Welcome to Anfield – home of the knee-jerk

I was fairly despondent walking away from Anfield after Monday night’s defeat to Aston Villa.  On reflection a 3-1 reverse flattered Aston Villa but if you don’t defend set-pieces properly, lack that clinical finish in front of goal (because we certainly had plenty of chances) and give away rash penalties then a defeat is always likely.

After some intelligent analysis over a post match pint I arrived home to the roaring hysteria of the internet masses.

A topic on our forum never likely to move from the first page is that of Lucas Leiva – widely vilified by the LFC masses as some kind of spawn of Satan.  In the demolition of Stoke a few days earlier him and Glen Johnson had rightly been mentioned as our best players but that was out of the window now.

In the past 48 hours some people have ridiculously spouted comments such as:

“Rafa has to go”


“The Season’s over”

As a glass-half full man it gets tiresome reading this nonsense.  One of the best responses I’ve read on our forum was from Bleed_Red:

“I swear, most of the people on this forum would leave a perfectly good day at the beach because they see one cloud in the sky.”

Going back to the Villa defeat it was hardly a shockingly bad performance. Result, maybe – but not performance.  I can remember one decent chance for Villa created from open play whereas we had a bagful of chances – in fact arguably more chances than in our 5-0 demolition of them 6 months ago.

Liverpool’s chances against Aston Villa (24)

Liverpool chances against Aston Villa

Aston Villa’s chances against Liverpool (9)

Villa's chances against Liverpool

Liverpool lost against Villa because we were undone by a couple of set-pieces and primarily because we didn’t take our chances.

In last season’s 5-0 victory Alonso and Mascherano had very similar games to Lucas and Mascherano this time around. The only difference being that it appears that Mascherano appears to have taken up the Alonso role in terms of distribution – with Leiva performing an ‘enforcing’ role similar to what Mascherano did last season.  Liverpool were not overrun in midfield on Monday night and Leiva and Mascherano bossed the midfield.  Aston Villa managed one shot from open play in 90 minutes.

LFC Midfield Analysis against Aston Villa

Either way, some people will still look solely at the result and fail to see the bigger picture. Yes we may have lost 2 games already but Liverpool lost 2 all last season and didn’t win the league. Titles are not awarded for losing the least games.

We failed to land the title last year because we didn’t win 13 of our matches. The 11 draws killed our chances.  If Liverpool can win 28 games this season then they can get hammered 10-0 in 10 league games and probably still have enough points to be in with a shout of landing number 19.

Knees, well and truly, straightened.

35 comments on
Welcome to Anfield – home of the knee-jerk

  1. Inconsistent is what we are!.On our day we’re capable of easily beating the best but a few days later a third division side will do one on us!.Can’t deny that we’ve failed to strenghen instead going sideways where as our rivals are going forward.

    Many like me who are old enough to have seen the 70’s and 80’s know that our current team are mediocre but the more recent fans will continue to make excuse after excuse in trying to justify poor signings because they’ve never seen real class.Yawn….yawn…..blah….blah…..please spare me the details about the Villa and Spurs match because the only FACT that matter is that we deservedly lost so i’m not interested in the if’s and but’s that will always be there!.Bottom line is that we didn’t create enough and didn’t put the ball in the back of the net…

    All the more reason to be concerned because we’ve lost two out of the three games we’ve played without having yet faced the real contenders so i don’t understand the “we’ve only played three games” rant!.Rafa is an average manager and has proved this by signing near £40 million of rubbish in the likes of Babel,Riera,Dossana,Degan,Lucas and Voronin to name a few,on top of which he fails to realise that we need another top forward to replace or partner Torres depending on the situation.I honestly believe that defensive and cautious Rafa should be sacked if he fails to deliver anything this season for he’s now had both time and reasonable financial backing.

    • Well said Imran, I totally agree with what you’ve said. After all this is Liverpool Football Club we’re talking about here not f**king Accrington Stanley. Success becomes a habit but unfortunately so does mediocracy.
      Rafa has been shown amazing loyalty from the fans since he arrived but there are some fans who think that by even questioning Rafa’s decisions is some form of betrayal. It isn’t. This is our club and as fans the owness is on us to voice our opinions when we see things going wrong.

  2. 3 games 2 defeats,2 early 2 be panickin yet. Couple of wins and were back in it. We have the players 2 go all the way, keep the faith. We are liverpool

  3. Good article, some really valid points made. The result did flatter Villa and we did create a host of chances that we wasted. However, I still believe the team was horribly disjointed and at best unbalanced. Explain to me why, when playing at home, we’d go with two defensive central midfielders, a right foted centre midfielder on the left flank and a lone striker? I could understand such caution if we were defending a slender 1-0 lead going into the second leg of a champions league semi at the Nou Camp, but a home game agaisnt an average Villa side that we thumped 5-0 a few months ago?
    The book stops with the manager on such issues. I like Rafa. I would never advocate sacking him, but is that the best starting 11 he could muster? Even if they were the only players he could pick from, could he not have set the team up in a bit more of a positive way? Dropping Lucas and playing Gerrard next to Mash with Riera on the left, Benayoun on the right and Kuyt up with Torres, surely would have given better balance?

  4. Glen Hoddle said that Liverpool wont finish in the top 4. How ridiculous. Just because he wants his spurs in the champions league

  5. Agree totaly. Last year the scum lost four games and the year before they lost five games but managed to win the title, so its far from over yet. I, like a lot of fans would like to see another creative player but with the two dogs in charge of our club I cant see it happening.

  6. I really think the two defeats are more down to us not taking our chances and being unlucky/ lazy at the back , i mean weve conceded ONE goal from open play ( and that was a top drawer goal ) so i don’t think were that bad at closing teams down but conceding from set peaces and corners has been the problem and if i recall it was the problem last season as well , our ariel threat is not that potent at the back and teams know this so of course they exploit it. ( How tall is our new greek lad ? ) Things do have to change and fast but were not in a crisis , cum on RED MEN !!! Y. N. W. A.

  7. Finally, someone with some sense makes a comment.

    we have only played 3 games.

    additionally, we have more points right now than the scum had at the same stage last season.

  8. Very true of what is said.I would prefer lfc losing more games and winning more too and not drawing at all if its possible.
    If lfc had lost 5 and won 6 of the 11 drawn games last season we would have comfortably won the EPL.

  9. I for one wish people would finally realise that Raffa is a good manager but not a great one . We should have won the league last year but we didnt because of his tinkering with the first team. I am a life long LFc fan and have given him my support but his time is up and he should go.He has the nerve to use very average players ( lucas,Vorinin,babel etc ) week in week out in our great team that we love so much . Boring football most of the time, am I the only that remembers a time when we played free flowing football tearing teams apart with ease.

    I was hoping he would bring through some of our young players but instead he sends nemeth out on loan and plays vorinin instead ,can anyone make sense of this. Jay on the bench and Lucas on the pitch?

    He complains about not having money to spend but come on the gunners won the league without breaking the bank ,but it took a world class manager to do it.

    I hope the yanks go soon but when they do I hope whoever takes over does not give all their cash to Raffa.

    LFC forever

  10. Paul, have to agree about the lack of silverware and Rafa’s time here…I have constant discussion with mates about managers who make the best of their squad and I know if Wenger was in charge of Liverpool we’d have won the title by now (just my opinion) Also agree with the best line up currently, Gerrard needs to get back into the middle of the park and take charge in the 3 games we’ve had so far ( i was there against stoke and saw this also) no one controlled the game as far as Liverpool was concerned. We had very little possession in the middle of the park. I think Benny can do a great job behind Torres.
    I don’t think the season is over, other big clubs will struggle against each other and the likes of man city, spurs and others will take points off them (as well as us I’m sure)
    Rafa likes his set tactics and doesn’t make major changes and this will be our failing. He hasn’t addressed Liverpool’s lack of control and dominance in the middle of the park and this will be our stumbling block.
    Great article by the way, it shows that the team has a set system and pattern but maybe personnel is to be address, so again, I’d say you play to our strengths.
    let’s see what happens.. YNWA

    • You said we had very little possession in the middle of the park and lacked control and dominance.

      Neither of these are true in the Spurs game were we dominated the midfield, restricted the opposition to one chance from open play.

      If our attackers waste 24 chances then there is very little anyone else can do. By that law of averages we would have needed 48 chances to score a second goal.

      Our problem is not in the middle of the park. People who suggest it is aren’t watching the games. They are just seeing the scorelines, realise that Alonso has gone and putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with 37.

    • Why would Wenger have won the title? He’s won a Solitary F.A. Cup in the 5 years Rafa has been with us and even that was at the very start of Rafa’s reign back in 2004-05. In addition, at the start of 2004-05 when Rafa began his tenure at Liverpool, Arsenal were the reigning champions with their team of invincibles. Wenger not only had the nucleus of a title winning squad over the next few seasons, but one of the few teams in British football history to win a league without losing a game. Does Wenger not deserve criticism for not landing another title in the time since? He at least already had most of the players. I don’t see anybody slating Wenger for not winning the league in 5 years. If anything he’s had better resources to work with than Rafa becuase he already had a bunch of players capable of winning the title. Arsenal are always touted as not spending much money, but believe me they spend it when they need to since 2004-05 Wenger’s still spent roughly £100m, slightly less than Rafa who’s spent around £111m. Rafa spent more and won more in that time, without having a title wining sqaud at his disposal like Wenger.

  11. We haven’t won a trophy for 3 years and have lost 2 of our first 3 league games after an abysmal pre-season when the team looked disinterested.

    I’m not quite sure how a club like Liverpool FC can be expected to go so long without silverware without the fans getting easily agitated. Calling every criticism of the manager knee-jerk is infantile. Yes, there is a lot of media hysteria in the modern game. But many loyal and knowledgable fans know this is Rafa’s last season if he ends up with no silverware again. Four years trophyless is unacceptable for Liverpool and it’s time the IRWT brigade started to take the blinkered specs off. Rafa has been shown loyalty by the vast majority of the fans despite 3 years trophyless.

    Therefore Rafa needs to acknowledge the criticisms, realise his time at Anfield won’t last without silverware, and stop making decisions that hurt the club, ie. dropping Riera because of a tiff and playing Lucas Leiva in a position he cannot perform well enough.

    I for one still believe we can challenge for the title if we win a lot of games and cut out the draws. 3 wins and 3 losses is better than 6 draws, after all. But we won’t do it if Rafa doesn’t accept something is wrong and make the brave decision to fix it. The best team we have at the moment?

    Johnson Carra, Skrtel, Insua

    Kuyt Gerrard Masch Riera

  12. PS – Irish Red, if you think the season is over after only 3 games you won’t be needing your season ticket will you, I know someone who would cherish it…….oh no,,you don’t have one do you…..

    • That’s very clever foreverlfc, just because my I.D. is Irish Red you asume I don’t have a season ticket. You’d be surprised how many of us have them and travel over week in week out.
      Use some common sense and a little bit more respect the next time you bring someone’s nationality up you biggit.

  13. Bet you weren’t knocking Benayoun at the back end of last season. He has the ability to make things happen and terrifies defenders. So please explain what is disgraceful about him Irish Red…you’ll be burning epitaphs in the street next. get it off your chest then crawl back under your rock……

  14. There is loyalty and there is blind loyalty and this article is pure blind. Those of us who are living in the real world can see whats really happening and we don’t need diagrams to explain it either.

    The proformance againist Spurs was disgraceful as it was againist Villa and it’s not just down to losing Alonso. We have problems all over the pitch and some big one’s off it.
    We could talk all day about the yanks and their incompetance but Rafa is hardly blameless here. King Kenny once said that Liverpool FC never dropped their standards, well I’m afraod thats no longer true. We have players playing in our first team week in week out who wouldn’t get their game in Evertons reserves.

    Lucas is an absolute disgrace. Babel is a joke. Kyut, Voronin and Benayoun are not much better. The difference between us fans who want change and you YES men is that we’re not afraid to call a spade a spade. Fancy diagrams can’t distract the fact that the football we’re playing at the moment is simply not good enough and thats down to only one man, Rafa. The buck stops with him.

    Its time we all admitted that under Rafa we are never going to win the league.
    I hate to admit it but its true.

    • Which bit is blind loyalty?

      I agree the performance against Spurs was dire. As it was in the opening day of last season against Sunderland.

      I purposefully didn’t mention the ‘Yanks’ because the transfer window is not yet shut and I’m prepared to give them 5 days before their theft from Liverpool is exposed so I’m not sure why you highlighted that.

      The rest of your post was knee-jerking. Please expand on Lucas being an absolute disgrace – and please let me know which of our first team regulars wouldn’t make it in to Everton’s reserves. I’m desperate to know.

      • Hi Anfield Online. First off let me make it very clear that I’m not Rafa-bashing or anything like it. After all we all want the same thing here which is to see Liverpool as league champions.

        But I for one am sick to death of getting my hopes up at the start of every new season just to see it all go to the dogs.
        First off the Spurs result was shabby to say the least. To argue that we deserved a penalty or two is in my opionion just excuses. We were disjointed all over the park and got what we deserved.

        I don’t want to the mention the Stoke result because teams like that are a disgrace to the league and football in general. Did they even have one chance? Can you even call what Stoke do football?

        On to the Villa game. I think the proformance was shabby yet again. Yes we had chances but they were’nt what you would call amazingly clear chances except for the Benayoun header which he should have at least got on target. Our play was all huff and puff but with no real guile or penetration.
        Yes they may have only had one shot on goal from open play but football is not only about open play, set pieces are part of it two.
        Our defending from the Villa set pieces weren’t good enough.
        From day one the zonal marking Rafa puts so much faith in has never convinced me.

        As for Lucas I’m sorry but the lad is simply not good enough to wear that shirt. His ability on the ball is woeful. He has no pace and no imagination. Games just seem to pass him by.

        To answer your last question I for one feel that Lucas, Voronin and Babel would struggle to get their game in Evertons reserves. After all, the Toffees may well play shite football but the one thing Moyes gets out of his players is commitment and those palyers have never shown any as far as I can see.

        These are my opinions but beleive me when I say that come the end of the season I hope your right and I’m wrong. Nothing would make me happier.

    • WOW WOW WOW , KYUT, BENAYOUN are good players BOTH international starters who run their asses off for the club every game, they may not be as technically gifted as say gerro or el nino but they work a damn sight harder than them every game. Sure they have weaknesses but so dose any player, lucas needs work on bringing consistency to his game and has potential, its just with a 20 yr wait for the title we cannot rest on potential as a starter ( that should hopefully change when aquillani comes in ‘i hope’ ). I do agree with you on babel he get’s so many chances and just isnt taking any of them and vorro i dont see changing much ( why some of our scouse lads can’t get a go i don’t know ?, remember Jay Spearing against real ?, he was mint )

      But the truth is that for two out of three games we havn’t been up to speed and have been punished for every mistake ! Also we have had some bad luck in both those games too… ” spurs 1 penalty we should have deffo had” ” Villa , in off Lucas’s back !” .

      If compared to last season we were playing no better, sometimes worse but we were getting allot more luck and getting away with it. If you also think of the type of opposition we have faced in our opening three games compared to chelsea and the manks i think its been quite tough too ! both had cushy home ties to start off and their away ties havnt been too hard ether.

      So it all has to be taken in context, especially only three games in. I know its easy to panic and get disheartened ( i posted a fed up comment on tuesday after the match ) and we should be beating teams like villa at home but what we shouldn’t do is throw in the towel this early… believe me if this carries on in to christmas i will feel the same but for now lets just see what happens and hope for the best, starting at Bolton and keep up the support, after all who else would you wanna support out there ? Y. N. W. A.

  15. The point is no team who lose two games in three is in crisis. That type of reporting is the last vestige of a desperate shoddy journalist. “Doom and Gloom” unfortunately sells more than good news. I just give up by how many people are suckered into believing this crisis talk. You make some good points. Although it’s disappointing that we haven’t shown anything like the form of last season in any of the pre-season build up and the opening games bar Stoke, and that’s a concern. And you’ve glossed over that I think. Along with rubbish set-piece marking.

    We aren’t playing with confidence at the moment, but a few tweaks and a couple of good performances will see us emerge and contest like we did last season. Good enough to win it? I think not. (Thanks To Hicks and Gillette) But we’ll be there at the end. Good, well-balanced article, but your diagrams are the most confusing thing I’ve seen in years

  16. Think this season will be closer, with teams like Man City, Spurs, Everton and my team Villa, taking more points of the big 4. Maybe Liverpool have just had the hardest 3 games. Chelsea are my tip, with either you or arsenal in 2nd/ 3rd, Man U…………….who knows?

    Good luck for the season. UTV

  17. I said the exact same thing on a board I post on, we had over twice as many chances, we dominated the game, and we conceded an own goal and a penalty. It reminded me of our Madrid game last season, we took a chance with the yossi header but we really didn’t deserve the win, much like villa against us. They were very organized and defended well but we had over twenty chances and could have scored 5. We might not win the title this season, but some people are going overboard. I’m looking foward to aquilani, I wish we had one
    more attacking option but I don’t see it happening and hopefully gerrard and torres can score big this season

  18. Am totally agreeable with this article.
    Why blame lucas for defensive howlers. Freekicks and corner defending is a group work not a single mans job. Anyway, i wonder why such evil and violent responses were not heard for hyypia of even carragher’s OGs. That boy is sweating his shirt out. So plz some respect my friends.

  19. Aaron i dont think the article is meant at a criticism of Villa, what you said perfectly sums up the match. Villa took their chances, we didnt…hence we lost.

    Great article btw, Villa deserved to win but we didnt play terribly, just made silly mistakes. The futures still very bright for Liverpool with Rafa at the helm!

      • Im a villa fan mate

        Theres no crisis at anfield what so ever. Last season you over achieved just like us n when things start to blip you become victims of your own success.

        • Sigh, we will obviously see at the end of the season now won’t we Aaron.

          Nice article well written, I live abroad and watched the match in a bar and 80% of the people in there were giving it the Sack Rafa now. It always hurts when we loose but we are 3 matches in for god’s sake. Shut up and have a little faith in the man who broke our own points record last season. Rafa, YNWA.

  20. Nice article mate. Totally agree. Alot of people buy into the “crisis” talk by the media. The time to assess the lie of the land is after 10 games of the premiership (1/4 of the season). By then alot of big teams will have played each other and we will have an idea of who can challenge. Not after 3 games.

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