Most of the press seemed to be under whelmed by Saturday’s performance and some even treated it as an afterthought preferring to pick over Paul Ince’s increasingly doubtful future instead. And why not, it’s much more interesting for them if they smell bad news?
When they finally got round to talking about us they were, on the whole, right in their assertions that it was a struggle at times but conveniently forgot to mention that it all came right in the end. Only The Guardian, and this was before the game, touched on the fact that we are not the only ones out of the so called top four to have gone through a difficult phase this season. Chelsea, after a good start, and the Mancs, every so often, have also suffered whilst Arsenal haven’t even started yet! A sign of declining standards amongst the top four? Perhaps the other teams are beginning to catch up or just one of those things? Will any Reds really give a sh*t as long as we remain top!
The back pages of some of the Sunday red tops this week were predictable, fanciful and insulting to the average footballing fan’s intelligence. Robbie Keane to go to back to Spurs for £5m? Rafa being greedy over his contract demands. One can almost read the thoughts behind the article, the rusty old wheels of predictability grinding out more variations on a theme. “Now lets see Rafa’s dropped Keane so lets put two and two together and make eight. He joined Liverpool for £20m so how much do you think we should say he might move for? £15m? No let’s really stir it up and say £10m. What, £5m? You devil! Any news on Rafa’s contract yet? Ok let’s use the Agger idea and say he’s making huge demands that should be enough then next week we can say he’s fallen out with the Americans again! Any of their companies gone to the wall yet? No? Ok let’s say Hicks has been dating Sarah Palin and that Gillett’s going to be Santa at John Lewis!”
Meanwhile, there’s a football match on today. Will Rafa see tonight’s match against PSV as a dead rubber or important as first place in the group means we would play the second leg of the knock out stages at Anfield? Early indications are that this match doesn’t have top priority. Dirk Kuyt doesn’t travel to his home country while Martin Kelly, Stephen Darby and Jay Spearing are in the squad which will give them valuable experience.
No doubt there will be speculation over Robbie Keane. Will he be restored to the starting eleven? I suspect so, especially as Kuyt’s back in England. Rafa was also quick to bat down the sort of daft rumours mentioned at the top of this article.
“Robbie’s future is to be ready, to score goals and to work for the team you cannot guarantee anyone’s position…. he has to know he needs to fight and work hard. But he has a future here, why not? I have a lot of patience, with everybody. He will be here after the January window, it is not my idea to sell him.”
Prediction? PSV might be up for this one as they need a win to secure a UEFA Cup place. However, if you think I’m going to predict a defeat for us, against a side we’ve beaten four times in our last five matches then you probably thought Everton had rescued a draw on Sunday! 2-1 to us and Robbie Keane to score!
Enjoy the game.