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Looking for Some Hope

4

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 by Paul Grech

What would you rather take, a fourth place finish or winning the Europa League? That question has been put about quite often of late and in itself belies the lack of confidence that there is in the current team, as if there is some tacit understanding that it is impossible to hope of getting both.

At least now that uncertainty is gone: Liverpool won't be getting Champions League football next season. Mathematically it might be possible but realistically, there's no chance of getting there now. So the best hope of salvaging some form of respectability from this season lies in making a real go at doing well in Europe even if it is in the competition no one really wants to play in. In fact, let's get comfortable with Thursday games because it looks like being the only one we're going to be involved in both this and next year.

There is also the minor matter of nine league games left to play for. Although play, in Liverpool's case this season, is something of a misplaced adjective. Dour, dull football completely devoid of speed and rhytm is probably the best description of the Liverpool way, at least this year. In recent weeks people have been saying that Liverpool have been grinding out results as if that were some form of praise. Getting a win against Tottenham with key players missing was pleasing as was the derby win. Otherwise, however, it has been pretty turgid. If you think differently then try to recall the last time Liverpool scored more than twice in the league.*

Part of the blame for that was the pressure to get fourth. Well, now that this looks impossible, how about a change of style? In fact why not use the remaining games as an early pre-season, looking to see what works and what doesn't? Play Alberto Aquilani, for one thing, see what he can do and whether he can hack it. If he does then at least next season he will be ready, if not then cut your losses.

The same goes for Martin Kelly and Dani Pacheco. Give them some minutes, let them get some experience and you're guaranteeing that there's greater depth to the squad next year. After all, it is not as if there will be a lot of money to splash about in the summer so those kids are as good a bet as any.

Above all, try to play with some style. No more starting games with two holding midfielders but instead put out a formation that looks to try and score goals after putting teams under pressure rather than one that hopes to catch a lucky break. Give us back some hope, a chink of light that maybe things will get better next season. If not, put us out of the misery that has been this season.

* To answer that question, in case you're still wondering, Liverpool haven't gone beyond two goals in the league ever since the 6-0 win over Hull at the end of September.


4 comments »

Dave said...

I never really understand why people don't like the Europa League. I know it's a bit like the Coca Cola Cup to the FA Cup but I'd rather win it than win the FA Cup.

Uefa should really spice it up and give the winner a place in the Champions League the next season. Is there any logic for not doing do?

One of the main problems this season is that we have not scored enough early goals to feel comfortable and not conceded enough early goals to galvanise the team.

There have been improvements of late. The passing has improved and it has been going forward rather than sidewards like earlier in the season.

The Wigan performance was a blip, not helped by a dreadful pitch where their atempts at sharp passing was made to look worse than it really was.

I'm keeping the faith for fourth spot but I always keep the faith:(

FootballIntel said...

So sorry what's happening at Anfield but that decline... it's almost certainly permanent.

Our full, depressing article here:

http://www.football-intelligence.co.uk/2010/03/10/disaster-looms-large-for-liverpool/

john toher said...

Yes its been a very bad season and with Chelsea and Man Utd to come, it will get worse.
I agree, we should go all out to win the Europa League and yes, we should give Kelly, Pacheco and Aquilani a chance.
I would also put Dalla Valle in the first team squad, the kid is a natural goalscorer and we should blood hi s soon as possible.

Simon W said...

It was a 6-1 win actually against Hull; As to the rest? I wholeheartedly agree with you re using the rest of THIS disaster of a season as an early pre-season.

As to Monday night's disaster? I think I saw enough from that debacle with Aquilani in the middle to be hopeful that the free-scoring, absolutely DEADLY, tight as Fort Knox Liverpool of LAST year might yet resurface IF we can integrate Alberto properly and let's face it, the loss of Xabi and failure to use Alberto properly has been behind ALL our problems this year.

BTW you want another piece of hope? How about the fact that there's a paradox of sorts now in that by LOSING Top 4 status - Rafa' has almost CERTAINLY ensured we'll have NEW owners next season as twit and tw*t CAN'T survive at the helm of LFC WITHOUT CL money - And our form DID just seem to tail off all of a sudden after the Hull game didn't it?

Along with said form being turned back on periodically throughout the season - I wonder, was THIS Rafa's plan ALL along - to get rid of the owners? Maybe there IS method in his madness after all.

IF we win the Europa League and get rid of the owners it may NOT be a successful season overall but I WILL celebrate as it means we can ALL start with a clean slate and just MAYBE Rafa' will get some PROPER backing in the market for once. Also, I'd put MONEY on us to STORM into the Top 4 next season as we'll be HELL-BENT on retaking 'our' Top 4 status.

I don't think ANY of the so-called 'pretenders' to our position THIS season will have anything LIKE as good seasons NEXT year and I wouldn't be surprised if ALL of them don't come within 8 points or more of us.

The LAST time we were determined to prove ourselves as good - we came within 4 points of the league title - NONE of our so-called 'challengers' have even come CLOSE to that and we WILL be back soon enough with that level of Class STILL mostly within our ranks;

Trust me, LFC with a point to prove is a VERY potent combination - as the rest of the PL WILL find out next season. We'll be BACK soon enough and back with a vengeance as well...............