As a Match of the Day pundit Mark Lawrenson has never been one to hold back.
I’m sure he and Alan Hansen will say they give out as much praise as they do criticism however, they are probably best remembered for pulling to teams to pieces, particularly if it involves poor defending? It is a generally held belief that it is easier to criticise than it is to praise and they do this well, and often.
So, I suspect quite a few defenders up and down the country who have been on the sharp end of Lawrensen’s bouts of “praise” are allowing themselves a satisfied smirk at his hasty climb down over the comments he made about Robbie Keane.
For the record Lawrenson, speaking on Irish Radio, said the following
“I hate to name drop, but I was having a drink with Gerrard on Saturday and we talked about Keane. They share the same agent and quite honestly he thinks something is going to happen with Keane in January. Sounds like he could be moved on.”
Even allowing for the improbability of this actually happening, this does not reflect well on Lawrenson. His comments displayed a lack of judgement and timing that thankfully was seldom seen in his defending when he was a red. He decided to relate on air what was presumably a private, off the record, conversation. If you “hate to name drop” Mark, why do it?
Indeed one has to ask did Lawrenson really believe such remarks would go unreported? Moreover I can’t believe he would want this to upset the applecart at his old club. To use one of his his Match of the Day phrases “what was he thinking?” Ultimately he doesn’t matter but what effect has this had on Gerrard’s relationship with Keane? Thanks to Lawrenson’s tactlessness Gerrard’s camp was forced to issue the following statement.
“Mark Lawrenson’s remarks are his interpretation of a private chat between the two of them. They do not accurately reflect Steven’s opinion of Robbie Keane and they certainly do not tally with Steven’s recollection of the conversation itself,”
Looks like Lawrenson owes Gerarrd a drink or two that is assuming that when it is bought he doesn’t find it poured over his head by our captain!
Even putting this unnecessary little episode aside, one cannot escape the fact that recently attention on Keane’s supposed plight has grown. However, one has to ask has Keane’s tenure at L4 been so disastrous or irretrievable that Rafa would seriously consider offloading him after only fifteen league appearances? Presumably such a climb down would also be costly? It is unlikely we would retrieve the £20m we paid for him (although as we still owe Spurs £10m perhaps we could do a deal there?) and what message would this send out to potential signings about Rafa’s patience and judgement?
Nan Sayers would say that Keane has only scored four times, two in the league, against a charitable West Brom, and two in Europe. However, is that all we should judge him on? Moreover has he had every chance to prove himself?
Ever since he joined I’ve had doubts about our use of Keane. I’m not sure Rafa plays him in the right position, so far he’s been a loan striker, on the wing but he is most effective ferreting around in “the hole” as seen in his excellent performance against PSV. Rafa seems to like players who are versatile, Gerarrd, in the middle, on the wing or upfront, Kuyt, in the middle or on the wing, One of the reasons he courted Gareth Barry was because of his ability to play anywhere in the back four as well as midfield. Keane doesn’t seem to fall into that category but Rafa still seems intent on trying to bang a square peg into a round hole?
Perhaps when Torres returns things will settle for Keane? You can clearly see he is desperate to do well and be successful for the club he supported as a boy. He has always played with pride, passion and commitment, just the sort of thing we want. He clearly thrives on a run in the side yet Rafa constantly pricks his balloon by hooking him off in nearly every game, far too early and far too often or, worse still, benching him? Keane has got goals wherever he has gone and is the all time top scorer for his country. He hasn’t suddenly become a bad player so let’s hope we show more patience and don’t, as some reports suggest, do anything rash this January?
Meanwhile it’s to Nyon for the Champions League draw where we will play one of Real Madrid, Sporting Lisbon, Lyon, Villarreal and Inter Milan. This has prompted to following comment…
“There’s certainly no fear as far as we are concerned. You know when you get to the knockout stages of a competition, like the Champions League, that you are going to come up against a quality side. That’s just the way it is. But we won’t be worrying about who we get. We have come through as group winners so maybe that means the other teams in the draw would prefer to avoid us.”
And who made the quote? None other than Robbie Keane! Hardly the words of a man not looking forward to his immediate future with Liverpool Football Club?