Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Time To Be Consistent

Like after someone's death, there's a autopsy report, I'll be doing the post mortem report for that disastrous day out at the Emirates Stadium. The loss means we're mathematically out of the title race (said few weeks back, saying it again) and even the 2nd and 3rd placing will be quite a struggle.

The loss also hit the fans with the truth that we're quite far off in terms of the squad standard and general consistency in the league. Our strength in depth is better than most of the teams, but having a lot of players means a lot of possibilities and it might not neccessary be a good thing at all.

People start asking questions as to what is happening to Liverpool, who are dubbed as the team to challenge Chelsea and have the most chance of winning the league other than Chelsea. Of course there are a whole lot of so called 'excuses' that we can use like 'the yellow jersey's making the players blind' and 'the pitch at the Emirates is too big'. But after thinking through, I figured that things has just been the same as few weeks back after that embarassing defeat to Man Utd.

Problems snowballing as I've mentioned back then is still, well, snowballing and only just stopped. Now it got worst and I can't tell the future. So better cross your fingers and hope for the best.

1) The pressure from the press. I for one think that the printing press and media in England is the root of a whole lot of problems including why the England national team always seemed to fall short. They regularly hyped up something and when it doesn't go well, they'll be the first to cast the stone. They're the one who hyped Liverpool up as the team to challenge Chelsea (we fans should bear some blame for that as well) but when Liverpool didn't do well, the critics are the first to fire shots and coming up with stories to unsettle people associated with the club.

2) Not able to get into any sort of momentum. I think the players, manager and fans alike are frustrated by the start we've made. It was disastrous and some performance can be summed up by a word, which is inept. But ask yourself about this. Would you want your team to play Sheffield United as your first match? It is well known that promoted teams will give you a taste of what it is to come and the first to appear is usually the one that suffers. Liverpool was on the receiving end. Then what about those games at Chelsea, ManYoo and Arsenal?

3) Mediocre performance from senior players. People like Gerrard, Carragher and Finnan should take up some blame to be honest. They're the players whom everyone at Liverpool look up to and they've failed. Gerrard looked as if something's troubling him as he's well known to not being able to seperate his personal life from football. Or worst still, heart is already somewhere else. Carragher and Finnan the two colossal figure of last season where a shadow of their former self and let the team down with some sloppy goals conceded. And honestly, this 3 are just examples. Just to name a few. Brings me to my next point...

4) New signings failing to settle. When players who're at the club for years failed to inspire, the newer signings will definitely suffer some way or the other. Aurelio has been poor defensively and offensively. Bellamy couldn't hit the cow's arse with a banjo while Mark Gonzalez is still getting use to the physical side of football. Pennant, well, I don't really have to go into him, do I? Dirk Kuyt was the only saving grace and even his excellent performance, he could do little with the back leaking goals.

5) Player morale and confidence level low. You could sense that near the end of the Liverpool vs Arsenal match. There was no fighting spirit and everyone couldn't wait for the game to end. I personally think that some players failed to recover from that 3-0 defeat by Everton because it was painful to take and even if they're pro footballers, they're humans. Every player's different. Some needs a pat in the back for encouragement while some just sit around, whinning. Craig Bellamy is the perfect example for someone who's low on confidence. Missing an open goal against Spurs was bad enough, he missed a penalty last week and went on to miss two other great chances. How is he going to bounce back? Or is he going to crumble and get destroyed?

I think there might be more than this, but this is all I could think of for now. There might be other factors involve but whatever it is, I hope all of you fans to be patient with Rafa and his men. At the same time, admit that we're not good enough to challenge the title just yet and still a team under construction. Time is still on Rafa's side as far as I'm concerned because even Shanks himself took a few years before he became a club legend. But of course there's the direct opposite in Gerard Houllier.

To me, I think we need to keep it simple. Get back to basics and keep a consistent team. I don't mean the same XI week in, week out. But a squad consisting of a group of core players and a few players who have impressed or suits the style of play against the opposition. Anyone watches Liverpool of old knows that we're famous for the pass and move whereas what you've seen last Sunday was heaven and earth compared to it.

Then I'll say drop Hyypia for the Premiership game and only use him for Champions League games. His experience is invaluable, but the pace of the Premiership is getting to him. Let Daniel Agger deputise him while bringing in another right-back to cover for Finnan as well as to keep him on his toes.

Now with Sissoko out, Gerrard should be the automatic choice for the central midfield role because Zenden although hardworking, is not an adequate player and might be a wee bit too light weight.

Striking partner between Crouch and Kuyt is looking good so they should not be seperated unless fatigue strikes in. Bellamy might get a run out in away games where we play more counter attacks. Fowler should only be use as cover as I'm afraid he's past it already.

But of course these are just my thoughts and Rafa might have a different view. But who knows, maybe success through perseverence is Rafa's way and he knows things we don't know. So let's not lose heart and let's wait and see what he has in store for us and what the Reds can conjure against Middlesbrough this weekend.


Chee Sheng said...

A very concise summary of Liverpool's early season performance so far.
Weird thing though, Arsene Wenger of all ppl made me feel a lil better after that horrible loss at Emirates


Still missed out a few points but that's roughly it I guess. That quote from Wenger is PR stuff because one should never say 'they're our of the title race'. Imagine the commotion after that.

Lena said...

it's odd to see Bellamy struggle at Liverpool after such a great season with Rovers.

I think he's just the type of player that works best when he is the big fish in a small pond; at Liverpool, he is a small fish in a big pond.

Agreed on Hyypia and Fowler; they're long in the tooth.

Like I said before, mediocre new signings. Would other 'top clubs' even have considered signing the likes of Aurelio, Pennant, and Bellamy? I don't think so.


Yes, my thought on Bellamy was that he's having the 'big club syndrome'. He used to be the central figure for Blackburn and now he's surrounded by Gerrard and Carragher no doubt he'll feel a little threatened.

Don't think so as well, perhaps Bellamy though. That shows how disappointing he has been because I've ManYoo mates who actually rates him and were surprised by how he flopped so far.

louis` said...

Truly agreed with you. gerrard, carra and finnan has been really poor. really wondered what happen to them this season.

i guess success needs times and we have to be a bit more patient, though we have been patient for quite a number of years. we are truly not good enough but i still hope for rafa making the unlikely happens.


Emma said...

If we lose against Middlesbro, then I'll just die.


Think time is on Rafa's side unless the rumours are true that he'll leave if Liverpool fail to qualify for next season's CL.

I hope we don't lose, but Riverside is never a happy hunting ground for Liverpool. Think it won't be easy. Even Chelsea lost there.