There seems to be a rather unusual trend in today’s game that was exemplified by Rafa’s post match interview on Sunday. It now seems, as part of the reasons for your team’s failure to win games, you can blame the opposition or more specifically, the way they play!
Take Sunday. Rafa complained about the fact that Everton came to defend even though he had employed these tactics himself in the past
“It is hard against a team with 10 players. We know some teams will do the same thing and defend. We just have to learn to upset them and to attack….I have never played like that here, and never did this while I was at Valencia, maybe at Extremadura a few times”
As far as I can see there is nothing in the rules of the game to prevent Everton from playing the way they did. For Liverpool fans it wasn’t pretty and was, at times, downright frustrating. However, when push comes to shove, or attack comes to defend, the onus was on us to break Everton down and score enough goals to win the game. We didn’t!
I suppose there are grounds for us showing some sympathy to David Moles men as all too often this season we have been accused of using an unadventurous, overly pragmatic style? I guess the only “consolation” will be that Everton, with the likes of Arteta and Fellaini back, might be more expansive in the replay which, if Rafa’s complaints are legitimate, will presumably play right into our hands!
Finally, on the subject of the FA Cup did anyone notice the draw yesterday? Why were we (and Everton) number one and not Arsenal? Why were Chelsea number nine and not, as the alphabet would dictate, a lower number? What is the logic behind it? Do you care?
Meanwhile, although our games against Everton have a consistent outcome, reports about takeovers, or lack of them, are anything but. It seems that talks with the Kharafi’s of Kuwait have broken down. Despite reports in the papers it seems that they were not about a take over but simply the Kuwaiti’s buying into Liverpool alongside Hicks, possibly at the expense of George Gillett’s stake. I cannot see the Kuwaitis for one minute agreeing to this, surely it would be an “all or nothing” deal?
So that leaves Hicks high and dry, for now anyway. He appears unwilling to take his wonderful ways home together with a nice profit. One wonders if he is holding out for more, trying to call the Kharafi’s bluff? If he is then surely he is playing a dangerous game, a game financial “chicken”. Although Hicks might feel he can hold out for a little longer there will surely come a time, as he gets nearer the date were he has to refinance the £350m loan taken out on the club, when his options narrow and his chances of “jumping out of the car” and walking away with a bigger profit have gone? With this in mind perhaps the Kuwaitis themselves are playing a waiting game? Perhaps it is they who are waiting for Hicks to buckle as refinance day gets nearer, for him to cave in for a lower price?
Of course all of this is probably speculative nonsense. Even though he has employed Merrill Lynch to sound out potential investors, Hicks is just as likely to feel he can stubbornly ride out the storm and come through the other side to reap even juicier financial rewards? We shall see but you can be pretty sure of one thing, the welfare of the club, the team and its supporters will not be at the top of the agenda. When has this ever been the case over the last two years?