There used to be a time when, after a bad game like Sunday’s FA Cup tie at Oldham, everyone would close ranks at Anfield. The doors would be shut and the recriminations and debates would be held in private. Usually afterwards the side would emerge suitably chastised but fired up enough to go on a long, unbeaten run. Sadly I have feeling that both instances are a thing of the past!
Not content with his inappropriate immediate post match comments BR has seen fit to indulge in another bout of verbosity which does the team, the club and, above all, him no favours whatsoever. The subject is, not surpassingly. Sunday’s game – read his words here.
A whole raft of reasons for our defeat are trotted out in what can only be described as an ill thought out ill considered scatter gun approach. Our lack of physicality, our lack of experience, our lack of ability to learn, our lack of mentality and our lack of organisation. As if the players weren’t hurt enough by this unnecessary public dressing down we then get this
“They have come in and done well but we don’t have world-class young players, I must be clear on that. They have to come in with the intention of working hard with intensity every day.”
Nice one Brendan that will really encourage them but I don’t think anyone needs to be “world class” to beat Oldham. What is disturbing is the increasing arrogant self regarding, self preserving attitude we see from our manager when things go wrong. At no point since Sunday has he mentioned that he might take a share of the blame (the best form of defence is attack?), that as manager he is responsible for picking the team, that ultimately it is down to him to get the best out of the side and plan how to use their collective and individual strengths to beat the opposition….. a bit like Oldham’s manager did really!
The only player that seems to come out of this OK is Steven Gerrard who is seen by Rogers as a role model for younger players. He’ll be telling us that a doctor is a good to go to if you are ill next!
“Look at Steven Gerrard’s impact when he came on, not just his quality but his sheer enthusiasm for the game. Our young players won’t have a greater role model to follow and they’re in pole position to learn because they’re seeing him every single day. If they’re bright enough, they’ll learn from him and then hopefully they can be here for a long time. If not, they might find themselves playing in League One later on and they’ll regret looking at a world-class player every day and not learning.”
Another threat, rather than encouraging them they are being offered demotion to league one. Of course BR, a bit like a playground bully, knows what targets to pick, young players are easy however experienced pros like Gerrard, who has only being well recently, are off limits together, it seems, with anyone he has signed (Allen and Borini) who, despite their indifferent performances so far, were defended rigorously as ultimately to reflects on him?
BR frequently talks about the history of Liverpool FC the greatness of the club however, what he is increasingly failing to appreciate, and disturbingly so as he has been at L4 and in the game enough to do so, is the club’s long held philosophy of strength through public unity. No Red’s fan likes to see Liverpool lose but they don’t expect the manager to air the dirty washing in public, by publicly criticising his players whilst blatantly taking no responsibility for things himself.
Broadly most fans realise what BR has to contend with and are willing to give him patience. So there is absolutely no need to behave in this way, he would earn more respect if he simply chilled out, remained pragmatic, was publicly more magnanimous about his roll and more protective of the players. He needs them on his side does this sort of aggressive, negative talk ensure that they will remain so?
I guess, as a result of Sunday, tonight’s visit to Arsenal takes on more significance? It was going to be that anyway. We are more than half way through the season and still have yet to beat a side above us in the Premiership, Arsenal sit one place above us. This will provide the test that our recent good league form needs. If we get something from this and Manchester City over the weekend then perhaps there are grounds to be more optimistic? Many including, John Aldridge and Mark Lawrenson, in their various columns, have even suggested that his is our most important game of the season so far. This presupposes that many still believe we can nick a forth place Champions League spot which, at present is a notion, as flowery and over the top as one of the shirts Lawrenson wears on Match of the Day!
Last season’s corresponding fixture saw us beat Arsenal 2-0. It took place in August and was one of the first games of a campaign that saw us reach two domestic cup finals. A decent season by most club’s standards however, not enough for us it seems. Have we progressed since? Today’s opponents still manage to keep up the Champions League qualification which we have let slip however, these days alarm bells toll with more regularity at the Emirates and there must be worries about maintaining that into next season?
On their day both sides can play pleasing football however, they can be also be frustrating and horribly vulnerable at the back! For us I guess it is the ideal opportunity to bounce back after Sunday or may be it is just the last thing we need! Team wise Jose Reina returns and on the subject of keepers I guess Brad Jones’ error on Sunday gives fresh attention to our rumoured links with Birmingham’s Jack Butland? Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique also return from injury but will they be risked so soon against a side with Arsenal’s cutting edge?
Prediction? Sorry I just can’t see anything other than a defeat. Oh, OK, s*d it, 1-1!