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Monday, October 03, 2005

Rafael and Liverpool, please take note of the fans

We lost yesterday, and comprehensively, firstly because we had individual errors from the likely suspects. They happen from time to time and always the usual players. Traore aimed to clear without vision and then hastily aimed to make amends, when a simple thought would have enabled him to shadow Drogba away from danger. It's professional and Traore wasn't. Reina was very unlucky as Lampard was, the ball going under. Lampard should never have done what he did after.

Secondly, while we came at Chelsea and gained the equaliser, we had not picked up defensively on key players and their passing was accurate throughout, Drogba skilling Hyypia with embarassing ease and Duff finishing off. Even Joe Cole was by the far post, a Liverpool player failing to keep with him. That was not so bad at 1-2.

Then thirdly, another lapse, this time by Finnan, as he allowed the space for Drogba to run into, with Hyypia then stupidly allowing the ball to roll behind him for Cole to score.

Fourthly, as Cisse came on, a quick Del Horno throw into Finnan's area found the Irishman again caught out with Carragher having to come over. Where was Hyypia? Riise came across and as Robben miss the pass across goal, so did Riise, and Geremi was free to score. This move started with five Liverpool players and the three Chelsea ones.

Chelsea didn't play us off the pitch, we allowed these poor mistakes and lapses to filter and open us up, and Chelsea duly thanked us with goals. They did yesterday that which we failed to do on Wednesday. It is such a contrasting show of form from Wednesday that it would take such lapses to concede.

I mentioned Cisse previously. I was annoyed to see he was coming on with 10mins of normal time. He should have been starting the game with Crouch, both upfront in a 4-4-2, that is so crystal clear. RB now has two choices: continue with 4-5-1 in the hope the defence will not switch off again, and at the same time risk not scoring as highly as we would like; or changed to the 4-4-2, with two upfront adding twice the possibility of scoring than before, stabilising a four-man midfield that is solid in the centre. Yesterday, we had a 4-2-3-1 and, as Andy Gray showed after the game, Alonso and Hamannn were positioned too far back from attack.

I urge for LFC to be looking on the internet for some insight from their fans, for the club is very welcomed here. It is now time for some insight to come from us fans, as practically most, if not all, have hailed for a change in formation and selection. Now at least hear us out and go for a change. Additionally, though I feel this could already be the case, a new CB is needed not as back-up, but to replace Hyypia. Finnan is not good enough at RB, neither is Josemi so we had little alternative there today. As for Traore, I have such a big case prepared to advocate for his release from Anfield, much less the first 11, they'd bring back the death penalty.Finally, Riise and Garcia could have been excellent for us in their positions but with Riise he is usually reliable, he had an off day today. Garcia is unpreditable.

Yesterday, Liverpool lost a battle, but we have not given up on the war. I hope it is enough to push us to get better. As for respect for Chelsea and Mourinho, that was always there, it is just that people do not take kindly to public statements preceived as boasts or innuendo quips at other clubs and players. However, there were two things evidently deserving and clear today: Chelsea earned the points, and their fans chanting of "that's why we're champions."

Indubitably, that is why they are.



Blogger T said...

Redsman, I know that you and other Liverpool supporters have written on EFT for some time against Benitez's use of 4-5-1 system in the Premiership.

I agree with this: they simply are not going to score enough goals in the Premiership playing with Crouch up front on his own, and no out and out wingers supporting down the flanks.

This system also asks to much of Gerrard to make an attacking impact: yesterday I saw him on left wing, right wing, and up front. I remember Benitez saying at the start of last season that Gerrard would be more effective if he conserved his energy and found a regular position on the pitch to perform. What happened to this plan?!?

10/03/2005 1:16 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fourthly - where was Hypia? Probably sitting on his arse as he'd been taken off by then and Riise had been switched to playing centre half!

10/03/2005 1:26 pm

Anonymous Brush said...

A lot of sense has been written in this blog. I respect Rafa but his proven tactics at Valencia won't work with this bunch of players. I don't recall him making a bid for any LFC players whilst in Spain, as he realised that they were either unavailable, or as in the case of Traore, rubbish. Crouch has no pace or power and frightens no one. Good in the air and lays it off well, but of little use as a striker. There are so many average to poor players in the squad, that £15m will only begin to rebuild it.

10/03/2005 1:28 pm

Blogger sattapaal said...

i cant believe the pessimism in this thread. hold your heads up high, we did what we can. we just werent good enough.

rafa always reiterated his desire to get a RW and a CB. You cannot and will not stamp on our european champions dignity. we were broken yesterday. dont make it worse by making hasty comments. benitez will rise above us. we may not win the league this year, i didnt expect that. but i would be happy with a cemented 4th place come march.

tactics will come. but we need to stick together...dont hate on rafa.

10/03/2005 2:05 pm

Anonymous German Liverpudlian said...

If you play 442 against a team that plays 451 you are outnumbered in midfield and therefore you loose control of the game. You could see that when we played Birmingham away in the first half. We at 451 were on control all time and lost it when Cisse came on and changed to 442.

But you're right: 451 does not create enough without worldclass wingers. Chelsea's got them. We don't. That's all the difference in the attacking area.

At the back Hyypia has had a great season so far, but had a day off yesterday. What really concerns me is the lack of a class player on the LB position. Warnock is none not yet, you could see that in Birmingham as well. Traore had a couple of great games in the CL last season, but yes, he is error prone and things like yesterday will happen again and again. Let's go for Gallas and Evra.

And for wingers. And let's hope that Harry Kewell will come good again. We need him desperatly on the left wing as neither Riise nor Zenden can do the job for us there ...

We'll win it six times in Gay Paree ;)

10/03/2005 2:17 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

anon - my mistake, sorry. Riise was left-back in a 3-man defence.

Sattapaal, trust me, my comments are never hasty, maybe mispelt but never hasty. I couldn't be hasty yesterday, I had to take in what happened first and make sense of it, listen to the post-match comments, analysis and then put down my thoughts. I have always stated my backing of Rafa, and always will, and I did say that we are not out of the war. I would never hate on Rafa.

However, progress of an immense quality has to begin now. Six games in, as European Champions, as Liverpool FC, we should be within the top five, to be realistic. We scored well in pre-season, progressing in the CL but falter in the league. A change is required, and its something most fans have been, and still are, calling for. And without we were broken yesterday, due to our own lapses and hopefully will learn from it. I would gladly take 4th place this season, if need be.

German Liverpudlian, the 4-4-2 is an opportunity for Crouch to be the target man he was bought to be and feed another in Cisse. One formation means one less in midfield and it's a gamble worth taking to increase one more upfront. Crouch worked well in a 4-4-2 with Southampton alongside Phillips and Cisse is the most hungry of strikers at the club thus far. Morientes is back soon. I find it is the one alternative to the 4-5-1 because we had been defensive with it yet lacking in scoring, which is needed now.

One major concern I have is the question of Rafa and Cisse and a possible stand-off between the two. I find myself feeling empty writing it but rumours have been spoken and it adds fuel to the fire when Cisse scores yet remains a sub and then yesterday, while being our most potential scoring striker, comes on with 10mins left. I hope Cisse gets to start from now on.


10/03/2005 10:55 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Redsman, if the board followed the fans' team selections and new player wish lists there would be chaos. My maths is not up to working out the possible combinations of 11 from 34 or whatever our sqad size is now.Let the men paid for the job just get on with it and enjoy some of the improvements we can see in our team this season.To adapt a well known proverb - One loss does not relegation make.

10/04/2005 4:32 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Thanks, Anon, I have my differences with team selection or even the formation, and I would look to possibly change things if I were RB. At the end of the day he is in charge and that's fine with me. I have immense belief in Benitez, from when he took over and particularly leading up to Ataturk. I may have different views from his own regarding the players and managing them, but he is boss and I'm happy with that. Visit the official site and read how a number of 'fans' begin calling for his head! Unbelievable. The criticism when he bought Crouch, and I for one sensed the potential of signing the ex-Southampton man while there was scorn from elsewhere.

Consider if we were offered the Champions League, European Super Cup, one defeat and one win out of six in August 2004 and hardly any LFC fan would turn it down. I sense there will be improvement and we are riding a cagey storm at the moment. But he turned things around and some of the more fickle fans out there should stop and procrastinate on that. I just think we can at least try a change of formation with Cisse and another upfront to get into winning games. Cisse was missing chances before but I feel he is more determined to score. It may even work better with Morientes and Cisse, but it matters not as long as it means a regular intake of 3pts!


10/04/2005 5:26 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a lot to ponder as we go forward. We are in 13th with 7 points after 5 games but does anyone know how many points we had from the same fixtures last year?


Spurs (A) 1-1 One point
Man Utd (H)0-1 No points
Chelsea (H) 0-1 No points
Boro (A) 2-0 No points
Birmingham (A) 2-0 No points

Total : 1 Point


Spurs (A) 0-0 One point
Man Utd (H)0-0 One point
Chelsea (H) 1-4 No points
Boro (A) 0-0 One point
Birmingham (A) 2-2 One point

Total: 4 points

From these fixtures alone we are 3 points better off than we were last season and our standard of football has been infinitely better (with the exception of Sunday's second half). It's still not acceptable for this club to have such an average start but let's not lose the plot. Chelsea were the better side because they took their chances and punished us. We need to learn from them and be more clinical. We are not far off but we need to start winning and consistently to finish higher than 4th this time round.

10/04/2005 5:45 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The tactics are wrong and several players are not up to it. Benitez has bought badly and the forwards will not get the goals needed for a top six place let alone top four. The Houllier era has damaged the club far more than they realise. Benitez has got to ditch Crouch, Kewell Morientes, Traore, Pongolle and Finan to generate money to buy reconized goalscorers, wingers, and defenders who can play in the Premiership in a 4 4 2 system. I just cannot understand the tactics of defending with six players as he does at Anfield. Alonso must be pushed forward with the full backs to defend further up the pitch as Liverpool did in the 70's and 80's. It was negative under Houllier but this is worse. The CL win was a fantastic surprise but if the one up tactics are not ditched Liverpool will again be 30 points behind Chelsea. Are Joaquin or Sambrosa the answer, I think not but Kuyt and Cisse together with a decent winger and fast centre back could be.

10/04/2005 8:40 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's a bit unfair to lay the blame with Sami - he had an off day due to illness (he hadn't eaten for 2 days and came off as he felt ill).

I agree that all the goals were due to errors rather than Chelsea outplaying us - they will lose sooner or later and I will have a pint when they do.

I'm not sure about all the criticism of Rafa and the tactics. I think he is playing 4-5-1 at the moment to get the players used to the system (due to the away form last year!) and I have a feeling he will change it as the season moves on to 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1, but for away games we will still see the 4-5-1. Think of the Juventus games last year to see how shrewd Rafa can be.

People need to realise we are a team in progress of developing. It won't happen overnight, so take a seat and try and enjoy the ride instead of thinking you know how to do Rafa's job. There will be more exits and new faces to arrive over the next 12 months - so relax, and please stop complaining - we are only a few games into the season and in a good position in the Champs Lge and take to bed with you the positive fact we will not be losing as many away games as we did last year. At least the team this year (sunday excluded) appears to want to fight to the end!

10/04/2005 9:58 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Anon (5.45PM), agree with all said. Benitez is the man to build this club up again, and the process isn't always quick and certainly can be daunting. I can't add more to your words.

Anon (8.40PM) I'm slightly in agree in parts to your points. I agree with Traore and Finnan perhaps taking a step back and gaining better awareness. It bewilders me why Traore is playing. I appreciate some opinion saying he was good in the CL or further, but against Burnley, in the CL final when he fouled for the freekick leading to the first goal, and on Sunday, which was so unprofessional it embarassed me. Those are not the only episodes I remember about Traore. You can add Hyypia to those names.

I said to my EFT colleagues that the likes of Graeme Souness and Harry Kewell have this season as make-or-break. Souness may just have well gained a reprieve with a star signing and two wins since MO's arrival to lift them off 19th place, ironically above us (notice how lacklustre they were when Owen was missing). Kewell hasn't shone since his arrival and it's a contrasting performance that also bewilders me. I put it down to something outside of football, something personal and then we her he had legal exchanges that led to a libel case. Now that has settled, we await his fitness progress. I wonder if he still has those skills.

I agree with scrapping the lone striker, but at heart the manager has an idea on where to improve, I imagine it is now a matter of finding the player and agreeing a move. Benfica pulled up on Simao arriving but at least we are chasing. Names are thrown around in abandonment, but Rafa will know who to have. Crouch is good, he needs another with him. Once Liverpool gain that edge where they create and score two goals without reply, if we have two strikers, with Gerrard, Riise and Garcia at least attack-minded players, I sense it will come, I trust in the manager.

I'm not so ecstatic for the break, wanting to get on with the next league game to begin immediately rebuilding after Sunday, start into scoring again, winning again. The philosophy is we score, we increase our chances, and the players must know that. They must want to die to win!! There will be a change in tactics, and I hope in formation. But at the forefront, trust in Rafa.


10/04/2005 10:01 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe Cole is a disgrace the way he reacted to Stevie G's challenge - if you can call it that. He is a cheat! I remember him trying to get Sami sent off last year by pretending he was fouled. Drogba seems to go down like a hundredweight in a brick filled bag. I am waiting for the day they lose........remember Arsenal when they lost after a long unbeaten run?

10/04/2005 10:07 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Anon (10.07PM), if we or anyone were to draw a list of those in the Premiership who are generally considered to feign the impact of being tackled or simply feigned contact, at all or regularly, it would be an interesting one with plenty names. As for abroad, it's amazing the amount of times players fall over or rollover from tackles that some of the past players would laugh at. The main thing is to make good contact with the ball to leave no doubt.


10/05/2005 12:55 am

Anonymous GBH said...

I have never read such utter garbage in my life.

If the club listened to 'fans' like you we'd be relegated by the end of this season.

Traore made a mistake - big deal.
Hyppia is getting slow - Rafa knows this and is dealing with it.

Finnan isn't as good as we would like - Rafa knows this too.

The formation doesn't work - it will when Rafa has the right players on board. He has been here for only 14 months and has been working with limited funds.

It's a big boys game so get over losing and look forward to our next fixture.


10/06/2005 8:12 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

German Liverpudlian is right:
"If you play 4-4-2 against a team that plays 4-5-1 you are outnumbered in midfield and therefore you lose control of the game. You could see that when we played Birmingham away in the first half. We at 4-5-1 were in control all time and lost it when Cisse came on and changed to 4-4-2."

Chelski play a 4-5-1. If we'd played 4-4-2 we wud have been out-numbered in midfield and were more likely to lose especially with their faster wingers. They only won because of our mistakes, two mis-hits and a penalty. Only Duff's goal was well-worked. If we hadnt conceded a penalty we wouldnt have lost 4-1. It was only wen we were chasing the ga,e that they broke us down. That is more likely to happen against strong teams like chelsea if u play with a 4-4-2 against their 4-5-1.

It wasn't Rafa's formation that let us down. Just a few silly mistakes. (I heard Hyppia had been ill too). So i dont know y a lot of people r going on about using a 4-4-2 just for the sake of it. MOst of our games have been against difficult opposition so far this season, hence the 4-5-1. We have a few easier games coming up and i'm sure we'll see Rafa employ a 4-4-2 system.

Anon (5.45) has a good point too. We have 3 more points from the same fixtures than we did last season. And don't let the media fool u into thinking that its our worst start to the season for how-ever-many years. We still have 2 games in hand and will only be 11 points behind chelski wen we win those.

Our next Champions league games are both againsta Anderlecht (spelling correct?). If we win both we could already be in the next round by the time we play chelski again at Stamford Bridge. Hopefully Real Betis will have won both of their games by then! That would be something. To see chelsea go out in the group stages!

We need to stay positive and have faith in Rafa. Unlike Anon (8:40 PM) who blames everything on Houllier. If we don't back Rafa now the same thing could happen as with Houllier. He raised everyones expectations by winning the treble and then everyone got on his back once it started to go bad. Adding unnecessary pressure can affect a manager immensely as i'm sure happened with Houllier. ( I personally would like to thank Gerard Houllier for buying 11 of the players that won the champions leagur final!). We don't want the same thing to happen to Rafa. He's won us the Champions league. Now we have to be patient and let him do his work his way. I'm sure he'll win us the league in the next couple of years.

Trust in Rafa!

10/06/2005 9:57 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, the above should read( I personally would like to thank Gerard Houllier for buying "9 of the 11" players that started the champions league final!).

10/06/2005 10:06 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

GBH, we are on the same side so consider things in prospective. We've played 4-5-1 and had stood very defensive to the point of never conceding until we went to St Andrews. To have gone so far without conceding was great, yet at the same time it is counter-balanced with having successfully scored once until St Andrews. The good side was remaining successfully defensive and not conceding, the bad side was we were not scoring one more than the opposition to win. If within the 4-5-1 formation we, unlike Chelsea, cannot at least propel our midfielders to score around the lone striker, then perhaps a change is needed. Perhaps.

One comment said "enjoy the ride instead of thinking you know how to do Rafa's job", "....relax, and please stop complaining", and now you are saying I am talking utter garbage and the club would be relegated listening to me and/or those of equal opinion. How do you or anyone else know what should be done to change the team for the better, that what I am saying is garbage or would lead to relegation? My opinion is just that, my opinion. I don't profess to know how to do RB's job, and my opinion can be perceived as a complaint, if one wishes, but I am relaxed in RB being our manager, it is a lot more than a number of fans are thinking. Read above.

You say Traore made a mistake, big deal. It has been, on occasion, and a big deal too many. Hyypia has been exposed for his pace not from this season but from the past two seasons at least. You say RB is dealing with it, I said in my article I suspect he is looking for a replacement, not cover as some have stated in the papers. You say Finnan is not good enough and RB knows this, I said Finnan and Josemi are not, at the least currently, good enough.

Some say the formation does work only that the players need to perform better, others (like you and I) say it doesn't. Different opinions are welcomed, and it appears in some parts you and I are aware and think alike.

Big boys' game? that's the U14s'. This is LFC, Boys to Men. You say get over it, I had, and mentioned "I'm not so ecstatic for the break, wanting to get on with the next league game to begin immediately rebuilding after Sunday...". Meaning I am looking to the next game. Because I have a different opinion, possibly in contrast to RB's tactics, that doesn't mean I am not behind the man.

Anon (9.57PM), in reflection a 4-4-2 could struggle against a Chelsea 4-5-1 but my emphasis on 4-4-2 is to have two strikers. An amalgamation of the two formations throws a 3-5-2, which is what we reverted to in the Ataturk final from 4-4-2. This is yet another option we could look at.

As said above, my opinion is just that, but whether RB changes anything or nothing I care not if it leads to a great display by the team to quieten any critics and lifts the fans. I think everyone knows by now I am 100% behind the manager and I wholeheartedly agree that I don't want any fan getting on his back at all.

I always recall when Man Utd were threatening to sack Sir Alex within the 1989-90 season and that season Utd won the FA CUP (I think) and went on from there. I think Sir Alex had to do a little clearing out and bringing in, raise some discipline within the club and some guidelines. So anything is possible and with Rafael Benitez, he's proven he can get it right.


10/06/2005 1:50 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Traore made a mistake.. big deal???... HELL YEAH!!!..because it is his mistakes that have costs us games...and points.!!! and is a big deal!!!

Why?.. because...he doesnt cover his area... is slow... we have chelsea players lurking in his area waiting for the killer blow without him covering... he passes to either the wrong players or puts his own players in danger.. he panics when there is danger... he is well below Risse and Warnock and should NEVER have been allowed on the field... he doesnt use his height to our advantage... not for set pieces.. not for anything...and he has poor poor por judgement for tackles... so hell yeah... it is a big deal to have such a player on the field playing for us... everytimg the ball comes near him... who DOESNT feel a wince?

10/07/2005 1:29 pm

Blogger Berry said...

Last anon, I think you are being a little bit harsh on Traore. I agree with you last season he made more than his share of mistakes at the back, notably the OG against Burnley. Since then he has matured and has gained confidence (which is very important, especially Traore where he has own fans always having a go at him) with each game he has played.
In the Champ League against Chelsea, he had a good game. He was solid. He did what was asked of him, he made the right calls and did not let the side down. However, no one gave him the get the credit he deserved. In fact, I remember reading The Mirror and The BBC, who gave him a rating of 5 (other Liverpool players got 7 or above).
OK, he made a mistake on Sunday but they all do. Let’s hope he learns from it.

10/07/2005 4:23 pm

Blogger SKG said...

a few of the liverpool players have come and said the club needs to sign new players. i agree. i think liverpool were extremely unlucky in failing to sign the likes of simao, gonzales or figo. plus there was a shortage of decent central defenders available on the market. if you think we also nearly signed owen . . .

10/07/2005 5:20 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Anon (1.29PM), I sympathise with your frustration with Traore. On a positive side, he is 6ft plus, has a knowledge for skill, and get forward and cross or even score, that is not in doubt. But on the other side, he has shown ineptness that has made him something of a clown. He had improved, let's not forget that, since Burnley, made a number of interventions and blocks for us, his performances hasn't been entirely negative for us. But when he has been clumsy, it has shown us up. Had he tried to clear and hit Drogba and then hadn't tackled as he did, and Chelsea still scored, I wouldn't have had complaints. But his tackle was rash, it had no time for any thought whatsoever.

Traore isn't the blame for lacking within the squad but I would expect a little more composure for someone playing for Liverpool, as European Champions.

One of the reasons why I feel we will get stronger and better is our strength on the left side in particular. Riise and Warnock swap left-back, Zenden and Riise swap left-wing, or even Kewell and Zenden can swap left-wing. That is the kind of depth RB wants within the squad.

Reina is a good keeper who I want to improve on gathering crosses or punching out high balls, and Carson is a decent back up. Dudek is one I've called for to leave but I feel so much potential with the Pole I really want him to come back and show good form. Dudek had his hesitant moments in the final but was there for us throughout and I want him back sharper and more confident.

Needless to say I don't want Cisse to leave, Crouch and Morientes either so they remain our strikers, and add Luis Garcia to that too. SKG was right in that quality central defenders were in shortage on the transfer list, and Gonzales and Simao were snags that the team are looking to reconvene on in January.

I hope Crouch scores twice tomorrow, hope England win comfortably too.


10/07/2005 6:24 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't it funny the difference in a couple of months.

You moaning people should be ashamed of yourselves......getting rid of Rafa.....ludicrously stupid!!

Roll on the reds!

12/31/2005 7:09 pm


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