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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Reed's tough task against momentum-building Liverpool

Intriguing match of the day is languishing Charlton at home to momentum-building Liverpool.

The after-effects of Alan Curbishley's summer departure was always going to be tricky for Charlton, but this was badly compounded in my opinion by the decision to sack Iain Dowie after only a few months in the job. Dowie strikes me as a thoughtful and passionate coach and I still don’t understand why the Charlton board decided to cause further upheaval and dismiss him with such haste.

The new coach, Les Reed, was promoted from within Dowie's newly recruited coaching staff and with five games played his record is three away defeats (including a 5-1 mauling at Spurs last weekend), one home draw and a last minute home win to Blackburn. His side is still in rooted in the bottom three and need to build some sort of momentum soon if they are not going to keep plumbing the Premiership depths. A home win against a Liverpool side that for most of the season has had a poor away record will be an excellent way to signal an intent to retain their Premiership status. It will be a great test of Les Reed's credentials as a Premiership manager.

For Liverpool, I remember that it was this time last year that they strung win after win together to drive themselves up the table, and there are signs from there impressive last two matches which saw 4-0 wins at Wigan and at home to Fulham that they are looking good to again excel during the early winter period. Steven Gerrard, significantly, looks to be getting more in the action and with comments I saw yesterday that he harbours a resentment against Les Reed during the days when the Charlton manager was part of Kevin Keegan's England coaching staff, I expect that the dynamic version of Gerrard will again be on show today.

It is also significant that Liverpool have kept five Premiership clean sheets in a row - this defensive solidity is the trademark of Benitez teams and he will be delighted that it has be re-found. This coincides with the inclusion of young Daniel Agger who looks to have now cemented a first-team place at the exclusion of the ageing Sami Hyppia.

So Liverpool will be travelling to the Valley with confidence that they are building a good momentum. On the other hand Charlton are dependant on home games to get them up the table and I am really interested in seeing Les Reed's coaching and motivational prowess in what is easily the biggest game of his managing career. Coming off the back of the embarrassment at Spurs they could do with the type of result that reassures them of their Premiership worth.


Blogger RedsMan said...

I looked on Les Reed's comments pre-match that Liverpool need to win every game to hold contention for the title, including today's. The title and Liverpool had long been discredited so for more of it to surface puzzles me. However those words seem like a prelude to mind games, with Benitez stating Charlton will be dangerous because they are scraping for survival.

The Valley hasn't been a good ground for us on the whole and Benitez also said when a team is 3-0 up then you may consider a game is easy. Today was not easy after Alonso scored the spot-kick, because we missed chance after chance after chance and Charlton came close to adding to the scoresheet on a few occasions.

No doubt Mr Reed is in a precarious situation. Following from Dowie's departure, it is the same question asked of Eggert Magnusson's decision on Alan Pardew. Do you stick and hope for the best or do you twist and depart with the manager for fresher fields to liven your game? A number of chairmen may well prefer the latter, but those very same fields may bring no change of crop.

Should Dowie have gone? Shold Pardew have gone? It's a grey area. They stay, the team could relegate or survive, it's a gambling answer and chairmen take the chances. I wonder if chairman and manager actualy talk together to analyse the problem and vow to work together rather than the manager on his own.

For Charlton, confidence is one thing, it's been shot to high heaven. Why is another dilemna, where has this poor form come from? When Darren Bent was scoring for fun last season, what has happened between then and now? Does Reed concentrate mostly on defence, change the formation to 5-4-1, 5-3-2, or 4-1-4-1, or simply is Charlton just destined for the drop, regardless what they do?

12/16/2006 11:31 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good stuff t.

Charlton didn't look too organised today redders and I suspect confidence is in short supply at the minute. Benitez reckoned his team could have scored 7 but then Liverpool are no Tottenham Hotspur. Charlton look to me like dead certs to go down.

West Ham on the other hand......

12/16/2006 11:52 pm

Blogger T said...

Thanks Redsman and EL.

Charlton were woeful yesterday- you are right Reds to say their confidence looks shattered and looking at Reed on the touchline and hearing his post-match comments my main impressions are that he is a character that will struggle to inspire.

If the Charlton board were not content to wait for Dowie to bed in surely by the same principle they should already now be seriously considering the position of Reed??

12/17/2006 10:20 am

Blogger Skippy said...

Charlton were atrocious. Liverpool played very well.

I think they got rid of Dowie to quickly, this new guy doesn't even look like a manger to me.

12/18/2006 4:19 pm

Blogger Abdul said...

It has been clear for a little while now that Les Reed is not the guy who will turn Charlton's fortunes around. What puzzles me is why Richard Murray the Charlton Chairman has not seen this. Murray has just given Reed a three year contract!

12/18/2006 5:48 pm

Blogger T said...

3 years... ouch!!

12/18/2006 7:40 pm


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