Author Topic: Some quality/important posts you may have missed  (Read 398940 times)

Offline E2K

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #200 on: June 19, 2009, 12:36:32 AM »
Not everybody's going to agree with everything in this, but regardless it's a great post.

Once again, Roy, this thread earns its wages. That's a thumping post, E2K.

E2K, what can you say about him? First "discovered" him last year when he was posting on the Big Brother thread of all places. Always worth a read of his posts, all heartfelt and honest. Tough ol' read that one like.

Thanks lads, much appreciated  :thumbup
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Offline Red_Isle_Chap

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #201 on: June 19, 2009, 12:36:39 AM »
E2K, what can you say about him? First "discovered" him last year when he was posting on the Big Brother thread of all places. Always worth a read of his posts, all heartfelt and honest. Tough ol' read that one like.
Couldn't agree more, i'd missed that post, and to be honest, I totally agree with what E2K says in it
And when you find yourself along the untrodden path
Remember me with a smile, a drink, a gesture or a laugh
And a toast for the man who loves every hour of every day
And a feast for the friends and faces met along way
Gratitude

Offline thredworm

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #202 on: June 19, 2009, 10:26:06 AM »
How the hell does E2K not have a 'RAWK Scribe' under his name?!?
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Offline Garstonite

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #203 on: June 19, 2009, 10:32:19 AM »
How the hell does E2K not have a 'RAWK Scribe' under his name?!?

I know. I've heard they've given it to some right idiots.

Offline Greg

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #204 on: June 19, 2009, 12:03:51 PM »
E2K, what can you say about him? First "discovered" him last year when he was posting on the Big Brother thread of all places. Always worth a read of his posts, all heartfelt and honest. Tough ol' read that one like.

After reading that brilliant article about Alonso, I'd be fascinated to hear his views about Halfwit and Dogface...

Offline Regi

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #205 on: June 19, 2009, 12:24:21 PM »
I've yet to read a post by E2K that I didn't agree with.
Always top posts.
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Offline Veinticinco de Mayo

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #206 on: June 20, 2009, 10:41:00 AM »
Alright how about this as an explanation.  In summer 2008 the mooted transfer of Xabi Alonso to Juventus may have hurt his feelings, you'd have to be a hard man not to have some hurt feelings at such a rejection.  However, if a player is bright enough to think about these things then it clearly signifies more than that, it's a brutal reminder that as a football player, no matter how good, your destiny is not entirely in your hands.  Your new family, nicely settled where they are, having learnt the language can be uprooted at the whim of a manager or chairman and packed off to God knows where.

Now if that happened to me then even if I did not want to leave the club it would turn my head, it would make me think, actually, this position I have is quite fragile, I should be looking at my options, so if it happens again then I can move on my own terms to a place in which I would want to live with my family. 

So why not come out and make a flat denial?   Well firstly because I am with the international team and I am concentrating on that and so I'm not answering questions about my future. Especially one posed in such a twisted and disrespectful manner.  And secondly, because this last year has taught me that in football nothing lasts forever, nothing is certain and as a result it is best to both keep your options open and to not commit yourself to something that ultimately you cannot control.

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #207 on: July 27, 2009, 09:58:40 PM »

Offline kavah

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #208 on: July 29, 2009, 03:57:56 PM »
COMPLETE disclosure of hidden documents about the Hillsborough tragedy will take place within TWO months after weeks of secret talks resulted in a personal guarantee from the Home Secretary.

Three Merseyside mothers, who lost their sons and daughters in Sheffield, arrived back at Lime Street Station last night after being given a face-to-face assurance by Alan Johnson that every hidden file would be released.

Today, the ECHO can reveal:

A five-man independent “cabinet”, including respected Hillsborough chronicler Phil Scraton will start sifting through the documents in September;

Bereaved families could have the opportunity to view important pages by April, 2010;

The files to be released include those from the three emergency services, the Sheffield city corner, Sheffield council and Sheffield Wednesday FC;

Archivists are already compiling the masses of documents into a manageable system in preparation for the panel to begin work this autumn.

Jenni Hicks, Margaret Aspinall and Pat Joynes, who attended the high-profile meeting in London, today spoke exclusively to the ECHO and explained how they were able to now break their silence after months of observing a Whitehall confidentiality agreement.

And they revealed a series of secret meetings had taken place in recent months in the capital.

The mothers said they were “ecstastic” with the breakthrough and said they had achieved the aims of their campaign of 20 years.

Jenni Hicks, whose daughters, Sarah, 19, and Victoria, 15, on the Leppings Lane terrace, told the ECHO: “There’s an awful lot which has gone on behind the scenes.


“Margaret, me and Trevor Hicks have been meeting down in London for a number of months now. Every one of the 96 families will be notified about developments in due course.

“Negotiations were so delicate so it had to be kept confidential until we could go public. Bereaved families will see everything.

“There are hundreds of thousands of documents – it’s not going to be an easy task.

“We stressed the need for accountability and justice for the 96 who sadly died that day and also those who survived the tragedy.

“We mentioned how important it was for Liverpool as a city and the people who support us.”

Margaret Aspinall, chairwoman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group (HFSG) who lost her son James, 18, added: “We’d have loved to have told people the efforts we were making, but we had to keep our word. Now we’ve got it at last. Full disclosure which we’ve campaigned for for the last 20 years.

“As long as a throrough job is done, that’s all that matters. We have done this for the families and the people of Merseyside who we care so much about.”

There was some concern this week from families affiliated to the Hillsborough Justice Campaign about their lack of involvement with the talks. But it has become clear that once the independent panel gets underway they will be liaising with every single family.


A HOME OFFICE statement today said: “Hillsborough was a terrible tragedy and the Government is committed to full disclosure of information held centrally and by local agencies in order to help provide a permanent record of documentation relating to the tragedy.

This will be done in close co-operation with South Yorkshire Police. The Home Secretary together with Andy Burnham, Health Secretary and Michael Wills, Justice Minister have had a useful and productive meeting with the Hillsborough Family Support Group to explore options that will enable them to have access to all relevant papers.

The Government’s intention is to appoint an independent panel, ‘the Hillsborough Independent Panel’, to oversee release of this information.

“Disclosure will take into account the wishes of the families to protect sensitive and personal information about the victims.

“With this in mind, Government will seek to ensure representatives of the Hillsborough families will have prior disclosure of documents on an agreed timescale before they are made more widely available. We will continue to work with the families to complete this work.”

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2009/07/29/victory-in-hillsborough-papers-disclosure-battle-100252-24266543/

Offline kavah

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #209 on: July 29, 2009, 04:01:47 PM »
Eric Wynalda replaces Steven Cohen, an English-born radio host who recently drew protests from Liverpool fans and the club itself for comments saying unticketed fans were a major factor in the 1989 stadium disaster in which 96 Liverpool fans died. U.S. fans of the club led an effort to convince sponsors to distance themselves from Cohen's shows ...

From USA Today where the story broke:

http://www.usatoday.com/community/profile.htm?UID=1e704431d89e7993&plckController=PersonaBlog&plckScript=personaScript&plckElementId=personaDest&plckPersonaPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3a1e704431d89e7993Post%3af340d191-1f40-4b9f-aa2c-0db7f9abaf16


more good news

Offline hassinator

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #210 on: July 30, 2009, 09:05:53 PM »


i am late to e2k's post.  this is superb.  i will be forwarding to some crass chelsea 'fans' who actually couldn't believe that i took some satisfaction from our champions league ding dong and wished them well afterwards.

great, great post sir and i will look out for you in the future.

Offline hassinator

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #211 on: July 30, 2009, 10:11:41 PM »
Alright how about this as an explanation.  In summer 2008 the mooted transfer of Xabi Alonso to Juventus may have hurt his feelings, you'd have to be a hard man not to have some hurt feelings at such a rejection.  However, if a player is bright enough to think about these things then it clearly signifies more than that, it's a brutal reminder that as a football player, no matter how good, your destiny is not entirely in your hands.  Your new family, nicely settled where they are, having learnt the language can be uprooted at the whim of a manager or chairman and packed off to God knows where.

Now if that happened to me then even if I did not want to leave the club it would turn my head, it would make me think, actually, this position I have is quite fragile, I should be looking at my options, so if it happens again then I can move on my own terms to a place in which I would want to live with my family. 

So why not come out and make a flat denial?   Well firstly because I am with the international team and I am concentrating on that and so I'm not answering questions about my future. Especially one posed in such a twisted and disrespectful manner.  And secondly, because this last year has taught me that in football nothing lasts forever, nothing is certain and as a result it is best to both keep your options open and to not commit yourself to something that ultimately you cannot control.




good post sir and actually how i feel about it/him.  i love xabi - nothing's changed, class player and apparently with a brain too - but can't deny a man the chance to take his family home.  still i'm fucked off at the way we're been treated by that fat turd perez and think that if we're going to extract proper value we need to play hard ball even if that means turning down the transfer request as clearly the mancs have proved its the only language they understand.  we don't have their dollar but we do have greater status and i would hate us to be bitch slapped down by their new low ball offer.

still this is clearly not the thread for vitriol.  e2k i've read both your posts with real interest.  i applaud your passion and lucidity in a summer of back and forth back biting amongst our own fans.  its not for me to say but i think you deserve 'scribe' status for being the true voice of the club i love and this - along with garsonite's banger from the previous page - remind me that us older supporters have work to do if we're going to keep the young shavers up to snuff.

thank you all.

Offline PaulF

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #212 on: July 31, 2009, 09:22:16 PM »
Is e2k the new Shakespeare or summat?
"All the lads have been talking about is walking out in front of the Kop, with 40,000 singing 'You'll Never Walk Alone'," Collins told BBC Radio Solent. "All the money in the world couldn't buy that feeling," he added.

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #213 on: August 2, 2009, 09:24:57 AM »
Man, can't believe I missed this! :)

my scouse me bastard heart cannot be lift by even a Hulk Hogan python biceps and it is because we said God Be With Hymn to our fave Handy Scandi what is the gentlest BFG.  You all known plenty good time now that Pundit is hallmark epitome of hard man in mold Chiles Branson but heathen me is blinking 'em back and rising swelling in throat simla to swallowed whale's bollock. HE IS GONE, he is detach, our Semi Hooper.

What manner human sapien cannot got a warmest faction that is flowed all over a cup brim for the said? This is a men like what Ms Carry-on Carpeter singing "the angles got together an' crate a wet dream cum true". Them Celestine hosts they made him blondier than dead pig off Hollywood, Ms Jean Harlot. Them got Helix Concise Set aplenty to designate the super square Semi jaw and nose and forehead combinations that is surpass even human cubes Ms Mini Drivel & Damien Coolturd and plus devil's work what was Mr Boris Carlot's Fucken Stain.
Sabu is tall and posing figure, but EVEN it is pale by compassion to sky scraper Semi. If Pundit possess Semi-ish lean muscle-chair gigantic strongs then, and without a shudder offer doubt, the Pundit FIST would be deliver a summery justice smack knuckled sandwich to plenty faeces all and Sundry and probably Monday an' all. It is mark off Semi's golden blindman's dog tempermint that he eschew breakin' schnoz of all manner Premiere Shit's dirty bastard wind-up mercantiles.

Talkin' cork suckers, the Queen' s the gendermen off Press & Flea Streak is chat wank 'bout are man for Dong King's years e.g "he sooo slow". My Dear Kuntz, when you have postional scents betterer than GPS and so much experiences then pays is irreverence to point he cod be a amputee. Semi is benevolent Davros or cross betwixt Dane Fanny Grey Thommo & Stiffun Hawkeye.

In short, Semi is are friend. We proud and daylighted to make quaint ants of this consummating professional. HE is what we wish we can be and what the wimmin want up them. HE is hero. Fair well bigger man! When the Nissan Bluebird is over the Wyclef off Dover, when we winning the 19 and free world off Manchaser tyranny, just you wait and see, we shall remember HIM.

Offline Corkboy

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #214 on: August 3, 2009, 12:33:29 AM »
Man, can't believe I missed this! :)


Sabu!!!!

Offline hassinator

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #215 on: August 3, 2009, 11:35:42 AM »
Man, can't believe I missed this! :)


nice one roy.  the man is a genius.

Offline Koparoo

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #216 on: August 3, 2009, 01:53:11 PM »
Man, can't believe I missed this! :)


Thanks roy - still wiping the tears of laughter from my eyes!

(hassinator is right, if you looked in the dictionary under the word 'genius' it would simply say... 'n. Sabu Pundit'.)
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Offline Juan Loco

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #217 on: August 3, 2009, 04:44:56 PM »
This season will see the fiftieth anniversary of Bill Shankly becoming manager of Liverpool FC.





It was in December 1959 that the man from Glenbuck took the reins of a club in the bottom half of the second division, a club with a crumbling infrastructure, dispirited, the younger relation of Everton, a club that had no reason whatsoever to believe that it could ever expect anything other than occasional success, at best to try to evenly compete with its neighbour for primacy in the city. The most immediate dream was to somehow regain the dignity of the red shirt and gain promotion to the first division.





We can trace two periods in the existence of Liverpool FC – pre Shankly and post Shankly.

And half a century later, we are still living in the afterglow of the man.

No other football club in the world bears the imprint of a single man so deeply. You can see it in the way that we crave a messianic figure as our manager. No other club projects its desires onto the personage of its leader with such passion and abandon. No other club craves that almost mystical connection between manager and support that our oneness with Shankly embodied. You can argue it is a weakness of ours as much as a strength. But somewhere in our soul lies a deep hunger to replicate and echo that intensity of devotion between an idealised, messianic figure of a manager and our support. And you can see it in the swagger, charisma and wit that defines us, and that we strive to achieve in our play and in our conduct.





In the half century since, we became the most successful club in the history of English football, and the third most successful club in the history of Europe, and overall, the greatest club in the world. In the year 2009 we are poised to entrench our dominance and strive to take steps to a long term pursuit of ever more titles and championships in our homeland and abroad.





I didn’t want to write a post about Shanks and what he meant to us, it is a little like a Catholic praising Jesus again and again. The stories, the sharpness of his wit, his beautiful, swaggering, joyful arrogance and self-belief. What I wanted to say is how I feel we should step back and consider how fifty years on the man still lives inside every fibre of our club and achievement, and how his inspirational shadow falls over and defines us. It has been an epic reign over us, over our imagination and sense of what is possible for a club bearing the symbol of a sometimes downtrodden and marginalised provincial city in Europe beside the Irish sea.




Most of all I just wanted to say that it is only natural to believe in symmetry and the cycles of time. Fifty is a round number, five decades, one half of a century. An empire of football was built by that man, and we now have beasts and crabs snapping at our number.

Where has all that time gone, with half a century clocked over? It doesn't matter, because there is more time to come, and there is time to pay tribute to him now.

If we were to gain nineteen in this fiftieth year of Shankly’s arrival, in December 1959, what a perfect symmetry that would be. The roundedness of it all, the reassertion of what is the natural order that he created.

Fifty years on. The emotion of it all and the resonance is irresistible.

Stussy rules.
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Offline E2K

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #218 on: August 7, 2009, 10:38:02 PM »
I reckon this belongs in here, I'd hate for anyone to miss out on it. Bravo, Macca!

The more I think about this, the more it seems like yet another masterstroke from the genius mind that is Rafa:

Back in May, Xabi makes it plain that he wants to leave. After thinking that Alonso will get £20 million at a push because he couldn't get £16 million for him last year, Rafa's Hawking like brain quickly performs a million calculations, processes 1000's of scouting reports and watches 100's of hours of Macedonian Red's youtube files.

"Aquilani is the man for me" says Rafa, so he phones up Roma. "I'll happily pay the £17 million, but what? He's just had an op and he'll be out for weeks? Fuck! Oh hang on a minute, that'll give me time  to fuck Perez and Valdano about and I might make a few bob as well.

"Benitez, £22 million is our final offer. No sorry, make that £24 million. Hello ...  hello?" Perez rings back "OK £25 million is our final offer. Did I say £26, I meant £28 million." and all Perez can hear is Rafa whistling the tune from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
 
Rafa then sits in his chair at Melwood stroking his white Persian cat for a couple of weeks and thinks "£28 million! Fuck me! Now if I can just get Alonso to hand in a request, I'll make an extra £3 million!"

Alonso goes home to Spainto sulk for a couple of days and eventually phones Rafa up. "OK Benitez you win! I'll give you your fucking transfer request. Damn you Rafa! Damn you to hell!" Rafa responds "OK then, tell Perez to call me tomorrow."

In the meantime, Rafa phones Roma "Is Aquilani ready to step up his rehab physio? Good, send him over. Nice doing business with you!"

Next day, Perez phones up. "So we have a deal at £28 million?"
"Do we fuck!" says Rafa. "I said £30 milion."
"You thieving fucking bastardo!" screams Valdano on the conference call. Rafa hangs up.

Brrrnng Brrnnng.

""OK £30 million it is." says a dejected Perez.
"And don't forget the add ons, fuck face!" laughs Benitez into the phone. "And you will forever rue the day you crossed swords with Don Rafael Benitez."

Rafa turns in his chair to face a picture of Rick Parry, raises a glass of Cava, smiles and says
"To you Rick. A Man who couldn't sell Alonso for £15 million. Well I managed to get a player who is a better version of the Barry style more attacking midfielder I wanted last year, who fits into my style of play better, for only £17 million, sell Alonso for twice what you couldn't get for him last year, save an extra £3 million on the loyalty bonus AND make Perez and Valdano look like a bigger pair of tits than Jordan. How do you like them fucking apples Rick?"
@e2klassic

Offline Uhoh AureliOs

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #219 on: August 7, 2009, 10:51:32 PM »
:lmao love Maccas stuff.

Offline hassinator

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #220 on: August 8, 2009, 12:23:03 AM »

Offline phoenician

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #222 on: August 10, 2009, 03:07:16 PM »
I doubt the veracity of anything penned in the blood of liberals by that xenophobic hate rag. Nonetheless I will be doing my angry dance if there is even the tiniest bit of truth in that deal.


By "angry dance" I of course mean "hit the wall".

By "hit the wall" I of course mean "go to hit the wall then realise it'd bloody hurt, and I'm a bit of a pussy, so think twice and have a cup of tea instead. An angry cup of tea. ... Well, actually a sweet milky one. But I'll stir the teabag with vicious intent."

Loved that :)

Offline rednich85

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #223 on: August 17, 2009, 12:08:11 AM »
Below is my response to a regular and mudane 'Lucas is shite' comment in the Spurs post match analysis

Go away would you.

I'm sure a town, somewhere in south derry is missing a person that I find irritating

Now I don't want to lower the tone of this great thread, but prepare to read the lads response......................and he was being 100% genuine. No fishing trip, no whoosh

Ladies and gents, I give you southderryred...


























































































so lucas is now a world class player. mate u need to wake up as well. did u listen to sky after the match. oh thats right them boys are stupid as well?
"Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons."

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royhendo

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #224 on: August 19, 2009, 04:56:16 PM »
The following quote is taken from "In My Life". It is something i am writing for my children and grandchildren.
 
Mr. Shankly had just arrived at Anfield, I had been on Liverpool's books for about two and a half years and the A team had a match at Bloomfield Road, It was a Wednesday evening, which was quite unusual in the those days, anyway here is the excerpt.
 
"I can’t remember why we were playing mid week because it was unusual but I remember in the team that night were Tommy Lawrence, Tommy Smith, Chris lawler, Ian Callaghan, Willie Carlin, Frank Twist and a few other very good players. While we were changing, Tom Bush who was in charge of the team that night said “the new boss is coming to watch and he’s going to say a few words before you go out”. This was quite a surprise to us because in the previous two years we had rarely seen Phil Taylor or spoken to him. Bill Shankly entered the dressing room and while we were waiting for the pearls of football wisdom to be bestowed on us he said “ok lads keep it simple and pass to a red shirt”. We did and we won 3-2."

One of his favourite sayings to all the players was, "Do the simple things but do them well"
 
I have cut and pasted this for HBHR in the hope that it satifies his curiosity  ::)


Magic :)

Offline the_prodigal_s0n

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #225 on: August 19, 2009, 05:09:14 PM »
« Last Edit: August 19, 2009, 05:18:37 PM by the_prodigal_s0n »

Offline Uhoh AureliOs

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #226 on: August 25, 2009, 01:34:15 PM »
~ To the guy 'who can spot a good midfielder'

It's XABI Alonso. XABI. With a fucking B, for fucks sake.

Personally, it's getting to a stage now where I want Lucas to leave. I want him to leave because there are too many here willing to round on him after any less than stellar performance. More to the point, too many who make him the reason for any team performance that isn't up to standard. Every single game we've done poorly with Lucas in the side, it's been all his fault, every fucking time. His page gets jumped to the top - even when other players have played worse and had far more glaring mistakes, EG Carra Vs Spurs or Gerrard in this one.

I think what I'm really starting to fucking hate is the inconsistency. Sorry to bring up Alonso to compare, and I realise that Alonso was class, but it does wind me up that people will ask things of Lucas that Alonso never provided, as part of their 'proof' that Alonso was god and Lucas is a c*nt:

1) Lucas hardly ever shoots! - I forgot what a goalscoring Machine Alonso was - you could count on Xabi for at least one, maybe two goals in a season. FFS.
2) Lucas never plays through balls! - Again - did you watch us with Xabi in the team? Xabi's played about one, maybe two successful through passes in about the last 3 seasons with us.
3) Lucas stats show that he scores more, assists more, and tries more through balls per minute on the pitch than Xabi does. Again, Xabi was the better player, but let's not pretend he was something he wasn't in order to bash Lucas further, which is what many of you are doing. Witness:
4) All those backwards, sideways passes - ah yes. Keeping possession you mean - in other words the main thing Xabi did/does, and does brilliantly - the thing that got him sold to Madrid.

OK.

Then stuff that Lucas never gets credit for:

1) Where was he yesterday? He hid! Why doesn't he get forward enough?

Our best spell last night was the first 20 minutes or so of the second half. Lucas passed a few times into Kuyt/Benny/Gerrard's feet - difference - they actually made it stick, hence we played alright and looked decent.

2) Lucas was making forward runs CONSTANTLY. Once again he was ignored by his team-mates.

NEXT:

Why is it always Lucas responsibility to make things happen? Why is he always the one blamed for not 'stepping up' whenever we have an iffy display? Indeed, how is he even supposed to do that WHEN HIS TEAM MATES WON'T GIVE HIM THE FUCKING BALL?

His attacking runs never get picked up on. No-one tries to play give and goes with him, except perhaps Kuyt and now Johnson. Mascherano seems to constantly refuse to advance play by just giving Lucas little 10 yard balls to feet when Lucas is in space. Gerrard is happy to accept the ball from Lucas, and Lucas is again one of very few who is alive to Gerrard's own gove/goes and driving runs (has found him with those many times) but it doesn't go both ways - Gerrard gives Lucas fuck all support on the pitch, does fuck all to gee him up and boost his confidence (compare that to how the mancs bed in their youths - the encouragement players like Anderson get in their early games) - same goes for Carra, who does fuck all as a 'vice' - captain to boost the lad's confident, and also refuses to pass to him.

It's no-wonder Lucas confidence is so fragile - he's got the manager's trust but it rings hollow because, no matter how good his last game was, come the next he gets on to the pitch and once again that trust is missing from the stands and his fellow players.

So, again, I almost want him to leave. Perversely, I want him to go to Arsenal, because he is what Wenger seems to want from Denilson, and he would absolutely shine in their team, and would be given the ball because, for all their problems, they don't play favourites in the game of possession - you get the ball for being in the best position, not because Gerrard/Torres/Carra rate you more highly than your team-mates, as happens far too much here.

It was Gerrard was shite yesterday. We had a good spell when he dropped into CM, not because he did anything good there - he was shite - less ambitious than Lucas, no perceptive runs forward whatsoever PLUS he gave the ball away cheaply - something Lucas has never and will never do - but because Voronin came on instead of him at no10, worked and drifted, plus used his strength, which meant the ball was actually sticking when we played it into the final 3rd. THAT'S how bad Gerrard was last  night - Voronin in his place was a big improvement in our attacking play.

Then Gerrard rounded it off by giving away a fucking criminal penalty - fucking criminal. it was 100% GAME ON! Before Gerrard did that. Only Gerrard could play as badly as he did in CM last night (even if it was only briefly) and have so many people baying for him to be put there as a 'solution'. Gerrard isn't the fucking solution. He's a less good Alonso in that role. An inferior replacement to Alonso is exactly what we DON'T want, IMO. At least with Lucas howlers they came from him trying to do the right thing, Gerrard had no such excuse. That was a shocking challenge anywhere on the pitch and in the penalty area? With a covering defender? When even without that it would have been a tight finish from an angle off the left foot of...REO-FUCKING-COKER then it was an absolute abomination.

Unlike Lucas, Gerrard also lost his head COMPLETELY after that challenge - refused to take any of his numerous chances to drive/pass/shoot into the box, instead laying the ball off slowly and safely to the wider players - with mere minutes left - and failing to even do that properly, as he gave the ball away with what felt like every 3rd pass.
 


Offline INABITSKI

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #227 on: August 25, 2009, 02:01:38 PM »
^^^ A good honest read that.
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Offline Bob Loblaw

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #228 on: August 26, 2009, 11:00:46 AM »
Another from HBHR.....Hits on some good points i think.

Quote
Yep, I've been saying this for ages. Seriously. Both need to pull their fingers out in a big way:

1)Torres needs to hold and lay off first and foremost. The turn and runis for if the opportunity is there - and it won't be if he never looksto hold up first - I will explain more in a moment.

2) Gerrard,Torres and Carra too (though actually Carra was excellent last night -I'd done him wrong with my criticisms of his ball carrying because hedid it yesterday and, re-watching Stoke, he did a lot there too that Ihadn't noticed) need to grow up and get off the bloody playground. Youcan't afford to only pass to your bezzy mates at this level and itreally, really does my nut in. With Carra it's refusing to give theball to Lucas - just won't trust the lad with it...though Mascheranodoesn't use him a fraction as much as he should either - it's onlyreally Kuyt of the senior players who does seem to unquestioninglytrust him with the ball, but then that's not too surprising becauseKuyt suffers just as much from G&T's selfishness as Lucas does -indeed more-so.

How many times have you seen one of G&T lookup for that lethal early ball to the other, and if it isn't on, what dothey do? Seems to me they very rarely pick whatever other passingoption is open. Torres would rather run into 3 players than play Kuytthrough, Gerrard would rather smack it from 30 yards than play Kuytthrough.

3) With Torres in particular it's a massive, massiveproblem. With 1 up top, that 1 needs to make the ball stick - torelieve pressure when we're under the cosh, and to build moves fromwhen we're piling on the pressure. Torres does neither because he'salways looking for the first time foul.

This is also a BIGreason why he get's no protection from refs - he needs to watch a fewhours of Dropba videos and fucking learn some tricks:

1) Dropbais a diving bastard. But the reason he gets the fouls while Torresdoesn't is simply. Dropba looks first to control and lay off. 9 timesout of 10 that's his aim. he makes sure the ball is fully under HIScontrol, and he makes sure HIS body is between the defender and theball. That way, if he gets nudged from behind and goes over, the refhas little choice but to give the foul. Even if Dropba was play acting- there is no dispute who was in control of the ball, and there was noway the defender could get the ball without fouling Drogbal.

Torres,on the other hand, tries the turn. 9 times out of 10, that's his aim,the instant/control, turn. Not only is this of limited use when we'replaying a massed defence, it also makes it very easy for the ref not togive fouls. Firstly, because if Torres is away then it would force theref into bransishing reds etc - which they are rightly reluctant to do,so will need to be much surer and Torres doesn't go down like Gerrardeither - he doesn't sell it well. He looks like he's diving even whenhe's clearly been tripped.

Next, because his first touch doesn'tbring it under his spell regularly enough, that also gives the ref anarea of doubt, again more margin not to give the foul. Finally, it'salso made Torres rather predictable. If he concentrates on making theball stick then suddenly defenders are going to have a whole new set ofproblems to work with. If Torres is making the ball stick, droppingdeeper and drifting wide, then using the ball well, it stands to reasonthat Defenders won't be able to just 'bite his ankles' all the time -by sticking so tight he could drag them out of position time and timeagain. But because any defender knows what Torres will do, 90% of thetime with his back to goal, all it took was for some team to find astrategy that worked OK to stop that move, and now the rest of theleague has refined it.

It's also getting to the stage where Ifear for Torres' future if he doesn't adapt. It is disgraceful how muchpunishment he gets, and I've said this for ages. He's either going tohave to adapt slightly and make that punishment work for us, or hemight as well leave, because he'll never get Ronaldo protection lookingand playing the way he does in England for Liverpool. For Man U, mind,he'd probably win about 5 penalties a match but c'est la vie. Plus cachange mais c'est la meme merde.

-------------

Oddlythough, in terms of the match, I'm actually not too worried. If we canclear up these sloppy mistakes, I thought the first spell of the 2ndhalf was very encouraging - that's how you move the ball against 'busparkers', and we'll break any of them down playing like that for themajority of a 90 minute game. I missed the start but by all accounts weblew them away there too - got to learn also to maintain that tempo, orat the very least cut these fucking stupid mistakes RIGHT out if we doease off a little - it's crept into our game to a shocking extent overthe last season and a half or so.

We were also well set foranother morale raising comeback until Gerrard's intervention. I'm notfussed at all about the lack of belief and heads dropping a bit in thelast 20 minutes - of course that was going to happen when captainmarvel gifted them the absolute crucial, and killer goal, at a killertime, and then responded to that mistake by quite clearly losing hisown belief too. That's just too much to make up - and even then Kuytshould, probably would if Torres hadn't piled into his field of vision(another example of that selfish streak, especially when it comes toKuyt) have scored for 3-2 and nearly 10 minutes left to pile it on.

Alast point Re the ball sticking to our front 4 - we improvedsignificantly when Voro came on. Not because Gerrard went deeper -because Gerrard played a lot worse than Lucas in that role, showingless ambition, no drive or running whatsoever, no good shots and nocutting passes - but because Voronin came on for Gerrard. Voro playedwith strength, drifted deep and wide, thus made the ball STICK to him,thus was able to conduct a few good moves. Of course, Gerrard does thatwhen he's playing well there, far, far better than Voro - but he waspoor on the night.

Voronin last night was, for me, a very clearindicator that the problem has not been with Lucas and Mash but withthe front 4, and their unwillingness/inability thus far to adapt to thelack of Alonso when defenders are pressuring them. They have to - allof them - come looking and let others take their place. Stand and waitand Alonso could still find you - one of his great strengths, but thatwon't work anymore. We have to EARN space, and we have to earn space bysharing it - IE I drop back to find space, you get forward to take upthe space I left, together we'll give their defence a real migraine.The front 4 should also all take a look at Voro's cameo last night tosee exactly what I mean, and what that kind of play involves, andhopefully come away with renewed confidence because if Voronin can doit, then FFS G&T certainly bloody well can.

Offline Hazell

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #229 on: August 26, 2009, 11:56:51 AM »
Great last couple of post HBHR.  :wellin
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Offline Manila Kop

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #230 on: August 27, 2009, 08:12:11 AM »
Nice one from JL on Lucas here.

I'd point out that he's only 22 but it'd be lost on some of the critics, and indeed some of the sycophants who have spent the summer insisting he was ready to boss the midfield on a weekly basis for a team that's comfortable sitting at Europe's top table.

I'm not sure where this idea that at 22 he should be ready to run the midfield for a club of Liverpool's stature has come from. It'd be a big ask for him if he'd just stepped off the plane from Real Madrid and was asked to do that, but it's a ridiculous ask of a kid who's been making the general's coffee for the past two seasons to now step into his boots and lead the troops to war.

Maybe this retarded notion that he should be bossing games at 22 has stemmed from the fact that Alonso came straight into the fold at that age and looked at home? And of course, Alonso is the player he is replacing so that's who he should be judged by.

Alonso was a freak. He was a 22 year old playing with the presence and the awareness of someone ten years his senior. That's not every midfielder at 22. That's very few in fact. Where were Michael Ballack and Frank Lampard at 22? Had they even moved to Leverkusen and Chelsea? Where was Andrea Pirlo? Just coming off the back of a spell at Brescia and still playing behind the strikers. Xavi (along with Essien) probably the best midfielder in the world - I don't remember people salivating over him 'til the 2nd half of the 2003-04 season (Rafa's last in Spain) after Barcelona (inspired by Ronaldinho and kick started by Edgar Davids) went on a great run to finish 2nd. Before then, in this country at least, I seem to remember him being considered potential in some very average Barcelona teams. He started growing as a presence at 24.

You get the occasional freak; your Vieira's, Alonso's, Essien's and so forth, but there've been plenty of incredibly talented midfielders who have been nowhere at 22. They certainly weren't running the midfield at a team that expects to be winning leagues and European cups.

Lucas is the foil not the focus of the midfield. As soon as people start excepting that then he may have a chance. I'm sure I read the other day that Mascherano made nearly twice as many passes as him at home to Stoke, but then Lucas gets talked up as if he ran the midfield (I thought Yossi was the hub of everything productive going forward myself) which then becomes the rod for his back when he doesn't have a good game. Maybe instead of asking Lucas to run the midfield on a weekly basis the attention should shift to one of the best midfielders in the world, the captain of Argen-bloody-tina, as good a passing team as there has been in the world for years now, to take it upon himself to run the middle of the park? Christ knows he hasn't been close to that in the first few games. I don't know whether his head is in his 'paltry' pay packet, his missus visa application or floating around La Rambla. I don't give a toss either. He should be the general in that midfield, not leaving Lucas there to be slaughtered.

Lucas reminds me a little of Gago at Real Madrid. Both came over to Europe with the reputations for running midfields in South America and both are just too young and raw to do it over in Europe, much less at two of the continent's biggest clubs. You shouldn't expect them to be able to. They're not up against top draw players on a weekly basis in Brazil or Argentina. The talent leaves younger and younger and returns older and older and everything else in-between just isn't good enough for the football over here. Sad, but not far from the truth.

Maybe if Mascherano picks his game up then Lucas won’t be weighed down by the burden of running an entire midfield. He’s not ready to do it week to week. Occasionally he may be able to take a grip of a game (and he’s quite capable of doing it for 10-15 minutes spells) but Christ almighty he’s got an impossible task if people are asking him to run a midfield with the worlds best footballer and the captain of Argentina at the age of 22. It’s progress that he’s being less deferential than he was last season, but he’s not going to go from Oliver Twist to Gunnery Sergeant overnight.

If Mascherano gets his head out of the clouds and starts running a midfield like he’s well capable of then Lucas is a smart lieutenant who can take the reigns and the burden for periods in a match (and perhaps eventually over the season) as he develops. Just lay off the lad expecting him to be Alonso at 22. It’s not his fault Xabi moaned like a little bitch and fucked off after being given the incentive to have the best season of his career. He’s trying for fuck sakes. He’s having the occasional pop, he’s trying to get forward, he’s trying to play give and goes in dangerous areas, and he’s trying to get up and down the pitch for 90 minutes in the most frantic league in the world. He’s showing that he can do more than pass a ball sideways. A nice pirouette against Villa, a tenacious tackle against Stoke, a strong run against Spurs. He could show a bit more of course. He could engage the opposition midfield with the ball, run at them and show them that they’re not getting it off him without fouling him. He could occasionally just have a pop at goal instead of moving the ball sideways. Take the initiative. It’s not a surprise that he doesn’t do any of that though considering the groans he’d receive if he fucked up. It’s a vicious cycle. Player low on confidence doesn’t try the spectacular to avoid abuse. Player gets abuse for not doing the spectacular. Player attempts spectacular, fails, is abused. Player low on confidence doesn’t try the spectacular… gets abuse.

The kid’s confidence was visibly shattered after scoring an own goal on Monday, and he did go in to hiding a bit the 2nd half. After scoring the own goal though he did do that nice pirouette, come forward, attempt to play the one-two with Dirk and when Kuyt, not Lucas, fucked up there were groans and that was it for the night. A nice positive sign that he’d accepted that he needed to do something because of his fault in the goal, he took charge of the game and then bang, back into the shell he disappears. Alonso would never have done that. Alonso would never have scored the own goal, he was too good for such things. Hell, Alonso wouldn’t have conceded the free-kick, ‘cos there’s no way he’d have even been mobile enough to get back to put in a challenge in the first place.


Ahh fuck it. Go fuck yourselves haters. Watch as he rebuilds his career at a Fiorentina or a Sevilla before at 27 or 28 a big team goes back in for him when he’s finally been allowed the opportunity to mature and grow as a player. Couldn’t allow him that at Liverpool, I mean Alonso was boss at 22 so Lucas should be as well. That’s how it works. Well, not quite actually as Lucas should have been boss at 20. Especially when he had the audacity to show up with that haircut. He was Brazilian player of the year for fuck sakes, I mean he should automatically be one of the best players in the world. Fuck adaptation or gradual development. It’d never be allowed elsewhere, would it?

Oh well, at least Rafa has seemingly unshakable faith in him, so there must be something there. Say what you want about some of his buys, and there have been some horrendous shite in there – they’re never at the club for long though. Lucas wouldn’t be getting a 3rd season if there wasn’t a very good player in there. It’s debatable whether he’d have even got the 2nd.  Who knows, maybe he can have a good game on Saturday and then the other side of the tedious debate will get a chance to be ‘it’.
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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #231 on: September 3, 2009, 10:10:28 PM »
Just a few thoughts that have been sparked by something Babel said and watching Barcelona. I guess with Babel’s words being involved it’s mildly topical.

It was something I seem to recall Babel saying in a very early interview about how Rafa only worked on defensive movements in training but left it up to the players themselves when attacking. Of course good players can play together more often than not and relationships build and become intuitive. After all, if Rafa’s not coaching the attacking play then he’s not coaching Gerrard and Torres’ partnership, just assuming that they – as stunningly gifted footballers – will make it work. They do.

It came to my mind though whilst watching Barca on Monday that it’s the worse players who suffer. It was something bubbling away under the surface when I watched Barcelona’s kid’s school Spurs in pre-season (although I kept it at the back of my mind because they were under no pressure on the ball). I was watching the way Barca players move with off the ball and it was just so obviously controlled, choreographed movements. Arsenal are the same, albeit at a far lesser level. We get all this talk about how Rafa’s teams are the one who are mechanical, and well-drilled, but just take the time to watch Barcelona and in possession it is clearly well drilled. Obviously you can’t prepare for someone like Messi taking on 5 players and curling one in from 20 yards. But, the general play is drilled into that team. It’s so obviously coached.

I was watching them on Monday and it wasn’t a case of waxing lyrical over the level of the football or anything like that, more the structure of the coaching throughout the club and the coaching of Guardiola. When we talk about movement focus tends to fall on the guy that ends up receiving the ball but I was watching the players who were probably the 3rd or 4th best option to receive the ball at the time. It was just a player move 5 yards further out wide, dragging the marker slightly closer to him and then creating the gap for the guy who is going to receive the ball not off that pass, but the one after that. And then, by the time the ball is with that player the guy who was initially the 3rd or 4th best option to receive the pass is now the best.

The focus tends to be on the technical level of the play, and the vision. It’s about how Xavi and Iniesta can receive the ball under enormous pressure and still turn away into space, or about those one touch passes that zip between players in the final 3rd. The movement tends to be of secondary importance but that is surely the one area that is applicable to all teams?

As I was saying above, I’ve started to come to the conclusion that the benefits of being as well drilled in possession as we are out of it would be shown with the players who aren’t as technically outstanding (quite why I’m hoping it’d happen now, a month into Rafa’s 6th season at the club when it hasn’t so far… well, it’s false hope). Puyol is one who sticks out to me. I think he’s a little better on the ball than Carragher, and there’s an issue of confidence where Puyol clearly feels he can offer something on the ball and will move into space. But, at the same time, there isn’t a gulf in class between what he can do with a football and what Carragher can. Where I think the main difference lies is in the fact that Puyol is sure of what he has to do with the ball. As with the rest of Barcelona’s play you can see immediately the moves the players make off the ball, to make the space, to make the angles for him to step forward or make the simple pass. The Barcelona players know exactly what to do when Puyol has the ball and Puyol knows exactly what to do when he has the ball. I think we’ve been looking at Carragher’s contributions with the ball at feet from a different angle. That he lacks the confidence and is tentative in attacking space and playing the ball. There is the idea that he’ll miss Alonso because Alonso took the responsibility upon himself to offer, as he would put it, the solution to a team mate. I’ll put a different spin on it and suggest that perhaps the coaching staff hasn’t been offering the solution?

If we believe what Babel said about the attack not being coached then it would imply that Rafa has gone out there with a message of “just go out there and play” – at least with the ball at feet (the type of message that seems far less restrictive than some suggest he is as a coach). If this is the case then the players will be playing the type of game they developed elsewhere. Alonso was someone who naturally looked to offer an option. Agger was someone who naturally stepped out of defence, that wasn’t something coached into him etc.

I’m just using Carragher as the example here but the same cases could be made for everyone, particularly the likes of Mascherano and Lucas. Carragher defensively has obviously taken everything that’s been coached into him by Rafa and learnt it by heart. Over the 5 years so far of Rafa’s reigned he’s looked supremely confident and assured from a defensive point of view. Because of Carragher’s character surely you could make a case for suggesting that he would take the ‘offensive’ coaching the same way? If it was drilled into Carragher that every time he had the ball at the back he was to move into space and then pass it to a player then I’m sure he would do that, as long as it was coached into him with the same intensity as the defensive aspects of the game. If the right movements and plays were coached into all the players then Carragher would have the options to lay the ball off to. At the moment he’s tentative on the ball anyway and no one makes themselves available to him, so he goes back what he feels safest doing which is hoofing the ball rather aimlessly down the line or diagonally. That’s the type of player he is, just like Xabi was the type of player who would offer themselves to him as an easy pass.


Again, much like the set pieces I would have thought this was a part of the game Rafa would relish. ‘Control’ is a word he often mentions and this would seem like the easiest way to control the way the game is going. What often gets discussed on these threads is Sacchi and Saachi was obsessed with collective movement, being compact without the ball but also being equally in-tune with each other when in possession. What’s the phrase he often uses about the orchestra? To use analogies along similar lines then I think Rafa expects the synchronicity of a world class orchestra without the ball but expects the spontaneity and improvisational genius of a world class free form jazz performer. Obviously players like Gerrard and Torres can look like football’s answer to Miles Davis and John Coltrane, but when you stick an average musician in there and tell them to go, you just get a cacophony.


I think it’s possible to get caught up in the style of play when discussing stuff like this and forget the philosophy. Pass and move doesn’t necessarily have to be the Barcelona thing of popping the ball off 5 yards to one and other. Just because off the ball movement is coached so intensively at somewhere like Barcelona doesn’t mean that you have to play the exact same ticky-takka stuck of football. Just look at Chelsea at the moment who are rotating in their midfield incredibly well, and they have technically limited players like Cole and Terry stepping forward comfortably with the ball and being involved in the play. Ancelotti’s Milan were similar. They were hardly as expressive or as beautiful to watch as Barcelona, but they were fluid and everyone knew what to do with the ball as well as without. I’d argue it was part of the reason that they stayed at the top in Europe for so long, despite their age and the fact that there were some players in there that just didn’t stand out as spectacular. Players like Kaká and Pirlo were going to stand out regardless of how Milan played, but the likes of Ambrosini, Seedorf, Jankulovski/Serginho and Oddo were simply solid professionals who could be trusted to do their jobs to a tee both in and out of possession, and were good enough technically not to be embarrassed

I know there is a belief in some quarters that we just don’t have the technical excellence to play such a way but I disagree. The players who often get pointed out for being limited technically are the likes of Kuyt, Mascherano and Lucas who all play internationally for three of the most technique obsessed countries on the planet. Mascherano and Kuyt are cornerstones of those teams. They would not be in those teams, even if they displayed all the passion and endeavour in the world, were they not good players. Barcelona would not be after Mascherano if he could not control the ball and pass it a bit as well as tackle superbly.


Ahh, bollocks to it. I can’t be arsed typing any more, you all know who what I’m getting at. In the same way that you use systems and patterns of play to make up for deficiencies in a defenders pace or a striker’s ability to hold up the ball, this is just the same with possession. If you’re well drilled and you do it as a team (through the whole club in Barcelona’s case) you get the players who aren’t as gifted looking far more competent in possession. In Barcelona’s case it clearly installs more confidence in players because they know exactly what they’re meant to do in possession and they’re well drilled. Same way as they are when it comes to defending a particular pattern of play or a set piece. If you play this way throughout the entire club then you get players who know their jobs exactly through youth, reserve and up to the first team. I  mean even last night the reserves, whilst marking zonally in the first half still played with Pacheco on the half way line which is something that would never happen in the first team. Why is that different? It’s such a small, simple thing to make sure is coached the same way through all levels of the club. … I fear I’m veering off course with that bit, but I thought I’d add it in.

Yeah.

RIP Jade.


Offline Uhoh AureliOs

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #232 on: September 8, 2009, 01:13:35 PM »
HBHR continues to do some sterling work debunking "Lucas Lies" in the currently locked Lucas thread. Includes a detailed analysis of Lucas' Bolton performance. (for actual minute by minute rundown see original post)

Quote from: Hesbighesred
Incidentally, I said a while ago I'd post up Lucas' invlovements in the Bolton game, because I feel they should tackle a few myths about him, and also back up what I've said about the, in my view, pretty shocking lengths Mash, Carra and Riera (in this match anyway, with Mash and Carra, if you look, it's obvious pretty much every game) in particular go to to avoid giving him the ball. If you've got, or can get, the match on tape, and ESPECIALLY if you don't rate Lucas, I would really strongly urge you to get a tape of the game, watch Lucas very closely, and check out these 'highlights' - I'd be very interested to see what your thoughts would be on it. Last person I got to re-watch Lucas went from not rating him to becoming a staunch defender of his. Anyway:

***see Lucas thread for minute by minute Lucas actions***

NOTES:

As you can see, the second half is clearly incomplete - I was very tired by that point, and just wanted to watch the game really, so only wrote down the involvements that were 'unignorable' - if you like.

Also, in terms of people not passing to Lucas', you'll no doubt notice that Carra hardly appears. This is because I only noted the incidents were the 'pass refusal' was very obvious, and where Lucas looks pretty clearly to be the best passing option on - one that should be taken no matter what player is standing in Lucas' place. Carra doesn't appear because, unlike Mash and Riera, there aren't really any 'must pass that' through balls or obvious stupid mistakes brought on by not passing to Lucas, but if you watch the game what you can see is that there are many, many situations where Mash/Carra have the opportunity for an easy ball to Lucas, which they could take even if it's only to put themselves in a better position, or to advance play via an easy ball to Lucas, which are consistently, indeed pretty much always ignored.

CONCLUSIONS:

First of all, looking at the timing of his involvements in the first half, I'd say he was FAR more peripheral to this match than a CM should ever be. Alonso used to be, and Mash is, invloved in nearly every move at some point in the build up - this is not the case with Lucas at all.

However, it's also clear from the notes that the only people actually giving him the ball where Kuyt and GJ. A lot of his other involvements come when the ball has dropped to him or he's won a header etc.

Our RHS was a BIG strength in this match, and GJ was particularly excellent. What hasn't really been noticed, though, is that Lucas played a big part in that dominance of the RHS, and had some key involvements in a lot of GJ's best moves, for example being one of very few players who have sussed onto, and are constantly alive to, that little through pass to the RH corner of the 6 yard box GJ likes to make when he cuts inside. It's also very interesting to me how often Kuyt begins to find Lucas - who is nearly always there as an 'out-ball' for Kuyt - and Kuyt being the ultimate unselfish team player is not about to ignore an out-ball when he's got one. I think this trio has a massive amount of potential, but it needs Lucas to be at the heart of our play, as a CM should be, rather than him being forced to the periphery because the main people who should be providing him (Mash especially, and the CBs) are simply not doing so.

Just to point out as well, if you look at the chalkboards from last season Mash/Alonso passed to each other constantly. The one mid deep, pass to other, run forward, receive pass back is a common, easy and very useful move for gaining 10-15 yards on the pitch that Mash is basically refusing to try with Lucas - neither in the give and run, or in letting Lucas give and run. Refusing that type of move is going to seriously hamper the creativity of any midfield, Mash's passing from deep is simply not good enough to pass up chances to easily advance the ball 10-15 yards, especially when those passes would often give Lucas an easy ball to the front 4, or would offer Mash space to run into himself.

I think even this little glimpse emphatically shows how utterly shallow a lot of the 'anti' Lucas arguments are:

1. Gives the ball away - no he doesn't, he never did. Still, most people who throw up this straw men seem to know it's rubbish, and often (without seeing the irony) follow it up with probably the favourite Lucas criticism:

2. Does nothing but 5 yard safe passes - no, he doesn't. Never did. Granted - he plays low risk football, I can accept that, but that's also because he seems to have a kind of 'risk/reward' calculator in his head that's very effective - as soon as the risk is worth it Lucas can make phenomenal attacking passes, as the one to Kuyt and especially the one to Torres show in the first half (there's another one in the second half I didn't note, it's a nice ball to Benayoun which sets us off on the break that eventually led to Torres shot cleared off the line from Voro's pass).

3. The midfield - especially Lucas - have failed to get the ball to the front men. Well, certainly in this match, Lucas was responsible for pretty much the only successful and cutting through passes from either side. He also kept the ball moving well in attack, and you can see from the notes that he's involved in a LOT of our more promising attacks, you can also see he links up quite a lot with Kuyt - again, another one that lends weight to the 'poor front 4 movement' argument, in that Kuyt is simply perpetual motion - probably makes the best movements of anyone in the attack.

4. Lucas 'hides', or 'doesn't demand the ball'. Well, I'd totally disagree that he hides - you can see from this match that there's once or twice where his head seems to go down a little, but then a few minutes later he returns with a very good bit of play. In fact, I personally think this lad has balls of steel, and a strength of character that shames even the likes of Torres, Gerrard and Carra, simply because, in my view, managing to play decently well, and to keep going, in the face of crowd mistrust and team-mate mistrust is FAR harder than being a 'leader' when you have the unquestioned support and respect of all your team-mates, and nigh-on unconditional adoration from the stands. In short, he certainly doesn't hide.

Demanding the ball is a trickier one - he should do it more, but then from his point of view it must be hard to try when he doesn't get given the ball whether he demands it or not.

Look at it this way - in the Villa game, a minute or so in, Lucas makes a great run inside the full back, actually POINTS to where he wants Torres to pass it - if Torres had passed it (and for a man of his talents it was not a difficult pass) Lucas would have been in a great position to cross it/cut it back to Gerrard or Benayoun, who were both in phenomenal positions and 2 on 1 with the Bolton CB - IE, one of them would have been easy for Lucas to find (especially given his reliability with short passes).

Instead Torres delays, and eventually floats the ball in for the header Benny won. Now, OK, you could argue that it was nearly a goal so well done Torres, but the fact is that the pass to Lucas was the kind of potential situation that leads to a goal 9 times out of 10. The floated ball to Benny is a goal maybe 1 time in a 1000 - it was a borderline miracle that he won the header in the first place, and absolutely no surprise to anyone at all (not least Benny) that he couldn't control it properly. Indeed - looking at the position of Friedel's hands, if it had been on target Friedel would most likely have got his hands to it.

To my mind, that type of play is bordering on criminal - you do not ignore chances to pass that would lead to almost certain goals, but at least with Torres I don't think it's particularly a Lucas thing - more that Torres can be very greedy at times, and in my view needs to improve his hold up/creative play as soon as is possible - but that's another subject.

Back to the Bolton game, Lucas make a simply class run that would put him clean through. He doesn't point this time, but for me, the run itself is damanding to be found - you simply do not ignore a runner who would be clean through, one on one, when there's a very makeable pass that would put them through - you make that pass even if it's Djimi Traore making that run, in my book. Riera, however, takes a good look at this certain goal scoring opportunity, that again was a very makable pass for a man of his talents, and instead awkwardly turns away from it and takes a vastly inferior option - especially given the rarity of opportunities to put people through 1 on 1 against teams like Bolton.

5. Lucas has no pace - where this one comes from I've absolutely no idea. Same people who think Dossena is slow just because he isn't built like a whippet, I suppose. The run through the middle I talk about above shows quite clearly that Lucas is, if anything, on the quick side. He may not run with the ball often, but when he does he's hard to catch up with (as Davis will attest), and when he runs off the ball his pace is clear and obvious.

6. Lucas 'offers nothing'. Yet, as I feel my notes show, a Lucas who in my view is clearly playing short of confidence, a Lucas who is at least partly forced to the periphery of the game by team-mates who should know a LOT better, still ends up being invloved in a lot of our best attacking play, and indeed not just involved - is absolutely key to a lot of it. Some of it, indeed, like that Gerrard/Newcastle pass to Torres is the kind of pass that only Gerrard in our current side is consistently capable of - and in his case he does it in a far higher-risk fashion. Low risk in Lucas' area of midfield is no bad thing whatsoever.

Of course, he isn't the finished article yet by any means, and many criticisms of him are perfectly valid and well thought out.

However, people consistently come out with criticisms that are not just debatable, but actually easy to completely disprove, in ANY of Lucas' games. Indeed, I'd challenge ANYONE to pick out what they see as Lucas' worst game for the club, and I'd be happy to bet £50 that at least two of the typical Lucas criticisms are easily disproved in that one match alone, never mind in games where he's playing better. As I say, I don't think he had a particularly good game against Bolton, he seemed to be playing very low on confidence, yet he was still either involved in or responsible for some of our very best play. My mouth waters to think what this lad would be like with confidence and trust from fans and team-mates - indeed, I'm desperate for it because I think that he's the one player capable (aquilani I don't know) of replacing the true value of Alonso to the team (all be it through a very different style) - namely that ability to be a centre of calm that can regulate the tempo of a game. You can see him doing it superbly well against Everton on his debut, for example, or in just about any match where he's the senior midfielder (PSV last season is a great example).

FINAL POINT:

In a way, the really interesting bit about the Bolton match is what happens after Mash is subbed off. Lucas then takes on the more disciplined harrying/simple distribution role, while Gerrard is free to spray passes to the flanks. The pair actually interchange who goes forward and who stays back - it's a partnership I hadn't really considered but on this basis could really work - certainly it's a very good one against under-manned opposition.

The key aspect of this spell though, for me, is that Gerrard and Lucas actually play like they are midfield partners - they look to the other for the simple ball, use each other to make easy advances up the pitch or make space for each other. Although it doesn't look much, those little 5-10 yard passes from Lucas are generally perfectly weighted, which means someone like Gerrard is receiving the ball just ahead of him, doesn't have to waste time bringing it under control and is instead in a position where, whether he runs with it, passes short or tries to spread the play the ball is just begging for him to do what he likes with it. It's no co-incidence that Gerrard seeks out Lucas to roll the ball to him for those thunderbolt free-kicks - tiny rolls those may be but they have to be perfect every time - it's telling that Alonso was always Gerrard's main choice for that job.

Certainly, it's made me slightly re-asses my views of Gerrard in the centre anyway, and all of this has also made me lose a lot of my love for Mascherano - though he's been playing very well in many ways for me the problems with Lucas have been going on for ages, and whatever the issue is Mascherano needs to bloody sort it pronto, because no Premier League side can afford to carry one midfielder who won't supply the other - so much so that if Gerrard is brought into the middle it's Mascherano I'd drop.

Anyway, check it out for yourself, I'd be very interested to hear more views on this.
« Last Edit: September 8, 2009, 01:15:25 PM by Uhoh AureliOs »

Offline Joe_Singh

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #233 on: October 21, 2009, 03:15:41 PM »
We had a cracking debut from Kelly last night and we've got another cracking debut-ish post from 92A

After last night this is hard to write. with a second string team we were faced with a must win match, with all the off pitch nonsense looming massively. I don't no whether I'm more pissed off with the result or the three quarters of the ground that left after their second goal. I'm old enough to remember when we used to sing 'Sit down You Bums' when the main stand or Kemlyn used to get off early for the bus. Supporting the team when you were getting beat used to be one of the things that distinguished from the majority of supporters. The booing of the Benayoun decision, by loads around me who couldn't be arsed getting behind the team, left a sour taste. Anyway I digress.

I've been following this thread from the first of the original posts. And you shouldn't be so hard on yourselves. You should all be proud of this thread. I've learnt loads following it.   I was brought up on the Shankly quote that football is a simple game complicated by idiots. Something I have believed all my life. I never had much time for those who were into debating 433 vs 442 because to me these were starting positions, far more important were things I'd observed watching the rise of liverpool

I've been lucky enough to have had the greatest football education possible, I can literally count on one hand the games I missed at Anfield from the late sixties until the early eighties. Games that were often never televised. I realised watching Liverpool that the team was more important than individuals but that was not the whole story, you needed the right individuals who had to have many qualities. They needed to be great players who understood that their first responsibility was to the team, they also needed tactical awareness, how to close down and create space. This was the one thing that they needed above anything else if they were to succeed at Liverpool. As me Dad would say 'he's a good player but not good enough for us because he hasn't got a football brain. The exceptional individuals such as Keegan and Dalglish  had all these talents and were brillant individuals as well,  BTW Yorkie I agreed with every word you said about Keegan, So paradoxically both The team and the individuals were important.

I realised how important the mental was in football, often football was decided by little things that turned games at important times. The papers would generally have things in black or white, but watching football I realised it was not that simple, often the losing team played well and could of won if they'd taken their chance. Tied into this was the role of confidence, absolutely crucial in football. It was not just the players but the crowd, we could instill confidence. I used to love it when we went behind, the Kop would will the team on, I never understood crowds that weren't patient and turned on their teams you could see the fear transmitt itself to the pitch, totally self defeating. I always thought confidence was underestimated in football, both in players and teams, It's why strikers have goal droughts and good teams go on bad runs.

Although pass and move was simple I was aware it was more complicated than that, and I knew Shankly was far too clever not to know that, while his teams played simple football I suspected he worked his bollocks of to achieve that apperance of simplisty. Then I come across Roys original stuff on Michels, who had done it with Ajax, a team anyone from the seventies was in awe of and it fitted. Behind all great practices is theory and when the theory comes from such a great practitioner, I was hooked. It explained lots of things that I'd observed watching Liverpool and put them in a framework. I,ve even started getting into the formations which I've always dismissed.

As for the thread, IMHO it's been  right about Rafas intentions, and at the end of last season things were genuinely looking good, we were right to use RM's framework to judge where we were. But within RM's original conditions for building a footballing dynasty was stability within the club. That was not just a throw away, it's more important than any of his tactical nouse, because without stability the foundations are on shaky ground.

My take. Benitez's project has been harder than he could of expected because we originally didn't have the resourses to compete at the highest level. he got around it with a strategy of gradual improvement which took more of his most precious commodity time. Then he's faced political battles which were not of his making but which he couldn't ignore, which took up masses of his energy and drive and again eat into his time. According to Tony Barrett we've got no real money for transfers and after last night I fear Rafas on borrowed time. Yet I agree with Hank Scorpio, now is the time to grow balls. It hangs in the balance but all is not lost, that was second string team out last night that was putting up a brave fight up to seventy minutes. When we,ve overcome some vital injuries we are not as bad as our lack of confidence suggests. If Rafa is able to turn this around then he is a genius, If Rafa is sacked then our carpetbaggers will have a fire sale, Torres, benayoun, gerrard, reina, mascherano could bring in some cash to dint that debt. The stakes are that high. Thats why Benitez needs uncondital support right now, even if he makes mistakes, the alternative with these buyout merchants is unthinkable.
What I love about this, and several other of Kenny's press conferences, is that he manages to say something to the effect of  'Shut the fuck up, you fucking helmets and don't fuck with me or my football club or I'll make you eat your own balls', without actually using th

Offline Joe_Singh

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #234 on: October 21, 2009, 03:24:00 PM »
We're on a roll today I think. Same thread. This post is more about whats wrong with this country at the moment which makes it even better.

Yeah I know exactly what you mean.

In the game I watched yesterday we made more clear chances, had chances, and clear ones, to go 2-0 up, were ripping apart a good Lyon team with literally half of our first team injured, even the commentator on the Guardian minute by minute, who was bitter as lemons about us throughout his 'commentary', more accurately described as a Rafa and LFC slating fest, said on 66mins, shortly before Lyon scored, that they'd done 'nothing' up to that point in the second half. Then Kelly got injured trying to save the goal, and bam, we lose one of our main outlets on the night, the defence has to readjust totally and Carra is unfortunately limited in that position. It boggles my mind that there's people saying he should have started there last night - he simply could not have offered the pace and drive Kelly did so impressively, and to lose that was a huge blow on the night.

I thought it was an improved performance and had we won there would be a lot of love for how our young players performed. Plus we had a good and legit goal chalked off because the Lyon defender dived.

Yet to read about it that's about the worst Liverpool have ever played, with everyone bar Benayoun, Kelly and Reina a total and utter disaster. A lot of people are saying that Benayoun was the only one creating anything last night. Really? He was alright at times but apart from the goal I thought he was largely anonymous. It was Aurelio and Kelly creating most things... and the horrifically maligned Lucas drove forward with the ball more than I've seen him do in the past, and it was his turn, drive and nice lay-off that Aurelio crossed in to score from. Still too anonymous though, for whatever reason.

But anyway, suffice it to say that the match I watched bears absolutely no resemblance to the one watched but most people, it seems - one in which Liverpool were woeful, created nothing (except of course for those multiple clear chances to win the match which, seen through the funk of anger and depression apparently didn't happen at all) and were utterly destroyed by a rampant Lyon who, from what I saw, actually made fewer clear chances than we did.

It sometimes makes me doubt what I've seen as well - but then that's why a thread like this (or indeed the new Tomkins site - http://tomkinstimes.com/ ) is so valuable - sure opinions differ, but you can at least be confident that pretty much everyone sharing their views knows a thing or two about football, and it reassures you that it is indeed the rest of the world that is insane.

Unfortunately, we live in a society, especially in this country, were people are, from the earliest days of their schooling, from all mainstream media and cultural outputs, taught not to think. Taught to receive and be spoon fed. Taught that ignorance is cool and that learning and understanding are at best geeky and at worst outright deviant. Subjects which demand critical thought, especially those which apply that critical thought to the real world and contemporary events (for example philosophy, politics, economics, sociology, psychology, media studies even) are all noticably absent from the school curriculum , which itself has for many years now been moving away from creativity and independent thought in favour of prescribed learning and teaching to meet arbitrary targets.

The media prey upon and feed this relentlessly, and are themselves in many ways victims of it - the individual journalist has little to no time for actual research and thought, and his job has been reduced to essentially editing press releases - and a huge proportion of those are nothing but PR produced propaganda for either government or corporations.

This is a massive factor in the 'want it know' and 'it's all your fault' culture so prevalent, and of course this mentality is absolutely perfect in terms of fuelling consumer based capitalism. Something wrong in your life? Buy some shit. See something you hate? Buy some shit. Rational thought is really not conducive to buying shit for no good reason, and there are few countries on Earth more tragically wedded to the creed of buying shit for no reason than this, our Albion.

Sorry to go a bit political but I really believe it very strongly. One thing I've always loved about Liverpool, and the thing that's ultimately drawn me ever further in is that this is both a socialist and thinking man's club, in many ways. It's heartbreaking to see that tradition (though it is still here, there is still a seperation, I'm convinced of it - you still see it in the quality of RAWK as opposed to the fan sites of other clubs, for example. Like, say, the Simpsons, it may not be what it used to be but it's still better than most of the rest on offer) being undermined, and it's heartbreaking to see how the media - themselves puppets in many ways - seem able to work large sections of our 'support' like bloody ventriloquists dummies.

I can give no better example of that than rotation. How often has that one been brought up this season? Hardly ever. Rafa hasn't stopped rotating - the point is that the media have been unable to ignore the spinning top at castle greyskull. Therefore, without any announcement, any journalist actually acknowledging their change of opinion and explaining why, rotation has become (and I predicted this ages ago...it's really shit when cynical predictions based on the worst of people/society come true) the orthodoxy.

Now, to a FUCKING MAN, the same journalists who spent 4 loooong years slating, piss taking, shitting all over and denying the validity of RAFA'S rotation - and it was HIS system remember - are now, to a man, slating Rafa for the paucity of our squad, because it's a squad game y'know, the best 11 that ruled all at the start of last season is no longer relevant, and Fungus is, to quote the times today 'the master of replenishment'.

You see, sadly also as I predicted - it's Fungus system now. HE invented it, and deserves all the credit. So, like bloody parrots the same fans who at the start of last season were mocking Rafa's rotation are now moaning and whining and screaming blue murder because our squad isn't strong enough.

Oh well. The beauty of the reactive nature of this culture is that a win against Man U really would change the mood overnight - it's not like it hasn't happened before.
What I love about this, and several other of Kenny's press conferences, is that he manages to say something to the effect of  'Shut the fuck up, you fucking helmets and don't fuck with me or my football club or I'll make you eat your own balls', without actually using th

Offline shanklyboy

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #235 on: October 21, 2009, 05:01:08 PM »
Excellent insight there hbhr.

I really enjoyed that.
The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.

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Offline No666

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #236 on: October 21, 2009, 05:24:18 PM »
Okay we're all impressed with 92A. For me, this next post from him cogently sums up the off-the-pitch succubus which is draining the life from our club's chest.

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   Re: The (Level 3) Sanctuary
« Reply #8556 on: Today at 04:20:06 PM »Quote That's the worrying thing. given an amnesty of twenty games I have every confidence rafa would turn it around and we could be on the verge of great things. The problems are there but  I have every confidence he would solve them, With a bit of money I'm certain he would.

But in the real world every game has become vital, We've had some serious bad luck but that is never taken into account. This is played out against a background of two Venture Capitalists who have come unstuck with their plans because of the credit crunch, but are determined to get a decent return on their assets and are ambivalent whether in this process Liverpool football club is damaged as long as the damage doesn't mess up their revenue streams. The manager knows this and has had to find space to operate on what  is a project he has invested the best years of his managerial career. In his favour has been the fans hatred of the Yanks, Benitez is a football man and he is put up with for political reasons by the Yanks if they see a chance to get rid of him they'll take it, He sees footballers not Multimillion pound assets.

Imagine the interviews for a new Manager. With Hicks and Gillette on the panel,  We'd get a yes man who would allow them to rape the club while he said nothing to embarrass the Yanks. The relationship between any new manager and the Yanks would be different than their relationship with Benitez , they would be writing the job criteria and that would include no backchat from uppity employees. Whats protected Benitez is the culture surrounding the club. It has been different, we have a tradition of patience of not sacking the manager, but The constant media slagging off Benitez is beginning to find an echo in some sections of our support.

The ex players and media hate him because he approaches things differently from their certainties, new thinkers always get stick until their ideas are incorporated into the orthodoxy.  Benitez is always going to be at odds with Andy Greys Sunday league analysis.

I went to a funeral last Friday, The  lad who died did so from aggressive cancer. A lifelong Liverpudlian the last two games he listened to were Fiorentina and Chelsea, even on his deathbed he was trying to put it into perspective and wouldn't hear a word against Benitez from one of his young nephews. That's our tradition, It made us different but its under threat from the sky 'we want a result now' culture. The cocaine culture. You get a immediate buzz from beak but it leaves you with nothing.  We can't compete purely financially our only hope until we rid the club of these leeches is someone who does it differently, a truly new thinker, but he needs more time. Yeah the Mancs may get 19 but if we implode now, our competitors in the future will be Leeds and Newcastle not the Mancs. We need to back the manger and take the pressure of the team.
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Offline Corkboy

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #237 on: October 21, 2009, 10:03:46 PM »
Good post, HBHR but I have to bring you up on the rotation. The first manager I can remember doing it was Claudio Ranieri at Chelsea. The Tinkerman, they called him. I'm sure it was probably bollocks as well. As you said, it's the narrative the papers/tv decide to go with, and drag everyone else behind them.

Offline Varmenni

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #238 on: November 13, 2009, 02:34:26 PM »
A Complete Analysis of Liverpool’s Ailing Machine in the year 2009

When did it all start to go wrong? The answer isn’t predictable: The poisonous seed that led to Liverpool’s downfall, actually stemmed from the famous 4-0 victory against Real Madrid last season.

The Fall of the Machine Race

The media kept asking ‘Why can’t Liverpool play like that week in week out in the Premier League?’ They wouldn’t need to ask the question if they understood Liverpool’s tactics. We played a high tempo against Real Madrid because Benitez knew that was the tactic to employ against his former Spanish club. Rafa exploits tactics based on the opposition. When required, in other games he’d start in a lower gear, conserve energy, hit teams on the counter attack and turn up a gear in the second half. Only when required we’d get into overdrive. We were a well oiled machine, almost always in total control. Win or lose, there wasn’t a game last season where the opposition controlled us until we hosted Man City at home last season. Being without Alonso, on the day the Reds possession was poor and failed to control the game.

Automatic High Tempo Out of Control

What one didn’t expect is for Rafa to alter his controlled manual (horses for courses) tempo and go all guns blazing for the rest of the season. When you look at the Real Madrid game you have to admit that Torres’ committed a foul for the first goal and the second goal wasn’t a hand ball penalty. This made the game easier for Liverpool, Madrid knew they were out and the home team just added insult to injury against an already deflated opposition. But Liverpool deserved the advantage after a typically composed, low tempo, counter attacking display in Madrid in the first leg. The Reds didn’t play with flair, but got the away win from a set piece where Benayoun (of all people to score a headed goal) from Aurelio’s cross. Madrid’s marking was awful. The third goal at Anfield (from Gerrard) was superb, by the time Dossena scored the 4th Madrid were already lying down on the floor. Yes, Liverpool had so many chances that night they could have scored 8 if it wasn’t for Casillas. But, that wasn’t a true reflection of the difference between the clubs quality. Real Madrid were the defending La Liga champions. Before the game the Spanish press repeated the false English mantra that Liverpool were a defensive team. After the game there was a false sense of superiority against the world’s most successful team. Reality doesn’t function in extremes, and the truth is Liverpool don’t go from a balanced team to an all-out attacking team overnight.

Domination and the Rub of Green

The defensive accusation was ridiculous. Liverpool scored the most goals in the league and (at the time) in the Champions League too. But this wasn’t due to playing an all-out attacking style. Liverpool were a balanced team. With the confidence of the Real Madrid thrashing, then straight after that the 4-1 victory at Old Trafford raised their game sky high. Yes, again, Liverpool deserved to win with a superb display against Manchester United. But, that doesn’t mean Rafa’s team is suddenly playing at the highest invincible level of attacking football. Let’s have a look at the goals: Two of the four goals came from long punts up field. One poorly timed tackle from Evra awarded Liverpool a penalty, and the remaining goal came from a free kick (superbly controlled long range strike). Yes, Liverpool deserved to win. But, you see, the goals were not part of attacking movements that tear teams apart. On another day when you don’t have the luck you can dominate such a game but come away with a draw or even a defeat. However the high score line boosted Liverpool’s confidence. They carried on playing at a high tempo for the rest of the season.

The Reason why constant High Tempo worked at the End of Last Season

That time it worked because Liverpool finally had Gerrard and Torres together with Alonso pulling the strings (with the exception of Old Trafford for the key games). The real reason is that Torres was fresher after his injury lay off and the league wasn’t used to defending against the quality of both Stevie G and Torres. Coming into this 2009-10 season the opposition knew that their only chances of getting anything from the Liverpool game is to counter this threat.

The other reason the high tempo worked is the freshness of Torres and the rest of the team relative to the opposition. Rafa’s teams are usually in better shape for the last dozen or so league games (if he needs to). One says ‘needs to’ because if his league objectives are reached and Rafa has a big final to prepare for then he will obviously change his approach for the remaining league games at the end of the season. Last season Liverpool had a genuine opportunity to win the league and if it wasn’t for the rookie Macheda’s two goals then they could have actually done it.

The Real Reason Liverpool didn’t Win the League Last Season

Contrary to what the media were saying: the real reason was actually because their DEFENCE wasn’t performing at their usual high standards. Liverpool were setting clean sheet records in recent seasons, and still boasted a relatively good defensive record last season (at that point) so the critics were not focussing on that. One has to realise that Manchester United turned the title race around because of a series of 1-0 victories where their DEFENCE made the big difference. Liverpool’s attack was superior but often had to score two or three (or more) goals to gain three points. The best example which illustrates this point is the match against Arsenal at Anfield. Liverpool completely outplayed Arsenal in that game. They were absolutely fantastic but kept shooting themselves in the foot with horrific defensive errors. It’s incredible to remind oneself that Liverpool could have actually lost that game if it wasn’t for Benayoun’s last minute equaliser. BUT on the basis of Liverpool’s superb forward play (against the so-called best attacking team in England, Arsenal) Liverpool should have won that game easily. The seeds of Liverpool’s current defensive problems were already evident on that night. It’s due to their loss of balance and a mental shift in defensive responsibilities.

(As it has become apparent more often this season) with this loss of balance, any team with a dangerous attack can expose Liverpool because they started to take risks which were previously uncharacteristic of Rafa’s style. Fortunately for Liverpool last season, the opposition didn’t realise this early enough, they were scared of the Reds due to their outstanding results against the likes of Real Madrid. Out of fear the opposition sat back (just like how many teams got draws against Liverpool in the past season) but with Liverpool’s latest approach, this tactic from the opposition became easy pickings for the Reds.

Tempo/Risks need to be adjusted on a Horses for Courses basis

Some might be thinking, well, this tactic is working here… that’s not the full perspective. The point is that Liverpool should be using this tactic for certain matches where they apply. This season it solved their problem against lower opposition, but when up against dangerous attackers they need to revert to their controlled balance. It wasn’t as if Liverpool were poor before the Real Madrid game during the so-called cautious approach. Remember Liverpool were top of the 2008 league table, using continuous results from two seasons. Then their poor run of draws came at the turn of the year when Torres was usually unavailable (and there was a lack of depth).

Since altering their approach, the Arsenal game wasn’t the only crucial example. There’s also the Champions League game against Chelsea. Fantastic entertainment, but look at how Liverpool’s lack of concentration gifted Chelsea goals. Yes, the forward momentum was necessary but after gaining the initiative they also need to maintain their control and balance.

Alonso

When you play at this tempo you leave yourself exposed to the counter attack. However when you have an intelligent player (Alonso) to control possession and positioning in the midfield then that problem is minimized. Even with the high tempo Alonso calmed things down a little with his cool head and thoughtful choices of passes. Without Alonso when Liverpool go high tempo all-out attack, the standard of possession is not as good as it used to be, so on more occasions Liverpool give the ball away (with more players in advanced positions up field) and the defence is left exposed.

Vulnerable to Counter Attack

The Aston Villa game is an ideal example of this. Especially in the first half Liverpool outplayed them but got overexcited with the high tempo that they often rushed their moves, overran and misplaced passes when they outnumbered Villa in attack, but then allowed the visiting team to suddenly break into dangerous counter attacks. After thrashing Villa last season Liverpool were complacent with regard to the potential danger they could pose. One should remember that even last season with this high tempo, Liverpool could have conceded early. They have Reina to thank for outstanding saves early on. That 5-0 result could have been very different. The Anfield game this season is an example of how the rub of the green can swing. Liverpool dominated them again, but this time a bizarre own goal from Lucas caused the nerves to jingle and desperation to rise. Instead of slowing down, confidently working their way back into the game, they anxiously move faster, raise the tempo further and run themselves into the ground with sloppy passes, lacking the thoughtful stability of an Alonso. They become frustrated such as how the effect of the extended first half injury time led to a lack of concentration and a free header for a 0-2 deficit. Later a rash tackle from Gerrard awarding Villa a penalty for their third.

Mascherano

Another reason for Liverpool’s poor form is the unsettling of Mascherano due to Barcelona’s interest. Though, Mascherano had usually performed at his best for the second half of each season when Liverpool make their final push for honours, as well as the early high profile games. Benitez explained that his loss of form may have been due to the doubt over Argentina’s World Cup 2010 place. However Mascherano’s standards lowered long before that. This was when Maradona made him captain of Argentina. This appointment could have worked for him, but the main problem is that when your God thinks you’re already the saviour, then it’s not surprising that you go through a relaxed, complacent stage. This is why Benitez thinks twice about over praising his players. It is surprising that a player of Mascherano’s on-field work ethic, can get complacent but it is evident that his head hasn’t been 100 percent on Liverpool since then. One cannot blame him for Liverpool’s poor form. Without Alonso, the resettling midfield is an additional factor.

Attacking full-backs

In previous seasons Liverpool used to complain that they required attacking full-backs to move their game to the next level. This season they made it happen with the signing of Johnson. Those uninformed critics didn’t understand why Rafa prioritised this signing, because they were not aware of the attacking full-back tactic. This was crucial to breaking down lower opposition who park the bus (and its working) but on the other hand they can be exposed more often on the counter attack against dangerous opposition. Aurelio and Insua have been excellent. Apart from the bonus goals Dossena’s usually been caught out with poor decision making at left back. But that’s more to do with their poor run last season than this season. This season Johnson was criticised for his tackling and positioning but the criticism is exaggerated. Early in the season he was one of Liverpool’s best performers.

For this tactic to function successfully one of Mascherano or Lucas (sometimes even Kuyt has to) need to cover for Johnson when he goes forward. That would have worked perfectly under Liverpool’s former balanced setup before the Real Madrid game. But since then they’ve played at a higher tempo and taken more risks in midfield, so this placed more pressure on the central defenders.

Central Defence

The central defenders started to get criticised this season, particularly Carragher. As we pointed earlier, the problem was evident earlier this year. The great defensive records were not due to individual brilliance but due to the balance and setup of the team strategy. Once Liverpool changed that balance the defence is exposed more often. So the defenders are not suddenly useless, it’s just that they now have a much more difficult job.

Losing Hyypia was a major blow, and even if Liverpool’s just looking for a 4th choice replacement, selecting Kyrgiakos was down to the restricted budget. Even in the twilight of his career one shouldn’t underestimate the importance of Hyppia’s role as 4th choice. He was outstanding against Manchester United and crucial to counter every aerial threat against opposition who bomb long balls and crosses into the box. After the Roy Evans years when Liverpool were vulnerable against set pieces, Houllier solved this problem with the towering Hyppia. Over the following years whenever a set piece comes in one can be 99.99 percent confident that due to Hyppia (or the effect of having him up there) – Liverpool would win that aerial battle. In any case, within the available budget Kyrgiakos made sense because of his height, heading power and strength. However in his career the Greek has been found wanting for pace and decision making. Nevertheless he is the economical 4th choice option and you’d expect Skrtel, Agger and Carragher to deliver at the highest standards.

It didn’t help that Carragher and Skrtel headed one another in the first game of the season, leaving their backline immediately exposed, resulting in the opening day defeat. One should remember that Skrtel couldn’t move his head properly and played through this injury when Spurs headed their winner. Yes, Liverpool were not up for this game anyway.

Low Fitness Levels for The Start of the Season

This was down to the Confederations Cup and the timing of the Far East tour. It did result in upsetting the momentum from last season, the usual starting line-up wasn’t in the best shape/fitness to continue from where they left of. Liverpool started the season on the back foot, and since then were playing catch-up. So they maintained to play the high tempo (even without full fitness and cohesion) all-out attack without balance. To counter the defeats they tried to raise their gears, continue to play ‘winning’ football to turn draws into wins. After all they calculated that they can still get more points if they win more, while losing about half the games they usually draw. However after losing their balance on the field, they’ve become more desperate for victory, taking greater risks, placing more pressure on themselves and therefore leaking goals in the worst moments. This is typically after you dominate the opposition but don’t get the rub of the green, then you fear what might happen on the counter, so whilst under pressure for the few opposition moves - they pay the price for failing to soak up the pressure with possession.

Another Striker

It was debated at the beginning of the season that Liverpool boasted the best attack with Torres and Gerrard: so they asked who’s going to accept sitting on the bench? But, as we can see from the last two seasons – they don’t even have Torres and Gerrard playing together for a significant amount of games. This calls the presumption and system into question. Without one of these two Liverpool need to play two upfront because none of the others are good enough to lead the attack on their own. This obviously means Liverpool need another proven striker.

Gillett, Hicks and the Squad

No need to repeat the already established reports/problems on this subject. Liverpool still need to focus on solving their main mistake in the transfer market. Before the G and H takeover, Liverpool felt they owned a good squad but their starting line-up wasn’t as good as the best teams in Europe. Since they didn’t have the spending power of the richest teams they then tried to swim by selling good players and replacing them with better players. With short sightedness it would seem to work on paper. But the affordable one in one out, or one in two out system which is the cause of the problem. The media think Liverpool spends a significant amount but don’t look at the net spending. G and H point out they’ve beaten records for spending on players but they don’t take into account the players they had to sell to make it possible.

Ideally we should have bought better players and then moved the former first choice (new second choice) to the bench. That’s how you strengthen the squad and the first team at the same time. What’s been happening is that to afford more expensive players they are selling players who should have played an important squad role. And so who is used to provide depth? They use free/cheap signings, teenagers/youngsters from the reserves to fill in. None of the players should walk alone, but many of the squad players won’t make it into the team of the top eight clubs in the league. So it’s no wonder Liverpool are struggling for depth.

Liverpool’s starting line-up is the strongest in the English Premier League. However the squad is around 7th best. They have to rely on fitness levels and hope they don’t pick up significant injuries. In the Tomkins interview it was revealed that Rafa was expecting one more important signing during the summer. These issues are well documented and won’t be repeated here. With the emergence of Manchester City’s financial power, and taking into account Liverpool’s financial issues – the Reds main aim is to at least secure a top four position. This is to avoid the nightmare scenario of having to sell key players, further weakening the team for the owners to afford interest payments. Looking back the inconsistent form is similar to the problems Wenger faced at Arsenal in the last two-three seasons. Arsenal’s needed to be realistic and survive that bumpy period by at least finishing 4th. The league season can be a long marathon race and Liverpool need to keep faith in Rafa to at least achieve this minimal objective. Hopefully by the end of this season (sources stated ‘by Easter’) Liverpool could receive a financial boost to improve the squad.

Rafael Benitez

In the last five years Rafa reclaimed Liverpool’s standing as one of the best teams in Europe. Before he came in their main objective was to simply qualify for the European Cup. Since Rafa’s arrival he set the standards so high that they are no longer satisfied with a quarter final or semi final finish. If Liverpool fail at the group stages this season they must remember that even Ferguson was written off by the media when Manchester United failed in the group stages a few seasons back… then he went on to win the competition two years later. Surely with his outstanding European record, Rafa can be allowed one bad patch in the Champions League. After all, they had the best European record in five years so a bad run of results (due to injuries and reasons stated above) doesn’t suddenly make him a bad manager. By the way Liverpool are not out yet. Rafa did achieve group stage last day rescue acts against Olympiakos and Marseille in the past.

Houllier

Remember Houllier had a similar problem during his demise. The former Liverpool manager was criticised for his defensive approach, then when he tried to please the critics by playing attacking football – his Liverpool team lost balance, resulting in the fall out of the top four. Both Rafa and Houllier needed to maintain their balance and play football the way they know best. Can Rafa adapt to attacking football? At the end of last season he showed he was far more successful than Houllier in achieving this. To maintain this record over the longer run Rafa requires squad depth. Houllier had a different issue - he was infamous for improving the squad but weakening the first team. He also didn’t have to compete with the financial strength of Chelsea and Man City. This season even the mid-table clubs are strengthening and spending more than Liverpool. Rafa’s task is more difficult but in the past he’s produced better results against the Abramovich’s of this world. With better support he deserves a chance to take Liverpool up to the next level.

Whichever way you look at pros and cons (which is another debate) one realises that it’s a results business and after all Rafa has lost 6 of his last 7 matches in all competitions. Yes, he has to be responsible but he still deserves at least until the end of this season to make the top four. Houllier was given time and failed to make the Champions League place in his first of two poor seasons. He was a dead man walking but still allowed another season where he at least brought Liverpool back to 4th place. This time Rafa is under much more pressure because of the higher standards he set.

Title Ambitions

Liverpool gained more points than any other team in 2008. This was an incredible achievement when you take into consideration all the challenges and disadvantages the club faces. So it was disappointing that many Liverpool fans wanted Rafa out during the run of draws at the turn of 2008-09. One should remember what happened to Newcastle when they were not satisfied with Keegan’s second placed finishes. After that they were not satisfied with scraping a Champions League place, and then not satisfied with mid-table before being relegated. Therefore one has to realistically understand a clubs current potential.

What happened after they thought Benitez would resign at the Real Madid game? Benitez not only produced another record breaking league points total but came so close to winning the title. Instead of focussing on this as an achievement, it is disappointing that many see second place as a failure and ‘expected’ Liverpool to automatically be the favourites for the title this season. This is another case of Rafa’s high standards making life difficult for himself. But, this isn’t his fault. The reality is that Rafa has overachieved thanks to his tireless work behind the scenes. Even on the pitch the players work hard and give more than 100 percent. With all the stated disadvantages Liverpool’s excellent achievements with Rafa in recent years should be acknowledged. You can’t expect Roy of the Rovers type coming from behind victories all the time. Reality is going to sink in some time and the supporters have to accept that their expectations were set too high. This doesn’t mean accepting second best. Liverpool can still aim for the title, but if the players fall short then the supporters need to understand the reality of the challenge.

Defeats we didn’t comment on in the above analysis:

Vs Fiorentina (0-2): Liverpool were unlucky for their opening goal. According to the latest off-side rule the goal was fine, but the Reds already knew this was a faulty rule. One of their attackers was far off-side and Liverpool made the mistake of allowing the goalscorer to run clean through (while appealing for the other off-side). Being unable to play a consistent defence due to injury problems, results in cohesive problems when dealing with the off-side trap. Liverpool need to be more alert for this potential issue. They must remember to close down players even if others are off-side. This is the goal that placed them on the back foot that night. Together with the Marseille defeat a year earlier, teams have learnt that if they hurry Liverpool, close them down all over the field then it minimizes the Reds own effect. Liverpool are a team that functions on high work ethic, so when teams also hurry them then we have two teams who cancel each other out with machine-like, Duracell battery operated energy. The only way to make the difference in these circumstances is for your superior quality to show, and that means free roles up front for attackers while also maintaining your balance at the back.

Vs Chelsea this season: Even though people hail the 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge last season, there wasn’t much difference with the approach this time. It just came down to the rub of the green. Alonso got a deflected goal last year. This time we saw a few better shots go very close. I think the defence did well in this game. Liverpool actually had the better of the play for large parts of the match, but the all-important opening goal for Chelsea came from a quick counter attack. Not the first time this season.

Vs Sunderland: that balloon goal should have never stood.

Vs Fulham: Even with all the injuries Liverpool dominated them but left themselves exposed on the counter attack. Fulham’s few attempts were much more telling because Liverpool lost their balance. Degen started, didn’t stop the cross for their winning goal… through bizarre circumstances instead of clearing the ball Liverpool got it back into play for Fulham to break through. That was never a red card for Degen and it gave Liverpool a mountain to climb. Carragher had got away with a couple of dangerous tackles in recent matches and this time he paid for it with a second yellow card in the game. With 9 men Liverpool had problems with or without Torres/Benayoun. As Liverpool learnt in recent days Torres needs to be treated with cotton wool until he’s fully ready. It is ridiculous when pundits/supporters question substitutions when the manager has a closer view (of course) on his player’s fitness levels. It wasn’t a case of Rafa giving up, but a case of not having strong options on the bench. Last week he was criticised for substituting Torres, and today (when Fernando’s injury problems are clearer) Rafa’s being criticised for taking a risk on Torres. Sometimes you can’t win.


Offline kavah

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Re: Some quality/important posts you may have missed
« Reply #239 on: December 12, 2009, 05:30:24 AM »
Every fan of every club believes the media is against them, and most of the time as a fan you learn to just fucking ignore the drivel they write. We never got the credit for dominating European Football from the late Seventies onward in the English media, I wasn't that arsed as it never damaged the club and to be honest I liked the fact that they always thought the party was over and we kept on steamrollering all their pretenders to our throne.
 
But this is different, whether you think Benitez is great or shite, it's becoming obvious there is an agenda against him by sections of the media, It's almost like the campaigns they run against England managers trying to ridicule his every decision and making out he's a figure of fun who's decisions are so bad he shouldn't be taking seriously.
 
This is against the background of all the ownership troubles, when the club is fianancially unstable and the last thing we need as a club is the media telling us what is wrong with us because the likes of the Mersons,  the Charlie Nicholas's and the Collymores would piss themselves laughing if we imploded. It's unfortunate when ex players and heroes like souness and whelan also feel the need to go along with this agenda. Maybe they have their own agenda, Whelan's Hicks's lads mate and Souness could do with distracting people from his appalling managerial record for Liverpool.
 
Look at all the ex-managers bar Souness, what do you hear, fuck all, dignified silence. Phil Thompson at the heart of Sky manages never to be part of putting the boot in. Ex Man U players know the score, if it's good enough for them it's good enough for us.
 
Souness's comments weren't the worst I've heard him come out with but putting Klinsmann on the programme and you don't have to be a genius to work out what's going on. If his comments weren't that bad, Benitez reply's hardly excessive when Sky are parading his potential sucsessor commenting on his team's performance. Classy that. I always liked Klinnsman but commenting on liverpool, a job no self-respecting person should take after what's gone on with him and Gillette, Sky never picked him for his football analysis, the sneaky, backstabbing blert.
 
Maybe Benitez should keep quiet but just imagine what Alex Fergueson's reaction would be if Sky showed a tenth of the disrespect they show to our manager, never mind that old whisky soak, imagine they did it to Harry or Fat Sam or Brucey or Curbs, never mind a classy sarcastic comeback, they'd throw their toys right out of the pram and they'd be right to do so. I don't think Rafa's perfect, he makes mistakes, one I can't fathom is why he's so nice to the Bastards. Shankly, Paisley or Dalglish would of told them to do one, in no uncertain terms a long time ago. Rafa's a freehit to these slimey media whores.