Friday, January 4, 2008


The Guardian sports blogger, Scott Murray, has launched a scathing attack on Rafa Benitez and to some extent the owners. While he doesn't go after the big name players for Liverpool, who rightfully deserve some blame for the lackluster performance, Murray does provide an insightful assessment of the deficiencies of the club. I suggest reading the whole column, but here is Murray hitting the nail on the head:

Just like they did under Houllier, Liverpool set themselves up not to lose, and anything else is a bonus. Which is fine if all you want to do is win cups, but every single fan at Anfield knows that doesn't cut it any more. Not even in Europe. This is Benítez's fourth season in charge, and Liverpool's attack is still the complete shambles it was under Houllier. As Michael Owen was to Ged, so Torres is to Rafa - and if he doesn't score, it's up to Steven Gerrard to chip in from midfield. With defence the premium to the cost of everything else, players seldom bother piling into the box. Rarely has a team with title pretensions relied so heavily on witlessly welting the ball goalwards from distance, a fact borne out by the presence of two Liverpool players (Kuyt and John Arne Riise) in the Premier League list of top five least accurate shooters.

It's an approach that isn't going to win a title any time soon. Benítez simply does not have a Plan B, and seeing these days even hoof-happy Arsène Wenger can mix it up, it's about time he formulated one. With only the extremely promising but raw Ryan Babel as back-up, and the likes of Dimitar Berbatov, Fabio Quagliarella and (yes) Owen out of his price range, Benítez might regret getting shot of Luis Garcia, the one player Liverpool boasted who could come up with something different. (It's a startling testimony to the turgid pap a whole post-Evans generation of Liverpool fans have been conditioned by, that the creatively minded Garcia was viewed with suspicion by a sizable portion of the Anfield crowd).

Ouch. I just got hit by the truth.

1 comment:

The NY Kid said...

The 2000-2001 season under Houllier (a Frenchman, naturally) is not something that Rafa would be able to replicate. But, as a Gunner I certainly appreciate all that he has done to keep us top of the table.