Thursday, December 31, 2009

Let's be Realistic: Happy New Year 2010

Happy New Year 2010.

For the past week, there was so much to write about our team and the ongoings with our club that it was going to be a heavy task to even start writing. But then I saw an article which pretty much stated what I wanted to say and then more. It is very long and would need much patience to read but it is worth it. Many of the points are repeated and we have probably read them, but it at least sums up most of the circumstances that have surrounded us.

The win against Villa showed our team having almost all players available and we can forsee in not to distance a future we will be able to field our strongest side again. The way we bombarded Villa reminded me of our display at the end of last season. The back to back wins would also have surely gave us the much needed confidence against Spurs next week. Among the positives in the game against Villa  includes Torres' record-breaking 50th goal, Insua having a hell of a game again (what a bright future this lad has in him), Lucas without Mascha around seems to play better (I am really glad Rafa believes in him), Aquilani getting more English football experience under his belt and showing enough glimpses of an awesome player he could be for us (no wonder Rafa mentioned a fit Aquilani is worth much more than what we paid for him -- 5M first payment makes sense now). And I am sure Rafa will mould him into a better player than he was, as was done to our other players.

The downside of the game was the knock on Johnson and I understand it is a ligament tear, which at minimum is 3 weeks and the worst 2 months in the sidelines. Seems like our injury jinx this season is very much still around.On the poor performances of some players, I feel they are very much overplayed so far  and need some rest (Kuyt comes to mind). Maybe with some new inclusion during the January break (no harm being optimistic here), these players could be rested and used sparingly to ensure we keep on fighting to the top of the league. 

One thing that really put a smile on my face last week was Rafa's reply to the journalists. This is after his apt reply to the Souness and Klinsmann slatings towards him a few weeks back. This time, when asked ‘Will you resign if you don’t make fourth place?’, he replied ‘You Journalists, when you say something or make a mistake, do you resign?’ Something like that. Haha! 

Below is the link to the article mentioned above (if you have not read it yet). Have fun reading!

http://www.lfcpost.com/item.php?item=73319

YNWA

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Here is something good to read during this festive season:

 http://tomkinstimes.com/2009/12/the-roots-of-struggle/ 

YNWA

Monday, December 14, 2009

Frustrating Times at LFC

There is no denying that the loss against Arsenal last night was frustrating for the majority of us. Many of us had expected that we would win this game because, at long last, we had players coming back from injuries and Rafa had almost his best players at his disposal. It was also a great opportunity to close the gap at the top, especially when the other contenders for the top four faltered in one way or another.

Well, personally it had slipped my mind that players who are back from an injury would be rusty, as what we saw in Torres who would have easily scored that one clear opportunity he had in the first half. Torres' display last night was clearly an indication of rustiness because we all know what he is capable of. The same goes for Aquilani who came in in the second half, and asking him to salvage us the game was in a way asking a bit too much.

Our first-half performance was a good indication of our team being back to its best form. If our finishings were better or if Torres were fully-fit, I am sure our display in the first-half itself would have assured us a win. My major complaint last night was Benayoun having to play on the right because if we had Reira fit, he would have provided us with more crosses. Benayoun, as we saw, had to always cut in as I am sure his left foot for crosses would have been as good as to Aurelio's right-foot.

Motivational wise, Arsenal had a good cause to go all out since a win for them would have taken them 3 points off the Mancs with a game in hand, which they managed. I am not saying that we didn't have that motivation but clearly what happened in the second half was something we were not prepared for.

After all the onslaughts we put unto Arsenal, to see the ball deflecting that a many times before Johnson's own goal was devastating in a way. Although it would have been difficult to read it in the players, I am sure they would have thought "WTF! With all the effort of having an almost full squad that played some decent football, after only 5 mins in the second half this happens. Did we deserve this?" This after having a call for a clear-cut penalty denied by the ref. Then 8 minutes laters, Arshavin who hardly had a game, scored from the only half-chance that he got. It would not have been easy for the players to be so composed after that. Hence we saw a wee bit of desperation afterwards when the balls were most of the time quickly knocked forward in hopes it would fall to our forwards. The rest is history. Playing against Arsenal is of course never easy, and that is an understatement.

I have been called a Rafalogist by some quarters and again I would like to state again that I am against those who thinks by removing Rafa out now, all our problems will be solved. They call me Rafalogist and I call them Anti-Rafa Brigade. I would like to think that some amongst the Anti-Rafa Brigade are just frustrated while some fail to see what Rafa has done for us since taking over. They would rather listen to SlySport and the likes of Souness (don't you love Rafa's response to both Souness and Klinsmann?) and Redknapp jr. Well, there is no point in repeating what I have been thinking so far because it has been stated many times over. 

What really mindboggles me is some of these fans are actually happy when we falter because it proves their argument. They do not want to listen to the facts that for a team to succeed nowadays, it needs strong backing of funds, not only for buying players but also for paying high wages to make them happy enough to warm the bench. 

What we have suspected a long time ago was mentioned by Rafa Benitez himself that the priority this year was to take care of the debt situation in LFC. That means Rafa needed and will need to sell to buy and to sell to increase the players wages when we offer them new contracts. That means Rafa would need to sell to service the debts. And I will not be surprised if Mascha is sold in the summer (extend his contract before that so that we get a better price for him when Barcelona come knocking) because we need to pay our debts. Debts which was not there before the American Jokers took over. And when Rafa sells, making a profit in the process, he will only receive a paltry sum for the players. Just like in the case of Alonso.

Well, here we have a manager who just signed a new five-year contract knowing the situation beforehand and agreed with the owners. So, even if Rafa did not sign the extension, some other manager would have done the same and that manager would have been facing the same kind of problems Rafa is facing in relation to funds for players. So, how different would things be then? But what is important in this aspect is we do not become another Leeds United. And we should be backing the team and the manager to ensure we qualify for the CL next season. Clearly this added pressure on the team is not needed at this moment.

Some might argue Rafa's tactics and approaches to games are wrong, hence we are not performing (forget about the injuries we have had because some of these fans do not want to hear that). Last season Rafa showed what the team is capable of and his tactics, if they were wrong, wouldn't have taken us so close to the title. Some fans argue the players he has brought to the club are not good enough. Well, we know the sort of players he wanted but could not get them due to either lack of funds or Parry's blunders. But look at the line-up we have at the moment and count how many players are good enough to be playing for their international teams. If Rafa is blind to talent, then you need to also accuse the international managers to be blind too.

In a nutshell, if we were to give Michael Schumacher a Proton Saga he will also falter. Then we ask for the head of Schumacher because he failed to deliver and ask Jensen Button to drive the car. And it will go on and on.  Bad analogy, I know, because clearly these drivers will never ever be able to improve the Proton Saga into a Ferrari, but in the case of Liverpool, Rafa will be able to at least take us close to the finishing line ahead. Something he almost did last season, against all the odds facing us in the face. And I believe, given enough time and patience, he will eventually find the balance he is seeking and deliver us the Holy Grail.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Unlucky Liverpool FC

After beating Drebecen and Everton in away games, we could only 'manage' to hold Blackburn to a 0-0 draw at their turf. The last fixture was a disappointing game for Liverpool fans because clearly we could have won that game if only lady luck had decided to throw even a wee bit of the Mona Lisa smile towards us. Because in reality, she has shunned us since the start of this season.

There was so many positives from that game that I have decided to focus on. While some fans keep on harping about "Rafa this and Rafa that", I would like to see it as another clean sheet against a formidable opponent (check Blackburn's home record) after the many problems in our back four that have been haunting us since the start of the season look to have finally been overcome. We seem to be back to our best in keeping clean sheets which has been our strength since Rafa took over.

While some fans continue to moan about our midfield, and how Rafa is still to blame for Alonso departure (yeah..right) and how it has cost us the shot at the title, I would like to focus on how Lucas has been transformed into a so much better player from last season. I admit I used to be quite pissed off at Lucas last season and was occasionally guilty of giving the stick to Rafa for keeping his faith on Lucas, but now I happily accept the humble pie. That's why Rafa is the manager of the greatest club on earth.

Of course Lucas was never ready to carry the responsibilities Rafa put on his shoulders (people tend to compare him to a 30M player), but when we needed him to do the job with Aquilani sidelined for much longer than it was thought at first, Lucas has delivered. We don't see him giving away stupid freekicks in dangerous areas anymore. He looks to have much more confidence in him now and outshining half-fit players like Gerrard everytime, doesn't give away the ball that easily and most importantly, and marshalls the midfield when we go forward. He has more composure nowadays and doesn't 'only give sideway passes' as fans used to complain but tries to execute the telling and penetrating passes and gets closer to the opposition goal areas than before. And yes, he is not the finished article yet and needs to continue to learn the trade, especially his shots at goal, but we can see how he has played the man-of-match role in so many games in lots of fans' eyes. And the best thing is he is still young and had never complained about the sticks he has had to endure during his dark-days both from fans and the media and looks to be thankful with the faith Rafa has given him and in keeping his head down to continue to improve on his game. Classy lad I would say. Let's hope he goes on and improves further for years to come.

As for Aquilani, we will at last see him start against Fiorentina tomorrow and I really can't wait to see him play. I have read lots of comments from fans in Italy on how good he is and, as Rafa has said, a fully fit Aquilani is worth much much more than the 20M we paid for him. This is a perfect game for him to start, unlike the previous ones when he was not match-fit and when the stakes were high, not to mention the condition of the pitch not favouring a player that has just come back from injuries like him. I trust Rafa because he knows the actual condition of the player after seeing him in training everyday. I won't make the mistake of expecting Aquilani to immediately play like Maradona or score 6 goals in this game, all from 30 yards away, because a player in his condition will take some time to fit into the jigsaw puzzle. But this game will somewhat prepare him for the cruncher against Arsenal this weekend and that game is one hell of an important game for us.

Another positive so far this season is our young striker who had to endure, just like Lucas has had to, the responsibility of headspearing our attack in the absence on Torres. It is a pity that N'gog had to be thrown into the games in this fashion but with Rafa's hand tied at the back due to lack of quality options upfront, we shouldn't be asking for so many miracles although N'gog has shown enough class to become a great player. His touches are sublime and his ability to hold the ball upfront is remarkable for such a young player. His positioning and his finishing is definitely better than Kuyt's or Voronin's and hence understandably Rafa, given the circumstances, prefers him over the others. N'gog should be applauded for having to do what he had to do so far, mostly for facing the expectations of the fans in brave fashion after what Fowler and Owen (the prick) had done for us at similar age in the past.

It is December and being 12 points off the pace from leaders Chelsea and only 4 points off third place Arsenal is not such a bad thing, given the circumstances. Circumstances in which Lady Luck has not been so kind to us. We have been unlucky to have had the american owners taking over our club in such pitiful manner. I would take the 20M Moores would had thrown to us every season over the lies and promises made by the dreadful cowboys. We have been very very unlucky with the unseen-before injuries, up to 12 players at one time, that we have had so far this season because I always believe had our team been fully fit since day one, our position in the CL and the league would have been better. We have been unlucky that Rafa could not buy players of his choice and favourable covers for our first team players and had to throw in young guns when they got injured. We have been unlucky that we had to play unfit and half-fit players. We have been unlucky that so much pressure has been put on the club by fans (blame Rafa here for creating the expectations amongst us by taking the 2nd spot last season) and the unfriendly media not to mention the beachball and the referees. And the list goes on and on...

So, it is quite mindboggling that some fans choose to go after Rafa's head as if he purposely hexed the team to mediocracy when the writings on the wall is so obvious of his achievements so far at our club. He has shown what we are capable of last season against the odds in which so many other teams spent more money than us. And I believe when all our injured players are fit again, we will again go on our winning ways and the realistic top 4 position at the end of the season is not that far-fetched. I have argued with some fans when they said we should be winning the title this season and not aiming for top 4 and when I asked why we MUST win it this season, most of them hit the wall in their arguments. Granted that not all LFC 'fans' on the net are actually LFC fans (I believe there are many fans of the opposition clubs having a laugh at our expense and probably some are planted as CyberTroopers by certain quarters to achieve their agenda), it saddens me to see some fellow fans continue to read and believe the lies spewed by the media and choose not to listen to blatant arguments, some based on statistics. And in doing so, for some reasons only they know, they go against the traditional view of Liverpool fans being the most knowledgible fans in the world.

We are still in the running for two cups that I hope we lift this season no matter what they say about how unimportant those cups are. And I feel we will at last have a streak of unbeaten run and hopefully when all the injured players are back, we will again strike fear in our opponents when we score goals for fun. It was not such a long time ago that we saw what we are capable of.

Friday, November 27, 2009

How Rafa benitez has overachieved at LFC

For those who want to take a peek into some statistics, this latest one by Paul Tomkins is one of the greatest I have come across:

http://tomkinstimes.com/2009/11/liverpool-can’t-afford-to-win-the-league/

YNWA!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Reality Check One...Two..

It has been quite a while since I last posted but fortunately the hectic weeks are behind me now. I did manage to catch all the live games of LFC on the telly here, even the one last night that kicked off at 3.45AM, and also got to always keep in touch with the news over my mobile but mostly from the more 'sane' sites.

If my past weeks were damning, I cannot start to imagine what it was like for Rafa Benitez. And I am glad I am just a fan and not the manager of LFC because I do not think I would have survived the horrifying ordeal he had to undergo. It looked like, and still looks like, every Tom, Dick, And Harry is going after his jugular.

But that is not the truth altogether, because there are quite a number of santuaries, if you may call it that, where the fans get to discuss matters related to LFC mostly with proper facts and figures, where almost everyone is level-headed and would take whatever that is reported in the news with a pinch of salt.

Some people call these fans the rafalogists, as if Rafa Benitez needs to apologise for anything, while some call them rafatollahs, a term that makes quite a number of us squirm for obvious reasons. The fans, some of them have been following LFC for decades through the thicks and thins, are given these names because apparently they are the ones who are wrongly making 'excuses' for Rafa Benitez, as we all know Rafa is not one of those managers who give excuses that easily. And Rafa is taking them for a ride and they are so stupid (half-a-brainers as some put it) they cannot see the obvious. Fortunately, I can say that I belong to this group of fans that supports Rafa all the way.

This is not to say that Rafa is beyond criticism, because we all know that managers come and go, just like players come and go, but the fans (the actual ones at least) are here to stay and all of us want LFC to be as successful as possible. Then again, there is the term 'supporter' that I feel is sometimes taken too lightly by some quarters. As I cannot speak for these fans, I will just leave it at that but would like to state that some of the crap that comes out from some ex-players and ex-managers is really really disheartening. I just wish that there were a way we could disassociate ourselves from these morons. And the worse part of it all is some of these morons never did really achieve any sorts of  greatness at the club neither as a player nor as a manager. And I am sure we fans can pinpoint them all and their 'achievements'.

The least some of these people could do is to take stock of the problems we have had since Rafa took over until now. We still hope that our team is still up there challenging for glory but somehow I feel the great expectations that was brought upon us by Rafa Benitez himself last season needs to be reassesed.  It hurts to see a great team that ended last season with so much potential seems to have deteriorated over night, which is just impossible.

It is so easy to criticise, especially after a game with the benefit of hindsight, but I would like these people to show us which manager could have done better than Rafa Benitez with all the circumstances that have been surrounding him. Which team could afford to challenge strongly with almost half of the squad out injured (never have we seen such bad luck of injuries before) and those who get to play are either still nursing with injury or thrown into the pitch and given such huge responsibilities when at best they should be playing in the reserve league?

Or show us the manager who would have done a better job than Rafa Benitez with the players he had to buy and sell because of the lack of funds, when one player on the bench of our rivals is more expensive than 3 of ours playing their hearts out on the pitch? Or show us the manager who could have stopped the beachball from scoring against us? Or show us the manager who could have stopped the goals from leaking in when our back four is forced to being rotated so very often? You get my drift here and if it sounds like being an apologist for Rafa, then so be it. 

I used to make fun of ARSEnal and ARSEne Wenger. But after what he told the press the other day about Rafa and the circumstances he is in, I now have more respect for him, a rival manager, than for people like Souness and Jamie Redknapp and gazillions of other morons and the so-called pundits. 

I personally still believe that when we have all the injured players available to Rafa, which would not be that long in the future and if there is no other injuries (touch wood) and when all the players at last get back their confidence, and if we get to be back in the top 4 at the end of December, then we would still have a decent shot at the title. And with Aquailani almost fully fit to play now and maybe one or two additions to the squad during the January break, we get to at last show the form we are capable of, displayed so effectively not too long ago. Until then, I will continue to cross my fingers.

In Rafa we trust.

YNWA!

 

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Poor Anti-Rafa LFC Supporters

I really feel for the 'supporters' who are in the Anti-Rafa Brigade. Yeah, really, if you believe cows can fly. The go on and on about wanting Rafa to be sacked while ignoring glaring FACTS. And what happens to them after each game?

When we lose, these supporters will be happy because they feel that their argument is justified, BUT they will be unhappy because we have lost. And when we win, they will be happy because we won BUT will be unhappy because their argument to 'sack' Rafa would be refuted. Either way, they always remain unhappy and are stuck in the no-win situation. Hence my pity for them.

Maybe they should take up this advice: bet some money on the opposing team to win. Even when LFC loses, they will be happy because they would have won some money afterwards.

I have always suspected that the many of these anti-Rafa fans who comment in blogs are not really supporters of LFC but are having a field-day at our expense. They might actually be supporters of the Mancs and are having a good laugh while jumping into the Anti-Rafa brigade led by pundits and members of the media.

Some are genuine LFC supporters but are brainwashed by the pundits and media into thinking the best solution for LFC at the moment is sacking Rafa. They don't want to see the fact that Rafa has actually overachieved so far, especially if one is to take into account the FACT that funds and achievement is closely related.

Funds includes players wages of course. We have seen how a player would be moaning on the bench and demands first-team football or a transfer out. But once his contract is renewed and he gets higher wages, he will keep quiet. Same case when he is transfered out to a team that pays his a higher wages and he will immediately be happy sitting on the bench, and the demands for first-eleven football is forgotten. 

According to a study by Futebol Finance last year, almost half of football's top 50 earners played for clubs in the Premier League. Eight were at Chelsea and seven at the Mancs, while Liverpool had only four. I am sure currently there are a lot lot more of them in the other teams like Citeh too.

Rafa has been struggling with the funds issue for so long. He is not geting the funds to buy players, to strengthen the team he has built. Try to imagine if Rafa did not have to sell the players from last season, and had brought in Johnson, Aquilani and/or Barry. Imagine how much stronger our beloved team would be!

Rafa had also had to struggle to make players happy with a high wage, players like Crouch, who is not complaining being on the bench anymore after leaving us on the pretext of first-team  football because his has got a higher wage now. But I guess all these fact will be lost on an anti-Rafa fan. Please google for this fact on the correlations between funds/wages and success at soccernomics or something.

How about the fact the Rafa is currently struggling with all the injuries? Gerrard, Aquilani, Johnson, Skrtle, Riera, N'Gog, Agger, Aurelio, Kelly, Cavlieri and Torres are all unfit. Or the fact that Carra and Degen are suspended for the next game? Try taking out that many players, including first-elevens out of the other teams like the Mancs or Chelsea or Spurs or City and see how they perform.

Some fans argue that the modern day football demands quick success unlike those good old days. And I say exactly! What has changed is this demand from 'new' fans. I would like to borrow an analogy from a life-long supporter of LFC from the Kopblog/TIA site and see whether fans would want this manager sacked:

"The team finished runner-up the previous season. Three wins would have sealed the title. The new season started with optimism that their drought in the league could be expunged from memory. The team went unbeaten in the first nine games: W:7 D: 2: L:0. Unfortunately, the team would only win consecutive league games on two occasions after September. Their first loss was in their tenth game, away to their traditional rival.

Then the injuries arrived. By the season’s end only four players ended up featuring in forty or more games in all competitions. The manager had to call on reserves, fringe players, worn-out veterans and untested youth. 

The victories disappeared. Three wins in the league during a twelve games stretch between mid-September through early December: P: 12: W: 3: D: 6 L: 3. One of those losses was a 4-0 hammering against a newly promoted side. They beat their city rivals, but in the very next game, they were humilated 4-1 at home against another traditional rival.

They responded well with straight victories, but then only won one of their next six (P:6 W:1 D:2 L:3) league matches stretching from mid-January to early-March. Their remaining ten league games consisted of six wins and four losses. One of those losses was at home to their city rival. The team finished a disappointing fifth in the league, fourteen points behind their hated cross-town nemesis who finished as champions. By the injury-ravaged season’s end, they had seemingly gone backwards. They lost eleven league games, almost double than the previous seasons total of six. Furthermore, they conceded 42 goals: a stark contrast to 24 the season prior. 

Additionally, the team were embarassingly knocked out of their European competition to a third placed Portuguese side on away goals, bundled out of the League Cup and humiliated in the FA Cup to a team who finished fourth from bottom in the division below them. - Fat Scouser"

If the above manager were sacked because the fans demanded it, LFC would not have been the LFC as we know it today. And yes, that is the difference between the modern-day fans of today and the fans from the greatest manager of all time Shankly's era. 

YNWA - enough said!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

From Lucas to Rafa Benitez: Off With His Head!!

When we beat the Mancs last week, everyone including his pet rock was jumping with joy I am certain. Everyone except those in the clueless bandwagon. Then, afterwe lost to Fulham, the dam burst further!

How do some fans miss the obvious I do not know. We have been overachieving with Rafa at the helm and yet these people scream murder and want Rafa to be sacked. We know that if we don't qualify for the knock-out stages in the CL, we will lose at least another 10 million. Fund which Rafa could do with so as to buy players in the January window because the owners are never going to give him any from their own pockets. That's it if Rafa is actually given the fund from the CL, and it is used not to pay off the interest on the debts. Hence, we need to win in the CL tonight to be able to compete in the PL, no two ways about it, except if some rich billionnaire comes and gives Rafa money to buy, without having to sell. So, was it wrong for Rafa to think about the next important game when we were at Fulham?

Everyone knows about the injuries to our players, including the swine (?) flu pendemic that also hit some players who played in the game against Fulham. A total of 12 players last I heard. Twelve! It was a gamble Rafa took to play some of these players, such as Lucas, and also playing Torres who was also injured and had to be injected because we don't have anyone else to rely on. The substitutes were needed to be done -- one because not to aggravate the injuries and two, for them to be available in the crucial CL game.

Those things are obvious to see by everyone who wants to see it. Unlike the pundits and journalists that have the agenda to vilify Rafa, which sadly I feel would still continue even if Rafa wins the PL. They talk as if they know what really is going on behind the scene when a wee bit of research will tell you about the circumstances we are in. They do it purposely because it sells. Which papers have reported about the ice-bag Torres needed after the Fulham game? None, because that will justify Rafa taking out Torres.

Rafa's records are also there to be seen, a record better than all the current managers such as Fergiescum and also better than Shankly and Paisley. Why isn't people going after Wenger's head or any of the other managers head for that matter? And why is that the expectation for our team is so great that we must win the PL this year? Or we should have won it last year? Or the year before?

Expectation is normal but once should take into account the circumstances. The expectation is so high this season BECAUSE Rafa took us to second spot last season with a point tally the highest since 88. One would think that Rafa is stupid and doesn't know about substitutions and buying players and is not interested buying players like Villa et al. He spent only a net of around 16M a season so far. Heck, by the looks of thing, Rafa seems to be sabotaging LFC, and he himself inflicted all the injuries unto the players and spread the flu himself. So that he could go to Real Madrid! Sheesh... We know why he couldn't buy those players he really wanted, why he had to buy and sign up for free the players he brought in, why he has to sell to buy, why he had to loan off players, etc. People talk as if it is very easy to manage a team like LFC, and this is from people who have never kicked a ball in their life, let alone managing a small team even!

One thing that bothers me. They whack Rafa and his tactics (most times wrongly too) but then do they come up with better solutions? As they say: opinion is like an ass-hole, everyone has one (including me of course) AND hindsight is always 20/20. And I will never believe Rafa would willingly throw a game away, no manager would be that stupid. He might gamble a player or two and hope for the best in a game, sometimes with results and sometimes without. But when he doesn't have a choice, he just prays for the best given the circumstances he is in i.e.: because we don't have Villa or Silva on the bench to throw into a game when a player of their stature is needed. But we see the impact of his decisions AFTER a game and damn!, hindsight is always 20/20.

Latest rumour is Real Madrid is going to offer 20M to LFC for Rafa's service with Alonso thrown in. There is a clause in Rafa's contract that says if he is sacked, the owners would have to pay something like 20M. Isn't it better to give Rafa the 20M to buy a player instead? Hell no! Sack Rafa instead! And bring in Souness they say! What would these people say to Real Madrid's offer if the rumour is true? Of course they will jump at that idea but will anything change is the line-up? Will the new manager get the funds Rafa did not get? Will the line-up and tactics the new manager uses change our fortunes? Will all the injuries we have suddenly become non-injuries? And is the manager's job only about choosing the players to play a game? There is no guarantee. Rafa is the best at his business, and that includes the A to Z of running a team and not only team selection mind you.

Whatever it is, we should be backing the team. Backing also includes backing up Rafa. He doesn't need us to also join the bandwagon that comprise pundits. ex-players and journalists who are after his head! We should first understand the circumstances at LFC i.e.: all the problems Rafa and the players face, and the least some fans could do is lower their expectations of winning the PL and the CL this year because we understand the circumstances and then support our teams to the fullest, hope for the best and enjoy watching the game. There will be joy and sorrows along the way. One week we beat the likes of Mancs and the other week we lose to the likes of Fulham. We will again beat the likes of the Mancs and hope we do not falter against the likes of Fulham (not that they are a team like MyTeam which would be easy meat for us) in the near future!

If we were to go by some of the lame arguments put forward by the kneejerkers/post-Istanbul-fans of we-must-win-everything-fast-no-matter-what, then lots of the managers would need to be sacked too. Their argument, Rafa has spent sooooo much money (which is of course false because we know the truth) and should have won the PL. So, they actually equate success with the funds spend, which is the truth of course. Well, some managers have spent more than Rafa so it is only fair that they are sacked too because they did not win anything:  try Chelsea who finished below us last season. Or, teams that do not win anything is justified because they spent less than LFC.  Well, then Rafa has spend less than the Mancs and Chelsea, so his not winning it should be justified too, no? But he still managed to take us to 2nd place last season, etc etc. Isn't it great?

I am actually worried for Rafa at this moment. He has had backing from the fans so far. We never hear about an anti-Rafa demonstrations. And this is one of the reasons Rafa has stayed put at LFC, because LFC fans are knowledgable fans and support (big word this) the club through thick and thin and know a team so good last season do not turn into this nightmarish team overnight. Knowledgable fans that know about his overachievement so far, what he had to endure with the jokers yanks and most importantly, how he had to sell to buy in the process of building eventhough so many obstacles were thrown in his path, and how injuries after injuries have marred his plans so far this season. But maybe, after tonight's game, if ever we lose (touch wood) there will be enough of these so-called fans, together with the so-called pundits and the pathetic journalists, rallied behind by some stupid former players/managers of LFC, who would really get under Rafa's skin and become forceful enough to drive him out of this beloved club of ours.

If that happens, that will yet be the biggest disaster for us.

YNWA!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Brilliant Rafa Benitez

This is something I saw at Kopblog, posted by a true fan who did a very good research.  Maybe some of us might see what's it is like for Rafa and how brilliant he has been for us.

2004/05

£2m - Josemi: peanuts and was moved on in a swap for Kromkamp 18 months later
£1.5m - Antonio Nunez: part of the Michael Owen deal and filled a gap for a while. Peanuts.
£10.7m - Xabi Alonso: Massive success and sold for £30m+ in the summer when he wanted to leave
£6m - Luis Garcia: Massive success and sold to Athletico Madrid for £4m
Free - Pelligrino: Stop gap that allowed us to rest Sami for league games, benefitting us massively in Istanbul. Now on the coaching staff.
£6.3m - Fernando Morientes: Pretty much everyone made up when we signed him, top class, but never settled. Sold for £3m to Valencia.
£1m - Scott Carson: One the most highly rated young keepers around. Lost out through injury and signing of Reina when Dudek left the club. Sold for £3.25m.

Total bought: £27.5m

Free - Marcus Babbel: Released to Stuttgart at the end of his career.
£2.5m - Danny Murphy: Xabi Alonso signed to fill the role Murphy had in the side
£8.5m - Michael Owen: Wouldn’t sign a new contract and sold before he left on a free. He’s done nothing since that is a masterstroke with hindsight.
Free - Stephane Henchoz: Released to Celtic at the end of his career

Total sold: £11m

A total of £16.5m net spend in his first year at the club, with the vast majority of that being spent on Xabi Alonso.

2004/05 net spend: £16.5m

2005/06

£240,000 - Antonio Barragan: Kid for the future. Sold for £675,000 to Deportivo a year later.
Free - Boudewijn Zenden: Signed for nothing and released for nothing. Did a job for us.
£6m - Pepe Reina: In the top 3 or 4 keepers in the world now and still young. One of Rafa’s best signings.
£5.6m - Momo Sissoko: Brilliant for a few years, had that eye injury and sold to Juventus when his form dipped for £8.2m. Replaced by Mascherano.
£7m - Peter Crouch: One signing I did question but proved to be a great bit of business. Turned him from a laughing stock into an international. Sold for £11m.
Unkown - Miki Roque: Kid bought for peanuts. Sold again for an unknown amount.
£150,000 - Jack Hobbs: Highly rated 16yr old signed from Lincoln. Didn’t progress as hoped and sold to Leicester for a reported £1.5m, although figure not confirmed.
£190,000 Besian Idrizaj: No idea who he is
£1.5m - Mark Gonzales: Cheap player to provide back up for the left wing. Sold for £3.5m to Real Betis.
Exchange - Paul Anderson: Swapped for John Welsh. Sold for £250,000.
Exchange - Jan Kromkamp: Swapped for Josemi. Later sold for £1.75m
£5.8m - Daniel Agger: Blighted by injuries but potentially top class and great signing for the money.
£250,000 - David Martin: Young reserve keeper
Free - Robbie Fowler: Pay as you play deal and no risk involved. Scored a few goals. Released in the summer.

Total bought: £26.73

Free - Vladimir Smicer: Out of contract and released. Played a small part in Istanbul.
£3.5m - El Hadji Diouf: The best £3.5m Rafa has ever recieved.
Free - Pellegrino: Filled the gap in the last 5 months of the previous season, not good enough and released.
£2m - Alou Diarra: Sold for £2m. One of Houllier’s buys.
£2m - Antonio Nunez: Bought for £1.5m and now sold for £2m when didn’t work out.
£6.5m - Milan Baros: A Houllier signing sold at a profit. He’s done nothing since.
Exchange - John Welsh: Swapped for Paul Anderson
Exchange - Josemi: Swapped for Kronkamp. 

Total sold: £14m

2005/06 net spend: £12.73m
2006/07

£6m - Craig Bellamy: Good signing and later sold for £7.5m to fund Torres deal.
£2m - Gabriel Palletta: Played a few league cup games, not good enough and sold for £1.2m
Free - Fabio Aurelio: Very injury prone but a good player when fit. Great signing for nothing.
£6.7m - Jermaine Pennant: Second choice after missing out on Alves. Ran his contract down and released. Attitude stank.
£9m - Dirk Kuyt: Has his critics, but has been brilliant for the money. 15 goals last season from wide and vital to the way we play. Ultimate pro. Great signing.
£200,000 - Nabil El Zhar: Few cameos last season and improving. Injured now. Promising still. Peanuts.
£750,000 - Astrit Ajdarevic: No idea who he is, and released on a free to Leicester.
Loan - Daniele Padelli: Reserve keeper, made one appearance and never seen again.
Undisclosed - Jordy Brouwer: Young reserve.
£2.5m - Alvaro Arbeloa: Bargain signing, great service for a few years and sold for £3.5m when running his contract down.
Loan - Javier Mascherano: Rescued from West Ham, now one of the best defensive midfielders in the world and will probably be sold to Barca this summer for a massive profit. Paid £18.6m for him a year later at end of loan deal.

Total bought: £27.15m

£200,000 - Zak Whitbread: Youngster
Undisclosed - Bruno Cheyrou: Houllier flopped, sold for a reported £1.5m.
£3m - Fernando Morientes: Didn’t work out. Cut his losses.
Free - Didi Hamann: Great servant, released at the end of his career
£675,000 - Antonio Barragan: Paid £240,000 for him.
£2m - Djimi Traore: Houllier signing and daylight robbery getting £2m for him
£500,000 - Neil Mellor: Signed as a kid and did a job for a while. Not good enough and released.
£1.75m - Jan Kromkamp: Nunez bought for £2m, swapped for him, who then sold for £1.75m. Stop gaps at minimal expense.
£525,000 - Darren Potter: Acadamy lad, not good enough and robbery getting that much for him.
£1.5m - Steven Warnock: Probably sold to cheap and looks a mistake with hindsight. Good squad player.
Free - Salif Diao: The clearout of Houllier’s flops continues.

Total sold: £10.15m 

2006/07 net spend: £17m

2007/08

£5m - Lucas Leiva: Brazilian player of the year when signed. Could still go either way but a lot to prove.
Undisclosed - Krisztian Nemeth: Promising youngster currently out on loan in Athens.
£270,000 - Mikel San Jose Dominguez: Youngester plays in the reserves.
£1.8m - Sebastian Leto: Left winger signing but refused a work permit. Sold for £3m.
£20.2m - Fernando Torres: Bargain of the century
Free - Andriy Voronin: Free transfer to strengthen the squad. Plays well in Germany, garbage over here.
£5m - Yossi Benayoun: Took a while to settle but now a key player. Superb signing and an absolute bargain.
£11.5m - Ryan Babel: Highly rated dutch international. Absolute waste of space. Bad signing on reflection, but nobody knew how he’d turn out. Still got potential but he can’t be arsed.
Undisclosed - Charles Itandje: Back up keeper signed for peanuts. Now released.
£1.3m - Emiliano Insua: Youngster who is now a full Argentinian international and massive potential. Bargain.
£6.5m - Martin Skrtel: Been off form this season so far, but brilliant last year and a good signing for the money.
£18.6m - Javier Mascherano: Completion of loan deal

Total bought: £70.7m

£2.7m – Florent Simana-Pongolle: Houllier youngster sold wanting first team football.
£100,000 – Daniel O’Donnell: Kid sold
Free – Jerzy Dudek: Released at end of contract
Free - Zenden: Released at end of contract
Free – Robbie Fowler: Released at end of contract
£4m – Luis Garcia: Wanted to return to Spain. Great service.
£6m – Djibril Cisse: Houllier signing sold to part fund Torres deal.
£7.5m – Craig Bellamy: Sold at profit to part fund Torres deal
£3.5m – Mark Gonzales: Signed for £1.5m and sold when didn’t work out.
£1.2m – Gabriel Palletta: Bought for £2m but never worked out. Young defender.
£3.5m – Chris Kirkland: Houllier signing. Injury prone and wanted first team football.
£8.2m – Momo Sissoko: Great signing, good service, sold when lost his form at a profit.

Total sold: £36.7m

2007/08 net spend: £34m

2008/09

Free – Philip Degen: Garbage, but free.
£7m - Andrea Dossena: Italian international left back. Hasn’t settled. Bad signing.
£3.5m – Diego Cavalieri: Reserve keeper. Only played league cup games so far.
£1.5m – David N’gog: Young French striker. Promising.
£19m – Robbie Keane: Everyone made up when we signed him. Didn’t work out and sold back to Spurs for £16m.
£8m - Albert Riera: Spanish international. Started well but jury still out.

Total bought: £39m

£4m – John Arne Riise: Good servant but form tailed off. Snapped their hands off at £4m.
Free – Harry Kewell: Harry who?
Undisclosed – Anthony Le Tallec: Houllier youngster finally released. Fee not known.
£11m – Peter Crouch: Laughing stock bought for £7m. Great signing. Wanted first team football.
£2.25m – Danny Guthrie: Youngster from Acadamy thought not good enough.
£3.25m – Scott Carson: Injury prone and Reina now first choice. Sold at profit.
Undisclosed – Steve Finnan: Sold for a fee believed to be £1m
£16m – Robbie Keane: Didn’t work out.
Undisclosed – Jack Hobbs: Young defender that didn’t progress. Sold for believed to £1.5m.

Total sold: £36.5m

2008/09 net spend: £2.5m

2009/10

£17.5m – Glen Johnson: Big fee, but has been brilliant so far.
£17.1m - Alberto Aquilani: Injured so far but meant to be a class act. Highly rated in Italy.
£2m – Sotirios Kyrgiakos: Last minute signing to fill Hyypia’s shoes. Only money we had to spend.
£160,000 – Daniel Ayala: Young defender, played a few times this season and looked promising.

Total bought: £36.76m

£250,000 – Paul Anderson: Youngster that didn’t progess.
Free – Jermaine Pennant: Out of contract. Poor signing.
Free – Miki Roque: No idea who he is. Bought for peanuts.
£3m – Sebastian Leto: Signed for £1.8m but didn’t get a work permit. Had to sell.
£3.5m – Alvaro Arbeloa: Wanted to leave and out of contract in the summer.
£30m – Xabi Alonso: Wanted to leave. Bought for £10.7m. Great signing.

Total sold: £36.75m

2009/10 net spend: £10,000

Total Players Bought: £228,976,000
Total Players Sold: £145,100,000

Total Net Spend: £83,876,000

So, that’s a total spend of just over £83m in 5 years at the club. An average of £16.6m a year.

The vast majority of his signings have been sold at profit, or if still at the club, are worth a lot more than we paid for them. Exceptions being Babel and Dossena, but we’ll still get decent fees for them when sold as they’re full internationals.

A lot of the signings above have been stepping stones in rebuilding the squad, gradually improving it by replacing players with better ones. Our league positions over the past 5 years and the improvement in our league positions and points totals show the progression.

2004/05: Finished 5th – 58 pts
2005/06: Finished 3rd – 82 pts
2006/07: Finished 3rd – 68 pts
2007/08: Finished 4th – 76 pts
2008/09: Finished 2nd – 86 pts
**************************************

We ungrateful bastards, with our ridiculous demands and expectations, should be on our knees thanking the good lord for bringing us Rafa Benitez. 

I shudder to think the mess our club would have been in by now had Parry not hired this man before selling the club to the two parasites.

-Those are his words by the way.

YNWA!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fulham 3 Liverpool 1: The Best Fans In the World

Is it only me or is the whole world against us?

Firstly, we have a list of injured players longer than my telephone bill. Then, Rafa has to be contented with playing so-so players because of some friggin owners would not cough up the funds needed for us to be real contenders for the PL. Then we have a game in which we dominate play for such a long period and the bar stops the ball and the only time Pepe touches the ball is to collect it from his net.

Then we have an unlucky touch of ball to keep it in play by Kuyt just for it to be robbed and resulted for a goal against. Then we get a straight red card for a tackle from the side, not behind! Then yet again, we get another straight red card although Carra touched the ball before that sissy of a player goes to the ground!

And for the toppings, we have the usual media and their freakin bias against us. And of course, the cherry on top, the two commentators. What can I say? Apart from talking shite about our so-called 'demise', Rafa's errors (as if they could be better managers!), these two scumbags were actually showing their delight during the whole game! No wonder some smart fans mute the telly when watching us play.

I wish that things would just turn around for us and these _______ (fill in all the expletives here) will all eat their humble pie and shit it out and then eat it all over again at the end of the season. Such is my contempt for them.

I am sure the whole world saw and heard the YNWA anthem being proudly sang by our supporters although we were already 'dead and buried' in the game. I wish I were amongst them singing my heart out. Those fans really make me feel so proud of supporting the best and being the peers of the best supporters in the world.

YNWA!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

YES! LFC Fans Still Celebrating

This is the famous burst and flattened beachball look. Priceless!

I am still celebrating even though I know it was only a battle we won and not the war. But still, how often have we felt this euphoria in the last, say, 20 years? Not so many times. Anyways, I bet many of us fans have had friends or collegues gone missing the past two days. Well, who asked them to support the Mancs in the first place haha!

Some of the media and pundits have not stopped slagging and slanting Rafa. I guess their punditry and journalism skills are sadly very much limited. That's the price you pay for not having enough imagination.

While we talk about how Pepe was incredibly the first player to reach N'Gog after his goal and the messages on beachballs thrown by our fans on the pitch saying Yanks Out and supporting Rafa, the so-called sorry-excuse-for- pundits have no other ideas for their rantings while deep down inside feeling exactly like Fergiescum as shown above, who keeps on with his senile mumbling attacks on the Ref hoping that we overlook the fact that his days are numbered and his failure to outwit Rafa for the last three games.

YNWA!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Priceless Bounce Back for LFC


And sign of a great Captain:

Carra making sure Giggs could not influence the ref during the halftime walk to the dugout...priceless!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Let's Rally Behind Our Team

I feel the game against the Mancs is timely. What better way to show to the fans our resilience if not by winning this much-anticipated game. This is the sort of games when form is thrown out of the window.

What I would like to see today is a game in which all our players give their all and play themselves to the ground. I am sure Rafa has a game plan and the players are expected to deliver it to the minute detail. And I don't think the players need any kind of motivation other than the fact we are playing the Mancs.

How they play will indicate how much support they give to the Gaffer and the fans. And I also hope that the fans get behind the team all throughout the game. Even if we did not get the result we all hoped for, at least we would know that the players have tried their best and that will be something positive amongst so much negatives associated with LFC at the moment.

The fans in Liverpool have planned a march to show their protest against the owners. For those members of the anti-Rafa Brigade, I hope you start wondering why there is never an anti-Rafa march or protest. At least at this moment, because I am sure if ever it were Rafa's fault for our so-called slum, the fans in Liverpool will be the first to show their feelings.

Anyway, I have a good feeling for tonight's game. And hopefully the Ref's influence in the outcome of the game will not be needed.

YNWA!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

To All Anti-Rafa Fans

Granted that all LFC fans want us to succeed but to agree along with what the media have been calling for non-stop now would be ridiculous. They want Rafa's head to roll. And this after what Rafa has achieved even with so many obstacles (need they be mentioned again and again?) in front of him. 

Here's something from the www.liverpoolfc.tv official site:

HOW RAFA'S 200 COMPARES TO RIVAL BOSSES
Jimmy Rice 23 October 2009
  Rafa Benitez will take charge of his 200th league game for Liverpool on Sunday - and we've unearthed some fascinating statistics comparing the Spaniard's record to rival managers.
Benitez has won 113 of his 199 top-flight clashes since taking charge of Liverpool in 2004 - an impressive 56.8 per cent.
 
This compares favourably to the records of Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger in their first 200 league games.
 
Ferguson won just 87 from 200 (43.5 per cent) after joining Manchester United in 1986 - and it took the Scot almost seven years to collect a league title.
 
Wenger triumphed in 110 (55 per cent) of his first 200 league matches following his appointment at Highbury in 1996 - a stat which was good enough at the time to win him a championship trophy in 1997-98.
 
Meanwhile, just one Liverpool manager from down the years can boast a better record than Benitez.
 
Kenny Dalglish won 120 of his first 200 (60 per cent) league games.
 
Bob Paisley totted up 113 victories (56.5 per cent), Bill Shankly 106 (53 per cent) and Gerard Houllier 101 (50.5 per cent).

Go figure! 

Paul Tomkins' Latest - A Must Read for all LFC Fans - updated

The latest article by Paul Tomkins, which is for public viewing, is a must read for all LFC fans.

Here is the link:

http://tomkinstimes.com/2009/10/my-day-with-crisis-hit-benitez/

This is the latest:

http://tomkinstimes.com/2009/10/the-aftermath-after-meeting-benitez/

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Off With Rafa's Head They Say!

Looks like if some Liverpool fans are given the powers, they will sack Rafa Benitez immediately. The reason? Because we are not at the top of the table at the moment, we have not won all the games we have played so far this season, and we have not won our games by a 5 goals margin, all scored from 20 yards I suppose. And it is only October, mind you.

These 'supporters' want quick fix. They think that everything will be okay and the above will materialise after the managerial post is taken over by Dalglish or Klinsmann or Mourinho. They fail to see the obvious beyond their one-tunnel view, and would rather follow the bandwagon that is the filthy media and their lazy journalism.  Some fans in Liverpool kept mentioning to us about these post-Istanbul supporters, who by the way are not appreciated at all by the true Scousers. Some even suggests that LFC should be relegated for one season (Horrors!) so that these so-called supporters would go and support some other team.

There is so much information on the internet, it is a surprise that some people still believe the lies that are being told in the media. Or by the two donkeys. As for Rafa's achievement, it is there to see by everyone who wants to see it. Take this argument for instance. It is by Gerry at www.thisisanfield.com:

"Firstly, I think we can all agree that Rafa inherited a pretty poor squad when he took the job. At the beginning of this season only Carra and Gerrard remain from that original squad, so for those of you watching in black and white, that means that with the exception of those two players an entire first team squad has been rebuilt in the 5 years he has been here. 

Now what you need to do is consider the list of players he has brought in, in his time here and take away all of the free, cut price and compromise signings he has been forced to make and just focus on the first choice signings he has been able to make. When you have that number divide it by the five seasons he’s been with us and when you get your answer ask yourself these three questions:

1. What other top manager could achieve what Rafa Benitez has achieved with such limited resources?
2. What other top manager would be bothered?
3. How in the name of Shanks, has he been able to keep us firmly in the top four, been able to mount even a remote challenge for the title and how could we possibly be the current number one ranked side in Europe?

Nuff said!"


Enough Said indeed!

Keep the Faith and YNWA

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Perspective View

Paul Tomkins is one of the best writers in the football world, who puts things in perspective especially for us Liverpool fans. He does not manipulate statistics to suit his views and does his research extensively. 

To read his in-depth analysis nowadays we need to subscribe, which is value for money. Some of his works are for public viewing such as the one below. Fans are recommended to read them before making a simplistic conclusion to what is happening in the EPL.

http://tomkinstimes.com/2009/10/the-cost-of-premiership-success/

Result: Rubber Ball 1 - Liverpool 0

It has been a while since I last posted due to being heavily burdened by workload. Since that last post, we lost to Fiorentina in the CL and Chelsea, and just now to Sunderland, in the Premier League. Although I did find time to follow the news and the whatabouts on my mobile.

It is a very trying period for supporters of LFC. Expectation was so high after such a good performance last season, but unfortunately things have not gone our way so far. Imagine being beaten by a beachball, for freakin sake!

Sunderland scored via the deflection of the rubberball but according to the commentators (who kept saying it was a balloon -- both needs new glasses -- until it really pissed me off) the rulebook says it is the prerogative of the players i.e. the keeper in this case to burst the balloons thrown into the pitch. Well, I don't see how players on the pitch could burst a beachball, and also in this game, the ball was thrown into the six yard from the stands minutes before (by a Liverpool fan apparently) and no way Reina would have wanted to shift his eyes from the football.

Anyway, what's done is done. We played terribly in the first half without Torres and Gerrard and improved tenfolds in the second but couldn't break through the three buses parked in front of their goal. Buses that suddenly transformed into F1 cars during counter-attacks that nearly scored 4-5 goals for them.

It is quite sad to see how things are going for us. From the media that tries to shove the carrots into our backside at every chance they get, to the managers of national sides such as Spain and England who insist on taking our players to meaningless games and get the players injured, to former players and brothers of the players of the Mancs giving the game to the Mancs, to the freakin cowboys called the owners of LFC who are the owners of the carrots that the media keep shoving up our arses... and the list goes on and on...

Two meaningful things stood out for me in this game. One was our outnumbered supporters singing YNWA eventhough they were booed like hell. And the second was the 7 minutes injury time awarded for the game. I cannot recall when we were given that much injury time whilst we were losing.

Chin up! We are Liverpool Supporters and We Will Never Walk Alone!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saudi Prince to buy Stake in Liverpool?

I came across a forum that mentioned Prince Faisal Khaled is reportedly interested in buying a 25%-50% stake in LFC. Allegedly Saudi TV reported that the deal will be finalised at tonight's game. The prince owns the Sports Investment FX company or something. 

If anyone understands Arabic and can confirm whether it is really the Prince, please check out here: http://liverpoolfc.co.za/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/1126051643/m/302102294

A fan also mentioned that Hick was apparently in Saudi Arabia all week. Dunno whether I should be excited or just ignore it as one of the many rumours that have been circulating around.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Shock! Horror! Revealed: Liverpool is Screwed

Why am I not surprised reading about the leaked papers from LFC?

The documents concerned is apparently a prospectus published by investment banks Rothschild and Merrill Lynch which was released by Bloomberg News.

It reveals that the owners have capped the spending on new players and also any increase of wages to £20M. Oh, and it is for the next 5 years! This figure could only increase if there is an increase in the broadcasting revenue, something that does not happen often. Or if Rafa sells players to raise up funds.

The documents also revealed that the owners were seeking new loans to refinance existing loans and also almost increased the ticket price by 8%.

No wonder the fans are worried sick. Here were are with LFC ridden in huge debt as never before and a chance to become the new Leeds United if ever we do not qualify for the CL once. The sponsorship deal with Standard Chartered seems to have a clause that says we will only be paid if we qualify for the CL, or something like that. 

Equally, fans are worried for how long more Rafa is going to take this before he decides enough is enough and leaves us. And of course, with that much funds available, how are we going to compete with the likes of the Mancs, Citeh or Chelsea.

It is difficult to remain optimistic at this time. Until someone megarich comes to rescue us, it is the worrisome lane all the way for us.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dark and Gloom in the BPL but not at Liverpool FC

Since the Burnley game, LFC has played against Debrecen in the CL, West Ham in the league and Leeds last night in the Carling Cup. I did not get to catch the Debrecen game but, as with the other two games, LFC won not so 'comfortably too' I was told.

We are sitting 'comfortably' at third place in the league after the West Ham game when a few teams in the top five dropped points as expected. We are at the moment only one point worse compared to the same fixtures from last season. So all the dark and gloom in the few weeks after the season kicked off was just knee-jerk reactions from worried fans understandably. Third place at this time of the year is not so bad, and being 6 points off the league leader Chelsea is not a catastrophic situation. This could of course easily change soon if the likes of Arsenal, Man City and Villa win their game in hand.

The fans supporting the greatest team in the BPL if not the europe or the world, could be forgiven for having such high expectations. If we don't win by 8 goals margin, with 4 goals scored beautifully from 30 yards out before halftime in which the ref would need his arse pumped because he swallowed his whistle engraved with 'Mancs forever', then there will be some quarters who will ask for some heads to roll. Such are the expectations of some passionate fans.

There are so many issues being the talk of town at the moment. The positives of course include Torres' superb two goals against the Hammers, with the first being so awesome we will never forget it ever. His second goal won us the game. For a player who has 'lost his form and playing below his best', scoring 5 goals so far is not so bad. If Torres is not rated as the best striker in the world right now, then it is because of the biased media and pure jealousy. 

Another main issue that has been the talk of town is Carra's contributions to the team. Granted that he has made a few errors that could have cost us something, but one could expect these errors taking into account his age. To me, Carra should never be blamed totally just as we should not blame the zonal marking which has provided us such great defensive results in the past. I do not want to dwell in this topic so much but suffice to say his presence in the team is crucial because he marshals the others alongside him in defense so well.

This season, Rafa seems to have decided to go after the jugular of opponents, and rightly so since some of us fans used to criticise him and his defensive strategy in the past that we felt have cost us the premiership. It does look like we aim to win games nowadays rather than not lose with the defense playing higher up the pitch. This I am optimistic will pay its dividends at the end of the season.

Sometimes the players around do not heed Carra's callings, with Johnson still new to the system with Arbeola gone, and sometimes Carra comes against faster and better and younger players whom he could have unestimated. And sometimes players that score the goal against us should be given due credit for outwitting the defense, just like how we credit Torres for outjumping the opponents players to head in his goal or get past three players and toe-poke for a goal. But as long as we outscore our opponents, I am not duly worried.

Last night's game against Leeds saw our second stringers getting a chance to show their worth. Against a settled Leeds side that has won a string of games at home in the lower league, we should be happy with the 1-0 win. I am sure if our first team were playing, we would have won the game by at least a 4 goals margin. As it was, our second stringers guaranteed more games under their belt this season and more chances to prove themselves to Rafa for a place in the first eleven.

The biggest topic at the moment is of course the manner in which the Mancs beat ManCity, which was already weakened by the ejection of Adebayour who faced the FA music in such quick fashion. Especially when the winning goal was scored after the 6 minutes (yes! six minutes!) injury time was over. Justification for the added time was indeed lame. It is very appalling how some referees get away with these types of 'blunder'. A little bit of controversy is good for the game, but too much kills it.

A friend of mine screamed blood, as I am sure many other football fans from around the world did too, and suggested that we start to bombard those who are responsible via emails for destroying the game that we all love.

If this is not evidently a case of match-fixing, then I guess there are more blind people in the BPL as I would have thought. This is not the first time this has happened and will not be the last time too. Just like the new ruling imposed for next season that requires teams to register 7 players, if I am not wrong, who are under 21 and who have trained in England for at least 3 years. No sweat. Big teams will just start recruit younger players, not necessarily English, and make sure they get their minimum 3 years of training before being unleashed in the Premiership before they are twenty one.

I would not be surprised if soon we see the support for the BPL dwindle and football fans start to follow the Bundesliga. This, of course, on top of following the La Liga which is improving steadily every year. I would not also be surprised if the FAs from around the world think twice before sending their future coaches and referees to get their badges in England. After all, so much farce is being thrown about by the so-called experts of football. As the famous line says: May a thousand flies...

YNWA!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

£80M Marriage between LFC and Standard Chartered

It is now official that LFC has just signed a four-year shirt sponsorship deal with Standard Chartered worth £80M over four years. The deal, biggest in our history, starts at the start of next season and will see the end of the 17-year era of association with Carlsberg. Carslberg pays LFC £7M a year.

This is indeed a very good news, right after we beat Burnley 4-0 for a back-to-back win at Anfield. Association with Carlsberg has always brought on some issues with fans from around the world. Firstly because Carlsberg is a brand of a beer, and secondly muslim fans are not really comfortable with brandishing a name linked to beer on their chest.

There is talk of the power-that-be being uncomfortable with the idea of beer being associated with sports and might come up with new rulings to put a stop to it. So, this new deal is timely for the future if ever there is a new ruling. 

But most importantly, this new sponsorship will now be able to tap into the huge 'muslim' markets from around the world. There will be more fans who would at last be able to buy a genuine Liverpool merchandise without feeling guilty of brandishing something that is 'haram'.

All of my LFC jerseys bought during the Carlsberg era are from Golok without the Carlsberg logo but with the word 'Liverpool' designed to look like the Carlsberg logo. But starting next year, with Standard Chartered's logo, I would at last be able to buy an authentic LFC jersey which will ensure LFC receives the funds generated from the sale.

There is also some questions from fans on the subject of morality in which it is said that there is no difference between a beer and a bank. Both are put in the same boat with the word 'devil' written on its side. Well, fans can have their own personal arguments and make their decisions afterwards. As for me, I am just glad that LFC is at last making some efforts in realising its potential in the merchandise department. And at the same time, I am hoping that the £80M will not all go into the pockets of the americans.

(photo taken from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/leagues/premierleague/liverpool/6186690/Liverpool-agree-80-million-shirt-sponsorship-deal-with-Standard-Chartered-Bank.html)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

International Boredom of Football

I feel this is the first time I am glad that the international break arrived. Although it did come after our win against Bolton, but it was not the usual break that usually breaks our momentum of winning games. This time it feels like it is a timely break, much needed to tighten a screw here and a screw there in strengtening the team.

Not all fans around the world look forward to these international breaks. Especially when they don't have any team to support when their country is not involved.  This particular break, for two whole weeks, came just after four games in the BPL and I cannot recall if there was ever a time it was like this. I am one of those people who support the idea that FIFA should reshedule the untimely international breaks (that also unfortunately sometimes break a player until he can't perform for the club that pays his salary) so that they don't disrupt the leagues. 

It is already more than a week and tonight some of our players will be involved with their respective national team. I am keeping my fingers crossed that none of them gets injured in the games. It would be unthinkable to have the likes of Torres or Gerrard sidelined because of injuries. 

While we wait for the BPL game against Burnley this weekend, there have been stories of Babel and Reira wanting more games at Liverpool. Which is understandable since the World Cup is next year and these players are vying for a place in their national squad. 

In Babel's case, he is looking at a loan deal that would take him to Ajax in the January window to boost his chances in the Dutch national side. That's it if the news in the papers are to be believed. Apparently he complained of not getting enough games at LFC. After Rafa's response on the issue the other day, I don't think he is going anywhere if there is no replacement in our depleted squad. Rafa had thrown the gauntlet at the players to fight for a place in the starting eleven.

I feel that Rafa will give Babel the chance to change a game by coming in as a substitute, something which he did quite well when he first arrived. This after he was given a start in our first game against Spurs this season in which he did not really impress.

On top of this, I feel Rafa will give Babel the chance to proof himself in the Cup games because with the squad that we have at the moment, LFC is not really going to field its best in these competitions. Probably the young players will be given the nod ahead of the first eleven and if we do get far, let's say in the semis, maybe only then Rafa will field the likes of Torres and Gerrard.

We need to challenge for the Premiership without saying and definitely the CL since it is where the big money is. The cup competitions would be an added bonus if we were to go far in them. And I wouldn't be having sleepless nights if we were to falter in either or both of them, especially with a thin squad that we have at the moment. But these competition would be the best arenas for the fringe players we have to show what they are made of.

And who knows, a good run by Babel or any of the others in the competitions would eventually warrant a first eleven spot in our first team. Either that or at least come January, we will be able to get a higher price for their talents when they are offloaded. Fund, alas, which will be gobbled up by the two freaks. Sigh, it is indeed dark days ahead for us Liverpool fans.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Let's hang Lucas from the nearest tree branch

Going through the football news and bloggers  since we lost to Villa was very very interesting and disheartening at the same time. 

If the slating came from the usual enemies of LFC, then it is understood. These vultures, the so-called expert on journalism but do the most copy-and-paste reporting, will forever lurk around LFC and find even a slight bit of excuse to go after us. But unfortunately, some fans and so-called 'supporters' did it too.

The enemies blame Rafa for selling Alonso (as if he would rather have an unhappy player than 30M), for buying Aquaman who is injured and for Rafa staying put at Anfield when he should just leave!

Other fans blame Lucas, who funnily have had three better games than some of the other 'superstars' on the field, and want Lucas to be benched if not hanged from the nearest tree branch. One statistic showed Lucas have had more executed accurate passes of the ball than Gerrard. I could argue that Lucas' balls were all safe balls across the field while Gerrard's were attempts for a killer-ball pass but mistakes of giving away the ball away are mistakes no matter what were the intentions.

The number of chances we created but not executed with Lucas in the midfield also suggest it was not really that bad having that kid in there, although not a match-winning performance. Any player could have made the own-goal mistake in the Villa game and was not the first and will also not be the last, as Gerrard's lunge in the penalty box that resulted the killer blow will not be the last mistake made by a formidable player.

I would not want to be Rafa now, bench Lucas with Gerrard taking over his role in Central Midfield but risk destroying whatever left of the kid's confidence if we lose the next game. But still, if he is played and we do lose again, then indeed Lucas will hang from the nearest tree branch.

I personally feel Lucas is not ready to marshall the midfield if we are to challenge for the championship. Yes, he has improved but breaking up Gerrard-Torres combination upfront that has produced so many goals and destroyed so many teams in the past is also worrisome. Lucas doesn't have the vision and the skills for the well-executed pass that split open defences. He can play in there and maybe in a few years we will see a much much better and improved player. But if we are to become the league champion this year, then I am sorry to say Lucas is not the answer. But I do not want him hanged from the nearest tree branch because we do not have other option at the moment if we were to keep the Gerrard-Torres combination.

Voronin is crap, Kuyt is doing a wonderful job at the right with Johnson, Ngog is still raw, Babel might be so-so up there so a lone rusty Torres upfront is still not a good idea. Probably Benayoun could play in that hole behind Torres and Gerrard behind him in CM. With a fit Riera on the left flank with Insua. But I trust Rafa to make the best decision since he is the expert.

Overall, our enemies  all say our season is gone, finished, kaputt, off-with-(fill in the manager/staff's and any player's name here)-head. To read these people, it is all dark and gloomy and we might as well give up on challenging for the league now. Why waste time trying then, just hand over the trophies to the Mancs and get it over and done with. Hell, kick out the manager, sell all the players, close Anfield...

To me I have only the owners to blame for taking us all for a ride with lies after lies and taking us one step backwards each time Rafa takes us two steps forward. The rest of the team should also share the blame for the below-par performances we have had so far if we were to look for a scapegoat. Blame also the ref in the Villa game that made a mistake in awarding the corner in injury time of the first half, that resulted Villa to score very much later after the injury time was over. And for not protecting Torres who might soon break a neck bone.

But to suggest our season is over is a kneejerk reaction that is uncalled for. Two defeats do not break a season. We have players injured who will soon be making their way back and they are all classy players. With the return of Riera, Aurelio (who could actually play in the midfield as shown last season if needed), Agger, Aquaman, and the new Hercules now, our bench will not be so bad after all. And who knows, before the end of the month, another new player is revealed. Such is my optimistism!

Fans and especially players should stop saying 'this is our year' and we should just aim for the top four until January. Let's not add more burden on the team and Rafa and let's get behind our team no matter what. Let our enemies say whatever they want, let them mock us all they want and hope that at the end of the season, they will all choke on the humble pies!

As for tonight's game against Bolton, a 3-0 victory in not impossible even if Bolton plays rugby and Rafa lines up the same players as in the game against Villa.

YNWA!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Dark Clouds and Silver Linings Over Liverpool

The gloom after the 1-2 loss to Spurs was clearly lifted after the emphatic 4-0 win against Stoke. It was heartening to watch how we bounced back after a disappointing opener of the season with such an encouraging display of football.

As the wisemen of the game keep on saying, a season is neither made nor broken with one game won or lost. If I remember reading this one somewhere right, no team has won the premier league without dropping at least 19 points throughout a season.

The two fixtures so far had also resulted us being in a better position compared to last season i.e. 3 points as opposed to only 1 point in the corresponding fixtures. That is two better than last season. And if we beat Villa away this season, then it would be four points better than last season in the corresponding games. Something in that light in being utterly optismistic.

So, it is not all dark clouds over our heads at the moment. But of course this will not guarantee us anything this season because it is more and more difficult for a team to win the league after every year. No game is ever a guaranteed 3 pointer nowadays and Burnley showed just that, back in the top flight after 33 or so years and put the Mancs to 'shame'. And for that we are glad and grateful of course because it did give us great pleasure.

We again saw how biased most media are towards us, not that we needed to see much more to start believing it. Just compare what the media and the pundits said after we lost to Spurs with the humiliation of the Mancs at the hands of Burnley. And we can fully expect that this nonsense will not ever end and Rafa will continue to be demonised by the Fergie ****-suckers behind the typewriter/PC/or whatever that is used nowadays.

We also witnessed in both games so far what Johnson has brought to the team. After rebuilding LFC for so many years on a tight budget, we feel that Rafa has finally completed the jigsaw puzzle albeit one or two missing pieces. But even then, we have always moved forward no matter what happened and this season we will continue to trust Rafa to challenge on all fronts again.

We also saw how the young guns in the squad, the likes of Ayala at eighteen, given greater exposure in the pre-season and trust to shoulder the responsibility in the absence of the first eleven. And they all came out with flying colours, which is good for the near future.

It would be interesting to see whether Rafa, after the signing of Kyrgiakos, will stick to the young guns or go for experienced in an anticipated robust game with Villa. An unheard player but with a good height, Kyrgiakos cost is like the price of a Kancil as compared to the Mercs some teams have paid. But just as in the case of Skertel, I trust Rafa would have made the right choice given the circumstances. And his presence should add strength to our depleted squad.

The past few days has also seen the rumour of Rafa quitting on us squashed when it was reported that he stormed out of Anfield and the owners. Even the bookies had stopped taking bets of him resigning, such was the strength of the speculation. But Rafa has came out and said "I can state I am committed to this club. When I signed a new contract I decided to stay here for the fans, for the staff, for the players". Note that there is no mention of the owners at all in his last line. Rightly so.

Let us all cheer and hail our team and Rafa throughout this season and the next and the next no matter what happens. I will end with a priceless quip from the man of the hour himself: "We are at the top of the table now with 23 stitches. Carra, Torres and Skrtel. I haven’t seen how many Torres has but I can guarantee you it’s 10 or more”.

YNWA!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Is Rafa really screwed..again?

The following article is something that I read last week at http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/opinion/columnists/david-maddock/Liverpool-should-beware-of-calling-Rafael-Benitez-s-bluff-over-transfer-policy-article109173.html.

Now, of course most fans around the world wouldn't want Rafa to ditch us. Although he is deemed as a hardheaded person who will like to stay around, take up the challenge and prove certain quarters wrong, but you tend to get scared with the outcome of all that has happened after he extended his contract. 

Some fans who have done their own calculations feel that Rafa should have something at least 50M left to spend, funds that was promised him which encouraged him to sign his extension and funds generated from sales of players. We heard about how positive his statements were at the beginning of the summer break, his admission that he did spend more than he should for Johnson -- meaning he did have the funds in the beginning -- and especially how cheerful he was. 

Well, looks like there is a spanner in the works now. It seems like Rafa has only 1.5M left to spend. 1.5M? It is not even enough to pay the season's wages of a world class player. And we don't need one, but a few players of international standard to boost our squad. 

But alas, many fans are dejected to the idea that Merrs. G&H are sucking our club dry to service their debts. Hence we have, again, this effort: http://www.petitiononline.com/l18c5fa7/petition.html and there is rumours of demonstration tomorrow at the Stoke game and suggestions of boycott among local fans.

No wonder Rafa looks down and frustrated in coming up with a statement like this one: “At least now when you have a question the answer is given quickly. Sometimes we are not happy with the answer but it’s part of the process and we have to keep on working together.” 

We do hope Rafa with stick around but for how long we ask because the media will continue to go after his head after each game. After all, I can guess Rafa, if he had a choice, would not have to play Babel who is a right-footed player at the left-wing. We trust his ability to generate profits from sales of players and from the CL, and continue to challenge against all odds with a thin squad made up mostly above-average players. And if he were to leave, we might just turn out to be a mid-table team devoid of his abilities because there will never be a better manager like him given the circumstances.

And I am not sure a better manager than Rafa would even want to come and manage LFC with those two american hawks lurking and hovering over Anfield.

Liverpool should beware of calling Rafael Benitez's bluff over transfer policy
By David Maddock


If there is a common theme throughout the managerial career of Rafael Benitez, then it is the fact that he is a man of principle.

At Real Madrid, a club he loves and that is in his blood, he was doing the youth team job of his dreams, but walked out rather than select the president of the club's son who he considered not good enough.

At Extramadura, despite winning a miraculous promotion to La Liga, he again quit after being crossed by the president of the club.

At Valencia, after winning two league titles against all odds, he walked out after promises were broken over transfer policy.

Why mention all this? Well, when the Liverpool manager was negotiating his current contract in April, a deal that will apparently keep him at Anfield for five more years, one of the main points of negotiation was over future transfer funds.

Benitez knows he has a squad that is close to being champions, and recognises that he requires perhaps just two more top class players to take the final step. He also recognises those players will cost massive money to improve on what he already has.

Hence his negotiations in April, when he secured promises from Liverpool's American owners that funds would be made available to build the squad of his desires to seriously challenge the Manchester United-Chelsea dominance at the top of the Premier League.

The details of those negotiations are unclear, but it was widely assumed that he would be given at least £20million to spend this summer on top of ANY money he raised himself through sales. Other reports suggested he would be given £40million plus sales.

With less than a week to go before the start of the new season, he has been given precisely NOTHING to spend, above and beyond the money he has raised.

To spell the maths out for Liverpool fans puzzled at this statement, the sales of Xabi Alonso, Sebastien Leto, Alvaro Arbeloa, Jack Hobbs and Paul Anderson have generated something in the region of £40million.

In response, he has paid out around £32million to bring in Glen Johnson and Italian midfielder Alberto Aquilani, leaving a PROFIT of around £8million, perhaps more.

Unless you sell Cristiano Ronaldo for £70million, it is hard to make a profit in the transfer market and retain a squad good enough to win the title - especially if you were just short of that mark the season before.

Benitez knows this, and as already suggested, he really is a man of principle. He will be seething inside that his best chance of winning the title at Anfield is apparently being scuppered by owners who have gone back on their word, and are trading long-term title prospects for short-term balance sheet concerns.

A word of warning to Tom Hicks and George Gillett, Benitez walked out of Valencia - a club that had won two titles and a UEFA Cup and were amongst the favourites to lift the Champions League - because he "asked for a table and they brought me a lampshade".

So far this summer, the owners haven't even turned that lamp on at Anfield.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Spurs 1-2 What a Nightmare to the Season Opener

For a game much anticipated, the loss to Spurs could be summed as an anti-climax. There was always the feeling of something was wrong somewhere. It felt like Liverpool has weakened by quite a bit. Players throughout displayed a team without much cohesion and looked not ready for the season opener.

We could really see what the absence of Alonso has done to the team. I guess it is pointless in mentioning Alonso now. At least Reina showed why he is considered as one of the bests in the game. Twice denying Keane at point blank range in the first half and a wonderful save from a long range attempt in the second. At those moments, it did make my heart swell in seeing what a twat Keane is, as he was at Liverpool for six months. 

But at the middle of the park, we just did not have the drive. The injuries to Skertel and Carra might have worsened the believes of the likes of Lucas and Mascha to push forward.  Both of them had come back from the pre-season injuries, hence a wee bit worrying.

And at both flanks, significantly Babel, somehow did not deliver as expected. Gerrard, starting as a forward, did not have a good game too, at least in the first half, as Torres was shackled throughout the entire 90 minutes. Benayoun, on the other hand, was a breath of fresh air when he came in for Babel.

We showed a glimpse of Liverpool of last season, but somehow there was never a real conviction that we would nail this game. Attempts at goals were scarce, while possession and first touches were ordinarily for a mid-table team.

If we are to believe the rumours that is making their rounds, Rafa will bring in at least two more players. And Voronin is again linked to a return to the Bundesliga. Well, I really hope these rumours are true. We need another player to cover the back four and definitely another forward while we wait for Aquaman to be fit.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What's Happening at Liverpool FC?

The summer transfer period is almost over. Rafa brought in Johnson and of course Aquilani to strengthen the team after Hyypia, Arbeloa and Alonso, among others, left us.

The question that most fans are asking is whether there will be more signings before the start of the season this weekend. Once upon a time, at the start of the summer break, we were made to understand that Rafa would have around 20M, on top of the funds garnered by the sale of players, to further strengthen the team to continue challenging the top spot next season. But what we have seen so far is there is no 20M to be spent, that's it if Rafa doesn't have a few surprises up his sleeves before the transfer window closes.

It is reported that Roma bought Alonso with the following payment structure for the €20M:

4 cash instalments of :-
- €5M upfront
- €3M by 4th January 2010
- €7M by June 30th 2010
- €5M by June 30th 2011.

The deal also includes:

- €300,000 for every year Liverpool qualify for the Champions League from 2010/11 to 2014/15
- €250,000 everytime the player reaches 35, 70, 105 and 140 appearances.
- €1M for the first time LFC either wins the Premier League or Champions League by 30 June 2014.
- 5% of any future transfer fee will be paid to Roma.

(This info was taken from comments by KeithSA at http://www.thisisanfield.com/kopblog, attributed to info found at http://www.asroma.it/UserFiles/988.pdf)

If this were the case, then Rafa should have a lot of money for other players since he received 30M for Alonso, on top of the money he got from the sales of other players, but only so far spent 5M for Aquilani. The purchase of Johnson could be related to the funds promised him earlier by Messr. American Businessmen, which is still short of the 20M mentioned. We actually spent £10M for Johnson because of the £7M owed by Portsmouth for the acquiring of Crouch.

Fans from around the world would be satisfied if Rafa were given the full authority of the funds generated and for transfers of players as indicated when he extended his contract. In Rafa we trust. But I bet the fans would definitely be pissed off if what was promised is not delivered by the owners and the funds generated by Rafa, as we have seen year in and year out, were to be used to refinance whatever loans taken to keep them afloat.

If it were the case, some fans would wish that the owners were really floating porcupines and a strong current would wash them away out of our sight.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Aquilani a crock?

It is half time now with LFC trailing Atletico Madrid by two goals to nothing (commentary in chinese though). As a pre-season game, it does look good with players getting the much needed match fitness and we could see flashes of what we are capable of. Carra took a knock early in the first half and was substituted. Let's hope it is nothing serious.

With him out, Atletico managed to score the two goals quite easily -- the first when Carra was at the sideline -- and with the other central defenders still out injured, it could be a disaster in the league in the event we get into this situation of not having a formidable substitute. Rafa might want to bring in at least one more defender to strengthen the depth of our team.

In the middle, the gap left by Alonso is still telling. Lucas (someone actually tried to engineer a move for him but I think it would be silly if he were to go back to his motherland at this stage of his career) is still Lucas albeit a wee bit better than last season. 

Much has been said about Aquilani being injured and could be out for up to 8 weeks. As for me, Rafa is no donkey hence nobody could take him on a ride. For a player that has not played many games for the past two seasons, Aquilani had the much needed surgery to rectify whatever it was that sidelined him for so long. And of course Rafa knows this because it would be just mindboggling to pay 20M for a player that might play only 15 games a season.

So, I would like to think that the surgery was a successful one and he needs around 2-4 weeks to be fully healed and maybe another 2-4 weeks to get back his full fitness, during which we might see him in action on and off. But the most important thing would be Rafa must have studied Aquilani's medical records and his potential in the league and decided on the positives rather than what we have been reading in the media.

One thing for sure though, we need him fast because at the moment the engine room of LFC is missing one important wheel. And when we are told that he is better than Alonso when attacking, more mobile going forward and could play between Mascha and Gerrard, it only points to a more attacking Liverpool next season. And all the teams that come to Anfield with the intention of parking the bus in front of their goal would need to think twice!

YNWA

Thursday, August 6, 2009

In comes Alberto Aquilani

It has just been confirmed that LFC and Roma have agreed the deal to bring in Alberto Aquilani to Anfield. I do not follow the Serie A, hence do not really know much about this player. But it seems that he is very highly rated and how fast he settles in the BPL will be crucial since the season opener is just around the corner.

His name was mentioned time and time again as Alonso's replacement towards the end of the Alonso's saga. This confirmation, coming so quickly after Alonso's departure, only confirms how much Rafa was prepared for losing Alonso. Aquilani would be our player is less than one week, subject to a medical since he has not played for a while because of injuries. And at 18M, Rafa might even have the funds remaining from Alonso's deal for one or two players to strengthen our squad.

Now let's hope Aquilani is the right player for us, in a league very much more notorious than the Serie A.

Alonso's Departure: A Silver Lining?

It is a pity that the inevitable happened so close to the curtains being raised for the new season -- 10 more days before we meet Spurs -- but then it is better now than next week I guess. Rafa comfirmed that Alonso made his decision two months ago and that would have given Rafa ample time to plot the strategy for the new season.

Alonso, after five good years at LFC, has gone and life goes on for us because he is not the first important player that have left for greener pastures, and will not be the last. His skills and professionalism will be remembered always. Especially his professionalism. Never once did he moan and groan about his problems to the press. When he first arrived, he was quite an unknown to us. We knew about his close relationship with Rafa afterwards. We saw his quick thinking with the ball at his feet and his famous accurate passes and some spectacular goals that included embarrasing the opponents' keepers. But sadly, he will not be remembered as one of the greatest players or a legend for us.

At times, we used to complain about how his skills was not really good enough to prise open the defence of the teams that came to Anfield and parked the bus in front of the goal. Some fans even went further and deemed this as Rafa's weakness or his negative approach of not wanting to win games but more like not wanting to lose games. And this was the reason we dropped points and did not win the league last season.

Well, with Alonso gone now, Rafa has the opportunity to change his tactics, which might see us with player/s brought in that could change the outcome of these difficult games against the so-called weak teams we need to win against to win the league. Fans that have said Rafa was building his team around Alonso, to the effect that we dropped crucial points because we lacked the ability to kill off games, will definitely be happy with the departure of Alonso.

As the transfer fee was not disclosed, we do not really know how much Real paid for Alonso or whether it was paid in cash or in instalments. But we do know that Rafa was always in control of the situation and not Parry, and we can conclude that the fee should be around 30M which was mentioned time and time again. If that were to be the case, it was a good business deal for us and hopefully the large part of the funds is given to Rafa to strengthen the squad and also maybe for one formidable CM who will not only compensate the missing Alonso but also someone who has the ability to win us the games against the difficult teams.

And in Rafa we trust.

YNWA