositions with absolutely no facts to back it up.

    As for Lucas, you're the one constantly labelling him as a defensive midfielder. I have no such aspirations to pigeon hole the player. All you have ever offered is that the combination has not been good enough. No specific examples in there. If you're going to assert that he doesn't deserve a spot in the team then it's up to you to back that up. All I need to do is point to the performance against United. Great game and Lucas was an integral part of it.  I watch the player regularly and I simply don't see him as fitting a defensive role. He plays comfortably in front of Mascherano and every time he receives the ball he looks to advance the play. He features regularly in counter-attacks and can be found often in the opposition penalty box, more so even than Alonso was. I suppose you're now going to demand that I produce stats or video evidence to back this up.

    As for not seeing him in training being a cop-out ... let me explain this to you clearly: if you don't have all the information it's not a cop-out to admit it and reserve judgement. Again, it's like going to your doctor and he says "I can't diagnose what's wrong with you without knowing the results of some blood tests". That's not a cop-out, it's a correct assertion that other data is important and needs to be included in the decision making process. You seem to think there is more honour or credit in coming to a rash conclusion when you don't have all the information. As fans we simply don't know how players perform during training. That's most of their week. We see them for barely 90 minutes a week during a difficult and physical encounter. Rafa sees them every single day, working drills, setting tactics and having regular fitness tests. Your own ego demans that you declare this information as unimportant because you can't stand being left ignorant. I don't quite have that same sense of insecurity and I'm happy to admit that there is far more to this game than I will ever truly understand.

  15. Insults?  That's rich coming from you, someone has hurled snide remarks and insults at me ever since you started commenting on this site.

    Calling you an apologist is not an insult; it's a fact.

    1. PLay the best team?  Liverpool's best team is one that contains Aquilani.  You make out that he's struggling so much for match-fitness that he can barely run!  The whole point is negated by the fact that players like Gerrard and Agger have come back and played game after game despite not being 100% match fit.

    Benitez admitted that Gerrard wasn't 100% match fit on his return a couple of weeks ago, yet he's played 3-4 games in a row since then.  Why one rule for him and another for Aquilani?  Same goes for Agger, a player who is equally injury prone.

    Why do you insist on making such a big deal out of the match-fitness issue?!  It's not like Aquilani can't run!  He IS fit.  He IS match fit; he's just not as match fit as he could be.  That doesn't mean that his game will suffer.  if he only plays 70 minutes, so be it!  In those 70 nminutes he might help us win the game. 

    You state : The only logical choice is to play the player who will allow the team to play the best football.

    That is right.  And you seriously believe that havaing Lucas and Masch together and Aquilani on the bench means Liverpool will play their best football?!  You're kidding, right?!  Or have you been living in a cave for the last 3 months?

    And yes, Rafa IS overtly defensive if he doesn't play Aquilani.  This is not a new revelation; he has been overtly defensive for 5 years, and his handling of AA just underlines this even more.

    And don't play the victim over the labelling; the Pro-Rafa brigade, the IRWT brigade and the militant superfans started labelling realists like me long before we started labelling back.

    And football is NOT 'immensely complex' at all.  You can think that all you like but football is EASY.  tactics are EASY.  understanding the offsidee rule is EASY.  Understanding how various for formations work is EASY.  The hard part is man-management and motivation, something at which Benitez singularly fails.

    You state: There is a reason why every Premier League manager has a computer running stats for them and special software that records every player movement.

    So I guess before the advent of such technology, all the managers that ever existed didn't know what they were doing?!  gee, how did Kenny Dalglish survive without a computer?!  What about Bob Paisley and Shanks - they never had computer stats to use, so how did they ever win anything?!

    This makes a mockery of your contention that football is complex.  There was life before Benitez and life before computers, and the world's managers did just fine.  Why? Bill Shankly said:

    "Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes, of controlling the ball and of making yourself available to receive a pass. It is terribly simple".

    He is absolutely right. It IS terribly simple; people like Benitez just needlessly complicate the game.  And given his over-reliance on computeres, software wand stats, it's no surprise that his man-management skills are severely lacking.

    You state: Sacrificing team formation, tactics, combinations and everything else that Aquilani just can't have yet is not going to win the match.

    If playing Aquilani is such a sacrifice then why did benitez buy him in the first place?!  Do you not see how ridiculous this sounds?!  At some point, Aquilani is going to have to play; is that going to be a sacrifice for Liverpool?!

    It should be the opposite, surely: playing Aquilani enhances the team; makes us more attacking; improves our passing range etc - isn't this what we [...]

  16. Yes, he DOES play favourites.  Benitez is human; humans are prone favouritism, nepotism and things of that nature. Just because he is a manager does not mean he stops having human frailties.

    Benitez's approac to the game is very clear and easy to understand.  He has favourites.  Everyone except you can see it.

  17. Typical of this site. On the day rafa reveals he has to manage the club debt you are debating  on speculation. Lets debate FACT on why the manger of the football club is now managing the club debt

  18. managing the club debt?!  Wake up!  Benitez is using the debt on the club as yet another excuse for the team's underperformance on the pitch.  The debt had nothing to do with him alienating Alonso and creating the situation where he wanted to leave. It had nothing to do with 17m being spent on a right back when a more pressing position was second striker.  Similarly, it had nothing to with Liverpool finishing on 86 points lat year.  Why did Benitez bring it up?  As an excuse; to deflect attention away from his own mistakes, and to once again manipualte fans - like you - into defending him and atacking the owners.

  19. 1. I have explained my views on the Lucas/Masch partnership in detail in numerous articles.  I don't have time or inclination to repeat myself on that issue.

    2. Aquilani's comments were NOT released in a press release.  You originally stated it was a press release.  if a news story appears on LFC.tv, it is not a press release; it is a news story.  A press release is an entirely different thing.

    3. It is not ridiculous to suggest that Aquilani was ver deliberate with his comments in a bid to exert pressure on Benitez.  On 5 separate occasions he states that he wants play; he also goes out of his way to argue that he's fit; his injury is healed; it will not reoccur etc. Who is he trying to convince?

    In the same way that benitez has just raised the debt issue AGAIN in a bid to deflect attention away from himself and onto the owners, Aquilani made sure he made a strong case for himself playing against Arsenal, so that if he doesn't, people will (quite rightly) question Benitez's judgement.

  20. this is just not making any sense to me,jamie. why on earth would we play aquilani in a game that is a must to win? like he say he hasn't really been playing for one year. ONE year. and now you think he is the man for our midfield in a game were we have to be as fysical as possible, and play with a pace that i guess aquilani never have experienced in a serie a game. lucas showed against united he can do it. to play aquilani as a starter would be at great risk in my mind. let him come on later in the game if needed, sure. but this match is not ideal for grooming serie a players into the speedy and fysical pl, i think. we have other matches in the near future at home were he would be a natural starter,though. but not for this one.

  21. JK, I have read this site for a few months now on the train in the morning (from links on LFCLIVE.net) and to be honest I am not sure about you or your articles, it really is 50/50, but man, I will give you this - they certainly encourage debate. I find myself wanting to engage more with this site than the one or two forums I read now and then but work and wife mean I dont get the time (thankfully).

    I say, keep it up JK!!!!!

  22. well said, its common sense isnt it.  Arsenal play with three in the middle of the park.  We would be absolutely crazy to start a quarter fit Aquilani against the athleticism, pace and movement of Arsenal.   Anyone else and I would consider it, But we have never been able to handle their brand of football.

  23. i am convinced ever since the baffler doned his track suit in the  i coach the team fiasco he has had his own agenda and not always for the good of the team

  24. Wow Jamie you bite so easily and the mere suggestion that your beloved owners are in anyway responsible for this season. Instead of paying of the debt and owners expenses Rafa  should have been able to use that cash to strengthen the squad. In regard paying 17 million for a right back as you well know most of the cash was still owing from pompey, money in ther present predicament we would probably never have seen so getting a quality player from them was excellent business

  25. Jesus........

    its like a bunch of kids arguing on here! I see valid points in both your comments but I dont wish to mention anything in fear of getting ripped to bits!

    All I will say is this, Rafa is a very good manager, but is he a great one? Definately not. He is far too cautious for my liking and the things that annoy me the most is that when we dont have the fully fit or otherwise unavailable players to suit his system, he wont change it to suit the players that we have available.

    The only saving grace is that a few teams are dopping points this season and if somehow we manage to beat the gooners on Sunday we can pull ourselves to within 10 points of Chelsea. The champions league performances lacked class and passion and it simply isnt good enough for Liverpool. I fully believe that when Rafa has his first choice 11 all available and 100 percent fit using his system, we can beat any team in the world. As for Torres, Masch, Benayoun and the usual suspects, I wouldn't swap them for the world! But as for the other clowns he has signed, once again not good enough! People can slag off the new owners all they like and i dont think they are too great myself but what I will say is that if they hadnt had that big public spat, then things wouldnt be half as bad as people make them. We are moving in the right direction off the field and Purslow seems to be doing a stirling job. Massive new shirt sponsorship deal and also the possibility af securing the worlds largest stadium sponsor which will contribute to clearing massive amounts of debt ad helping the stadium to get under way. Also the fact that they are looking for other investors to help the club move foward. I dont think thats too bad considering the financial dramas in the world today. Something good always seems to happen after the storm so lets hope Purslow keeps progressing the way he is!

    Back to Rafa, it seems to me like Rafa has plan A but no plan B. As I mentioned before, he has bought some quality players but he also bought some crap. What frustrates me is that instead of using the likes of Kelly, Pacheco, Darby, Nemeth, Eccleston, Amoo, Ayala, Mavinga. He instead choses to use old, uninspired, fee transfers simply because of there age. Would you not rather see some young talent who cant wait to get going and are cearly excited to be playing and impress every te he plays or some old greek fella who know hes here to warm the bench and isnt to fussed ether way ? Thats what annoys me the most and thats were he goes wrong I think. I would love to see those kids given a run off the bench instead of Voronin and co. 

    The transfer scenario is Rafas own doing too. He knows the budget is tight. If some one give you 10 pounds to survive for the week, what would you do ? Buy a nice meal in a restaurant or go to the market and buy some fruit and vegetables and balance the week out? Rafa has put all his eggs in one baket as far as i can see and if some of those eggs break........well you get my drift. I wont call for his head as we've got a good part of the season to go, but we have got to go out and try win that Europa cup, f.a cup ad finish as close to the top as possible for me to take him seriously. Good luck Rafa, I hope you can turn it out around mate because this crap you've shown us this season ant pretty my friend. Lets see what you really made of and prove us wrong!



  26. Arsenal's potency is in their midfield and as such we have to combat that. Aquilani needs matches to get his fitness levels but at the same time we just can't throw him into every game just to achieve that objective. The same way that players are "managed" the weekend game after a mid-week game, he has to be managed as well.

    In addtiton to being the leader of the Bash Rafa Brigade I didn't realize JK was a savant as well......"reading between the lines" just looking for an angle to try and attack the manager. Keep it up JK.......ur just as bad as the ppl u can't stand.

  27. to all comentators on this site it is pointless to try to defend Rafa. The Jamie Kuntwar chap who runs this site and therefore decides and allows or not what comments are left of deleted of part shown. It is supposed to be a site offering "critical realism" whilst the kuntwar lives in a total fanasy world where he denies the fantastic achievements rafa has made. He rants about the blindness of the pro rafa brigade whilst hypocritically being blind with his own anti Rafa group. Jamie Kuntwar is a Wank*r is a Wank*r and so on and so forth. Great comments from Fraggs.

  28. Why would we play Aquilani in a game we must win?  Because we must win!  Question asked; question answered!  Surely in a must win game you play your best XI?  Is Aquilani not part of our best XI?  is that not why he was bought?  With Lucas in the team we've lost 9 games this season.  Can Aquilani do any worse?!

    Our league season is in the toilet at the moment; our league form has been crap.  Something needs to change.  Aquilani is fit raring to go.  Arsenal play football; they don't hack like Blackburn/Bolton et al, so it's an ideal game for him to play.

    Plus we're at HOME!  Why should we fear Arsenal?!

    I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone or something.  Things have gotten so bad under Benitez that people are actually questioning whether we should play our most attacking line up at HOME?  It's mind-boggling.  And the reasoning? Aquilani is not 100% match fit?!  Well neither was Gerrard in the last three games; nor was Agger in his first couple of games back, but they still played.

    This is how far Liverpool have fallen - the fanbase is willing to continue accepting mediocrity because the manager says so. 

    We've lost 9 games and drawn 4 with either Lucas/Masch or both playing; now, 4 months after signing, we have a player who could potentially unlock tight defences and offer something DIFFERENT, and fans are adopting Benitez's cautious stance and suggesting that Aquilani should sit the the game out because he's not 100% fit ann blah blah blah.

    *head explodes*

    Sometimes you have to gamble!  Sometimes you have to take a risk. Sometimes you have to throw the playbook out the window and just go for it.

    The way some of you are going on you make it sound like Aquilani's presence would actually be detrimental to the team. 

    Lucas and Masch is non-starter.  Irrespective of their individual merits are players, that partnership lacks pace, passing range, creativity and anything resembling a positive, progressive, playmaking approacj.  Watching the games this season and looking at the results is ample proof of that.

    Start Aquilani.  If he tires, sub him off, but at least start with your best possible creative team and then go for the throat.

    Get the goals THEN defend the lead. 

    Don't defend the draw THEN go for the goals when it's too late.

  29. Hi Byrne - thanks for your comments.  I hope one day you get the time to post your views :) Cheers.

  30. Guest - change the record.  Expenses have nothing to do with anything.  Every owner of ever football club has an expense account.  it is standard practice.  Why do you use it against them without justification?  What have they done wrong? Neither Hicks nor Gillett derive any financial benefit from the club;  all they claim for is expenses, which since they own the club, they have every right to do.

    Benitez had money to spend.  He bought Aquilani, Johnson, Kyrgiacos etc. He's had money every season, but he's spent it unwisely. No one forced him to pay 8m for Dossena, did they?  or 11m on babel.  or 7m on Riera; 20m on Keane etc.  if that money had been spent properly in the first place perhaps our squad wouldn't be so poor.

    People talk about the money fro Keane not being reinvested - well, Benitez had the 20m in the first place, didn't he?!  Does that not mean anything.  Then, after spending that money, he got rid of the player after 6 months.

    From an ownership perspective, was that a good use of money?  Would you further trust someone who wasted money like that?

    And it is a waste of money.  According to Liverpool's annual report for 2008, the club only received 12.8 back from Spirs.  Straight away, that is a loss of 8m, not to mention 6 months of wages, agents fees, signing on fee etc.

    The club *may* receive extra money in the future, but that all depends on how many games Keane plays for Spours.

    The key point is this: if benitez had spent 20m on the right player, we'd *still* have that player now, and that player might have been a match-winner, and may have had some impact this season and last.

    The only reason Keane needed to be replaced in the first place is because Benitez made the mistake signing him, then mistreating him for 6 months.

  31. jamie, as usual great stuff. i appologize for all the utter dickheads you have to put up with, like the last idiot? christ on a bike dont any of you want to WIN? what the fuck is going on here? you stupid fools follow benetiz to the coke league if you want, but guess what? you'll be crying in yur milk cause benny will off to spain.
    the team has looked and played crap all season, any dickwad want to deny that?NO, so shut up! defend the defendable, when benney DOES turn it around, then slag off his detractors, but until the "new start" has arrived benny should and will be critisised for the worst EVER liverpool season, or should we blame jamie for it?!

  32. Jk, normally I agree with you, but I have to say I have concerns about starting AA. It isn't because of the "Match"fit issue, but rather his tendency to play up the pitch too far. My concern is, as stated on this website a number of days ago, is his tendency -based on the Fiorentina game - not to track back. I think Fiorentina's counter is not as devastating as Arsenal's. I watched in horror as Insua pinched in to help Javi hold the midfield and believe this may be our undoing.  Sometimes the best XI for a team may not be the best XI against a certain opponent. For example Sami H. would be a horrible person to mark Rooney, but is a good choice against Drogba and Crouch. That being said I think Lucas ( I can't believe I am typing this - I may vomit)  should start over AA .

  33. 'Throw him' into the game?  In case you hadn't noiticed, Aquilani is an EXPERIENCED PROFESSIONAL. He can handle it.  he is not some 17 year old who'll fold under the pressure.  He has the ability and the mentality to do well, and if he doesn't, then why did we buy him in the first place?

    You're another one adopting Benitez's ultra cautious approach, the same approach that clearly frustrates the hell out of Aquilani.  Why are people overstating the importance of match-fitness?!  People are making it out to be *the * most important thing on earth. as if the whole team will suffer if Aquilani plays.

    A big deal is being made of match-fitness because it is the one thing the Rafa apologists have to cling onto when defending benitez against those who believe Aquilani should start.  So they blow it out of all proportion, and ascribe to it a level of importance that just isn't there.

    if Aquilani was fit to start against Fiorentina, he is fit to start against Arsenal.

    Let's compare and contrast here for a minute:

    Gerrard: Injured against Lyon on 20th October.  19 days later, he plays 45 minutes against Birmingham, a game for which he is clearly not 100% match-fit.

    The next game is a very important match against Manchester City.  Despite not being 100%, what happens?


    he then starts the next 4 games after that.

    Now - what is the difference with Aquilani?!

    There is none.  He 's been injured; he already played against Arsenal a month ago; he's been fit for a month; he played against Fiorentina. The next game is against Arsenal, which like the Man Cit game, is crucial.  Like Gerrard, Aquilani should start.  It's the same situation, but curiously, the fan response is different.

    Gerrard played because he's an important player.

    Aquilani is potentially an important player for Liverpool, and he offers more goal threat than Lucas or Masch.

    He needs to start.

  34. The debt had nothing to do with him alienating Alonso and creating the situation where he wanted to leave
    ====================actually, you could say it did, as if the funds were there i imagine he wouldve bought barry and kept alonso, rather than needing to sell alonso to fund barry's purchase.
    Similarly, it had nothing to with Liverpool finishing on 86 points lat year.======================maybe it didnt....or maybe the inability to get barry last year, or some other transfer target that may have been missed, is the reason why we ONLY got 86 points last year.
    and whether it did or did not, it probably does have something to do with why we didn't really strengthen everywhere we needed to in the summer

  35. The only saving grace is that a few teams are dopping points this season
    =====================this is sometihng that has been bothering me for some time....

    why is it abominable that we are dropping points, when EVERYONE AROUND US is doing so as well?
    maybe it's not because rafa and the players are shite, and the other teams are unlucky, but because the standard across the league has improved??
    people are dumping on this player and that, the manager, the owners,other fans for not supporting, for supporting too much, and the lot of them dont seem to realise that everyone will drop points throughout the season....
    its not like we're getting trounced every game ala derby in '06...
    and we've not had the world's best striker (arguably) the world's best midfielder, a potentially world class attacking midfielder, or a settled defense.....
    we've just experienced our worst run in living memory (just about), yet we can embarassingly fluke a win tomorrow and we would be in the doorway of the CL spots and within arms' reach of the prem.....
    you know that whole "golden sky" and "silver song of a lark" bit we go on abotu twice on sundays? i think i'm beginning to see and hear it....
    am i honestly the only one doing so??

  36. I can see the argument for Lucas starting, and the playing further up the pitch issue too.  One thing that puzzles me about that though is this: if playing Aquilani is a problem because of tracking back/playing too high up the field, then why did Benitez sign him in the first place?  If having the player means the team is going to be weakend in these areas, then Aquilani really is a waste of money.

    I was under the impression that Aquilani was isgned precisely *because* he has a tendency to play higher up the field.  If he's going to be dropped every time we come up against a team with effectivfe counter-attacking ability, then I really don't see the point of having the player.

    Oh how I *hate* this modern tactical phenomenon of playing two holding midfielders.  I cannot stand it, and I can't wait until we have a manager who doesn't play so safely when we're at home.

  37. To be fair, there are few teams that control the ball more proficiently than us - in the EPL. Against the top teams, even with Lucas (oh, how I dislike typing his name) we generally hold our own or dominate the possession; however, against Arsenal, that isn't the case.
    To answer you question as to why we decided to buy AA, I really don't know. To be honest, I was really, really surprised when I heard that we were chasing him because I thought he doesn't sound like a player Benitez would chase. His natural tendency is in a more advanced position. Even Alonso who can open a backline with his passes lines up defensively, so I don't know.  Perhaps he planned on moving Gerrard to the midfield and have AA drop in his space. Who knows??? When you heard, and for all of the negative comments towards you I still believe you love the team and want the best, what was your impression about Benitez chasing AA? I just couldn't figure it out. I even thought that he was thinking of putting Gerrard on the right, but then why buy Johnson - he spends more time next to Koyt than Carra/Skrtel/Agger. Any ideas?

  38. As I wait anxiously for your response, the more I think about it, the more out of character it is for Benitez to chase a player like him. Outside of buying strikers, which should be offensive minded, can anyone think of a player Benitez has chased that was offensive-minded?

  39. Am I the only one who is a little worried about Aquilani making the grade?

    Some good touches in the Carling Cup but a far from impressive game against Fiorentina. Add to that the 8 goals in 5 years for Roma and the fact that Seria A is much slower and I begin to cross my fingers...............

    But he is wearing the red shirt now so I have faith that he will improve and allay my fears. Maybe not against Arsenal though. There are easier games to finish your first 90 mins on your way back to form.


  40. Apparently Gerrard will play deeper and Aquaman more advanced if you read some articles on te web.

  41. oh and why was my post edited????? That was the first and last time i will visit your page my friend. I wasnt rude at all. Freedom of speech, logical debate ?????? You let other people swear but i cant jokingly say some peopleare actin a bit like scool kids????  I would love to respond that poor form but i'm way too classy for that mate.

    1st and last..............


  42. I don't get that? A healthy Gerrard -maybe, because I think his interplay with Torres is amazing. But an obvious wounded Gerrard? I don't get that. Gerrard will be expected to push forward, which is his natural tendency in recent years, then have him track all the way back?  I don't see Benitez taking the chance, it isn't in his nature.

  43. least jamie wants liverpool to play positively.i thought aquilani played positively against florentina and showed some classy touches and he will mix well with gerrard and torres.how can ppl say that aquilani will not be strong enough against arsenal when lucas can get blown over by a gust of wind.my team againt arsenal would be reina johnson carragher aurelio dossena benayoun gerrard aquilani rierra torres and babel if they are all fit.now that team would scare anyone.i wouldnt start with either masch or lucas

  44. Oh here I am again, commenting on jamie's comment. Haha

    To all of you a**wipe out there, don't you all wanna win??? Don't you??? We are seventh !!!! for god sake 7th !!! WHY MUST WE PLAY WITH TWO DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER!! we must attack arsenal all the way. we know they have problems with therir frailty defence, so why on earth must we play DFEFENSIVELY??

    God damn all of you "IRWT" brigade or Rafa Can do No wrong suckers!! Pardon my language jamie, but all of them can go to hell! or maybe they already too fat choking on COKE,they prefer LIVIE to play in COKE LEAGUE!

    Wake up!! I'm a KOP & Liverpudlian myself...I love Liverpool to the bone. But just because I Love Livie doesn't mean I have to blindly agree with all the wrongdoings of BENITEZ!! All of you still remember HOULLIER right? In one season, we won 5 cups! FA CUP, LEAGUE CUP, UEFA CUP, SUPER CUP, CHARITY SHIELD. And with Benitez? We won CHAMPIONS LEAGUE in ISTANBUL with 80% of HOULLIER'S MAN!

    And stop saying,commenting that Rafa doesn't have funding...F**K that! with Alonso, he mistreated him and wanna sell him to JUVE. Then Alonso f**k him by leaving to REAL...good riddance.

    F**K we must play AA today! We must!!!!!! so we have attacking chances. Some of you hell-ridden supporters of SPANISH GOATEE will say that, AA not fit,or don't have enough fitness, so LUCAS is better. WHAT? is LUCAS attacking chances? F**K NO!

    I still couldn't understand why oh why we keep playing cautiously. We are Liverpool for god sake! we are the KING of ENGLAND! but we are playing so timidly like KING ARTHUR without a sword.

    I'm so sick and tired after watching BLACKBURN game. The game that we supposed to win. OKAY, we draw that game, but we play LIKE CRAP (borrow your word Jamie). Blackburn attack us, and Evertoney attack us (luckily we won with 2 lucky goals. YES I SAID IT. BOTH GOAL WERE LUCKY GOAL).

    I watched MANURE game vs ASTON. YES MANURE lost (thank god) but they attack aston all the way. it's like villa have to park the bus in front of the goal! THEY ATTACK and never stop trying. BUT US?? waiting for the counter attack with KUYT??? HAHAHAHAHA!!

    Shit! AA must start today so we can attack ARSE nal. HE MUST..drop either Masch or Lucas...and hell I prefer to DROP LUCAS..

    Jamie, I agreed with you this time. Great comment. Benitez can do ALL wrong.

    signing off.

  45. Dive, dive, dive... rooney dived again and booked :-P

  46. Yet again, Rafa *revealed* how he was asked to manage the club's debt and how it was affecting the team's performance... What hogwash! His policies are cringe-worthy to say the least.

    A friend of mine (Barca-fan) has an absolute go at Rafa and Liverpool's style of play and I have nothing to counter it with, cos he is absolutely right! We are drab to watch, play with 2-holding midfielders, one of them wants away, the other can't hack it... Our main *strike* force (in absence of Torres) is Ngog, Voronin and Kuyt (Babel is never played for some reason)... Rafa buys a midfielder who is still not allowed to play even when he is explicitly saying he wants to (as Jaimie says, he is a 25-yr old professional, I am sure he'll pick up things as he plays.. no need to protect him to this extent!)...

    I think I see a pattern here... all the big money signings Keane, Babel and now Aquilani will be snubbed for the *stability* that Lucas+Mascherano+Kuyt provide... we are being reduced to a laughing stock!

    Yesterday I saw Aston Villa play at Old Trafford and come away with a deserved win... Such positive play! and Martin O'Neill is astute in the transfer market too, we were linked with Milner and Downing, but Rafa bought some Dossena and on the right flank we have the ever-creative Kuyt! It'd certainly have been a better team with Milner, Downing and Keane... of course that's not Rafa's way!

    I always say, the results are less important than the fashion in which we get them... In the el grand classico, recently, when Barca were down to 10-men, they still played with 3 up-front... will Benitez ever have the courage to do something like that? Of course not... that's why he will never be able to hack it at a club like Barca or Real where the fans are not so tolerant of nonsense... Rafa is smart, he is staying at Liverpool and milking it for all its worth.

  47. "All that will be on Rafa's mind is whats best for the team to win the game" ??? Get real willya... Look where he's got us this season by thinkin that way. Rafa: "Draws are better than losses if yer not able to win". That's what he's been thinking. So much that he's totally foregone the option that if you play good counter-attacking football, you might win. But instead, its 'safety-first'.

  48. Great comment A Red.

    Liverpool has become a COWARD TEAM!! afraid to attack, afraid to go forward, afraid to play 2 strikers, afraid to play with 1 holding midfielder, afraid to admit that KUYT nod good enough to play as winger, afraid to admit that the cup that we have the ONLY chance to win is TOILET BOWL.

    We are improving each day?? Progressing?? F**K THAT! last season we had 86 points, and this season we become the laughing stock at seventh place (better ask RAFA to work in 7-11 as a manager) and how can all the "IRWT" brigade a*sehole can claim that we're progressing?? HOW? WHERE? F**K off you CU*T (sorry Jamie, just cannot hold it anymore)

    Today what I reaaaaally hope to see playing is
    Carra                  Skrtel                      Agger          Insua

    Johnson               Masch                                  Benayoun*                                 

    mark the star* because there's no Riera or Babbel today. And Pleeeeaaassseee no KUYT as winger please, please oh god please.

    Carra can certainly play as RB with Johnson as wing / RM. Benny of course play at the left because he love to CUT IN and try to shoot, or pass to Aquilani or Gerrard to shoot. Or even Benny can try to use his creativity to pass to Torres. With this Line Up, WENGER will know that we mean BUSINESS and we will fight to the end!!

    Ooopss I forgot! Rafa will surely play KUYT & LUCAS and AURELIO as LEFT WING. AND THE RESULT?? OVER-CAUTIOUS PLAY and another draw like against BALCKBURN. and worse, arshavin & Fabregas will score on us.

    You Will Never Walk Alone. Yeah right. Walking to the COKE LEAGUE...

    Signing off. Thanx Jamie

  49. Did you watch Villa yesterday? They had Milner and Petrov in midfield at Old Trafford. Not even a defensive midfielder on site. Not also to forget they played 2 strikers with attacking wingers. 1 defensive midfielder is enough but knowing Rafa he will have 4:


  50. Wackozacho, Carra is a class central defender but a rubbish right back. Johnson was bought as a RB so lets keep him there.

  51. so in an important match against arsenal, you'd start with 2 full backs without much pace, and a centre back who is short on form and who has been struggling at set pieces? not to mention playing a right back out of position for the first time at the club, in a position he hardly set the world alight at his last club.

    glad you're not in charge.

  52. kuyt is a defensive midfielder?

  53. What if Rafa puts Aquilani in the first team and it backfires; Liverpool loses and drops further down the table and then the no.4 becomes the scapegoat, and who eventually is to blame? - Rafa. Not only that, Aquilani's confidence might go south if results don't go our way in the next few games.

    Sooner or later, the papers will read - "Latest Rafa signing, Aquilani has become the latest victim to suffer at the gaffer's hands."

    Obviouly everyone wants him to succeed at Liverpool, but personally, I don't really think it is the right game to put him in. I will still pick Lucas in the first team ahead of him, for now. That man has not really settled into the team and to play him against Arsenal, who is one of the best team in terms of passing will not be a good idea I'll say.

    But will the no.4 make an impact if he were to start? I wouldn't bet against it.

  54. He is a defensive minded winger whose game is based on tracking back and working hard. He should be playing as a striker only but Rafa has converted him in to a negative player. He doesnt have the quality to be a winger. This is not a Dirk bash because I believe he should be upfront with Torres.

  55. This is a prime example of how Rafa influences the fans with his negative thoughts.

    What if Aqua plays a blinder and scores and sets up a goal as well as outpassing Cesc? People will get of his and Rafas back. But instead we have fans who just worry when we have a home game against a injury hit Arsenal with a dodgy defense.

  56. Yes.  He is a midfielder who spends most of his time defending and tracking back instead of scoring/creating goals.  1 goal and 1 assist in almost 23 hours of football is ample proof of this.

  57. This reply just sums up Rafa lovers and why Liverpool are in the state tehy ar in. Lucas IS awful. Where has he improved??? Please tell me and don't point to one game Man U and say this is it. He's consistently average and you saying Lucas is o.k and this justifies playing him says it all. He's O.K!!!! o.k ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH. Wake up we want to challenge not just be O.K. And yes Rafa picks the teams and he's made a mess of it this season. We ARE average and with the likes of Lucas and Kuyt , Reira, Insua, Agger, Skyrtle, etc, we'll stay average. These are his palyers not Hicks and Gillette's who are awful owners but Rafa bought them. We don't ahve the money of Man U and Chelsea, so what get on with it and do the best with what we have but after 5 years he has spent buckets and should have a better squad than h has, again Rafa's fault!! This man is out of ideas, he's been blessed with Gerrard and Torres bailing him out aslo with having Hamman in the 05 CL final saving us (forced substitution) and Stevie in the F.A Cup. We are actually going backwards at the moment and what happens, he sticks to his stubborn ways and plays 2 defensive midfielders. The Anti RAFA fans out there, if this is what you want to call us will eventually be proved right. We want LIVERPOOL to succeed whether that had been Rafa or not. We don't want Liverpool to fail but we can see that with Rafa we are on a one way course to midtable life. Wakae up Rafa fans, this man is NOT the real deal.

  58. AA is clearly fit, no doubt about that..and even half fit AA is clearly better than fully fit LUCAS.I think Gerrard could see it when he commented after the Fiorentina game.LUCAS is so average he cant even start for Fulham,Everton,Stoke let alone Aston Villa or Man City.

  59. Jamie,
    Im am turning into a fan of many of your views, Aquilani must get playing time, were losing on a regular basis if the time to change something isnt now than when ? And i am beginning to think if he doesnt start making changes (like waking up to some of the average players he starts, negative tactics, and stupid buys) then maybe its time for him to move back to spain

  60. team news in..oh look suprise suprise....reina--johnson--carragher--agger---aurelio--mascherano--lucas--kuyt--benayoun--gerrard---torres

    aquilani on bench and lucas masch and kuyt start

    too defensive

  61. Hi Antoine - My first impression when Benitez was chasing Aquilani was: Don't buy him; he has a terrible injury history and he will not be fit to start the season.  And like you, I was puzzled because he a more offensive player than the type Benitez usually goes for. 

    As we saw with Alonso (and now with Lucas), Benitez turns creative minded-players into defensive-minded players.  between 2005 and 2008, Benitez tried to turn Alonso into a defensive-mid; he crutailed his natural game, and instea dof seeing Alonso's extensive range of passing, we got used to seeing him tackle and track back.

    The same is happening with Lucas.  In Brazil, he was known as a creative player; now, after the impact of Benitez, Lucas's games is 100% more defensive.  He might not be a DM per se, but he plays like one.

    This is one of my worries with Aquilani - given the fact he does like to play higher up the field, i fear that Benitez will snuff out his creative instincts and force him to play like Lucas. Alternatively, if Aquilani does not track back as much as Benitez wants, he will end up being regularly on the bench as a result, and other players who do what Benitez wants (i.e. defend first; attack if you get the chance) will be preferred.

    Re your point about offensive players Benitez has gone after - there are a few (Pennant, Babel, Bellamy etc) but they have also been choked of their creative instinct, with Benitez demanding too much from them defensively.  He wants all offensive players to be like Dirk Kuyt: running 50 miles a game, chasing everything, defending everything.  This is the wrong approach, and it just stifles creativity.

    Truly creative players never thrive under Benitez.  Look at Benayoun; look at how he has struggled to become a first team regular, despite his significant creative contributions.

    The only creative players who have thrived are Gerrard and Torres, and their ability has nothing to do with Benitez. They are just top class players, and whoever is/was in charge of the club, they would've performed well.

  62. Having just watched us depressingly lose to arsenal and waiting and waiting for Aquilani to finally come on, i have come to the realisation that Rafa isnt the man to lead us forward. Hes had his moment. Its over for him. the way he dissed Alonso and made him leave was the straw that broke the camels back. He is too negative in his team selections for me. I wanted to see Aquilani and Ngog start this game. Why cant we just play our most exciting players? Is that too much to ask? Arsenal were poor today but they were value for their win ! So what does that say about us? I am honestly wondering if we could get relegated this year. I know ! Its amazing isnt it? But lets be honest , you can see it happening the way our luck has been going this season ON TOP OF having a manager who has very limited man management skills and a stubborn streak as wide as the river Nile !!! God help us. Mourinho is looking like a great option now. Wigan is suddenly seeming like a BIG GAME. Just let that sink in for a minute. Yup . WIgan !!!!! I know its an Aqualani thread and i have covered a few points in this post but i feel that the Aqualani situation is a microcosm of all that is wrong with us right now. We have the players but we have NO inspiration when we have a manager who wont play an attacking team or make positive OR EARLY substitutions and who can spend MILLIONS on players that the are then NOT PLAYED !! Stay strong Redmen. This is the LOW POINT.

  63. Lucas is garbage. I would rather play plessis over him. He has bought a load of shite. The only good players he has bought have been from spain I dnt think he knows how to spot a good player out of La Liga he has good tactics but his transfer policy is absolutely shocking.

  64. JK, Did you notice Xabi at the game? It is clear to me that he never wanted out!! He played an important game against Valencia and ran his socks off, the next morning he charters a jet to come watch LFC. You can see in his eyes that he wanted to stay.
    What other player who put in a transfer request spends a wad to come back to watch a team you wanted out of? Rafa mismanaged him and is to blame for his departure.
    When will the excuses stop? I can hear people argue that the ref was to blame for not giving the penalty, but when will people learn. To be a champion you shouldn't let the ref be a difference in the game. You should go out beat the team and make the ref a non-factor.
    I think it is time LFC lines up some possible managers. I think that we need to finish in the top four just to have access to that money in CL. Guus H should be available.

  65. Aquilani was terrible again. Terrible.

    "I am the passenger
    And I ride and I ride"

    Just putting that out there for all the 'Rafa should've played him earlier in more important games' critics.

  66. how would you feel if you got brought on losing 2-1 with just over 20 mins to go.not very appetising is it.and it shown how negative rafa is as usual sitting on a 1-0 lead in the second half and it happens all the time.

  67. how can you say that after he gets 20 mins ?????

    you can't judge the player until he gets a run of games a la Kuyt "the undroppable"

  68. well he came on as a sub and they lost again, no hope for this season

  69. rafa needs to go,how does lucas  and kuyt always get on to the team sheet first????????????????they are shit,why does rafa always pass the buck and never takes the blame???????????why do we only have 1 world class stricker?????????????why has rafa bought so many bad players????????why sell alonso and get a injured player who cant play for months?????????why buy players then play them all out of position e.g kuyt is not a winger,lucas is not a defensive midfielder,babel is not a winger???????why is our youth team players rarley getting a chance????????why with all the money we have spent we have not won anything in FIVE years???????why are certain fan blinded buy rafa bull shit?????????????????????????????
    even the most loyal of rafa fans must now realise his time is up before fans start loosing the faith for good.we are moving backwards.

  70. welll said guest..couldnt say it better myself

  71. im 14 and i think the best formation is this


                          Carragher     Scrtel     Agger          

       G.Johnson                                                  Aurelio         



    this will inable us to have a stong defence, plus you can't argue that glen and aurelio can both attack and defend.

    if we need any width gerrard can move to the left or right and so can benayoun.

  72. Hey there.  Thanks for your comments :)

    I agree with you - that's a decent line-up. I wouldn't mind that being used once to see if it would work, if even for a 45 minute spell whiulst we're leading 2-0 or something. Also agree with you about Benny playing in the hole - that is his ideal position, and I wouldn't hesitate to play Gerrard a little deeper.

  73. Why blame Rafa when it's EXACTLY the same 11 players whom started both halves?
    Why not blame Torres for not scoring when he had an open chance?
    Why not blame the ref for not giving us a penalty when Gallas brought our captain down?
    Why not blame our players for their poor finishings.
    I think Rafa got his team selection spot on in fact. We dominated the first half and it is because we couldn't put another ball into their net in the same period and that resulted in the drop of confidence in the players.
    I totally agree with his substitutions in the second half.
    If there is anything to blame, I'll say the players. They played so well and got every 50-50 balls in the first half and that's it. But that is also where the problem lies; they huffed and puffed and their stamina couldn't last another 45min. That IS the problem.

  74. Lucas and benitez are pure bad well said jer defo play aqualani tho why isnt he what reason is there not to !!!!

  75. Never better said. You manage, you buy, you sell...Thus you must take responsibilities.

    LFC is playing awful, the players don't seem to want to do it for Rafa and we are slipping to mediocracy

    Taxi for RAfa

  76. I'd love to see Aqualani return to Anfield in January - there is a lot of talk of him being called back early!

    12ft trampolines