Monday, 3 August 2009

Fairies across the Mersey?

I am a brave soul. I can be honest when it comes to my emotions and admit to fear. And i smell something in the air.

Every season, almost without fail, i utter these immortal words:

"This is Liverpool's season."

I say it without real thought, but every year i utter this ....out of fear.

Now this is probably because they are our sworn rivals from down the M62. Maybe it is because of the annually torturing they would put me through as a child in the 1980s. Maybe it is just because I'm scared of men in shell-suits and bubble perms. I don't know. But this year i think my words may have some substance. NO...I FEAR they may have substance!

Liverpool's record last year was admirable. Only losing a couple of games was excellent. The half truth that "if they had managed to keep Torres fit all season then they may have conquered all" still remains. But the real truth is they failed. Just as they have failed in the league, now for a whole generation worth of time.

However, the fear remains.

You can't help but think that if The Spanish Waiter was only able to get out a few more plates, clear the tables a tad faster and maybe make the after-dinner coffees a bit quicker, that his Liver Birds themed restaurant would be scooping Michelin Stars. They are not far off it. But it is always that extra 5% that wins you the Premier League. If you do not have it...then you simply do not lift the silver pot with the gold crown.

We all know about the threat of Gerrard. And here, i certainly do not need to start up about the gorgeous looking lady that is Fernando T. They will both drive the Scouse Machine on this year, but hopefully will not do what they did last year to me...make me watch the most embarrassing 90 minutes of football i have ever seen in the flesh. (yes you all know what I'm on about) But as much as i have never thought United ever won trophies just because of Ronaldo and Tevez, I also think that Liverpool just simply do not have enough with just these two world class players pushing ALL of their team's defies logic.

I think they have taken steps to rectify this through the signing of Glen Johnson. He is without doubt the most improved English right-back in the last couple of seasons, and gives their team the drive and quality they need wide. Its a positive step in the right direction. There is also talk about bids for Silva and Villa..again both top notch in their positions. They too would give Liverpool that extra "5%" However, the reality that Alonso maybe leaving, Liverpool's not so secret weapon at times last year, starts to negate this recruitment work. If they lose Alonso, and it looks like Real will get their way again, then i think they simply lose far too much midfield quality in one giant swoop. If they manage to recycle quickly the Madrid millions, then who knows...but new players always need time to bed in. Whatever. Losing the Spanish international would be destabilizing...not because he has left Liverpool behind...but because they simply do not have the current depth to NOT let his departure hurt them. This is good news.

I do think this year will be a close run thing. And maybe out of all of the big 4 we will be the one showing more teething problems than we would like. But my fear is not unfounded. I have total respect for Liverpool. Even if the sight of Jamie Carragher makes me want to violently puke! (Its an involuntary action) One day soon they are gonna be able to stick it to us..I believe in the law of averages.

Lets just hope Liverpool are average in 2010


  1. nice blog me ol mucker :)

  2. Although it looks most likely now, I really hope Alonso doesn't leave, he is such a calming influence. All at once aggressive, an accurate passer, great positional awareness, brilliant shot on him. I think one of the more underrated players in Europe.

    Yes, ok, I'm a Liverpool fan. My instant response to Rob is quite plain. Rafa doesn't instil a ruthless spirit into his squad. On their day, undeniably, they can beat any team in Europe. However, over a season, they simply do not perform consistently enough in terms of grit, mental toughness and overall effectiveness in front of goal. Just look at how many games Liverpool drew in their last couple of Premiership seasons: 13 draws in 2007-8, 11 draws in 2008-9.

    That, for me, is the big story. Liverpool have a great defensive record, but don't quite have full conviction and end-product going forward. Unless there has been a sea-change in mentality over the summer I'm not sure anything will change. I hope Rafa has worked on this, and has got the 'not-quite' players to perform to a higher level, which I believe most are capable. If Ryan Babel at last blooms into the Thierry Henry-esque player that I believe his talent promises, Kuyt steps up an extra gear and adds more goals to his formidable work-rate and effort, Johnson adds real steel and an attacking threat from deep, Reira adds consistency to his occasional mercurial wing play, Lucas keeps his head screwed on, and Mascherano starts more games, Liverpool will challenge. The importance Gerrard, Torres, Reina and Carragher remains obvious.

    I think the Liverpool squad need to be a little more hungry, ruthless and hard when it comes to playing away at Birmingham on a wet November evening. Until you see a Liverpool that turn over mid-to-bottom teams, home or away, on a frequent basis, I can't see a challenge to the title. In fact, my money is on Chelsea ;-)

  3. Torres staying fit for the entire season is a big ask. Those ungodly fast players of size just always seem to break down during a season as long as the EPL. Think of Saha. Even Giggs has had hamstring problems (the achilles heel of the lightning quick). If he misses more than a few weeks it will be another season with all the goal scoring weight on Stevie G's shoulders. Don't fear Liverpool, Chelsea is the real threat.

  4. Nice read Rob - Liverpool certainly looked improved last season. Lets hope it was a one off.