Trouble Insua-ing

CIMG1452Last night I witnessed one of the worst Liverpool performances I have ever seen.  Undoubtedly we’ve been going through a sticky patch recently and results have been pretty poor but I was unaware of how bad things actually are.  The whole team lacked any sense of purpose and all of them looked nervous in possession – with the exception of Yossi Benayoun (who was far and away the best player on the pitch).  The squad that Benitez has assembled in 5 years at the club is simply not good enough to win the Premiership and has no hope of making an impact in the Champions League.  In this time he’s brought in 68 players and somehow from this number Lucas still manages to be getting in the starting line up!

Not since 1987 have Liverpool lost four games in a row and our next game against Manchester United on Sunday offers little hope of change.  Some voices from within Anfield are talking up this game as the best opportunity to bounce back from a bad spell.  Honestly, on last night’s performance I can’t see how this would be possible.  Insua looked horribly out of his depth and was tortured all night, it was obvious within the first 20 minutes that he wasn’t up to the task.  Yet Benitez lacked the courage to give him the shepherds hook, keeping him on the field for the full 90 minutes.  The most baffling decision of the night came 10 minutes from time with the scores level – Benayoun was hauled off!  It is decisions like this during matches (as well as his ineptitude in the transfer market) which must cause his position as manager to come under real scrutiny in the next few weeks.  Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail summed it up well when he said..

Tuesday must have been a miserable night to be at Anfield but the really sad thing is that few would have been surprised by what they saw.

CIMG1441To be honest I was surprised by what I saw – there was an absence of desire in many of the players and the manner in which we were so easily turned over by Lyon really shocked me.  It was a toothless performance by a very ordinary side who lacked any drive or imagination.  The off-field boardroom uncertainties at Liverpool are nothing in comparison to the on-field hesitancy I witnessed first hand last night.   Maybe I’ll be proved wrong and maybe Graeme Souness is right (which would be notable in itself!) when he says of the Utd game…

if we turn them over, this result will be forgotten.


Transfer Talk

Rafa Benitez was recently questioned about Alonso and Mascherano, this is what he said and it makes me nervous…

“We signed them both from different situations. Alonso was coming from Real Sociedad and nobody had really heard much of him outside of Spain, he did well and we renewed his contract because of that.

“Mascherano came from West Ham where he had not been doing well. We brought him here and gave him a good contract, so we are very pleased with them both and that Liverpool has been very good to them.”

Sounds to me like Benitez is clutching at straws to keep these guys and trying to make them feel guilty about even considering a move. I’ll not be surprised if tomorrow morning’s paper has pictures of Mascherano holding a Barcelona shirt and Alonso wearing the white of Real Madrid.

Could be worse I suppose, we could compensate for their loss by signing Michael Owen!

Rotation Rotation Rotation!

Pick a squad, any squad. I wonder which team will stroll out at Anfield tonight? Rafa only knows. Could it be that Benitez plays the same side that failed to turn up on Saturday? Or will he think this is a good opportunity to introduce some untried, new blood from the youth team? I doubt anyone could predict which individuals will take the field and not even Rafa knows how they will perform – what is certain is that if this Liverpool side do not get a result tonight then his own position as team boss must be seriously considered. Can you rotate managers?

Stick At It

OK so my last post was a little bit critical of Rafa Benitez and maybe I jumped on the bandwagon a little too early. Since that post Liverpool have continued their unbeaten run in the league, thrashed Besiktas 8-0 in the Champions League and stuffed FC Porto 4-1 in the same competition. Lets hope they keep that form up throughout the season and that Ryan Babel continues to excel.

On a more depressing note Woodlands FC have not recorded a victory since the beginning of November and our league position is very worrying -we still have to play some top teams and we will have to improve our performances if there is any hope of a respectable league position. Maybe we need to just stick at it and turn the corner like Liverpool seem to have done…

I handed in my MDiv dissertation last week and am absolutely loving the feeling of being free from University and study for the first time since about 2002! Over four years of part-time study have been completed and I can hardly believe it. Sometimes it seems to have flown by but during the last few months it really did seem like I had been on this course forever. The most difficult aspects were the languages and I actually thought at some stages it was going to be impossible. However with a few helpful tips from a variety of people I managed to scrape through -glad that it’s done and pleased that I stuck at it. I’ll get the robes on in July!

Can’t Kuyt Understand?

The mighty Woodlands FC got their second win of the season at Woodburn Playing Fields on Saturday, a well deserved 3-0 victory over Ballyclare North End has resulted in a slightly improved league position. A terrific performance by the whole team secured three vital points and mid table mediocrity for the boys in yellow and blue. Goals came from Stuart Hawthorne (2) and Chris Colgan (1) the latter demonstrated great composure when stepping up to retake a first half penalty, firing the ball right back were it had come from to the great delight of his team mates and the now satisfied referee. The great feeling that came with such a victory was tarnished however by yet another poor result for Liverpool. What I can’t ‘Kuyt’ understand is why Rafa Benitez persists with this squad rotation policy when it is quite obviously not working. Dirk Kuyt runs his socks off all day and may cover every blade of grass but as a striker he needs to strike the ball! On Saturday he found himself in a great striking position and then basically ran into Steven Gerrard because of an unwillingness to strike. Come on Rafa, get a settled team out every week and have a decent crack at the Premiership, players get confidence by playing matches and this uncertainty and lack of confidence is obvious throughout most of the team. I never thought I’d say this but it might not be a bad thing for us to go out of the Champions League tomorrow night because then at least the Premiership games will be taken a little more seriously by Rafa Benitinker!

El Nino

He’s signed for 6 years… He signed for 6 years.. Fernando Torres, he’s signed for 6 years! At long last Liverpool have actually signed a striker that I am excited about. I have not been this optimistic about the season ahead since Sean Dundee put pen to paper at Anfield…. Seriously though, Liverpool have not had a good record in recent years when it comes to signing decent strikers – Collymore, Mellor, Morientes, Cisse, Pongolle, Clough, Baros (and a few others who I have deleted from my memory) simply haven’t delivered the goods. Torres is a different class altogether and hopefully this season we can be genuine title contenders. The Rafaloution continues….