Another quiet week on the football front for Liverpool which is just as well for this blogger given the severe bout of “man flu” I’ve more or less shaken off! The England internationals were largely uneventful and the major plus for me was not their over hyped win against Spain or anything else but the fact that everyone came back to Melwood with no injury worries.
Elsewhere, and given the amount of chances he been creating for us over the last few games or so, it was only a matter of time before Luis Suarez hit the jackpot. Sadly it might have been for his national team rather than us with our man netting four times against Chile in Uruguay’s World Cup qualifier. However, this seems to have been forgotten as the issue of racism rears its head again.
On the same day that it was announced that the FA was charging Suarez for racially abusing Patrice Evra, FIFA President Sep Blatter also gave us his thoughtful, incisive opinion on how to deal with racism in football. You should know the details by now unless you’ve living on a remote desert island suffice to say if only every problem in life were resolved by a handshake!
The criticisms of Blatter are valid and the papers have been full of them over the last few days. To me Blatter is the Silvio Berlusconi of football, a loose cannon with a less than firm grip on reality. Discretion and tact are not part of their armouries and one gets the feeling that they are in their respective posts for reasons (narcissistic or financial) other than those set out in the job descriptions. This is reflected in their quotes which strike no cord with what one would expect for a person in their post.
Blatter also reminds my Tom Hicks in the sense that the engagement of brain lags a long way behind the operation of mouth Do this too often and inevitably you end up putting your foot in it. Perhaps this is an age thing, Blatter is in his seventies, but to say that would as short sighted as some of his comments? His remarks don’t surprise me he has a track record of verbal gaffs the real surprise is that he was still in office when he made these latest ones.
The Luis Suarez issue worries and confuses me. If the FA have charged him does this mean they believe he has a case to answer to or do they do this every time someone, such as Evra, points the finger? Kenny’s abruptness and refusal to be drawn on the issue the other day perhaps suggests things are more serious now or perhaps he is just keeping to the line club has taken since the complaint was filed and getting bored with having to say the same thing over and over again?
Given this stance Fergie’s comments about us “drip feeding” information over the enquiry also puzzles me. What has been drip fed? If he means people such as Gus Poyet coming out in support of Suarez then surely Liverpool have no control over that just as we would have no control over someone coming out in support of Evra (has anyone done this?). If this is a wind up then Fergie needs to step back, it is not the time for such childish one-upmanship games, this is a serious issue.
So in an ironic twist of fate we have Suarez and John Terry lining up to face each other at Stamford Bridge today. They say you should never look back however, going into this game I keep thinking about the opportunities we lost in the Norwich and Swansea games. Most would argue that Chelsea present a sterner test so victories against the two promoted clubs would have softened the blow of losing points today and would have the media talking in more positive terms about the team in the lead up to it. As it is we now have hints about chinks in Kenny’s armour and the “idol” having “feet of clay”. I think it will take a lot more than a few draws in a game of football before we start talking in those terms about Kenny. Someone even suggested that the difference between where we are now and were we were a year ago with Roy Hodgson is, as near as dam it, none existent. Such comments just make you shake your head and sigh! Compare and contrast this view with Jose Reina’s
“A great hunger and determination has always been present at this club but maybe in the past the quality and strength you need was not always there. Now with the new owners we have some stability back and you can sense the positivity returning. Liverpool should be aiming for more than just a top-six finish…”
In the same paper there was a table listing the teams who had produced the most shots this season. We are second behind Manchester City and I think that is one of our key issues. It answers those who think we haven’t moved on since HRH, compare and contrast the style of play, however we need to take it on to the next level and start making those shots count. Today would be an ideal occasion to do so this althuogh, I’ll gladly take a repeat of last season’s 1-0 win (for match report click here).
Arguably Chelsea are no further forward from the side we faced then and have since changed managers which, as we know, brings its own bedding in period. Inevitably there will also be those who rake up the Torres issue however, the only reason they are doing this is because of the striker’s dire form since he left us so sorry, Chelsea’s problem not ours!
Prediction? I’m not as confident as I was before the Norwich game however, the fact remains that although the points don’t show it, we are creating plenty of chances and surely this will paid dividends at some stage if we keep at it? Chelsea will have to be well organised to stop us testing Cech in their goal and lesser sides than us have had goal scoring joy at the Bridge so I take us to share the spoils in an entertaining 2-2 draw.