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Liverpool: What went wrong?

Just over seven years ago, Liverpool staged their remarkable comeback in Istanbul to beat AC Milan in the Champions League Final. They found themselves on top of Europe albeit with a somewhat average squad containing the likes of Smicer, Kewell, Biscan and the king of own goals, Jimi Traore. Most highs are followed by a low in life and Liverpool certainly find themselves in a bad place right now

There has been a visible decline in fortunes over on the Red side of Merseyside, despite their recent appearance in both FA Cup and Carling Cup finals, not least indicated by finishing 7th, 6th and 8th in the last 3 season, eventually culminating in the sacking of their latest saviour ‘King’ Kenny as he lead the team to finish behind Merseyside rivals Everton.

While the likes of City, United and Chelsea are targeting flair players from the best teams in the world, Liverpool seem content to pay over the odds for British players. £35m was spent on Andy Carroll, a young and relatively inexperienced Striker from Newcastle who had learned most of his trade in the Championship as Newcastle eased to promotion. A further £17+m was spent on England U21 international Midfielder Jordan Henderson from Sunderland. Again, a big money move after only really having 1 ‘decent’ season in the Premier League. Stewart Downing preceded those two, arriving from Aston Villa for around £20m. A player who seems to have had his best days as a youngster at Middlesbrough, but seemingly happy enough to receive a large wage and regular England call ups based on a mysterious perceived reputation he has gained. An over-rated, out of his depth former Blackpool player was bought for 7m (Adam) and an alleged ear-biting, racist cheat had 23m lavishly splashed out on him (Suarez).

Everton fans take great delight in proclaiming more success from Jelavic, Pienaar and Gibson for a total spend of £7m plus a loan fee, than Liverpool’s spend of £73m on the three aforementioned players. Also, the fact that Tim Howard scored more goals than Stewart Downing last season is not lost on the Liverpool fans. It’s somewhat puzzling then, that after such a poor inconsistent season, Liverpool find themselves with Gerrard, Downing, Kelly and Henderson all in the England squad. Maybe it’s Hodgson favouring his ex-Liverpool buddies, or more likely a reflection of just how poor the standard of English football is.

King Kenny followed the perilous path of previous managers. You know the drill by now. Manager takes the job and is instantly hailed as the saviour. Predictably good start under a new boss quickly turns to inconsistency. Players and fans alike become confused with team selections (e.g. Jay Spearing consistently playing ahead of Argentine international Maxi Rodriguez). Gerrard gets injured. Players start to complain publicly when it starts to go wrong. Gerrard regains fitness just in time to spur them on to cup success. Club continue to struggle against the likes of Norwich, Wolves, Wigan et al in the league. Their creative winger creates no goals and scores no goals in the entire campaign. The end.

In all honesty, it wasn’t the first time dubious transfers had been abound. Robbie Keane anyone? Joins Liverpool for £19m at the start of the season, announces his boyhood love for the club, scores 5 in 19 games, then rejoins Spurs during the January transfer window for £13m. Terrible mismanagement at whatever level the buck stops.

I wish Brendan Rogers all the best in his new job, he’ll be world class if he can sort out all of these problems…. and more.

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  1. Karim

    8 June, 2012 at 11:47

    Erm.. You cant call Suarez a racist / cheat. There are so many holes in the argument that its not worth fighting about.

    When I saw the header I thought it was going to be a detailed explanation about how Liverpool have fallen from CL winners in 2005 to PL also rans 7 years on.

    We could be critical of the owners who refused to splash the cash in 2005 because they were looking to sell and look what we ended up with American cowboys. They backed Rafa for a time, spent money on Torres, Alonso, Mascherano, Reina and we almost won the league in 2009, coming up short because Rafa opened his mouth about Fergie. The owners / management team should have stopped him really.

    Then in 2009 we get close like I said, we have a disastrous 2010 finishing 7th, the owners are under pressure to sell because they have no money, LFC are in danger of administration, so the owners sack Rafa, then signal intention to sell the club, bring in Hodgson and give him minimalist monies to spend.

    We bring in very average players, paying £4m for Konchesky (his mum should have kept quiet), we lose to Northampton at Anfield on penalties after taking the lead, Hodgsons tenure comes to an abrupt end. We sell the club to another American group, this time they promise us a lot of funding and a return to the top. King kenny comes in January, we bring in Suarez / Carroll but lose Torres. We finish 7th again but no one cares as we have stability back, the old owners are gone and the new owners look like a decent bunch.

    Then at the start of 2011 season, we bring in some decent british players probably paid OTT for them but nevertheless on their day as proven (Carroll in the cups, Downing was made MOTM in the Carling Cup Final), Adam provided the most assists this season and Henderson is England Under 21 captain.

    So last season was always going to be a mixed bag of results. I often defended the team on twitter (@kgov81) and often said that I would be happy if LFC finished 8th but won the two cups. We won one and should have got a draw in the other.

    Now onto the summer of 2012. We have a new coach and a new era is upon us. I hope that the players and Rodgers can summon the energy to look at last season and use it as a positive. We are back in Europe and have to be looking to win the three cup competitions whilst being consistent in the league.

    Would I swap top four next season to win the treble (CC, FA & Europa League) ? Damn right I would.

    The only thing I would swap those three cups for would be the league title.

  2. bazza

    8 June, 2012 at 14:06


    Very well put.

    Lets stop all this negative crap and get behind the whole club 100%. I regularly go to games and will be having a go at any negativity.

    People have a right to their opinion, but you generally find that the negativity is coming from ill-informed sky generation fans.


    8 June, 2012 at 14:55

    Im actually of the opinion that liverpool have truly cemented their status as a mid-table team. Liverpool fans always have a right go at ppl who are negative but hey, Dalglish had just been sacked as you had your worst season EVER. Slice it any way you want to but I dont see a way out for LFC.

  4. ray

    8 June, 2012 at 14:57

    Lets forget the past and get right behing BRENDAN but the 2 luckiest people in football are Henderson and Downing because on last seasons efforts they would not get a game for Malta – they should both be banned from talking rto the press – Anfield fans who saw them play are livid – I hope Downing is sold

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