Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Liver Bird Heads Buried in sand

There is only one remedy that can dull the pain of seeing your beleaguered team spluttering into disappointment before the Christmas turkey has even been plucked -denial.

When ever Liverpool have a dip in form, I find my self consciously burying my head in the sand, avoiding match reports, switching off highlights, and shunning any talk of the teams misfortune even with fellow supporters, where you would think strength would be found in numbers. No, I prefer to disconnect and basically turn into a footballing social recluse. A flawed theory of "What you don't know can't hurt you." Hence the lack of posting's here in that last few weeks. Such is my desire to be insulated by grains of sands populating every orifice in my head, before the Lyon game, I even considered doctoring the Liver birds feathered head on my Liverpool shirt, so that it to was buried in the sand. If only I could sew.

Thankfully, I didn't vandalise the shirt despite Liverpool failing to stage yet another "Cup Final" turn around after being denied by Lyon's Lisandro equaliser at the death. Being pipped at the post is difficult pill to swallow at the best of times, but these things have a tendency to coincide with a string of poor results.

While I might have my head buried in the sand in vain attempt to shelter from the down pour of bad results, I refuse to believe that Liverpool's decent into the abyss, where Champions League football is just a mythical pipe dream the other teams outside the big four can only dream about, is anything more than poor form and horrendous luck. Besides the departure of Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid in the summer, the squad is fundamentally the same set of players, the manager is still Benitez and we are still owned by Americans who put the club in to debt in order to buy it.

Alonso, while he was obviously an integral cog to Liverpool's system, can not be the sole reason the teams form has since declined. Benitez had little choice on the departure once Alonso got the call from Perez who was building another generation of Galatico's. Instead he cashed in, and got a reasonable return and replacement in Aqualani, which is the nature of football. Players come and go, teams get rebuilt. I assumed Manchester United would be lost without the fantasy league points hording Ronaldo, but they seemed to have coped. Sure, winning the league and reaching the Champions League latter stages might not be such a full gone conclusion for Sir Alex's men, but their is no sign of imminent collapse.

I thought that victory over United would be the kick start to the season Liverpool so desperately crave, only for the debacle at Fulham to unfold seven days later. The sweat over Benitez brow seemed more like beads of liquid fear being squeezed out of the Spaniards pores as the pressure intensified at Craven cottage, but I still believe Benitez can and will turn Liverpool's ailing season around. Blind faith or classic denial? You decide. Until then, I will keep my head firmly buried in sand. Pluck me out of the dunes when we beat United again.


  1. Great piece Ben, I too adopt the "if I disassociate myself from everything connected with football, a) it either did not happen or b) I banish it to the recesses of my mind and therefor don't think about it. It's a strange feeling as in previous seasons it may have happened on the odd occasion but I can't see things turning around dramatically. With the exception of a poor united display, everytime we have played a side this season who play at a good level and have performed ok, we have not won and it's gone on for too long to be classed as a temporary blip or poor form. True the injuries have crippled us (even now, Benayoun being out for a month is disastorous, coupled with Riera's absence, it should mean Babel gets the opportunity he is waiting for - again! - but it won't, Aurelio will play left wing I have no doubt, particularly away from home). Alonso's absence is the key, not just because of his ability but the effect it has had on the balance of the team. In my view Mascherano is one of the best two players in the world of his type and him and Xabi complemented each other as well as any other midfield partnership we have had in the past twenty five years. Without Alonso, Mascherano is shown up to be a poor passer of the ball - put it this way, Denilson, Diaby, Fabregas, Song, Carrick, Hargreaves, Scholes, Fletcher, Ballack, Lampard, Deco, Mikel, Ireland and Barry are in a different league when it comes to creativity and picking a pass. Lucas, whiulst having improved is playing the more advanced role and is instructed not to drop deep and pick up the ball - therin lies our problem I believe. Once Aquilani is fit, if you believe the hype, this problem will be rectified, but in my opinion our league championship push was over after the Fulham defeat, if we finish the season with less than nine defeats I will eat my hat.

  2. Dale, I think the problem goes beyond losing Xabi. Before last season, Alonso was arguably having a bad season and wasnt always first name on the team shirt. I think what I was trying to get at, is its more of a collective problem. As much as it pains me to say, Carra has been uncharacteristically inconsistent, Gerrard has not been on song, mascha has been too distracted with captaining Argentina, and Benitez has made a few tactical errors. Put all this together, with a dose of bad luck and low confidence plus Aqualani not being fit, and I believe thats why have lost so many. The thing with Aqualani that worries me, is that its already assumed he will fill the boots of Alonso from day one, and will single handedly turn our season around. Switching to Anfield is enough pressure, but due to our dilemma he is now expected to impress from the off. I keep seeing that huge banner in the kop saying "Aqualani a hero will rise", which makes me cringe every time. I hope the optimism is right, but that is pressure right there.


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