given my post wasn't addressed at you I dont really know how to answer the stalking question.
thanks for the long post though it was interesting and helped shed some light on my general confusion.
I can remember quoting you in the charlie adam thread - where I picked out your last paragraph and asked a question on it - not sure that counts as stalking either - what was the other one?
The others were Coates and Skrtel-Agger thread. But that's beside the point. I was frustrated last night so live and let live and move on from there.
My apologies but my post wasn't really addressed to you - it was addressed to everybody - filled with question marks and confusion - it was a comment about why we are in the state we are in - with half a dozen Kenny threads locked and a fan base who seem to have expectations massively different to my own - and intelligent posters apparently having given up on the team and Kenny - as I say near the end I dont know what I should expect and whether its me thats out of touch or our fans
But is it really that odd? Yes there are people who are going massively over the top saying we should dump Kenny and bring in Mourinho "before it's too late". Like Yorky said above CC aside that's "Hodgson form". 5 points since the start of the year, I had it at 8 cause I counted Newcastle on Dec 30th. As for giving up on the team, it's something none of us really can but it's extremely hard to find any reason to stay hopeful when this is the 4th, 5th, 6th game this season where you can tell the day before how it will go, what will happen, how things won't be tackled in-game and it turns out exactly like that.
Swansea, Wigan, Spurs, Stoke and Norwich are the games, just off the top of my head that I can remember where we went into half-time and I was thinking I'd watch the 2nd half more out of commitment than expectations. There was nothing indicating that we would score, there was no spark in creativity and no inspiration on the bench.
Just compare Suarez taking on the entire defense vs. the Mancs and then vs. Arsenal. Against the Mancs it was because he was high flying, on top of his game in a team that went out there thinking they could beat anyone. Against Arsenal it wasn't anything like that. It wasn't inspiration and belief, it was desperation and the only way we could open up their defense. Same with all these alleged chances where we hit the post and crossbar from outside the box. Last January the thought of Maxi shooting outside the box had me crawling up in the fetal position, come May and against Fulham away I knew it in before he hit it. That was the result of a team filled with belief, that the opposition frightened and backed off. You can't really say taht this season. The reason we are shooting so much outside the box isn't because we know we can score from there. We don't know how to get into the box in the first place and this is the closest we can get to registering a shot on goal.
If you think my sense of being appalled is pretentious I can't help that because for me it's genuine I'll try to explain why if you'll bear with me.
If we had a winning formula last season why did we crash out of the europa and finish the season so poorly? We had a poor squad last season, over paid and bloated cobbled together by Hodgson to play depressing, negative, unconvincing football. Dalglish identified workable parts of that and put in a tactical plan to get us through, it worked well in some games (even the Fulham game saw us under the cosh for 20 minutes) even that was almost banjaxed by the Torres departure but to suggest we built on that, misses the point of what we are trying to do. We are not trying to finish 7th, we are trying to build a squad that can finish 1st - to do that we need a strategy , a repeatable and intelligent approach to achieving success. We had to dismantle what we had in order to build fresh. I'd guess part of that was to bring in hungry players.
Winning formula might be a stretch, but it was the rough foundation. We had a system that worked and we abondoned it in the summer and any notion of it was gone by the first game of the season. I don't know what you want to call it. 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1 you can call it GK-4 defenders-4(ish) midfielders-2(ish) strikers for all I care. But there was something there and it worked. Reina in goal, Skrtel and Agger in heart of defense, Johnson playing out of his skin on either side of them, Lucas dictating play, Spearing running around like a terrier on meth, Meireles doing whatever he did running around, Maxi's movement helping the hard working combo of Suarez and Kuyt up top. It wasn't something that would win the CL but it was a system that helped us score 16 goals in 4 games. Or more than half of what we have scored thus far in 26 games. Then for me the obvious course of action was taking that foundation and improving on it. Enrique for Kelly is an improvement in defense. Then replacing Spearing with a more experienced or to put it bluntly, less average midfielder to partner Lucas. Henderson comes in for Meireles, his instinct for the first touch pass is better and he can maintain a higher level of energy for a longer time. Then if at all possible buy a high pressing forward that compliments Suarez. The best example I can think of is Lavezzi, but just to keep everyone's mind at ease I'm not saying this is a sell X buy Y win all trophies just naming what I think is the most obvious example.
OK winning formula might be stretching it, but it was to me it was the right thing to do. It saw us play some of the best football we'd seen in far too long, scoring for fun and there was a real buzz and genuine belief in the team and the potential it had. But then we completely scrapped that and went with players and a system best described as a 70's 4-4-2 but without the players to pull it off. We scrapped what was working for us and went with something that could possibly have worked with the right players, but we didn't have them. We scrapped a system that saw Dirk Kuyt score in 9 games out of 21 up top to one which resulted in shifting him to a right midfielder for the first time in his career where he didn't score a league goal until January 31st *patiently waits for Yorky to give exact number of minutes and games*. The same system also saw Maxi Rodriguez, hat-trick scorer extraordinare reduced to a benchwarming, league cup filler from key player to 11 starts. Whilst Stewart "couldn't hit the ocean if he fell out of a boat" Downing played every game, against every opposition regardless of form and performances and when he was benched came on in Maxi's place. A system that saw the absolute very best of Luis Suarez. A system, a gameplan, a series of functionalities that made our 23m player feel like a free transfer such was his value for money. But now looks like the Fernando Torres of November '10 fame.
We are playing a flat 4-4-2 with an inconsistent winger on the left, an immobile inconsistent playmaker in the center, an energatic midfielder doing the work of two and central midfielder playing as right winger, on the few occasions the hard working striker isn't there. Fine if it was as system we had played forever, but playing a new system with 3/4 midfielders having never played with each other and the only one with any LFC experience was in dire need of a rest. It was risky at best, detrimental to our season at worst and looking more like it with each passing week.
You are saying Kenny's past is pulling in his favour. The man who helped the club and the city through its worst ever days, is only still our manager out of some sort of misplaced sentimentality? I'd say his past is pulling in our favour.
Firstly he is who he is - we know he understands what this club means (unfortunately not a given) we know he is doing everything he can to make this work (not looking for the England job, not hoping for a meal ticket and a few million in the bank, not a notch on his CV)- the task may prove to be beyond him however it's a better basis for a relationship of trust with a manager than most clubs could hope for. However this isn't just an emotional bond, we also know he is the only current manager to have won the english title with two different clubs, he has some pedigree behind him including building a team from scratch, to win the title. So if being Dalglish buys him time thats great not something to apologise for when knee jerk reactions to managers have cost Chelsea title after title in the last couple of years.
I never said that, in fact I said the opposite. I have never said he should be fired, have never suggested he should be replaced and let alone it was misplaced sentimentality. I simply advocated, as it later turned out Degs did as well, that Kenny be held responsible for his results like every other manager in world football.
To draw another parallel if I may. A man with almost unparalleled success as player, someone who fans worship the very ground he walks on. Someone who saw the golden age and is back as manager to restore it. That man is Antonio Conte at Juventus. The parallels are almost spooky. He took over a side that finished 7th, had no European football and expectations were rock bottom. CL was the aim, same as with us. HE had been given the support of the board to get the players he saw were required to bring the team to the top again. First we build the foundation then we conquer the world. But it wasn't that simple, Conte's revolution took them to the top in his first season as manager. And there they sat for months but have been dropping points for fun, they are still undefeated in the league but have 13 wins and 13 draws and sit 2nd in the league after Milan's form helped them overtake them. But no one is saying a thing about it. Because "look at where we were, how far we have come, we are building something" and more importantly. How does anyone dare
question the former captain of the team that had almost unparalleled success. To steal from a forum I occasionally frequent. Antonio Conte, success in his blood
A winner. This forms the best definition of Antonio Conte. His career is built on success, first as a player, then as a manager.
In his 13 years as a player with Juventus, Conte assembled an impressive list of honours: an Intercontinental Cup, a Champions League, a European Super Cup, a UEFA Cup, five league titles, a Coppa Italia and four Italian Super Cups.
Conte found the net 44 times in 419 appearances, showing extraordinary character and drive each time he pulled on the Juventus shirt. These qualities saw him held in deep affection by the fans, the driving force of the team, the captain and the leader. His leadership skills, and the ability to influence others, formed the basis of his shining career as a manager.
His teams are drilled in attacking football, but do not lack bite, they are spectacular, but also extremely effective. Hard work, competitiveness and drive form the basis of Conte’s managerial beliefs. The same qualities that made him one of Juve’s greatest ever winners.
Granted 'i Capitano' doesn't have as much pull as 'King' but make no mistake about it. He is untouchable in the eyes of the fans and anyone who raises the point that he might've got one thing or the other wrong is instantly cruxified as a heretic who doesn't appreciate what a privelige it is to have a living legend, with the club's best interest at heart leading the charge.
Some have suggested we have a good example of our fans volatility in Hodgson. That if Hodgson's team were performing the same as now we'd be livid but that misses the whole problem with Hodgson. If Hodgson had spoken like Dalglish ( and I dont mean with a scottish growl), if he had genuinely understood the club he was at rather than thinking he knew it all, if he had embraced our culture as Rafa did, then I would have backed him and so would many others despite the shitty football. Hodgson was the wrong man more than he was the wrong manager, and he was the wrong manager.
Hodgson was only brought into it as the latest manager. Yes Hodgson was the wrong man, every day of the week and should never have been our manager because as you rightly said he didn't get us, the only possible scenario his obvious shortcomings as manager could've been given a more favourable look. So forget Hodgson and look simply at the numbers. Looking objectively, all the names blanked out with the money we've spent and the quality of players we've had 1.12 points per game is terrible form, that's the kind of numbers that have seen men like Steve Bruce and Mick McCarthy fired.
As for the rest of your post it questions the managers signings, team selection, his tactics, substitutions, ability to motivate - is there any part of the managers role that Kenny has actually performed well in your eyes? So, all in all what exactly should be taken from that post other than an attack on the manager and evverything he does?
Kenny has done very well. Our defense has improved massively, from trainwreck to league winner potential. He has shown what we can do with the right mentality, he has done very well to deal with the Carragher 'situation', he has brought our first silverware in 6 years. In fact he has far surpassed my initial expections, but I think his trust in the character of modern footballers is letting him down. Craig Bellamy is the perfect example of something that Kenny has done superbly and I think no one else could've. He is someone understands what it means to play for Liverpool, the prestige it carries and more importantly, he knows what it means when Kenny Dalglish puts his complete faith in you. It's the reaction every player should have, be willing to throw body and ego on the line to deliver for him and I think it was a big factor in his buy British strategy and why the likes of Spearing are getting games. And I think that's where he got it wrong, even though he is right. It saddens me deeply and it's why I have taken up an ever increasing interest in the Bundesliga. Players today don't give a flying fuck who their manager is and who they play for as long as the paycheck clears. It's a stance I admire and respect but I also think it's a mentality that will, in the modern game, bring more Bolton away performances than Fulham away last season.
If you took that as an attack on Kenny then like I said, so be it I can't do anything about that and frankly don't care. But as our manager, history and sentiments aside his faith in what I can only assume was once "The Liverpool Way" is misguided and will always end in an uphill battle where you try your best and get crushed by the wrecking ball of modern society however respectable and admirable the fight is that he puts up.
And you believe you are entitled to this view and are convinced of it because its your view, based on your observations of our games, even knowing that those games represent a fraction of what makes a football club tick?
Well yes. I don't know what makes this particular club tick, but I know a lot more about sports than you give me credit for. I have spent days on the training ground of clubs in Europe trying to learn exactly that, granted neither of them are of the same magnitude as Liverpool but both of them are recent league winners and both of them are currently still playing in European competitions today so they must have something pulling for them. I have spent hours talking with the medical team about what causes the most injuries, looked at individual training regiments based on physical condition, physical therapy, injury recovery predictions, injury risk prediction paradigms, had proper looks at individual stats and how they are used to measure a players performances the likes that never see public eye and that go a hell of a lot deeper than "chances created" and "distance covered". I have spent a great deal of time doing so I have had the opinions of highly successful individuals in the game. Talked with league winning managers, CL winning players, national team captains and manager, big time agents (of whom some represent our current and former players), scouts, coaches and performance analysists. And football isn't even my favourite sport.
I can't say I'm too familar with German football other than the phenomenal success their community approach to the game has brought them but as in most walks of life I'm assuming there is not just one road to achieving your goals and that road generally starts from different places under different circumstances. I would guess that the weight of expectation and visibility at Dortmund was markedly less than that at LFC. That would presumably and significantly alter any rebuilding model?
Relatively speaking, I'd say not that different. On a global scale of course there are other expectations, but they also have phenomenal fans. They filled an 80k capacity stadium when they were nowhere near the top and created an atmosphere that rivalled any in the world. In the mid 90's they won consecutive league titles undeniably peaking in '97 when they beat reigning champions Juventus to secure the CL title. History aside and relatively speaking their 4 league championships and CL win at the very least rivals our success of the past 20 years.
One of Rafa's greatest achievements was the way he not only rebuilt the team but did so whilst achieving success. Where Dortmund under that type of pressure to deliver, were their fans demanding success within 12 months and if so how much success? I think Rafa rebuilding is probably a more appropriate comparison.
I guess not, but doesn't that just mean they had it much worse than us? They had nothing going for them, no money, no CL football and not even a name that echoes in history and they still did it far better?
Rafa failed to make top four and was 45 minutes from no silver ware that first season, a season with two of the worst performances I've ever seen us give Southampton and Brum if memory serves, having bought Josemi as his first signing and spent 7 months hunting Morientes, utilising Diao and Biscan and largely ignoring young talent like Mellor and Pongolle even though we had no fit strikers and using different styles and formations though the season.
Never said Rafa was perfect, you mentioned Morientes and I've even said so myself if I'd been given free reign he'd still be our #19. He made some mistakes some worse than others, others less drastic but were made into a big deal. His substitutions were often baffling, I've said that his team sheets often left me confused and sometimes bordering on outrage. But I also said that he never had anything but my undying support. Dirk Kuyt as trequartista when we had Yossi on the pitch still confuses me to this day and sits firmly at the top of my list.
I think if we do finish outside the top 4 this season Kenny will view it as disapointing even if we pick up the FA cup. I'd have to agree not least because of how Chelsea and Arsenal have underperformed this year. Next year it will probably be even harder to accomplish. None of that means though that we should throw everything up in the air and start again, we need evolution not revolution.
Never said anything other. I even said it many moons ago that I had firm believe that with the players we have we still have a possibliity of winning both cups but would fail in the league. I still think Kenny is the right man to do so, but I still maintain that if we give all the credit when we do well than by default he should also hold responsibility when we fail. Anything else borders on dictatorship not socialist republic with a side order of royalty.
It seems clear enough that we have agreed an approach to squad building and are looking to implement a flexible style of play based around a starting formation of 4231 - thats the style adopted through the academy and in the stiffs - the problem last year was we did not have the personel to play it at first team level, We've tried to build a squad capable of playing that style.
We bought in 7 players, shipped out a dozen, reduced the average age, the number of nationalities and established 2 players for each position. Some of those players have not delivered as required and that should mean we look at that in the summer but to say we didn't tackle the lack of depth is plainly wrong.
I firmly disagree. Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing are anything but flexible one sits wide in a flat 4-4-2 and the other needs to be carried throughout the game thus restricting the fluency and flexibility of his team mates. As for lack of depth, we have no one to cover for Gerrard, no one to cover for Suarez and no one to cover for Lucas so I wouldn't call that very good. Unless you think that Adam for Gerrard and Spearing for Lucas* are established and can be relied upon for prolonged periods of time.
*edit: you just commented on that below.
Its exactly what we did do - the buy prem policy has not worked as well as it should - it should be easier to settle players who've played in the prem and get them to reproduce what they did before - but they have not delivered - what you can't then assume though is if we'd boought foriegn players they would have settled any better it makes no logical sense.
But that's not the point, there are plenty of quality players in the PL we just didn't go for them. Enrique I was very happy about, I started "campaigning" for it around October. Still claim that we missed out on getting Seb Larson for free. Bellamy was brought from the PL. Demba Ba went from West Ham to Newcastle. I have been a big fan of Albrighton and hoped we'd sign him when we were after Villa wingers. Clint Dempsey is one of those players who has always been extremely effective, even though he might not be the best.
It's not about British vs. Foreign, it's more that if we went with UK based players, well frankly there were a lot more out there and it feels like we settled rather than bringing in the best.
Cover for Lucas for example - Spearing was given the opportunity of a squad place to cover Lucas. It has not worked that well but in part thats through injury and suspension. Twice I've read how he should have played in games and how the selection was rubbish only to subsequently read he was out with a slight injury. We simply dont know how team slection has been constrained. He is not as good as Lucas but nor is he rubbish. If we do sign a world class player to cover Lucas - how do they play and when and what happens to Spearing , what happens to Coady, the next player looking to come through there. Without knowing the clubs thinking on all of these taking a firm stance on what is right and what is wrong, who's in, who's out, is fundamentally flawed isn't it? Not to say pople can't have an opinion just that they should accept thats all it is , its not fact.
But competition is healthy, if Coady is good enough to play for Liverpool he should be able to overtake anyone. It's like we couldn't buy a young winger in the summer because it would harm Sterling's growth, if they're good enough they'll make it. I don't know the club's stance, policy or who are walking the Green Mile on their way out of Melwood. But I do know that the warning lights were flashing 9 months ago, it was obvious to the likes of me and it's worrying that one of two seems to have happened. Management failed to see them or saw them and fail to counter them. Either way, neither makes for pleasant thought.
Again with Meireles and Aquilani what is the point saying they should have stayed when you dont know any of the actual facts about them leaving. There is tons of speculation but that is all that it is, nobody apart from those involved know. Yet its used as a stick to beat the club with. That says more about those beating the club with it than the actual reality of the situation.
What about Kuyt then? He signed a new contract in the summer signing on as he believed in the club's future, by January he was a fringe player, out of position and in the end he was dillusioned with his position at the club and asked his agent to find him a new club. We refused to sell him and are playing him now. What's the difference between them? I don't know, but I know that Kuyt's form in the first half of the season warranted little to flat out refuse to sell him.
The Gerrard debate again thats your opinion based on what you believe about the player and his future - the club may have other plans - they may have taken the view that he will be developed into a deep lying playmaker and be here until he's 38 - he may drop back as his legs go and young talents like Shelvey, Suso, Adorjan, Teixiera etc are bled into team. Again without being on the inside and knowing the plan its just speculation on your part which is fine but its not fact, its not a firm basis on which to build anything substantial about what 'should' have happened.
Of course it's not. But honestly what difference does it make? It's how I feel, it's what I've predicted and I've seen little there is very little that suggests Gerrard will recreate his form of years gone. If he's going to be kept on as poster boy fine, if he's going to take on a new role I pray that it's one he does better than central midfielder. I don't agree with it, I don't understand it but for better or worse the people who make the decisions have my support.
all three of the squad selection things I believe would have been heavily constrained not by transfer fees but by our stupidly high wage bill - one of the reasons we went for who we did I think was to balance the books especially considering the stupid wages still being paid out to loan players - just how badly screwed up our squad was by H&G is hard to comprehend - there should be greater flexibility this summer.
Agreed, but even with those restrictions we could have been more practical with it. Plenty of players on the continent earning a 1/3 of what we pay willing to do the same job.
If that indeed was Bellamy's reaction to the cup final it was presumably entirely down to the fact it was Cardiff we were playing wasn't it?
Don't know, only going by his interview.
Transition and here's the nub of it all - what should our expectations be?
Is it a fair comparison with Dortmund? Perhaps if we had been relegated
and the expectation level reduced? Perhaps if it was a genuinely blank sheet of paper.
But I don't see it as a team in transition. Liverpool last March was a team in transition, the Liverpool team this March is a team stuck in a rut with very little indication it will change any time this season. And at the end of the day that's all I'm saying. I feel we've gone back instead of going forward, we are repeating the same mistakes of the last 20 years of having a star player and dumping all the on-pitch resposnbility on him and we're suffering for it. IT wasn't the case last season, it is now so I simply maintain that the manager, regardless of stature and legacy, should answer for that. Not fired, not replaced, not dethroned or whatever it is people do in football revolutions. But if he's responsible for all the good than he can be responsible for when it's not.
Last summer I said we'd gone for safe buys, prem players , decent players and had a solid if not particularly exciting squad - on paper Adam delivers the set pieces, Downing provides width and crosses, Carroll heads the ball into the net, Henderson charges up and down the right like a metronome and Suarez buzzes around the goal like a moth to a flame but we clealry underestimated just how difficult settling in to Liverpool can be for some players. Solid but unspectacular good enough to give us a fighting chance at 4th. It just has not worked out that way.
Already said all I want on that subject.
Our stuttering season I think becomes a self fulfilling prophecy - if we had started well settling in would have been that much simpler - we didn't so it becomes so much harder - Did Dortmund start their season well?
No Dortmund had an absolute stinker, they'd just lost their playmaker but they adjusted and improved, we've gone backwards.
You say you have nothing but respect for Dalglish but question everything he does even though you acknowledge you dont have the information to do so - if you had respect surely he would get the benefit of the doubt, you'd turn your intelligence to looking at reasons why rather than accusations of failure?
What I really dont understand is not that there isn't blind loyalty but rather why there is no trust and why the benefit of the doubt is given to your own opinion rather than the manager who has all of the information you dont.
Where have I said anything of the sort? I would've thought that phrases like "Has my undying support" would indicate that no matter how stupid they seem to me I'll still support them. I have already stated that he has done many things that show he does deserve benefit of the doubt. And it's not accusations if anything it's simple, pure and uncensored frustration at how when we got it so right on so many levels things have gone up shit creek and are now free falling from the mountain we were climbing. And for the last time, disagreeing however harshly or unjustly is not and has never been an accusation. Supporting LFC is like being part of a family. You can think your brother is the dumbest human being ever to have graced mankind and he should be locked up in a padded cell for the sake of civilization but that doesn't change the fact that you love him and are going to stop being his brother. I might disagree with every single decision Kenny makes from first kick of the game to the final whistle but when I go to sleep at night I sleep well because for one reason or another it just feels right
that Kenny Dalglish is the manager of Liverpool football club and not amount of appalling critcism will ever change that.
The big test for the club comes in the summer - we have an entire team of youngsters chomping at the bit for the first team - we have some clear issues with players in the current squad and we'll have greater felxibility with the pay bill once those costly loan players are off the books.
We will do much better in the summer, I have no doubt about it. Frankly because we simply have to so I'm delusional on any outcome. One thing I am absoultely sure on. This summer will be all Comolli out in public though. No more chauffering players into Melwood. If they succeed Kenny will have been the driving force, if they fail Comolli will take the sack and Kenny stay on.