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Slipperduke

The Camden Cad
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
4,333
Location
North London
Out of the title race, out of the Champions League, out of the League Cup and out of the FA Cup. Under normal circumstances, it's obvious that Rafa Benitez would be out of a job this morning but, unfortunately for Liverpool, these are far from normal circumstances. They are broke, weighed down with enormous interest repayments and their main revenue stream for next season, the Champions League, is slipping out of reach. The last thing they want to do is to pay nearly GBP20m in compensation just to stop Benitez turning up for work tomorrow. Everyone knows that the obsessive Spaniard is unlikely to walk away of his own accord, so it would seem that the only course of action is, in the words of that old British war-time poster, to "Keep Calm And Carry On."

There's no getting away from how awful Liverpool have been this season. With the exception of the win over Manchester United in October, they've been thoroughly uninspiring. There is no spark in the team, no cutting edge in front of goal, no ambition in the midfield and no coherence in the back-line. The players look like strangers, passes go astray, moves that would have led to chances last season grind to a halt in front of goal. There is absolutely nothing tangible to support the partisan loyalists on Merseyside who believe that Liverpool can still recover and finish fourth. But there is always faith.

Faith in a manager who has been here before and survived. Faith in a squad who finished second last season, scoring more goals than any other team in the process. Faith that Liverpool will inexplicably pull a run of form out of the bag and charge up the table. In the Premier League, believe it or not, they have actually strung back-to-back wins together. Granted, it's a narrow injury-time victory over Aston Villa and the eventual defeat of a Wolves side who bested them at Anfield for an hour, but they all count. Martin O'Neill said this week that managers are only ever two games away from a crisis, but the door swings both ways. Liverpool are only five points behind fourth-placed Manchester City with 18 games still to play. That's not exactly an insurmountable lead even if there has been very little all season to suggest that the Reds can overturn it. Benitez has rescued Liverpool before and he can do it again. Besides, who else would you bring in?

There's no money to spend on new players, let alone on a new manager, so you can ignore any fanciful suggestions that Jose Mourinho will be riding in to save the day. The situation is far too parlous for the likes of him or the newly available Guus Hiddink to consider risking their reputations. Remember Terry Venables at Leeds United? The former England boss stepped into replace David O'Leary at Elland Road, but was given barely any money and was forced to sell the big names. He lasted a season and never managed again. Why would Hiddink gamble on that when he knows that he's next in line to the throne at Stamford Bridge and would certainly make the shortlist to replace Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford?

A couple of games could change everything. A couple of wins would close the gap on City. This is a bad season, maybe even a terrible season, but that doesn't make Benitez a terrible manager. He's still the same man who won La Liga with Valencia. He's still the same man who won the European Cup with Gerard Houllier's motley collection of mediocrity. Stick with Benitez and he'll come through in the end. He's leaving it a little late though...
 

Smiffy

SZ Drinking Champion
Joined
Oct 27, 2003
Messages
16,200
Location
Vanarama National League (Loan)
Superb article Slip.

As a closet scouser of 20+ years, I have to say, this current crop is one of the worst I have seen. Bar Torres & Mr G, there is a lack of talent throughout.

Too many times Benitez has bought in mediocre players, who are then subsequently sold for a loss. Dossena and Voronin the latest in a long line. Add to that Babel who has been awful, the lad has talent, but Rafa cannot seem to bring it along. He will be the next to leave, for a loss. Other players like Insua, Lucas and Ngog in my opinion highlight how poor the team is at present. Players like this should be perennial bench warmers not starters. He then spends £20m on Aquilani, who I think will turn out to be another who cannot cut it and leave for a loss.

The simple fact is, the starting 11 are not good enough and the squad as a whole is a shambles. That has to be the doing of the manager. He has bought these players in at the end of the day. Granted, the shenanigans going on upstairs have not helped and he could do with more funds of course. But, he has still spent a lot of money in recent years. Unfortunately most of the signings have been poor ones.

They got lucky last season IMHO. But now their glaring weaknesses have been found out. There is no Plan B with Rafa it seems and this will be their undoing.

There needs to be wholesale changes at Liverpool and now. Right from the boardroom, down to the playing staff.

As for the Gaffer Rafa. I think he is lucky that a large portion of Scousers love him still for the CL success in recent times. This will make any decision upstairs to relieve him of his duties, a hard one. The Yanks are already hated figures. Giving Rafa the chop, could end up with full scale riots across Huyton.

That in my opinion is the only reason Rafa is still in charge. The power of the Liverpool fans...

But, this bond with Rafa and the fans is weakening with every defeat. Make no mistake. Failure to make Top 4 this season, will certainly be the end of Rafa, even in the eyes of the long suffering Kopites.
 
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BrettieAngell

THE ROCK GOD
Joined
Oct 26, 2003
Messages
19,642
Location
Southend
Superb article Slip.

As a closet scouser of 20+ years, I have to say, this current crop is one of the worst I have seen. Bar Torres & Mr G, there is a lack of talent throughout.

Will I tend to agree what happened last season, overachievement?
 

BrettieAngell

THE ROCK GOD
Joined
Oct 26, 2003
Messages
19,642
Location
Southend
Indeed.

They got lucky last season. Numerous last minute goals, deflections, pens you name it.

Well maybe but for the last 3 months Liverpool were awesome! I think his time has come this reeks of Houlliers last days, Torres looks hacked off Gerrard seems to be trying to do everything and there is no-one else who looks like they care (apart from Kuyt and Carra).
 

Pubey

Guest
Am I the only one who thinks Lucas has stepped up a bit this season? He's still fairly average, but he isn't quite as bad as people make out
 

Smiffy

SZ Drinking Champion
Joined
Oct 27, 2003
Messages
16,200
Location
Vanarama National League (Loan)
Well maybe but for the last 3 months Liverpool were awesome! I think his time has come this reeks of Houlliers last days, Torres looks hacked off Gerrard seems to be trying to do everything and there is no-one else who looks like they care (apart from Kuyt and Carra).

Spot on.

The morale is at it's lowest point in Rafa's reign and he doesn't look capable of bringing them back up to me.
 

Pubey

Guest
I'd love Gerrard to take a short drive down the East Lancs to Old Trafford...
 

Crawliano

LADYCHARMER80
Joined
Aug 18, 2008
Messages
2,609
Location
Benfleet
Having grown up whilst Liverpool were coming to the end of their period of domination of the Barclays Div 1 and Arsenal were the pretenders in waiting it gives me such joy to point and laugh at the LFC supporting friends I have who spent time saying "why do you support Southend, they're ****". Welcome to the real world LFC, where it is maybe not unexpected to have a god awful season. I've got a wager with a guy I know that Liverpool in 3 years will be hoping at best for Europa League through the League Cup and having mid table finishes.

If it wasn't for all the history I would've gone as far as to say they're the next Leeds, but we all know that if the Yanks walk someone will be able to buy quite an asset.
 

Thorpe Groyney

Open your mind
Joined
Nov 20, 2008
Messages
2,389
Location
Surely it's plain to see?
I'm guessing that Rafa's long term contract he signed last summer is his saving grace.

The multi-millions it would cost in compensation should they terminate his contract, bearing in mind the club's debt and the real possibility of no Champions League money coming in next season, is probably inaffordable at this time.
 

EastStandBlue

Life President
Joined
May 29, 2005
Messages
15,477
The thing with Lucas is it's almost as if Benitez plays him to validate his transfer policy. Having both him and Mascherano in the middle when you play with just the one up top doesn't seem to work... Unfortunately it's all they have at the moment and, ultimately, the blame lies with Benitez.

He's spent an awful lot of money on an awful lot of toot. Phillip Degen? Andrea Dossena? Robbie Keane? Martin Skrtel? Albert Riera? Not to mention the likes of Peter Crouch who were sold on pretty sharpish and the endless conveyor belt of 'keepers and youths they seem to sign. You could say he's been unlucky... Ryan Babel never realised his potential, it didn't work out for Robbie Keane and Riera just hasn't adapted to the pace of the Premiership, but £20m on an Italian midfielder whose never seen a season through because of injury is a little extreme.

In this day and age, managers live and die by their signings. Benitez got it right with the likes of Reina and Torres, but Ferguson and Wenger rarely sign duds and, if they do, they're moved on sharpish while the price is still high. Liverpool get Lucas, United get Anderson. Liverpool sign Degen, United get Evra. Liverpool sign Riera, United get Valencia and Obertan.
 

Slipperduke

The Camden Cad
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
4,333
Location
North London
I'm guessing that Rafa's long term contract he signed last summer is his saving grace.

The multi-millions it would cost in compensation should they terminate his contract, bearing in mind the club's debt and the real possibility of no Champions League money coming in next season, is probably inaffordable at this time.

That's pretty much the size of it. If he only had a year and half to run, he'd have been booted out ages ago. They really are absolutely ****ed.
 

Pubey

Guest
lol rumour has it Liverpool just sent emails around yesterday advertising the 4th round against Burnley!!
 
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