Due to work and, an unusually hectic social life over the last week for someone as dull and boring as me, I didn’t manage to see the Gomel game until yesterday.
If this performance was an indication of the dishes that will be set before us this season then it’s going to be an unappetising one. Apart from Downing’s goal (I had to be lifted off the floor and given some smelling salts) we were blunt in attack (Borini’s first competitive debut was uneventful), made to work hard by a very ordinary side. We were lucky to come away with the win as they went close one an number of occasions including hitting the woodwork. It wasn’t the most fitting occasion for Jamie Carragher to mark his 700th appearance for the club, a magnificent achievement.
On a wider issue I guess some concerns will now be raised at the players on the pitch and how little things appear to have moved on over the summer? Too many plying their trade for us when many thought this pre season would be the opportunity to move some on and get fresh blood in? You know who the suspects are!
That said anyone who calls me a doom merchant would be totally correct, I am probably being unreasonable, it is hard to be patient. It is far too early to draw conclusions. The line up was by no means Brendon Rogers’ first choice pick and pre season rustiness surely means that at this stage the result, rather than the performance, was the main thing? Roger’s himself conceded this point
“First and foremost it was a win, and that was always going to be the most important thing for us in our first competitive game. We are nowhere near where I want us to be at the moment in relation to fluency and charisma within the team….. it was a relief to come through – we’re not always going to be fluent and charismatic.”
Perhaps it’s unfair to criticise Rogers’ for lack of activity in the transfer market just as it would be for the team’s performance on the pitch? It is evident that Rogers doesn’t have the money available to him that Kenny had last year suggesting that he has to sell to buy? Moreover perhaps our lack of activity is because Rogers’ wants to be fair and give everyone in the squad, regardless of past form, a chance to prove themselves under him?
All of this is understandable and it also needs to be reviewed in context. This summer has been a relatively quiet one throughout football presumably because, unless you are one of the fortunate few, the money isn’t there and the UEFA Fair Play rules are looming. Nonetheless can we afford such inertia, with Maxi, Dirk Kuyt and Alberto Aquilani gone and Craig Bellamy and Andy Carroll possibly edging towards the exit door? Surely, with the season only two or so weeks away, we should be lining up more replacements unless we are going into this campaign as “Liverpool Lite”.
Aquilani’s departure to Fiorentina brings to an end an unholy mess of a saga. I don’t know why he was such a “do not touch issue” with our managers particularly after we had spent so much on him and then so much time getting him right when he was injured. Aquilani’s assertion a few weeks ago that he felt he could still do a job for us was clearly the last calls (desperate ones?) of a drowning man and now, after all the dilliyng and dallying, he is gone. It seems that post Rafa Liverpool did not, for whatever reason(s) take to Aquilani, or was it the other way round, either way we have finally “fessed up” to a festering situation and taken the hit. A pity.
Elsewhere and the strange case of Andy Carroll rumbles on. I still find it strange that we are willing to off load him when there are others who would surely be candidates to go through the trap door before Carroll? The fact he did not travel to Belarus because he had a groin strain doesn’t really convince and suggests that, despite West Ham apparently conceding defeat over a loan deal, we are still keeping our options open re him leaving even though he would be able to play for us in the qualifying round and another club in the group stages. If someone like Newcastle doesn’t come in for him what effect will this have on Carroll? Will he be disconcerted that Rogers’ apparently was prepared to offload him or will he attempt to build on his encouraging end of season form and prove him wrong, that of course is provided he is given the chance to do so?
Finally my heart skipped a beat when I saw the headline “Rogers says it’s time for Suarez to move on” What, first Andy Carroll and now Suarez! However this was referring to the Suarez Evra affair which Rogers feels our man should forget about. This is all very well however, when you are playing football, as Suarez was for Uruguay in the Olympics last week, it must be pretty hard to do so when the crowd are booing your every move, Perhaps it is also time for them to move on?