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:
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.