Roy Hodgson’s decision to give Albert Riera another chance to prove himself with Liverpool will stick in the throat for many red’s fans.
Those with elephant memories will remember the wingers childish, unprofessional temper tantrum a few months back when he moaned that he had been let down by Rafa because, although he had been playing averagely, he wouldn’t pick him for the team. In a deep, misguided case of “me, me me” he also accused the board of not supporting him over this issue as if they, with Riera being one the clubs “crown jewels”, should drop more pressing concerns such as trying to sort out the future of the club and simultaneously spring to his defense by wagging their collective fingers at Rafa! Riera then made to my mind the most decisive and unforgivable comment which was to describe Liverpool as a “sinking ship” Said poor Albert…
“I want to leave. English clubs are run differently that Spanish clubs. In England you have a manager at the club, and the board of the club has done nothing for me. The club has not put up any fight for me. I do not want to quarrel with somebody, but if a club doesn’t fight for you, that means that they don’t want you.”
Rafa reacted swiftly and correctly by fining Riera and then trying to ship him off to Spartak Moscow. This fell through leaving Riera to twiddle his thumbs and wait for the transfer window to open. There seemed no way back for him until Rafa left, after plenty of time to reflect, then he took his chance.
“This was a difficult year for me and for Liverpool, sincerely, if I can, I would like to remain at Liverpool because this club is a top one.”
Lets just rewind in May we were a “sinking ship” but now we are a “top” club. What’s changed? May be it’s been the distraction of the World Cup and perhaps, unbeknown to everyone except Albert, we’ve signed Messi, Villa and Ozil! Or could it be because Rafa’s gone and no one has come in for Riera so he thinks he’ll back track. Only a fool would believe his turnaround is because of some footballing revelation on the road to Damascus concerning Liverpool. It is purely personal and motivated by selfish reasons and not by regret for his actions. Riera is extremely lucky that Roy Hodgson is prepared to give him a second chance.
“Whenever a new manager comes in, players who have been on the periphery start to see it and maybe think ‘this may be my chance, I’ll have a go’. You’d be foolish as a manager not to give them that chance.”
Fair enough and my head says that this is the right and sensible thing to. Hodgson has no issue with Riera, it was Rafa who was object of the Spaniard’s frustration. However in view of his comments about the club, my heart says otherwise and I cannot believe I am the only one who feels this way? Riera will have to begin the new season with a bang to up his stock. His foolishness means he has a lot of work to do and a lot of hearts, and minds, to win over?
Meanwhile back in South Africa whilst the likes of Messi and Kaka have packed their bags our Dirk still remains. If ever there was a game of two halves it was the Brazil v Holland game? I thought Mascherano played really well for Argentina however his team is a flimsy, fragile unit and German efficiency was bound to find the weakness and exploit them, which they did with a ruthlessness the English experienced in the previous round. Torres’ World Cup is still smoldering but still showing no signs of bursting into flame, another substitution against Paraguay and another tired performance. Will he start on Wednesday?
Before that Dirk lines up Holland against Uruguay. For South America the quarter finals were a disaster for three of the four teams going out. Only Forlan and co remain but I wouldn’t bet on them being there for much longer? The second tie is more intriguing. Germany roll on and entertainingly so. Spain have stuttered and of course Villa’s eye for goal remains key? A repeat of the 1974 final or, refreshingly, a final that guarantees that the cup will lifted by a new country and, who knows, may be we’ll see Fernando wake up in the most timely fashion?