Sunday, 14 December 2014

Are You There, John W. Henry?

I wonder if Americans understand football as much as they seem to understand the fine words of a manager who has proved himself one of the slickest prevaricators in the league. Every bad performance is case of 'bad luck' and every crazy managerial decision has a back story to match anything written by another High Princess of Unbelievable Fairytale Bullsoup, Dame Barbara Cartland.

There has to be some reason why Brendan Rodgers is still holding onto his job. Perhaps John W. Henry's attention is elsewhere. Maybe Rodgers has Henry's box set of 'Breaking Bad' and Henry just can't sack him until Rodgers returns it. Up to this year, football usually made sense. Everything about Liverpool at the moment makes absolutely no sense. Won't somebody please educate me and explain the deep underlying structure in this disorganised chaos?

I'm not too sure how much longer this can go on. For Liverpool to lose 3-0 to Manchester United would always be a low point of the season. However, to lose 3-0 to this United team demonstrates the depth of the crisis at Liverpool. I genuinely don't believe it's the players who should take the blame for what's happened. Individually there are some solid players. They work hard but too often seem to lack a system beyond an ineffective tap-it-tap-it-lose-it-to-a-proper-challenge. Even the summer buys don't look as bad as the media portray them, though what Emre Can has to do to get a game must involve dark arts because scoring one goal against Chelsea seemed to mark the end of Brendan's patience with the poor lad. Even the much scorned Mario Balotelli was Liverpool's best player (again) when he came on. He can be petulant, do crazy things and believe in his own hype, but you can also see why managers have persisted with him in the past. He genuinely looks a world class player. If he could just get rid of the petulant little tugs, his game would almost without criticism given he's playing in a system that doesn't suit his game.

What seemed to make a difference were the tactics. One team underplayed but the team selection and tactics made sense. The other team worked hard and made chances but they were continually undermined by odd decisions coming from the sideline. Taking off Moreno, one of Liverpool's best players, to put Lazar Marković in a position where he couldn't attack the back four with the penetration of last week's cameo... Did that seem like a rational thing to do? Perhaps somebody with a better understanding of football can educate me as to why we'd start the game without a proper striker. Why would you refuse to sub Joe Allen whose game is simply not what it was when he looked undroppable for a period a year or so ago? Even more baffling was replacing Adam Lallana, who despite carrying an injury, was head, shoulders and cracked ribs above every other Liverpool player in that first half.

However, Rodgers makes decisions which, even to my limited football knowledge, make about much sense as firing Rafa Benitez during the Hicks / Gillett period, when he was the one man trying to defend the club from those unscrupulous b******s and paid a price for telling the fans too much about what was going on inside the club.

Is this what football has become? A sport where good men are made to suffer for one bad season whilst coping with devious owners yet a preening peacocks with great new teeth can never seem to do wrong? When is somebody finally going to call the Emperor on his new clothes? Please, John W. Henry. Sack Rodgers. If you need a new boxset of 'Breaking Bad', I'll buy one for you myself in the New Year sales.

No comments:

Post a Comment