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“So many in the media have shot down anyone who dare suggest Suarez is innocent, as if the guilty verdict was handed down by the Lord Almighty.”
The Suarez affair: Paul Tomkins, p8
4: Andy Carroll – the poor form of our £35m man is beginning to rile some fans 7: The Luis Suarez affair – our take on the past few months for our Uruguayan striker 16: The greatest goal you’ll never see – only thanks to YouTube you can now see Jan Molby’s screamer 19: An out-of-towner speaks 20: The story of 1981-82 – Neil Scott on a brilliant season for the Reds, plus team pic and stats 26: Didi Hamann – Gareth Roberts fires the questions at the German legend
32: Charlie Adam revisited – Roy Henderson looks at how the Scottish midfielder is doing in his first season 37: Liverpool v Arsenal 1988 – Leo Moynihan on a great Cup night at Villa Park 40: A discarded legend – Paul Grech on the tragic tale of Roma star Agostini Di Bartolomei 42: Cursed shirts – Rick McEvoy hasn’t had much luck with the players he’s put on the back of his shirt 44: Shankly and Finney – Mike HIll on the friendship between two true greats
“If it wasn’t for Carra or me you’d have thought they were on a school trip during training! They needed cheering up!” Didi Hamann, page 26 INDEPENDENT LFC SUPPORTERS’ MAGAZINE No.12 MAR/APR 2012
Let’s learn from mistakes
WELL the print deadline for Well Red has had me off yet again. I write this after the embarrassing away defeat to Bolton but before we take on Manchester City in the second leg of the League Cup semi-final.
A trip to Wembley will shine the torch on the positives of Kenny Dalglish’s second coming – a collapse at Anfield to the billionaires will turn the spotlight on to the growing problems.
Liverpool’s scoring record at the time of writing is the worst for 40 years. Kenny’s signings (or are they Damien Comolli’s?) are being questioned, as are his tactics.
The all-too-common internet wars are beginning again, and the media vultures are circling. As has now become the norm, some are saying it’s time up for the manager.
This, it has to be said, is nailed-on bollocks. It’s typical of football and media today that everything is seemingly assessed in only the context of the last few weeks. Yes, results and performances have disappointed, but that doesn’t suddenly nullify all the good work that has taken place.
Defensively, the Reds are solid, Bolton performance aside. Luis Suarez and Luis Enrique are great signings for the club while Jordan Henderson has shown plenty of promise. Craig Bellamy too, has been a brilliant bit of business – as predicted in these pages – while it’s hard to say one way or another just yet when it comes to Sebastian Coates.
On the flipside, patience is wearing thin for Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam.
The Suarez ban – and the general hangover from the whole Patrice Evra affair – has not helped matters. Neither has a season-ending injury to Lucas – he has become absolutely vital to the team and has been sorely missed, as has Jay Spearing, who was just starting to improve on a passable impression of the Brazilian stopper.
Throw in Steven Gerrard’s injury, and his rustiness on return, and it’s fair to say that Dalglish has not enjoyed the best of luck when it comes to getting his best players on the park.
Twenty-two days into January, there’s been no big move into the transfer market, which is somewhat disappointing given the obvious lack of options up front.
Fenway Sports Group have seemingly taken a vow of silence in recent times, so we have no real indication of how they feel about the club’s current standing (seventh in the Premier League, six points off fourth place as I type).
But some financial backing at the halfway stage of the season certainly wouldn’t have gone amiss. So far, the books have pretty much balanced themselves. Make no mistake, to close the gap on the teams above, Liverpool need to keep on spending.
It’s exactly what City have done. For all the fuss about the fees for Carroll and Downing,
we just need to move on like City did with a string of big-fee flops – Emmanuel Adebayor, Robinho, Jo and Santa Cruz to name but a few. What’s also worrying is the system, or lack of it, on the pitch. By now, we know Adam is not a defensive midfielder. Nor can he really operate without one beside him. Yet, he is still placed into a tactical structure that leaves him exposed.
Equally, while all eyes have been on Liverpool’s misfiring forward line, the question has to be asked – just what is the midfield doing? Too often the gap between the goal creators and goal getters is too large. And the middle men aren’t weighing in with the goals or protecting the defence effectively either.
Lucas we’ve mentioned, but the departure of both Raul Meireles and Alberto Aquilani looks like a creative man gone too many, although it’s worth underlining that neither man actually wanted to stay at the club by all accounts.
It’s felt like a tactical rethink is needed at times to get the best out what we have got – and that rethink hasn’t arrived.
All that said, the point above needs repeating – there’s been plenty to stay positive about.
The results against Chelsea and Arsenal, the win at City – this group of players CAN do it, and, yes, that includes Adam, who was, let’s not forget, brilliant at Stamford Bridge.
The top four does seem to be slipping away though, and another season feeding on scraps while those at the top table continue to gorge themselves does not bode well.
What is vital is that the mistakes made last summer are not repeated. The buy British, proven Premier League policy was a clear choice by the management. It hasn’t worked. What’s needed is top quality game-changing creative talent regardless of nationality – players like Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano have still not been adequately replaced and frustratingly, Liverpool, as so often has been the case, feel a few players short of a truly top side.
But Dalglish is only a year into the job. Let’s not forget the Reds needed a lot of rebuilding and the wage bill needed a lot of trimming.
To use the example of City again, they have had the richest man in football as their owner for four years. It’s only now that they are genuinely challenging for the top honours. There’s been a shed-load of mistakes along the way, and they’ve spent a billion quid.
Roman Abramovich has spent around £500m at Chelsea, while Spurs have been building steadily for four or five years, spending a fair bit along the way while benefiting from stability – something which Liverpool has boasted for just 12 months.
The start of the season promised much, the middle of the season promised less. But we’ve been here before, all we need is a bit of momentum. Hopefully that will be provided by the cup....(f***ing deadlines).
Editor Gareth Roberts @robbohuyton
Email editor@ wellredmag.co.uk
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Ltd, Office 113, Imperial Court, Exchange Street East, Liverpool,
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