I guess it’s very easy to get carried away after Saturday’s win against Norwich. The manner of it and the margin certainly helped prompt this reaction.
I sensed a new optimism during the game that boded well, the players looked relaxed and exuded a confidence which all too often has been eclipsed by nerves at home. Too premature to say we are on the way back? Certainly however, it doesn’t stop people like Patrick Barclay of The London Evening Standard writing this
“What’s bad news for Arsenal is often good news for Tottenham — as yesterday. Any bad news for Chelsea would be good for both north London rivals in the Champions League context. But what’s happening at Liverpool is bad news for them all. Not to mention West Ham or any other club with a long-term ambition to compete at Europe’s highest level.
For Liverpool are on their way back to the theatres of football to which they became accustomed between 1964, when Bill Shankly won his first English title, and 1990, when Kenny Dalglish won his last with the club.”
It’s backhanded tribute to Norwich that a win over someone like them should lead people like Barclay to write in this way. However, a sense of perspective needs to be maintained even if it does come across as being a tad miserable and negative, Norwich are fine but they are not Barcelona! For me the real test did not come against Norwich however if we must look at things in the short term, then surely we should be casting an eye over our next two league games, when we visit the Emirates and the Eithad Stadium to play Arsenal and Manchester City. Surely these two encounters will be the proper litmus test to our progress? So far we haven’t beaten any side above us in the table if we are to show the signs of the improvement that people like Barclay are suggesting might happen then we need to start taking something for these sort of games?
I guess it is timely that we should playing Arsenal and Manchester City because, arguably, we are in the strongest position we’ve been all season. One only has to look at the improved form of players such as Gerrard, Downing and Henderson plus the increased options of a duel striker partnership to see that? Wins like Saturday’s can only serve to increase confidence and spur everyone onto better things?
Meanwhile let’s have a much needed bit culture courtesy of Philip Larkin
“They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do……”
I’m sure Jose Reina’s mother is really nice however, I wonder if he’s slightly narked with the behaviour of his dad who seems to have loftier ambitions for his son than just plying his trade with us. Speaking on Spanish TV he said
“Pepe has sufficiently shown his standing as a goalkeeper and I would even say I think he would be the ideal goalkeeper for Barcelona without a doubt… I’m absolutely convinced that Pepe would be more than happy to return to Barcelona.”
So is Reina Senior being an “embarrassing parent” (he and I would have something in common according to my 11 year old) wanting his son to follow in his footsteps at the Nou Camp or is there something slightly more sinister afoot? Could it be that son is using farther to engineer a move away for us? The rumours about Jose moving on have been steady over the last year or so. I guess it’s been a combination our fall from loftier heights, Reina’s ambitions, coupled with his indifferent form over the last year or so. Form has improved recently for Jose however, sometimes things just naturally come to an end and, despite many years of superb service for us, perhaps he feels it’s time to move on just to keep things fresh if nothing else? If this is the case then two questions naturally spring to mind.
Firstly is Reina good enough for Barcelona? I’m not so sure at present but on the Liverpool form he has shown for us in the past then yes. He was easily the best keeper in the Premier League and would have walked into any international team sadly he had the “misfortune” to be Spanish where things were a little crowded! Perhaps, given his dip in form, we should make hay wile the sun shines and sell however, you can’t keep a good player down and my feeling is that Jose can regain his form, besides we need players with his experience, especially at this time. Of it all depends on the way Jose feels if he wants to go then fine (and thanks) but we shouldn’t let him go on the cheap.
The second question concerns who should replace Reina. Is Brad Jones ready to do so? Mistakes have been made however, when he had a longish run in the side he looked much more confident. Do we trust in him or go out and sign someone else I think there enough good young keepers in the Premiership who we would be able to attract? As ever it’s easy to criticise a keeper because his mistakes are more apparent, however it’s not so easy to work just how many points Jose’s efforts have saved us over the years. I bet it’s a lot because he has been that good.
Finally congratulations to Steven Gerrard who was honoured with a tribute by the Football Writers’ Association on Sunday. A deserved honour along with the all the resulting tributes from fellow players. Said Jamie Carragher.
“I think we are in the presence of the greatest player ever to play for Liverpool,”
Nothing more needs to be said