Friday, December 19, 2014

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From Wonderful to Woeful

If Catholic priests still hand out penance in the privacy of the confessional they might consider telling their confessants to go watch Liverpool rather than mumble their way through three Hail Mary’s, which they can do by rote while their mind is probably on other things. Not really exacting on the penitent at all. Putting up with Liverpool would be a punishment fit for any sinner and would be a powerful deterrent. Would you in true Dave Allen fashion take a peek at Mary Milligan’s knickers if you thought your penance was watching Liverpool?  

The Liverpool victory over Bournemouth two nights back in the Capital One Cup is nothing to write home about whereas the defeat by Manchester United at the weekend most definitely was, even it if was not unexpected. Old Trafford was a game that had to be played against the tide. And when it duly went out, Warren Buffet's maxim came to pass: "It's only when the tide goes out that you learn who's been swimming naked." The 3-0 score line just about reflects where Liverpool stand these days. Few step forward to praise the emperor's new clothes.
People have wondered how a team can play so well one season and perform like clowns the following one. But it would not be the first time that has happened in soccer.  Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool boss, has to take a lot of the responsibility. The difference last season seems to have been Luis Suarez who was very much an integral part of an attacking formation. Rodgers inherited him from the Dalglish era. Bringing in Mario Balotelli to plug the gap seemed a rash decision. Would Liverpool be playing any worse this season had they not Balotelli in the squad? Any worse were they to go out with only ten men rather than 11?

It is not Balotelli’s fault of course. A player like him never fitted into the Rodgers game plan.  If that blueprint allowed for Balotelli to flourish, Rodgers would have persisted with Andy Carroll rather than throw him overboard at a time when Carroll was starting to show some class and more than a bit of  motivation to those around him. It simply makes no footballing sense to get rid of Dumb and then sign Dumber.  

Last season, largely through the man he got from Dalglish, Liverpool had a powerful attacking formation. Its Achilles heel was its total inability to defend. The 3-3 result against Crystal Palace at the close of season when all was not yet lost was an apt crystallisation of defensive strategy. This season Liverpool are a team that can neither defend nor attack.  For a side hoping to end the season in the top four this is an unimaginably bad position to be in.

The team needs a radical overhaul. Any forward looking ethos it lays claim to is brought into question by persisting with Steven Gerrard. Rodgers has given some hints that the wheels have been pulled in and Gerrard is preparing to land. But Air Traffic Control still has him in the sky and while that remains, cruising rather than soaring is the best that might be achieved. While a great player in his day, Gerrard is not the midfield dynamo of old. Once a soccer stallion, he needs to move on before the inevitable donkey comparisons start to grow more voluble in the Kop. The only thing that can be said with absolute certainty about Liverpool is that no side built around Steven Gerard will win the English premiership.  

If Brendan Rodgers lacks the cop-on for that he might find himself the recipient of the Kop-off.


Niall said...

The victory over Bournemouth was a stay of execution for Rodgers.....I never heard such rubbish about how this victory was a tremendous boost to their title hopes...Bournemouth, Bournemouth for God's sake!

ozzy said...

One thing I'll never understand, is how Irish Nationalists/ Republicans can follow soccer.
It's the most British of pastimes.
I detest it.

AM said...

you are a chauvinistic nationalist pig Ozzy lol.

Seriously, I love soccer, English soccer, Irish soccer. It is a global pastime, not a mere British one.

During the blanket protest in the H Blocks it was one of the mainstays of human interest: we followed the English and Scottish leagues avidly without watching a game or listening to a match. Often a friendly screw would give us all the results.

A few days before Bobby Sands died (if memory is right) his team, Aston Villa, won the English league championship.

I understand all so easily why nationalists or republicans have an interest in soccer.

Peter said...

Wind yer neck in...and it's football not soccer.
I always enjoyed footy but when I moved to Madrid I lived near Atletico's Vincente Calderon Stadium and started going to games. I ended up a season ticket holder and saw the great Torres, Aguero, Forlan, Falcao play against Ronaldinho, Messi. Ronaldo, Henry etc Now I'm an addict but going to watch Linfield just isn't the same!

Henry JoY said...

Ozzy, for a change, I find myself somewhat in agreement with your position on this one!

Not of course from a similar underlying motivational bias but just from a position of what I find entertaining.

Soccer was an ok game to play but as a spectator give me the goals and points of a hurling or Gaelic football game every time.

An hour and a half and a goal-less draw. Torture to my mind!

AM said...

why anybody is even interested in what I write about Liverpool is something I fail to understand!

larry hughes said...

did you watch the game v Arsenic tonight? Not getting much better.

AM said...

Are you serious? Go and pay for drink at the pub to watch that lot when it is cheaper to sit here and drink and not be bored stupid by them.

larry hughes said...

lol crack open anor bottle!!