Liverpool Vs Wigan: Match Preview

12/02/2011 § Leave a comment

Calling the victory at Stamford Bridge last Sunday simply ‘morale-boosting’ would be a gross understatement. The victory was an exercise in tactical brilliance from the King and more than just a bit of help from the man who mastered several a ‘buses in front of goal’ for Chelsea not too long ago. It was a resounding victory and winning four games on the trot does signal that there is a bit of momentum going on for our team and it will be lovely if the amazing bandwagon continues to roll on.

Liverpool host Wigan on Sunday which is sure to be an intriguing game. Liverpool have a pretty poor record against Wigan and if one sees the goals that have been scored in the past few games they would probably be credited to some pretty hapless defending on our part. But of course, with four clean sheets in four games, the defence that was all too awkward not so long ago is a showcase of solidarity.

Whispers about Skrtel and Gerrard’s unavailability have been doing rounds, not to mention the new addition to the doctor’s table, Jonjo Shelvey. So it remains to be seen what surprise King Kenny springs on this Wigan team. Dalglish has shown that he is more than willing to experiment with new formation and places great trust with the team members so we might be in for another bit of tactical brilliance.

Suarez ideally ought to start with either Kuyt or Meireles playing somewhere behind him. There is no justifiable reason to drop anyone else from the team that played Chelsea, so I’m expecting that much of the same team will be starting this game as well.

Chelsea 0-1 Liverpool: Match Report

12/02/2011 § Leave a comment

The heathen has left the building and the curse of the crocked Spaniard is now with Chelsea. God bless them for they have no idea what they are in for. Flashes of brilliance that might justify the price-tag, but the overall return one would later realise might be little bit disappointing. Now, it may be a case of sour grapes for me, but the work that Fernando Torres put in on Sunday night might suggest that Fernando Torres needs something more than the broken punt-around football that Chelsea can offer.

But that’s enough about him. As it would turn out, the person who would turn out to be the most significant during the course of the game would not be the ex-Liverpool player plying his trade in Chelsea, but the ex-Chelsea coach who is now mentoring the slightly porous defence at Liverpool. While the first half saw a see-sawing of advantage between the two clubs, the second half was a sparkling demonstration of defensive resilience. I’ve been watching Liverpool play for a good 8 years now, but I can rarely remember a defensive performance much like this since the Sami Hyypia times.

Granted Liverpool weren’t playing their brilliant pass-and-move game as they have become accustomed to playing under King Kenny probably due to the constant threat of a big ugly Chelsea player coming and dashing your brains out. The passing was not fluent as too many passes fell far too wayward. The attack too was slightly incoherent. But I’m assuming that the Chelsea playing philosophy probably precludes that any team that plays at the Bridge break their existing system and generally focus on not being injured for the next few weeks, especially with the bestial hounds Mikel and Essien patrolling the midfield.

If there were two players that stood out brilliant in this star-studded match up they were Jamie Carragher and Maxi Rodriguez. Carragher with his bloody strong determination to not let Chelsea, particularly Torres, score against his club was magnificent. The shot block off Torres was a glowing testimony to the underrated and under-appreciated talents of Jamie Carragher. Carra ran his boots off, marshalling the defence like a lioness protecting her young and to wonderful effect. Maxi of course stood out because he scuffed a shot at an open goal from 3 feet away.

Lucas too is starting to show that Javier Mascherano was not such a big deal. Strong in the tackle Lucas was rivalling Essien for the title of the most blood-thirsty player on the pitch. With Gerrard to support him and Meireles waiting on his every pass, Lucas shone in the center of the pitch.

And while I’m on the topic of academy youngsters performing on the biggest stage, how could I possibly leave out Martin Kelly? One season into the big-boys league and he’s already being considered for the England job. The right back fought tooth and nail with Ashley Cole perhaps reminding him of what a bright talent he himself was as a fresh-faced little douche out of Arsenal’s academy of brilliance, before he chose the wrong side of London a few years ago. Of course, Martin Kelly needs to work on his crossing a bit – he tends to get a little carried away and then spills out something way asunder. And with no one at Liverpool playing in those Hollywood crosses, it remains exciting to see whether Martin Kelly will be able to deliver those on the oversized forehead of Andy Carrol when the big chap overcomes his injury.

Kenny Dalglish seems to put a lot of faith in his three man defensive formation and it has reaped spectacular results. Agger and Skrtel will no doubt benefit by watching the master (Carra) himself in action. The three-man defence has also helped Johnson find his feet on the left hand side of the defence and allows him the freedom of occasionally creating a dummy threat meandering forward into the enemy territory without having to worry about losing the ball and hobbling back to fetch it.

In the Chelsea camp however, the arrival of Torres may have hindered them rather than boosted them. Signing Torres was probably not a tactically correct thing to do and is now being seen as a gross show of power by the Russian oligarch. Neither Drogba nor Anelka seemed to be happy with the change in playing style and it probably is going to take some time for Chelsea to adjust to the presence of Torres. One tip – don’t rely on him too much.

One positive take-away for Chelsea was that their other signing, David Luiz, seems to be a fantastic signing. At Benfica he could operate as a great utility player who could play across the whle defence without any problem, If he can do the same with Chelsea, they could benefit greatly from his services.

Chelsea vs Liverpool: Preview

05/02/2011 § Leave a comment

The special thing about Liverpool Football Club is that it continues to go through a see-sawing of fortunes. Just when we were riding on our greatest wave in the 80s, our coach Kenny Dalglish quit and the club started its seemingly unrecoverable slide downward. When we thought we have reached the most ignominious, Rafael Benitez came and helped us dream. Just when we were on the cusp of Premier League Championship, the same Benitez rocked our boat violently. And finally, when all hope seem lost with the last remaining vestige of Rafael Benitez’ great lineage sold, Liverpool may still be back on track. The old saviour is upon us, watching our every move, inspiring us and whispering softly into our ears as we sleep unsoundly, that there is still hope. There is still a chance that our old glories might still be restored.

The weekend is upon us and Dalglish faces the biggest challenge of his second coming since that disaster against United. Chelsea, once again rejuvenated by the petrobucks of their doting owner host us on Sunday. After a few years of financial dormancy where Abrahamovic claimed that Chelsea would now follow the more sound, future-focused policy that Arsenal have more or less patented, the main man is back in the frame and within 2 days splashed out somewhere around 75 of his many millions to procure a striker and a defender – two aspects of his squad which he identified as apparent weaknesses. And yet one cannot help but wonder his huge outlay might actually yield any substantial results. But well, the Russian oligarch has bought Premier League trophies in the past, so one cannot write Chelsea off.

Jamie Carragher is expected to make a comeback in this game and will most probably slot himself straight at the heart of the defence. And well, with him not particularly happy with Torres jumping off at the first instance, the two will make for an interesting battle. It will also be interesting to see which formation Kenny Dalglish opts for, what with him having being pretty experimental over the last couple of matches. But one thing is for sure. We’ve been politically correct for a while now since Torres left, and I guess the players are waiting to do their talking on the pitch. Torres leaving has hurt everyone at the club – the players, the coach and the supporters – and I’m sure that everyone will be waiting to get back at him with a vengeance and prove to him that he made a poor call going the mercenary way.

Liverpool 2.0 – Return of the King (Kenny)

12/01/2011 § Leave a comment

Now as an MBA student, I sure know a handful of adjective-heavy definitions of a manager, what with those terrifyingly prosaic books they make us read. Now I may be toeing the party line here with my refusal to stick to the clinical hatred of the Mancs, but if one were to ever effectively encapsulate the perfect qualities of a manager in the footballing context, one need not look further than the direction of the hated ruminative Scot who has almost, ALMOST knocked us off our effing perch as promised. Sir Alex Ferguson, with all his damned Manchester United associations and present possessor of the favourite ass of all the referees, is by far the best manager in the Premier League. And analysing the personality of Sir Alex, one can come to the conclusion that a good manager needs not only a sound footballing philosophy but also the sort of Jekyll and Hyde persona that makes celebrated superstars shiver like the dickens in his stately presence.

But this article is not simply meant to be a bittersweet account of my feelings for Sir Alex. It is also the guideline which our new coach Kenny Dalglish needs to follow, if he harbours any hope of taking Liverpool into the next season with the beautiful visage of his achievements from being besmirched.

Now one may argue that Kenny Dalglish has been away from the management game for too long but in my opinion all that jazz about football having changed since he left is all squat. When Kenny left, Manchester United played the 4-4-2 and won trophies. The statement still stands true on both counts. Because lets face it, international football players don’t need to be taught how to kick a ball in the correct direction. They need someone who is more a mentor, a troubleshooting mechanism more than anything else.

Now there are several advantages of being Kenny Dalglish on the Merseyside. First of all, your status is so damn iconic that there is simply no player, member of coaching staff, or even a director who is bigger than you. Because on the Merseyside, when King Kenny says jump, you sure as hell better be jumping because if you don’t there are a million of his subjects around that would gladly push you off the ledge. A point in case is Roy Hodgson – who despite certain passable credentials could simply not assert himself on the club, what with Kenny’s larger than life shadow in his wake. Hodgson, who seemed to have scored a win in the summer, bagging the job over the Liverpool icon, didn’t last too long. A certain Kenny Dalglish still held sway.

So there is no doubt that when Kenny walks in the dressing room, heads will start falling if he wills it. And hence, people would do damn well to respect him. Because, in the red half of Liverpool, there isn’t any man bigger than him – not Steven Gerrard, not even the man who was the best striker in the world two seasons ago. And what with him being so darn iconic, he will inspire fear in the minds of player who refuse to work in his style of play. Much like Sir Alex Ferguson has done so over the two decades he was in charge of Manchester United.

Then again, Kenny Dalglish doesn’t come across as particularly evil sort of dictatorial menace that would drive people out. He seems like a kindly father figure and his role as the ambassador for the club and the mentor to the Academy point out to a side of Kenny Dalglish which is positively nurturing. Having worked with them, Kenny also knows the youngsters in the academy and will definitely give them a fighting chance of usurping the first team spots of the present underperforming oafs in the squad. I mean, if Hodgson did it, he’d be a bloody idiot, but how many people will really doubt the good sense in giving a chance to Martin Kelly over Glen Johnson? I sure wouldn’t. But Kenny what with the goodwill earned over the 80s in the Merseyside will be able to make tough calls and draft into the squad the youth players who really have earned their spurs.

Of course, that is not to say that the Liverpool fans can expect a bed of roses when the King is in charge. There are very clear disadvantages of having a manager who’s been out of the game for a while. For starters, he’s not exactly the most preferred manager when you compare him to say Sir Alex or Arsene Wenger or Carlo Ancelotti. The bigger players would still be wary of joining a club, much in transition that too with a manager who outside of Liverpool is no more than a cult figure. So clearly Kenny Dalglish is no poster boy in the game of football management as perhaps Didier Deschamps might have been. So the only players that would be willing to join Kenny are more or less untested youngsters.

But then again, it is his job to extract the best out of the players under him the way that Roy Hodgson and Rafael Benitez before him simply could not. There are so many examples in the Premier League where good managers have extracted better than average teams from less than average players. Harry Redknapp is a shining example of the same and the achievements of Tony Pulis, Steve Bruce and Alex McLeish are nothing to be laughed at either.

Was Liverpool’s Recent Successful Run of Games a result of not using Glen Johnson?

17/11/2010 § Leave a comment

The sad thing about supporting Liverpool Football Club is that just before you can put an applauding article in about our performance, something or the other does go wrong. Four wins on the trot – starring the win at Chelsea of course – and before I even got round to praising that run of performances, bang! Draw at Wigan and defeat at Stoke. Well, you know what they say: it was good while it lasted.

Now while Roy Hodgson tries assiduously to alienate some of the purchases made in the Benitez era – Pacheco, Jovanovic, Babel and Co – one such alienation sticks out like a sore thumb in the Roy Hodgson module of recurring tactical errors – leaving out one Glen Johnson. Now don’t get me wrong, the guy is a real star when he goes on those amazing optimistic forays into the attacking positions. And while in the beginning we went agog with his enterprise and his slightly uncharacteristic attacking manner – wherein we sometimes, almost too positively, hoped that we too may have a Sergio Ramos or a Maicon in our midst – Liverpool fans very well know now how exactly it’s going to go down at some point. Because Glen Johnson for all his superior attacking thrust, is a terrible defender. He does not track back or tackle well enough, and God forbid when does, he gives away a free kick in a peach of a position to the opposition. It’s almost like the Premier League teams know his infatuation with bombing forward and invite him on, leaving his position uncovered and Carragher’s eternally furrowed brow to pick up the pieces. No exaggerations here. Because if you saw the defeat at Manchester City early on in the season, that’s exactly what they did.

But in a landmark judgement on the part of Roy Hodgson’s preposterously defensive mind, slow as it was and forced by the circumstances of the injury of the said player, has left out expensive right back, right back on the bench. Why? Because his overall approach demands more solidarity than enterprise. And so enter Carragher, a thou shalt defend and defend alone right back, or even the young Martin Kelly who is simply happy being in the team at his tender age on account of his unwillingness to go forward. So that means that now when Premier League teams come to Liverpool, they can no longer rely on the immaturity that Glen Johnson displays generously through the course of the game, but have to contend with a right back who actually knows his job. Of course, this blunts out attack and flair to a large extent, but we are a simple club who doesn’t mind a bunch of silly goalless draws and a mid-table finish.

No, seriously? I’m happy Johnson is not playing. And I thoroughly enjoy the rumour that he might be sold as soon as January. And that he does what every half-pissed Liverpool player has done in the past couple of years – blame the coach and in the process bite the hand that feeds him. The only thing that I’m not happy about is that we might not recover anything more than half the amount Benitez generously showered upon Portsmouth, a team which seemed genuinely happy underselling their players. Because no one, not even Juventus or Real Madrid who have claimed to be in the fray for Glen Johnson, will pay more than 12mil for a right back. Especially when Real Madrid already have the best right back in the world on their books.

But I’m happy to watch the progress of Martin Kelly. He’s solid as a rock. He’s tall and hence he wins the headers. And he can tackle which is obviously worth the few points he wins over Johnson. And he has a strong father-figure behind him to cover up should he make an error in judgement – Jamie Carragher. Wouldn’t I love it for him to become the next big home-grown thing to happen to Liverpool Football Club since Steven Gerrard? I sure would.

I mean he was against Ashley Cole and Florent Malouda out there against Chelsea and his defensive performance there was nothing short of praiseworthy. The uncompromising lad had his feet and head stamp out most of the attacks that came from the left. And if he couldn’t, Carragher was at least in the position to clear up after him and not simply left alone in the wilderness cursing himself when Johnson gave the ball away after the opposition left back booed at him.

But these two instances of dropped points aside, I believe there really is a season, and a pretty good one at that, if Roy Hodgson looks beyond Glen Johnson. I’m not saying sell him or anything. We have been a bit reckless with selling players who seem to let their guard down awhile, only to wonder later what it would have been like to still have Craig Bellamy or Peter Crouch r Robbie Keane…. Man this could take a while…

Roy Hodgson Vs Rafael Benitez

31/10/2010 § Leave a comment

I guess after 9 Premier League games, the solitary Carling Cup defeat and a few Europa league ones, we are now in a good position to evaluate the performance of our new coach,Roy Hodgson. While the evaluation in absolute terms paints a rather terrible picture of his performance, perhaps we can be a little more lenient and compare his work vis-à-vis our previous coach, Rafael Benitez.

How do you judge the performance of a coach? Is it all about results? Is it really about just getting 3 points at the end of the game? I don’t think so. If you ask me, there is more than that one parameter on which a coach needs to be judged. To be precise, if you were to ask me, I’d say there are four apart from everyone’s favourite – the results.

Gameplan

By gameplan, I am referring to the way a coach approaches the game. Now there are two basic types of coaches. Several coaches in the world have the luxury of sticking rigidly to their own strategy because they are sure in their mind that they have both the style and resources to extract the best result possible. And then there are others, coaches which are in charge of the so-called lesser clubs, who do NOT have the resources or the strategy which will enable them to play the game on their own terms. Instead, what they need to do is to understand the nature of their opponent and adapt their style accordingly with the hope of getting a result.

Of course at the start of his reign, Rafael Benitez was one of the latter. His success was largely dependent on his ability to change his gameplan each time and his players responded well to frequent changes in formation and playing strategy. But later a time came when he became one of the former, when he found himself in a position to impose his game on the opposition; where he could play on his own terms and the others would have to adapt if they had any chance of stopping Liverpool. The gameplan as we all know was based on a supremely strong central axis of Reina, Agger, Carragher, Alonso, Mascherano, Gerrard ad Torres.

But after Alonso left, Benitez’ wonderful gameplan was left clutching at straws. Unfortunately Rafael Benitez continued to assume that he was one of the coaches who was in a position to dictate the game, when clearly that wasn’t the case. He once again became one of the adapters but realized that too late. This of course was compounded by the lack of quality players coming into the squad andthe injuries to key players throughout the season also played its part in destroying the very core of Benitez’ gameplan. The lack of foresight of course, led to a clutch of poor results and the eventual poor position in the Premier League standings, led to the ouster of one of our very beloved coaches.

In the case of Roy Hodgson, the exact opposite is true. A successful adapter at Fulham, he probably came to Liverpool with the assumption that perhaps it is his chance to be the dictator. He saw a wealth of talent in Gerrard and Torres. He oversaw the purchases of Cole and Meireles and perhaps thought that he was, after a long time, in a position to play a game the way he wanted it to be played. Alas, the strategy he tabled was ridiculous – one which relied heavily on the ability of the midfield players despite the lack of talent therein to actually execute the gameplan.

So who really had the better gameplan then? I’d have to say that for 4 years, Rafael Benitez had a pretty good idea about how he wants the team to play. In the last year, his inability to comprehend the gravity of his weaknesses hastened his downfall. Roy Hodgson, I’d like to believe, has surely seen the error of his ways. Our team is strong enough to ensure dictatorship of the game, as we did against the Rovers, but then a good gameplan, which takes into account the talent pool in place at the club, is of utmost importance.

Utilization of Resources

Was this your biggest downfall Rafa? Was it your almost girlish forays into the transfer market and buying dresses and shoes that don’t fit or those which you will never ever wear the primary factor which led to your ouster? Or was it simply going into the market like a novice and being swindled – to use a very American word – into paying above board for players you don’t really need? The fans of Rafagenerally focus excruciatingly on the apparently low net spend when compared to that of other Premier League clubs. But how many players did he really need then?And did he use them to their full potential? And when the pockets are tight, one cannot spend 17 million on a right back – who although is England’s number one – cannot defend. Nor can you spend 20 million on a midfielder – who although stylish and Italian – simply could not stand on two feet for over a month. Nor sir, can we sell players who perform favourably for the club like Bellamy and Crouch. Nor can we buy what was touted to the best thing from Holland and make him sit and cry on the bench alone. And we can certainly not buy an expensive, well experienced player and give him about 4 months to perform and then sell him off at about 60% of the purchase price deeming him a flop.

Roy on the other hand has been used to living frugally and counting his change every night before sleeping. But really, has he too used his resources well? A fit Agger on the bench is an unimaginable thought. But apart from that I cannot really fault Roy for using his resources even a tad bit luxuriously. The problem is, as I have mentioned before, the incorrect use of manpower rather than one of sourcing unnecessary levels of manpower altogether

Pulling Power

Another very important parameter on which I’d like to judge the performance of both these coaches in the pulling power they had. Rafael Benitez as we all know had a superb pull in the transfer market. Benitez was a talented man when it came to leveraging the brand of Liverpool Football Club to land the players he wished for. He perhaps too often paid an atrocious price for a lot of the players, but when it came to presenting to a prospective player the opportunity of playing for the Reds, there is no doubt that he could really do a good job of it. The successful signings of Torres, Mascherano and Reina represent some of the very good player purchases of his era. I’d also like to include Morientes, Babel and Robbie Keane in this list, despite their failure to deliver the goods, because they were definitely individuals who had a great demand in the transfer market, but chose to give in to Rafael Benitez’ superior vision.

Roy Hodgson that way has been pretty meek. Apart from Joe Cole, he hasn’t really been able to attract the attention and willingness of players to join the club. So many players had been on the radar – I’d like to mention Rafael Van Der Vaart very prominently here -but somehow, Roy Hodgson’s innocence and unwillingness to dirty his hands in the mucky world of transfer politics has been a great disadvantage for the club and for him personally. Of course, one could heap the blame on the owners for the instability, just like those buggers heap the debt, but Benitez lived through it successfully and still managed to arm-twist the players into the club somehow. So on the parameter of successfully leveraging brand Liverpool, Roy Hodgson loses out because, quite simply, he’s too nice a guy in the man-eat-man world of transfer politics.

Dressing Room

The mark of a good coach is the amount of respect he commands in the dressing room – just ask Sir Alex Ferguson. If a coach does not have the players on board with him, he stands in a position of great disadvantage because there is a chance that his players might refuse to execute his plans – just ask any Real Madrid coach. Rafael Benitez that way was a pretty charming sort of man who in my honest opinion never lost the dressing room entirely. Sure there were a couple of fallouts with Babel and Riera’s very famous premonition about ships sinking. Sure there were rows with Pennant and Bellamy but then which coach has really been able to tame these two personalities in entirety? The fact remains that Rafa ensured that the crux of his team remained happy. Gerrard remained as loyal to his home club as ever while Benitez was at the helm and even a seductive and gesticulating Chelsea could not lure him away. Ditto with Fernando Torres. Torres’ loyalty did not falter when Benitez was at the club, which kind of drives home the point that with one thing or the other, Rafael Benitez commanded a good bit of respect in the dressing room.

Can we really say the same thing about Roy Hodgson? I don’t think so. The body language of the players doesn’t seem to suggest so. Somehow the way that the players have played this season seems to suggest that they don’t really trust the way Roy Hodgson is steering the ship. They seem to be pretty dejected with the going-ons at the club and simply enter the pitch like they are paid workers who don’t really enjoy their jobs but need to do it to feed their families. Even after the game, the dejection displayed on their faces seems more directed towards their exasperation with the coach than with themselves. Something not unlike the industrialists in the pre-liberalization era, where their productivity and best efforts were hampered by the more controlling Indian government. And if the exasperation translates into disappointment and disillusionment, we might just witness the mass exodus people in English tabloid newspapers keep honking about.

So is Roy Hodgson really doing a better job as the coach of Liverpool Football Club? I’m not totally convinced of this fact. As much as I disliked Benitez for his dogmatic, inflexible and often inexplicable ways, Roy Hodgson is more or less replicating the same instability, but with more flexibility and less dogmatism. I guess he needs time to sort out the troubles in the team, but the way I see it he better do it soon before the players start looking eagerly for the January transfer window for their way out.

What’s the Way Ahead for Roy Hodgson?

24/10/2010 § Leave a comment

The primary evil may be off the Merseyside but trouble abounds for Liverpool FC. The club lay a lowly 19th, very much entrenched in the relegation zone and have only West Ham to “ha-HA” at and that too because somehow they have managed a poorer goal difference than us. After defeats to Blackpool and Everton, draws against Birmingham and Sunderland, our club cannot even hide under the excuse that we have been playing against awesome clubs. Nor can we delude ourselves by saying that we have been playing great football, and luck has contrived to see us beaten each time. No. We have been rubbish and we have only ourselves to blame: Our players, our tactics, and primarily, our coach.

When Roy came to the club there was much doubt among the populace regarding his managerial credentials. Several said that Roy lacks big-club management experience and his successes have been all with small clubs, a lot of them in inferior leagues. But no I said. I thought that the man with such a colourful career deserves a shot at one of the biggest clubs in the world. And look how he has disappointed all those who chose to believe in him. To be fair to Roy, he’s more or less carried his Europa League credentials with good pomp, but where it really matters – back home in the Premier League – his record has been nothing short of dismal.

For some reason, and quite obviously, he has tried too hard to relinquish the one great legacy that Rafael Benitez left us with: The long balls. Unsightly as they may be to footballing purists, Liverpool played those lovelies in with purpose and malice. Every time the ball fell to Alonso, he would waste little time in looking up and plonking the ball accurately at the feet of the target. Or the head, if the player he saw was Peter Crouch. And these were the times before Fernando Torres, mind you. It was an approach that more or less worked every time. If you get the ball on the counter and aim it at the head of a striker 8-10 times in a game, even strikers like DjibrilCisse will score at least one. It was dirty, negative, whatever. But yes, it yielded results. So I can’t believe I’m saying this but when Rafael Benitez was at the helm, there actually seemed to be some sort of purpose to the team; some game plan; some raison d’etre.

And then this Roy Hodgson comes to this club where long balls are just as much entrenched in our legacy and playing style as the plethora of sub-standard Spanish and Latino bargain-basement purchases, and tries to completely dismantle the platform on which players like Gerrard, Carra and Reina have played for the longest time. Instead he tries to work on this ridiculously overrated short pass console – with terrifyingly bad results – and tries to make players do what they can’t. Like making Poulsen pass the ball, when he so clearly cannot; Like making Lucas play football when he so clearly sucks at it. Like making Daniel Agger play at left back, when he is easily the best center back we have today. The whole fucking model is gobshite. Not only are the team playing incoherently, in a system which they cannot manage, but the roles assigned to each individual are outright incorrect and doesn’t take into consideration, their core competencies.

I may be terribly young, but let me give Roy a small management lesson – because the way things are going here, any Liverpool fan who knows even squat about football is entitled to believe that he can do a better job with the club.

One of the very aspects of management – any management really – is to understand your team’s inherent strengths and weaknesses and then try to form a model around it. To give a crass business example, Bill Gates cannot walk into his Microsoft Office, and tell his workers, who for years have been wired to write programs and work on computers, to build a car. It does not work that way. You cannot simply break down the core competence of a unit and then try to build another one more suited to your whim. Rafael Nadal’s coach cannot tell him to ditch the backhand and only play forehands. Nadal will tell him to get the fuck out.

Liverpool do have a good core of players who are very comfortable in their own space. Perhaps then Roy should build his model with more focus on his key players – Torres, Gerrard, Agger, Joe Cole and try to understand which role suits them best. And then try and come up with a formation and a game plan to help make the most of his best players’ best talents. Perhaps Gerrard needs to sit deeper in the midfield. Perhaps Joe Cole is suited well in the whole behind the striker. Perhaps Jovanovic should be played as a second striker alongside Torres. Perhaps Lucas should be left on the bench or better yet, sold off.
As we approach the Blackburn game tonight, Roy Hodgson’s Liverpool fate hangs in the balance. If we win at Anfield today, Roy’s constant chest beating about how good a manager he is might hold some water. If Liverpool fail to get a result at home, then Roy Hodgson’s reign as Liverpool manager might be effectively over given that his biggest backer at Liverpool Football Club – Christian Purslow – has left the Anfield board and the new CEO might just jump on the opportunity to try and win the support of the Liverpool faithful by bringing on the talismanic Kenny Dalglish or should King Kenny not be willing, one among Frank Rijkaard, Manuel Pellegrini or Martin O’Neill.

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