Date: 28th August 2008 at 6:17am
Written by:

Last night I had the pleasure of watching the match at home. Now for me thats strange as I normally go to the pub because I have come to learn that lately I cannot watch Liverpool without losing the head every 15 minutes and shouting at the telly using words I will not publish in this post and that my 16month and 3 year old daughters can do without hearing. This is why I go out. Unfortunately I only got home from work just before kick off so as I have said I sat down in my sitting room with the youngest sleeping in her cot beside me and my eldest playing contently on the floor. As you can probably tell this picture of contentment did not last for long. Soon the baby was awake and the eldest was asking her Mum what certain words meant. It was two minutes later that I had the room to myself. Feeling a bit ashamed I calmed down and decided to bite my lip in fear of having to sleep on the sofa for the night (as if). My lips now look like balloons as I sank my teeth into them minute after dreadful minute. As the match neared the end of the second half I had a really bad feeling that we were going to concede and go out. I just could not see where a goal was coming from, but once again as Rafa would say – “you gotta have faith”. Can somebody please ensure me that Kuyt is not Rafa’s secret love-child. Any other manager in the world would have had him off – he was having a complete nightmare and when Babel came on it was worse. Can anybody tell me what position he was playin?. He run about on the left, he run about on the right, in the middle, around in circles, he had me dizzy. Between the two of them they must have gave the ball away every two minutes which isn’t suprising as they both own the touch of a rampaging elephant or else feet made of steel. Babel couldn’t go outside to fetch the paper never mind beat a defender. I thought both of them were going to lose us the match. So into extra time we went, penalty claim came and for some reason only the ref knows it went. My two Dutch friends give the ball away another 10 times each but heh “You Gotta Have Faith”. Suddenly Babel picks the ball up on the left and for once beats a defender on the outside (for anybody who didn’t see the match, I swear he did ask anybody). He makes a run to the byline and has time to cross and what happens, he disguises the cross and pulls the back on to his right foot. Well this was too much for me, I went crazy and could hold it no longer and once again screamed at the telly. Those screams of anguish and frustration were still rebounding off the walls when he whipped in a deep cross to the back post for the worst player on the night to sneakaround the back of Dante and prod the ball home to put Liverpool into the group stages. I am sure after last nights performance all the other teams are crapping themselves – I fear not. Rafa was asked before that match what need improving and he replied “everything”. Well Rafa it still does. We are happy with the results but it could be oh so easy to be sitting here bottom of the EPL and out of Europe.


9 responses to “You Gotta Have Faith…”

  1. Benjamin says:

    Paragraphs my good man, paragraphs.


    That said though, I tend to be a bit of a yeller myself, even if it is towards a television set. I guess I got it from my dear old dad.

  2. Dave - N.Ireland says:

    Paragraphs – lol – I just had to get it off my chest man – had no time to think about it.

  3. Ron says:

    I guess a lot of us went through the same frustrations you went through last night Dave. You are right, we could easily be bottom of the league now and out of Europe but we virtually top of the league and looking ahead to the draw this afternoon and we 12m pounds richer.

    I can not wait for us to ‘click’ and start winning games 3-0 and 4-0.

  4. Bobaldo says:

    Gentlemen, i’m afraid the time for self delusion must come to an end at some point and i think it is now!

    Rafa has demonstrated that his tactics have not evolved beyond the single-minded pursuit of ‘compactness’. I could not believe how many times he gestured from the sidelines for Kuyt and Benny to be more compact! It is as if we are trying to demonstrate to the entire football world that we do not need the full pitch to beat teams? This approach does not sit well with me as we are most certainly going to meet equally compact teams in the EPL and i fear that we are on course for a host of results that our rivals will thrive off. Surely, tactics should be more bespoke than those currently being applied be us to every single opponent!

    The most troubling aspect is that Rafa is unable to change things around during the course of a match. In Gerrard and Alonso we have two of the most incisive passers of the ball around; i remember a time when that was the key to unlocking defenses and less so the wide men receiving the inch perfect pass! What has happened to improvisation and making the most of what we have? Surely Benny, Kuyt, El Zahar, and Babel are all capable of playing to instruction – how else could they have progressed through the ranks? So why then does Rafa not instruct them to hug the line and draw the defense out of its comfort zone. That is certainly the way teams like Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal, Madrid, Milan etc will play against our notoriously difficult to break down defense! Why is this method good enough for the best and yet not good enough for us? In terms of personell; does anyone truly rate Wes Browns ability to beat men on the flank? Yet, i have seen that mug on the byline more times than i see Paris Hilton in the news! This poor workman blaming his tools story sounds like old hat to me – i would back Rafa 100% if our team were applying the tactics that would suggest that a quality wide man would add to our quality. However, until we start to open up our midfield and drag defenses and opposition midlfielders wider, adding a wizard on the wing will not change anything significantly so we have no hope with a chancer like Riera.

    I really hope that i my assertions are misguided and flat out crap but i spent a lot of time observing Rafa last night and i really did not like what i saw! Luck is temporary, quality is permanent.

  5. Dave - N.Ireland says:

    i agree 100% but you must remember Rafa is by far the hardest manager to admit that his way is not correct. Look how long it took him to understand that Gerrard was more effective in the middle.

  6. Ron says:

    Thanks for the comment Bobaldo. There is no doubting the need for a slight change of tactics. Yes if Rafa wants to play compact then lets do that but he need a Plan B when things are not going well like last night. Plan B would be using the full width of the field. Granted, the personal to use width are not available and thus the need to get Riera. Maybe with Riera, Rafa will start to use width. Right now he can not use width because I feel he does not have the confidence in the players he has for them to use the width of the field.

  7. Bobaldo says:

    Thats exactly it! If narrow football is what suits the players we have then so be it, play narrow football as long as its effective. Beyond that, we do need to excercise plan B; my point is, Riera is a chancer at best – maybe he’ll be good maybe not. The problem appears to lie with the coaches and manager not forcing the players to hug the line from time to time or better yet, when instructed! I do not believe Cash-lee Cole has got more skill than Ryan Babel yet he has clearly been coached to run straight lines and harass defenders. The same applies to Wes Brown and Gary Neville (for goodness sakes – Neville is junk!), they are always looking to overlap and/or make the runs themselves. This has to be a coaching issue; these players are good enough to make their national teams and play at the very top level of the game, surely they are able to adapt their natural style to add a further bow to their strings? Most players will stick well within their comfort zones unless the manager instructs them otherwise. If Reira naturally plays that kind of game, then great, but then the whole sides tactics will need to change in order to accomodate him. Mark my words; in comes Riera, then all of a sudden Kuyt, Benny and Babel all start running next to the linesman – this will be a sign that the compactness will have gone. Why do we need him to come in and then we make the change? For me, this is a season too far for Rafa… football at our club should be about making winning decisions and competing at the top. We have telegraphed our old formula to all our rivals and they know exactly how to stop us since we are so one dimensional. Variety is the spice of life…

  8. Benjamin says:

    Gerrard is actually more effective on the right in my opinion as well as Rafa’s. He wasn’t moved back because the idea was wrong, he was moved because our captain pouted until he ended up getting his way via personnel acquisitions.
    Stevie possesses the ability to created something out of nothing, but he cannot do so with defenders square in front of him for the most part. He is also prone to absolutely awful passes and giving away possession cheaply.
    He is certainly one of our most important players, but in my opinion far too much is expected out of him. We need to take the ball wide and let him run onto the play from the midfield, similar to Kuyt running onto the ball from behind the defense, allowing him to find that one yard of space that he needs to put the ball in the net.
    If you give him space he is one of the best in the world, the problem is the best in the world find that space for themselves, while he generally has to rely on a mistake or an overstretching of the defense.
    If you think back to last year’s CL and the way Makelele had him in his pocket and rendered him less than useless. He couldn’t even get his corner in at one point because Claude was jumping and blocking them.
    I love Gerrard, but he does like to have a piss and a moan when he isn’t having everything just his way. You can flame away at me not holding him in the same reverence that so many do, but I certainly hope he recovers and returns as soon as possible, because faults or no, he does possess the ability to make something wonderful happen. Godspeed captain.

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