Archive | May, 2012

A Bad season for Liverpool yes – but there’s some unwarranted hyperbole

8 May

As a Liverpool fan I am obviously dissappointed with how the league season has panned out but some of the hyperbole coming from Liverpool fans on twitter is just plain ridiculous. I’ve started this blog because it’s impossible to answer them in the limited characters of twitter. There’s 3 main points I have seen repeated ad nauseam on twitter and I’ll cover them in turn:

 

Firstly: “Spearing is a terrible footballer” or other words to the same effect. Now I understand that his performances haven’t been up to standard in recent weeks but there are mitigating factors to this. To begin with he is backup to a fantastic player in Lucas, whose absence has been more keenly felt by Liverpool than any other player’s longterm absence has been for as long as I can remember, more than Gerrard, more than Torres when we had him, more than Suarez during his suspension, more than any player Rafa or Gerard or Roy Evans had. Back around Christmas I remember people were raving about how well Spearing was playing and that he was going to be a fantastic player for us. Now we have to remember that Spearing is in only his second season as a regular part of the first team squad, no-one was expecting him to play so many games, as he is the backup player we have no real backup for him, especially since Adam’s injury so there’s not really been time to rest him in the last couple of months. So is it really a surprise that the young guy has suffered a bit of burnout recently? To say he is a terrible footballer just because he has burned out towards the end of the season is hyperbole and really unwarranted.

 

Secondly:  Hodgson was sacked with a better record than Dalglish: Simply not true. People who say this look at points per game at this point last season and this season. Forgetting that last season’s ppg at this point had been vastly improved by Dalglish, if we actually took Hodgson’s own ppg to the end of the season we would currently be around the level of Aston Villa and Wigan Athletic, only securing safety in the last week of the season. Also worth noting that Debatable Decisions has named Liverpool as the team hardest hit by obvious wrong refereeing decisions this season, and that we have lost 11 points through no fault of our own, those points would put Dalglish’s ppg into the same area as Rafa’s average over his tenure. And that’s without looking at the games we’ve dominated and drawn/lost or looking at the woodwork stats, because that’s something that could be seen as our fault. Bad refereeing is not our fault.

 

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly: Dalglish has spent £110m and made the squad worse. Really? Let’s take a look at each in and out transfer to see if it’s an improvement or a detriment to squad quality:

 

LB: Enrique for Konchesky, no contest here, Enrique’s form has dipped recently but he is still a much better player than Paul Konchesky. IMPROVEMENT

 

CB: Coates for Kyriakos, Coates may be young and still look raw sometimes but Kyriakos was old and still looked raw most of the time. Coates has shown quality that shows he can be a longterm Liverpool player, Kyriakos never did. IMPROVEMENT

 

CM: Adam for Poulsen, Adam may be frustrating at times but he is nowhere near the level of frustrating that Poulsen introduced us too. IMPROVEMENT

 

Henderson for Aquilani,  this is a tough one, on one hand you have a mercurial talent who is prone to injury and doesn’t want to play in this country, on the other you have a raw talent who has shown glimpses of what he is capable of but is too often on the periphary of the game. I’d come down on the side of Henderson simply because he’s young and can grow into the team and Aquilani doesn’t want to play for us, and we haven’t seen enough of him to know whether he would be more than a periphary player himself as other players in his mould have been in the Premier League (Veron being the prime example). So overall I’m prepared to give Henderson benefit of doubt. SLIGHT IMPROVEMENT

 

LM, Downing for Babel, Another tough one. Babel on his day was amazing, but his days were rare in all honesty, plus he wasn’t happy on wing and wanted to play in centre. Downing has not been the player Liverpool hoped for but his worst is better than Babel’s worst and I don’t think we have yet seen his best to compare with Babel. He took a season to settle at Aston Villa, so I’m prepared to give him another season to see if the same happens here. EQUAL

 

PLAYMAKER, Bellamy for Cole, different types of player, but comparable because they occupy the same area, usually used wide but like to play inside and cause problems there. I don’t think there’s a contest here Bellamy is a better player than Cole no question about it, even off form you think Bellamy could produce something, Cole you just never thought he would. IMPROVEMENT

 

CF, Suarez for Torres, I honestly cannot separate these players in Liverpool colours but the fact is Torres wanted to leave, the fact we got a like for like replacement for half the price of Torres is overshadowed by the fact we paid so much for Carroll at the same time but I’ll get to that. Overall I think that Torres provided more goal but Suarez provides more for the team, I call this a deadheat. EQUAL

 

ST, Carroll for N’Gog, People will probably criticise me for putting Carroll here and not with Torres, but the simple fact is Suarez and Torres was like for like, Carroll is a young striker learning his trade, in the same way as the Frenchman N’Gog is, so they are much more like for like. Forgetting Carroll’s fee, it was Torres -£15m so I’d say more like £10m than £35m considering how Torres has played since leaving. Carroll has shown glimpses of what he can do and is starting to gain confidence despite not getting a run in the team. Could you really see N’Gog coming off the bench and changing the game like Carroll did in the FA Cup final? No question for me: IMPROVEMENT

 

So I think it’s clear we may have overpaid for players but the squad has been improved, we just need them to gel better next season, and we have a squad that with a couple of tweaks could get us back in the top 4.

 

 

 

As a sidenote has anyone noticed how the media has criticised Liverpool players for not singing the National Anthem at Wembley as well as the fans who jeered it? Now, is it me or is there another scouse footballer who always refuses to sing the National Anthem while on England duty yet never gets criticised? I wonder why that is.

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