Clueless Rafa lacks quality

by Ashleigh Rose

Monday, October 5th, 2009

The good news for Liverpool fans this morning is they do have a team capable of winning the Premier League. The bad news however is, that their team and their best chance of a title win may have already been and gone last season.

Im not pressing the panic button just because of one defeat to Chelsea, but it was the manner of their defeat both to the Blues on Sunday and Fiorentina last week, that asks serious questions of Rafa Benitez’s men and their title credentials this campaign. The loss of Alonso and until now the lack of replacement, the reliance on Torres and Gerrard, the worrying form of Jamie Carragher and the lack of genuine quality on the bench are all major worries for Rafa, and with three defeats already this year, worries he’ll need to sort before Liverpool are blown out of the water all together.

This season was meant to different though, and there was a genuine belief amongst the Kop that this year was their year, after going so close to upsetting United last season. However I really do think last season was the closest we’ll see Liverpool go to that elusive Premier League crown. In a season that saw the Reds absolutely dominate the top four mini-league, including a memorable 4-1 winner over United at Old Trafford, it was purely down to some awful draws to teams like Hull and Stoke and ‘Rafa’s rant’ that they didn’t go on to win the Premier League. Instead, Man Utd do what they do best a picked up where Liverpool failed and sailed on to their record equalling eighteenth championship win. You could even go as far as to say that it was more down to Liverpool’s self destruction then United’s dominance that won the league last year.

So what’s changed? Well, much has already been talked about the loss of Alonso, however the Reds are not a one man team. The problem has been replacing him with someone of equal or near quality, someone that Lucas Leiva is nowhere near. Yes, the signing of Aquilani may prove to be just that, but he’ll need time to adjust to this league before the fragile Italian becomes the midfield talisman the Kop are craving for. What the loss of Alonso has shown, is the lack of depth in the Liverpool side. Looking on their bench on Sunday, Benayoun aside, where was the ready made quality that could change a game against a team like Chelsea? David Ngog? The constant disappointment of Ryan Babel? No there was none, where as on the opposite bench you have the likes of Joe Cole, Flourent Malouda and Soloman Kalou. Then there’s Torres and Gerrard, easily two of the best players in the world let alone the Premier League, but if they don’t play well, by and large neither do Liverpool and it’s too much to rely on for a team who have any aspirations of winning the league. Of the rest of the first XI who other then those two would get into any other of the top four sides? Maybe even include Man City and Tottenham in that too. not many. And that’s all without mentioning the infamous zonal marking and the form of the backline.

Rafa will say that it’s not over, and in a league that is promising to be the tightest for many a year he maybe right. But what is certain is that Liverpool can now ill afford another defeat if they are going to be title winners. And with it only being October and visits to Old Trafford and the Emirates still to come, it may be too much to ask.

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  • Mike Somerville

    I did mention in an earlier blog that if Liverpool lost either Mascherano or Alonso then they wouldm’t win the league.
    Even if Aquilani does step in and delivers some performances to make the Kop drool, it still may be too late. Centre midfielders in Seria A get a lot more time on the ball; in the Premier League they are not, even against the Hulls and Wolves of this league. They close you down and force mistakes.

  • john

    when u think that they could have had alves fr 8 mill if the board had agreed a few years back….

    i honestly think that with the budget they’ve had, they would have been better ti buy one quality player a year rather than quantity. i mean what did pennant etc do? people say rafa has spent a lot which he has but don’t forget a lot of the mainstays of utd were bught a few years back, i mean if you look at the utd and chelsea teams they have gtb loads of players bought at 20 mill plus, apart from torres who have liverpool got at that price. ok it doesn’t guarantee success (veron) but if you look at quality players nowadays you won’t get any for less than 20 million unless you get lucky (win jaNSEN BUYING LARSSON FOR 700K WHEN HE WAS CELTIC MANager springs to mind)

  • Darren

    Liverpool have gone back to being the ultimate snoozebuster team. I won’t state the obvious about who they should of signed in the summer, the fact is, their squad is average at best.

    If one team is going to fall out of the top 4 it’s going to be them.

    I also don’t understand paying 18m for a player who will miss the first 2 months of the season.

  • Ash

    And paying 19m for a full-back who’s main weakness is defending!

  • Darren

    it could be the most interesting league in years.

    3 defeats is the most teams can lose if they are serious contenders. However, the big 4 haven’t improved where as every other team has. I can see more defeats coming their way.

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