October 2009: The Anfield Review

The reds did show that they did have a performance in them against Man Utd

The reds found a game to turn up in - the win over Man Utd.

October is the start of the two-consolidation months, one of those months where you’re looking to get yourself into a good position ahead of the busy Christmas and New Year period.

With our only defeat of September, against Fiorentina, fresh in our minds we started the new month with a very tricky game at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea. Could we put our misery of Italy behind us?

Truth be told we did. We were much better in London than we did in Florence but unfortunately the score line was the same, a 2-0 defeat for the Reds.

We had our chances and failed to take them against Chelsea, whereas the home side took theirs. We were very strong defensively but once again our wide players let us down. Neither Kuyt or Riera did anything to be proud of, will either of them rediscover some form after the international break?

Well during the international break there was more controversy surrounding Javier Mascherano with reports linking him with a move to Juventus as well as him having “showdown talks” with the manager over his contract. Other international news involved the injury front with Torres and Gerrard both picking up slight knocks while away with their respective countries, while Dirk Kuyt further aggravated an ankle injury he picked up at Stamford Bridge. Kyrigiakos also picked up an injury during the international break, which will see him miss around four months of action.

A makeshift squad, thanks to the injuries we received due to the international break, travelled up to the Stadium of Light and gave a shocking performance. Although the scoreline only said 1-0, the Black Cats deserved to win by a greater margin and deserved to score a goal of their own other than one off a beach ball.

A new system of 3-5-2 never seemed comfortable and we were always second best. A drastic improvement is needed for the midweek game against Lyon. If Gerrard and Torres are still unavailable, will we be good enough?

As much as it pains me to say it, we wasn’t good enough against Lyon. For ten minutes, maybe less, we showed our class but for the rest we were taught a footballing lesson by the French side.

Back to our familiar 4-2-3-1 formation and a welcome back to captain Steven Gerrard. Still no Torres, and no Gerrard after about 25 minutes as he was taken off for precaution. Glen Johnson also found himself injured before the match, which handed Martin Kelly his first start for the club and is the only outfield player who can take any sort of credit from the performance.

Four defeats on the spin now, an ever growing list of injuries to key players and a home game against Man United coming up, could it get any more difficult for Rafa and the lads?

In the build up to the United game Rafa was given the vote of confidence by the owners, but with their track record I think the manager would rather not have had it. We also got a glimpse of Aquilani who put in a 15 minute shift for the reserves.

Excuse my language but f***ing get in there. We tore United apart from start to finish, battered them and made every single Kopite around the world proud once more. We looked like a completely different side with every player in the Red of Liverpool playing out of their skin.

Goals from Torres and Ngog was what us the match but Kuyt’s hurrying, Benayoun’s trickery, Aurelio’s delivery helped along the way. Lucas and Mascherano bossed the middle of the park while behind them the back four played their best match of the season. Carragher and Agger were faultless. So much so that Reina was a spectator for so much of the match.

But it is just one game and we shouldn’t get too carried away just yet, it’s now up to us build on this, starting with the Carling Cup game away to Arsenal. Are we good enough to go and beat the Arsenal kids?

Our second string wasn’t good enough against the Arsenal side. We fielded a side brimmed with internationals yet still looked disticintly average. With Kuyt captaining the side it was up to him lead by example, but unfortunately he failed to do so. Babel was a disgrace to himself, the manager and more importantly the fans who’d made the trip down south.

Some may say it’s only the Carling Cup but at the end of the day, it’s a defeat for this club and we’ve had far too many of late. A chance for the second string to impress, a chance to keep the momentum up, a chance to progress and set up another match with United or Chelsea but none of those happened.

The only impressive display came from Ngog, with Spearing showing a few signs of having the ability to make it. A bit like the Leeds game where it was those two who shone. We also got a glimpse of Aquilani, at last, and looked a tidy, comfortable player on the ball.

Another defeat, and the first trophy that has been ruled out for the season. If we’re to win to the League, then we have to win at Craven Cottage on Saturday. Are we able to put the defeat in the League Cup behind us?

Well a squad without Gerrard, Johnson, Agger, Skrtel and Aquilani travelled down to Fulham are suffered our sixth defeat in seven games. A squad that was already on it’s knees is looking much worse after Degen and Carragher both saw red at Craven Cottage.

There have been a few claims that the manager had more than one eye on Europe during the game as Torres was brought off with the score at 1-1 as well as Benayoun being brought off when we were getting beat.

Overall the month has been a shambles, with the only shining light, albeit a very strong shining light, that 2-0 win over United. Everything else would be better forgotten.

High points:

Beating United is the most obvious, there’s very few things in the world of football that compare to that feeling.

Torres hitting double figures for the season already is another plus. If he can avoid serious injury, then I see no reason why he can’t beat his tally of 33 from the 07/08 campaign.

Aquilani finally making his first team bow is also something for us to celebrate. But it does show how disappointing the month has been when you consider this to be a massive highlight.

Low points:

Defeats, defeats, defeats. We look in a really bad rut right now and our only hope is things can’t get any worse. Can they?

The exit from the Carling Cup. With the League and European hopes hanging on a thread, it was a real chance to put some silverware on the table but we didn’t create enough chances. And the ones we did, we didn’t take.

The injuries have hit us badly, and we’ve really saw just how thread-bare this squad is.

The form of Ryan Babel. The same Ryan Babel who admitted to only performing to get back into the Dutch squad. Well maybe that’s why he’s been a walking liability.

Fixtures for November

4/11/09 – Lyon at Stade Gerland (Champions League)
9/11/09 – Birmingham at Anfield (Premiership)
21/11/09 – Man City at Anfield (Premiership)
24/11/09 – Debrecen at Stadion Oláh Gábor Út (Champions League)
29/11/09 – Everton at Goodison Park (Premiership)

18 comments on
October 2009: The Anfield Review

  1. No one can debate that our performances on the pitch have imporved over the last 5 seasons. We’ve achieved CL qualification every year, something Houllier never managed. We’ve been to two CL finals in the space of 3 seasons winning one of them. Being only 26 years of age, I was only 1 when we won the european cup in 1984, and wasn’t even born when the previous 3 were lifted. I truly felt I may never get to see Liverpool play and win a european cup during my lifetime, but becuase of Rafa I have been able to live that dream, as have all of us. Now I have stories that compete with those my dad used to tell me about our heyday in the 70’s and the 80’s.

    Our league form has vastly improved over the last 5 seasons too. The best Houllier ever did was finish a distant second to Arsenal in 2001-02 with 80 points. Rafa eclipsed this total with 82 points in 2005-06, the best in 18 seasons. Then last year we eclipsed that total with 86 points our best ever in the premier league. People have said the glory of Istanbul papered over the cracks and bought Rafa time, fooling us all into thinking he’s a world class coach. If anything, this sums up Houllier’s reign for me. The cup treble fooled fans into thinking he was the real deal and hence we hung onto the guy much longer than we should. There is one major difference though between him and Rafa. Houllier inheritied a team that finished 3rd the season before with players such as Fowler, Owen, McManaman, Redknapp, Berger, Carragher, David James, Paul Ince, John Barnes, Danny Murphy, Karlheinze Riedle, Mark Wright, Rob Jones and Michael Thomas to name but a few. To my mind this assortment of players only needed a few finishing touches to make them into champions. After all it contained in Barnes, Thomas, and Ince players wiht the experience of winning league titles. Karlheize Riedle was a world cup winner with Germany and Patrick Berger was one of the stars of Euro 96, playing a key role in the Czech Repulic’s march to the final, even scoring in the final. In Fowler, McManaman and Redknapp we had 3 of the best home grown players in the country and with Owen, Murphy and Carra we had 3 of the most exciting prospects in the country. Despite this Houllier told everyone it would take 5 years to ‘turn this club around’.

    In contrast Rafa inherited a sqaud that scraped 4th place, with not a single player possessing any title winning experience. There were few internationals capable of boasting worlkd cup or euro championship wins and there were certainly no hot youngsters coming through. Houllier went backwards, Rafa has gone forwards. FACT.

    The most damning thing for me id that off the pitch in terms of our standing as a club within our own league, we have at best stood still. Some may say we’ve even gone backwards. We our the only club regularly qualifiying the the CL that has a sell to buy policy, we have one of the smallest stadiums of any CL team and in terms of closing the gap between ourselves and Utd / Chelsea in economic terms we are nowhere near. These are the key reasons for our failings. Rafa has done exceptionally well. In reality, we are a team that should really only compete fpr 5th or 6th spot, but we’ve exceeded that every season.

    • Yep totally agree. People seem to forget the restrictions rafa is and has been under for his whole five years here and the fact that thanks to ‘Parry/ Moores ‘ and ‘Gillete/ Hickes’ Rafa had no choice to settle for third sometimes fourth rate players because they have ether restricted funding or refused all together for top targets when we’ve had funds available
      (Look at the likes of Simao, Barry, Vidic, Silva who were some of rafas wanted stars).
      Moores and Parry have let the club stand still commercially while the manks and other teams have made head way in eastern europe, Asia and america in furthering their fan base and increasing their brand names which all generate capital turning clubs into global commodity’s .
      We have only just managed to tell Carlesberg to forget ripping us off for another season and signed with a global banking organization which will perpetuate our transference into such a ‘Global Commodity” but because we’ve had clowns running our club for the last twenty odd years we are way behind what has been achieved even at some clubs at ‘Championship level’

      This all adds to the restrictive process on rafa at the club and the fact he’s been shooting above his weight for five years has passed most by when realistically we shouldn’t have been anywhere near the league in the last 5 years yet alone qualifying for the champions league.
      Im not saying he’s totally innocent but people have to put things into perspective .

  2. I’m sorry to say that it’s not Bables, Lucas, Kuyt or any of the players that are at fault, The buck simply lies at Rafa and the 2 Yanks, Rafa bought the players that are under achieving. I’m also sorry that it is time now for them to take the blame. I bet Stevie G is wondering what his future could have been.
    If LFC lose on wednesday then Rafa you have got to go and hold your hands up and say sorry and TWIT and TW*T (Yanks) it’s time to go. I would now love to see Jose Mourinho at the helm.
    LFC 4 EVER

  3. What is going on we are liverpool football club, does anyone apart from gerro and carra feel the same. The Americans could’nt give a toss about the team and the fans. The pressure is on rafa to progress in CL for the money if he keeps on making decissions like he did on sat we wont qualify next year, what happens then? I dread to think. The way i see it is Americans out ,Rafa out, zonal marking out, Our spanish players to show loyalty. Get rid of the totally crap players rafa seems to buy, we all know which ones (they must shine in training). I know its early but we have got no chance of winning prem already and this year should have been the one. How long now? another 5 year plan. Hope not!!

      • Babel will not perform, the only good thing he has done at Liverpool is scoring the goal which beat those Mancs down the road, which btw he scuffed, if he had hit it properly it would have been in Row Z and this season I think against West Ham he put in a good cross. I am also not sure why he does not play Ngog more, he is high with confidence, an awesome finisher, young and has more talent than Voronin in his little finger

    • We live in hope mate ? , let me know when he finally decides to put everything in to his performance ye ? Because ill probably be an old man and he’ll be playing for arsenal ha ha . It’s the lads attitude that i and alot of people have a problem with. It would seem that he thinks he should be given all these things in life and not have to work for them ie ‘ a spoilt little brat’ and thats wrong !

  4. Babel has to go he’s not bought in to the ‘liverpool way’ carra continues to worry me…very similar to rio f at the moment. Past his best? Hope not YNWA

  5. well all fellow kopites….forgive me if I’m wrong,
    Lucas, Babel, Veronin are indeed useless & have lack of ball controlling skills…got poor visionary as well.

    Now lately, carragher, skrtels develop defensive lapses… kyutt starts to wobble… Gerrard too fragile…same with Torres (at least he’s very determine than others…able to defend too).

    Out of all of them all…Rafa is the greatest culprit…6 loses out of 7 games……is worst record for LFC Mgerial profile!!!!!

    LFC needs a saviour…& we need him fast…like Now!!!

    • Any suggestions on who to replace them with? If you don’t have any in mind… well I’m afraid you have to choose a different club to support.

    • I Love the way you are all quick to jump on the get rid of rafa bandwagon, ye last Monday he was the greatest manager coz we did over united. Grow up for god sake the guy can only do what he can with th injuries we have.
      Any team would struggle without gerrard, torres not his best cara is nackered veronin yea he is shit lucas aint the best but he tries his hardest wk in wk out more than i can say for likes of babel or skirtel. yea rafa has signed some poor players but you look at other teams they bought some crap but they got the squad t compete we dont at the mo.
      When the gready yanks get out and rafa gets some decent money to compete then you will see a difference. What are man city doing at the moment naff all they are still below us at the end of the day but are they talking of saking hughesy i dont think so.
      Get off their backs and start on the team that are playing like idiots. I remember the days of wearing the shirt you would be ready to kill people for it but not nowadays its all about the money and not our beloved club. YNWA RAFA

  6. Totally agree. A lot of people are too quick to jump on the Lucas bandwagon, when he’s probably been one of the most consistent players this season (Man Utd midfield totally outplayed).

    Some people either believe what they read or are told by the media (or just don’t have a clue)

    Lucas cannot be blamed for other team members under performing.

    Babel is useless. No real skill or total loss of confidence and bad attitude.

  7. i love how you’re so quick to disgrace babbel, yet say nothing of lucas, who’s proved time and time again how useless he is, yet still gets a starting place in our squad.

    • I’m sick of people attacking lucas. He has the highest tackle count and best % successful tackles is the premier league – stats done lie my friend. You need to learn the game a bit more its not only about attacking flair!

    • The differences between Lucas and Babel is;

      1) Lucas is improving, Babel is going backwards.
      2) Lucas puts in a lot of effort, Babel is a lazy waste of space.
      3) Lucas has been decent this year, Babel has been a disgrace.
      4) Lucas doesn’t only perform to play for his national side, Babel does.
      5) Lucas doesn’t throw a strop when he’s benched, Babel does.
      6) Lucas doesn’t intend on making a rap career instead of putting his entire efforts into football, Babel does.
      7) Lucas doesn’t spend time bitching on twitter, Babel does.
      8) Lucas knows his weakenesses and works on them i.e. putting in extra work in the gym during the summer to beef us, Babel simply thinks he’s a better version of Pele.
      9) Lucas continues to be rubbished by 75% of people and still has the balls to put in a decent shift, while Babel who is still considered to have all this talent (don’t see it meself) just couldn’t give a toss.
      10) Lucas puts in the effort in every match, Babel thinks he’s too good for certain matches – i.e. Carling Cup against Arsenal.

      That’s why I’m quick to rubbish Babel and leave Lucas alone.

        • Very nice and i agree Lucas is at least trying his best and doing everything in his power to improve were as Babel just seems to give up to easily and go in to a sulk. Allot of credit should go to Lucas for sucking it up and cracking on with trying his best under so much venom and critique every day !

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