Posts tagged: liverpool

Fernando Torres: Me Thinks You Doth Protest Too Much

By , March 11, 2011 9:58 am

For all the pain that Liverpool has had to endure in the last number of months, culminating in the, at the time, devastating loss of Fernando Torres, the club and its fans are moving on. We are moving forward into the future, one step at a time, rebuilding the confidence that was stripped away from the club under the horrible regime of Hicks and Gillette and the disastrous reign of Roy Hodgson. No one involved with the club is under any illusions that the club is anywhere near its best, but the progress, positivity, and incredible signs of life under Kenny Dalglish are proving that the end to this fallow period is nigh.

Fans of the club have recently been reveling in the joy that is Luis Suarez, and are even seeing signs of what Andy Carroll will offer once match fit. Mouths across Merseyside are indeed salivating at the prospects of a fully fit Liverpool across the board. Kenny Dalglish reminded the club that while the departure of former idol Fernando Torres was painful, no one player is bigger than the club. Almost immediately, everyone adopted that attitude and the team has since gone from strength to strength, together as one.

As Liverpool looks to the future, it seems odd to keep hearing reports from Fernando Torres, who seems to be focused on the past. Since leaving the club in a rather backstabbing manner, Torres has come out in the press time and again to remind everyone (mostly himself) that he is happy with his move.

This of course despite the fact he has made no impact at his new, “bigger” club. I have watched every game he has played in a Chelsea shirt and all I see is someone just as lost as they were when they were at Liverpool. Not only should Torres leave well enough alone and move on, like Liverpool has already, but maybe he should stop blaming everyone else for where he is as a player and start looking at himself.

Walk On, Just Walk On Already

Time is the great leveler, and as time has slowly moved away from the end of January when the shocking transfer took place, perspective now grows. Fans were tired of defending Torres’ constant moodiness. I’m sure the manager was tired of it too. I’m sure his fellow teammates didn’t appreciate the way he sulked on the pitch when many of them were doing their best to bring the club out its misery. The bottom line is despite our better judgment, the fans defended Torres because he was our player, and he should have defended Liverpool because that was his club.

After all his statements since leaving, his newest one really takes the cake. He claims to Spanish paper Marca that at Chelsea, “There are more personal relationships and jokes between the players than there were at Liverpool. Everything was much more serious there. Here, you don’t have to prove you are a professional, it is assumed.” To quote the old saying, it is the plainest instance of the pot calling the kettle black. No “professional,” as he claims, leaves a club in the manner he left Liverpool. And remember Fernando, you should never assume, as it makes an ass out of you and me.

Fernando Torres goes on to blame the sale of Liverpool for wanting to leave stating, “The institution was in chaos with the sale. There was all this talk of possible projects. In many ways it reminded me of (former club) Atletico Madrid… a great history, many ideas but without money, it needed time. I don’t have that.” He continues, “I knew I was an idol for the fans but it wasn’t the same any more.”

So he blames the sale of the club and the chaos that ensued, he blames the manager, he blames his fellow players for being too serious, while at the same time not being professional enough, he blames the former owners for not investing when they should have, and he torments the fans by reminding them that he was their idol, but he no longer felt the same about them anymore.

When someone tries this hard to convince every one of his or her behavior, you start questioning why. Torres convinced himself that this was the right move, but you have to think he’s really not so sure. He must have watched Liverpool’s performance on Sunday against Manchester United, especially Luis Suarez, and started doubting his hasty decisions, wondering what could have been had he stayed.

While Liverpool fans are sick of hearing from him as they look to focus on their team and the players that want to play for Liverpool, maybe he should do the same with his new club. The more he opens his mouth, the more I don’t believe a word he says. Indeed, me thinks the Spaniard doth protest too much.

Chelsea Football Club: The Next Fallen Giant?

By , February 18, 2011 3:50 pm

According to Frank Lampard, “It would be a disaster” if Chelsea don’t qualify for the Champions League. At this point in time, there is a fairly decent sized question mark over whether the West London club will indeed capture fourth place. With Tottenham grabbing fourth spot by securing a win last weekend while Chelsea could only manage a draw at Fulham, and Liverpool insistent on nipping at both their heels, nothing is a guarantee. Such is the shock of how far they’ve fallen that Lampard now insists it’s hugely important to reach the finals of the cup competitions they remain in, as well as keep their eye on the ball when it comes to finishing in the top four at the end of the season.

Champions No More - Frank Lampard Laments Chelsea's Downward Spiral

It is no surprise that the Chelsea and England midfielder is concerned about his team’s position. At the start of the season, Chelsea looked to run away with the title leaving the rest of the pack to chase after the remaining three spots for the Champions League. A massive shift in the last few months has seen Chelsea go from first to fifth. They have remained strong in the cup competitions, but their league form has taken a massive nosedive.

It may be a bit cheeky as a Liverpool supporter to say that Chelsea’s downward spiral began when Liverpool (with Fernando Torres) beat them 2-0 back in November. But since then, their record has been Won: 5, Drawn: 6, and Lost: 6. The dropping of 30 points in the matter of three months is enormous and has left Chelsea floundering for a Champions League place with twelve games left to play.

For all the talk this season of just how bad Liverpool have been, they are six points behind Chelsea in sixth place. Granted, Chelsea have a game in hand, but the gap is not as wide as it may seem based on Liverpool’s performance in the first half of the season.

It remains to be seen where each team will finish come May; such is the nature of this up and down season. And Chelsea may well surprise everyone and climb their way back to the top. Not to the top of the league, but at least into the top four.

Just a year ago, finishing seventh was a new low for Liverpool, and being out of the Champions League for the first time in years was a huge blow. It never occurred to most Liverpool fans that that was even a possibility until it happened. It signaled the end of a successful era, as well as the end of Rafael Benitez.

There seems to be a longstanding view from rival teams that Liverpool has an attitude of entitlement, and that the club feels its rightful place is firmly in the top four. Whether or not that’s true, that belief was shattered after finishing seventh.

But if other clubs can paint Liverpool with this entitlement brush, than surely they must be painted as well? For Frank Lampard to say it would be a disaster if Chelsea finished outside the top four, than it was undoubtedly a disaster for Liverpool when they did.

It was a tough season to endure, compounded by the following six months of negative transfer dealings, Roy Hodgson, and the worst run of games in over 50 years. That season truly set Liverpool back further than just being out the Champions League. The owners’ and manager’s relationship became untenable, the club sold one of their best players in Javier Mascherano, and they brought in players not nearly up to the level that Liverpool normally requires. All this combined with Roy Hodgson’s clueless undertaking at the helm eventually lead Fernando Torres to his Liverpool exit, under very acrimonious circumstances.

Fernando Torres Has So Far Failed To Live Up To Expectations In Chelsea Blue

The attitude toward Liverpool has remained one of “they deserve it,” “they’re not good enough,” “their players are rubbish.” In the span of a year and a half when the team barely missed out on a first placed finish, they went from hero to zero. Yet somehow you don’t get the same feeling when it comes to Chelsea. All you ever seem to hear is how Chelsea have the quality needed and shouldn’t be finishing outside the top four, it just wouldn’t be right if they did.

The press and Chelsea fans seem to think that because of having one of the most expensive and successful squads in recent years, they can do no wrong and that they too are now “entitled” to finish in at least the top four. Well Chelsea, welcome to Liverpool’s world, where nothing is a guarantee when it comes to football.

That’s not to say that Chelsea aren’t capable of finishing fourth. They are more than capable. But then, you could say, so were Liverpool.

Chelsea need to face facts just as Liverpool were forced to. They have a squad with multiple players perhaps having had their best days behind them, and this includes Fernando Torres. Whatever he’s done, £50 million was still an enormous amount for a striker about to turn 27 and with a massive history of injury problems. Chelsea were definitely looking to him to salvage their season with a cup win, but you have to say that outside the FA Cup, it’s not looking likely with the strength of teams in the Champions League this year.

Liverpool have had to endure a very difficult eighteen months, and with Fernando Torres leaving in January, things only seemed more bleak. But now there’s a new sense of renewed pride in the team that has been instilled by Kenny Dalglish. With new owners taking over in the fall, two new strikers signed in the January transfer window, and the youth team looking frighteningly good, the future seems quite bright for Liverpool and the hard times look to finally be over.

For Chelsea, the future is a little less certain. Ancelotti has the massive weight of expectations on his shoulders to deliver Chelsea back into the Champions League while he keeps one eye looking over his shoulder to see if Abramovich is ready to wield his axe. And with more financial losses announced, plus the gargantuan £70 million plus outlaid for players last month, it’s a wonder how Chelsea will cope with the Financial Fair Play rules. Without the bottomless bank account to recruit players for a team on the precipice of an immense overhaul, you wonder just how they will handle the seasons to come.

As Liverpool have had to put up with the disappointment that came with not being in the Champions League, so too will Chelsea if they don’t manage to finish fourth. Perhaps it is what they need to be reminded that no club is entitled to anything in football.

The Blame Game

By , December 31, 2010 12:50 pm

Hodgson Can't Help But Blame Everyone Else For Liverpool's Woes

I think a lot of Liverpool supporters went to sleep following the abhorrent loss to Wolves at home with one phrase swimming through their confused heads; “He must go now, surely.”

‘He’ refers to Liverpool’s morose and often oblivious manager, Roy Hodgson, a man that came to Liverpool on the back of some decent results for a mid table team. Did the fans want him? Not really. Did the fans force themselves to continue to support their club despite a defective ownership regime and a new manager they didn’t particularly prefer? Yes, absolutely.

But rather than wake up to A) a resounding resignation from Hodgson following his abject failure at the helm of Liverpool Football Club or B) A resolution from the club’s new owners, NESV, to rid the club of its poor performing manager in time to salvage what’s left of the season, fans awoke to finger pointing. And this wasn’t just any old finger pointing that Hodgson has done in the past, like calling out the poor performances of players, blaming his predecessor for all the players at his disposal (blaming his predecessor for pretty much everything that’s gone wrong since he took over, come to that), or blaming the owners for not providing him enough funds to buy useful players. No. This blame was now being shifted to the fans.

In his own misdirected hostility, Hodgson now finds that the source of his managerial ineptitude lies at the feet of the people that pay their hard earned money to watch the team they love. What Liverpool may have lacked for a number of years on the pitch in terms of trophies, they have never lacked in the all out support that the fans give them. While other clubs bay for blood as early as a few games into the season, Liverpool fans have patiently watched their team get worse with each game and yet still not call for the manager’s head wholly and completely. Until now that is.

“Ever since I came here the famous Anfield support hasn’t really been there,” Hodgson noted after the loss to Wolves. Since the fans never wanted him in the first place, and Hodgson has now secured this to be Liverpool’s worst start to the season since they were relegated in 1954, it’s hard to understand why he feels he hasn’t seen enough support. The fundamental point he’s missing is that respect and support is earned, not just given because you show up and claim to be a successful manager. So far as I’ve seen from his past, he has had no real success when it comes to managing at the highest level and winning a number of trophies. No offense to the Swedish league and the Swiss national team, but managing there is not what I consider great achievements in the world of football, and I think Liverpool fans agree.

Many in the media, as well as Hodgson, have constantly used the lack of quality in the side as an excuse for the poor performances, mainly blaming Benitez for below par buys. While this reason can’t be completely discarded, it’s hard to believe that a majority of the players that played in the season securing second place with only two losses is not capable of playing any better than they are currently this season. Although a few of those quality players have left (Alonso, Mascherano), Hodgson deemed it appropriate to bring in players he felt suitable for the club, while also discarding some valuable players at his disposable (Insua, Aquilani). With the exception of Meireles, the dross he’s brought in has only added to the shortcomings Liverpool needed to address, not make worse. There is no doubt the team needed rebuilding after a 7th placed finish, but to get rid of quality players and bring in aging ones was not the way to go. Those decisions must solely rest on Hodgson’s shoulders, despite how much blame he wants to lay on Benitez and even Christian Purslow.

The players most definitely have some responsibility in the way the current season has unraveled, but it’s not the players who make the team selection, or decide the tactics. Both of these football fundamentals have been so abstract and lacking any kind of masterful thought, that it’s a wonder the team’s done as well as they have. Playing Kuyt on the left, Meireles on the right, with no thought for pace or wide play was not the way to win at home against Wolves. Leaving out an improved Maxi and a fit-again Agger only compounded the bizarre team selection. Hodgson is not lacking enough quality to be consistently dropping points the way he has. But even putting results to one side, this system is not how Liverpool play. Deep, long balls searching for one of the best strikers in the world, and, as Hodgson seems to have forgotten, works magic with the ball at his feet, is never going to score you goals. The woeful tactics Hodgson has imposed must be something he can take blame for, if nothing else.

Oh how I wished that Hodgson would stop singing the song of blame about everyone else being responsible for Liverpool’s shambolic state. Instead, I dreamt of him belting out Led Zeppelin’s “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” before signing his resignation with immediate effect. But alas, it was only a dream and reality wreaked its ugly head in my face as I awoke to the news that he was not only still in charge, but chastising the fans for their lack of support. Face it Roy, it is nobody’s fault but yours that Liverpool are where they are, and the sooner you face that reality and move on from the club, the sooner you might just gain the support of its fans.

A Message From Liverpool To Manchester United: We’re Not So Different, You And I

By , October 19, 2010 1:14 pm

Wayne Rooney Eyes A Move Away From Old Trafford

They say that football, like most things in life, is cyclical. Peaks and troughs await the best and worst of teams, and just how long each one lasts is up to those involved. By no means is either a high or low guaranteed to be forever, which for some teams can ultimately be good, or for those at the top, a disaster.

Just ask Liverpool. This is the team that was at one time the best in England and the best in Europe. Consistently, year in and year out, they competed with the best players and best managers the game had to offer. It must also be pointed out that this period of utter dominance in the 70s and 80s was followed by a period of footballing wilderness in the 90s, at which point another team took over as the dominant force in England (more on them in a bit).

Even in the 2000s, Liverpool maintained their dominance in the “Top Four” domestically and continued to be commanding on the European stage. Under Rafa Benitez alone, Liverpool made it to four European semi-finals in six seasons, along with two finals, winning one of them. Although there were always some setbacks, Liverpool looked a great side in Benitez’s penultimate season by finishing second in the Premier League, their best finish in a long time.

But alas, Liverpool still find themselves in the position they are in now. From finishing second place two seasons ago, to seventh place last season, to currently in the relegation zone. It’s a harsh reality to observe after five years of steady highs and rebuilding, but the crash has hit and hit hard. The team now flounders after three years spent under poor ownership and previous and current miss-management. While there’s no one person to blame, whether it be the owners, Benitez, or Hodgson, the club has slid from its position of grace and is struggling to cope.

Then there’s Manchester United. A team so dominate in the 90s and 2000s that they climbed from winning seven division titles before that period to winning 11 in the last 17 years. Oddly enough, they won their 18th league title two years ago, equaling Liverpool’s all-time record, the same year Liverpool finished second at the end of an excellent season. Both teams finished the 2008-2009 season on a high, with a visible momentum for the future.

Eighteen months later and United look a completely different side, while, like Liverpool, selling their best players off and not bringing in adequate replacements. You can look at the negative impact owners such as George Gillett and Tom Hicks have had at Liverpool and see a very similar impact the Glazers have had at United. While they appeared to improve for a time under the American family, they have found themselves faltering after some notable sales and a heavy increase in debt.

This season has no doubt started poorly for the runners-up. A succession of dropped points to teams like Fulham, Everton, Bolton, Sunderland, and West Brom have left them stewing in mediocrity. No longer are they the fearsome team from the Northeast that used to put teams to the sword, but rather a side with a geriatric core and a defense resembling a sieve.

It’s not necessarily a game of “Let’s Blame The Owners,” but the debt that United now find themselves in, despite their large gate receipts and continued appearances in Europe, has to be worrying. And even with the incredible haul of £80 million for Ronaldo, whom have they replaced the prolific player with? The team has failed to attract stars of that caliber and started to become a team of unimpressive ‘value’ players. The likes of Valencia, Javier Hernandez, Michael Owen, and Gabriel Obertan have yet to impress at Old Trafford, and most importantly, they’ve yet to impress the only star player left in Wayne Rooney.

It’s sad news for those that follow United to hear of Rooney’s apparent desire to leave the club, following in the footsteps of his former strike partners Ronaldo and Tevez. The situation may change, but he appears out the door to the nearest trophy winning side in blue.

As Ferguson and Rooney remain at odds, it’s the first time the public have been privy to chinks in the United armor. While it may seem unfathomable to United fans to be protesting outside a courtroom to oust their current owners and languishing in the drop zone in desperate need of a turnaround, that’s exactly what Liverpool fans thought a year ago.

Is It Just Me, Or Are Defenses Shocking This Season?

By , September 23, 2010 8:36 am

Chelsea Have Proved How Poor Defenses Are This Season

You have to look pretty hard at the Premier League results so far to find a decent amount of clean sheets. It seems that with each game in this short-lived season, it’s becoming increasingly less likely there will be no goals. While this is good for entertainment value, I can guarantee every club is not happy with their defenses at the moment.

Two of the obvious examples are Liverpool and Manchester United. Despite United’s recent win over Liverpool, neither team has started the season well. Most worryingly for both sides is the fact that their defenses have leaked so many goals.

Between the 2005/2006 season and the 2008/2009 season, Liverpool were known for being the clean sheet keepers of Europe. No one was able to hold a 1-0 score-line like them, and you always felt confident they wouldn’t concede.

Now they can’t keep a clean sheet to save their life, unless they’re not scoring themselves, that is. That being said, they’ve actually performed well in the Europa League, but it’s hardly the same opposition the Champions League and Premier League offer.

United have done a fair bit better, but once again they are a team whose defense is a shadow of their former self. So far this season, they’ve conceded two goals against Fulham, three goals against Everton, and two against Liverpool. Two of these games they dropped points in and the other they won by way of Liverpool’s defense being slightly worse than their own.

Merely two years ago in the 2008/2009 season, when Man United last won the title, they kept an impressive 24 clean sheets in the league. With Vidic and Ferdinand at the back, you felt their defense was always rock solid. Now that’s not the case.

Liverpool and United aren’t the only teams in the league giving up goals. Arsenal have kept only one clean sheet this season and that was against Blackpool. Manchester City, Tottenham, Everton, and Aston Villa have all conceded goals.

Not even Chelsea, the current league leaders with maximum points this season, have kept a clean sheet in all five games so far. That being said, Chelsea have also majorly contributed to the lack of clean sheets in the league overall. Their goal difference is +20 after only five games.

This statistic is slightly misleading, though. While Chelsea have started the season well, you’d have to say their fixture schedule has been incredibly kind. Winning 6-0 against consistent bottom of the table teams is not what you’d call impressive. In reality, it’s a combination of Chelsea’s excellence in front of goal, as well as incredibly poor defenses that have created their overwhelming lead at the top of the table.

It’s still too early to decide anything concrete about the season, but one thing is fairly obvious. The defensive frailties of the top teams could really cost them by the end of the season. That being said, I hope it continues if only to make the season more interesting.

Panorama Theme by Themocracy