So it’s Everton in the FA Cup. The game, as I write, is to be played on Sunday 25th January eight days after we face them in the league and only two after Steven Gerrard meets those nice magistrates at Sefton. So no motivation need for this game I suspect.
Jamie Carragher thinks this year’s competition has added significance.
“It is 20 years since Hillsborough and I think that anniversary makes this season’s competition more important for us. It was a terrible time for the club, so I think it is important we try and do as well as we can. It is something we are all aware of. Going on to win it would be the perfect tribute to those who died.”
No one would dare dispute that but a league title would also be fitting? Although the disaster took place at an FA Cup match, I wonder if the majority of Liverpool fans would, if given the choice, prefer us to win the league? This would be just as fitting. One remembers how the pressure of fixture back log due to Hillsborough ultimately took its toll culminating in that game against Arsenal. However, it should not be forgotten how we rallied the season after and went on to win our last league title? What better tribute than to get back on top again but hell, why can’t we win both?
Another look through the transfer window and one has to ask what is it about Jermaine Pennant? I think he probably deserved more of a chance than Rafa was prepared to give him but I certainly don’t think he is in the class that attracts the type of offers that have been winging his way of late. No I’m not taking about Wigan, Stoke or Hull but Real Madrid and now AC Milan. The Italians are the latest club to offer Pennant a deal, a pre-contract which would see him join them this summer when he becomes a free agent.
I don’t know if this is in some way connected to Milan’s reported interest in Daniel Agger who has yet to agree a new contract with us. Milan’s defence is so old that they wear fur lined Predators with zips up the side! Nesta is 32 and Paulo Maldini is oh at least 108! I’d be sorry to see Agger go and I suspect he will be to especially given where we are now. Rafa has also made enough noise to suggest he wants him to stay and with 18 months left on Agger’s contract and Martin Srktel only just returning for injury, surely the AC wrinklies will continue to hold the Rossoneri back line, until the summer at least?
Of course much of this boils down to money and many are saying that this transfer window will be the last financial hurrah before most clubs tighten their belts. January was always going to big month for us regardless of whether Rafa splashed the cash. It was the month the Star Spangled Duo were due to repay or, as is more likely, refinance the £350m or so they borrowed this time last year. It now seems that the Sword of Damocles will be hanging over the fun duo’s heads for another six months as the lenders have deferred the deadline.
This is not necessarily good news. If the debt is renegotiated the interest payments, currently thought to be around £30m per year, will surely be higher as the banks, due the current economic climate, will play harder ball. Significantly the renegotiation will be in July when the transfer window is open and when any money from the Champions league run will have been received? Yesterdays Guardian also suggested the following
“Although both Hicks and Gillett regularly stress their continued commitment to Liverpool, one route out of repaying the debt has now closed. Takeover interest from Dubai has been withdrawn following the collapse in the world economy.”
Really? Dubai will no doubt see us as a long term investment and, due the very economic situation the Guardian refers to, might see this as an opportunity to get the club on cheaper terms? As for Statler and Waldorf’s “commitment” to the club as previously mentioned, this only seems to extend to taking out loans against it. Should the banks suddenly go all mean then presumably this “commitment” will be severely tested if they are forced to put their hands in their own pockets or sell players?
Meanwhile with the onset of Celebrity Big Brother the public could be forgiven for thinking that they are being exposed to higher levels of vacuous b*llsh*t than one would normally expect. However, the source is not just a load of sad wannabes sitting on sofas. Nope mad old Uncle Alex has been at the Christmas Sherry again and come out with his usual annual attempt to wind up the opposition. This time it’s our turn but what Mr Fergie doesn’t understand is that his increasingly weak and transparent attempts at one-upmanship just don’t wash. We are used to it now. For the record apparently we will, as the title race hots up, get nervous due to our inexperience.
“There’s no doubt that in the second half of the season they (Liverpool) will get nervous. With the experience we’ve got, having won a couple of titles in the past couple of years especially, it helps you. There’s no doubt about that.”
Perhaps Fergie had better take a closer look at the CV’s of our players and as for getting nervous well that’s perfectly natural and little like saying Michael Phelps will get a bit wet as he goes for gold in the Olympics! Wasn’t it Sir Alex, when referring to an important set of matches The Mancs were about to go through, who coined the phrase “squeaky bum time”?
Tomorrow Sir Alex reveals that in this cold whether we’ll be a little warmer if we put a sweater on!