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Stilly
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Hi guys!

Not here to rub things in, I promise.

If I was to offer an outside view of your problems, I'd say that one reason you were so poor yesterday was the lack of any direct threat. Usually at least one player from an opposing team can be pinpointed as being someone to fear, but all your big name players seemed to misfire. It was noticeable how deep Gerrard had to come to retrieve the ball - the space offered to our midfield was incredible.

As for your defence, you should be seriously worried. Did you really not have a fit left-back to play? Carragher looked really uncomfortable there and the less said about Johnson the better!

Obviously Torres going of didn't help matters, but I found it strange you didn't start with more than one up front. It handed us the initiative and we played the first half like we were the home side.

I'm sure things will turn around (you probably can't sink much lower) but how high up do you guys realistically think you can finish?

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Plus he let £20m go out on loan without even giving him a run in the side - can anybody say we'd be in a worse position had Aquilani been playing instead of Lucas/Poulson?

I'm not even sure Aquilani is even that good - because he played so little. Clearly Roy saw something (or not) in training to convince him to let him go; wonder what the board made of that?

I haven't followed the Aquilani thing that closely but was under the impression that he wanted out and that the Liverpool reaction was more about face saving after spending 20 million? Is that not the case?

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I haven't followed the Aquilani thing that closely but was under the impression that he wanted out and that the Liverpool reaction was more about face saving after spending 20 million? Is that not the case?

Not at all. He didn't want to leave, he didn't ask to leave, and he has said he was very surprised at what happened. I reckon it was a result of signing Cole on such high wages, and it was something I had feared might happen when we were first linked to Cole.

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The service hasn't just been 'not great', it's been atrocious. Absolutely woeful. You claim that you have 'lost count of the number of times this season that a cross has come into the box and he's just stationary', I can't believe that for one moment.

It's true mate, and yesterday was another (poorer) example (before he went off injured of course). There were a number of balls (some OK, some bad) that he failed to show any interest in. He was our sole striker/player in the box for many of these so it wasn't hard to miss.

Clearly we differ markedly dogs, but just to clarify I love Torres - I think he's awesome, and has been brilliant for us. But at the end of the day he has chosen to stay with us - as you say despite interest, but it's about time he starts busting a gut for the side that's paying his wages. We haven't seen any of that this season, and I hope we start to. The service hasn't been 'atrocious', it's been poor, but there has been service, he just hasn't looked keen enough.

Utrecht was a good example of this - he had a number of excellent opportunities but was off the pace of the game in general. Hodgson said Torres' injury was behind him before this game, why the poor performance? He had service, he just didn't show enough willingness for me.

We clearly disagree on him in general, but let's agree that hopefully he'll start banging in the goals and that the service does improve.

Jammin - you've obviously seen much more of Poulson first-hand than I - how do you rate him?

He's been poor tbh. The fans around me were getting very frustrated at him because he just seems a bit slow in general, both in movement and decision-making. Against Blackpool he either took too many touches or tried to offload the ball too quickly, too often and these underhit/overhit balls were getting picked off time and again. I also think the finger had to pointed at him for the vast amounts of space infront of our defence when it was his job (and Gerrards) to martial that area of the pitch when we were on the back foot.

In other words: we were under the cosh and he was nowhere to be seen. Very few times could you ever say that about Mascherano, even if I wasn't his biggest fan.

Poulsen seems to perform a lot better when under very little pressure, although I guess you could level that at pretty much any footballer. I do think we do have to give him time to adjust to the pace of the Premiership though, and he'll probably do better in Europe for us for the above reason.

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I haven't followed the Aquilani thing that closely but was under the impression that he wanted out and that the Liverpool reaction was more about face saving after spending 20 million? Is that not the case?

Nope, he had said pre-Hodgson that he wanted to stay; this was all about Roy - though he doesn't say that explicitly. And interesting that some fans chanted his name.

On the subject of left-backs, I guess we have Aurelio when he's back from injury. I didn't actually think Insua was that bad, either; suffered from lack of confidence for a fair bit of last season though, and lacked a bit of pace. But not the worst option we had, but off he went. Instead we play centre-backs there instead. At least Agger is tries to come forward when he's there I guess.

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It's true mate, and yesterday was another (poorer) example (before he went off injured of course). There were a number of balls (some OK, some bad) that he failed to show any interest in. He was our sole striker/player in the box for many of these so it wasn't hard to miss.

Clearly we differ markedly dogs, but just to clarify I love Torres - I think he's awesome, and has been brilliant for us. But at the end of the day he has chosen to stay with us - as you say despite interest, but it's about time he starts busting a gut for the side that's paying his wages. We haven't seen any of that this season, and I hope we start to. The service hasn't been 'atrocious', it's been poor, but there has been service, he just hasn't looked keen enough.

Utrecht was a good example of this - he had a number of excellent opportunities but was off the pace of the game in general. Hodgson said Torres' injury was behind him before this game, why the poor performance? He had service, he just didn't show enough willingness for me.

I pretty much disagree with all of that. But I doubt that's a surprise to you! :P

I can't think of a single 'excellent opportunity' that fell his way in the Utrecht game. I remember one decent ball being played into his feet by Kuyt, that he failed to latch on to correctly, and that is all.

We are creating nothing at the minute, and he's left alone upfront doing the work of two and battling to get on the end of hoofs. When I can be arsed I'm going to go away and find stats and chalkboards and stuff to back up what I'm saying, because I am absolutely certain that 'atrocious' is the best way to describe the service in general this season.

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He's been poor tbh. The fans around me were getting very frustrated at him because he just seems a bit slow in general, both in movement and decision-making. Against Blackpool he either took too many touches or tried to offload the ball too quickly, too often and these underhit/overhit balls were getting picked off time and again. I also think the finger had to pointed at him for the vast amounts of space infront of our defence when it was his job (and Gerrards) to martial that area of the pitch when we were on the back foot.

In other words: we were under the cosh and he was nowhere to be seen. Very few times could you ever say that about Mascherano, even if I wasn't his biggest fan.

Poulsen seems to perform a lot better when under very little pressure, although I guess you could level that at pretty much any footballer. I do think we do have to give him time to adjust to the pace of the Premiership though, and he'll probably do better in Europe for us for the above reason.

Poulson is an interesting one. I recall he was linked with a big(-ger) club prior to going to Juve, so he was rated a few years back. But he is slow and very much a lateral-passer of the ball and he lacks that bite in the tackle, too; it wouldn't be so bad if Roy used him to allow Lucas to push a but further forward, but he doesn't - so you can't even say he's a 'water-carrier'.

As you say though, he needs time to adjust to the pace, and maybe he'll grow into a role.

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Is 7 league games enough to write him off? Seems a little premature - it is tough coming to this league and almost every player takes time to adjust.

He was shit at Juve as well. His peak days at Sevilla are many moons ago.

Can I just remind everyone of Hodgsons refusal to include Pacheco in most match squads as well. A side crying out for a bit of craft and Dani is left doing fuck all every weekend. He's made for the left of the three in a 4-2-3-1. This also leaves Cole central as well. Kuyt on the right and Gerrard & Meireles as the two behind. There's goals in that line up.

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Is 7 league games enough to write him off? Seems a little premature - it is tough coming to this league and almost every player takes time to adjust.

I'd seen a fair bit of him before he joined us. He's not going to come good. He'd be OK to have as a squad player, but he shouldn't be starting many games.

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Is 7 league games enough to write him off? Seems a little premature - it is tough coming to this league and almost every player takes time to adjust.

It's a little harsh, I'll admit (although, to be fair, I've also watched him in our Europa games and a few internationals), but he's been on the wane for the last couple of years. I don't think coming to play in midfield in a struggling team in the Premier League (especially replacing a player such as Mascherano) is going to see an upturn in form. It's not one of those situations where you might think he'll adjust to any great extent; his positional sense and passing have been adequate at best, but his glaring lack of mobility is the clincher for me and, at 30, I can't see that improving.

Also, he's really not a longterm option and the fact he's keeping Lucas (who, on current showing is at least equally capable) out of the team is criminal.

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Phil Tomkins has some opinions. I agree with the vast majority of it, including most of his points about Rafa, so I'm sure Ramone will be along to call me an idiot or something. Anyhow, give it a read:

My new book ranks managers in a unique way: amongst other things, working out how much it cost them to win each point, in relation to the expense of team they sent out in every single one of their games.

In reference only to Premier League games, it shows that Graeme Souness did a great job at Blackburn. (He even won the League Cup, but we looked only at the league.)

It shows that, in the end, Roy Hodgson did a terrible job at Blackburn (the worst relegation ever, for which he was largely responsible, as the man who guided the team to just one win in their first 14 games).

It shows that Souness did a terrible job at Newcastle (and Liverpool, but you knew that already).

It shows that Hodgson did a great job at Fulham. (But not better than Chris Coleman, incidentally.)

Above all else, we highlight, time and time again, examples of good managers faltering when asked to manage bigger clubs.

In his last 21 league games at a club expected to finish in the top six (Blackburn and Liverpool), Hodgson has won a measly two. Two wins. He left Blackburn when they were rooted to the bottom; he currently has Liverpool in the relegation zone.

But Roy seems oblivious.

“It is insulting to suggest that because you move to a new club, your methods suddenly don’t work when they’ve held you in good stead for 35 years and made you one of the most respected coaches in Europe. It’s unbelievable.”

Joe Kinnear did a great job at Wimbledon in the ‘90s; no big club in their right mind would want him anywhere near them these days. (And that’s right, at the time Newcastle weren’t a club in their right mind, either.)

Different methods are needed at different clubs because a different kind of result and performance is expected. The pressure if very different, on you and your players. You cannot set up to sit off teams when you’re a big club.

And every last error is magnified. But that’s the reason why those who succeed are made of different stuff.

Now, I write this not from the perspective of someone who expected Liverpool to be in the top four, now or in May. Or even the top eight at this point, after the fixtures we’ve had.

I write it from a refusal to accept that even with the financial problems, this is a bottom-half-of-the-table side, let alone one that should be in the relegation zone, even at what remains an early stage of the season. Teething problems are to be expected; but this feels like a dentist going at us with a pair of rusty pliers, turning a modest smile into a bloody grimace.

Yet I’ve been inundated with suggestions that it’s all Rafa’s fault. They keep coming, on and on and on. On Sky Sports, Jamie Redknapp, aided and abetted by the hairy-handed halfwit and the guilt-free Souness, blamed Rafa. He’d spent loads of money and the squad wasn’t good enough.

Well, not good enough for what? Only a year ago most of those players were supposed to be good enough to challenge for the title, and it was apparently only Benítez holding them back. As many as 15 of them were at the World Cup (not always as superstars, but there all the same).

Alan Hansen is now blaming players left by Rafa, such as Ngog (our top goalscorer this season), Kyrgiakos (gives 100%) and has said Kuyt never steps up to the plate. He says it’s too early to judge Roy’s summer signings, but did criticise Jovanovic, Rafa’s summer signing.

The Squad This Summer

Hansen also mentions that Roy inherited a one-man team. I thought Alan could count a bit better than that.

Reina, Gerrard, Torres: three of the best players in their position in the country, if not the world. Any club would want them, and Rafa bought two of the three. (Same applied to Mascherano.)

Agger: a thoroughbred centre-back. Wanted by AC Milan in the fairly recent past. Skrtel: another very fine centre-back. Roughly £6m each. Kyrgiakos: about as decent as you’ll get for 4th choice at £1.5m. Then there’s Carragher; well past his best, but not exactly finished. (Trouble is, he’s undroppable.)

Johnson: one of the best attacking right-backs in the world; in the right system, likely to create loads of chances in a game (defending not the best, but faults exaggerated this season from being too exposed).

Aquilani: over his injury problems, and such a clever player who’s … now in the Juventus team. Not that Liverpool are short of passing invention (sigh). Effectively given away for the season.

Lucas, Maxi: not spectacular, but good enough to play for Brazil and Argentina. Maxi, in particular, became a key player towards the end of last season. Lucas seemed to be really progressing last season too, but has struggled this year. Then again, he looks like Pele next to Poulsen, who has usurped him.

Jovanovic – another experienced international. Not sure about him yet, but pedigree is there. Insua is another player who came in for criticism, but had the potential to improve; at 21, full-backs are just starting out.

Kuyt: not everyone’s cup of tea, but almost every manager in the game sings his praises. Integral to Holland reaching World Cup final. Guarantees 10-15 goals from the wing almost every season, and as many assists. Does the work of two players. (Hansen thinks he never steps up to the plate, but look at all the goals he’s scored and created in big games.)

Kelly and Pacheco: two youngsters with a lot of quality. Not really been trusted in the league this season, even though they are now one year older and, people expected, sure to be knocking on the door. Pacheco not even making the bench. Jonjo Shelvey – one for the future, and possibly the near future at the rate Poulsen is going. N’Gog – just 21, and just £1.5m, but seven goals already this season. Kelly was home-grown, Pacheco part of Rafa’s Spanish connection.

Ryan Babel – frustrating? Hell yes. Likely to leave, whatever happens? Yes, too. But also, good from the bench? Yes, clearly. Not trusted before the Northampton game and now totally bombed out as a result. Roy said he’d been unfairly treated in the past, but now fails to even include him in the entire squad (and this is without inappropriate Twittering). Always a handy option with his pace on the wing, but Roy sees him as a striker (who doesn’t play), and Roy doesn’t use wingers.

Benayoun and Mascharano were also part of the squad Rafa left. Of course, they’ve moved on, through no fault of Roy’s. But Roy did get £26m from those two to buy replacements. Riera and a couple of others went, too, which at least allowed Roy to bring in a number of his own players, four of whom have been regular starters when fit.

But of course, Roy didn’t get all of the transfer money to reinvest; it’s wrong to expect the squad to be quite as strong as it was. Yet by the logic used to frequently slate Rafa, Roy “has spent a lot of money”; the Reds were behind only Manchester City and Chelsea in terms of money ‘spent’. However, the Reds ranked 1st in terms of money recouped. Rafa’s net spend was never that high; Roy’s isn’t either.

All in all, however, there’s enough there to be expecting a whole lot better than the relegation zone at this stage (for the first time in over 50 years) and out of a domestic cup to the lowest-ranked team to beat the Reds in 50 years. Rafa was sacked because he could only finish 7th with players that the media said should be doing better. The summer was supposed to be all about the feelgood factor: Gerrard, Torres, Cole; new manager, hip hip hooray.

There’s been no great injury crisis, and if anything, the Reds have had a bit of the luck (contrast Sunderland goal with beach ball one, and bizarre free-kick award against Blackpool) that they lacked last season. But worse than the results, performances have been universally poor; every single first-half in 14 games has been dire. Last year was pretty bad, but there were good displays too.

There’s been no apparent method, and rather than tighten up at the back, it’s as if Phil Babb has returned with his mate Tubby Ruddock. The centre of the midfield was so invisible at times against Blackpool it was as stupefying. Gerrard was AWOL and Poulsen was lost at sea, considered dead.

The stats are damning. Liverpool have had just 65 attempts at goal this season, and the opposition have had 77 against us. Stoke have had more goal attempts.

What the Rafa-haters didn’t foresee was that while a change of manager might help some players, it could also hinder others.

“My methods have translated from Halmstads to Malmo to Orebro to Neuchatel Xamax to the Swiss national team and many other jobs as well.” Roy Hodgson.

But not to Blackburn, and only moderately so to Inter Milan (15 years ago; good first season, less good second season).

And with all due respect, none of those clubs Roy mentioned is in a major league, or is a major nation; these are not household names. Roy had the Swiss national team playing well in 1994; but then Roy Evans had Liverpool playing well around the same time. George Graham took Arsenal to a European final that year. Football has evolved dramatically in that time.

Liverpool still have a core of excellent players. And the club has its talent on the fringes. It may not be a top four squad anymore, due to too many sales in relation to purchases since 2008, but is should not even be a bottom-half of the table squad, let alone end the weekend in the relegation zone for the first time since 1964 (after a minimum of three games played).

Conceding six goals at home to Northampton, Sunderland and Blackpool, and winning none of those games, all in the space of 10 days, is unacceptable. The performances have offered nothing to cling on to. In the three most recent Anfield games the Reds have been outclassed. Blackpool were a credit to the game of football.

I’m not especially angry at Roy. I feel some sympathy for him; I don’t enjoy watching a man apparently out of his depth, flailing and drowning.

But he should not have been appointed in the first place. I won’t bring myself to say he must be sacked – he has the job, so now he needs to prove he deserves it – but as I said in the summer, his appointment was always more of a risk than the ‘safe hands’ tag suggested. And if his team loses the Merseyside derby, the calls for his resignation will be deafening.

‘Going English’ with the manager and transfers might have worked as a policy, but it needed money; therefore, drastic change was not a wise move. James Milner is a good English player, for example. He cost £26m. But without the budget, the Reds tried a sea-change, a U-turn.

This is all the folly of Christian Purslow, and that of his media cronies who badgered Benítez at every turn. (Yes, you know who you are.)

The history of warning was there with Hodgson at Blackburn, and the history there was in Spain, too.

As soon as Rafa left Valencia they crumbled. Spectacularly. The players who had wanted him gone realised the error of their ways. Valencia overachieved massively during his three seasons. After, they didn’t so much find their true level as sink right through it.

If you replace a world-class manager, you need to get it right.

Roy’s Mistakes?

• Calling the players who lost in the Carling Cup the ‘B team’, and blaming it all on them.

• Not defending Torres, saying Alex Ferguson has a right to his opinion; that opinion being that Torres is a cheat.

• Criticising the fan protests. (He’s backtracked on these last two points, but the damage was done.)

• Picking a (virtually) full-strength team away in the Europa League, and expecting Torres’ muscles to be 100% three days later. I thought he was going to use the ‘B’ team in the early stages, as he did at Fulham?

• Not buying a striker; I know Rafa struggled to find one at the right price, but it was the clear priority of the summer. Aquilani was bought to replace Alonso, and was now fit; and so, instead of going for Meireles and then not using him properly, why not keep Aquilani and buy a striker?

• Leaving it to the 80-minute mark in several games to make the first change, when a result was needed. (One of the TTT subscribers sits behind the manager’s dugout, and said he’d never seen a Liverpool manager so passive during a match.)

• And do we really want to see Kyrgiakos as a centre-forward late in games against Northampton and Blackpool? Admittedly it nearly worked, but if we have to resort to desperate long-balls rather than try and play through lesser teams at Anfield, it’s a sign of grave concern.

• Alienating Agger. Potentially a world-class centre-back. But doesn’t fit Roy’s style, which involves not taking chances with footballers in defence. One of the best players at the club, but not utilised.

• Loaning out Insua and Aquilani, without sufficient replacements. (Might not all be Roy’s fault, this one, with Insua apparently offered to clubs by the Reds’ hierarchy.)

• Paying £5m for mediocre players who are near the end of their careers (Konchesky, and the frankly risible Poulsen). Paying £11m for Meireles – a very good player – and using him as a wide midfielder (albeit one forced to play horribly narrow). Saying Rafael Van Der Vaart doesn’t fit the profile of the kind of player he was interested in.

Biggest Error

And the biggest one of all: taking a team with players suited to pressing and rather than working with what he had, trying to reverse it. If anything was broken under Benítez, it was his relationship with Carragher and Gerrard, and one or two less-influential players.

The tactics were not the issue (look at how they were often successfully deployed at the World Cup) and maybe now people are seeing that.

Liverpool pressed high and hard – and fast from the start – and it suited Torres, Kuyt and Gerrard. It made it easier to create chances, because errors were forced. It gave the game some energy.

It now suits Samuel Eto’o at Inter: “With Mourinho we played on the counter-attack, with Benítez we press more and that’s better for us forwards because we win back the ball higher up the pitch and create more chances.”

Eto’o has 11 goals already this season, after just 16 last time. Torres has … one.

Last season I noted that Rafa was the only manager to get more than an average amount of goals from Torres. At the time, I wasn’t sure if it was just coincidence, or maybe due to the very detailed and specific advice Rafa gave him (which Torres said was incredible). Now, I’m starting to think it was mostly tactical.

Torres’ goal record in Spain was not the best; consistent, yes, but never above 13 from open play in a season (in one year he scored six additional goals from the spot). For Spain, it’s a decent international record, but not outstanding. (Spain also press, but they often delay the final pass; Torres needs the ball earlier.)

For Torres under Hodgson, it’s … one goal in nine games.

Now, he hasn’t been 100% fit. And it’s early days. But he wasn’t fully fit for large parts of the previous two seasons. And he still got 14 in 24, and 18 in 22, in those two Premier League campaigns. Often he was coming back from injury, but rarely did he look this out of sorts. Rarely was he so starved of service, so isolated; an island within Anfield.

Perhaps the new style of play doesn’t suit him? He’ll always be a great striker – pace, power, eye for all types of goal – but the tactics were always tailored to his strengths. Now it seems tailored to the strengths of Bobby Zamora.

Now, if Roy wants to change the team’s entire style, that’s down to him. But it can be argued that it makes more sense to work with what he has (or for the club to employ someone to do so), in a way that suits the players, than force his ideas onto them; especially as he doesn’t have the money to buy those who’d fit better into his system. (Not being funny, but right now, Emile Heskey would probably be better at what Torres is being asked to do.)

The style – which Hodgson has made clear he’s carried with him for 35 years – is being forced onto the players. If it works, great. If it doesn’t? Buck. Stops. There.

The next few weeks are vital in the future of the club, and so any decision can wait until that is resolved, and until after the Everton game. Win that game, and Roy might have a chance of taking his ideas into a new regime (if one finally arrives).

Fickle

I don’t want to appear fickle, but can I really be that if I never wanted him in the first place? I said as much in the summer. I didn’t say that Roy would definitely fail, but I did feel that his experience at Blackburn should not be brushed under the carpet, and that his achievements at Fulham, while admirable, do not necessarily transfer to a bigger club. I looked at his low-scoring teams that eked out a lot of draws, and that included his previous jobs at Blackburn and Inter Milan too.

Yes, I continue to remain annoyed at how the world-class manager we had was treated. But that’s a separate issue to this. (Although the media keep merging the two.)

If you have to sack a manager, you find a suitable replacement; not just one who speaks perfect English and makes life as easy as possible for you. And you don’t try to reverse a successful culture (Spanish) for one that has more faults. After all, how many great English players has the club purchased in the last 20 years? And how many great Spanish ones in the last six years alone?

If Roy stays, and turns things around, I’ll happily hold up my hands. If he wins, I win too. But if he fails, and fails as thoroughly as he currently is, it needs pointing out.

It needs pointing out that the owners are a cancer, and that those running the club know next to nothing about football. It needs to be pointed out that some players wanted an English manager, who would comfort them. We needed rid of rotation, zonal marking, Gerrard in centre-midfield, 4-4-2, and a manager who didn’t celebrate goals with backflips. How’s that working out?

It needs to be pointed out that on the basis of his team’s incoherent performances and his own bizarre press conferences, Roy Hodgson looks like the right man in the wrong job.

“I’ve had two-and-a-half wonderful years (at Fulham) where nothing ever negative was said about me and my team. Now maybe people are saying negative things. It doesn’t change anything. I work the same way as I did last year.” Roy Hodgson.

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Phil Tomkins has some opinions. I agree with the vast majority of it, including most of his points about Rafa, so I'm sure Ramone will be along to call me an idiot or something. Anyhow, give it a read:

That's a great write up and shows how much of a mug people like me where for wanting Rafa out. But in my defence I obviously wasn't fully aware of the background shenanigans involving our so called 'local heroes'.

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Come on now, Rafa wasn't exactly playing great football. We're panicking because of the awful start Hodgson has had but there was reason to want Rafa out. He played too negatively and teams had found out that liverpool only really won on the counter attack and that sitting deep meant we really struggled to break teams down. Give Hodgson till christmas and if things are anything like this bad then he will be out as well.

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Come on now, Rafa wasn't exactly playing great football. We're panicking because of the awful start Hodgson has had but there was reason to want Rafa out. He played too negatively and teams had found out that liverpool only really won on the counter attack and that sitting deep meant we really struggled to break teams down. Give Hodgson till christmas and if things are anything like this bad then he will be out as well.

Surely he deserved the opportunity to turn things round? Then again he always was screwed with the background bullshit going on. Liverpool FC, doomed no matter what I suppose.

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A lot of his arguments are just full of holes though. He talks up Lucas and yet hammers Poulsen - how did Lucas look after the number of games that Poulsen has played? Who was it that virtually forced Alonso out of the club - a player we've never been close to replacing? Who was it that was taking Torres off in games where we clearly needed him on the pitch? And as for saying that Roy is not getting the best out of Torres - give the guy a break, he's clearly been nowhere near fit during 99% of the time Roy has been in charge.

I'm not defending Hodgson (I have some serious concerns right now, but will give him time and at least a few transfer windows (with new owners hopefuly) to build his own team/squad before I really judge) - but I am saying it's madness to simply forget all the reasons we wanted Rafa out simply because we've had a terrible start to the season. Regardless of our form now, it was clear that it was time for Rafa to leave and that this season was going to be worse than last.

All that said, if Martin O'Neil was unveiled tomorrow at a surprise press conference I'd not be unhappy :D

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Poulsen is being asked to do too much. He should be a great addition, a Lucas with a bit more maturity. He's exactly the sort of person you want on the bench for when you're two up and you don't want that to change in the last twenty minutes. Take Cole off, put him on and let him knock it around with the defenders in your own half for a while.

And given a few games like that, maybe he'd get back to the form he had that made him a recommended Championship Manager player a while ago. But straight into a new team, a new league and not on the best form was a massive requirement.

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I don't want that jumped up small minded shite anywhere near our club. O'Neill is even more of a one trick pony than Hodgson and I have it on fairly good authority he's an equally shit man manager as Hodgson.

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Phil Tomkins has some opinions. I agree with the vast majority of it, including most of his points about Rafa, so I'm sure Ramone will be along to call me an idiot or something. Anyhow, give it a read:

Glad I'm not the only one who thinks Insua had potential. Not sure I agree with him on Maxi though.

I've said similar things as PT in this thread (pointing out Hodgson's bizarre press conferences being one), and he makes some interesting points. Not saying I agree with him entirely, but some interesting all the same.

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Early talk of there being two credible bids on the table and a refusal of refinance/extension from RBS for the existing owners: http://www.clickliverpool.com/sport/liverpool-fc/1211030-liverpool-fc-board-mulling-over-two-takeover-offers.html

Hmm.

One of which is the owner of The Boston Red Sox, New England Sports Ventures.

Hopefully this saga is drawing to a close and we can get back to being a football club and not a soap opera.

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Indeed:

The Board of Directors have received two excellent financial offers to buy the Club that would repay all its long-term debt. A Board meeting was called today to review these bids and approve a sale. Shortly prior to the meeting, the owners - Tom Hicks and George Gillett - sought to remove Managing Director Christian Purslow and Commercial Director Ian Ayre from the Board, seeking to replace them with Mack Hicks and Lori Kay McCutcheon.

This matter is now subject to legal review and a further announcement will be made in due course.

Meanwhile Martin Broughton, Christian Purslow and Ian Ayre continue to explore every possible route to achieving a sale of the Club at the earliest opportunity.

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