Sunday, October 22, 2006

We Are Not Good Enough

English Premiership

Man. Utd 2 - 0 LIVERPOOL

MANU - Scholes (39min), Ferdinand (68min);

It's depressing to watch. And it's even more depressing and painful to type this post. I'm typing this with a heavy heart and all I can say is we need to stop deluding ourselves and take a good look at the team we love. We are not good enough and we're terrible. Just terrible. Where was the passion, where were the players and where was the Liverpool spirit. Everything gone up the smoke, the title, the confidence and the morale. It's even more painful that this last blow was struck by none other than Man U, our biggest arch rival. It was a killing blow and be honest with you, we will be struggling to get the 4th spot come end of season.

I don't really know where to start off because we're just terrible from front to back. There isn't even a single positive I can harness out of a completely inept Liverpool performance and all we can hope and pray is that we will take this harsh lesson and learn from it. But have we learnt ANYTHING after the 3-0 defeat to Everton and 1-0 to Chelsea? Players preached week in week out we need to improve but have we? Seriously, at least that 4-1 defeat to Chelsea last season was more bearable to watch because the players put in effort while we saw absolutely f*ck all from this bunch today.

We settled down well early in the game but the new Man Utd team is a completly different one from those of the previous few seasons. They showed much hunger and determination, winning lots of second ball and attacked with pace and tenacity while Liverpool sloppily passed the ball around and then surrendering possesion. Kuyt was never in the game because there wasn't support from anyone.

The defining moment came when Mark Gonzalez found Dirk Kuyt at the back post, unmarked. But I'm sure every Liverpool fans went 'as usual, b*llocks' seeing Kuyt heading the ball straight into the hands of van der Sar. It's becoming a serious problem when we had the chance to score but failed to put it away. We were not clinical and it's really a serious problem.

From that moment on it was all one way traffic till the final whistle, with United strolling in their own ground without any troubles from the Liverpool front line. They passed the ball well, kept the ball well and found lots of spaces. It was not long before they punish the sorry Liverpool defence, who were leaking goals left right and centre for most part of this seaso. Bordeaux didn't score because they're pretty crap at finishing just like us.

The Paul Scholes goal reminded me of the defence you faced when playing against an amateur opponent on FIFA 07. Paul Scholes left totally unmarked right in the middle of the penalty box without anyone picking him up and leaving a player of his calibre there is suicidal. He scored and you can sense there is no way back for the demoralised Liverpool team.

There was no fighting spirit from anyone of the players, from Gerrard to Reina. Everyone looked a shadow of their former self and is it any wonder they are chasing the United shadows as well. There was no passion and drive from anyone and nobody put up a performance worthy of more than a 6/10. It's like watching 11 empty shells running around with no sense or purpose, lacked ideas and imaginations. Nevermind about creating chances, we can't even defend.

Rio Ferdinand once again killed the game off with a wonderful strike. Don't take the credit away from him, but yet again, terrible defending. Where was Riise when Ferdinand was lurking at the back post? No one was around and everyone ball watching.

From then on you'll expect a normal side to at least kick into gear and try some luck. But the morale sapping second goal seemed to have K.Oed Liverpool for good and they're just walking around playing the time out. It was the longest 20 minutes in my life and I couldn't bare to continue watching Alonso/Gerrard misplacing a pass or Garcia trying to do one of his fanciful tricks that fooled nobody but his fellow team mates.

What's the problem now? I can't tell, because it looked like the problems have snowballed into one giant one and it's rolling down the ice mountain, gathering pace. Even as an optimist, I must speak with some objectiveness and I will announced that we're not okay and we're in a crisis. Don't call it a knee jerk reaction, but that's the truth and it's staring us in the face. 11th place and trailing United 11 points and only less than a quater of the season gone? It's embarassing.

We can find lots of excuses like players being off form and such. One of the major contribution will have to be our fixture list, which has been terribly unkind to us. As I've said in pre-season, we have a tough run in ALL the way till Christmas. Oh god and we're only half way there. It's a rocky start and it looked like the Liverpool wagon's wheels had fell off and it's struggling to even move on.

And what else can we hope for? There's always a light at the end of the tunnel. But I fear this tunnel will be a long one and I hope all you Liverpool fans can continue to endure this, for we have endured this for the last however long. It's really sad to say all this because we're sort of the long suffering fans who had seen some glimpse of hope here and there, but still got the disappointment every single season without fail. We delude ourselves into thinking 'this is our year', but we get disappointed every time. But what can we do? Hope for the best I guess..

Now it's really up to Rafa to really figure this out and to get his squad back on their feet. We cannot afford to lose all the motivation and drive by October and then crawling our way to the finish line. Finishing 4th this season must now be THE priority no matter what they say about us still having a chance. We have to be realistic and 4th is the best we can hope for, sadly.

About United Then....

You guys were brilliant. It pains me to say this, but it's a fact and we can't hide. We got outclassed and outplayed in every singe aspect of the game. Even if we have the better midfielders, we failed to dominate and well done to you, Red Devils. My money are on you for the title because there's one important thing I see in you. The hunger and drive that makes players like Giggs and Solksjaer to look world class even though they're almost over the hill. We can't predict the future, but it's all looking good for the Red Devils...


Hafiz said...

It was not the lost that really disappoints me, but the manner we lost it. The team didn't even look like they were playing football. There were no passion in the players, well not all, but most. The travelling fans looked much more passionate and they didn't deserve this.

RedsMan said...

Where do I start on this? I have Man Utd 'fans', gloating on our site and it hurts. I think this equates to the pain I felt last season after the home game against Chelsea when we came back to level and then gave away three goals. At the time I felt promising that we would humble Chelsea. This time it is, as the previous comment said, the manner in which we were defeated. 2-0 is 2-0 still, and it was frustrating against Bolton but we at least made an effort then and we done by a stupid linesman error that cannot be restituted. This time we played 4-5-1 back again, therefore no confidence in a 4-man midfield against Utd. Crouch did not start even after his goal in midweek, Bellamy HAD to be injured and Rafa took off Gonzalez who looked the most determined to take on the defence. It's a pity he is new as Gonzalez has the pace to trouble, just need sharper ball control.

Our defending can be analysed at the goals. As the ball was spread to our right, Sissoko came out of the defence line, then Hyypia came out, presumably for an offside trap but Scholes was played on. Hyypai should have sensed Scholes in front fo him but didn't, Scholes steals in for the cross unmarked. It was bad luck for his first effort to go further instead of off Reina for a corner or to a LFC player. For the second goal Giggs crossed, it came off a United player it should never have reached, Carragher didn't tidy but instead hashed with his left foot, it went to Ferdinand who easily dummied Riise and then was lucky for his left foot to hit the ball so well.

I don't know why but it is as if we are cursed. Our defence has gone so awry it is baffling as to what they must be thinking during the match. Carragher is not so stalwart, Hyypia's pace is always exposed, and the defence line is constantly switching off and not picking up on those moving around them. And up front we are struggling, yet again, to score, something which I think is down to terrible practice. Most of our efforts are rushed, ball control is used against a ball that is passed faster than necessary and such control is lacking. Passing is questionable, and the general resolve of the squad is concerning. At the crux of it is my opinion that RB is not confronting his players' unhappiness, something which I feel stems from irregular appearances.

The rotation is not working now and it is time to secure a regular XI, with Gerrard IN central midfield. This has been our forte last season and the skipper was far better there and anywhere else. I still feel Pennant can come good for us perhaps with regular appearances, we bought him for the right so let's use him. If Aurelio is good with shots and set-pieces and a good passer, let him go on at LW or Gonzalez. But I now call for a regular XI instead of rotation because we now need to secure a system to get us points.


SoccerGuy said...

Erm... what can I say? I must say you are extremely kind in your words, praising Man U and all that. For that I should thank you a million. ;)

In any case Liverpool did fight well, not necessarily in the Man U game though. Perhaps Rafa has something else in mind? Still I'll like to point out that maybe it's time for Rafa to stop the squad rotation game. Give players (like Crouch) who deserve to start. That way Liverpool will be improving in no time.


fiz: Completely agree with your point.

redsman: thanks for your always lengthy contribution on here. I think it's difficult for us to actually anaylse everything just by watching the game. i don't know what's really going on but it seemed like a lot of various issues combining into one and the snowball effect seemed to have started all the way from that 1-1 draw with Sheffield.

Soccerguy: Hey man congrats on the win. I always give credits to anyone who deserves it and I'm not bitter actually. I'll have to agree with that i think. It's going a bit too far. Thanks matey ;)

RedsMan said...

Soccerguy, hadnt realised you tuned into here but nonetheless credit is deserved where it is due. We were poor and Utd were sharp. I actually feared we would be facing Ronaldo because from our form recently I couldn't pick one person I would like to mark him. I call it as I see it, and I usually see it as it is or was.

For Liverpool, currently we get into positions that others would do better in. We make the effort to create and then break down, or we create and then execute with less sharpness than needed. Even if we were to test the keeper we would be better off for then we would have an idea of how the keeper is.

I am 110% behind Rafa and have had to defend him against his own so-called 'fans', not a majority but a minority enough to take notice of. The team in the league in Chelsea and we played better against them than against Everton and Bolton. When you analyse the play, much less the scores, in our defeats, they combine to let off neon lights that something is not right with the team and Rafa HAS to look at it and establish what it is and how to be rid of it, like a cancer.

Gerrard has to remain in centre, it seemed ludicrous at first to even think but it came off. Now he has to revert because he is clearly happier there. That is at the expense of either Sissoko or Alonso but clearly one of them has to be sacrificed. Establish who is on the right, either Garcia or Pennant, both of whom have to prove themselves now more than ever. On the left decide what we need from that player and find that player out of Aurelio, Riise, Gonzalez, Zenden. I prefer Riise at left-back and not Aurelio, the Brazilian's defending has to improve vastly. Instead it is either Aurelio or Gonzalez on the left, and right now I would have Aurelio, Gonzalez has something that we could do with 60-65mins into a game. Upfront the impressions are for me Kuyt and Crouch and I feel sorry for Bellamy because our midfield has created little to nothing for him to run onto and deal with.

I would wager on none of these dissenting voices having the guts to sit in Rafa's position and implement their ideas into the team. Would I? If I have to I would, for if so I would speak with the players in detail, together. We have to analyse what happened, why, and what can we do about it. The honeymoon of the past two seasons were nice but we now want to improve on the league. If we do that, we should improve as a cup side too, it's not the other way round.

As you said, Drogballs, it started from Sheff Utd and has continued. I don't think even neutral fans could explain why this has happened. We usually have Everton home or away but we wiped off the pitch. And we are not scoring. One or two players need to wake up, maybe more. There could be some disillusion as to their requirement on the pitch, for the club.