Sunday, January 31, 2010

Reality Check Again.

As usual after each game, the internet would be brimming with opinions about our performance. A good thing, really. But depending on where you are coming from, some sites are more preferred than others.

I have tried to ignore the sites that spew only the negative about the team and the manager. I especially avoid the sites from the daily media because I do not see any proper journalism in them. Imagine reading about your team and you see the writer even gets the name of our players wrong!

There are a few sites that I frequent everyday because I see in them an avenue in which a healthy debate is always welcome. There I read different views, insights from those who are close to Anfield and have been to the games, and most importantly comments from people who really understand the game having played the game and coached at different levels. Some of the comments make us think really hard about the whole circumstances surrounding us at the moment, especially on the issue of Rafa Benitez.

These are just two examples:

No offence lads, none whatsoever. But I am getting bored of reading the same thing over and over again. I am boring myself with the same shit over and over every time a discussion about Rafa comes up either in the blog or in conversation with friends and colleagues. I even found myself on the phone to my Dad in Jamaica explaining why it’s not as simple as Rafa doing a poor job.

Arthur, some of the things FS says may seem like scare mongering and over the top. But I believe he is bloody well right when he says we run the risk of slipping into oblivion if Rafa loses his job while the club is in its current predicament. 

Before deciding if Rafa should stay or go I think it is important to understand the position the club is in. I believe a lot of people are not aware of the shit the club is in. Drawing 0-0 at Wolves and Rafa only making one sub is but a grain of sand in the desert compared to the fucking mess the club is actually in. But I digress.

I will try to put it in simple terms – it’s not that I think anyone reading this lacks intelligence its because once one forms a hard opinion it is very difficult – sometimes impossible to change it no matter how well or simply things are explained. I will try anyway.

In the opinion of FS, Keith, Aitch, Timmy, myself and a few others Rafa Benitez is the best manager the club can wish to have in its current predicament. The reason we think this way is this:

The club has no money for transfers. Clubs in this position find it very difficult to attract top managers to the job. The club does not have money to pay any compensation for a manager who is in a job. Clubs in this position have to wait for a manager to be out of work or free from a contract before they can get him. Unless of course we are talking about a manager who is at a small club where say a £1m pay off would suffice.
The most simple way I can put it is like this: LFC is a skint football club. Skint football clubs do not attract top quality established managers.

Forget Hiddink, Mourinho, Lippi, Capello or anyone of that ilk. As a matter of fact you can list the top 20 managers in football and I would be willing to bet my life that not one of them would touch LFC with a bargepole.

The likely scenario if we sacked Rafa would be that we get a manager from not the top shelf but the shelf where the likes of Mcleish, Allardyce, Mark Hughes, Steve Bruce, Roy Hogdson reside. Now imagine a manager in this mold with no money to spend on new players. Also imagine what the attitude of our current squad would be if such a manager replaced Rafa. Players like Reina, Torres, Masch, Gerrard – would they be looking to stay at the club long term playing for such a manager? Would they have the belief that the club is going forward? Or would they be looking towards La Liga in a hurry? In my opinion we’d have a number of players thinking about their futures and at the same time no money to add any quality to the squad. What you get in this scenario is a steady decline.

This decline happened at Newcastle after they sacked Bobby Robson. They fired a very good manager after they finished 5th. The club was also run poorly. They hired Souness and ended up 17th he then left. What happened after that was a succession of managers none of them as good as Robson. I am sure they would have loved to get Hiddink but I’m afraid with no real money to invest and a group of clowns in the boardroom they could only recruit mediocre managers. Players left to go to other clubs that semmingly had more ambition – poorer players replaced those. Newcastle slide down the league year on year until they get relegated.

The notion that top managers will be falling over themselves to manage our club once Rafa slings his hook is a fallacy, a pipe dream, a fantasy. It’s on the same level as saying we’ll be buying David Villa in the summer. There is no queue of investors falling over themselves to take over the club, no top manager itching to take the job and no super star world class player aching to come and put on the red shirt. This “we are Liverpool” is total bollocks. We’re skint. Time we start acting like it.

May I also point out that the club cannot afford to sack Rafa. You may think “oh it’s not right keeping a manager just coz we can’t afford to sack him – something is not right”. Damn right something is not right. Financially we are fucked. Wake up and smell the coffee. Realise the real life situation. The club can’t sack Rafa and it can’t recruit a top manager. It can’t fucking afford it.

Also realise this. No manager since Rafa’s arrival has been more successful on a smaller or similar budget. So when quoting Tomkins/soccernomics to suit your argument when we draw 0-0 with Wolves or lose to Reading remember the bigger picture. Which is this:

2005 – 5th in PL, Carling Cup final, CL win.
2006 – 3rd in PL, FA cup win, CL 2nd round. (our highest ever PL points tally)
2007 – 4th in PL, CL Final.
2008 – 3rd in PL, Semi final CL.
2009 – 2nd in PL, Quarter final CL. (our highest points tally in 21 years)

Reading, Wolves, Spurs, Arsenal, City, Villa have not been more successful than Rafa’s Liverpool. Only the mancs and chavs have and I think we are all intelligent enough to know why that is. The above has been achieved with a net spend of £16m per season. I think that deserves a pat on the back rather than ridicule. 

I don’t believe you sack the 3rd most successful manager in English football since 2004 due to one poor season. Especially when the likely-hood of getting a superior replacement is very slim.


And here’s the thing…

we simply must stop all this “anti-Rafa” “Rafa-Basher” vs “Rafa apologist” “Gag on Rafa’s Tackle Brigade” nonsense.

Coz that is what it is ultimately! Just fuckin nonsense!

And it desn’t matter which “side” you are on… you’ve been placed on that “side” in part, by media driven bullshit.

Rafa has lost the plot or Rafa is a Tactical Genius?

How about neither!

How about he’s just a man, doing a job to the best of his ability. (did that sound a bit too much like Julia Roberts… “I’m just a girl, standing across from a boy, asking him to love her.” … or is it just me?)

but I digress… An ability which outstrips the abilities of the majority of men doing the same job… worldwide!

“Anti-Rafa’s” love to suggest they are LFC fans, not Rafa fans… as though they have exclusivity on that right.

…believe me fellas, there isn’t a single lad in here, “supporting Rafa” who holds his allegiance to LFC second. For reasons repeatedly expressed, we just believe that the two are symbiotic at present. 

It is time the divisiveness and name calling stopped. 

If someone holds a different opinion, reason it out… or at least try to… not because you’re right and they are wrong.

Reason it out, becuase THAT is what “the most knowledgeable fans in the world” should be doing… leave the petty catfights to the rest of the league.
If that proves futile, then just ignore them.

I support Rafa not becuase I have some gay affinity for chubby Spanish blokes…
…or any gay affinity for that matter…
…quotations from a dodgy Hugh Grant Rom-Com as potential evidence to the contrary…
…and okay sure… there was that incident in my very late teens, when my mate walked in on me, to find me embarrassingly naked on the bed with a bowl of jello, watching a David Niven movie… but as I explained at the time, it was hot and I was hungry…
…but I support Rafa because judging him on his entire tenure, not one game, or one season…
…on all his successes AND failures…
….judguing him on his “his obvious” strengths and his “obvious” shortcomings…
… and taking into account the circumstances he finds himself in… at ownership level, at administrative level, at management level, at training and playing… and the way he conducts himself within these circumstances (especially in comparison to his contemporaries)
… I conclude he is the best man for the job at present.

And the job is running LFC… not an easy one, despite what some would have you believe.

look, you won’t get any arguments from me if you claim… Football is an easy game.

Too fuckin right it is. You trap the ball, you run with the ball, you pass the ball, you shoot the ball.
Easy peasy…

Managing 20 young millionaires who’ve never actually done a hard days work in their life, who live a rockstar life, driving cars that cost more than you or I make in 2-3 years of graft, living in big mansions (with hermetically sealed trophy rooms the size of your average UK workers home) (and yes, that’s a poke at Stevie G.), dating supermodels and popstars, adhored by milliones who chant their name and are managed by agents who overfeed such already over-inflated egos…

… with tens or even hundreds of millions at stake… in an industry where few, and I do mean few, of your contempporaries have held their current positions for more than 5 years…
… all while under the daily… no make that hourly… microscope of a sharkfeeding frenzy media, who “drive the story” rather than “report” it… and maybe… just maybe top-flight football management isn’t so easy.

Then again, its a simple game, so maybe I’m just making excuses?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Some More Facts and Records

Since there have been lots and lots of comments elsewhere on the progress of our club, I would just like to post an article by Tomkins, which I am sure took a very very long time to produce. Hence it should be given its due respect. The article is at his membership site but this one is free, so I thought I would just copy and paste the whole thing. The article can be found here:

For fans looking for a different perspective, feel free to subscribe to tomkinstimes. It is a whole different world of football in there. The following article was written by Paul Tomkins:

Some Rafa Benítez Facts (and Records)

This is an extensive list of some of the achievements of Rafa Benítez and his players in the past five and a half years. Some of them won’t be remembered as highly significant, but many of them highlight the progress made since 2004.

Following the list, there is some statistical analysis on the manager’s performance, in comparison with previous Liverpool managers.

August 2004 – January 2010


In his 1st home game in charge (Man City) Liverpool came from behind at half-time to win a game for the first time in more than 5 years.

At Fulham (October 2004) the Reds came from behind at half-time to win an away game for the 1st time in 13 years.

Liverpool became the 1st British club to ‘keep’ the European Cup following a 5th Final success.

Steven Gerrard became the 2nd youngest player to captain a European Cup winning team.


Became only the 3rd team, and the 1st British side, to win the European Super Cup 3 times.

Steven Gerrard became the 1st Liverpool player in history to score in 5 successive European matches.

Kept clean sheets in each of their opening 4 league games for the 1st time in the club’s history.

Sami Hyypia played in a 56th consecutive European game – breaking the club record for an outfield player (he extended that record to 57).

Liverpool set a new club record of 11 consecutive clean sheets (Oct-Dec 2005).

Went 762 minutes without conceding a league goal (a post-war club record).

Won 10 league games in a row for the 1st time in 15 years.

At Luton Liverpool scored 5 goals in an away F.A. Cup tie for the 1st time in 59 years.

Liverpool beat Manchester United for the 1st time in the F.A. Cup for 85 years.

Recorded their biggest ever away win in the F.A. Cup (7-0 at Birmingham) and the biggest by any team away from home in the Quarter-Finals for 106 years.

Conceded only 8 league goals at home – their 3rd best total ever.

Set a club record of 12 successive wins in all competitions (it was extended to 14 at the start of the following season).

By lifting the F.A. Cup became the 1st manager in the club’s history to win a trophy in each of his first 2 seasons in charge.

Set a club record of 21 goals scored by substitutes in a season – previous record was 12.

Achieved the 6th-highest accumulation of available league points in the club’s history, and at the time, the 2nd-highest ever number of wins (as a % of games played)


Recorded his 50th league win in just 93 games – a record bettered by only 2 Liverpool managers of the previous 57 years, Dalglish and Shankly.

Went unbeaten in 30 successive home league games for only the 4th time in their history.

Scored 4 goals in the 1st half of an away league game (at Wigan) for the 1st time in 15 years.

Pepe Reina kept more clean sheets in his first 50 league games (28) than any other goalkeeper in the club’s history.

Jamie Carragher played in a club record 58th game in the European Cup.

Jamie Carragher made a club record 90th appearance in all European competition.

Conceded only 7 league goals at home – best total for 28 years.

Only second English side to win in Nou Camp (previous one was Liverpool in 1976).

Reached second Champions League final in three seasons. (If ‘lucky’ to win in 2005, the Reds were ‘unlucky’ to lose in 2007.)


Beat Besiktas 8-0 to record the biggest ever Champions League victory.

Scored 4 goals in a game on 8 occasions before Christmas for only the 3rd time in club’s history.

Steven Gerrard scored his 23rd European goal – to break the club record.

Pepe Reina kept his 50th league clean sheet in his 92nd appearance – breaking club record of 95 held by Ray Clemence.

Steven Gerrard became the 1st Liverpool player ever to score in 5 successive European games in the same season.

Fernando Torres became the 1st Liverpool player in 62 years to a hat-trick in successive home league games.

Jamie Carragher became the 1st Liverpool player to play 100 European games for the club.

Fernando Torres became the 1st player in 12 years to score 20 league goals for the club.

Pepe Reina kept 54 clean sheets in his first 100 league games to break the club record held by Ray Clemence.

Steven Gerrard became the 1st Liverpool player to score in 4 successive home European games.

Fernando Torres became the 1st Liverpool player to score in 7 successive top-flight home league games.

Rafa Benitez won 81 of his first 150 league games in charge. Only Kenny Dalglish (87) won more as Liverpool manager.

Ryan Babel equalled the club record of most goals in a season scored by a substitute (7).

Liverpool had 6 players who scored 10 goals or more in a season. Only the 3rd time this had happened in the club’s history.

Fernando Torres equalled the club record by scoring in an 8th successive home league game (all divisions).

Fernando Torres scored 24 league goals – most by any Liverpool player in a debut season for 61 years.

Fernando Torres broke Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s record of most goals in a debut Premier league season by an overseas player.

Pepe Reina won the Golden Glove for the 3rd successive season.

Liverpool scored 119 goals in the season – more than any team in England.


In 2008 recorded their highest points tally in a calendar year (81) for 18 years.

Liverpool won 9 successive home league games for the 1st time since November 1990.

Fernando Torres became the club’s 2nd highest ever scorer in his first 50 games (34 goals).

Ryan Babel became the club’s 2nd highest ever goalscoring substitute (with 8 goals).

Liverpool came from behind to defeat Manchester United in the league for the 1st time in 42 years.

End Chelsea’s 84-game unbeaten home record.

Became only the 2nd English team to win in the Bernabeu.

At Anfield inflicted upon Real Madrid their biggest ever Champions League defeat.

Steven Gerrard became only the 2nd Liverpool player to play 100 times for the club in Europe.

Recorded their biggest win at Old Trafford for 72 years. It was also the 1st time 4 Liverpool players had scored at United in the same game.

Led the table for the 1st time ever in the Premiership with 2 games to play.

Broke Bill Shankly’s record of 65 European matches as Liverpool manager.

Broke Bob Paisley’s record of 40 European wins as Liverpool manager.

Recorded his 100th league win as manager in his 181st game. It was the 3rd quickest ever by a Liverpool manager and 50 games faster than Alex Ferguson.

Equalled club record set in 1904-05 by winning 13 away league games.

Amassed their highest points total ever in the Premier League (86) beating the 82 set in 2005-06. Their highest in the league since 1987-88.

Scored at least 3 goals in 6 successive games in all competitions for the 1st time in the club’s history.

Finished the campaign with a goal difference of + 50 – their best for 21 years when they amassed + 63 in 1987-88.

Lost just twice in the league – equalling the fewest they had lost in a league campaign for 105 years.

Fernando Torres scored 33 goals in his first 50 league games for the club – the best by any Liverpool player for 52 years.

Pepe Reina kept his 100th clean sheet in the fastest time in Liverpool history (197 games).

Won 75% of all available league points – 2nd highest in the club’s history.

The highest number of points by any team which failed to win the league (38 game seasons)

Went unbeaten in 31 home league games – their 3rd longest ever run and best for 32 years.

Against Manchester United recorded his 114th league win in his 200th game. The 2nd best tally by any Liverpool manager in first 200 league games (Kenny Dalglish 120 wins).

Liverpool won a 3rd successive league game at Everton for only 3rd time in club’s history.

Yossi Benayoun scored a hat-trick against Burnley to become only the 5th player in the club’s history to score a hat-trick in 3 different competitions.

Pepe Reina set a new club record of most clean sheets (79) in first 150 league games.

Liverpool scored 22 goals in opening 7 league games – best tally for 114 years and 2nd best ever.

Broke club record by scoring in an 18th successive Premier League game at Anfield.

Fernando Torres broke the club record by scoring his 50th league goal for Liverpool in just his 72nd match.

(Correct up to January 23rd 2010)

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

In addition, here are some statistics relating to the eight Liverpool managers over the past 50 years.
Win %

Rafa Benítez

League – Played 212, won 56.13% (currently 2nd-highest % for any post-war Liverpool manager)

Europe – Played 77, won 55.84% (currently 3rd-highest % for any Liverpool manager)

Gerard Houllier

League – Played 216, won 50.00%

Europe – Played 52 , won 50.00%

Roy Evans

League – Played 172, won 48.26%

Europe – Played 16 8, won 50.00%

Graeme Sounes

League – Played 115, won 40.87%

Europe – Played 12 6, won 50.00%

Kenny Dalglish

League – Played 224, won 60.71%

Joe Fagan

League – Played 84, won 52.38%

Europe – Played 19 , won 68.42%

Bob Paisley

League – Played 378, won 56.08%

Europe – Played 61 , won 63.93%

Bill Shankly

League – Played 609, won 52.38%

Europe – Played 65 , won 52.31%

Progress From Predecessor?

Although it never appeared in the book, for Dynasty I compared the league records of all eight managers since 1959, with the first season’s points removed from their average tally. This first season total was removed because some managers inherited successful sides, and others inherited struggling sides; as such, I wanted a less-skewed figure for their performance.

Once Liverpool were struggling from 1991 onwards, the worst points tally posted by each of Evans (60), Houllier (54) and Benítez (58) was in their first season. By contrast, Joe Fagan, by inheriting a world-class team, had his best total in his inaugural season. The same applies to Graeme Souness (I’ve also excluded incomplete seasons if the manager left before the end).

So, when removing the first season – giving each man a season’s grace, if you will – the following figures are their average league points tallies; where a predecessor is listed in brackets it means they improved on the man before them. Currently Benítez has the greatest improvement by any Liverpool manager, but that will drop slightly if Liverpool do not reach 78 points in this campaign.

1 Paisley av. 83 (predecessor av. 77)

2 Dalglish av. 81 (predecessor av. 77)

3 Benítez av. 78 (predecessor av. 68)

4 Shankly av. 77

5 Fagan av. 77

5 Evans av. 70 (predecessor av. 61)

7 Houllier av. 68

8 Souness av. 61

So anyone who says that the club has gone backwards since the days of Houllier (that includes you, Danny Murphy) is wrong; the facts suggest a big improvement.

(All tallies adjusted to 3 points for a win system, which was introduced in 1981.)

Proximity To Champions

Following the publication of this piece, student Kais-Sabir Jesani emailed me some of his own analysis, which I feel to be first-rate.

“I feel that examining Liverpool’s points hauls in isolation, across seasons and managers fails to account for the performance of the team in relation to the highest-achieving team each season. As a result, I have analysed the points totals amassed by Liverpool in each season, as a percentage of the points achieved by the team that won the title in that particular season, for each season since 1991/1992.

“I felt this would provide some perspective as to how close the team came to winning the title or challenging for it, in comparison to the team that actually won it that season. This analysis would reflect the fact that in some seasons, the winning points haul would be higher or lower depending on the standard of other teams, competitiveness in the league etc.”

• Over the course of Souness’ two full seasons in charge (1991/1992, 1992/1993), Liverpool averaged 74.15% of the points accumulated by the team that won the league in those two seasons.
• If we are to include the 1993/1994 season, this figure drops to 71.79%.
• Over the course of Evans’ four full seasons in charge, Liverpool averaged 85.94% of the points haul attained by the title-winning teams in those seasons.
• Over the course of Houllier’s five full seasons in charge (1999/2000 to 2003/2004), Liverpool averaged 79.12% of the points achieved by the winners during those seasons.
• If we are to include the 1998/1999 season, then Houllier’s figure drops to 77.33%

The average points total achieved by Benitez’ teams, as a percentage of the winning teams totals, during his 5 full seasons in charge, is 82.1%

If we exclude his first season (as you suggested – quite rightly, in order to avoid skewing), then Benitez’ figure rises to 87.36% – the highest amongst Liverpool managers in the Premier League era.

It is interesting to note that the performance under Evans was the most consistent during his four full seasons in charge, in that there was less deviation of the points achieved as a percentage of the winnings teams points for these seasons.

However, under Benitez in 2008/2009, the points achieved by Liverpool as a percentage of the winning team’s (United) points haul (86/90 * 100) - 95.56% – is the highest total achieved by any Liverpool manager in the Premiership era.

I’ll add some further interesting bits and pieces as and when I’m made aware of them. Some of these will be made available only to subscribers.

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Subscription costs only £3.50 for premium membership. 

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Gloom Gloom and More Gloom

Here we go again. 

Possibly, sell players to a total of 16M and and spend only 1.5M to buy. 

Just like the previous two windows of players transfer, we see yet again just how many steps we are actually taking to move 'forward'. In reality, the steps 'forward' here would be to reduce the debts of our club, and not to strengthen the team. Debts which was not there before the two twats took over. Is it surprising that we have not won any silverware since their arrivals?

Another heart-breaking thing is we will, yet again, miss out on signing quality players. Just like in the past when other teams,  such as Arsenal (their scouts do not deserve the praises given them, I feel) outbid us for the players Rafa had pinpointed because we either 'lacked' the fund or the board took its sweet time in haggling the price. This time we could miss out securing the likes of Maroune Chamakh and Arda Turan. Even the so-called done-deal for Maxi Rodriguez at 1.5M is not a done-deal yet. I can already see it, other managers need to just wait and see which players Rafa shows any interest in and then offer more money. 

Now, imagine if we do not qualify for the CL next season (I personally believe we will). The lost of potential income from the CL would mean either the owners (if they don't sell the club which I believe they won't be able to at the value they put on the club) pay the interest out of their own pockets or tell the manager to sell players to cover the debts and the wages. It is not like we have a large stadium to generate income like the Mancs (which by the way has the biggest debts) and Arsenal to cover the expenses and debts.

So, seeing how stingy our owners are at the moment, it could only mean that we will be selling players like Torres and buying almost-expired players or just look for free transfers. And where will that take us? Slowly downwards towards the relegation zone because each season after that we will fail to qualify for European football. Or worse when the owners, having at last squeezed us dry, leave us unattended and we end up like Leeds.

Which good manager in his right mind would want to come to us? And how long will Rafa continue to be 'stubborn' and stick around, having spent at best 12.7M net a season throughout his tenure so far, when other big clubs are beckoning him non-stop? How long can he be expected to create 'miracles' when competing against so many other clubs that spend so much more? How much pressure will he be able to withstand, when his two predecessors amidst less pressure, succumbed to heart failures?

The idea of having a big stadium itself then, which was planned for so many years now but has yet to materialise, would be a joke because we won't be able to fill it with fans. Irony that the twats missed somehow I guess. 

Yesterday, Tom Hicks Jr the vice-president was reported to have used harsh words against a fan in an email that includes 'idiot' and "Blow me f*** face. Go to hell. I'm sick of you." He has apologised for it if were to believe the reports, but if it were true just shows how he regards us fans. He will definitely Walk Alone, with the two twats at his sides. He can be contacted at