Bagging Rafa and Baggies Banter

Sometimes one wonders who is controlling who at Liverpool. In light of more than press reports about Rafa not getting his contract sorted out and speculation that this could not only impact on his future but those of certain squad members, football’s poorest billionaires have suddenly announced that contract talks are about to begin. A reaction to this or plans bought forward? Said Rafa…

“I received a phone call from Tom Hicks on behalf of George Gillett also. They are talking about a meeting with my advisors and a contract extension. This is very positive news. The team is in a very good position, so if I do not have to talk about my contract from now on it will be perfect.”

The good thing about this, or reading between the lines at least, is that it seems Rafa actually wants to stay. He is a key figure because he is …well Rafa but it also runs deeper than that. If he were to leave then it wouldn’t surprise me if a fair few of the foreign players would follow. One also cannot rule out the likes of Steven Gerrard thinking along the lines of “well, Rafa’s gone. This is a watershed maybe now is the time for me to move on and try something new as well” However, it’s great he wants to stay and I suspect he feels his work at Anfield isn’t done yet.

Elsewhere it seems to be a time for frank confessions.

Firstly Martin Hansson, the referee from Tuesday’s game against Atletico Madrid, has stated that he was “not sure” about the penalty decision which enabled us to secure a last gasp draw.

“From my angle I am not sure that it was a penalty”

So, that’s the penalty but what about the rest of his second half decisions? Speaking in Swedish TV he also described the atmosphere at Anfield as “dizzying” before saying

“I am not authorised by UEFA to talk about my decision.”

May be he is still dizzy as he just has!

Next Andrea Dossena has been speaking about how it’s gone so far since his move this summer.

“There are new demands on me. At Udinese my place in the team was more secure than it ever will be at Liverpool, where there is so much ability in the squad. I must now get to a high level and maintain that, but first I have to battle to win selection. I am learning all the time. I knew that coming to Liverpool and a new league would improve me as a player. “

The Guardian interprets this as the Italian

“facing a battle to save his Liverpool career”

A tad premature me thinks, give the man a chance! One has to admire Dossena’s honesty and recognition that there is still work to do. Nonetheless I think Rafa seems to have something of a blind spot regarding full backs. I’m still not sure given their replacements, that it was wise to let Finnan and Riise go. Incidentally it must have been sweet for the Norwegian on Tuesday night to play a part in Roma’s victory over Chelsea after his own goal in last year’s Champions League semi?

So West Brom today. This match heralds a string of games that, if we have pretentions’ to improve this season, should be winnable. After today it’s Bolton, Fulham and West Ham. All very winnerable and an ideal opportunity to consolidate our position. It would be a shame if we weren’t to take something very, very close to maximum points from these games?

Team wise the question on everyone’s lips is will Torres play? Once again it wouldn’t surprise me if Rafa plays it sensibly and waits to see how we are doing before introducing him from the bench. Of the three promoted clubs West Brom are seen as the team that tries to play football. Will this play into our hands rather than us having to cope with the sort of siege situation we encountered with Stoke?

Prediction? The most important thing after Saturday and Tuesday is to bounce back with three points. However, with United facing a tricky tie at The Emirates (even allowing for all the upheaval there) and Chelsea away at Blackburn after an arduous trip to Rome we can could achieve more. About all let’s hope the players get back into the winning habit. I take us to do just that with a score of 2-0.

Enjoy the game.

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