WE’VE CREATED A CUP TEAM

By Paul Wilkes

If you’re crap you’re crap, if you’re great you’re great. How about the age-old problem though that has faced us as supporters of Liverpool Football Club, we’re both. Consistency for a number of years has been the holy shrine, for every Burnley performance there has been a Real Madrid or for every Sunderland away there has been an Everton at home to use more recent parameters. All managers since Dalglish the first time have been dogged with the problem to varying degrees and for different reasons.

Last summer, was the real start of something new. Proper investment in the squad, a new philosophy, approach, scouting by numbers. One of our biggest problems was creating chances from open play, Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing had created more chances between them than our entire squad the season before. This season the creation of chances hasn’t been a problem, but scoring those allotted goal scoring opportunities has. Is it the lack of a goal poacher? or is that a little simplistic. Is it the type of chances created? A look at Suárez’s goals since he came to Anfield, show a good number either created by himself or scored from what seems like impossible positions, for every couple that hits the net another twenty will not.

This leads me to our 2nd trip to the new Wembley this season and ever. In the last 11 years we have only reached the quarterfinals of the FA cup twice. A competition which was once our bread and butter, has alluded us too frequently in recent times. The media will cite Rafa’s lack of understanding of the tournament, the fans will point to the poor squad depth due to previous owners duties to pay the banks and balance the books.

José Mourinho always tries to win the first available competition at any club which he arrives. This, he says, ensures a winning mentality and gives the players the hunger to create more, but this isn’t a given. The teams have to be in and around the top of the divisions in order to push them to the next level – winning the league. Many clubs have won the Carling Cup only to see their bubble burst, Birmingham City a fine example last season.

So where do we stand, on the brink of excellence or on the edge of demise?

Kenny said last week: “There are many ways you can judge a season, and the best way is progress at the football club as a whole. I don’t think it necessarily relates to trophies or points.

“Off the pitch, especially, the club is a lot stronger than what it was. You go off the pitch and see how much money we are getting through sponsorship and kit deals. What other areas are there to improve on — apart from points?”

This was his way of saying look what the club have been through as a whole, yes there was investment in the summer, but this was long overdue after seasons of having our best assets stripped. To win a trophy 18 months after potential administration is remarkable whilst potentially on the verge of another, we certainly shouldn’t complain about the new-found status we have. Competing for silverware with indifferent league form sounds a lot better than struggling mid-table side sailing towards potential relegation with Roy as captain of the ship.

The mentality of the players is certainly an area that the scouting team can work on. Players might have the attributes and statistics to deliver on paper, but do they have the personalities to deal with the expectation that comes of playing for a club the size of Liverpool. Performing in one-off cup games and derbies are standard, but punishing the least fancied sides in the league is something some of the players are yet to take to. Wearing the red shirt is not just about the glory games. Squad members will learn off the likes of Gerrard, Carra and Kenny as to what is expected, some will rise to the challenge and others will shirk the responsibility. Obviously, tactics, team selection, fitness issues and momentum will all play a part, but the mentality against inferior sides needs to be addressed within the current squad and all future purchases.

By Paul Wilkes

Editor of LaLigaUK.com – All things Spanish Football with the occasional hint of LFC

 

@Laligauk

9 Comments

  1. drakerichards

    A trophy ? Jeez this is like cataloguing Peter Andre under ‘ Celebrity’. He is famous for being what ? famous ????. If we were living on a shoestring like Everton we can light bonfires in the street and set off a fussilade of fireworks but for the money invested it simply won’t do and I think you may find the Boston bean king will agree with me

    • There are 3 trophies up for grabs for 99% of clubs we have a great chance of winning 2 of them. Thats reason to celebrate.

      There are no medals for coming 4th yet thats all some people care about.

      • Of course 4th is what people care about most — if they have any sense. It’s the obvious stepping stone to true success. Mere qualification to the Champions League brings a higher standard of play, player, profile, competition, and revenue. The next step after that is to challenge for the ultimate goal, the league title.

        Being happy with the domestic cups is like sitting at home hugging and playing games with your children when you have no money or job. Of course they’re important and you should show them you love them. But it’s even more important to get your ass out the door and get a goddamn job first if you want to escape mediocrity.

        Priorities.

  2. drakerichards

    Yep and CL money aces Carling Cup EVERY time

    • Troutbeck Red

      Money does not always equal success nor gurentee it. In golf prior to every masters tournament their is the champions dinner, during a twenty year period Greg Norman has many chances to win the masters but for various reasons was outplayed. Greg Norman is one of the richest golfers ever yet no matter how much money he has or other tornaments he won he will never be invited to the masters dinner, unlike, Sandy Lyle, Ian Woosnam, Nick Faldo etc.

      It is always good to finish in the top 4 and have CL qualification, but there comes a point when teams need to learn to win and build on this experience, clubs also should not base all their financial future on CL qualification.

      Even Chelsea and Man City with all their millons did not qualify straight away, they build a squad and improved, what they did not have to do was sell to buy, and they can afford to have players on £100,000+ a week in the reserves.

      Money helps to buy better players and with better players you expect to win a trophy ot two. Man City have won only one cup in three seasons of having money to burn, Arsenal had not won any in 7 years. Kenny could win two in 15 months having been out of the game 17 years and following LFC`s worst football manager ever.

      Rafa was lambasted for winning the Champions League but finishing 30 points behind Chelsea. Roman has spent over £800 million on tryng to win the CL, Rafa only needed to buy Alonso and Garcia.

      To win the premiership takes a large squad of very good to world class players that can win nearly every home game and over 90 points in a season. That takes time and money.

      Torres is on £175,000 a week and has never won anything at club level but has played in the champions league, he has money, but no medals.

  3. Paul Romans

    When you look at the club though you can see ‘Cups Won’. There’s is no ‘Number of times finished 4th’ section.

  4. During the recent Everton game we played some really dire football.
    Luckily Stevie G rescued us from an embarrasing result.against a weakened Everton.
    We need established international standard players. Not promising young players. Hendo, Downing, Carrol and Adam are at best squad players for a champions league team.

    • Carroll’s not a squad player,you either start with him or sell him.

      He simply take’s time to build momentum and is not nimble enough for 10 or 15 minute substitute appearances.

      He needs to start games regularly.

  5. It really does make me laugh with everyone getting on Kenny’s back. Fans have to remember that It took Chelsea and Man City time to build. They have infinitely more money than we do.

    UTD and Arsenal have had 20 years of being top teams…after years in the league wilderness. Both were good cup teams.

    This is Kenny’s first season, and let’s face it, he was working with bare bones when he came in. He’s had one full season to sort things out and he’s bought some players, some have settled, some haven’t. Can anyone remember a chap called Lucas? Jesus, we were baying for his blood, and no one could understand why Raffa kept playing him. Now he’s integral to the team but has been out injured all season. the team has largely been covering for absence this season Carra, Gerro and Lucas…and everyone’s mad cos we won the Carling Cup and are in the FA semi. Give me a break!

    Yes it’s been frustrating but we havent done too bad when you consider the cover situation. Season 1 playing together, new manager, new owners etc.

    We need to be giving KK 3 seasons minimum before anyone starts calling for his head. We will need a few new faces, blood some youngsters and work on finishing the multitude of chances we create.

    I’m confident of better league form next season.

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