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.