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What does LFC have to do to be great again??

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I'm 24 years old and started going the match properly with my old man in about '96, so I obviously haven't seen us win the league. I do, though, have an unshakeable belief that I will see us get one win day. It has to be the aim for everybody associated with the club. I'm not having it that the only way these days to get it is to have some sugar daddy splashing the cash. It's obviously an enormous advantage, but they can't buy every player under the sun. I'm also of the belief that while we can't outspend the likes of City and Chelsea, we can at least spend what we have better than them.

 

Looking at the Dortmund side that has won the league the past two years on the bounce, there's absolutely no reason why we couldn't have attracted any of those players. Kagawa was from some no mark Japanese second division side, Hummes was plucked from Bayern's reserves and I think that Lewandowski lad was from the Polish league. There is quality out there available at a half decent price if you look around. Newcastle did a cracking job of it last season. There was no reason at all we couldn't have signed players like Cabaye and Cisse, and both would have walked (still, actually) into our side last year.

 

The past 20 years, we've been fucking abysmal in the market, by and large. I remember reading a post from WaltonRed on here when he said that 'for every William Prunier, Massimo Taibi or Eric Djemba-Djemba the Mancs sign, we sign three or four.' Absolutely spot on.

 

Hicks and Gillett obviously fucked the club up and left us with barely a pot to piss in but even as far back as Roy Evans' tenure, we were fucking hopeless. I remember him wanting to bring in Teddy Sheringham and Marcel Desailly one summer after we had a decent-ish crack at the title but finished fourth after a collapse in the last two or three games. Instead of pushing the boat out and making a real statement of intent, the board sat with their thumbs up their arses and got him an over the hill Karlheinz Riedle and despite it being blatantly obvious we needed a centre half, we waited halfway through the season and brought in the abomination that was Bjorn Tore Kvarme. Sheringham and Desailly obviously went to the Mancs and Chelsea respectively and put pots in their trophy cabinet. Not good enough.

 

Obviously some have had more success than others, but Rafa, Houllier, Evans, Hodgson and Kenny have all had moments in the market which have just baffled, quite simply. I don't think we've ever cottoned onto how important pace is in this league because I can't remember us signing a player who's been like shit off a shovel. Torres, maybe, but I think his greatest asset was his ability to go up the gears when faced with a defender, rather than straight out the blocks- the type who make teams playing with a high line absolutely shit themselves. I can't even remember us ever buying a decent winger in that time either. I would have thought watching the Mancs hoover up title after title for 20 years with wingers who stretch the play would have made the penny drop with people.

 

To be honest, this club has dillied and dallied for twenty years. The leadership at the top has been just awful and lacking in direction. Moores was soft as shite and never had the bollocks to be the man in charge in such a cut-throat sport. Hicks and Gillett were just poisionous. It's still relativey early days for FSG, but while I'm not exactly marching past the Sandon with an American flag alight, I do have a couple of reservations.

 

To be fair to FSG, one thing they've at least down well is exploiting Liverpool as a global entity- something which we've failed to do for 20 years. In my opinion, there are four genuine worldwide footballing behemoths. There's Barcelona, there's Real Madrid, there's the Mancs and there's us. Nobody else comes close. I went travelling around America for a little bit the other year and one thing which surprised me was that for a country where football has never really been embraced the way it has around the world, every second person I met mentioned 'the soccer team' as well as The Beatles when I said I was from Liverpool. It's something which took me aback and reaffirmed my view. At least on that front we seem to be getting our act together, but it's been 20 years too late. I remember one of my cousins who lives in Belgium having a kid and my grandad wanted to buy him some Liverpool baby gear. This was late 90s/ early 00s, and my grandad went to the club shop and seen his arse because there was fuck all in. Compare and contrast that with the Mancs who have been splashing their ugly crest on everything ever since the Premiership came into being.

 

Apologies for the ramble and if I've gone off on a tangent, but my head's still battered after yesterday!

 

 

Good post.

 

Just to nit-pick on the bolded bit, we'd already signed Kvarme halfway through the previous season (96-97), and he'd been pretty good on the right of a back three. It was only the following season when we went to 4-4-2 and he played as a fullback that he struggled. I don't remember the Desailly link that summer, but we didn't desperately need a CB, as we'd had one of the best defences in the league the previous season until James had a meltdown towards the end. It was the following summer that Desailly went to Chelsea. Sheringham was a huge miss though - my understanding is that the board thought he was too old, and then we went and signed Riedle who was older than him, for not much less than what the Mancs paid for Sheringham.

 

But yes you're right, this phenomenon of signing the wrong players every time we're seemingly on the verge of something special goes back a long way, and is a big part of what's done for us over the past 20 years.

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A return to greatness may only be possible after FSG- not during their tenure. The club needs investment in the side now, over and beyond what we generate, to compete at the top, and the FSG model does not allow for that. Our long term success depends on a larger, all modern stadium ( not a half in half bodge job), FSG’s model again does not provide for that.

 

Those who point to Dortmund’s success are right to do so. It is a Board run by Germans steeped in knowledge of the country, the club and the game.

 

FSG have been our saviours, for which I will always be grateful, they won’t lead us into Rangersesque meltdown either, but success at the top requires cash and knowledge in spades. Bith continue to be AWOL under FSG.

 

SSSSHHH! Youll upset the pie and Bovril brigade on here coming out with stuff like that.

I bet they still hanker for the half times being put up round the hoardings. Here we go....

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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Good post.

 

Just to nit-pick on the bolded bit, we'd already signed Kvarme halfway through the previous season (96-97), and he'd been pretty good on the right of a back three. It was only the following season when we went to 4-4-2 and he played as a fullback that he struggled. I don't remember the Desailly link that summer, but we didn't desperately need a CB, as we'd had one of the best defences in the league the previous season until James had a meltdown towards the end. It was the following summer that Desailly went to Chelsea. Sheringham was a huge miss though - my understanding is that the board thought he was too old, and then we went and signed Riedle who was older than him, for not much less than what the Mancs paid for Sheringham.

 

But yes you're right, this phenomenon of signing the wrong players every time we're seemingly on the verge of something special goes back a long way, and is a big part of what's done for us over the past 20 years.

 

Ah, fair enough, mate- the old grey matter failed me there on the chronology of it all. I was sure it was halfway through the 97/98 season when Kvarme signed but obviously not.

 

I really do doubt however, whether there's another big club across the continent who have made so many monumental fuck ups as we have. I'm probably opening up a can of worms here by mentioning him, but Aquilani in particular sticks out as a wrong player. Now I think the lad has some ability but, for me, it was clear after his second or third game that he was nothing like Alonso as a player. He simply didn't have the range of passing Alonso possessed to play that deep lying role. I thought his strength lay in getting right up close to the forward players and slipping in these clever, intricate three or four yard passes. Now obviously, since Gerrard was playing behind the striker at the time, that position was taken so either you drop Gerrard back alongside the holding player and negate his influence on the game, or you play the two of them in that position and I doubt Rafa ever would have gone for leaving just one player in front of the back four. In my opinion, just the wrong player for the wrong position at the wrong time. Just summed everything up for me.

 

And the less said about Houllier's unholy trinity of Diouf, Diao and Cheyrou back in '02 the better. I still have nightmares about that summer to this day.

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Ah, fair enough, mate- the old grey matter failed me there on the chronology of it all. I was sure it was halfway through the 97/98 season when Kvarme signed but obviously not.

 

I really do doubt however, whether there's another big club across the continent who have made so many monumental fuck ups as we have. I'm probably opening up a can of worms here by mentioning him, but Aquilani in particular sticks out as a wrong player. Now I think the lad has some ability but, for me, it was clear after his second or third game that he was nothing like Alonso as a player. He simply didn't have the range of passing Alonso possessed to play that deep lying role. I thought his strength lay in getting right up close to the forward players and slipping in these clever, intricate three or four yard passes. Now obviously, since Gerrard was playing behind the striker at the time, that position was taken so either you drop Gerrard back alongside the holding player and negate his influence on the game, or you play the two of them in that position and I doubt Rafa ever would have gone for leaving just one player in front of the back four. In my opinion, just the wrong player for the wrong position at the wrong time. Just summed everything up for me.

 

And the less said about Houllier's unholy trinity of Diouf, Diao and Cheyrou back in '02 the better. I still have nightmares about that summer to this day.

 

 

I can't think of another club with as bad a record either. And it always, always seems to happen just when the manager has got a system in place that works, and just needs to add a bit of proven quality that will complement that system. 1997, 2002, 2008 and 2011.

 

Aquilani was a bit different from those as he happened in a summer when we had no money, but even so he was a mystifying signing.

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No need for apologies my friend, that was a great and insightful post.

 

I tend to agree with most of your points, the pace thing not being so much a disagreement as a caveat. I don't think it's overall pace that's important so much as the ability to quickly turn it up a notch and outpace people for about 10-15 yards. Some players have that, some have just the long haul and some have both. Obviously both is better but not necessary in terms of necessity I'd say the ability to accelerate quickly and burn someone over a short distance is favorable to being able to beat someone in a footrace from one side of the pitch to the other.

 

Change of pace for whole team's movement - like the 1972-6 Dutch national sides - is a killer. They'd keep the ball to the edge of the opponent's box with skill and accuracy, like Barca do now, then explode into the box with intricate movement and pace in a coordinated way. Defences were dragged all over the place just trying to keep up. To do it, you need team not individuals. Still too many individuals, not a team, for us at present.

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I can't think of another club with as bad a record either. And it always, always seems to happen just when the manager has got a system in place that works, and just needs to add a bit of proven quality that will complement that system. 1997, 2002, 2008 and 2011.

 

Talk me through that bit.

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I don't need to, you saw it with your own eyes when Kenny was caretaker manager.

Ok, I'm with you now.

 

Was that half season down to a sytem that worked? I think there were a lot of factors at play- and we finished poorly.

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Ok, I'm with you now.

 

Was that half season down to a sytem that worked? I think there were a lot of factors at play- and we finished poorly.

 

 

I think it was: two solid midfielders sitting and a fluid front four all capable of getting goals. I acknowledge there was no pressure and that Kenny's stature galvanised the players after Hodgson, but that doesn't account for the improvement in performance - we got more points than anyone bar Chelsea in the period from Kenny taking over until the end of the season.

 

The poor finish was just a couple of games. Spurs was a bad day at the office when we were hit by an early goal, and Villa on the last day was pretty meaningless as the squad had given up on the Europa League and possibly weren't minded to fight for it.

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I think it was: two solid midfielders sitting and a fluid front four all capable of getting goals. I acknowledge there was no pressure and that Kenny's stature galvanised the players after Hodgson, but that doesn't account for the improvement in performance - we got more points than anyone bar Chelsea in the period from Kenny taking over until the end of the season.

 

The poor finish was just a couple of games. Spurs was a bad day at the office when we were hit by an early goal, and Villa on the last day was pretty meaningless as the squad had given up on the Europa League and possibly weren't minded to fight for it.

That’s a fair argument. I am undecided.

 

I think that the team underperformed under Hodgson, but that many underestimate the difficult circumstances he was operating in (his choice I accept). There was an undoubted FSG/Kenny/ Clarke bounce, and KK was at his best motivating an underperforming squad. Carroll’s injury, in retrospect, was a huge advantage.

 

You can’t argue with the results in that second half, I agree.

 

Like you I admired our fluid front four and was baffled that after scoring seven goals in three games Maxi pretty much disappeared off the charts. I disagree that the last two games should be dismissed. They were evidence of a mental weakness in the team and Kenny, the latter contrary to expectation, which would resurface as the following season progressed.

 

Perhaps that half season and summer were vignettes of his strengths and weaknesses at that time. The man management was still there, but his absence from the game for so long meant that his transfer touch was inevitably going to be his vulnerability.

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That’s a fair argument. I am undecided.

 

I think that the team underperformed under Hodgson, but that many underestimate the difficult circumstances he was operating in (his choice I accept). There was an undoubted FSG/Kenny/ Clarke bounce, and KK was at his best motivating an underperforming squad. Carroll’s injury, in retrospect, was a huge advantage.

 

You can’t argue with the results in that second half, I agree.

 

Like you I admired our fluid front four and was baffled that after scoring seven goals in three games Maxi pretty much disappeared off the charts. I disagree that the last two games should be dismissed. They were evidence of a mental weakness in the team and Kenny, the latter contrary to expectation, which would resurface as the following season progressed.

 

Perhaps that half season and summer were vignettes of his strengths and weaknesses at that time. The man management was still there, but his absence from the game for so long meant that his transfer touch was inevitably going to be his vulnerability.

 

 

I don't disagree with that, but my point was that those two results couldn't be pinned on a faulty system.

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If FSG really wanted money ball football, they would have gotten Rafa back. Simple as

 

Look at all the money generated from all Rafa's players. Alonso, Mascherano, Torres. Besides Suarez, the only other players worth anything if sold are Reina, Skrtel, Agger and Lucas.

 

Everyone knows that Gerrard and Carra probably won't be worth much these days. We know that most of Dalglish's buys besides Suarez won't be worth half what we paid for. I am also certain Allen and Borini at most can be sold at the same price we paid for them.

 

Even if they get Rafa back now, it will take years rebuilding again, now that we've lost the majority of his good players. Even the players that could be relied on to save our skin in tough games, like Kuyt, Maxi and Benayoun are gone.

 

Sad, but the last time we could have turned things around was when Dalglish first got in. We should have kept Mereiles and kept using Maxi and Kuyt with Suarez and built on that pass and move style. Dalglish's buys last season were a disaster, buy British indeed.

 

Alonso, Torres, Mascherano, a prime Gerrard, Reina, Skrtel, Agger.... I don't think we will see the likes of their quality again. I am happy we somehow got Suarez, but with additions like Allen and Borini to play the great Swansea way, we won't be seeing him in red for long.

 

I knew it was a mistake the moment we got a manager that the press agrees with. Its Hodgson all over again, with all the tiki taka hype (as if he created the style). Fuck we played possession football under Rafa too you know, and we too struggled with lots of possession but not the goals, until we got Torres. Its the same story all over again, but with inferior players.

And an inferior manager.

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We paid £35M for Andy Carroll.

 

So that's it? We've spent enough? What about money we've recouped and wages we've saved for Aquilani, Maxi, Bellamy and Kuyt? We sold Torres for 50m.

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Display some patience and don't spunk more money on dross which we'll only have to sell on at a loss in the future.

 

Loan a striker towards the end of the window. There will be someone available.

 

Finish 5th.

 

Invest another £30m next summer.

 

Repeat.

 

No more punts or buying 'nearly' good enough players.

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I'd say paying £35M for a player should get you the required quality. Unfortunately we fucked it up.

 

Definitely. But we still haven't spent much money. Where has all the saved wages, money recouped from fees and the sponsorship deals we keep getting told are so good?

 

Our owners are loaded. We shouldn't be so unambitious. Nor should they be spending 100s of million every summer.

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Definitely. But we still haven't spent much money.

 

Yes we have. LFC paid Newcastle for Carroll what Barcelona paid Valencia for David Villa.

 

The days of operating on a net profit under Benítez are gone. We have spent a shitload of cash since FSG came in. Please don't make me list the transfers, it makes me depressed just thinking about it.

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Yes we have. LFC paid Newcastle for Carroll what Barcelona paid Valencia for David Villa.

 

The days of operating on a net profit under Benítez are gone. We have spent a shitload of cash since FSG came in. Please don't make me list the transfers, it makes me depressed just thinking about it.

 

 

I think we've saved a decent amount getting rid of big wage earners. And we've signed big sponsorship deals. Should we not be using that money to buy players?

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I think we've saved a decent amount getting rid of big wage earners. And we've signed big sponsorship deals. Should we not be using that money to buy players?

 

Suarez, Skrtel and Agger (eventually) will sign new contracts with a decent pay rise! If you are a losing money but increasing wages then that is where the extra money goes.

 

We have £80m worth of players as squad players, not because we have invested in squad depth but because they were not good enough for the first team. We probably have the same wage bill as we did when we were in the champions league but we haven't had the champions league money for 3 years now, the extra income is probably replacing that money.

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