Posts Tagged ‘Liverpool’

Why Brendan Rodgers must not walk alone

***Before we go on, since this post is about Liverpool, it is nice to spare a thought for the victims of the Hillsborough disaster of 1989.  We hope the verdict of this week eventually gets them the justice they deserve, it might be delayed, but lets hope justice is not denied****

We on Redjiblog are walking with them, they are not walking alone.


“The king is back” was the glorious chorus being chanted on Meyerside upon Dalglish’s return. He was perceived to be the Messiah the new owners were talking about. Eighteen months later, King Kenny brought success in the form of the League cup and the FA Cup runners up medal, but couldn’t resurrect the Reds league form.

Someone had to pay the price. Fenway Sports Group reviewed the 2011/12 season where 110 million GBP was spent in the transfer market on players with very little to show for it – Dalglish was fired, Rodgers replaced him.

At the unveiling ceremony, club owner, John W. Henry said;

“Brendan Rodgers’s appointment today as manager of Liverpool Football Club is one of the most important steps we will take in building the kind of club on and off the pitch supporters can be excited about.”

It is three weeks into the 2012/13 season with Liverpool haven played seven competitive matches already securing three victories, two draws and two defeats. Perhaps the results in the EPL are the ones with cause for concern for their followers considering that they are winless after three rounds of games.

Tough(er) job?

Is this the excitement promised by Rodgers and Henry?

In a bid to defend the club’s new philosophy, the owner released wrote an open letter to the fans and this was quite significant

“”No one should doubt our commitment to the club. In Brendan Rodgers we have a talented young manager and we have valued highly his judgement about the make-up of the squad. This is a work in progress. It will take time for Brendan to instil his philosophy into the squad and build exactly what he needs for the long term.”

Rodgers has been saddled with the responsibility of charting a new path for Liverpool by investing in the youth which guarantees a future while playing attractive football and be competitive on a tight budget. It is very clear that he has quite a challenge at hand. The expectation of the Reds supporter is lofty, considering how the Northern Irish man’s former team (Swansea) played last season in their first season in the top flight.

Like every new manager, he has dipped his hands into the market to acquire players he feels will fit into his philosophy. The most notables are Fabio Borini from AS Roma, Joe Allen from Swansea City and Nuri Sahin on-loan from Real Madrid. Players have been promoted from the academy to the first team to gather experience as they build towards the future.

Now, let’s look at the team in prospect.

As it has been in the past few years, Pepe Reina is the first-choice goalkeeper at Anfield and would be assumed he is the ideal last line of defense for Rodgers; his position wouldn’t be threatened with backup options Alex Doni and Brad Jones not top-notch.

Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger were successfully retained at the club along with Jose Enrique and Glen Johnson. The same defensive unit of last season will continue. The same cannot be said for the midfield that lost Brazilian anchor man Lucas Leiva through injury last season and had to rely on unproven back-ups. Jay Spearing and misfit Charlie Adam have been shipped out paving way for Joe Allen and Nuri Sahin with Jonjo Shelvey and Jordan Henderson serving as back up.

Scoring was the biggest problem encountered last season. Suarez and Borini are the centre forwards available in the first team with the Uruguay born forward as the most recognized striker saddled with the responsibility of getting the goals. His tricks and intelligent movement can compete with Lionel Messi while his execution and finishing leaves much to be desired  with just 23 goals and 15 assist in 56 appearances for Liverpool, it shows he doesn’t have the capacity to carry this enormous weight on his shoulders.

Brendan has his work cut out!

Where will the goals come from? His philosophy will require sufficient time for it to be transfused into his new team as they embark on a new journey.

The American owner stressed;

“No one should doubt our commitment to the club. In Brendan Rodgers we have a talented young manager and we have valued highly his judgement about the make-up of the squad. This is a work in progress. It will take time for Brendan to instil his philosophy into the squad and build exactly what he needs for the long term.

We are still in the process of reversing the errors of previous regimes. It will not happen overnight. It has been compounded by our own mistakes in a difficult first two years of ownership. It has been a harsh education, but make no mistake, the club is healthier today than when we took over.

That ethos is to win. We will invest to succeed. But we will not mortgage the future with risky spending.

“It will not be easy, it will not be perfect, but there is a clear vision at work.”

The early signs have shown that it would neither be easy nor perfect but the WORK IS IN PROGRESS. The future looks bright with youngster like Raheem Sterling, Oussama Assaidi, Daniel Pacheco, etc who are coming through the ranks while veterans Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard  will step to the back stage quietly.

John W. Henry’s letter indicates the board position and their willingness in backing up this new project but I reckon they will have to do more than an open letter in the coming months as Brendan Rodgers tries to navigate the Reds’ ship through difficult storms created by previous regimes.

Rodgers must not be allowed to walk alone even in the coldest night.

Will He Never Walk Alone?

More headache for Sir Alex?

The stench of the defeat... too much for Fergie to bear?

Last May, Manchester United were taught a football lesson which lasted 90 minutes at Wembley in the UEFA Champions league final. Sir Alex Ferguson’s comment after the game was commendable – he praised the victors and set himself a target to build a Manchester United side using Barcelona as the benchmark.

In his over twenty years at the helms at Old Trafford, the Red Devils manager has fought for supremacy with Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea etc domestically and the likes of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Juventus etc on the continent but he has never had to battle for it in Manchester. It has been United all the way

Last Sunday’s 6-1 thrashing by their “noisy neighbours” at Old Trafford is United’s biggest home loss since 1955 and their first loss at home since Chelsea won 2-1 in April 2010 is the alarm bell the Knight wouldn’t want to hear.

“Super Mario” Balotelli scored the opener with a brilliant finish and the controversial lad gave us a quote for the week – “why always me“. Johnny Evans red at the start of the second half didn not help United case. “Wario” as some would call him scored his second and it was followed by Kun Aguero’s goal. Fletcher pulled one back and all anticipation of another great United comeback was extinguished with Dzeko’s goal. The man of the match, man of the moment and arguably the best player in the Premier league till date David Silva included his name on the scorers sheet with another aplomb finish past his helpless country man, Dzeko completed the rout with his second of the game.

Scoreboards don't lie..

United were dominated and outplayed by City. An unbelievable score line or was it a mistake?

The Blue side of Manchester have made a massive statement with this victory. It’s not just the three point but the bragging rights and the self-belief that wasn’t there during the Community shield.

Is power about to change hands in Manchester? I bet a lot of United fans will disagree but with the quality of players at Mancini disposal and the strength-in- depth that City boast of which can’t be rivaled by any side in England at the moment. There is a reason for concern, virtually all positions have two top players vying for a starting XI shirt which gives the manager an opportunity to use different personnel and tactics as he decides. An example was James Milner’s role as the box-to-box midfielder which was executed perfectly by the England international. That’s a luxury Manchester United can’t boast of at the moment. The once upon a time Vidic-Ferdinand combination which was MUFC backbone is no more with Rio’s fitness (or lack of it) and his  steady poor performances against Liverpool and Man City while his partner is either injured or suspended.

I reckon that SAF’s team won’t go down like that  because the wily old Scot has all the experience to get his team back on the right track in order for his dynasty not to collapse right in front of him. One of his old comment during the emergence of the Abu Dhabi Manchester City when he said,

“over my dead body will City be the dominant team in Manchester”

must be playing on his mind now as he buries his head under his pillow once again like he did when City beat United 5-1 at Maine Road in 1989.