I suspect plenty of Liverpool fans, and not for the first time, went against the national grain when watching last night’s game by showing more interest in the opposition than England? Torres, Alonso, Arbeloa and even Reina all featured for Spain in what was, despite ITV’s and the increasingly irritating Peter Drury’s protestations, a predictably tepid friendly.
Presumably the most avid spectator was Rafa who was doubtlessly praying that everyone came through unscathed? It’s catching, every time Torres did something and didn’t get up straight away I panicked, like an over protective mother watching her son play and hoping no one would hurt her “little boy”. I need to loosen up or I’m going to be a gibbering wreck by the end of the season! Thankfully all seemed to come through OK. Torres will presumably be better for the run out and our exit from the cup has a silver lining as there’s no match this weekend giving all the travellers ample time to recover before Manchester City on the 22nd .
Normally an international week means that there isn’t much going on a club level. However, that’s not been the case this time. Thankfully the club in question is not Liverpool but some 260 or so miles south of L4. The sacking of Luiz Felipe Scolari as Chelsea manager is indicative of the knee jerk reaction towards lack of success amongst clubs these days. What ever happened to patience? Clearly there seems to be more to it than just Chelsea’s form? Although it’s been indifferent and uninspiring of late they are, as I write, fourth in the league, still in the FA Cup and the final sixteen of the Champions League, a situation akin to ours a year ago? I don’t know if it’s the fans, or the board, or the owner at Chelsea but all I can say is that thankfully Liverpool has a reputation for being more tolerant with their managers. Rafa has been through worse troughs of form with us than Scholari has at Stamford Bridge. Over the years we have given all our managers fair crack of whip and a sensible, realistic amount of time to get things sorted on, and off the pitch?
Which brings me too Rafa. The fall out from Portsmouth was not that great. Probably because we won! Had we lost no doubt there would have been greater repercussions? Understandably Rafa defended his team selection.
“We saw the quality in the squad. We could have lost but deserved to win.”
There is no arguing with that. My beef is that he should field his strongest line up first and withdrew players if we are winning. The main reason is that it worries me no, scares the **** of me when he brings in the reserves from the start and keeps the big guns on the bench. On Saturday he came through but cut it fine and even though it was exciting and tense to watch my main memory, rightly or wrongly, will be just anxiety at him delaying and delaying the introduction of the big guns!!
Paradoxically the encouraging thing was that the new line up looked good and we played well. Sadly it was just the end product that was lacking. Perhaps that is why it’s been rumoured that Andri Voronin could be recalled from loan at Hertha Berlin to give us more striking options. Said Voronin.
“I know my agent has talked with Liverpool…. I still have a ¬contract there. And now Keane has been sold. Before he came last summer I was playing regularly under Benítez. With Keane gone, Liverpool don’t have many strikers again.”
Leaving aside Voronin’s loose interpretation of the phrase “regularly” one wonders if his return would be interpreted as an admission that we were wrong to offloadKeane or simply exercising an option that was discussed when they were deciding to do the deal? Voronin is no Robbie Keane but, with a busy fixture list approaching, his return, seems to make sense.
Finally my son is collecting “Match Attax” player cards. For those of you who don’t know what I’m on about these are the current day equivalent of Panini stickers – you collect cards of football players and stick in an album or swap with your mates. Matey boy’s got the album and because I’ve bought him up correctly (so far), he wants as many Liverpool players as he can get. Sadly as the collection covers the season, it takes no account of transfers. I got in from work the other day to be greeted by my joyous son who enthusiastically told me had swapped his “spares” for two new Liverpool players…. the “Reds” in question? Jermaine Pennant and Robbie Keane. I didn’t have the heart to tell him!